Book Review

“A Pledge of Silence” by Flora J. Solomon

This novel is not my usual read, but it has much to recommend it. The story is about a nurse who joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1941. She was happy to be assigned to a base in Manila and for a while all went well there. When the Japanese later invade the Philippines she is taken prisoner for three years. The tale of horror includes abuse and near starvation. Although there is some romance, actually quite a bit, it is still a realistic story of what those in the military endured in World War II and how it affected their lives forever.

“Unbroken” Book Review

“Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand

This true story follows the life of Louis Zamperini (1917-2014) from his grade school years until his death at the age of ninety-seven. His was a life well worth the effort of reading this riveting, best selling book. In fact I have read it twice in seven years as well as seeing one of the two movies made of his life based upon this book.

Louie, as he was called, was a precocious young boy with a knack for getting into trouble. Somehow his family was always able to correct him without breaking his spirit for adventure. In high school he funneled his energies into running and while in college at the University of California he broke speed records which led him to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where he met Adolph Hitler and set a new lap record.

Leaving college to join the Army Air Forces he became a bombardier during WWII. He, the pilot and one other man were the only survivors after his plane went down in the ocean during a search and rescue mission. They survived Japanese attacks, sharks and near starvation aboard an inflatable raft for forty-seven days. Only he and the pilot remained alive when they finally landed on the Japanese occupied Marshall Islands where they were captured.

The account of inhumane treatment in two different Japanese prison camps was difficult to read. The beatings and humiliations endured by Zamperini and his fellow prisoners of war are beyond my imagination. In spite of being singled out for the worst treatment because of his Olympic fame, he managed to survive. After discharge from the military Zamperini suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder leading to alcohol abuse and a tormented life. He was, however, unbroken and through a spiritual encounter he recovered and found forgiveness in his heart for his transgressors. He then devoted the rest of his life to working with at-risk youth.

I recommend this book and would award it five stars out of five.

Haiku

Haiku

Do you know what a Haiku is? Do you know what Haiku are? Both questions are grammatically correct according to the dictionary. I checked with Grammarly which does not agree. What can we depend upon? It seems with Haiku there are as many questions as answers. Surely someone out there can help!

Poetry was not greatly appreciated where I went to high school. It seems a farming community had more important things to learn, like Home Economics and Agriculture. Reading a little Robert Frost is what I remember passing for poetry in my literature classes until college and then no one mentioned Haiku.

I didn’t hear about it/them until I was middle-aged and the local newspaper presented a Haiku contest. I read all the entries printed and mostly scratched my head. Recently I read a Haiku written by another blogger and appreciated it but still, I must admit that I didn’t “get it.” So let’s learn together. Are you game?

Definition

Haiku – a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.  (According to Merriam-Webster)

Haiku (plural haiku) is a very short form of Japanese poetry. Modern Japanese haiku are increasingly unlikely to follow the tradition of 17 on (sic) or to take nature as their subject, but the use of juxtaposition continues to be honored in both traditional and modern haiku. (Per Wikipedia)

Adding the word “juxtaposition” didn’t help me, how about you? But let’s keep learning.

More Information

How to Write a Haiku Poem by Stephanie Wong Ken  Updated: August 21, 2019

A haiku (俳句 high-koo) is a short three-line poem that uses sensory language to capture a feeling or image. Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese poets. They are often inspired by nature, a moment of beauty, or a poignant experience. To write a haiku, start by brainstorming ideas for the poem. Then, write the poem with strong details and detailed imagery. Make sure you polish the haiku and listen to how it sounds out loud so it is at its best.

Examples

  • An ocean voyage.
    As waves break over the bow,
    the sea welcomes me.
  • A winter blanket
    covers the Earth in repose
    but only a dream
  • The warmth on my skin.
    Fire falls beneath the trees.
    I see the sun set.

Are You Ready?

Let’s write Haiku! I will post mine first just to be fair. I have no idea what it will be like because I’ve never said anything in a few syllables, but I’m going to give it a go! Please work on yours and send it via email so that the lines and syllables will be clear as opposed to in the regular comment section. I will post each one with your name. Here is my email address: suebmattingly@gmail.com

Let’s go!

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