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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Ken Jones


The Inlet

At last a thickening line between sea and sky. To starboard a thin green spit sharpens and lengthens on the ebb tide. With sails furled we putter up the winding creek, through mud and marsh. A scuttle of shrill oystercatchers works the tide line. At the tiller, I follow the way marks of ancient mariners.

Crooked withies
feet in shallows
gesture skywards

We drop anchor where the creek broadens out. The motor falls silent in a solitude which is neither land nor sea. The only object on this inland water is a ruined boathouse breaking the line of brown and green shoreline some five hundred yards away. We lower our “pram”—a tiny dinghy. One rows with short, cramped strokes against a freshening wind, back to back with the other kneeling in the bow. Both yacht and boathouse seem distant now, in this threatening expanse of dark, choppy water.

Hunched in the pram
shallow or not
a bottomless depth

We beach on a drift of sand, and scramble up the grassy dyke. But nothing connects the boathouse to anywhere else. There is nowhere else. Veined with muddy creeks, the marshland stretches away into the haze. We take our fill—the lap of water, harsh cries of birds, and the little salty, leathery plants that live between the tides. I take a rusty baler to the boathouse boat.

Clinker built
through broken ribs
the dry sand drifts

Back across the sound the yacht towers above us. “Jump!” Together from the pram, lest one capsize the other. We decide to wait until the moon refills the haven. Idle, sunny hours. I nod off, and my water stained copy of Erskine Childers’ Riddle of the Sands—an inshore yachtsman’s mystery read—falls on the cabin floor.

Cries of curlews
all day long we swing
at our moorings

Back down the creek towards the open sea, running before a fresh evening breeze. Beneath a starlit sky we show our navigation lights.

Cradle of dreams
rocked by the wind
drawn by the tides

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]


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