Haibun

Written in response to the Ligo challenge prompt –

‘ The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.’

Louis Armstrong.

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…

led away…

through mother’s flute

midsummer darkness

Valley of the crows

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.

full moon

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.

ancestors bones

expired in the undergrowth

the fox

Ligo Haibun –

The quote that I’ve chosen for this weeks haibun is

‘ music in the soul can be heard in the universe ‘

Lao Tzu

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

strings resonate

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..

Ligo haibun – Temple

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

Ligo Haibun Challenge – The tree of life

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..

ancestors

even the bonsai tree

has a crown of blossom

Ligo Haibun Challenge – ” Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.” Sallust

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.

ancestors mask

under a dying sun

my reflection

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

into sugar

I am the seed

that passes through

I am the twist

of  instruction

and memory

I am the message

coming through

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

through vibration

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

and action

I am

glowing

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.

I am

unseen

I am

pattern

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.

shattered bowl

picking up the pieces

of a glued colander

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Water

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

underneath rocks

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

,

Ligo haibun challenge – A handful of earth

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..

 

Image by Suzanne
Image by Suzanne

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 )

 

 

 

 

Ligo haibun challenge. ‘ It is solved by walking.’ Beating the Bounds or Circumambulation

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
are whipped

Ligo Haibun- ‘ ..and then there are moments when the wolves are silent and the moon is howling..’ George Carlin

Place

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.

only twigs

on this rosemary bush

winter moon

Ligo Haibun

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