one by one
— Małgorzata Formanowska (Poland)
(Wild Plum Haiku Contest 2020 – Honorable Mention)
There is a stark contrast and a mystery in this poem. Twilight in winter is deep and quiet, and crows are expert scavengers. What did they find? “one by one” hints that they found something substantial to eat. Whether it is early morning or evening, against the sunlit horizon, this haiku is a meditation on the cycles of life and death. When I read this haiku, I see stars in the night sky giving signs of an afterlife.
— Jacob Salzer (USA)
Winter twilight is a time when the sky reflects the colours of both sadness and healing. The purple and scarlet sky project the deepest feelings of a person who may be either in solitude or meditating. Also, the sky or horizon portrays the road to departure where a murder of crows covers twilight’s hues and turns it grayish black.
Crows in this case may depict the transformation of day into night or personal thoughts/memories that are lost in the darkness. The crows symbolically show how all the colourful activities of life slow down in the evening and become profound and deep like the dark colours of crows or night. It also connects to the protective nature of crows, who before departing or retiring for the night, give a message of annihilation, silence, and peace.
— Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
The image I see when I read this haiku is the sheen of twilight and crows one by one covering that light. It is simultaneously meditative and melancholic. I also noted a harmony of nature, working together to close out a day. In addition, “winter” and “crow” can both be seen as cold words. They are both ominous and a bit dreary.
I enjoy how the writer gives space for the reader to ponder with “one by one.” We are not sure if the writer intended the crows to fly, land, or do another action. But, we intuitively feel the imagery.
In the first line, the usage of “i” lends to the starkness of winter, and the “o” sounds in the second and third lines slow down the pace so that we can easily imagine the crows’ movements. The shape of the poem is also relevant to its content, with each line dwindling in size.
An excellent, sparse haiku that connects different parts of the natural world which creates a potent mood and imagery with just a few words.
— Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)