Tragedy in many acts


The deer and hare watch the human shoot other humans, perplexed. The deer and hare watch humans join hands and say how sorry they are. They say, we are all so sorry, and we are one.

The deer and hare watch the humans break into different groups again; their hands drift apart and they dive into their different burrows, follow their different paths, waiting for another human to start the shooting again, and the hand clasping to start again, and them all to say we are one again.

The hare looks at the deer and asks, are they one? Then why do they keep apart, live in separate burrows, plot their separate paths to a place they think will be better than all the others? Where do they think they are going? The hare says, it makes no sense. I know that I am going to the same place as the hare that lives over the hill. I eat the same grass and my leverets look the same as hers.

The deer nods wisely and says, the humans of each burrow think they know a secret, that there is a beautiful world where they will live forever, where there are no guns or wolves or foxes.

But only the humans from that burrow can go there, the hare adds. Where do the others go then? If they are all one?

But they are one, all the humans, and the place they go to is the same for all of us, says the deer.

The earth, says the hare.

The earth, says the deer, and they watch the humans let go their hands and dry their tears and go back to their separate burrows to plot their secret paths to the world that exists only in their heads. And they wait for the shooting to start again.

Hare in the grass

Today is haibun Monday at dVerse. The theme is the best meal you ever had, if you want to join in. I had already written a haibun on Saturday which doesn’t fit the theme at all so I’ll probably sit this one out, but it’s what I was thinking over this weekend so I’ll post it here anyway.

And since I’m not following the prompt, I may as well not follow the rules of a haibun either. I wrote two haiku to follow the prose. Choose whichever you prefer.

Photo©John Fielding

I want so much to belong to this place, to absorb every petal of every flower, the opening buds, the birds that fill the trees. I listen and I watch, where water rills and winged shapes flit among the tracery of the branches. But listening and watching, the wheels turn, the gears shift and emotion becomes knowledge. It gives names and habits, category and genus, dry as dust not green and sappy or hot as blood.

Do egrets know they are egrets, that their pure white beauty stops the heart? Does my wonder break into their indifference? And what pleasure do I retain from the sight of a leveret, speckled and fragile, in the long grass, when my clumsy tread wrung a heart-rending cry of pain and terror from such a baby?

We trample the long grasses and nodding flowers, break branches, muddy waters, and go our way like a hurricane, leaving devastation in our wake, nests disturbed, young dispersed, a whole generation lost. We live on the edge of wilderness, never a part of it, merely onlookers, treading flat-footed and careless on all that we cannot understand, even the miracle of beauty that is a wild hare.


A cry in the grass

speckled struggling then stillness—

may night sooth the pain.


Grass, a frail nest, hides

speckled hare in dappled sun—

night has fox’s teeth.