This Poem was Submitted By: Dan D Lavigne On Date: 2003-10-01 11:40:20 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Haiku (Life a new)

     The essence of death As fall gives way to winter A child cries, breathless I sit in my chair Reflecting on my lifetime Dreamlike, frozen time Memories are mine Not to be stolen from me By deaths grisly hand Fear is beside me My life is slipping away Loved ones surround me Craving dignity As I lie in wait for it Silence as it comes Blinded by darkness Deafened by screams of silence I reach ascension The essence of life As winter gives way to spring A child cries, new life

Copyright © October 2003 Dan D Lavigne

Additional Notes:
This is my very first attempt at Haiku. This is also a very emotional piece that I wrote while contemplating the difficulties plaguing a loved one who is quite literally fighting for his very life against amazing odds. I love you Gary. You have been and continue to be such an inspiration to me in my life.Your patience,courage and strength has taught me much in the way of living. Thank you.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2003-11-01 10:37:02
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80000
Hi Dan, I really like the way you are using this elegantly simple form to convey an insightful message about the natural close of life. I'd call these senryu or "human haiku" because the focus is on the human being, not on Nature - the natural images are secondary to the personal motif. Same format, just a different label. There is very effective repetition of the opening strophe as the poem ends. However, "new life" is substituted for "death" and the child's cry is one of birth now, not of breathlessness (as would also apply to the sick and/or aging speaker). The use of winter-related imagery - "frozen time" and "silence" in particular (for I often think of winter as a silent season when all is blanketed with snow) is appropriate to the theme. Craving dignity As I lie in wait for it Silence as it comes In the above strophe, I might suggest figuring out a way to eliminate one "as", so you don't have two adverbial clauses that both begin with the same word. Maybe the first one could be "while" (I wait for it). Blinded by darkness Deafened by screams of silence I reach ascension This imagery is paradoxically unsettling. The speaker seems terrified to let go, to give in to the finality of it all. Silence "screams" because it is such an unfamiliar condition. It suggests absolute annihilation. Yet "ascension" removes this fear and reassures him that he still exists even after the physical senses have failed. The many soft-s sounds are soothing and peaceful. Meanwhile, in the final strophe, his replacement arrives from the other realm, possibly passing the newly-departed soul en route. All comes full circle. The poem ends with this comfort. In haiku, the less punctuation, the better. You are't using periods so why not go 100%? My immediate impulse is to suggest removal of all caps except those that actually begin a new strophe or indicate the proper pronoun I. Even the two commas could go, I think. "A child cries new life" might be even more powerful if turned into a metonymy in this way, instead of making the last two words into an appositive for the cry. In S2 you need possessive, "death's" grisly hand. Otherwise, I have no mechanical edits to suggest. Your friend has been offered a rare tribute here. We also have a Gary on this site who is in need of every prayer and good wish. In the end, it is not the length of life, but its quality, that determines how well we have lived it. I believe that individual actions also play a part in the way destiny is allowed to unfold; by writing this poem, you've made an impact on the fabric of the universe. Perhaps the odds will reverse in Gary's favor; I certainly hope so. Anyhow ... nicely done! I'd love to read more of your poems using this format, because it seems to be one that suits your style. My Best, Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-10-14 22:00:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
Dear Dan, I have been sitting at this computer for hours and was about to give up when I found this poem on my list. I have never seen haiku written in more than one verse but this is just spectacular. I have dabbled a bit in haiku but nothing like you have written here. Each one is just breath taking and when I read your post script I was moved beyond words. You have stayed with the 5-7-5 form which is extremely difficult to do and always make sense to the reader. Number 6 is really gut wrenching to me..."blinded by darkness..deafened by screams of silence" I am a cancer survivor and should not have lived but I can truthfully tell you there are miricles out there and I pray your friend finds one. this is a wonderful read and I am glad you shared it with us. Peace...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-10-11 13:10:46
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Dear Dan: This very emotionally intense poem is infused with deep love and sorrow. I think technically that these may be more similar to the traditional Japanese renga, or "linked poem." I think you've chosen an apt form for this poem, because the spareness of language accentuates emotion, but at the same time give it a container. It is difficult to respond to this work, as it calls me to quiet reverence. I am deeply touched by the courageousness of the subject of this poem, as well as by the admiration and devotion expressed. In the final stanzas, you depict the inner as well as the outer being. The irony of suffering observed is that we cannot lessen the pain or loneliness of our loved ones as they approach that doorway through which we cannot go. I think that your poem, written from the standpoint of the one who is ill is more than deeply compassionate, but empathic (suffering "with" him) and as such is an offering of deepest anguish. Craving dignity As I lie in wait for it Silence as it comes Blinded by darkness Deafened by screams of silence I reach ascension Released at last from the body which can no longer hold the soul, he enters a new realm of awareness, a new beginning. The essence of life As winter gives way to spring A child cries, new life As all are a part of the cycles of nature, our earthy bodies become one with the matter which formed them, and new life begins. I am not certain if you write of the reincarnation of this individual. Or, if the implication is that one's essence is absorbed into the whole, one's spirit once more part of the Great Spirit, from whom all life begins, and a new life begins as "a child cries." In either case, the poem demonstrates the ongoingness of life, a statement of hope in the face of what some might see as annihilation. I am reminded of the words of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "Life is real! Life is earnest! And death is not its goal. Dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not spoken of the soul." The tenderness and anguish you feel for Gary as he struggles with his illness brings those of us who cherish his gentle, kind and perceptive presence into the circle of his family. For this I am deeply grateful. He and you continue to be in my thoughts. You remind me in this poem that love cannot ever be destroyed, and that our love for one another is the most important part of life. May that love comfort you in the time ahead. All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2003-10-09 04:54:59
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Hi Dan, Wow, congratulations! This is a wonderful and superb first attempt haiku (actually some of here are senryus because it connotes on feelings and life in general and not on season or nature)! I enjoy the relaxing and consistent flow of the poem. For a haiku fanatic like me, your work is truly a fantastic treat! You shower a list of unforgettable sensations…truly your craftsmanship and careful choice of words radiate within the lines. From “death” to “new life”, it would be ok if you entitled your title “Haiku (Life Anew)…where “anew” is combined and not separated. Well, just a minor suggestion compared to your well-written message (if you don’t mind). :) “The essence of death As fall gives way to winter A child cries, breathless” --- The word “essence” brings depth in your first haiku here! I like the visualization of a “breathless, crying child” in welcoming the “death” character of “winter”. “I sit in my chair Reflecting on my lifetime Dreamlike, frozen time” --- The personal touch of your emotions and feeling is very obvious and felt within the lines. The nostalgic and “lonely” feeling of “sitting in a chair” is captured very well here. Which left the word “reflecting” appropriately fitting! “Dreamlike” and “frozen time” adds the right moment! “Memories are mine Not to be stolen from me By deaths grisly hand” --- You really know how to choose the right and suitable words. The contrasting and complementary of each other line are perfect. Comprehensively enjoyable! Lyrically done! Just a minor comment on “deaths” which should be “death’s”. “Fear is beside me My life is slipping away Loved ones surround me” --- I find the coming of “loved ones” because of the “life slipping away” expectedly sad. “Craving dignity As I lie in wait for it Silence as it comes” --- You really know how to capture that right mood! The first line “craving dignity” is something desperate. The deafening “silence” sure brings impact to this haiku. “Blinded by darkness Deafened by screams of silence I reach ascension” --- Continuously you manage to make the flow consistent. You cut the “blindness” and “deafness” by “reaching to ascension”. This is superb! “The essence of life As winter gives way to spring A child cries, new life” --- Wow, for me this is my favorite and the most powerful part of your haiku series. What a great way to end the entire poem with hope and victory. This is like a celebration of life! From “autumn” to “winter”, from “winter” to “spring”…this is very inspiring! Kudos on your fine work here Dan! You have successfully shared the beauty of “new life”. I believe “Gary” would appreciate and be happy on your dedication here. Thanks for posting it in TPL for our enjoyment! For me, this is a winner! Looking forward for your upcoming poems! Again, welcome to the site! As always, Erzahl :)
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2003-10-08 18:09:41
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
This is beautiful. The poem is well crafted. Created by putting a series of Haiku together, the poem tells of so much more than of a man dying. The first and last stanzas (haiku) are reflections of each other, presenting in concrete form the essence of the cycle of life to death to life that the poem is discussing. Really good writing. The cycle of the seasons are introduced in the first stanza, reflecting the life/death cycle. The next stanza's introduce the situation and developes it, only to return to the turn of the cycles in the last stanzas. The poet has compressed the emotions throuh the form (which is well met)and the imageries presented. "Fear is beside me" what an image this is! "My life is slipping away." Helplessness, powerlessnes is here. "Craving dignity This is an emotion we can identify with. As I lie in wait for it Again, helpless. Silence as it comes" Question: Did you mean "silence" or "silent"? Otherwise, the only thing I noticed is a typo, (I think.) "deaths" should it be "death's"? or "Death's" This is really a fantastic poem, and one that touched me personally. Thank you Dan, Rene Fraley
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-10-06 17:55:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Wow Dan, this is a labor of love. You have certainly touched my heart today. You've gone full circle with this piece and using the Haiku form here was quite a challege, I'm sure. You did stay true to the form through out. This is a very loving and seriously empathetic look at death that must have been very hard to write under the circumstances. There is new hope in this and the promise of new life tomorrow. Thank you for a very poignant piece. Blessings, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-10-01 19:33:34
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Haiku......I am not certain my friend if this is indeed Haiku for it has all those stanzas to it though if taken one at a time indeed it certainly reflects the 5-7-5 form for Haiku and it is done brilliantly and with such love..... Death....a most difficult subject for some to write about.....and when one writes about a friend and his daily battle it seems the emotions are doubled if not more....yet, here you have accomplished a great write and read. The essence of death As fall gives way to winter A child cries, breathless (fall is the time of the year it seems when death takes hold of many things including mother earth) the flowers and gardens have all come and gone and now here we wait for the fall colors to take hold in New England so the trees may once again go baren.....covering the naked ground.....returning to the earth it once came from....death I sit in my chair Reflecting on my lifetime Dreamlike, frozen time For one to be able to sit and reflect upon their life as if in a frozen state of must be very ill or perhaps lost in some other form of time.....perhaps by accident the loss of body use yet still totally aware of what is happening in this time of life..... Memories are mine Not to be stolen from me By deaths grisly hand Memories.......they keep us all matter what......death cannot steal them either and for those being left behind the memories will always be there as well. Fear is beside me My life is slipping away Loved ones surround me This stanza my friend is so true to those facing death.....there seems to be a fear associated with the slipping away of life yet with those around you it seems softer, easier to deal with. Please tell your friend there is no fear in dying and this is something I know first hand my friend for you see three years ago I laid dying aortic valve was 99% clogged and it was replaced with a new St. Jude valve and I also had a triple by pass. I suffered 14 heart attacks I was told which also left my heart with half function. As I laid dying on the floor I thought to myself if this is what it is like to die it is okay for the most intense peace overcame me, I felt the breath of God as He kissed my cheek and the pain, fear and whatever else I might have feared left.......I was lifeflighted to UMASS Medical Center where I underwent open heart surgery and was told I might not make it children were told daily......they had to build my body before taking a chance that's how poor a condition I was but they did indicate if need be they too would take their chances.....I felt no fear from the moment I felt God kiss my ckeek....I was at the hospital two weeks and in that time I underwent two surgeries, loss the use of both legs, loss eight pints of blood which they replaced, I am at present losing my eyesight, fall often due to the leg conditions, still have the heart disease and have been diagnosed with two lung diseases with no cures.....still there is no fear and I feel your friend should know this....God stands with him now and will be there till the end.....let his feelings flow from himself to those around him, if you want cry with your friend, laugh with him too and love him for who he is and certainly was......he is still the person you knew and loved and will always love and let him feel your strength.... Craving dignity As I lie in wait for it Silence as it comes Blinded by darkness Deafened by screams of silence I reach ascension The essence of life As winter gives way to spring A child cries, new life I love your closing stanza my friend for Spring is a time of new life, new beginnings, new meanings and new hopes and dreams....Nature abounds in the spring of our life as does life around us..... I have no clue as to who your friend is but he certainly is loved by you and it shows withing the lines.....he is a strong person and a good person and so are you and the Lord blessed bothof you with this friendship. I know I am rambling on and it has nothing to do with this poem but it does have to do with life as stated within the lines.......this poem speaks and it speaks loudly....Haiku or not your images are there, emotions are there, life and death are both there and only God knows when it shall end my friend so help your friend live his life to the fullest and be there when the time comes.......It shall pain you for his loss but you shall also rejoice in his freedom from his pain. Thank you for posting this wonderful piece of work. I hope your friend has read this and knows how much he is loved. Take care, be safe in all your travels and doings, God Bless, Claire
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