that tree had leaves
Modern Haiku 47.3 (Autumn 2016)
© Jennifer Hambrick (USA)
This haiku has a lot of energy to it. It has an immediacy and freshness that most haiku do not have. There are a few reasons for this.
With the word “deployment” and the em dash following it, there is a gravity to the situation. The circumstance is probably someone being deployed off to war as a soldier, to face possible death, and seeing others die.
To reflect the dramatic change of pace from being a soldier in training to being on the way to witness death firsthand, the writer used the tree losing its leaves rapidly as a metaphor. Not naming the tree also gives an immediacy to it.
The season is probably late autumn, and this season commonly presents death and decay in colorful displays. It is similar to how soldiers die in war: their lives may have been taken away, but the beauty of valor and honor is kept with them and their families.
In terms of sound, this haiku works great as well. Look at the “o” sound in “deployment” and “morning” giving a sense of melancholy, and the “i” and “e” sounds running through the haiku to make the reading of it more stark.
The pacing of the haiku is powerful, especially with how the last line comes. Not only is the punctuation used for a significant emotional end, but also the last line (without tricks) is palpable and alarming.
In my opinion, the writer captured the mood of the moment perfectly, and used the literary tools necessary to illicit emotion from readers—which is turn allows us to experience this moment as if we were there.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky