public domain photo
Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poetics. This means we do not post to a prompt but instead, post a poem of whatever subject and style we choose. I am posting a haibun I began several years ago. I grew up in North Carolina and the countryside was filled with farms of all kinds: vegetable, cattle, tobacco. There are many two lane roads out in the country with dirt roads leading off to less populated areas. I frequently would drive out into the countryside to escape the ambient lights of the cities to observe meteor showers in the black night of the countryside.I wrote this in 1995 and have just now cleaned up enough to post. Mary is hosting at the Pub today. We are also sharing books we enjoy. Come and join us and read some talented poets and…submit one of your own!
Delta Aquarids –
Escape from city lights – the
Veiled stars will unveil.
Hot night in July –needing to be out of the city, rolling smooth down a country two lane blacktop, soft roar of the tires – tack…..tack…..tack…..Rock in the tire tread – front passenger, I think. Black countryside, no lights showing in the few houses. Folks have to get up early go to work in town, go to work in surrounding tobacco fields. Rolling past rows of tobacco and corn row after row after row, broken only by the dark houses. Green plants show up white in the headlights.
Past another small house, dark. Ahead off to the right a dirt road. I pull off and go down it slowly. Dust invisible but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron and sweeter lime. And in the headlights ahead. Washboard shadows in the hard dirt where constant tires have cleared away the gravel. In the headlight the road is pale pink but in the daylight, it will be red as blood. To the left, a small drive leading to an empty space by the tobacco field. I pull in and park, cut the engine – the cooling motor goes ting ting ting…
Insect sounds rise in
The darkness – chackachacka,
Whir, hypnotic hum..
Except for the insects, dead silence except for a dog barking some distance away then another closer by answers. In front of me as my eyes adjust I see several empty tobacco slides waiting for morning. Time of year to prime the thick leaves, snap by hand the thick stalks heavy leaves of the plants, to be loaded in layers in the slides, then hitched to the back of a tractor to be taken to be to ancient tobacco barns and tied by hand to tobacco sticks, loaded by hand into the barn to dry for sale in the fall. I can tell by the snapped stalks on the plants, this is the third priming.
Fireflies flicker – an
insect meteor shower
among the dark plants.
One comes in my car window and settles on the steering wheel, White dark white dark – flashing its signals to an alien being who doesn’t understand the language. Smells of dust, acrid tang of tobacco sap, smell of cows from a field close by. Tipping the seat back I lean my head against the headrest And look at the stars through my windshield. The firefly continues its signals. Suddenly, several quick bursts in the dark sky and the stars begin to fall – trails of white falling towards the horizon, silent as dust. Some shimmer, some burst, they all burn in the summer night, streak after streak, fast, slow, dark and again they explode and fall.
July stars burst, streak, –
Trails of fire in the black night
Fade and disappear.
In the cool grey dawn, the stars have gone to sleep. The firefly has flown away. I drive slowly down the dirt road back to the two lane black top back to the city. Tack…..tack…..tack…..
public domain free image