Haibun Today

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

Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand



With my friend, I visit her 98 year-old mother in the rest home.  We take a bunch of violets and a bag of Black Doris plums.  There’s a concert in the spacious drawing room.  The picture windows look onto gardens full of blossoming cherry.  My steps falter as we see the old lady perilously near to falling out of her chair.   My friend talks to a nurse and she is returned to her room and put to bed.

at old photographs
on the wall
she screws up her face
to remember names

After we’ve spent some time with her, we find two comfortable armchairs and listen to the karaoke-type music playing on the TV.  Guests and residents sing along from their song sheets.  While others chat about nothing, I take in the room’s corners and angles for the first time, the walls, lights, ceiling, the piano, the wheelchairs and day beds, the shoes without laces, the crumpled forms of the elderly—some strapped into their chairs.  The room’s functional plainness feels slightly alien.  I look at the faces of those around me—some vacant, others concentrating on the screen, some forlorn,  some animated.   Today, I try to give these people all the meaning that has been denied them.

after the concert
out in the garden
a woman picks up
fallen oranges
from beneath the trees

heading for home
we watch clouds
sweep across
the Kamai’s
jagged ranges







Current Contents about archives resources search submissions current