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Haibun by Marjorie Buettner

Mounds View
Marjorie Buettner

Walking near the river, I hear the distant echo of a tugboat whistle carried off by a hollow wind--that same wind which returns, sweeping between these Indian burial mounds, curling over the tops of the autumn prairie grass, rising into the dark air, then banking along the river's edge again, coming back in time to touch me. 

It is the same wind that brings with it this wild scent of old leaves, or old age, I cannot tell. The burial mounds have existed here, forever--rising and falling in this night-shadow like the hump of forgotten bison: earth colored, camouflaged against a vast landscape, fallen into a history unfathomable, inescapable. 

The iron gate that surrounds the burial mounds holds in it a deep-night cold, that same cold which accompanies the change of season.

The tugboat whistle that I hear echoing from across the river seems to come from these mounds as well; they pull at me from the middle of my life, bidding me to listen to its lament: slow down, retrace your steps that have scattered these ancient leaves, sit down and let the night surround you, enter you, become you.

I pick up a leaf
and smell earth's memory . . .
Indian summer

Marjorie has recently won First place in the Tinywords haiku contest, 2003; Third place in the first Hoshino Takashi Award 2003; and Honorable Mention in the first Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition, 2003.

In 2002, she won First place in Harold G. Henderson’s Haiku Society of America contest. She has also received Honorable Mention from Japan’s fourth and fifth annual Suruga-Baika Literary Festival, 2002, 2003; Japan’s Mainichi haiku contest, 2001; and Honorable Mention in the James Hackett’s British Haiku Society’s 2001 contest.

Marjorie also writes book reviews for North Stone Review, Modern Haiku and the World Haiku Review on line.


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