dVerse Poetics – Open Link Night: Silent Road

public domain photo

public domain photo

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poetics. This means we do not post to a prompt but instead, post a poem of whatever subject and style we choose. I am posting a haibun I began several years ago. I grew up in North Carolina and the countryside was filled with farms of all kinds: vegetable, cattle, tobacco. There are many two lane roads out in the country with dirt roads leading off to less populated areas. I frequently would drive out into the countryside to escape the ambient lights of the cities to observe meteor showers in the black night of the countryside.I wrote this in 1995 and have just now cleaned up enough to post.  Mary is hosting at the Pub today.  We are also sharing books we enjoy.  Come and join us and read some talented poets and…submit one of your own!

Silent Road
Delta Aquarids –
Escape from city lights – the
Veiled stars will unveil.

Hot night in July –needing to be out of the city, rolling smooth down a country two lane blacktop, soft roar of the tires – tack…..tack…..tack…..Rock in the tire tread – front passenger, I think. Black countryside, no lights showing in the few houses. Folks have to get up early go to work in town, go to work in surrounding tobacco fields. Rolling past rows of tobacco and corn row after row after row, broken only by the dark houses. Green plants show up white in the headlights.

Past another small house, dark. Ahead off to the right a dirt road. I pull off and go down it slowly. Dust invisible but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron and sweeter lime. And in the headlights ahead. Washboard shadows in the hard dirt where constant tires have cleared away the gravel. In the headlight the road is pale pink but in the daylight, it will be red as blood. To the left, a small drive leading to an empty space by the tobacco field. I pull in and park, cut the engine – the cooling motor goes ting ting ting…

Insect sounds rise in
The darkness – chackachacka,
Whir, hypnotic hum..

Except for the insects, dead silence except for a dog barking some distance away then another closer by answers. In front of me as my eyes adjust I see several empty tobacco slides waiting for morning. Time of year to prime the thick leaves, snap by hand the thick stalks heavy leaves of the plants, to be loaded in layers in the slides, then hitched to the back of a tractor to be taken to be to ancient tobacco barns and tied by hand to tobacco sticks, loaded by hand into the barn to dry for sale in the fall. I can tell by the snapped stalks on the plants, this is the third priming.

Fireflies flicker – an
insect meteor shower
among the dark plants.

One comes in my car window and settles on the steering wheel, White dark white dark – flashing its signals to an alien being who doesn’t understand the language. Smells of dust, acrid tang of tobacco sap, smell of cows from a field close by. Tipping the seat back  I lean my head against the headrest And look at the stars through my windshield. The firefly continues its signals. Suddenly, several quick bursts in the dark sky and the stars begin to fall – trails of white falling towards the horizon, silent as dust. Some shimmer, some burst, they all burn in the summer night, streak after streak, fast, slow, dark and again they explode and fall.

July stars burst, streak, –
Trails of fire in the black night
Fade and disappear.

In the cool grey dawn, the stars have gone to sleep. The firefly has flown away. I drive slowly down the dirt road back to the two lane black top back to the city.   Tack…..tack…..tack…..

public domain free image

public domain free image

46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. X
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 15:34:36

    I lived in NC for several years, and was just there last week to visit. I think you captured well the part of the country. It was easy for me to see in your words. I saw some fireflies just the other night as well. Definitely a summer treat. Pretty cool to see a starfall as well. Did you make your wish? Almost as if the firefly were the Conductor eh? ha.

    Reply

    • Noreen Rubay
      Jun 19, 2015 @ 14:43:34

      To all the poets and writers who knew the blog Chasing Rabbit Holes, this is a poem for my departed friend of 44 years. Peggie Duggan

      In the gentlest way, I say,
      The news is not so good – she’s gone.
      Peggie my friend now has wings.
      I am left to carry on,
      Life will never be the same.

      If you knew Peggie Duggan please contact me at reencreate@yahoo.com
      I am trying to gather those who would like to honor her. More on that when you e-mail me. From her life long friend. Noreen Rubay

      Reply

  2. Linda Kruschke
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 15:57:29

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been somewhere that you could see so many stars in the sky or where there were fireflies. You painted a wonderful sensory description of the night. I felt like I was there. Peace, Linda

    Reply

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:12:23

    I so admire how you have mixed your contemporary prose with the sound of the car, the tobacco plants the reflections on how people go to bed early with those very traditional haiku.. what a haibun day we are having here.. I feel like Kerouac and Basho have been writing together somewhere. I would love to see the stars and meteors like this, here you can hardly see it at summer, there is way to much daylight.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:20:06

      It really has been a haibun day! Out in the country,, there is such an absence of light. The Aquarids are smaller, less intense showers. I wish you could see the Leonids or Perseids. It is like the meteors are having a blizzard in the sky! It gets dark here about 8:30 – 9:00 now. Basho and Keroac and Ginsberg….love it.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO

      Reply

  4. Sanaa Rizvi
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:15:19

    Loved this beautiful collection of haibun 🙂

    Reply

  5. Mary
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:16:17

    I really feel like I have visited your road, Toni. So much to see, smell, and experience. I enjoyed the detail about the fireflies very much. The hot July night has come to life through your words.

    Reply

  6. Glenn Buttkus
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:17:08

    Incredible Haibun form, with delicious Haiku framing; several of us (today especially) are making haibun the form of choice. Prose poems are a perfect morphing of verse & vernacular. This is a short story, sprinkled with poetics. Never been to the Carolinas. Check out Kate Mia’s piece today, several pics of country lanes. I love your vivid line /Dust invisible, but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron & sweeter lime/; really excellent work.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:23:40

      Thank you. NC is a wondrous place and I loved growing up there.. With all these haibun today, maybe it should be a prompt. All different but so excellent. Indeed, Basho, Keroac, and Ginsberg.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO

      Reply

  7. MarinaSofia
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:45:05

    Very onomatopeic haibun here – I love all the sounds you use in there, it’s not just a visual but a very richly auditive poem. And am impressed that you’ve been working on it since 1995. I don’t think I have any of my writing dating from those days…

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 18, 2015 @ 16:51:17

      I have a few notebooks that survived. I found a box full in tne back of the attic in the winter. A few other things in the box my husband shook his head over. I could write some stories about that certain dirt road…grin. i like to bring people along with me when I do haibun.

      Reply

  8. DELL CLOVER
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 17:26:36

    I felt like I was on the road with you–could hear the silence except for whatever you described; and the fireflies–oh how I love them.

    Reply

  9. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 18:21:34

    Those that have spoken before me know poetry. I simply know beautiful words when they flow together and paint me a picture full of sight, sound and lots and lots of emotion because the writer has inserted their own emotion and left their mark. I believe you must experience some things before you can write about them brilliantly and this, my dear, is brilliant in its deep sensory delights.

    Reply

  10. Grace
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 18:56:19

    I love the sounds and silence of the night…the haiku contrasted very well with your night driving and rest, seeing the firefly and finally seeing all those stars ~ What a view of the sky ~ Love the haibun form Toni ~

    Reply

  11. Gabriella
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 20:13:25

    I understand the need to get out of the city, sometimes it can be overwhelming. I also enjoyed the contrast between your haibun and Björn’s – with one set in the country and the other in the city.

    Reply

  12. Madeleine Begun Kane
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 00:59:09

    I especially liked this imagery:
    “Fireflies flicker – an
    insect meteor shower
    among the dark plants.”

    Reply

  13. Desmond, Anthony (@iamEPanthony)
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 02:38:58

    the sounds of the road, the insects – it’s the little details like that, that really make a poem, for me. You capture the stillness of night here, Toni!

    Reply

  14. kelvin s.m.
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 05:35:59

    1995? ..ha.. i was only 3 then & def not thinking of the road & all… so these are rather throwback haibuns that i’m so lucky to read today.. now you are giving an idea of what your environment used to look before… thanks a ton!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 19, 2015 @ 06:35:45

      Actually, just my haibun. You will have to ask the other writers about theirs. And i that part of NC, it hasn’t changed as far as appearance or occupations. Thanks for dropping by.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO

      Reply

  15. insidetheclock
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 07:38:12

    I do miss North Carolina. My wife lives near Asheville, the summers there are amazing. Thank you for taking me back to the loveliness. My favorite of the haikus:
    ‘July stars burst, streak, –
    Trails of fire in the black night
    Fade and disappear.’
    Have a magical Midsummer 🙂

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 19, 2015 @ 14:00:36

      You have a magical one as well. I am glad you enjoyed. The mountains of NC are beautiful and the weather is indeed amazing. And thank you for following my blog!

      Reply

      • insidetheclock
        Jun 20, 2015 @ 01:02:38

        You are very welcome. I have yet to experience the mountains, got to put that on the list

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Jun 20, 2015 @ 01:17:27

          That area around Asheville is full of arttisans and has that artsy air to it. Farther west, zrojnd Sylva and Dillsboro, the mountains are higher, incredibly beautiful. A lot of artisans, organic farmers, holistic folk, native American healers. The most incredible wnite water east of the Mississippi.

          Reply

  16. billgncs
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 14:48:17

    brilliant stars guided
    intrepid men and women
    even beyond the clouds

    Reply

  17. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 19, 2015 @ 20:49:06

    This is so vivid, I feel I have experienced the drive into the country, parked, looked around, smelled the cows and the air, gazed at the sleeping houses, seen the falling stars and fireflies. The fireflies are the best. I have always wanted to see them but never have. Tonight, I have encountered them.
    ❤ ❤ ❤
    You leave me breathless, Kanzen.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 19, 2015 @ 21:26:52

      Go to YOU TUBE and search for Tennessee Fireflies Real Time or Fireflies Elkmont. You will get a good idea of them, especially duri g their mating season when they have synchronous flashing. I think you will be awed. I turned Peggie onto to these last year and she was delighted. There are synchronous fireflies in the NC mountains but this is better video. I’m glad you enjoyed the haibun. I like to take people along with me on the haibun. ♡♡♡

      Reply

  18. katiemiafrederick
    Jun 20, 2015 @ 00:06:27

    Ah.. to the north us skies are never lit by cities..
    the quiet is deafening unto itself.. and the
    frogs sing on humid nights.. but oh so sad..
    is where have the fire flies gone.. it seems
    years since they flew so free in my area..
    disappearing like the bees now.. where
    magic
    goes
    away.. but anyway
    there is always YouTube
    and Google photos but
    never the magic of
    lighted wings
    in quiet
    night
    lights..:)

    Reply

  19. Bryan Ens
    Jun 20, 2015 @ 22:37:43

    gorgeous!! Love the firefly to meteor comparison. I love stars…but it’s so hard to find a place that is not polluted with lights. One of the biggest draw-backs of city living. Now I want to go out to the countryside, watch stars…and slap mosquitoes (OK…not too excited about the mosquito part) 🙂

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 20, 2015 @ 22:42:56

      There were a few skeeter but not many. No ponds, etc. in the area and then, insecticides on a gazillion plants. When I lived in that area, i freqjently went into the countryside to watch meteor showers. It was a grand way to spend a night out. And the fireflies…OMGoodness…just wonderfjl.

      Reply

  20. C.C.
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 12:31:41

    “an insect meteor shower”–so very descriptive in such a unique way 🙂

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 21, 2015 @ 20:54:45

      It really was just like that! When the fireflies are mating, they become synchronous. If you look at some of the comments, you will see where I pointed people to YouTube for some of these displays -amazing and magical!

      Reply

  21. mishunderstood
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 20:15:45

    SO descriptive that I felt like I was there.The haiku really enhanced the prose and flowed so naturally. I love the country at night, the dark skies and sounds of nature.

    Reply

  22. M
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 21:20:05

    I imagine this is how you think while driving – verbalizing snatches of poetry accompanied by Lucinda Williams “Car wheels on a gravel road”. or not 🙂 ~

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 21, 2015 @ 21:39:10

      🙂 ♡♡♡

      Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 21, 2015 @ 21:44:34

      I actually do not turn on the radio or listen to dvds preferring to just be in my head when I’m driving. But I often wake in the night with words flowing or when I am siiting silent and still. This is one from years back I was cleaning up so i travelled back in order to capture better. I’ll have to look up Williams as I am not familiar with her. And I do verbalize just like this, indeed, but no music . 🙂

      Reply

  23. Sean Michael
    Jul 18, 2015 @ 17:10:22

    Sounds tranquil. Hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July.

    Reply

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