Posted in Haiku

Dubravko Ivančan’s World

once we are
all dead
the whole world

original Croatian:

Jednom ćemo biti
svi mrtvi;
cćitav svijet.

© Dubravko Ivančan (1931-1982, Croatia)

I see this haiku in three ways. Firstly, when we are together and enjoy our time, that is the best time in our lives, where we enjoy our lives fully. But once we get separated, the whole world looks colourless. I see the word ‘dead’ here as a lack of interest, poor relationships, separation, etc. (especially family relationships).

Then, it could be associated with ‘departure’ as once our close ones are not anymore with us, we feel the whole world is dead or that we have nothing.

Another thought (maybe silly) is related to ‘know thyself’ where people don’t use their best potential and creativity. The concept of ‘being’ can be associated with it, as he used ‘we’ in this haiku, which may point to us being human beings.

– Hifsa Ashraf

Apocalyptic … !

But ever more relevant as the threat of climate change and nuclear war starts looking less and less like science fiction and more and more like a possible real world scenario …

This haiku leaves a huge question mark hanging over it … what then, if there is a then that has any relevance to humanity?

– Gabri Rigotti

I see two different interpretations depending on where the caesura is placed.

1.) The cut is after the first line:

once we are

all dead
the whole world

I am reminded here of Rene Descartes’ cogito ergo sum. The last two lines reinforce the first. And what I see here is the extinction of humankind. Morbid… and apocalyptic as what the kind Gabri Rigotti has earlier stated. I don’t want for humankind to reach this scenario, but who knows… humankind has become so intelligent (and scheming) that it has already devised ways and means to accidentally or intentionally make its kind extinct. If this happens, then other lower forms of organisms might inherit the earth. But then, who knows.

On the other hand, if we believe what God has said, He would intervene when humankind is about to make itself extinct. Then, there is promise and hope for humankind.

2.) The cut is after the 2nd line:

once we are
all dead

the whole world

I see this as a door that opens a myriad possibilities or eventualities. “Once we are all dead,” then what? Will the world cease to exist because humankind has been eliminated? Apparently, one interpretation of this ku suggests that (once we are all dead, the whole world is dead).

Or, the third line becomes an open-ended anticipation of what would be the final scene.

This is my take of this ku.

– Willie Bongcaron

I think “dead” here means just that—”dead” and if it is about all of us being dead, then I agree with the above, that it is apocalyptic and it relates to the possibility that humanity may wipe itself out.

The third line draws my attention more—”the whole world” means all of humanity, and if we differentiate between “the world” and “the earth” then we can see the earth continuing without humanity and “the world” we have imposed on it.

This haiku wants to be read over and over for the implications to sink in. It says a huge amount in a very few words.

– Martha Magenta

My instinct, for what it is worth, is to change the tense:

once we were
all dead
the whole world

which gives it a post-apocalyptic feel.

– Francis Franklin

The poets above have written a great deal of what I wanted to write about this haiku already, however I have one more idea to add. To me, this poem comes instinctively across with the feeling that when each of us perish, we will become the whole world. We are usually confined to our ego and thus to our individuality, but when we die, we once again join the collective consciousness.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

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Author:

Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

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