Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was
gas chamber a man lifts up his child — Dietmar Tauchner, As Far As I Can (2010)
Cezar-Florin Ciobîcă reasons for the absence of season:
Why doesn’t a seasonal reference appear in the poem? Because nature must not be present in any way as an accomplice in a place that is synonymous with genocide, barbarism.
The first verse makes you think immediately about the atrocities that took place in the gas chambers from the Nazi concentration camps.
No survivors could forget what happened in those gloomy days in the history of mankind.
While visiting the memorial as tourist, the child in this ku is probably very curious and noisy, that’s why his dad helps lifts him above the crowd her in order to better see that gas chamber.
One can notice the subtle irony of the author who seems to say that in the past in these kind of rooms no child could escape, because they knew what was next…
A painful lesson of history that should not be forgotten.
Radhamani Sarma gives thanks:
Such a sad topic. Our sincere thanks to Dietmar for having given us an opportunity to think more about gas chambers.
This powerful senryu highlights the horrors inflicted on those selected for torturous death—even children are not exempted. Isn’t it barbaric!
As this week’s winner, Cezar gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject
header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
gunfire the length of the playground — John McManus, Modern Haiku 45.1