Sunday, March 22, 2015

Butterfly Dream: Winter Darkness Haiku by Peggy Heinrich

English Original

It could be nothing
it could be something
winter darkness

First Place, 2013 Porad Haiku Award

Peggy Heinrich

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Peggy Heinrich's haiku have appeared in almost every haiku journal both nationally and internationally and in many anthologies. Awards include Top Prize in the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest in both 2009 and 2010. Peeling an Orange, a collection of her haiku with photographs by John Bolivar, was published in 2009 by Modern English Tanka Press. Forward Moving Shadows, a collection of her tanka, with photographs by John Bolivar, was published in 2012.


  1. Commentary by Judge, Ce Rosenow

    In this poem, the poet deftly conveys a moment of uncertainty specific to the poet yet accessible to the reader. Something new and disconcerting has occurred, but the poet doesn’t yet know if it is significant. The pronoun “it” doesn’t lock the reader into whatever it is that holds the writer’s attention (a significant other’s unusual behavior possibly signaling infidelity, a physical symptom perhaps signaling a serious medical condition, the list goes on). Instead, the reader can enter into the poem through whatever it is that holds, or has held, the poet’s attention in this same way. The seasonal reference to winter darkness situates this haiku moment in a season with less light. The moment takes place either at night or in daytime with reduced light due to the time of year. The poem contains a strong internal comparison between not knowing if “it” is “something” or “nothing” and the literal and metaphorical difficulty of not seeing well in the winter darkness. Finally, the experience of not being able to discern whether the “it” is significant or not is emphasized by the parallel phrasing of the first two lines.

  2. Peggy's emotionally effective use of syntactic parallelism in Ls 1&2 foregrounds the thematic concern (a sense of uncertainty) while L3 enhances the tone and mood of the poem.