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atomic lemon drops #4: dear leader

10/29/12 , , , ,

so a few weeks ago, i saw this national poetry day competition on twitter.  the challenge was to “submit a free write Haiku on any topic” where “the most creative and intriguing Haiku will win.”  i typically don’t write haiku but i decided to give the contest a shot anyway.  lo and behold, i won.  

below is the winning poem + the usual background for this series.  to show how much thought that can go into the smallest of poetic packages, i went a bit more in-depth with breaking it down.  feel free to share any comments or questions.

Dear Leader

“How does war make peace?”
“Kill noise and you sip bloody
silence. Winter bliss.”

background:

this poem started out as something i wrote a few years called “conversation on war and peace”:

How does
war make peace?  Well,
if one side kills all the noise, all
you’ll have left is
silence.

looking back on it, it’s not that great of a poem.  still, it touched on something that i was still interested in so i decided to flush it out for the contest.

– the title:  i was thinking about going with something like “ask your favorite dictator!” (direct but silly) before settling on “dear leader.”  reading it as a letter/question intro sets up the poem’s dialogue between an inquirer and the political leader.  “dear leader” was also a name for the former north korean dictator kim jong-il.

– “how does war make peace?”:  i wanted to keep this from the original since it inspired me writing the poem.  luckily, it fit the five-syllable requirement for the first line.  within the poem, the question is asked of the political leader while extending to anybody else who might miss (or ignore) the clear conflict in using violence to produce peace.

– “kill noise”:  the leader’s response plays on the different connotations of the word “peace.”  using “noise” speaks to the sonic quality of peace.  closer to the question’s political intentions, noise here represents any people/ideas that are a disturbance the leader’s notion of social serenity.  equating war to simply “killing noise” shows how the leader downplays the costly casualties of strife.

– “sip bloody silence”:  the enjambment in the middle of the phrase helped with the syllable count for the 2nd and 3rd lines while adding some sinister imagery to the first clause’s violence.  as you see, the noise killing isn’t just something that the leader does out of the necessity.  this leader enjoys it.  focusing on “bloody silence,” there’s the direct link that the silence comes from bloodshed.  moreover, applying the more vulgar form of “bloody” says that peace resulting from violence isn’t as pure or simple as the leader might want you to believe.

– “winter bliss”:  i read somewhere that classic haiku often refer to the seasons and winter’s my favorite (rather be cold than hot, snow!, the feeling after bundling up, seeing your breath, etc.).  more related to the poem though, with winter there’s an absence of life due to death, migration and hibernation.  similarly, the leader finds bliss in killing off his/her opposition (death), which may force/scare others to flee (migration) or stay in suppressed silence (hibernation).

click here for more atomic lemon drops.

update: you can also find this poem in wordjar’s “haiku” anthology.

© Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this poem without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to  Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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6 notes

  1. atomic lemon drops #6: barbershop | atolemdro reblogged this and added:

    […] in atomic lemon drops: grim reaper | dear leader | weekend in jamaica | rehearsal for “when doors slam shut| a poem called […]

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    […] in atomic lemon drops: barbershop | grim reaper | dear leader | weekend in jamaica | rehearsal for “when doors slam shut” | a poem called […]

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    […] and eventually got to the point where my leg doesn’t shake anymore.  i’ve also sent other poems to contests & i’m working on a poetry manuscript.  again, all from a little comment that i never […]

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    […] for my teacher | a confusing two minutes and four seconds | barbershop | grim reaper | dear leader | weekend in jamaica | rehearsal for “when doors slam shut” | a poem called […]

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