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Volume 34.1
Spring 2003

book review

still here
by H. F. Noyes


reviewed by Ruth Yarrow

still here by H.F. Noyes; illustrated by David Kopitzke (Northfield, Mass.: Swamp Press, 2002). 92 pages, 5.5" x 8I", paperback. No ISBN. $15.00 from vincent tripi, 42 Franklin St., No. 5, Greenfield, MA 01301

The haiku of H.F. Noyes have a distinctive ethereal quality, beautifully exhibited by this rich collection. Several characteristics of his haiku contribute to this quality.
He is aware of unexpected spaces delineated by his senses.

reaching for berries
the tip of my nose
in thrush song

Noyes often reverses the dependency of one object on another.

adobe church—
old belltower leans against
a broken ladder

bright fall day—
the brook wanders off
its shimmer lingers

He particularly sees shadows as more substantial and active than the objects that cast them.

morning sun—
the cat stretches into
her just-wakened

moonlight stillness—
beside its shadow
shadow each stone

frozen marshland—
the moonshiner’s rowboat
moored to its shadow

Contributing to the ethereal quality is his tendency to write about experiences just barely perceived.

evening walk—
the creak of my boots
invades the stars

old picnic table—
smoothing the oilcloth
my hand remembers

Christmas fir—
walking it home in the breeze
its little whisper

In the following haiku he even perceives his loss of awareness as he lets himself be burdened with the heavy load of winning an argument.

arguing a point …
the tug with its haul of logs
gone out of sight

Noyes’s haiku also exude strength. While he is a master at contrasting images, his haiku that I enjoy most contrast these images in fresh ways.

shooting the rapids—
even the back of his head
looks surprised

the Milky Way streams—
a farmer bends to his work
widening a ditch

I highly recommend this collection of ethereal yet powerful haiku.




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