Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 4, December 2010

Ken Jones
Aberystwyth, Wales


The Long Passage

My shadow
and my gammy leg
out together for a walk

ATMOSPHERIC WALK is where it starts, with a shiny black bollard.   Hidden in a row of semi-Ds on a busy road. This backcrack slinks across our suburb past back gardens, back doors, back everything.

fading on a back gate
bound shut with ivy

Keeping company briefly with the railway line, it becomes THE METALS. Then it loses its identity for a while before picking up another.  Further into town it becomes BOREEN this and that, in folksy Irish letters, embossed and green, De Valera vintage. Once it almost loses its nerve among the dreaded Silchesters—“road,” “avenue,” “crescent,” “terrace,” but a group of friendly wheelie bins helps it to get going again. Several road crossings later it finishes up among the children’s swings of the People’s Park and the salty tang of Dublin Bay.

Sitting on shaven grass
a seat with a view
partnered by a litter bin

A walk for the Idle & Curious. On a back door, Tojo the Dwarf in elegant red letters, resprayed annually.  Kept in thrall by a fair maiden?

In a dusty window

A mild erotic frisson blends with curiosity. Round a corner protected  by spiky gothic ironwork,  COMMIT NO NUISANCE.  Caslon Old Face etched deep in granite, picked out with moss.  Balloch harbour is only a skip and a jump away.

Sunday morning anglers
their solitude
enjoyed together

One is a James Joyce lookalike—reading, of course. “Any bites?” “Enough to ruin a good read.”  

The strolling conviviality of the long, leisurely stretches melts the misanthropic.

Pram pushing dog walkers
of the  North West Passage

Indeed, I suspect it is patrolled by a Secret Order of Panglossians, dedicated to the elimination of melancholy. However, wasn’t it Sam Becket who reminded us that ten minutes is long enough to spend with anybody? A passing word and smile, our separate lives connect, cross and are gone.

Broken free from its moorings
this absent mind
sailing the long passage

Panglossians, after Dr Pangloss, in Voltaire’s “Candide,” who believed that “all’s for the best in the best of worlds.”


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