March 8, 2009


My new haibun:
An ox after all

“If you lie down like that, you’re gonna become an ox for sure”, my nanny so cautioned me again after the meal. I was three or four years old then, and I had a habit of lay down on the tatami mat soon after the meal, flipping through a children’s picture book or two. My nanny was raised in a strict samurai family, thus knew all the refined manners. I guess that was what my parents thought and asked her to look after me.
Every time I heard her caution, I got scared and sat up right away. I had seen how the animal lived; in a near-by farm, there was an ox, always smelling badly, always munching something with saliva dripping from the mouth, never minding sleeping next to the dung. Yuck! I never want to become an ox.

With its swaying tail.
an ox shoos away
flies and a boy

As I got older, I learned that I had been born in the year of the ox, and became interested in my disposition, comparing with that of the ox. I learned also that the ox is a ruminant, which explains the constant munching. I came to like the dairy products, and longed for the treat of sukiyaki meal with juicy beef. The ox seems slow in motion and maybe in head as well. However, as in bullfighting, the animal makes quick but wise, and challenging moves. I made the similar move when I met a wife-to-be girl, though I am still unsure if I was as wise as the ox.
2009 is the year of the ox again, and is my fifth ox year, meaning I will be sixty when my birthday comes (12 zodiac signs x 5 = 60). I am thankful that I have made it through all these years. I contemplate my life thus far and my coming old age, just as the ox seems to do, standing still in a meadow, munching slowly. I am, however, still young enough to meet the new challenge, and I know I will make a quick and wise move ‘cause I am an ox after all.

The year of oxen -
I wonder where
the red muerte is
(muerte is the bullfighter’s red cape)


John McDonald said...

enjoyed this kuni san

Linda Brazeau said...

Kuni san, I enjoyed reading your haibun very much and I liked your metaphorical use of the ox. And 60 is a very good age to be.

kuni_san said...

Yes, I like being 60, too.
My wishes now and future are: no major illness, not becoming weakened suddenly, and not dying suddenly.

Linda Brazeau said...

I agree Kuni_san - I will be 60 this year as well and started taking Tai Chi to increase my odds of wellness!

Poet in Residence said...

I think I read that somebody wished not to die in a ridiculous way. Apart from no major illness and not losing my proverbial marbles that would also be an additional wish at 60+.
A strange case of synchronicity is at work here because the codeword for this comment is 'croke'. And when somebody has died we sometimes say he has "croaked" it.

Beloved Dreamer said...

This is excellent. I have been searching for something like this. Well done my friend. BTW I am the year of the rat.( Not happy with the title)I am also 60.


kuni_san said...

Rat is OK. It is probably wiser than the ox. You will come to like it, just as I did the ox.

disa said...