Second colour

A haibun for the dverse frustration/heartbreak prompt.

When the summer drawls to a close, in leaf-turn and mellow light of evening, the swallows mass. Blackberries are finishing, I pick the figs the birds have left. Rose hip and hawthorn red fire the hedge, where birds flutter-flash and unseen things crack and rustle. Red stained fingers I can wash, but not this sound that rattles in the brain. All this lazy fruitfulness, replete and summer-full is scattered in the red staccato as the killing season starts

red is autumn

colour too of winter dearth

these last mild days

peppered with dog and gun

cold is not hardship enough

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.

56 thoughts on “Second colour”

  1. Well described in the last line with the start of the killing season, the red staccato of autumn, as if the cold were not bad enough. It adds a realistic perspective on the autumn hunting ritual.

  2. Full of color and sound. I know and agree with your feelings.
    We saw a French movie a few weeks ago about a woman with an abusive husband. He was also a hunter. I was surprised at how he just casually carried guns around–well, hunting rifles. I don’t think most Americans think of that kind of gun culture in France.

    1. It’s confined to a few areas. I live in one of the trigger happy ones. They are only hunting rifles and they just pop them off at animals, but every year there are accidental human casualties too—mostly other hunters, it’s fair to say. It’s on the decline, but it’s about time we stopped it altogether. Most of the women round here dislike it, it’s just the men.

  3. The power of this poem shines in that last line. I appreciate how the colors of the changing season foreshadows this potential for the lingering cold of death by more means than one.

  4. I, too, will never understand the thrill of killing for the sake of killing. It seems now I live in a city where every day is a killing season, and I offer up prayers daily for an end to the madness. Touching words, Jane.

  5. Oh, I love that prose with all those images and metaphors so well penned.
    This is my favorite bit: “Red stained fingers I can wash, but not this sound that rattles in the brain.”
    The tanka accompaniment adds to it like a perfect amount of seasoning.

  6. On the other hand, there are those hunters that kill for the meat, to fill the freezer to feed the family over the winter. The barbarism is evident, and I hear your message, but the hunter gene is strong in some men.

    1. I don’t know any of those. We have lots of poor people and they don’t shoot wild animals to eat. It’s not an argument I buy into. If you’re poor, you don’t need a freezer full of meat, you just eat less meat. We had no money, no car, no guns no freezer. We bought our food at the market and rarely ate meat. We’re not in a hunter-gatherer economy any more. Sorry, but I think some men just like killing things. It’s maybe part of an aggressive gene, but I don’t think hunting as such is an urge.

  7. Oh gosh – that is so powerful. I was really swept up in the beauty of your opening sentences then carried along in your rage and frustration at the hunters. We have duck shooters over here in autumn but it is restricted to certain lakes. That’s horrible enough. To have hunters patrolling your home territory must be horrible.

    1. It’s a regional thing. We live in an entirely agricultural region of small to tiny farms. The male population doesn’t seem to have much entertainment apart from shooting things. Not an excuse in my book. The women generally disapprove.

  8. I love that phrase ‘When the summer drawls to a close’ , which then drops us straight into ‘ leaf-turn and mellow light of evening’ and the beautiful description of my favourite season, with berry-stained fingers. I too am rattled by the sound of gunshots, the random blasts of organised hunts, supposedly for fun and certainly not to fill hungry bellies. The sibilance is so effective in ‘ scattered in the red staccato as the killing season starts’ – spat in disgust and ‘peppered with dog and gun’.

    1. Nobody in our society needs to hunt to live. They don’t even ‘regulate’ the numbers as the animals that cause the damage to crops like the boar and deer are actually encouraged and protected by the hunters so they can have fun killing them. Brutish and cruel.

  9. Autumn has enough melancholy without the multiplication that humans provide. Every year in the US hunters kill people (in their own yards even), “mistaking” them for deer. We seem to have this constant urge to take natural cycles and beauty and cover them with violence. It’s an impulse I’ll never understand. (K)

    1. It’s an excuse for violence, I think. What I find so dismal is that when someone is shot while she’s pruning the roses, because some cretin thinks he has the right to shoot at anything that moves anywhere at all, is that it isn’t taken seriously as a crime. There was an old lady shot last spring in her garden because she was mistaken for a deer. The criminal who did it was applauded because he was the one called for the ambulance. It was just a tragic ‘accident’. No it wasn’t it was an unlawful killing!

  10. I don’t know if there’s opportunity for active protest against this kind of thing. It IS abominable! A mindless pursuit by ego-driven non-personalities. Perhaps, if there’s enough interested people to form a group or organisation to campaign against it. It sometimes helps.

    1. Opinion is turning against blood sports. The hunting lobby is shrinking and more and more people even in the countryside are openly opposed to it. The question is, will there be anything left to kill when the hunters finally dwindle away?

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