[Haibun developed in seventeenth-century Japan, consisting of a prose 
passage followed by haiku. Tranter reverses and re-engineers the form.]


A rainbow, tinted various pale shades - the 
green and light brown seem made for each other - 
curves over the shoulder where leaves whisper 
and arches into a background of grain and shadow, 
more the effect of the half-smile than anger 
or the addiction to rapid speech, or so we think. 
The subtle check fabric of the shirt speaks of 
a cultural niche to do with class and brand-names, 
then the words that shuffle out across 
the horizontal pages claim large areas 
of sensual experience and pain thoroughly studied 
as if by divine right, lit by a glow from 
the top of the frame above where the house pets 
and the badgers begin to quarrel, either 
the lurid cumulus in the sky or a kind of spotlight 
elevated above the drive-in corral of emotions. 
There, the voice says gently, every fact is being 
added up, each colour assigned to bold or pastel, 
and now here's the postman with something surprising 
for you to sign. Make up your mind. 

Now escape if you can, for all this is locked into the past, and has become
repetitive and irreversible. In the morning light that you are so grateful for
you read the paper, absorbed like a child in the tinsel advertisements and
busily unravelling the dramas that weave their plots in the suburbs - but if you
looked up, you'd see yourself seated in a cafe in a European town that seems to
have moved back to 1934 or thereabouts, while a young woman - your mother - is
moving slowly about the room, lighting the lamps, one by one, as evening falls. 

The East Village Poetry Web
John Tranter