Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2


Ruined Man
Patricia Prime


A big man, he sits in a chair by the open door. Too weak to sit up properly, he slouches in a La-Z-Boy, legs covered by a rug. He mumbles incoherently, as dying people sometimes do. People don't talk about it, but I know from experience. He was once a brilliant, skillful, artistic, highly motivated man but has been rendered helpless by old age and a series of illnesses. His once superior body has declined into that of a helpless child, but still the twinkle is in his eye when I kiss his cheek and there is warmth in the hollow, knobbly fingers.

He has a thousand stories to tell about his days as a war veteran, deep-sea fisherman, hunter and farmer, but I guess this is the last time I'll hear his voice.

the chair where he sat
holds only shadows

Patricia Prime has recently retired after 30 years of teaching and is now involved in the reading recovery programme at her local primary school. She is co-editor of the New Zealand haiku magazine Kokako and reviews editor of the online magazine Stylus. She writes short stories, poetry, articles, reviews and interviews and also enjoys collaborating on poems with other poets. Recently she completed a renku called "Saint Brigid's Day" with UK poet John Carley and Irish poet Norman Darlington, which will appear in the next issue of Kokako. One of her haibun appears in the latest edition of Contemporary Haibun, Volume 6. Patricia has worked hard to have Japanese poetry forms accepted in mainstream poetry journals and has been successful in one or two cases.