Haibun for humanity

The dverse haibun this week is about indigenous people, which set me wondering about what this term actually means in the European context. The answer is, nothing at all.

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Once there were the Celts, and they shared the land with the Romans who were drawn from all the known world. On these fields there were Gascons and to the east the Occitans and the Provençals. To the south were more Celts, Visigoths and Moors. Further north and east there were the Franks, and across the sea, even more Celts, driven west by Angles and Saxons, the Low Germans, then colonised by Norsemen and Goths, and in the farthest west, even there, the Norsemen built their towns among the Celts, and later the Normans, Norse-Frankish-Gallo-Romans with their Latinised ways, invaded and settled. Later still, the Italians came and the Portuguese and the Spaniards, fleeing war and poverty.

Now we point the finger at the African and the Arab, and say we, this mish-mash of tribes and peoples and nations, are the indigenous people, and we were here first. But we are all just people, colonised and coloniser, victor and vanquished, a story centuries old of the great brassage of populations. One day, we may realise no one has right of residence, that the earth belongs not to all, but to no one.

in the field

an oak tree grows

already older

than my grandparents

still setting seed

Oak

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Green the rushes by the lake

and green the oak leaves hanging

still through lashing rain

and through the gale that scatters

the golden dust of summer

the red and russet debris

of another fading year.

#writephoto: The Door

Trying to get back into writing and doing a dozen other things at the same time. This is inspired by Sue Vincent’s photo prompt.

It also fits the Daily Post prompt, voyage, so here goes, killing two birds with one stone.

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Their fathers had slaughtered the monks when they arrived at the settlement. Their longship had glided up the estuary on the windswept coast like a grass snake through the rushes, and the battle was short and fierce. It was a good place, hidden from sight of the sea by a line of low hills, and sentinels had such a view across the broad river valley that invaders would never surprise it. If, of course they thought to keep watch, which the previous inhabitants hadn’t.

Times were quieter now and the sons of the sea wolves were farmers and homesteaders in this peaceful place, where the winters were mild and the land rich. They had even adopted some of the local beliefs and built their own place of worship of the dead god, the man on the tree, because he reminded them of Thor, the oak tree god. They worked dragons and sea serpents, longships and merpeople into the carvings that decorated the entrance to the holy place, and they set amulets and spells into the great door that protected it.

Twenty years after the invasion, the first monks dared to return, brandishing their crucifixes of the dead god. They chopped down the holy oak tree that grew by the door and flung open the heavy door. The tree god was angry, and the amulets screamed vengeance, but the monks, in their ignorance, couldn’t hear. Pale-faced and hostile, they marched into the holy place, and the door, when it closed behind them, muffled the sound of their screaming.