Saturday, September 18, 2004

Haibun - The Sickroom Window

The Sickroom Window

Another night of rain passes into a day
of stiffened joints. I force myself to get
up to open the window.
As I do, the world, having been held back

by the closed glass, pours in. I let myself
lie down again.
Tightness loosens into drowsiness as a
trace of sweetness carried on a breeze

reaches me.

gnarled peach tree --
frothy blossoms
cling to the clouds

Haibun - Rahat Loukoum

Rahat Loukoum

By the bank of the boat pond, Khadija and I lie down.
The morning star has turned evening and the sun eases
over the wisteria pergola.

Khadija sits up and rustles through her grandmother's
wicker basket. On a gold-rimmed plate, cubed jellied
jewels sparkle in a dust of finely crushed sugar.

I hold the tiny two-pronged wooden fork and pierce
the confection. As I touch my tongue to it, a burst of
simple sweetness is so pure, it draws me in.

Then, as I ease my teeth through the delicacy , the complex
sweetness of creamy Noor dates unfolds around pale green
pistachio and deepening Damask rose.

Sugar moon --
the prayer rug of grass

hidden by blossoms

Monday, September 13, 2004

Haibun - Returning


My father was a fisherman. Before dawn,
he surfcast off the coast of Montauk from
a favourite boulder he liked to stand on.
Ten years after his death, I return during
a storm and come upon the boulder awash
in waves. For some reason, I expected it
to have gone with him.

dusk in winter --
a roiling sea
churns the sand

Haibun - Sweet Grass

Sweet Grass

She shows me how to weave blonde baskets
with a light hand. As we braid the oval reeds
with sweetgrass, their delicate but rich green
runs through the wicker like rivulets after rain.

darkness woven
into the tangled leaves --
summer evening

Haibun - North Shore

North Shore

Our summer house was built in the 1920s
and had a shower outside. During the day,
the sun warmed the pipes. On hot nights,
my sister and I took turns reaching up to
tug the chain as the spray turned cool, then
cold. I can recall her so clearly - shivering,
almost blue in the shadows.

washing our hair --
streams of moonlight
down her back

Haibun - The Lotus Pool

The Lotus Pool

Somehow, the air always seems gentle
with stillness by the silent pool. With
roots in the earthy mud, the lotus blooms.

By dusk, blooms close, sinking through
the dark surface of water. By dawn, they
open again, to the golden fire of light.

sacred lotus -
once remembered
never forgotten

Haibun - Tracelessness


Night and pain both have a love for the dark. Once
again, I find myself swallowing another pill. I have
lost count of the pale orbs but the pain knows, knows
precisely. And, as a dreaminess flows in me, the pain ebbs.

"I should have been an archaeologist of myself" I say, giggling.
My bones, bleached by the sun, will be awash, ashore. Hopefully,
they will be scattered. No Voodoo nerves to pinprick this flesh and
blood poppet or muscles to tie sailor's knots and angler's loops.

"Some day" I say, giddily."They will wonder about my life over my
death - yes, even though, oddly enough, the first made me yearn
for the second." But, a snowflake has drifted onto my hand, melting
with a sweetness that brings tears because already I am forgetting...

my pale face
in the dark window pane --

a cameo

Haibun - La Chasse Aux Papillons

La Chasse Aux Papillons

In my dream, I stroll beneath the lindens...the summer
sun warms the orange and lemon blossoms, coaxing the
release of their gentle fragrance to the stronger tuberose
and jasmine blooming farther away. I awaken to the feel
of a butterfly wing brushing against my cheek.

unveiled --
clouds part to reveal
the winter moon

Haibun - Andalusian Gaspacho

Andalusian Gazpacho

The tomatoes - seemingly ripened and reddened
by the summer day - are cored and quartered. The
holiest of trinities - fresh garlic ground by my mortar
and pestle into paste, moistened stale breadcrusts and
sherry vinegar from Sevilla have been stirred into a
glass bowl - their flavours have seeped into brilliant
colour. As night spreads her tablecloth of stars, I smooth
the soup, anointing it with olive oil from Cordoba.

almost autumn --
a Flamenco tune

on a lone guitar

Haibun - Fracas


First, faint neroli and peach among the greens...
then, the chaos of a million blooms unfolding...
white flowers, luminous as stars, tumble over
and over in dark woods of cedar and sandal...
settling at last, onto oakmoss in constellations.

winter wind --
a tuberose pegasus


Haibun - A Passing Storm

A Passing Storm

Before rain, leaves turn upside down and
silvery as if presaging lightning. i pause in
stillness...silence...the wait for thunder.

windshift --
tarnished clouds gather as one
and break

Then, as quickly... trees drip greenness until
slow enough to become droplets... in a golden
calm - another without waiting.

after the storm --
an origami crane

floats on a stream