Thursday, February 15, 2007

The cruelest month

The grey days crowd together like piles of fish in the market. Short and slippery, they go by quickly, flashing into the deeper nights. You're drawn under and you hold your breath while your head throbs. Looking up at the dim and dappled blue light, you wait, tumbling like freefall, like a class IV washing machine. Until one day the undertow shifts and spits you out, wrinkled and gasping, stumbling onto the bright and gritty shores of spring.

one day the dark light
will spread gently into spring's
golden green halo

Click on the photo for a larger version. The title of this haibun is borrowed from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.


Blogger la vie en rose said...

...i'm so ready...

2/15/2007 11:29 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

It's happening here, slowly. First iris bloomed by the pond. Buds on bare branches. Light in the sky after 5:00. The first hints of what's to come.

2/15/2007 11:42 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

You have a way of keeping your words spare and yet saying all that needs to be said...this is beautiful.

2/15/2007 12:42 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Love, love, LOVE the images in this! (If I had to choose one, it would be "like piles of fish in the market--short and slippery")

Yes, spring is also turbulent--have to gear up for it in its own way...

2/15/2007 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spring is in the air and shoulders are thawing!

2/15/2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Are class IV washing machines made by Sears?? Fantastic write MB!!!!

2/15/2007 4:04 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Nope, made by Mother Nature. I worried about that being too obscure a reference; I'd want to edit that on a revision. In a whitewater river, a "hole" in a rapid can suck a body under and spin you around and around, not letting you back up for air — it's called maytagging, for obvious reasons. There is a standard rating system for the difficulty of rapids that divides them into five classes, IV presenting serious challenges for boaters and V being the most dangerous to run. (A VI would be a vertical waterfall.)

2/15/2007 4:14 PM  
Blogger Firehawk said...


Yeah! A Haibun! I think this one works, and I'm glad I read your comments about the rapids--I would have gone with you in the thought that there was some big Class 4 washing machine out there, but I see the extended metaphor now. Quite nice.

I'm glad that someone else is using this form. I really adore it, myself.

I really enjoy the picture, too. It reminds me of the redrocks where I lived for many years (Northern Arizona).

2/15/2007 5:39 PM  
Blogger floots said...

wow - this sums it up so well
just how i've been feeling
thank you

2/16/2007 1:10 AM  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

Are you SURE that Spring is coming? This poem really captures the feeling!

2/16/2007 8:26 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Same kind of feelings here too.

2/16/2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger rdl said...


2/17/2007 5:41 AM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Love the prose, and the image of a washing machine (didn't get the rapid classification image - didn't matter) and gritty, and the whole thing as a cleansing process that leaves a mess.

2/17/2007 6:01 AM  
Anonymous tongue in cheek said...

Golden green halo. Perfect!

2/18/2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger polona said...

wow! i can relate to this wonderfully written haibun!

2/18/2007 10:50 AM  
Blogger Pod said...

lovely picture pretty little birdie!

2/19/2007 3:06 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

Some dark days life is maytagging
Your words ---- how they bring light and courage to these gray days!

2/19/2007 5:16 AM  
Blogger Snowsparkle said...

i'm with firebird! favorite line is the piles of fish! and i do feel so ravaged by winter this year. but the plum blossoms are out and so is the sun... today feels almost like spring! i'm ready!

2/19/2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Ó Seasnáin said...

You give winter too little credit. It has its beauty also... but this poem is quite good. Do you take the pictures yourself?

2/19/2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

It's a beautiful grey though, isn't it?

2/19/2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Michelle, so am I, so am I.

Robin Andrea, blooming iris — how lucky you are.

Pauline, thank you.

Firebird, thank you.

Charlie, thawing shoulders would be wonderful, too.

Firehawk, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the form, it's my first attempt. A rewrite would also have to involve making the haiku less repetitive.

Floots, thanks for understanding how I've been feeling. I look forward to reading more of yours.

Fred, it's a leap of faith.

Gautami, thanks.

rdl, thanks.

zhoen, the whole thing's a messy process. Part of what makes it beautiful, I suppose.

Corey, glad you enjoyed it.

Polona, thank you very much.

Pod, thank you. The light kept shifting.

Endment, it's what I look for.

Snowsparkle, me too. We're not there yet.

O Seasnain, I agree with you that winter has beauty. Yes, I take the pictures unless otherwise noted.

Patry, it certainly can be.

2/20/2007 11:04 AM  
Blogger Pod said...

oh i just noticed the title! i was just ordered to read the waste land....

2/20/2007 1:09 PM  
Blogger ruth said...


2/20/2007 11:28 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Pod, "ordered"??

Ruth, thanks.

2/21/2007 5:00 PM  

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