The Road

Sorting through my haiku from the walk, I’m reminded of the strange, whimsical moods I was in as I wandered alone across Japan. Some days — usually when the featureless road stretched out before me for hours on end — my idle brain would compose dozens of haiku in a single day. They sometimes shared a theme, and were often rather silly.

I discarded most of them, but occasionally I wrote them down, like the sequence below, an imaginary attack on the road by the forest. A more mundane version was a fairly common sight on my walk, thanks to the Japanese habit of building new highways and abandoning old ones.

I vividly remember crossing one bridge, deep in mossy forest, that was covered in thick soil and young trees. I was glad it hadn’t yet collapsed, as the mountain was steeply sloped, and the creek was quite a drop. I stood on the bridge among the trees, looking down at the creek, for a long time.


(cue Imperial March)

Mushroom lifts the leaves
peers across the bitumen
forest’s forward scout

moss on black desert
water cached in its bosom
for frontier soldiers

grass seeds lob and land
in volcanic cracks, explode
in green profusion

black feathered squadrons
dump their fruity load of shit
on solo traveller

“Saplings, forward march:
Root beneath the road, find drains,
start water torture!”

a dead squirrel lies
bloody on white centre line
next to her revenge

grappling tendrils
cross the pitch-black Rubicon
growing thick and taut

acorn cries freedom
punching through rotting highway
and spreading her legs

forest floor fungus
surveys silent battleground
and puffs a victory.

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One Response to The Road

  1. christophergreen says:

    Love it! Really puts me in the mind of those awesome 80's Attenborough nature shows with all the cool plant time-lapse photography. Great fun.

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