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re:Virals 310

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

     pulse monitor
     the exhausted curve
          — Ravi Kiran, World Haiku Review (2021)

Lakshmi Iyer ponders all repercussions:

The pulse monitor in line one shows two important readings: the pulse rate, recorded as beats per minute, and the oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in arterial blood.

When the body is overworked, exhausted, stressed, unable to release mental fatigue, the brain sends signals to the heart indicating that all is not well. The pressure varies with the unstable pulse beats and no option is left but medication.

What does the phrase indicate here? — “the exhausted curve/ flattens”

Although the human brain and heart are considered to be part of the best system in the universe, our joint family system in most of society needs to be checked. The person doing a particular job continues doing that throughout his/her life. Yet there is no support in the family. The mental and physical stamina becomes buried deep down as others lecture on “how to live a good and better life.” All the while, just the opposite is happening in the family. I wish there were true rulers in the family who were task masters, who had a voice to order the task to be done as well as give a helping hand. Alas! The person doing the work out of compassion and duty continues to work like a machine. Wish I could have a say in this matter.

The pulse monitor has become a default gadget in every family. It is easy to determine the type of sickness and prescribe the remedy. In the past year of COVID, it has become compulsory to check our pulse rates. There is every chance of deterioration of the lungs, pulse beat and the heart! Wear a mask, sanitize your hands and follow social distancing.

As this week’s winner, Lakshmi 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!

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

re:Virals 311:

     a handful of rice
     at the end of the day —
     harvest moon
          — Geetanjali Rajan, The Mainichi (2017)

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I see in this poem a reference to the global pandemic we are passing through as well as to the fate of one individual. We hear constant references to the need to flatten the curve, meaning to reduce the rate of infection and death. But at a more personal level, when a person dies, the lines of the heart monitor also flatten — there is no more life. We as humans are exhausted, hoping for the curve to flatten. At the same time each death reflects the exhaustion of the many patients in their effort to survive, till they finally are too exhausted to continue the struggle for life. They are exhausted, their medical caretakers are exhausted, their families are exhausted, and finally we as humans caught in a seemingly unending pandemic are exhausted. This poem reflects a beautiful use of those two opposite ideas wrapped into a few short words.

  2. pulse monitor
    the exhausted curve

    Thank you, Revi Kiran, for this poem. It has great pathos and truly documents with precision the tragedy of our time.

  3. re:Virals 3i0

    pulse monitor
    the exhausted curve
    — Ravi Kiran, World Haiku Review (2021)

    Delighted to read and view a pulse monitor here, as depicted by
    Ravi Kiran; a wonderful shift from Nature and other natural perspectives.
    Obviously pulse monitor, an instrument associated with clinical purposes,
    now days used, both at home, in hospitals, a user friendly manual, to test
    blood and breathing level, also a must for all of us.

    It is all about operational system of human body and how best pulse monitor
    can be of use, and how it functions. As and when the doctor pushes , the instrument, or applies on the person, to test the pulse and blood level,
    The reaction is such , it has an impact on the monitor. Depending upon
    The high level, the flattening or bulging of instrument occurs.
    The constant, repeated application of the instrument enables it to bulge;

    A visual image wonderfully drawn. Another observation also can be noted
    down here. Science and technology and advancement in the modern word, can be seen here. At the same time, human involvement is required, even to press or push Monitor, human hands are needed just as an electronic switch button is required Launch rocket by man from grand etc;

  4. pulse monitor
    the exhausted curve

    This haiku is itself exhausted. (If a “curve” is exhausted,
    no need to say it “flattens”.) And cliche.

    This is a plea for people to choose more interesting,
    more subtle, more challenging . . . *good* haiku.

    There are so many to choose from.

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