Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 3, September 2011

Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand


Punakaiki Rocks

Winding coast road in spring. Early morning with no one about; sea deep blue flecked with white caps. The car's tyre burst on a deserted stretch of road with wide, far-reaching views. No cell-phone signal. Life rarely lets us pause, to choose to be still, silent as the cormorant surveying the world from a rock.

It's too far to walk to the nearest farm; too far to the next village. So we wait beside the car for someone coming from either direction. Within the hour, a couple of West Coasters drive up in a truck. They are hippies, living here in the mountainous countryside. The man drives off to find the right tools to change the tyre and we talk to his wife about their choice of lifestyle. She says they have a close relationship with other West Coasters and, although they'd like to own more land, most of the coastal farmland is owned by one couple. Her husband returns and soon we are on our way to the Punakaiki Rocks.

I recall being together and alone—the strength of our poise, not knowing what lay round the bend until we got there.

skirt of sea
filled with a slow shift
of moans and trills,
cold depths cradling
skeins of kelp

stranded, staring,
when a dolphin leaps
above the waves
its call as loud as a foghorn
in the eerie silence


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