Back to the Beginning Haībun

Picture Used by kind permission of Ines Williamson

Picture used by kind permission of Ines Williamson

In the yellow light of a new night, the cobblestones echo my thoughts back to me. “Why are you here?” Here is where I started, in a small apartment past that iron gate. The first sunshine I ever remember seeing flooded into my tiny room there on the third floor.

My friends and I played stickball and tackle-tommy in the Magic Between. That special time between school and dinner is what I miss most, that magical time when parents were busy and kids could play. I remember the Between as one big blur, like an endless summer day: my homerun, Jack’s skinned knee and when Bats broke his arm swinging over the fence instead of walking through like everyone else.

I rang in the New Year with my folks in their new place across town, but this golden gateway is where the little-me, my memory, still lives. I remember when Stefan’s snake escaped, and Mrs. Nolan came screaming down her stairs, after finding it curled under her stove.

Is home on these cobbles? Or in the window glass I looked through on a night like tonight? My sister and I wished on a star. Wishes are secret, but mine was to fly in an airplane one day, to be inside one leaving a contrail wide enough to be seen all over the city, knowing people were looking up at the roar I made. Then my sister and I realized the only star in the sky was moving, not a star at all, probably an airplane. Do wishes made on planes come true? This one did.

I came back to my hometown on an airplane, home to see my folks, so happy in their new apartment, all their things reduced and rearranged. My sister is busy with her three kids and their teenage angst, but she came to see me and our parents. I don’t think she really saw me. We barely spoke. I couldn’t think what to say to her. I wonder what her wish was, all those years ago. I know better than to ask. Now a new airplane will take me home to Boston, my other home.

home is in my heart
not here on this cobbled street
but I hear its echo

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Inspired by the first Līgo Haībun Challenge of 2014, part of a picture prompt from Ese at Ese’s Voice.

Oak Leaf Tanka


small oak sapling sways
leaves bob in the bitter wind
frosted with snowflakes

waving to fallen leaf friends
oak leaf lingers to kiss spring buds

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: A Tanka is a Japanese poetry form that has five lines with syllable counts per line of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7. In another way of thinking of it, a Tanka is a haiku with two longer seven-syllable lines added as a second stanza. Some purists find fault with any rhyming within the poem. The third line is intended to be a turning point, or a pivot, about which the meaning of the poem turns or changes. I don’t know if my poem achieved that or not. I enjoyed learning about it, and I hope you’ll give it a try, too.