The Heron's Nest Award.
the last holdout surrenders
their tree house fort
A young boy invites other children to join him far above the earth for adventures beyond their imagining. Enter a pirate with a mean left hook. Right behind comes a ticking—and ticked off—croc. The intrepid youth will neither cower nor grow old. In the bargain, he's destined to never remember.
A grown man preaches that we resist the cherished company of our childish things. We mostly comply. We come down from our tree houses. But our fate is to never forget them.
Is the young boy's song of innocence a siren song? Is the preacher's song of experience a swan song? Must we pay for Peter with Paul?
An effective haiku can trigger such musings. It can tap the very ground of our being and germinate in ways unforeseen.
Here children's play intimates a greater drama. More than nightfall approaches. More than a tree fort soon will be lost. But what's to be gained?
The abiding pleasure of art. An old sage put it this way: "Life is short, art long." As the last boy begins his descent to reality, the poignant moment is held for us in perpetual suspension—an "eternal present"—in the evening glow of Gilliland's lovely poem. We readers can remain, happily, in Everland.