The piercing chill I feel — Taniguchi Buson


“The piercing chill I feel:

      my dead wife’s comb, in our bedroom,

          under my heel…”

Picture this: A man sitting on his bed, taking in his bedroom which he has shared with his wife for the past 5o years. Just having said his goodbyes to the last guest from his wife’s funeral/wake, he closed the front door, walked up the stairs and into his bedroom, where he took a big sigh and sat down on his bed. Slowly capturing the essence that still remains of his wife, he notices her jewelry and her make-up sitting on her vanity. Her clothes that hang in the closet they share, he feels the darkness settle around him. On this cold winter day, he sits on his bed, overlooking all that he has shared with his wife, unable to part ways but forced by death. A man alone, searching for a way, but nothing remains but the remnants of his wife’s things.

In three short lines, Taniguchi Buson has captured the essence of death that many people strive to capture. He creates a vivid image through these lines and in many ways he even makes me feel bad for the old man. While this poem is a death poem, we aren’t being forced to look at death head on instead the poem uses language in such a way that it is open to the readers discretion. This poem albeit is short it magnifies its theme and language. It proves that quality of the language, the writing, the words, all come together to make a greater meaning out of a simple poem. This poem alludes to loneliness and sadness, and it makes one feel sad, but it also has some hope left in it. The hope for me comes from finding the comb, hope in way that says everything will eventually be alright. Well done Buson, Well done.


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