fairy penguins
break the surface . . .
winter light

Ron C. Moss


The first line has a glow all of its own, the word fairy rendering it a touch magical . . .  Much rides on the middle line – break the surface . . .  for as we know, penguins journey freely between sea and land and are at home in both worlds.  The ellipses invite us to ponder this crossing, of breaking through, perhaps as a rite of passage.  The word surface is especially well chosen, carrying with it connotations of other depths, other spaces within and without.  There is something unmistakably joyful about this simple scene that would certainly gladden anyone present, as we may become in this haiku.  The fairy penguin, also known as the little blue penguin, is common along the cooler coasts of southern Australia and our experience of these places can further enrich the imagery of this poem. There are many possible variations of light to be enjoyed here as the penguins break the surface . . . into . . . winter light –  the crystalline starlight of night, a moon silvered shore, the pinks of dawn, the subdued greys of an overcast day or the icy blue of clear skies; and so too by an implicit association we may also conjure images of the many and various moods of a winter sea . . . how fortunate, the dreaming space is all ours.

Windfall: Australian Haiku, Issue 1, 2013

fairy penguin-moss

Drawing By Ron C. Moss

Selection & comments by Simon Hanson