Bernadette Duncan

condensed to the gray heron

Year of publication: 2020

BoD Norderstedt, 2020. 96 pages. ISBN 9 783 750 405721. € 9,50


Further information

Text samples, tables of contents, bibliographical information, sources of supply (not all elements available at the same time)

Haiku, the shortest form of poetry in the German-speaking world, is still a relatively young genre. The present selection shows a cross-section of twelve years of haiku poetry - based on Japanese and English-language models, the verses delicately, personally explore the possibilities and limits in a contemporary context.


from Claudia Brefeld:

Bernadette Duncan has been committed to haiku since 2007 and has now published her first haiku book with "densified into a gray heron".
Despite or because of its simplicity, the book stands out among other books. The cover is kept in a pleasantly subtle light blue, the writing is fine-lined. The haiku are generously arranged. But actually it is the title that arouses curiosity and at the latest when it comes to the table of contents you simply have to leaf through.
“From here” means expectation, a spirit of optimism and the desire to let yourself go wildly and to rediscover and be amazed.
No haiku illustrates it better than

Flower photos
from here, the old man calls
you see the whole tree! (P. 21)

“First flight attempts” not only tell of conquering, this chapter is also full of maturing, sunny days and letting yourself go in the many big and small worlds that are just waiting to be seen and yet at the same time in their own perfection do not need our perception - but maybe that's why they are captivating us?

grass panicle
the beetle seesaws the day
in the evening (p. 50)

“Nothing but the world”, on the other hand, takes us by the hand in order to enjoy, to sum up, even to organize a little - the past and maybe what may come?

old painter
the sky brush
better wash again (p.70)

And between the first frost and a pleasant autumn mood, the one-word haiku blends in

thyme tea (p. 64)

as a fragrant note in this round - it shouldn't have been missing!
"Ever clearer" not only describes the end in a yearly cycle, leisure finds its space and a piece of time comes to rest:

gone slowly
and here they are
tracks in the snow (p. 77)

At the same time, this chapter also allows us to anticipate the new beginning:

surprisingly accompanies us
a mild dolphin (p. 90)

from a lark song
into the other, this way
and that one too (p. 91)

There it is again, the spirit of optimism. The circle closes - of course and of course - and before I am aware of it, I have opened the first pages again, and my thoughts are picking up on there in the texts. There are just so many favorite haiku ...
atarashimi - this term, which also stands for fresh new perspectives, perspectives - I keep discovering them in the book.
After the last page, I realize that it is actually not possible to present individual haiku, and certainly not to make them act as windows through which one can look into the content of this book. It is so multifaceted and dense with life - simply filled to the brim - and I would also like to recommend it to all haiku readers! Instead of impressions, this book will be put down, in order to reach for it again soon!


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