The Pilgrimage Tree

 Haibun written after the World Haiku Festival 2000 Ginko on Thorpe Acre Trail Charnwood UK

Pointed Out

Our walk starts from the shade of a tree.

Spiky green fruit not seen then seen - pointed out.

an old man asks:
why "horse" chestnuts?
so many answers

And down the lane.

Perhaps another week before these trees reach autumnal glory.

Already a snake we turn left into a back alley:

the rose of her cheek
grows pinker

Stop by a conifer hedge, listen for starlings - too early - three hours
later they will gather - maybe a hundred in this small space - not long ago
they would have been a thousand.

The Pilgrimage Tree

Across the road now to a bridge over nothing.
The Blackbrook diverted - a water culvert.

These new houses sat on the old meadow can feel safe from flood .

A willow still weeps by it's old friend.

Clamber under scaffold, gather at the centre of the bridge, read Basho,
Busson - their pilgrimage tree now ours.

packe horse bridge
willow leaves settle
on a wet mattress

Damp Feet

Walk along the bank of the fast clear brook. Children run back and forth but
still stop to write haiku more often than us adults. Their laughter.

This is what writing should be - natural and fun - a thing done together
with spirit.

Gerald sees the supermarket, decides to look for toilets.
Slips, falls down the grass bank, swears a little.

Wait for him by the Streamstone, ponder on what it reminds us of, two knees,
a bottom? He returns in high spirits, this fall his satori, reads us a
tanka, leads from the front for the rest of the walk.

Joseph at five years has good eyes, takes us to a tight clump of toadstools,
look a while, find shaggy ink caps under the hedge - judges' wigs.

mushrooms -
even though the sun is out
damp feet

We Move Along

A tangle of bindweed, white flowers glow.

Locally this is known as "grandmother-pop-out-of-bed". Press the flower at
the base of its bud and it pops into the air, floats to the ground.

Our new friend Olive, many stories still to tell, leaves us, her retirement
bungalow "just behind this hedge".

We move along.

the sound of water
wild morning glories flower
along the bank side

Bites and Bruises

Cross the road into Stonebow Washlands.

Brendan, Frances and Kevin's youngest, stops to write. The other children
stop with him then run to catch us up by the Kingfisher sculpture.

Kingfishers have returned to make their home on the brook again, testament
to the local community environmental group's hard work in cleaning up the
area and creating the Thorpe Acre Trail. This totem like piece by Martin
Heron the nearest we get to seeing one today.

Reed plumes - Gerald tells tales of bird bites and bruises to wide eyes.

a pair of mute swans
come lakeside


Round the end of a chain link fence, a dark place of rushing water .

Stonebow Bridge, also known as the Monk's Bridge for this is the path
they used, off to tend their livestock in the days before the dissolution of
the monasteries. We listen for ghosts.

on the old stone bridge
she fastens his coat

Talk The Day Over

Conversation now flowing and easy, we make our way up an old track
alongside the old
deer park wall. This track is now part of the new National
Cycle Route from
Dover to Scotland. One bike passes us by.

Suddenly we are back in the housing estate. Soon back at the cars. Shake
hands, turn on car lights, heaters and depart.

Some of us stop off awhile at Kevin and Frances Ryan's to talk the day over.

autumn dusk
our friends warm us up
with tea and biscuits

paul t conneally
October 2000


Guide to Thorpe Acre Trail

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