Two haibun by Jeffrey Woodward

The Water's Way
 
Look into the shallow and winding stream.  Water over stone, water over sand – what shall resist it?  Light dances hither and thither on an eddy, now shimmering like spangles or sparkling like diamonds, now lancing the eye like a fine dagger.

A butterfly may be a creature of the wind – blown this way or that.  Drawn now to this flower and now to that flower, settling here and flitting there – ever yet a butterfly.  Are women not also as graceful and subject, at times, to a greater power?  The sturdy oak snaps in the wind but the slender willow bends easily and survives a storm's whims.  In resistance, one discovers one's weakness.  In submission, one's strength.

Have not famous men considered the water's way and dreamt of butterflies?

Stir the water with your hand and muddy the stream.  Be patient.  The mud settles and all is clear.  Let the water pursue its own path, effortlessly. It attains its end, even where granite would bar its way.

To look into the water, do nothing.  Eventually, one's vision, too, will clear.  Men of ancient times sought perfection so and aspired to immortality.
 
the butterfly of
a beautiful dream
and no other
 


Out of Season
 
My light jacket out of season – today an abridgement of yesterday – sun ensnared by nearly naked branches, barely a glitter on the winding brook that parallels my footpath – a tuft of grass solitary, forlorn and shivering – only in the gathering dark, a lingering past, like a lengthening shadow, or a foreshortened future to reflect upon? – precious little now for water to capture and convey – kneeling, nevertheless, to cup my hands at a bend in the brook…
 
                                                coming to taste it
                                      this late in the day
                                      the water is clear
 

 
• Jeffrey Woodward lives in Detroit.  His poems and articles appear widely in periodicals in the USA, UK, Canada and Asia including, most recently: Asahi Shimbun (Japan), Bottle Rockets, Contemporary Haibun Online, Envoi (Wales).  The Hypertexts, International Poetry Review, Kokako (New Zealand), Lines Review (Scotland) Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Modern English Tanka, Modern Haiku, Nisqually Delta Review, Noon (Japan), (Australia),  Paper WaspSouth by Southeast and tinywords. His haiga, in addition, have appeared in The Green Leaf Files (England) and Haiga Online. (IS&T will be publishing some of his haifa later this summer.)

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