the first acorns
crackling underfoot –
outracing questions
with too many shoulda’s
in my son’s eyes


Is something wrong, she said? / Well of course there is.  / You’re still alive, she said.  / Oh, and do I deserve to be. / Is that the question? / And if so, if so, who answers, who answers? / I, oh, I’m still alive …

Carpe Diem Haiku Shuukan


Originally a song of great pain (a curse!) – with a very specific story – Pearl Jam’s audiences transformed “Alive” into an anthem of survival.  

Here is Eddie Vedder’s “curse narrative” from the VH1 Storytellers performance:

“While the song originated as a catharsis, on Storytellers Vedder describes how audiences have lifted the curse for him, turning “I’m still alive” from a lament into a celebration of life and the ability to survive the traumas that life throws at us. He suggests that it is not the repeated playing of the song that has led to this narrative shift, but the audience’s reaction to it. The audience’s oppositional or negotiated reading of the song served to change its meaning not just for them, but for its author as well…”


Vocals only. Goosebumpy!!!

Unplugged – with wild eyes.

The Storyteller “curse lifted” version.  Watch the audience at the end.

41 thoughts on “the first acorns

  1. An interesting post … I’d never heard about this story before … your tanka is disquieting … as a Mom, I’ve seen far more shoulda’s than I feel comfortable with. Bravo it hits home base for sure.


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