Journey to Ekphrasis – haibun

by Margaret Ruckert

Pre- Journey 

My life is one arthroscopy after another, 
she said, shrugging her shoulders.
Body language for, I can’t help it
or I deal with it or It is what it is –
that nebulous phrase mocking 
like a yes/no question. A red light.
Her life didn’t sound fun. Neither is 
limping. Puts twenty years onto you. 
She’d never written a poem about it.
Confessional poetry is simply twee.
Had to agree. That was before of course.

Journey to Ekphrasis - haibun

I watch the sun
overtake the horizon
in a blink, a wink …
one moment of glory 
like so many other stars 

need an arthroscopy     the specialist whose computer
couldn’t read my scans on disk     I was already queasy
after bone on bone     thin woman in the waiting room
this is the third specialist I’ve seen     we expect miracles

at the edge of day
we seek out the horizon
searching for something
fragile as a lake system
solid as a river

and so I’m sitting on deck     chugging down the Murray
flat out doing knee stretches     in between photography
mechanical smiles     hope is fleeting     make brief notes
centred on self      pain is an albatross     too heavy to bear

in the high rushes
somewhere in the shallows
a lone white bird
stalks its evening meal …
I think of her babies

back home     another specialist appointment     knee bends
like a river     how to grant myself grace     for discipline
time now for the photos     views that knees had obscured
the peace of the river     speaks to me in tanka     I listen

cave drawings
ancient as myths
but these revere
short-necked turtles …
we connect through art

where did the limp go?     the pain?     walk in disbelief 
the river was a flow of fortune     write my first photobook
assess hundreds of scenes     shape poems     relive mystery
every time I read the pages     relive the holiday I missed

the captain knew
the history of each boat
engine, draught, owner
even boats not visible
floated for a time in his talk 

Margaret Owen Ruckert is an award-winning poet, whose works are widely published. Her latest collection Sky on Sea is a collection of tanka on Sydney’s waterways and beaches. She presents regular writing workshops as Facilitator of Hurstville’s Discovery Writers and also convenes a local Café Poets group.

%d bloggers like this: