I sit in the General Hospital, waiting for my turn when I hear a loud wailing. Expecting to see a child, I am shocked to see an elderly lady in a wheelchair, crying with her eyes tightly shut. I am deeply disturbed and could see that the other patients are uncomfortable too. This incident reminds me of an old cleaning lady in our condo whose eyes glistened as she told me how lonely she felt as her children and grandchildren lived far away. There is another instance of a man in our neighborhood who is dreadfully scared of dogs but has to walk his daughter’s dog, as she is too busy to do so. As I walk away from the hospital, I see an elderly man staring into space.
The Wooden Chair was the first haibun I had written. This was published in Contemporary Haibun Online’s July issue, 2013, Vol 9. Please find below.
My Wooden Chair
I stroll restlessly in my new house as trees outside are being chopped for construction. Lifeless new buildings are sprouting in the neighbourhood. I wonder mildly about deforestation as I lean back in my chair.
my wooden chair screeches– memories of a felled tree
I stare at the ceiling, wondering if it is 1 or 2 PM. At the corner of the table is a kerosene lantern, not used for many years. I light it and walk into the night. The creatures of the night hush at the sound of footsteps, but the persistent buzz of a bee holds my attention. The bee hovers around a wild plant; an orange bud. The bud sleeps on, unheeding the bee’s buzz and noise. But, the bee does not give up. It sits on the leaves and bends towards the bud, shaking it. Suddenly, there is a loud hiss. It is not the bee, but the flower. It opens up to reveal a yellow inner part, further illuminated by the lamp. The bee moves home and rekindles in my heart the hope to live.
My E-Chapbook, Pinewood Hills, has been published in Proletaria. It contains haiku, one-line poetry and haibun. Proletaria publishes wonderful modern haiku and monostichs. If you like reading haiku and one-line poetry, do visit their site.
Do read and let me know what you think of my work. Here is the link.
The clouds tremble in the folds of the sky, scattering droplets in all directions. An oak tree’s branches nod in sympathetic understanding. A few miles from the oak tree stands the rose bush, feeling no such empathy towards the rain. A young leaf suspends itself from the safety of the rose bush and jumps towards freedom, oblivious to the travails of the tough world. The entire rose bush shakes, having lost its newborn. The ever-hungry sea, a little farther away, trembles with desire, as it watches fresh raindrops. The new drops join the salty sea to make energetic ripples, awakening sleepy sea dwellers.
Emptiness! That is what I felt as I looked at the war ravaged land. I cannot tell you the name of the place so ravaged by state-sponsored atrocities. However, the once-beautiful city was littered with bodies while the few remaining survivors sobbed. No house had a child anymore; such was the government’s tactic.
‘Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.’ – Robert Burns
The poet writes and looks at the telephone, his heart still thudding from the ramifications of her phone call. He recalls her angry words of never wanting to see him again and his equally vehement response. He regrets it now and wonders if she is also going through the same agony. The phone rings softly now, almost musical. He knows who is on the line. He smiles, tears his note and leaves to attend the call.
“Wise men talk about ideas, intellectuals about facts, and the ordinary man talks about what he eats.”
I stroll to the food court, listening to the stall owner gossiping about anybody who could not hear him. I smile, knowing that he would gossip about me after I walk away. He tells off everybody, but takes less money and always serves more than what they demand. The street dog enters the food court and barks non-stop. He throws some food at it, while berating the non-paying ‘customer’. The dog, understanding nothing, wags his tail humbly.
Trees are cut furiously and logs are rolled down with delight. The horses, Ryan and Julie, dig the earth excitedly, knowing that something is going on. Deforestation is taken to a new level, with no sign of life, except for the humans. There is a strange sadness all around, even Julie and Ryan silent. Their groom unties them, letting them out to graze. As Julie feeds nearby, Ryan runs around in anger and excitement. All of a sudden, there is a loud shriek. Ryan is rolling down, with legs bruised from the log. Two horses now one, as Ryan is shot down. Humans systematically resume deforestation, as Julie watches.
All signs of life
destroyed with haste
machines at work
This was written for Haibun Thinking, a new challenge by Anja, Alastair, Summerstommy and Anelephant. Do please take part to support them and the art of Haibun.