on the beach—eyes still
looking for fish
© George Klacsanzky (1956-2003)
Haiku Zasshi Zo (winter/spring, 1988)
George Klacsanzky has captured a moment that is hard to forget. When applied to our human lives, this haiku conjures up subtle feelings of devotion. Even after the passing of the seagull, the continuous desire for fish lives on.
There is also a double meaning in “eyes still”: the eyes are actually not moving, yet it also implies the continuation of looking. In that light, through the eyes of a neuroscientist, even at the time of human death, there is still 6 to 12 minutes of brain activity. Additionally, a dream second is infinitely longer than a waking second. This allows the reader to contemplate the sheer possibility that a seagull can still have brain activity and look for fish in a dream, even though (through our human eyes), it is clearly dead on the beach.
The pause in the second line achieved through the dash allows the reader to effectively contemplate the 2 parts of the haiku, without creating too much distance between them.
This haiku ultimately sparks conversation about life, death, and dreams. At the time of death, what will we see? What desires will remain in the mind? Will we simply enter a dream world fabricated by thoughts? Will the seagull enter a dream where he/she continues to look for fish? George Klacsanzky’s haiku urges us to ask ourselves what is most important to us in this lifetime, and what will remain within us when we take our last breath.
– Jacob Salzer