Night River

I’m learning so much from the WordPress community.  I just found out there’s a beautiful form which blends prose and haiku, called haibun. Naturally I had to give it a try. Here goes.



Night River


There is stillness on top of the water, though it swirls and currents underneath. The river is quiet and deep in the cooling summer night, the world in black and white.

My sister says that underneath the darkness swim a multitude of carp battling for survival, pushing out the native fish with their incessant hunger, rapid reproduction, excessive growth. But can a stillness so deep really house this dramatic abundance? How can so much life be unseen, unheard? They do not sing their vitality like land creatures.


Warm river surface

Reflects a perfect full moon

A ripple twitches


Two men have lines running into the heart of the black water. One of them has pulled a gar onto shore and extracted the hook. He doesn’t want it. He rolls it toward the water, loathe to touch it any more than necessary. It comes to rest on its back, long pale belly toward the sky, little flat fins like a baby shark. It wriggles slowly, blind and mute, struggling its way down across the gray wet clay toward the water. It stops short, its body too heavy to move, eyes unable to blink against the dry bright moonlight, simple mind utterly overwhelmed. The man pokes it again with his foot, its instinctive defenses are nothing here in the light air, it can only writhe in an empty hopeless way. We all want it to go back but we can’t bring ourselves to touch its mucousy skin. There is a smell to the river (does the water smell like fish or do the fish smell like water?). It is ameobal, the smell of primordial soup, algae, microscopic life, placenta.



The water won’t keep us now

She has new children


  • I love this. My interpretation of its meaning is probably incorrect…ish. But I guess that’s the beauty of it, haha.
    Also, fishing always makes me sad. Despite their simple fishy minds, I always feel bad for the pain we cause them when fishing. Especially the dreaded swallowed hook! Even hurting the worm makes me sad though. I’m such a bleeding heart. Sticking the hook through the body of the worm – watching it writhe in pain. If there is a God, I hope he gave bugs and bottom-of-the-food chain creatures less nerve endings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Part of it is about empathy, so you haven’t missed the point.
      Ugh, I hate the swallowed hook! The removal is always so crunchy and horrifying. Then they’re like, “Go back in the water sweetie, grow up big and strong, I set you free!” and it sinks straight to the bottom. I wish people would just eat the fish they catch.

      Liked by 1 person

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