Haibun

Sea and Stone

The air is full of the sea. I can feel my feet sink into the sand at the tide’s edge. In my hand I have a stone. My eyes are closed.

A woman is helping her child to walk down a rocky shore. Where the water begins they stop. Before them lies a whole sea, stretching all the way to the sky. The child is a boy, no more than four years old. He is full of wonder.Now the woman is talking to the child, she is telling him of the times her mother brought her here to share the sea;of how the sea has many faces; of how the sea comes and goes as it chases the moon; of how the sea will always be.                                                                                               The woman bends down. She runs her hand through the stones at her feet, she is searching. She picks up a stone, lays it on her palm and examines it for a while. She closes her hand around it and stands up. The boy is watching. The woman smiles, then she throws the stone into the sea. The boy watches the arc of the stone, he watches the splash, he watches the ripples spread out to shatter the reflection of the sky.It is the boy’s turn to bend down. He does not chose just one stone, he gathers up handfuls of small pebbles and shells. He straightens and takes a step towards the water. Then, instead of throwing his bounty, he scatters them like seeds on the very edge of the sea. His mother smiles. ”0ne at a time”, she says, “one at a time”.The boy does not understand.

I open my eyes and cast my stone. I watch its arc, anticipate the splash…

ripples trying to fill the sea one stone at a time                                                                                                                                  

Remembrance Parade    
                                                                                                                                                                           I remember my grandfather, remembering. 

The black coat he wore, the hat with the small feather. How he merged with the other black coats that lined the route of the remembrance parade.

The Boys Brigade, at the back as usual. Following our ex-army leader, with his cap at just the right angle, his polished swagger stick, his constant "“Lef… lef… lef… “

Standing at attention at the memorial, with the rain washing the dye from our pill-box hats down our faces.

The company flag, hanging there. Thinking how faded it looked and how it smelled of mothballs when we found it in the Kirk Hall basement.

A glance at the cemetery on the way home.

war graves
In neat rows
young men’s names.

Auschwitz I remember reading that no birds sing here. Yet, here I am, walking down the infamous ramp, listening to a bird I cannot see. Perhaps it is afraid to show itself. Perhaps it thinks its song is inappropriate but it cannot keep quiet. I am glad of its song. I need something to hang onto.

empty huts – gravel crunching – beneath my feet

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