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Contents Page: July, 2010, vol 6 no 2

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Graham High

Underground

The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly.
                                               ~Lewis Carroll

Sometimes, during the rush hour I am disassociated from myself. I am a white rabbit of the night commuting into the half-conscious. It is a different world down there: a different journey.

down the moving stair–
into the deep rising croon
of a saxophone

At such a time the mind feels itself driven by stress or repetition into its own strange tunnels and passages. Anonymous among the crowd I enter the carriage and take my seat. The automatic doors squeeze shut. I slide into the wakeful unconscious.

on the same carriage
a row of seven sleepers
in different dreams

The passive jogging rolling journey of the body is mirrored in the unguided passage of the mind. Sometimes a marvellous thought, a poem, may come unbidden. Sometimes it is just a jumble of rubbish and undigested events.

unread daily–
up and down the line
towards tomorrow

Between stations the long cocoon of the train lulls the baby-cradle of my thought into a pre-verbal space. An image of absolute light or absolute darkness is approached, both equally comforting and terrifying. A destination that is neared but never reached

a heavy clatter
at the junction points
derails my dream

And at every station the dream is jolted out of itself. Reality crowds on with the people. A cold draught from the street forces through the doors. Then the train moves on again. I try to get back to the place I was before.

eyes fixed on darkness–
the stream of consciousness
of tunnel cables

This stop-start rhythm of the train is exhausting. The unnatural dialectic of mental states is something to be endured. The mind is neither fully contained not fully free. Eventually I might succumb to sleep.

the dozing head
and the abandoned bottle
rolling back and forth



Published in The Unseen Wind: British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology 2009, Lynne Rees and Jo Pacsoo (Editors), British Haiku Society.

 

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