Haibun – The Shadow

We live on the Hudson River, and this morning the dog and I sat on a bench watching the working scows: tugboats and ferries, derricks and dredges. I was thinking how easy and fun it was to be nefarious back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – hide a boat in the rushes, muffle the oars with rags, row across in the dark with untaxed whisky. Who would stop you?  I walk past the kayak rental with its bright red and yellow plastic boats. With my now bootlegger’s expertise, I calculate that I could probably stuff in a case or two per shell. But they don’t look dangerous; they don’t make me shiver that they are up to no good. I need creaky oarlocks, pitch tar smell in the staves, long flapping coats, not kindergarten crayolas!

The massive push of the river is indifferent. Its tide, running sin out to sea.

Harvest moon distilled
What lurks in the hearts of men –
Bottled shine, soul burns


For dVerse Haibun Monday

62 thoughts on “Haibun – The Shadow

    1. Yes! That is sort of the feeling I wanted. Also apologies, you asked for a Haiku on Nature, I took the liberty to let that be “Human Nature”. LOL! Hope that was OK.


  1. Very imaginative take on what the past would be like ~ I can agree on a lot of freedom certainly ~ Love your haiku and this line: The massive push of the river is indifferent. Its tide, running sin out to sea.

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  2. As a fellow Hudson Valleyer, I relished this haibun. Your diction placed me in the seat of that night-crossing rowboat. I, of course, would have failed magnificently as a smuggler. No contraband would have reached its buyers! LOL!

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  3. Great story — but tell us, from whence did you gather you smuggling expertise — a recent novel? And why must sin be associated with whiskey or smuggling. Isn’t the wrong doing on the lawmakers? Us poor folks drink to forget the sins of governments! Smile. Very well done. High had to read comments to understand lofty or even common culture allusions – at least my Haibun (remake of the poem you read) had links. But, sadly, when I look at wordpress’ stats, I see no one ever clicks the links to more info — readers are always blasting through — following the indifferent massive push of the river running sin out to sea. BTW, technical science question, is it the tide pushing the river out to sea — instead, low tide may PULL it faster out to sea, no? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment might be more interesting than my Haibun, LOL! And damn, you caught me with my tidal pants down. Of course, I originally had it written as technically correct, with the Tide pulling. But I liked the way it sounded with the river “pushing” the sin. Hoped no-one would notice! And all the poetry readers blasting through the poems, the indifferent river. So glad you liked this and took the time to comment so thoughtfully!


      1. The Tide Pulling — may have been cool. With all the stupid things called “sin”, pulling it in and embracing may be a good thing.! 😉 Have a fine day with your tidal pants down — but please pull them up before you go shopping. You never did tell us, how you know about muffling oars and such — a good novel?


        1. BTW, if you get a chance, tell me if you like the Haibun version I put up. Nobody there has clicked a link at all. This startles me — being a curious person. I wonder if it lack of curiosity or more me-me-me blasting through? What do you think. In the last several years it has been the rule, people don’t read further. Often times, not even to the end of a poem — they just find a word they can relate to and tell you their story about that word.

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          1. Those are great links!!! Apologies, my eyes just skip the text that isn’t part of the poem, as I assume it is all window-dressing – “Today for dVerse Bjorn has us… yadda yadda”. I know now to look for these in your posts. I especially love the meta-study that sees correlations on certain types of phonemes. It makes sense, but good to see it corroborated. And lends research to your point about Klingon! That all said, like many people, i was drawn in by the siren song of the Whorf hypothesis. Sadly, that does not seem to prove out empirically. I do read a lot of Steven Pinker, who is a Linguist and Cognitive Psychologist. Terrific stuff if you like that kind of thing.


              1. So great to meet another Pinker reader. I should say I’m not surprised, given all the language exploration you tend to do in your writing. You must be very proud of a son who can think about and discuss topics like Whorf!!


          2. “they just find a word they can relate to and tell you their story about that word” – yep. I think that is a valuable observation about other people and the world as a whole, not just here.


        2. I know exactly zilch about smuggling! This was all spun from whole cloth. Funny bits of flotsam and jetsam that might have adhered to my brain over the years. I like wooden boats. I liked saying “staves” and “pitch tar” – brave, seagoing words! LOL! I hope you are not disappointed. I think I got muffled oars from Paul Revere crossing the Charles River in Boston the night of his ride. Mini-Rabbit hole here since you like to see the links: http://www.paul-revere-heritage.com/midnight-ride.html


      2. So nice to not get hated for commenting on your Pull vs Push. I once commented on the poem of one of d’Verse’s hosts stating that dew does not fall and got instant hate — sweet people can be the most venomous, eh? LOL

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