Haiku 10 Day Challenge: Daddy’s Car Trouble

Dream of dad again

Sparkplugs tadpoles leap in flames

Goddamn car won’t start

For the last ten years of his life my father struggled with a neurological disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. he was first diagnosed with the condition after going to his doctor for an eye examination. He was 65 years old and had been in 3 automobile accidents in as many months. The doctor observed that my father had no peripheral vision, and referred him to a neurologist.

Over the next decade he would lose motor control and we all ached to see a man once so active and happy unable to do simple things that had always brought him joy. I had a dream about him trying to start the family car. It wouldn’t turn over. We looked under the hood as he turned the key and ¬†flaming frogs and tadpoles were flying above the ignition. My first haiku for the ten day challenge is inspired by that long ago dream.


What do you think?

Written by PaulPallazola


  1. When I read the haiku I thought you were making some bizarre metaphor but you were being literal. Although it seems like an argument could be made for dreams being metaphorical…

    • The dreams about my dad having problems with his car correlated to his beginning to lose control of things with the illness. He would take his dog Tania (half German Shepherd half Labrador) for a walk and he’d fall. She’d run away and then return to him. Neighbors thought he was drunk but the illness was making him lose coordination and balance. The flaming frogs were just a bizarre manifestion of what it must have seemed like to lose control.

      • The car problems as a metaphor for being out of control is a metaphor I completely understand. The flaming frogs I don’t understand at all but it strikes me as appropriate…

  2. Very thought provoking Haiku poem. Sorry for your loss, but the memories will always be in your heart. My dad died over 6 years ago from cancer. I understand your pain. I try to remember all the little things he use to do or like. He loved Kelloggs corn flakes. One day I walked by them in the store, and for some strange reason I had to buy them. I thought of him and smiled having my breakfast.

    • It’s remembering those little things that keeps a special flame in our hearts for the ones we love. My dad used to make a Sandwich with crunchy peanut butter, Hershey Chocolate Bars and thick sliced Italian Bread. I’ve eaten a few of those in his memory over the past 20 years.

    • Thank you Zaklina. It was very difficult to watch him suffer and decline with his illness. Fortunately a have a treasure of photographs and memories of my dad from when he was healthy and recollections of how much he loved us.