Walking the thin tree line between vast ploughed fields, we were enclosed by a dry and brittle world. Skeletons of hemlock and cowparsley strewn under our feet, splintered and crunched as we made our way through this miniature wood…little, down white feathers softly snagged and large feathers; owl, magpie, crow and pheasant, indications of a far too crowded headland.
I dreamt that a tree released a feather to me, a large, intensely coloured jay feather, far more alive and luxuriant than the ones that lay bleached at my feet.
The track was sign posted, a surrendered brown line of flayed hawthorn gave an indication of direction, but the fields, dictated by farming machinery and profit bound farmers had obliterated the crows line tracks that had been created by villagers going to and from work in the fields and their children bumbling to school. Small shelves of thistle at the extreme edges had been left to balance on.
From time to time the branches grew wings as we disturbed a buzzard from his observation posts.
through a cracked window
sun on the altar
Written in response to the Ligo challenge prompt –
‘ The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.’
The Singing Bone
The sound of the sixties on the radio as we stood in the dark waiting for Dad to put the light bulb in. Singing Hosanna’s in primary school. Dancing round the living room to Grieg’s ‘ Hall of the Mountain King.’ Singing 16th century madrigals in the school choir.’ Emergency’ my first punk rock record by 999…
through mother’s flute
There was a time when hunting at the carboot meant a search for treasure. Hidden within the ephemera of a person’s life there could be great grandmother’s hand embroidered tablecloth, an 18th century silver sugar caster or a Rene Lalique glass vase. Not that I ever found such things, but people do.
I spent many mornings over one summer using an eagles eye for the tantalising. I collected all my wedding crockery, decorated with birds and flowers, the fake interspersed between Staffordshire gems.
These days if I go at all, my eyes skim the tables left and right, not wanting to delve into the pound store castoff’s on display. Eastern Europeans proliferate, setting up home with our preconsumed tat and the white van house clearance reveals nothing more than the sad detritus of a threadbare life.
My husband, as a treat on an early morning, will still take himself off to the carboot. Hoping to revive the flash of archaic pleasure in the last preloved chisel he aquired, like the Holy Grail gleaming in his minds eye.
So, this Saturday, off he went to the carboot. I had a friend staying for the weekend and we were at breakfast when he returned with his prize, an ugly, little, spiky, succulent plant. My husband has a need to nurture, to reclaim the lost, the sick and the demeaned, he said that he’d felt sorry for it and that it was only 50p. We laughed at it, and him, so he retreated to his shed to repot the little plant, and my friend went home. Later that day he came to tell me that he’d discovered it was made from plastic.
from this years tree
The title was taken from Eugene McDaniels’ song – ‘ Disposable Society,’ sung by Esther Phillips. Please follow the link for her fantastic rendition on You tube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAwlJn1LBp8
There is a medieval village near to where I live. This village stood within the parish of what is now known as Croyden, but in the Domesday book of 1086 it took the old English form of Crauudene ( Crauu and Dene ) meaning Valley of the Crows.
We came across it on a walk. Trailing down the line of an escarpment, a spring, in collusion with low marshland, created the appearance of what was once a pond. A wreath of willows marked the place where a small mill once stood . At the top on higher ground, clear sky stood in place of the village’s two sentinels, the church and manor house. Nothing so grand or large given only 18 peasants were living and working the fields at this time. People who lived out their lives in one room, wattle and daub soaking up the water, that barely leached, through a moss and latticed grass carpet.
no way back
the eel catchers trap
In the 15th century wool was the new profitable enterprise. Landowners converted farmland to pasture and peasants to sheep. In 1489 William Clopton sold what was left of the village to John Fisher who together with his son began to use ‘ their considerable legal skills ‘ to force the villagers and other land owners off the land. By 1525 only 5 labourers lived at Clopton and by 1561 the village was declared extinct.
Today walking between the villagers mending their willow eel traps, the crack of split wood, voices like bird calls, unexpected, individual. The smoke rises and seeps through reed , and we reach the road. Flinching away from metal missiles to the side, hedge twigs scratch our faces and we see a fox that was hit by a car.
expired in the undergrowth
The quote that I’ve chosen for this weeks haibun is
‘ music in the soul can be heard in the universe ‘
The primordial hum, the hymns of Veda, the music of the spheres, everything animate and inanimate gives off sound. String theory has it that every particle that emits a force ( a boson ) has a partner particle ( a fermion ) that makes up matter, all held within varying structures of symmetry.
When learning the piano ( briefly ), the realisation that sound was so beautifully and intricately mathematical, opened in my mind a vast portal to a universe structured in sacred geometry.
the touch of ivory
across black space
A short lived experience, the portal closed, leaving me only with a memory and intuition.
heard in space
seven billion breaths
sound one note
Please watch this charming animation – The Clangers in Music of the Spheres..
Walking home on my own. Standing like figurines, two black American Air-force boys, Temple guards for all I know. The hairs on my charity shop fur coat bristle. ” Hey Ma’me…” Too naive, too dark, too late. Now I have two companions. Be nice, be friendly. I point them towards town. I walk the last few yards to my boyfriends house, my soul leaching from my body, as they follow.
watched from above
cutting the heart from
the sacrificial lamb
Today my cat brought me a red-legged partridge. My first instinct was to lock her out to save on feather carnage, my second, was to look on You-Tube for plucking and gutting instructions. I watched someone make a competent amateur mess of a partridge, gathered my energies, gritted my teeth , and went in…..
red- legged partridge
sporting his feathers
the hunter’s apprentice
I do have pictures of said bird plucked and cooked, just in case you don’t believe me……..
Seems that I’ve disappeared into fiction..really not sure about this for a Haibun, but I wanted to respond and time was running out..
Sun was overhead, good and strong. Mistress Charlotte and little Anne were stood with their feet in the stream twisting the linen between them till their hands were rubbed red. I spread my garments and two sheets over the thorn hedge, birds flitting here and there, John’s chopping and splitting sounding in the copse. A good time to go. I pulled on my shoes and ran over to the woodpile. In the corner under the thatch my fingers felt for that little piece of silk that I’d embroidered with her name. The family tree would not show the bud that would have grown into a branch.
Up on the moor, by the spring, stood our wishing tree. Bent with age it spread it’s arms to greet me. I knelt by the spring and let my fingers cool, I wiped my forehead and Maggie’s silk with that holy water. Many ribbons and charms hung from it’s branches as I tied my silk to join them. “Bless the family cradle again,” I whispered..
even the bonsai tree
has a crown of blossom
Spectacular fail to meet the brief this week..apologies for putting a ramble out on the public arena..
Sallust complained of the deterioration of morals in his generation and of the need to subjugate and destroy for personal gain and the fantasy of honour.
under a dying sun
Throughout our history people’ have been displaced and dispossessed. Their hearths, families, lands, culture and persons have been used and abused. The intentions of others to clear out and away a perceived obstacle or threat.
I am an atom
I am a fruit softening
I am the seed
that passes through
I am the twist
I am the message
Our behaviours are repeated with each new birth of a drone in the hive. We work together and against on an ever increasing scale to keep cohesion of the whole.
I am a molecule
I am singing
I am a rock
but still I sing
Complex elements of dis-ease, twisted seeds burrow into pumping hearts. A desire for a never ending feast, for the eternal safety of an unchanging state.
I am material
I have form
The struggle for harmony in small things, mindfulness of action and reaction. To try and subjugate our disparate parts, to not let fly the covert arrows and to catch a glimpse of the myriad coloured and reflective angles that we shield ourselves with.
What a gift of pleasure and pain, to hear the voices of centuries speaking the same language. To be understudy for every part, and player of one.
picking up the pieces
of a glued colander
This weeks Ligo Haibun Challenge has two word prompts, water or order. I have chosen water…
A group of disparate kids, we called for each other, could we ‘ play out? Wellies on we roamed and meandered, exploring our terrain.
No restrictions ; we ran through bluebell woods and disused factories, hid behind rosebay willow herbs waving their pink spires above crumbled brickwork, jumped from sleeper to sleeper on Beeching’s disused railway tracks, trawled the ditches for skaters, water boatmen and sticklebacks. Fast flowing streams tipped themselves from the high peaks tunneling to a shallow torrent along the valley floor. Here we stopped. Wellies off, slimy smooth pebbles broke contact with our feet. Breathless and wet, the water resisting our young limbs we pushed against the flow, wading to a quieter deeper place, dark orange with iron rich water, a place where trout rested.
water flows past
many memories hide
We caught one and took our prize back to the barn where traces of stalls lined the walls. Only swallows and a robins nest with pink translucent eggs breathed there now. We put the sleek rainbow speckled river fish in a goldfish bowl and left it on a shelf in the barn. The horror, on our return , of that lifeless, sludge brown fish, that had been unable to move in its’ confined space, using up any oxygen that had been left in the water. We had committed an unwitting murder and because of our shame it remained our unspoken secret.
sun on mountain stream
washes over feet grown large
clear sky above
For the challenge this week we have the option to include a persian ghazel with the haibun instead of haiku.
The prompt was a painting from Suzanne, of which I chose this one..
I found this extremely difficult ( as I should ) Who could hope to condense hundreds of years of craft into an off the cuff partially understood, coherent offering…..but here I go…
So we left the mountains; my grandmothers letter as flat in my pocket as the land we settled on. Pulled by my mother towards her homeland, where the windmills had ground her shape, away from the mountains and moors that had carved mine. The moment of longing without the be.
Woven with words and through cloth, a tensile lament.
Golden harvest of reeds sound an exiles lament.
Sleeping on a bed of herbs and flowers, whose soil will cover me?
The mist that rises in a field by a hedge, exhales a lament.
I was trying to stick to some ghazel rules..in the last line of the ghazel the poet may use the last couplet as a signature, using his or her name in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person..( my surname means field by a hedge )
Whether it be a fine day or no’, today we be a beatin’ of the bounds. Our Tommy aren’t none too keen, for all ‘e ‘as ‘is stick o’ white willow ( altho’ that be fer the beatin’ o’ ‘im ) I ‘ad just finished winding my willow with milkwort and a fine ribbon, when ‘at look as if ‘s time to be a goin’. First we’s headin’ fer the olde elderne stub at Washford. Pastor Wigmore will be headin’ up, prayin’ and a callin’ on Gods blessin’ at every stone ‘n’ tree as marks our way, askin’ fer the fruit o’ the earth to come good, and sevral of them poor boyes will be ‘avin’ their hides tanned fer ’em, all the better for them rememberin’ where our Parish begin and ende. Tha’s always a bit o’ fun tho’. I got my neighbours w’ me and many a boy will get ‘imself chucked in the streme, do’em good i say. Tha’s seven mile round our Parish and I shall be good and ready to get t’ Furzey Mill Pitt, where all on us will squat down and tuck into a skinvull of Beere and Cake-bred……..
at the Gospel oak
not only the boys
Pregnant and homeless. Stopping at a country church, I had the need to fill a policeman’s helmet ( a strange urban Victorian law/myth? ). There being none, I scrambled into a long forgotten part of the churchyard. Moss covered headstones lay sunk in angled planes, barely visible in the damp light.
answering a call
marking my territory
I reserve a place
When the twins were born, one, compromised at birth, died. My rootless position meant that my only connection was the country churchyard where a piece of me lay outside the locked doors. There was a funeral. A white casket. A rosemary bush for a headstone. I never visited, only the old grave tender knew where it was and he himself has taken his place.
on this rosemary bush
Early in 1980 a mini bus full of youth on a government unemployment scheme were tipped onto a field in the Cambridgeshire fens. Our task was to shift the mud to reveal an iron age settlement. No hydraulic machinery, no geo phys, just spades, trowels and wheelbarrows. The archaeologists fed up with my whingeing gave me the special task of excavating a small area of ditch surrounding one of the iron age round houses that we’d found.. I have never forgotten the thrill of revealing an eggshell, preserved perfectly in the mud as if just thrown out a few moments ago. That connection is a moment that I’ll always treasure.
scraping the surface
two thousand year old eggshell
the smell of breakfast