Poem with an explanation: drifting after the storm

in darkness the storm
the leviathan thunders
drifting out to sea


This poem is a haiku.  It is written in the 5-7-5 format.

This poem about the first signs of a serious illness.  In the poem, a person wakes up in bed, covered in sweat.  At this point, the person feels that something is physically wrong, but is not aware of the seriousness of it.

The poem uses idea of the sea as a metaphor.

The first line says, “in the darkness the storm”.  This alludes to a few things.  “the darkness” refers to the night as well as to the idea of the negativity of the illness.  It also refers to the idea that the person is “in the dark” in regards to the condition they have.  “the storm” refers to the person sweating, and again to the negativity of their condition.

The second line says, “the leviathan thunders”.  A leviathan is a mythical sea monster.  It is representative of the illness the person has.  The thunder the person metaphorically hears is not natural thunder, as a storm might suggest, rather it is the sound of the leviathan.  The idea here is that the person thinks what is happening is normal, like thunder during a storm would be, but what is happening is not normal.  The person is seriously ill but thinks they are just having a temporary condition.

The third line says, “drifting out to sea”.  This line changes the tone of the first two.  The first line had a storm and the second line had something thundering.  This line has something that sounds calm – the idea of a person in a boat drifting out to sea.

The idea is to reflect that the person is going on an unknown journey where they lack control.  The person is about to be faced with an illness they know nothing about and over which they have no ability to control.  Something is happening to them.

While this may be something that could be described as abrupt, for example with the line “over waterfalls”, in this situation that is not what is happening.

The person is about to go on the journey of their illness.  This journey has not really started though.  The person has not had the moment of diagnosis.  They have not had the “waterfall moment” of finding out they have a disease.  At this point, the person is in the dark and in some way slowly moving toward their journey.

As the person lays in bed, they have the abrupt moment of waking up covered in sweat, but this moment subsides as the person thinks they are just not feeling right.  They believe that the feeling will pass and they will return to normal soon.  They do not know what is really happening to them.