I don’t know if this long streel of a thing counts as a haibun, but it came out in response to several prompts that have led me back to childhood haunts. The artwork ©Artist Bird 1955 fits it very well.
Thinking back on childhood times, my eye, the camera runs along lanes and hedgerows, through rabbit woods and fields where cows graze, by the side of narrow roads shaded by sycamores and beech trees. The film is in my head, nowhere else, because the town has changed since those days, moved and stretched over some of the places I played, tidied up the wild places and built over the meadows.
Tame, the trees wander,
well-marked paths through the bracken,
stream bubbles, still wild.
I loved the wilderness, the empty spaces where nobody went. In those days nobody walked in the countryside for fun. Adults wanted cars, kids wanted bikes first, later pocket money to spend in the city on clothes and records, to walk arm in arm among the crowds and talk about bands and fashion. But I would spend my free time in the woods that filled the old railway cutting, following the stream that tumbled along the bottom from one great sandy pool to the next. There were tiny fish and freshwater shrimps, and caddis fly larvae in their gemstone tunnels. Birds sang, and seeing unfamiliar plumage was as exciting as any new film. At night there were the stars from bedroom windows, and foxes playing on the lawn. I didn’t care that birdsong and foxes were unimportant.
Stars stare silently
as radios fill the night,
music for other ears.
I am older now. Life has taken me from the trackless woods along well-trodden paths of work and family, friendships and necessary tasks. I have done what was expected and required. Not very well, but the lines have been followed. Now, the path is broadening again. The trees and the birds beckon. Once again I can shun the shops, forget the theatres and cinemas I never went to anyway, the restaurants that always made me ill. I am at the age where my achievements should be visible in the way I dress, do my hair, the way I stroll around town, sit, sipping coffee in cafés when my expensive shoes begin to pinch. I should dress with gravitas and elegance, make up my face to smooth away the years. Instead I sit in the meadow, in clothes twenty years old, with the neighbour’s donkeys and listen to the orioles. Buzzards wheel overhead, searching for the quick movement of small animals disturbed by the harvester. The sun moves slowly across the sky, turning back the years almost to the beginning, and it feels like going home.
All eyes and ears then,
blood and bones don’t change.