Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

HAIBUN (sort of): Reponse to One Deep Breath Prompt of 1-13-08


I have no roots. No stories
of the Old World from the Polish
grandmother who scrubbed floors
to feed and educate her daughter,
her history held in a proud
compensating silence.

I have no roots but those I steal.
No cradling web of stories about
the mother dead as I turned ten,
my family's silence more final
than her dying.

I have no roots but those I steal
in dreams of the Irish father
and grandmother, the grandfather
and great-grandparents, who struggled
in vaudeville and commerce,
the Great Depression and two World Wars,
yet dropped only the rare fact
in the same few oft repeated stories,
leaving me to milk my dark intuitions
for sustenance.

I have no roots but those I steal
in dreams from trees:
my father, doubly transformed
by death and dream, guides me
to a clearing in the wood
where grows an enormous
softly glowing tree, at which
he gestures saying "Look to your Mother"

I breathe gratefully
of timeless silence
the heart of these woods

The prompt this week at One Deep Breath is "to write a haiku series (or haibun) which tells a story from childhood." Please forgive the shortcut I've taken. I have barely three weeks left before my move to California and I am rapidly approaching "non compos mentis," as well. :-) But I am finding sticking to some familiar routines -- such as doing an ODB prompt post -- helps me keep somewhat grounded. So I took a short cut with an old dream-based story-of-my-life poem turning the ending image into a haiku. The result is a semi-haibun, I guess.

You can, as always, visit One Deep Breath (link above), and check out the comments for others' wonderful and varied responses to this prompt.

* * * *

‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blogs ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT.

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At 11:15 AM , Blogger qualcosa di bello said...

that is just it's beauty i feel your sadness & yet there is pride in your heritage that wells up too. death really does have a way of soothing us in ways we can't explain. thank you.

At 11:46 AM , Blogger Roswila said...

Thank you, qualcosa di bello, for your insight. I have tended over the years to focus on the ending image and it is good to be put back in touch with some of the other levels to this dream/poem.

At 5:49 PM , Blogger Sandy Carlson said...

This is very nice. The image of your family's silence being more final than mother's death blew me away. This line captures the tone of this elegaic poem. Thank you.
Writing in Faith

At 6:11 PM , Blogger tumblewords said...

This is a piece of beauty, depth, challenge and poignancy. I truly love this -

And I wish you the best of luck with your move and in your new life!

At 5:41 AM , Blogger susan said...

The real value of a prompt is to follow where it leads us and not confine ourselves to form or expectation. Love the refrain it speaks to my own sense of loss and ache for a history.

At 8:19 AM , Blogger Roswila said...

Yes, thank you, Susan, where a prompt leads is it's true value. Which is largely why I so enjoy One Deep Breath... seeing where we each go with it. :-) I just worry when I wander "too far afield," so to speak. And I'm wandering all over the map these final days here in New York city. LOL!

At 10:39 AM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

This is a beautiful and very touching story.
The silence of the family is really heart stopping.

At 1:21 PM , Blogger Quiet Paths said...

This was amazing to read. I trust it was that to write. I admire the depth and integrity of the words; how you seem to turn over and ponder memories and origins like small, beautiful stones in your hand. thank you, Christine

At 3:04 PM , Blogger Roswila said...

I just want to say how moved I am by the responses to this post. With all the sorting and letting go I'm having to do for my move to California, my entire life has been up for review. As it pretty much was in the writing of this poem years ago. I now see a deeper level to my choosing it as a response to this week's ODB prompt. Finding the both roots and beauty in the silence, even as I move on....

At 2:57 PM , Anonymous watermaid said...

I love the line 'I have no roots but those I steal' The repetitions are almost hypnotic. The concluding haiku is beautiful. You did well to respond to the prompt so quickly.

At 12:58 PM , Blogger Plain Foolish said...

This is so powerful.

At 2:30 PM , Blogger get zapped said...

Such a deep and moving piece. I was transfixed and now feel deeply rooted, like a tree fully nourished. Thank you.

At 7:34 AM , Blogger marde said...

Breath taking! The images & phrases carry multi-layered resonances for me.....
~ 'proud compensating silence'
~ 'no cradling web of stories'
~ 'silence more final than dying'
~ 'leaving me to milk my dark intuitions'
~ 'no roots but those I steal/ in dreams from trees'
~ 'doubly transformed/ in death and dream
~ 'an enormous softly growing tree'

Thank you for carving the time to share, and many blessings on your journey! ~ Marti

At 9:56 AM , Blogger Roswila said...

Thank you so much, Marti! As I mentioned at my ODB comment I was concerned I'd tweaked the prompt a bit too much using this old poem the way I have. I am now glad I took that chance, as everyone's responses have helped me see the poem (and the experiences it references) with fresh eyes.

At 11:28 AM , Blogger Sandy said...

Roswila, this is so very beautiful. I love me they are almost sacred.

Many of us try finding who we are through our heritage of which much of it is lost. In the end I feel it really doesn't matter...whatever we find out, we are still who we are.


At 12:09 PM , Blogger Roswila said...

Hi Sandy,

I, too, adore trees (Standing People). I sometimes think I was a Druid in a past life. :-)

I agree that we are who we are, with or without knowledge of our heritages. Which is ultimately what I come to in the poem, in a sort of "zen" way.

At 12:42 PM , Blogger myhermitude said...

I'm not sure what you meant by shortcut, unless the poem was written before at some point, and you simply capped it with the haiku. I've done it before with haibun, especially haiku capping sijo. I'm glad you used your prose-poem linked to the haiku. Basho wrote his travel diaries (his haibun) in various voices, i.e. styles of poetic prose); I've often wanted to write a series of haibun in different 'voices' by using different genres of short poems, some capped with haiku. I had planned to do that on an Oku-no-hosimichi tour in Japan once, but I was almost to entranced by Japan to even write haiku. I enjoyed your story. Thanks!

At 7:56 PM , Blogger Roswila said...

Hi myhermitude,

Yes, it's an old poem that I simply turned the closing image of into a haiku. So it felt like a "shortcut" since I only re-wrote the closing lines in haiku form. :-)

I, too, like experimenting with different forms and combinations thereof. Hope you share some of yours on ODB.


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