Kat Lehmann’s news

evening news
junipers consume
the moon

Haiku Society of America Harold G. Henderson Haiku Award, Second Place (2020)
— Kat Lehmann (USA)

This haiku has a very effective juxtaposition. It shows us through imagery how consuming the news can be. The word “consume” has a negative connotation that implies an extreme. The juniper’s invasiveness is an apt image to describe this. It seems the news tends to be very unbalanced and focused on negative events that cloud our perception, while many positive events go unnoticed and are often not covered. While most news seems to be dark and narrow-minded, by stark contrast, the moon inspires open-mindedness, mystery, and wonder. 

My father had junipers in his yard many years ago. They were very large and obstructed the view to his yard and the neighborhood. Now that they’re removed, he can see his yard and neighborhood in full view.  

This is a powerful haiku that reminds us to not be consumed by news stations, which seems to be a form of mental programming, and to notice the beauty of the moon and what is beyond us.

—  Jacob Salzer (USA)

It starts with the news that may or may not be reliable, ‘evening news’ which means one has to read it carefully before relating it to any news and its relationship with the rest of the haiku. Evening news can be thrilling, mysterious, and evokes our deepest feelings.

A juniper tree is a sign of strength, divinity, power, and safety. If we see it from that context, then it means something is being covered or not openly revealed. The word ‘consume’, like the evening news, shows exaggeration here but it is cleverly used to make this haiku more powerful and with broader perspectives. I see ‘the moon’ as a metaphor which may show signs of visibility as someone/something in the limelight but not now because of the junipers’ shadows and the same are not catching much attention in the evening news.

I love the rhythmic sounds of ‘news, consume, and moon’ as these provide an interesting and lighter side of this haiku. Overall, I think this haiku represents someone who needs attention but is getting it neither in nature nor in the evening news. 

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

The juniper, with its prickly branches and stout shape, covering the moon, is a great comparison with the evening news. I think this comparison can be seen both in a positive and negative light, which has been expounded on by Jacob and Hifsa above. I think this gives this haiku more nuance and layers, which is a common quality of strong haiku.

I also think the usage of the word “consume” is an interesting choice. It relates to us as people in modern society, who consume information and materials at an alarming rate. The poet could have used “cover” but I think the poet chose a word that is more pertinent and imaginative, which works well in this particular haiku.

As Hifsa mentioned, the sound of the haiku is rhythmic. The “e” and “o” vowel sounds bring about a soothing tone despite the subject. This contrast creates a more nuanced power behind the haiku.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

By Paivi Ojala