So Bright Is Love Haiku Massey

so bright is love we / see the shadows of the dead / even in the dark

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert - Penguin editionEmma Bovary should have stayed on the farm.

Instead, she marries an oafish health officer and rises into the middle class of a country town, where she finds boredom, loneliness, empty promises from romance novels and religion, and fury at the cages in which 19th-century France placed women.

Flaubert’s universe is barren of virtue. There is no tenderness or compassion, no understanding or true friendship, no curiosity or wonder in Madame Bovary. No love either, despite all the talking of it.

Everyone is crass and venal, foolish, pompous, scheming and self-serving, craven, dastardly. Words fail the characters – even Flaubert’s words. The novel’s people are surrounded by his exquisite descriptions of wedding revelry, bustling towns, the beauty of nature, but Flaubert’s words make no impression and bring no consolation.

All anyone sees in Emma Bovary is her beauty, her clothes, and her body. So perhaps it makes sense that when Emma tries to solve the problem of her life – a problem she feels but can’t articulate – she turns to sex and shopping. They lead her to misery and destruction, of course.

I don’t think Emma could see other choices. Who is at fault? Emma Bovary herself? The society in which she lived? Or the world Flaubert made for her? Probably all three.

Haiku 34 The First Word of the World like drawing breath to / speak the first word of the world, / the orchestra tunes

Haiku 31 Crows Call Through The Empty Airblack bible, black suit / coffin in the snow. crows call / through the empty air

Fields Buxom With Snow Haiku Masseysleeping winter fields / buxom with snow summer will / make sigh with her warmth

Words Warm on My Neck Haiku Peter Galen Masseyan old lost song and / the fog damp night when your words / were warm on my neck

Pale Death Will Flee Haiku Masseyif I hang my shirts / just so, chaos will cower / and pale death will flee

Clouds Like Mighty Horses Haiku Masseythe clouds gallop like / mighty white horses across / the fields of the sky

Like a Featherbed Is The Snow Haiku Massey like a featherbed / is the snow, promising us / death’s sleep will be soft


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