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
Independence Day my boy refuses to wear the safety harness — cezar florescu, The Mainichi, Daily Haiku in English (2020)
Radhamani Sarma explores a child’s steps towards independence:
I recall the celebration of Independence Day during my school days. We were in uniform among flag hoisting and flowers. The celebration included full-throated singing of the national anthem followed by the distribution of sweets, all on a day of independence from routine work and homework combined with the drudgery of books.
Here is a straightforward and simple write by Cezar Florescu in which he combines his boy’s refusal of a safety harness with Independence Day. He’s established connectivity between the day mentioned and a safety coil.
In the first line, “Independence Day” depicts joy; inevitably, a break from a day of worship or the workshop, and thus a day of freedom. Ultimately, it’s a happy-go-lucky scene.
The second and third lines form a direct statement in a negative tone: “my boy refuses to wear/ the safety harness.”
On Independence Day, the speaker’s boy, while encountering free games or indulging in playful fights, might be injured or wounded during a fall or when hit. The safety harness is a protective belt or shield which his boy refuses to wear on this day, implying that he does not require the protection it offers. His strong feeling of prowess makes him bolder than any safety harness.
Another wonderful, contrasting image is conveyed through the context and coinage of words. “Independence Day” with “safety harness” gives the reader room for more speculation. Freedom allows for physical combats, feats and achievements which could cause wounds and cuts. Still, the boy shuns the harness meant for safety; he’s enjoying a real sense of independence.
Independence cannot be considered without mention of interdependence: man/woman, water/fire, animal/machine, birth/death, arms/peace, risks/release. Within the whole of existence, this veers around cosmos and chaos.
As this week’s winner, Radhamani 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!
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care home the window and a fly both see dunes — Alan Summers, Haiku Dialogue (2020)