Both beast and bride

There is something dark about the forests during winter here. The spruce is shadow, and paths are faint. I remember that my mother tied a bell around my neck so she could always trace me by its knell. The forest seemed so vast, a shadow clinging, crouching like a bear; preparing to devour us. The spruces are its jaws, its roots are claws. Growing always growing, revenging axe and saw. In winter forest is my beast.

spider webs, my old mittens shredded by this rain

But then comes spring and verdant birches billow over forest anemones. When light return the forest purrs. The air is honey and with a song of blackbirds she becomes a small domestic cat. As I bathe in leaves and needles I listen to the stories only trees can tell. An aging oak tells me how his acorns kept a squirrel safe and a pine tree tells me how she’s waiting for a family of robins that will nest. When spring has come the forest is my bride.

two pigeons cooing at the face of dawn

 © Björn Ruidberg

© Björn Ruidberg

Today Toni hosts haibun Monday at dVerse, the theme is Forest Bathing. In 1980, the Japanese began a type of healing/meditation/relaxation process called shinrin-yoku (森林浴) or literally, forest bathing. This has become a recognized health benefit in Japan and other countries. I also made a small experiment with one-line haiku, I know it’s not orthodox but I tried to keep it traditional in terms of theme and presence.

March 5, 2017

26 responses to “Both beast and bride

  1. Nice take on the prompt. I love how in spring the forest is your bride. Know what I call a “one line haiku”? A sentence! I like how yiu interspersed the srntences between the two paragraphs. I also like the spirit embodied in the two sentences, the way you illustrated the seasons in them. I like your interpretation of the prompt a great deal. Winter in the far North is so very different from winter in the South.

    • Thank you.. yes the winter can seem long and dark… I actually read up on the one-line haiku and I know that there have been many translations of classical haiku into one-line haiku… the original ones are written in one vertical column…

      If I would write the first one in three lines it would be:

      spider webs —
      my old mittens
      shredded by this rain

      • I know. I was giving you a hard time. Actually the haiku in Japanese are usually in one vertical line as you say. I don’t think we non-Japanese will ever catch on to it due to our style of writing – just that simple! I truly did enjoy this Bjorn. Different from what I expected but just what was needed.

  2. Interesting that your mother tied a bell around your neck so she could tell where you were. We use Life360 for a similar purpose today but we need to have our phones with us.

  3. A beautiful prose poem of the forest, from two vantage points and seasons. Love the contrast of hardiness, jaws and claws, to the spring of honey, filled with purring forest. Liking the approach of the American sentences ~

  4. A wonderful take on the shinrin-yoku prompt, & you really had me at /in winter forest is my beast/. As stated you give us a real taste of the Swedish seasons. I adore your haiku audacity too.

  5. That first paragraph is splendid. Forests, ancient trees, winter cold, are not nice and friendly like pet dogs. You give it just the right touch of danger, the bell round the neck like a reindeer, so you won’t get lost. And I loved the first haiku, the rain-shredded mittens.

  6. You’ve painted a scary, fairy tale image of the forest of your childhood, Björn, that really appeals to me. Good idea with the bell! The photo aptly illustrates the sentence: ‘The spruces are its jaws, its roots are claws. Growing always growing, revenging axe and saw. In winter forest is my beast’.
    I like the way you have strung the ‘haiku’ into the prose, like a cobweb in the forest, and then the haibun turns and is more hopeful and light with spring. I love the sentence: ;When light returns the forest purrs. The air is honey and with a song of blackbirds she becomes a small domestic cat;.

  7. Wonderfully descriptive, Bjorn. I’ve always thought of the forest as welcoming, so I appreciated another viewpoint (of the winter forest). Also, the one-line Haiku’s interspersed were very effective. I very much like that style!

  8. So good for me, your riff on the haiku. I’m of the school that feels it’s a gift to play with form. How else would new forms be developed. Beautiful, evocative, atmospheric descriptions, too.

  9. Liking the double ‘hit’ here on the prompt ~ ‘spruces are its jaws, roots its claws’ – great line and other wonderful evocative lines.

  10. I thought for sure you would take us skating! 😊
    I do love the idea of personifying the trees according to the two contrasting seasons. I’ve always thought of trees as magical beings and this lovely write gives image to exactly that.

  11. For some damn reason, my computer will only let me get to wordpress sites. I am so glad you are. I wouldn’t want to miss this, Bjorn. the contrast, from the scary forest to the spring forest is wonderful…and complete. A range of emotions here, and such a full haibun. Enjoyed it all.

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