Washed smooth by nature’s caress, the jagged edge is eased.  Beside lapis waves which kissed the ocher shores we plucked our wind-worn memories from the sand to leave in our wake a mark of passing.  A tenuous journey across time where two paths cross – the wanderer and the placer.  It takes a steady hand to find the balance; unsettle even one, they fall.  The strength of the offering is in the leaving, an act of faith in defiance of gravity.   Poems precarious, they stand as testaments to the impermanence of creation.

silent words of stone
whisper to the next who pass
you are not the first
follow in my footsteps and
for a moment we are one

This was a dual-prompt and triple-inspiration poem!  I went looking for a picture of stacked stones as illustration and the picture in turn further inspired the poem.

Many cultures (I would hazard to say most) have made stacks of stones for various reasons.  Some as markers, some as remembrances.  For some, stones replace flowers at graves.  The simple act of stacking them seems to resonate within us.

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

For today’s prompt, write an exploration poem. Maybe you’re exploring a new land, the depths of quarks, outer space, the mind, the soul, etc. Your call. In fact, it could be said that most poems are an exploration of one sort or another.

Haiku is the  customary close to a haibun’s prose, and fits so well, but in our innovation week we are not obliged to limit ourselves to haiku. [… ]So this week… make a choice between haiku or tanka, or pathya vat from Cambodia, or thanbauk from Burma, now Myanmar, to go with your prose.

This week is quote prompt week. You do not need to include the quote in the haibun, and normally it is not included but used as inspiration for your haibun. As always, choose one.

It is not enough to know how to ride – you must also know how to fall.– Mexican Proverb
It is solved by walking. – Algerian Proverb
I’d like to say I chose the second, but I think in the end I sort of chose both.

25 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Oh dear,this is spellbinding. I have a visceral dislike of overblown comments and ‘loves’ on comments, but reading this is really receiving a word massage – for the intellect as well as senses. I feel enrichened and feel also that I understand what you mean by the ‘cairns’ as we call the piles of stones in Scotland, to which we add one at the top of hills,just to say we’ve ‘passed by’.
    ‘lapis waves’ and ‘wind worn memories’…and the last line, the testament…really, the whole piece is wonderful, and through your tanka I finally understood what an rt form it is. How well it is used with the prose here. A question formed in my mind, why you chose the past tense. I thought it might be as good in simple present tense too. Just musings. Wonderful work – by both you and nature.

    • In one revision I had the word ‘cairn’ in the prose, but it looks as if it got edited out at some point. There was too much in my head for this one and it was hard to distill it down. I wanted to say more, but every time I added, it became repetitious and seemed to loose some of it’s power, so I finally left it as is.

      I wanted to hint at that ancient sense of stones being the oldest markers of humans on earth. We stack and build and shape and align them. Stones are our link to our past in so many ways… so I suppose that’s why it came out in the past tense.

      Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and kind comments!

  2. Oh I do so love this piece and the photograph is so fantastic…one of my favorite calming exercises is to pile stones! Such a fantaastic haibun…exactly what I needed today! Thanks ever so much for this wonderful post.

  3. Beautiful phrasing. I was pulled immediately to the shore and to the stones and I felt the tension required to balance them and the sense of footprint left behind. Wonderfully evocative piece of writing.

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      • I must have on some level, but I was not that swift. I’m glad I did get your point, even if inadvertently. Truly inspiring. Between you and Pirate, I am climbing the Raasay hillside in my memory, and stacking rocks while the sheep graze and the birds dance on the wind.

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  6. “The strength of the offering is in the leaving” are words that I contemplate in this beautiful tanka. I keep returning here. This is my favorite in this challenge. There are no jagged edges here.

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