Of poignant confrontation

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Jul 2018 09:49:58







By Vijay Phanshikar,

Before the white chrysanthemums
the scissors hesitate
a moment
- A haiku by Yosa Busan

WHAT a poignant confrontation!
A delicate flower!
A vivisector!
A ground reality of life!

When a chrysanthemum is born, there may be a pair of scissors, too, waiting for the
vivisection. But as the two blades slide
forward in a pincer movement on both sides of the flower’s stem, the moment of vivisection comes -- and also of reckoning, so to say! And then for a split second, even the blades hesitate -- for a moment -- ! Of course, that is a very brief moment -- as brief and passing as a blink of the eyelid. And in that micronic moment, the whole world passes between heaven and hell, as if!
The poet does not miss that nuance, that minutest detail, that terribly short pause of the scissor-blades. So he notes:
Before the white chrysanthemums
the scissors hesitate a moment!

What is the nature, texture of that moment? -- one may ask.
Technically, the pair of scissors is ready to cut chrysanthemum’s slender, tender stem -- for whatever purpose: Making of a bouquet, or tucking it in a woman’s hair, or putting it in a flower vase to brighten up the room as morning’s sunlight slips through the splits in the curtain on the eastern window ...!
A routine thing! -- one may say.
A perfect routine.

That happens every day in countless
million repetitions across the world.
Yet, each time the scissor-blades flank the slender, tender stem of the chrysanthemum, they hesitate, pause, though for an
imperceptible moment. For that blink of a moment, even those cruel-looking
scissor-blades appear humanely tender. They realise that they are going to slash the tender stem, and take a pause for a firm breath before they move -- to deliver the unkind cut, the cruel vivisection.
Yet, this is routine.

Of course, yes; it is. Yet, for the fear of the scissor-blades, the chrysanthemums do not stop blooming, do not stop giving out a hint of their fragrant presence. They also do not stop dancing on the breeze -- and attract attention to their tender fragrance.

Let us get deep into that briefest moment. What are its attributes, its dimensions? They are many, of course:
Silence. Serenity. Sagacity. Smile. Strength...
... And all these despite the cruelty of the scissor-blades, so to say! For, the chrysanthemum -- or any flower for that
matter -- knows that no matter the vivisection, it has got to keep blooming, keep sending out the invitation of its fragrance -- not just to the humans but also to the bees and even the beasts. And the chrysanthemum confronts that reality of the vivisection with silence, serenity, sagacity, smile, and strength -- of character, of the ability to face life (and death, in a way) with courage.
The chrysanthemum, too, knows that the scissor-blades pause for a terribly brief moment before they deliver the cut. And despite the inevitability of the moment, the flower is silent and serene and unmoved -- almost like a determined hero who goes forward to martyrdom.

The world, of course, does not have time and inclination to think all too seriously about the unkind of cut of the scissor-blades.
But, Oh the difference to me (in William Wordsworth’s words!).