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Editors Choice Haiku

April 2012

Editor’s Choice

Self Portrait Study by Susumu Takiguchi 

                falling leaves

                how will I know

                my time has come


                            Susan Constable


One is not regarded as old nowadays when one is in one’s 60’s or even 70’s. My mother is 94, going to be 95 at which age my father died. I have just been to attend a talk on Rosalind Franklin, a renowned British female scientist (whose life was cut short by cancer at 38), given by her younger sister, Jennifer, who is also a Cambridge-educated academic (historian) and as sharp as anything at 84. Among my acquaintances, there are not a few who are heading for 100. When our life was much shorter and precarious we strongly longed for longevity. Death was everywhere, visible, respected and feared. Now, longevity is taken for granted and death swept under the carpet as the last taboo of human beings, i.e. our respect for it is dumped and only the fear remains.


Longevity was the goal of ultimate happiness until not-so-distant past when it was difficult to attain. Now, many of those who have attained it long for terminating it should our attitude towards euthanasia improve. Life, of course, is a puzzle. How should we live in the 21st century without having an ultimate goal? All seems to have changed.


However, nothing has changed fundamentally about the question of life and death. And, again, we are not that wiser on either of them, even if human knowledge may have advanced in this field. Mere accumulation of knowledge does not constitute wisdom. It is not the same thing as understanding either. Knowledge may go through understanding and by passing true judgement can lead to wisdom, or truth. But such attainment is few and far between. Mostly, we remain less than a falling leaf.


This is what the haiku of my choice for this issue is telling me.