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October 2016, vol 12 no 3

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Dawn Paul

Old Frog Pond Farm

I turned in at the sign and was greeted by a smiling boxer with uncropped ears. No people in sight, no info kiosk, no trail signs. A working farm: young fruit trees protected by wire fencing; greenhouse with rows of red and green lettuce. A cricket chirped in tall weeds that edged the pond. The water was flat, not a ripple to trouble its coating of pollen, lily pads and mats of yellowish algae. Two cedar waxwing fledglings flew into a weeping willow and gave their soft, high-pitched calls. I crouched down to look for frogs and flushed a robin from the cattails. A painted turtle slipped into the water and lily pads gently rocked in its wake. I wished I could join it. The sun was hot, mid-June, mid-day. A deer fly buzzed my ear and I thought of Issa’s poem:

Oh do not swat them
unhappy flies forever
wringing their thin hands

I squinted in the sun, walked back to the car for a water bottle, pen and paper.

Haiku translated by Peter Beilenson in Japanese Haiku, published by Peter Pauper Press,1955.