Along the stream

A haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. This is prose followed by a tanka.


There is deep earth here and running water and I understand only a fraction of its life. Here and there, from willow roots sunk in the damp soil, sprout clumps of purple flowers, leafless and stemless, with their mouths like a turtle’s beak. Feet sink into yellow tangles of celandine, and the wind cuts as sharp as new brambles. Overhead the sky is stuffed full of woolly grey cloud as thick and damp as an old mattress left out in the rain. The silence is full—running water, the mew of buzzards, woodpecker tapping, and the cry of the orioles weave a torrent of bright sound always in movement, never still.

Life teems in water and burrows, in earths and in nests. And so does death. Fox was hunting here last night beneath the moon, slipping through the mist. Blossom drifts now in the early morning rain, spent, white and pink, to lie in the wet grass. Spring, the turbulent season is here.


Dog whines in the night

sharp scents waft beneath the door

restless shadows creep.

A half-finished meal, was bird,

was mother, lies on cold stone.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

14 thoughts on “Along the stream”

  1. This Haibun was … I’m speechless. I write my novels like this, rich in descriptions that transport the reader to that place. Your words speak to a place deep inside of me. Wow! Gorgeous! ❤

    1. I’m so glad you like this, Colleen 🙂 I find so much in this very ordinary but completely peaceful corner of the countryside. It’s almost a physical hurt to come back to town.

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