An evening sky of rose and peach. Three miles north of Sheffield a sluggish leaden canal separates fields brimming with ripening grain from the city's edgeland. A depot of old tyres. Buckled cars stacked in scrap metal yards catching the last of the sun. Bloated tags sprayed on walls topped with broken glass and razor wire. An abandoned railway cutting reclaimed by boddleia and willowherb.
Approaching the station we enter a tunnel. The young woman sitting opposite, plugged into her iPhone and flicking through a copy of Grazia, is reflected in the darkened glass. On the seat beside her, a designer bag. As the train slows I shoulder my pack and shuffle down the aisle. Stepping onto the platform and looking for the exit, a river of commuters flows around me.
a loosening of neck ties
in a carriage of ringtones.
I remember this Stuart. I love the mix of connotations in your placescapes: grot and glow; decay and deliquescence. Then it becomes human and the markers are a bit more difficult to read: a privileged girl, a river of commuters, a shuffling narrator. Maybe the best way to look at it is to see the humans in the context of the first paragraph of decay and flourishing side by side. Thank you! I hope you are well? I look forward to seeing you at Redthread. By the way, I have found that Susan Murphy (a very fine Australian Buddhist writer, as I expect you know) has published a book called Redthread, on our theme. I have just ordered it.
Yes it is a reworking of an earlieer haibun posted on the old forum. I appreciate your perceptive reading.
I'm familiar with Susan Murphy and have her two previous books. Thanks for informing me about the new one. I'll check it out (as the yungsters say).
Hope to see you at the Red Thread.
Best wishes, Stuart.
Reminded me of City of New Orleans (sung by Arlo Guthrie) in the description of the 'edgeland'. Love the haiku and its counterpoint with the prose. And I had a very vivid sense of the moment the train arrives and everyone gets off. I could hear the station announcements even though there were none! 🙂 I think it was that loosening of neckties and sound of ringtones that touched off the aural senses. X
Thanks, Jonathan. Hope you can make it to the Red Thread gathering this year. Last year you were missed.
Best wishes, Stuart.