Haibun for the good, the bad and the undecided

For the dverse prompt. I know the theme is black history, but I have a visceral dislike for putting people in boxes. People is people; all that changes is whose foot the boot is on.


The world is made up of two kinds of people: those who are pushed to one side, and those who do the pushing. You don’t have to be black to be pushed, just poor or a woman or have a handicap or a police record. You just have to belong to the wrong religion or have no religion at all, be out of work, out of luck. Do what we say or we destroy your economy. You just have to be the tourist with a full wallet, buying paradise, destroying the environment and a way of life. You just have to be an adult in a brothel full of children, a soldier with a gun in a village full of women.

If you haven’t been there, you can count yourself privileged and perhaps ask yourself, who have I pushed lately, who did I not see when the Brown Shirts marched down my street and kicked in the doors?

waves roll up the strand

where the coffin ships left

a turnstone stalks

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.



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