Chad Lee Robinson is a classic haiku writer, and has a great feel for haiku that show the inter-relationship between sky and earth. I highly recommend reading Chad Lee Robinson's collection Rope Marks.
There is a skill in writing simplistically something with great depth, and Chad is a delightfully engaging writer for combining simplicity with depth.
Obviously the first thing that strikes us is the unusual form. Robinson has structured the poem in a single vertical line. While unexpected in English haiku, of course in Japanese haiku are always written vertically, often in a single line. So although he has apparently "violated" the expected English form, he has very deliberately identified his work with the native form of haiku in Japan. And he does this for a very particular reason. The act of reading of the poem reproduces the experience that it contains.
On a vast open field, perhaps in the American Midwest, or the prairies of Canada stands a figure looking up. The sky is overwhelming and awesome in its vastness. In its blueness it can be literally seen as another kind of ocean – a connection which Robinson appears to deliberately want us to draw, through his use of the word "deep". He is alone, surveying an ocean of sky.
The very structure of his poem appears to represent him, standing there, a mere twig on the vast spreading plains – and yet defiantly human, standing upright against that unrelenting horizon. In an overwhelming cosmos, indifferent to humanity, the poet stands.
The vertical line of the poem can also serve as a bridge between the earth and the sky, elevating our horizon, connecting us to the limitless sky. Like a Japanese woodblock print this poem itself is an icon, drawing us in. Deliberately Robinson is painting an artwork for transcending and perfecting human nature – just through his construction of words on page.
But unlike a static picture this artwork is dynamic. As the poet scans the sky with a downward movement of his head, when reading the poem, so do we, until we touch down on land – on the prairie.
There is something almost vertiginous in this movement and this poem, which astoundingly manages to capture the vast horizontal plains of the prairie through a vertical line of words. Had Robinson written it in a single horizontal line, or even in the traditional three lines, it would have had none of this effect.
The poem also captures for me a memory of childhood wonder, and brings it back to me with fresh appreciation. I have certainly stood in a field and gazed up into the sky, twirling around with arms outstretched and laughing. But not for decades, and now that memory, rekindled from this poem, is rendered with a poignancy that comes from experience and years, the knowledge and appreciation of the fragility of life.