dVerse – Mary’s challenge of Shakespeare’s Seven Life Stages (reinterpreted).

I wish to thank Mary for a challenging and very interesting prompt. An exercise to approach and view, create and review the seven stages of man/woman – according to Shakespeare. Though, to be made uniquely your own, to be done here through haibun. Shared at dVerse Poets Pub “It’s About Time.”

The Seven Stages

Soul
Babe
Youth
Young
Middle Aged
Old
Elderly

Haibun
I have long believed that we started out as soul. We enter the womb and begin changing from all soul to souled flesh and bone. As the balance changes from soul to flesh and blood we are ready to enter the world.

soul like autumn wind
worlds away another galaxy
milkweed pods open

Haibun
A babe is born with cries so self centered and coos so sweet. There is much difference between selfish and self-centered. The new born knows nothing but its own center. Selfish is something that is done from another stage of life. Exploring everything within and without is now the focus. The best thing that one can do is put it in ones mouth.

pod bursts exploding
seeds travel many places
food for chickadees

Haibun
Youthfulness meant playing in the sun, looking for frogs, going to school, building a fort. There was a time when this was innocence before we made it a competition. Today youth is a competition whether in football, as a cheerleader, skiing or just for better grades. Youth was now. Today it is tomorrow.

bananas hanging
from a tree green yellow brown
picked eaten gone

Haibun
They say: “Ah to be young again.” I don’t know why, I surely do not wish to raise children again. I know the young have no time, with kids going here and there in an endless stream of activities. Work while not at home, an arduous balancing act of multi tasking. No time for oneself, a hot bath once a small thing now such a luxury.

caterpillar crawling
tomorrow a butterfly
metamorphosis

Haibun
Middle age still a squall, a proving ground for some. Onward and upwards, will you ever get there, is enough ever enough? So little time to become, become what or whom?

basho traveled far
issa laughed much with life
buson painted life

Haibun
On being old; the body falters. At first an embarrassment, then an annoyance, then who cares? You roll with the punches. Everything surrounding you becomes at once more beautiful and at once more deadly. Many are glad for life. Many are glad for age.

son helping his father
taking his arm walking uphill
who is the father who the son

Haibun
Now elderly, we are getting closer to soul again, closer again to God as our flesh dries and our bones crack. It can be painful but welcome. Have we yet acquired the wisdom of a lifetime? For wisdom is all that we have to pass on to those who come after; wisdom the teachings on how to live with more ease.

like the drying grape
dropping to the ground juicy
sweet new wine to drink

DISCLAIMER – no use of a kigo in any of these seven haiku.

22 thoughts on “dVerse – Mary’s challenge of Shakespeare’s Seven Life Stages (reinterpreted).

  1. Wow, just wow! Raven, this poem is a keeper. I love the haibun form, and I savored each stanza as I enjoyed your take on each of these ages. I really have a hard time finding a favorite, but one of my favorites is the “young” age and the mention of metamorphosis. Another favorite is the ‘old’ where everything around one is beautiful yet more deadly! So much wisdom here! And again, wow, just wow.

  2. gosh, this is lovely…i like the thought as well of being soul and entering the body and ending soul as well…the wind in the first as well, cool representation of the soul…the who is the father sho is the son one toward the end is really cool as well…great use of the form as well, it makes for some great natural breaks and transitions….

    • Thank you Brian. I was just speaking with someone recently about this business of being soul and returning to soul. As a gerontologist it explains away a lot of seemingly bad behaviors as we become elderly and are reaching for death.

  3. This is absolutely spectacular! And I love that it is a haibun – the haiku in between summarizing the essence of the truths of the prose sections. Absolutely marvellous. Loved every word and line. SO much wisdom here! Lovely. Best thing I’ve read today!

    • Thank you Claudia, I agree with you. I have seen many persons in my lifetime who do not develop their spiritual aspect. When this happens and they are old (elderly) and infirm, they have less to work with and I do believe that loneliness is then greater.

  4. This is wonderful and very touching… I so enjoyed it. Each stage presented beautifully. This really warmed my heart, especially-

    son helping his father
    taking his arm walking uphill
    who is the father who the son

    • Hi Laurie … what you speak of comes from my experience. The older I become the less capable of discerning another’s age I am. And as others become quite a bit older … both people white haired, one really cannot tell who is the older of the two (often). Thank you.

    • Thank you. haibun is a prose piece followed by a haiku. It is presented as one piece. As I was working here with 7 stages I creaed 7 haibun to reflect those stages.

  5. So lovely and entertaining, this multifaceted approach would be a fabulous narrated stage presentation. I felt like I was in the front row, enjoying the change of voice and illumination occurring after each paragraph and stanza. One of my day’s favorites.

Your words of response are greatly appreciated.

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