Tag Archives: Haibun Today

Sunday Morning, Fathers and a Haibun

In literary convention, Sunday morning is a lazy day involving late breakfasts and a leisurely reading of a weighty Sunday paper. I can remember Sundays like that, walking to the paper shop with my father to collect papers because there was no newspaper delivery on Sunday.

As I became a father myself, and the kids started playing rugby, Sunday mornings became more hectic times, featuring lost boots and arguments. I remember one morning in a car park 30 miles from home when a familiar face pulled up with his son.

I said: “You’re in the wrong place Dave, the Under 12s are playing at home.”

“What are you doing here then?” he asked, with the triumphal air of of a man proving an important philosophical point in an argument.

“I’m with the Under 15s today. Julia’s with the Under 12s.”

“Ah!”

Modern Sundays seem so hectic.

Ten years after our walks to buy papers my father and I had developed a prickly relationship. Adolescents, as I would find in my turn, are awful examples of humanity and are barely human. Ten years after that, we still weren’t much friendlier. Ten years after that we had developed a better understanding, as I now had kids of my own. Ten years after that I no longer read newspapers. And ten years after that, having lost many games of dominoes and done a lot of jigsaws, I am left to regret the wasted time spent arguing, and the lessons I could have learned from my father. He may have lost a lot of things through Alzheimer’s, but he retained his competitive edge and his facility with numbers until the end.

To be fair, I wasn’t the only argumentative one (the apple not falling far from the tree) and some of his advice, whilst brilliant for the 1950s, was not so good when applied to the 1990s.

Here’s a haibun I wrote on the subject some time ago – first published in Haibun Today Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019.

 

Eternal Jigsaws

My father remembers who I am (though he can’t quite remember my name) and he’s keen to show me his jigsaw.

It’s one of the puzzles my sister ordered from a specialist supplier. They have larger pieces than normal and depict idealised, almost timeless, scenes from the 1950’s. Before she found these, he used to have jigsaws for children, bought from the Early Learning Centre.

When he clears it away, he puts the edges in a separate bag, so they will be easier to find next time. That could be as early as tomorrow, when it will be brand new as it comes out of the box.

winter afternoon
playing a child’s game
in the fading light

 

1500

As usual, I can’t let a numerical milestone pass without using it as a lazy title.

I checked Haibun Today yesterday, remembering that I should be in it. I am. (Despite things being approved by editors I always worry that a last minute glitch will prevent publication).

My first post, on 8th October 2014, was about Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain. I was hoping to be appalled by my poor quality writing and banal subject matter, but it seems as good as anything I’ve done, which is a bit annoying – I was hoping I’d improved over time.

Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain
Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain

When I worked in South Africa I used to have a family of Guinea Fowl that walked across the front lawn on a regular patrol. The ones on the farm did the same thing, stalking the gardens, eating pests and depositing manure.

There are still four left on the farm, defying the odds. They have lasted better than we did.

I will say no more.

A Good Start to the Week

Just thought I’d mention that if you happened to be browsing Haibun Today there are a couple of haibun in there under my name (Wilson, that is, not Quercus).

I was just looking through links, deciding which editor to inflict my next group of submissions on, when I remembered that they should be out. They are, and I had a pleasant moment seeing my name in print. In fact, there have been intermittent feelings of happiness all day, with a touch of smugness now and again.

It’s a mixed feeling. I’m happy to see them published, but I’m also slightly embarrassed because there are far better ones published in the same edition and am now thinking that I really should do better.

It’s similar to the problem I’m having with my next round of submissions. When I had nothing published I had nothing to lose. Now that I have had a couple of acceptances I have a standard to compare myself to, and work that would at one time have been sent out, is now sitting in a file because I’m now not sure it’s good enough.

I suppose this is fear, and fear is why we don’t do things. It’s good in some ways, because I’ve avoided lions, poisonous snakes and bungee jumping, which are all potentially fatal. However, the fear of foreign travel, salad and failure may well have held me back from a more interesting life. I do try to see failure as a step on the way to success, but it can be hard.

I am now going to look at my name in print again. Despite my misgivings there are worse things to do.

The photos have nothing to do with the subject of the post, but everyone loves a baby seal, apart from fishermen and furriers, so I thought I’d use it again. The seagulls are just there because I decided I wanted a floating bird of the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-headed Gulls in winter plumage