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A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 3

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

Heather Kirk

 

Year of the Dragon

Staying in London early in 2000 I have a dream that one of the entrances to Regent’s Park has become a Chinese gate. Over it, a carved dragon and the words ‘Gateway to the New Year’.

Despite poor health, I decide to follow the dream. In February I take a taxi to Park Gate East. Walking past a small tree cascading budding catkins I see ahead two aligned fountains, icicles hanging from their bowls. This recalls an earlier dream ...

last push to the top
the overarching fountains
still as far

At home on the Isle of Wight, one night in June I dream I’m in Chinatown and in the air before me are the solid and broken lines of I Ching trigrams. Beside them are the words of a simple dedication with a space left for the name of the speaker. Waking, I wonder if I would know when the right time came to make such a dedication.

Some days later, alone and unable to sleep, I become aware of a wish to look out of the window. And this is the moment.

shadowy garden
an unvisited birdbath
receiving the moon

Later in Summer while visiting Chinatown to purchase the herbs which are my preferred form of treatment, I notice a small but expensive cake decorated with Chinese writing. The shop assistant tells me it’s a mooncake, containing only the finest ingredients and that at the Autumn Festival these are given as gifts. Wondering for whom, I buy one, take it home and put it in the freezer.

It is not until October, on another visit to London, that I think to ask a waiter when the Moon Festival is, and am told it passed a full week ago.

At home, rather shamefaced, I take out the cake and place it on a table where I keep a small carving of a dragon. Lighting a candle I instinctively apologise to the ‘ancestors’ for the belated offering. Sitting quietly, I become aware of the play of light

a flame reflected
on the carved dragon’s heart
Moon Festival

By January it is clear my health is much improved, but at the cost of a relationship that has been fraught with conflicts. I’m still collecting the herbs, though the dosage is gradually being reduced ...

our final parting
a littered street in Chinatown
at New Year’s end
clear moon, a single star

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

 


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