A Forked Path (haibun)

shaking in the storm
twigs, trees, houses
and my heart

I am awoken at midnight by a howl of wind. Our small thatched house trembles. I snuggle under the covers and wait for the storm to subside. But it grows wilder. The mud plastered walls will soon give way if this continues for an hour. I hear the faint rustle of my mother getting up and fumbling for the tiny wick lamp in the darkness. She strikes a matchstick and lights the lamp. The flame flickers in the wind and the lamp goes out. She lights the lamp again. The lamp can't survive this wind. She gives up and sits beside me. 'Ponu, are you all right?' I cling to her. I feel safe in her arms.

I hear raindrops hitting the walls and the roof. The flashes of lightning are followed by peals of thunder. After each flash of lightning, I hold my breath, terrified. The next moment the house is left in utter darkness as the thunder crashes. The roof leaks. The storm comes to a halt after a while, but the rain continues.

downpour
in the pail rests
a tiny pool

I fall asleep but the sleep is disturbed by the steady trill of frogs. In the morning I prance about, barefoot, from one segment of the terraced field to another, my feet splashing in puddles. The sky is full of dark clouds, no sign of sunshine. I keep on drifting away yearning to see the frogs. I am overwhelmed by the mystery of the chorus echoing everywhere and their invisibility. I kick the field; throw pebbles into puddles aiming at the source of the sound. When I reach the far end of the field, to my delight, I see a frog with freckled skin and yellow throat hopping on the raised part of the field. It winks at me and dives into the puddle. The morning is done.

When I return home, I find that it is past school time. Mama yells at me, I stand quietly in the corner of the yard, biting my lips, the freckled frog still fresh in my mind.

wet field
even my footprints
drenched




Haiku by Mukul Dahal
Read 680 times
Written on 2008-02-14 at 20:17

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Both the haikus and the narrative parts are beautifully written.
I read this text yesterday already; the image of this child has not left my heart and mind, and I'm sure it is going to dwell in my toughts for a long time.
It's good to see you back on poetbay!
2008-02-15