Naviarhaiku205 – shrapnel

Georges Sabiron (1882 – 1918) is the author of the week. He lost his life in the trenches of northern France in May 1918, just 2 months after having his haiku published in the French journal La Vie.

Inspired by last week’s battlefield poem, I did some research on poetry written in times of war. Initially I wanted to share a poem by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, who created haiku-like forms of his own invention and wrote some of his most poignant works while in the trenches during World War 1. Instead, I came across the article Haiku in the Great War by Sandra Simpson, where I found the story of Sabiron. According to a source, Georges Sabiron was clearly unfit for frontline duty (he was using some sort of support to keep one of his knees in place), and refused to be sent to the rearguard on the day of his death.

I see a clear connection between haiku (or short forms of poetry in general) and war in what Ungaretti said later in his life:

“…. stuck there with death, among those deaths, there wasn’t time: I needed to speak in decisive words, absolute words, and there was this necessity of expressing myself with very few words, of honing them, of not saying what was not necessary to say, that is, in language bare, nude, extremely expressive… I had before me a landscape of desolation, where there wasn’t anything; it was a little like the desert: there was mud, then there was the rubble.. The mud, the mud..”

Make music in response to Sabiron’s poem in 7 days: more info at


Deadline: 13th December 2017

Poem by Georges Sabiron

Picture by Ian Keefe