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Viral 2.4

Longing   by Kevin Brophy

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strong young bodies stripped to the waist two moonlit snails

Sue Stanford

This is a haiku connecting with a number of important haiku traditions; it is attentive to the present moment; it is taking place in connection with nature; and it has the earthy humor so important to keeping the form alive, supple and subtle. The move to the snails is of course a marvelous surprise, but more than that it alerts me to the fact that my perception of nature has not been as sensual, nor as full of imaginative understanding as Sue Stanford is here (of course snails must revel in their youth, when it happens! – as we do). I have allowed my automatic attitudes to kick in when I look at snails. No longer! Sue Stanford’s poem does not just open up a perception of snails, though, it suggests, as do all the best haiku, that a real connection with nature is both possible and is itself wholly natural. The single line form accentuates, I think, the intellectual and imaginative coherence of this haiku, and its rhythm as a statement in English.

I am also drawn to this haiku for its psychological nuance. What kind of person (mind) would be thinking like this?  I hear in the the speaker awareness of youthfulness that is now a memory. There is a touching tone of longing born of knowledge and loss here.

As featured poet, Sue Stanford will select the next poem and comment on it for Viral 2.5.

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Virals is a section in which one person choses a haiku by another person and comments on that haiku. Then the author of that haiku is invited to select a haiku by someone else and comment on that poem, and so on. For an introduction to this section, see Virals.

Viral 2.1 (Metz ➾ Beary)
Viral 2.2 (Beary ➾ Tauchner)
Viral 2.3 (Tauchner ➾ Brophy)
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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. The image this evokes of two snails slugging it out a la Corbett vs Johnson is just too ludicrous for me to get around. Sorry!

  2. Yes, I agree it is quite an enjoyable poem…and quite elegant too….the image of the moonlight on the snails bodies seems quiet unexpectedly lovely. Makes me think what other lovely is waiting for me to but see! Many thanks, Merrill

  3. A very enjoyable poem, and nicely manipulative. Perhaps what Jane Reichhold calls a question/answer poem. I don’t think there are any people here, that the only young bodies (the phrase ‘young’ makes me agree with Kevin about the POV) are the snails. And I think Kevin hits this poem smack on when he says it “alerts me to the fact that my perception of nature has not been as sensual, nor as full of imaginative understanding…” I say ‘manipulative’ because I can’t think of any way to experience this moment solely as presented. The snails are seen first, then their sensualness noticed and the classical metaphor thought of (moonlit is a great choice), then the poem ‘crafted’ for effect. I say ‘nicely manipulative’ because a poem like this shows just how varied the short poem can be. A wonderful choice!

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