How does a grain of rice feel —
If lost in the rinse —
Or else not eaten?
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.
Notes to this poem…
I’ve had this thought for decades almost every time rinsing rice to steam it for eating. I just haven’t poetized it, or haikued it in this case, until now.
I always lose a few grains each time out no matter how careful I am. But as “wasteful” as that seems, I can’t be bothered to use something like a strainer not to lose those few grains. Whenever I lose those grains, though, I think about what they might feel in having been “lost”. Are they thankful they won’t be eaten? Or do they feel deprived of their destiny to be eaten? Would they rather be cooked and eaten instead of left to rot down in a dark drain somewhere, feeling lucky or unlucky for having been lost from the batch being cooked to eat? Did they win or lose an epic lottery to have escaped being eaten?
I think of other thoughts and feelings the grains might have, too, but those are the most common ones. And no, I usually don’t add in the “if they had feelings” consideration. I just assume they do.
After I consume the rice, there are usually a few left behind, too. Too hard to scrape and ruin pots to get every grain. I think about how they feel, too… even after I had cooked them to death. 🙂
I guess I’m a little bit crazy… but in a good way, you know? 🙂
The H-series poems comprise of haiku composed while I was not engaged in some activity during which I frequently composed poetry. That is why these are called the Inactive Haiku collection.