Round the Table

How odd that we who aspire to or pride ourselves on our knowledge, wisdom, originality and insight find that simplest and most universal of phenomena, mortality, so difficult to come to terms with.

We deal with it like a sudden exorbitant bill that arrived in the mail – a bill, no less, for utilities we have made lavish use of. It is there on the table. We knew it would come some day. Yet it still doesn’t seem fair. We wish we had never even seen or touched it, let alone opened it.

Or is this simile trite? Isn’t death more like fire: another natural phenomenon, familiar, intrinsic and essential, that is nevertheless apart, ineffable, unpredictable and fearful? That leaps from where it was softly glowing – a little dinnertable flame. Knocked over, it is a writhing snake in your lap in the time it takes you to blink. Venom without antidote. Even the most levelheaded of us leap back with boomerang eyebrows.

Circumstances, both my own and others’, are such that death has been smoldering in my mind for the past few weeks, and appearing in warm conversations.

Things that could be
better we speak of as
things that just are

Things that may lead
to death we speak of as
part of our lives

Round the table
we share the good, the bad
as music plays

3 Responses to “Round the Table”

  1. Powerful analogy of a dinner table flame suddenly turning into a powerful snake writhing in one’s lap, but I found the haiku calling out for the addition of a natural image to set up a more grounded, less cerebral resonance – e.g. Things that lead to death / we speak of as part of our lives -/ browned (or crumpled or faded) azalea. I noticed this image today after work.

  2. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #6: Icebox presents David Stormer Chigusa’s latest #haibun!

  3. I’ve just remembered another haibun we published here a few years ago on the same theme of ‘mortality’, David. The name of the author is written 春秋夏冬 and pronounced Haruaki Kato.

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