Silent Road

This is posted for Poets United Midweek Motif – Meteor showers.  It is also posted at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  This happened years ago.  It is an extended haibun.

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 down a smooth 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. The blooms on the 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.  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
hypnotic hum..

Except for the insects, dead silence.  A dog barks 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.  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…..

July stars burst streak –
trails of fire in the black night
fade and disappear


42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Chast
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 15:42:07

    Amazing scene, with sounds and sights and parallels! Whatever it was scientifically, there is also soul deep awe.


  2. Frank J. Tassone
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 15:44:39

    This is a wonderful Haibun, Toni. The prose offers such evocative imagery. And the haiku accent the experience so well!


  3. Frank J. Tassone
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 15:46:15

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #6: Toni Kanzen’s latest #haibun for Poets United and dVerse!


  4. hypercryptical
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 16:05:25

    What a wonderful pace to your words Toni – sitting on the edge of my seat at the end of reading.
    Love it!
    Anna :o]


  5. thotpurge
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 20:21:44

    Lovely .. the scene and the narrative! I like the interlude with the fireflies before the larger cosmic experience!


  6. Sherry Marr
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 20:22:04

    You took me right into the scene. I love the small insect meteor shower…..a wonderfully descriptive poem.


  7. John Buchanan
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 00:40:17

    This drew me in, as if I were sitting beside you, wonderful images. Thanks.


  8. Sumana Roy
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 02:32:21

    Love the description, so otherworldly. A human soul against such vastness simply gives me goosebumps. “an /insect meteor shower” is a sight to see specially for the city dwellers.


  9. sanaarizvi
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:08:09

    My goodness this is absolutely breathtaking Toni!❤️ Love; “July stars burst streak –
    trails of fire in the black night fade and disappear.”❤️


  10. Grace
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:10:30

    Such a dramatic experience to see all of that Toni ~ Love the sounds, falling stars and those fireflies flickering ~


  11. poetrydiary
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:14:36

    I especially liked the fireflies against the dark plants.


  12. Bryan Ens
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:29:33

    love the use of sounds in this. The sound of the rock in the tire, and the sound of the engine cooling take me right there.


  13. kim881
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:38:35

    I enjoy extended haibun, especially those ones about your eventful life, Toni.I like the way the prose in this one is structured and the feeling of movement. That sound ‘tack…’ is so clearly a flat! I also love scenery that is unfamiliar:.’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’.
    So many unfamiliar sounds that seem familiar in this one – very cinematic.


  14. whippetwisdom
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:38:40

    What a magical experience Toni and I love all the sounds from your car and nature as you travel away from any light pollution to see this amazing night sky. I especially love ‘insect meteor shower
    among the dark plants’ xxx


  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:42:13

    Really love all the senses. Smell sounds and sights. Nature and machine in combination- this must have been a wonderful experience


  16. Jane Dougherty
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 15:52:53

    Fireflies, wish we had those.


  17. Angela
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 16:40:54

    This was lovely! What gripping imagery that drew me in and kept me to th end.


  18. Victoria C. Slotto
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 18:49:52

    Wonderful descriptions.


  19. Colin Lee
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 19:40:36

    What a pleasurable read of your encounter with the insect meteor shower — slowing us down with a lowered headrest and a turned-off engine in a still untainted pocket of nature. Lovely.


  20. Alwi Shatry
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 21:16:29

    Perfect imagery and sounds for a mini cosmic display.


  21. memadtwo
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 22:41:16

    I like the comparison of fireflies to meteor showers. (K)


  22. Mary
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 08:02:30

    You have captured so much of the beauty of nature in this poem!


  23. MNL
    Nov 18, 2017 @ 00:01:10

    love how the firefly seems to be the first star/light before you start viewing the others through the windshield. Almost like at the airport where the person flags the planes to come down, the firefly signals the stars to start falling. Cool.


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