Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A short in the dark

There's this fad going around the blogosphere of writing stories in 55 words or less. This is a neat trick, but personally I think it's a little too easy (okay, lynch me now). So I thought it would be fun to try something truly challenging. Like say, a short story in exactly 51 syllables - three haikus, each a complete sentence / a set of complete sentences:


Dawn. The shadows fade.
Without his noticing it
The tide has come in.

He sits at his desk,
Staring at the suicide note
He could not finish.

It is too late now.
To miss the end is to have
To begin again.


"She loves me, she loves
Me not" - gestures picked apart
Like summer petals.

The answer, when it
Comes, is not to his liking.
He storms off, crying.

Behind him, a new
Flower is pollinated,
A new life begins.


It has been two weeks.
The bouquet he sent is dead.
There have been no more.

Yet every day
She cuts the stalks shorter, as
If they were still fresh.

Every day she
Lingers in a fragrance
No one else can smell.


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

You should have figured - I chose that format BECAUSE it's easy.

Nice haikus. Try them on more mundane themes?

Re: your post on Wilfred Owen, I agree that he is far better than Sassoon. What are your views on Rupert Brook?


Falstaff said...

JAP: Thanks.

To be honest, haven't read that much of Brooke, but don't really care for him much - at least not as a war poet. Two things:

a) My principal problem, I suspect, is with his politics - all that "there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England" stuff. It's bad enough when politicians try to glorify war and fill young people's heads with patriotic nonsense, without poets doing it as well.

b) I also think Brooke was a poet after his time. If he'd been born 50 years earlier, I think he would have been a much more important poet. It's a horrid thing to say, but one of the benefits of the Great War was that it changed the nature of poetry forever - doing away with romantic sentimentality for the sake of a more troubled, yet more authentic note. It became less a way of escaping the world and more a way of exploring it - "a way of happening, a mouth" as Auden would put it. My sense is that Brooke never got that, though again, that might just be because I haven't read enough.

The other war poet I really like is Isaac Rosenberg - he's the only one, for me, who comes close to Owen. Plus, of course, there's Graves 'Goodbye to all that', which is, well, Graves.

Karthik said...

Cool haikus. Way harder than the 55-word thing, thats for sure.

Megha said...

Nice haikus! I particularly liked the second one. Since brevity is not my cuppa tea, please to accept utmost admiration and all that.

Sa Re Ga Ma said...

Liked the first one.
Falstaff likes to comepete -not with the rest;
but with himself - the best ;) ?

meditativerose said...

Show off!! Isn't it enough to rub in your ivy league education ;)

And yes, really like the third (and I'm not saying that because it was the only one left)

Falstaff said...

Karthik, Megha, SRGM: Thanks. Glad you liked them.

MR: What?! I'm NOT trying to show off, I just thought it would be more interesting, that's all. And I didn't even mention the ivy league education bit (though it's true of course [preening!]) - you did.

P.S. Nicely done, MR. Just the right mix of scorn and awe. Thanks. Nobody will ever suspect. The cheque's in the mail, btw.

Neela said...

I always thought business schools didn't technically qualify as an "ivy league" education - ok ok we know that the univ grants the degree and all that but still. Haven't heard anyone on the b-school circuit talk about an ivy education. am i mistaken? (wikipedia says i am).


Falstaff said...

Neela: I think business schools do technically qualify as ivy league - it's just that no one really uses that tag. Which is why we usually don't think of it that way - but I'm pretty sure it's technically true.

Also, errr...you're not assuming everything that gets said on this blog is factually accurate are you?

Neela said...


You mean that this is not a peer-reviewed blog? That you spew forth all of this with no regard to p values and alphas and confidence intervals?? How Can You?

And not even a warning that all facts here bear no resemblance to any facts dead or alive and any similarity is deeply regretted? This does indeed call for a discussion with your adviser.