This Poem was Submitted By: Jana Buck Hanks On Date: 2004-11-02 10:49:12 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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#5 Comedy of Terror

mask of porcelain crystalline tears stand brilliant pale lips brittle smile

Copyright © November 2004 Jana Buck Hanks

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-12-05 15:21:55
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi, Jana. The title of this senryu is a great lead-in, and also conjures up an image of a death-mask face, struggling to retain its composure when confronted by some kind of terrible knowledge. "Porcelain" and "brittle" go well together as an extended metaphor. There's a fragility about this person, a vulnerable edge. Despite the effort to remain in control, those "tears stand brilliant" - vividly so - and the lips "brittle smile". It would be so easy to shatter this individual's bravado and reduce him or her to a faceless ghost. Lovely use of sonics, especially consonance - l, t. p in particular. Most of the vowels are some variation of a or i. This gives the diction a focused effect which I quite like. In such a short poem, it's hard to compress more than one layer of meaning, but I think you've suggested both the visual image and also the idea of maintaining an upbeat facade despite inner devastation. We laugh so we will not cry (or at least, not cry too obviously). The stereotypically sad clown is probably not really a cliche after all. Our own masks are penetrable if studied with perception. They also make it bearable for us to live among others - for who could tolerate an open display of every emotion, every weakness, every terror? I think we must hide a part of our true selves in order to survive. Thought-provoking and very well done. ((Hugs)) Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: charles r pitts On Date: 2004-11-30 13:16:14
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Always in nightmares As the evil approaches I run in place (My own humble submission of "comedy of terror") love your second line--"brilliant crystalline tears"--these are fun to say together in any order--something about the sounds of s-t-l blends maybe. and the last line has that odd creepy feel I always got as a child looking at faces on masks and dolls--like "Could they really see me too?" I am becoming a big fan of haiku-mainly due to ones like this. Thanks for sharing.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Dellena Rovito On Date: 2004-11-16 18:20:35
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Jana, Sometimes we must wear 'the porcelain mask'to hide behind as protection. And then the fake smile's brittle. [been there] My tears are dried/and longer shiny. You said alot/with very few words. Is this a haiku? thanks Dellena
This Poem was Critiqued By: Patricia Gibson-Williams On Date: 2004-11-15 01:19:50
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
I think I read this about fifteen times before I figured out what to say about it. I liked the picture you painted it was very vivid, and sorrowful. A moments of sadness trapped in time. The tears forever captured on a perfect face. The smile that says any moment I’m going to fracture, but I tried to put on a brave front. Unfortunately the mask does nothing to hide the terrible tragedy, but instead gives the impression that there will be no moving on or getting past this moment. The world moves on, but this doesn’t. It is truly a terror to be caught like this. I think the best “haiku” Japanese Verse pieces are those that make you think and then think again. I’d say you accomplished that with flying colors. Great work. Patti
This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2004-11-11 18:58:04
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Well you've captured the essence of the mask and managed to turn it around. good show. Standing "O".
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2004-11-08 11:29:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Hi Jana, The moment I read this haiku I got a perfect image of a porcelain doll I had as a child. This may not be your intent but you have created a picture in my mind which seems to be stuck there! The doll's face was so real to me but I am sure if it could have cried the tears would have been formed in crystal and her pale lips would have been brittle. You use such perfect descriptors in this piece and also have given it a mystical magic...very well done! Blessings...Marilyn
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