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Haibun (Tree Strips)

by Maureen Glaude

beneath the afternoon sun
this rural road stretches on blankly
past sudden frozen ponds, pearled trees,
openly receiving my cautious imprint
just as the cold halos my breath.

Eerie Caryatids, the trees, aesthetic in their crystal garb afer that January dawn. Sudden Bonsai, but ungentle and of all sizes. The whip snaps and cracks from the ice volumes on tree limbs, hydro poles and black wires, over the silence from power black-outs, making the trees’ whistles, creaks and shifts from the wind precarious to any close venturers in their radius. Where months before the habitual promise of shade, shelter, and leaning post hospitality had extended from the trees. Though violated now, split from their centers and torn by the limbs, they acted as storm troopers perpetuating the same onslaught of which they were also victims. On the cities’ streets and the rural side roads township after township, from eastern Canada, as far as New England in the United States, in l998, loomed rows of dismembered ghost muses more fitting to Pasternak’s settings in Dr. Zhivago, and I remembered the grey-ice draped rooms of the interior of the refuge dacha* in Varykino.

sun on the ice-glazed road
Caryatid trees over-laden with crystal
dangerous paths

Long, hot summer days of my girlhood, I’d stroll in the small forest across from our house, in search of the perfectly textured and shaped branch to be worked under my fingernails. I'd start at the tip of it and peel way down through the grey-brown layer strip by strip, reach that green underskin’s aromatic sliminess and persist until I left one smooth blonde bone, like a whip.

*Dacha- house )(cottage), is one of many that form small dacha villages between small forests, and fields, l0 miles from Moscow city limit...Dachas were formed as cooperatives supervised by trade unions. The location, size, and quality of both the land and the buildings on it were different for a worker and director of his or her own factory. (Google)


Posted on 01/21/2005
Copyright © 2021 Maureen Glaude

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 01/22/05 at 01:23 AM

Haunting in more ways than one Mo, literature wise, geographically, historically...but especially on a personal level. And as Martha Stewart would say...that's a good thing.

Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 01/24/05 at 06:34 PM

yes, it haunts... and i loves this style of writing... excellent read... blessings...

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