Haibun Today

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

Mark Ritchie
Hollingbourne, Kent, United Kingdom



The massive mound-like structure of the Festival Hall looms beside the river.  For this weekend only, it has become the venue for a creepy crawly festival, celebrating aspects of human interaction with insects in art and life.  Already late for the haiku reading, I scurry up wide stairs, round and round, heading for the sound of voices.  After the reading, punctuated by the recorded announcements of the lift delivering bodies to and from the library, we descend in a group, following our own back-trail, surreptitiously scent-marking this alien territory with post-it labels inscribed with haiku.  It is busier now and swarms of people wander the exhibits or sit to read or talk. 

Inside the entrance, projected on a white wall, in total silence, magnified ants rush in all directions across a featureless plane.  After some moments an odd procession begins to enter from below. Head first, a gigantic cockroach, larger than a man, is very slowly dragged up the wall by hundreds of the ants. Dwarfed by the scale of its enormous corpse, their minute bodies are only a fuzzy fringe to its huge limbs.  The tiny workers seem individually to have no united purpose, apparently pulling in every direction at once, but still it moves.

Far across the other side of the lobby a black woman is sitting on a bench reading.  In front and to one side of her is a wheel chair containing her severely disabled charge, his head somehow too small for his obese body.  He is nodding in time to the jerky movements of his left arm as he repeatedly lifts his crooked fingers to the top of the sloping tray in front of him and drags them down to the bottom. 





Current Contents about archives resources search submissions current