Learning to count

I never taught myself to wait. Pacing, back and forth. Sluggish minutes crawling ‘cross my back. Waiting is an itch to weigh, it’s to rein the rain or survey sand. Waiting is a fire burning cold.

I remember how my mother told me she would pick me up at five o’clock and how I fumed when she arrived four minutes and twenty three seconds later than agreed. I had counted cars and told her just how many that had passed.

I never taught myself to wait, but I learned to count.

mirrored in asphalt
headlights passing — lightworm
snaking home to eat

Waiting without hope by Morteza Katouzian

Today Imelda is guest hosting for haibun Monday at dVerse, and the subject is waiting.

41 responses to “Learning to count

  1. “Sluggish minutes crawling ‘cross my back.”
    “Waiting is an itch to weigh, it’s to rein the rain or survey sand.”

    My goodness, those are exceptional descriptions.

    “four minutes and twenty three seconds later than agreed” … Ha. I can totally picture this. I was an antsy child as well.

    “I never taught myself to wait, but I learned to count.” … I think that’s probably a very good approach.

    Of course you know what I’m picturing in the haiku. 🙂

  2. Waiting for someone to pick you up or meet up are tortured waiting for me. Counting is a good way to pass time. Love this: Waiting is a fire burning cold. And superb haiku of the lightworm snaking home to eat

  3. Bang on and much fun. You nailed one of the primary waiting peeves. The worst kind of waiting for me was alongside a broken down car on the freeway, waiting for rescue; convinced that all those cars passing by are impervious to my plight.

  4. Oh my. Your learning to count while waiting. I always had a book and read until the person came. I don’t mind wating – except waiting on the outcome of someone I love in hospital. the lightworm is an interesting haiku.

  5. counting cars was something I did on a long journey to my dad’s hometown, and the “are we there yet” made my mother so impatient with me. such a lovely share of how you did something so useful with your time of waiting.

  6. What child could not identify with your lines? I recognize myself in the sulky little child trying desperately to be patient but couldn’t? For sure, hunger aggravates a child, even an adult’s, impatience.

  7. This reminds me of how I used to be, Björn: ‘Pacing, back and forth. Sluggish minutes crawling ‘cross my back’. I love the play on words in ‘Waiting is an itch to weigh, it’s to rein the rain or survey sand’. I can imagine a little Björn marking the time and counting cars! How old were you then? You’ve captured a great image in the haiku.

  8. Ah, you define that waiting and the lack of patience in such inspired phrases here — the restlessness is palpable throughout. Loved this bit: “Waiting is an itch to weigh, it’s to rein the rain or survey sand. Waiting is a fire burning cold.”

    And the haiku is so cool too — asphalt, lightworm, et al.

  9. Love the haiku so much! To see that movement of headlights and come up with “lightworm” is a true poetic leap.

  10. it’s fascinating to note, and wonder, that perhaps even at a young age, or maybe only later, we tend to have patience for somethings, and yet not others …. and I think you’ve captured the essence of waiting … and waiting on/for someone, as shared in this haibun, exceptionally well. Tone, word phrases – fantastic for the scene set in our minds, and the absolute pointed “telling” to “right the wrongs” … and I really like the freshness of the haiku! Wow – that is most amazing … and yes, “lightworms” on asphalt when one is waiting and wanting to get back and warm up, and satisfy one’s hunger, especially as a child …. so well captured!

  11. LOL, we have one kid (of three) like you — angry if late, very punctual and a very picky eater. I wonder if that is captured in the O.C.E.A.N. personality traits or if it should be WOCEAN?

  12. “Waiting is a fire burning cold”… oh that’s pretty freaking dope. I love your vivid metaphors.

  13. It’s interesting the idea that you had to teach yourself to wait–and that you learned to count as a result. I can picture that little boy. 🙂
    My mother (now 96) has become very impatient when waiting, and she doesn’t have a real sense of time.

  14. This was fun to read, Bjorn. The haiku was nice though I liked the surprise ending of the prose section. A really unique way to learn to count. But then I cannot count sheep because I never see any to count.

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