5 21 2014 japanese maple 2

When I was young I was a winged maple seed, and I danced wherever the wind led me.   

The wind led me to love.  Its gusts were powerful, but instead of soaring I sank to the earth.  My wings had been shredded; the dance ended as quickly as it had begun.  

6 2 2014 ancient maple roots 4From the dirt and despair, I remembered the wind stroking my hair.  I remembered the taste of birdsong.  But – my swirling dance was done and there were two choices left – grow roots or die. 

sprouting maple seed /
finds life under the gravel – /
and drinks deeply /

Today I am tall and strong. My roots are deep and they pierce the earth in their thirst.  I pull all the strength I can from the depths, and I store it in the sap that flows over my heart.

My heartwood appears to be sleeping.   Some say it is dead – but it is not.  In my heartwood I still dream, and when the dreams become too heavy they burst through the sap and explode into poetry. 

And still – each poem grows wings and flies away.  If you listen on a windy day, you can hear my poems scratching on sidewalks.  On rainy days they sweep into the streets and disappear into gutters.  In winter they stick stubbornly to the faces of aging snowmen. 

A few get angry and put down roots – but they never forget having dreamed.

an eddy of roots /
echoes the swirling dance /
of seeds on the wind    //

6 2 2014 ancient maple roots 1

All images: Jen @ Blog It Or Lose It


This haibun is written in response to the Līgo Haibun Challenge, where we were to use the following Ukrainian proverbs for inspiration. 

— Either dance well or start drinking.

— Only when you have eaten a cockroach do you appreciate soup.

I selected the first proverb.

Please visit Beautiful Haibun to explore the world of the haibun!


11 thoughts on “An Eddy of Roots (Haibun)

  1. That was some feat Jen. You gave yourself a near impossible task, to write from the viewpoint of…a maple tree… That would have been soo easy to mess up – and so difficult to get right. Its inspiration to us all that you pulled it off. The secret lies in your first paragraph. Instead of presenting us with the story you let us into it slowly, so we were hooked, and then able to enjoy the wonderful writing.
    Really strong, relevant and emotional haibun. VERY well done.


    • Thank you so much Managua — again, I am a bit overwhelmed!

      The roots on this maple tree are so impressive – I pass them regularly on my walks and have been wanting to use them somehow, somewhere.

      Thank you so much for providing the prompt that finally released these images “into the wild”. 🙂


  2. The analogy with the maple wings is so strong – I could see it dancing. This is so strong and beautiful – the wind stroking hair, tasting birdsong. All so vivid. Wonderfully written and evocative.


  3. how interesting…what a great take on the prompt! Just read your comment…sometimes a piece of art takes a little more time than usual…any way I really understand about the prose problem…and writer brain rot too 😉


    • Thanks Ron!
      Lately I’ve been struggling mightily with prose — this was a painfully difficult post to write — for many reasons, including “writer brain rot”! 🙂 And when I did get the prose right, it didn’t match the haiku and the haiku had to be redone. Ugh! So … thanks 🙂


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