There are so many seasons, overlaid like layers of paper – like one of those books with separate flaps you had when you were a child, so that you could create a clown with a ballerina’s body and farmer’s boots, or a spaceman with a gingerbread tummy and toddler mary-janes.
There’s the calendar year, of course, but I don’t pay much attention to that. The academic year still runs my life – new shoes and pencils in September, a surge of freedom in July. This year we’ve had Big Exams in our house, so Exam Season has been stressier than usual. Hay Fever Season is another biggie – I watch the pollen report, even though there’s not much I can do about it. The farming year dictates the smells, the mud, the dust, and the likelihood of getting stuck behind a tractor, and Grockle Season started early this year – an outbreak of windbreaks and pop-up tents on our local beach as the visitors invade; caravans and campers on our deep, narrow lanes. Our local ice-cream vans come out in March and disappear in October. The first cone is the start of something – I’m not sure what.
We skin-swim all year, and suddenly it’s a pleasure, not a penance. We look a little slant-wise at the people swimming in wetsuits. They are missing out on the fiercest sensation of all.
seasons shift and flow
suns rise and set, tourists swim
the sea is always there
An unconventional haibun for Jilly at dVerse.
We can’t ever be free.
I have moments of feeling free: absolutely, totally free. They are moments when I forget myself, when I’m completely caught up in something bigger, wilder, more elemental than myself. They are the moments when I walk out of work, walk out of my life. They don’t last. I wouldn’t want them to.
The important things are the ties that bind you. They may chafe and irritate, but they are the things that make us people, make us human. Love, friendship, parenting, family – that complex web of threads that hold us in place. If we cut all of them, what would we be? Somewhere on the other side of freedom, I think. Somewhere dark, and silent, and lonely.
wind on the water
bird flying over the trees
nestlings call for food
Bjorn asks us to haibun on freedom for the dVerse Monday night prompt.
For a few moments, the ocean was everything. I was in it, and it was in me, filling my head with its noise, its motion, the taste of salt, the smell of brine. All I could see was blue water, and the light scattering through foam. For a few moments, that was enough to drown out that voice in my head. For a few moments, I floated free of to-do lists, decisions about dinner, fragments of song lyrics, re-plays of conversations – all that stuff that fills my head, that tangle of words and phrases – lost in pure sensation.
Leaf falls from the tree
Petal falls from the flower
Silent as a thought.
For Frank at dVerse – read the prompt over there!
The birds have built their nests, and are waiting for their eggs to hatch. It’s a moment of pause for them – soon they’ll be spending their time feeding, feeding, feeding, because nestlings are hungry and need constant attention. They won’t have time to watch the bluebells going over, and the blossom falling. They won’t notice spring turning into summer. They’ll be interested in food and predators – their world view narrowed down to the basics of survival. Their young will keep them busy until the moment the fledgelings make their first stuttering flight. It won’t be long then, until the young birds fly away to make their own lives, and become rivals for territory.
The rooks are different. They welcome their children into the tribe – the more the merrier. Their nests are spreading through the ash trees, an aerial housing development, with penthouse views, and excellent, if noisy, neighbours.
waiting for eggs to hatch
blossom falling, spring turning
flight through the ash trees
An erasure haibun for Xenia Tran, who is guest hosting at the dVerse poets’ pub tonight. She asks us to write a haibun that alludes to compassion or self-sacrifice, without naming it directly.
Over the last week, I have walked through two airports. I have walked city streets. I have walked through two cemeteries, up and down the aisle of a church, and into the ocean. The pavements have been hard underfoot.
Today, I walk through woodland. The leaves are still fresh and bright, and there are bluebells in great cascades tumbling down the banks. A bird sings. I take a breath.
blue as the ocean
spring sings like a blackbird
bells chime silently
For Bjorn at dVerse, who asks us to write a haibun inspired by walking.
There was a bright yellow balloon tangled in the hedge, happily bobbing up and down as the cars drove past. It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t been burst – everything is so spiky at the moment – or maybe I’m just more aware of those thorns at the moment because of the way spring is starting to hide them. The blackthorn has long, sharp spikes hidden by soft white blossom. The hawthorn has leaves now – bright, wax crayon green – hiding its thorns, and the gorse is a mass of bright coconut scented gold, in among the spines and prickles. Yet somehow, amongst all this, there is the yellow balloon, glowing in the spring sunshine.
Daffodils sing bright and clear,
Spring gold in the green
A haibun for NaPoWriMo – specifically a haibun set in our home surrounds. It’s Day 12 of NaPoWriMo, seems to be flying by. It’s not too late to join in…
I was going to write about my lack of faith. There seems to be little to rely on out there – and in here it’s not much better. I lost faith in my body years ago (the bastard tried to kill me), and the older I get, the less I trust my own judgements. I seem to know less and less, or maybe just to see complexities I didn’t see before.
And then I remembered the seeds.
Neckar Gold. Claytonia. Cherokee Trail of Tears. Reine des Glaces. Rouge Tete Noir. Striato di Napoli. Burgess Buttercup. Golden Frill.
The soil is wet and cold and heavy at the moment – too heavy to work. But buying seeds is an act of faith in the future, and faith in myself. Faith in the soil, in Mother Earth. Faith that there will be enough sunshine, sometime – hard to believe at the moment. Faith in the green shoot that pushes on through.
tiny home of life
held in the palm of my hand
earth and sun and rain
Mish is tending bar this week, over at dVerse. She asks us to reflect on faith and it’s place in our lives.
This is the book that stared me off. A Christmas present from my parents when I was seven. On the back it starts off by saying “This is a book to grow on. It is also a book to grow with…”, and that’s what happened. There are poems in here that have become part of me. It’s a children’s anthology, but here is Robert Frost, both the Brownings, Yeats, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Dickinson, Whitman – so many great poems, so many great poets. Poems that have been absorbed into my bones, that sing in my blood. Poems that still influence my writing, because of their simplicity.
But why do I write? I write because I love it. I love the shaping of words, I love capturing a moment, a mood, an atmosphere. I jokingly say I write because it’s better than meditation – and that’s the truth. When I’m writing, I’m totally caught up in what I’m doing, in the act of creation. Does that sound grandiose? I don’t care. I write because I’m a writer.
Rook sits on the wire
Naming the world with his gaze
Black feathers on snow
Toni is the guest host at dVerse tonight. She asks us to write about the Who? What? Why? of our writing, our earliest inspirations.
Before this final flurry of winter, I was starting to imagine a faint haze of green over the hedgerows, a softening of the winterdark of the bare twigs. It won’t be long before that green is definite, and spring starts unfurling and stretching out across the landscape.
Three weeks ago we planted two new apple trees, grafts from our old Bramley. One went in behind the barn, and one on the steep part of the field. Over the last few days we’ve had winds from the Baltic, temperatures dropping down well below zero, snow, and freezing rain. It’s a hard time to be an orchardist. Robert Frost’s been sitting on my shoulder, as his namesake stalks my orchard. If those tiny buds are lost or damaged, there’ll be no crop worth speaking of this year. All I can do is wait, and hope, and trust.
I can’t protect you
You choose your time to open
Tree-bud, small but strong
A haibun for Haibun Monday at dVerse. We are asked to consider tree-buds, and the powerful metaphors they bring with them. Thank you, Victoria, for a lovely prompt.
Today was grey from the moment I opened my eyes. Today was a day without colour – grey sky blurring into grey land. I spent the day in a cloud of grey, distances blurred and lacking definition. A day of minor problems, mild irritations, a day of bland foods and tepid drinks.
first blossoms appear
I am still feeling winter
cold against my skin
A grey haibun for Bjorn at dVerse. Usually I try to flip the prompt and come up with something unexpected, but today was so very grey…