Five Senses : A story by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

ten tasty oysters
on a bed of green seaweed
the smell of sea salt,
fingers touch rough grey white shells,
sound of slurping and pleasure

Candle lights flicker in the Dayan Pagoda as I stroll down a narrow lane bordered by magnolia and fragrant olive. 

The steam of jasmine flavoured rice and smell of roasted duck suffuse from a street kitchen not far from the bell tower in Xian. Bells chime six times. Busy roads with bicycles and carts. People shuffle along. Lanterns with their red sheen cast a mild light on the grey walls of a cloisonné shop. Clouds float on the clear sky like the smoke of extinguished candles. 

I make an offering of incense sticks to the moon god to give me a good sleep in the night.

I have a deep affection for the countryside outside the town. The fields of golden wheat. The distant cry of a bird. Summer sun blinds the eyes. Bamboos bend under the breeze of the yellow north wind from desert Gobi.

At the entry to the town, black pigs romp on the road. A woman peeps out of a low house, pours water out of the window. An old man performs morning exercise, Tai Chi Chuan. He is shifting an invisible cloud and pushes an unseen boat to water. 

The smell of fried bean curd, fish with crushed garlic, chicken with fruity Mandarin sauce pour forth their flavours to tempt me. I give in, attracted by a warm restaurant, the smell of spices. Golden dragons and patterned snakes adorn the walls, the gentle sound of Chinese music, zither and two-stringed fiddle. 

My hands touch the soft silky paper of the menu with Chinese letters, which offer individual pictures with different meanings. 

Face, nose, ear, tongue and heart sense an orchestra of a symphony of visible, audible, palatable and sensible tones. 

The waitress wakes me from a dream. 

My bag with folders rests on the chair.

I take the train to Beijing tomorrow…

dusk is approaching
putting a blanket on town
lone windows light up
hanging lights glare from the dark
tree leaf – a wind instrument


Source : Matteo Colombo Photography

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku and short stories. He writes haibun, tanka, haiku and poetry in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German; and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose. He is a member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years, and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. His works have been published in 71 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in UK, Ireland, Canada and USA.

Read more stories on Bengaluru Review :

Partition : A story by Swyam Prakash

(Un)harnessed : A story by Sucharita Dutta-Asane

The perfect lie is the simplest one : A story by Babatdor Dkhar



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