Jacob Salzer’s Checkmate

shadows become still

on the marble steps

© Jacob Salzer (USA)

Chrysanthemum, No. 19, April, 2016
(from the book: How Many Become One) 

Today, we have a special edition, as we have a father and son commentary team—Mark Salzer being the father, and Jacob Salzer being the son.

I would say this is a metaphor for mindfulness.  Our days are filled with many steps—there is a need to pause and be still between the steps.

In dealing with some over-reactive people in my life, I’ve learned to become still, even in the midst of apparent chaos.  I say apparent, because the “emergency” is in their own mind—not real for me, but to empathize, I have to pause and try to understand where they are coming from, their inner “why,”  not react myself with anger or defensiveness…become still on the marble steps before taking the next step, which needs to be a step of compassion most of the time!

– Mark Salzer (USA)

This haiku was inspired by Nicholas Klacsanzky. Playing chess is a meditative activity that involves both movement and pauses. Similarly, there seems to be a natural rhythm to living that revolves around a central point, much like the calm eye of a storm. With the growing demands of daily living, I feel it’s important to remind ourselves to pause sometimes, to simply be, watch, and reflect. On one hand, I feel it’s important to be completely immersed in something at times. On the other hand, I also feel it’s wise to sometimes take a step back and observe. The mind appears to be busy producing ripples on the pond, so to speak, but even those ripples are one with the depth of the pond beneath the surface. So, it seems our daily lives are not separate from the mystery. What are “shadows” in this haiku? For me, the shadows are the great mystery itself: something that is permanently beyond the mind or comprehension, beyond the “me.” It is the unknown breathing life into empty spaces.

– Jacob Salzer (USA)


8 thoughts on “Jacob Salzer’s Checkmate

  1. Hélène (Willow Poetry)

    Thank you so much for this commentary. It inspired me, calming my heart. It is a breath of fresh air in my desperate moment of chaos. I am facing this from a family member on this very day. How appropriate, not a coincidence I come upon this right now. Though I tried to bow my head on the threshold of patience it escaped me today.

    Liked by 1 person

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