KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Haibun: 298 words [R]

Green Woman

by David Cobb

dandelion day
not the purple sweater
which would clash

By the time I am dressed
the postman has just put another of her letters
through the letter box.
The many-many-eth of many from her,
my Green Woman,
wisest of all my correspondents.

As I fiddle the pages through the slit
I imagine her sealing the envelope
with her tongue.
Her dry hurting tongue.
She would have lain, as ever,
unable to leave her bed,
for though she weighs little more than a swan
getting up onto her feet might break a bone.

Page after page, in blue pen and ink.
Her opinions of things I have written.
Obscure titbits of wisdom stored in her brain,
such as the sex life of dandelions, 
which they don’t have.
Her passion for the Green Man.

Found out about me
in a small magazine.
Learned about dandelions
working as a botanist.
Sought out the Green Men,
in the years before she became too fragile,
clambering into nooks and crannies
in a hundred churches
between the Black Sea in a January sunrise
and the purple Atlantic Ocean in a December dusk.
Everywhere she took photos of them,
published them in a book that opened up new ground.
She carried the camera and notebooks;
her husband (keeping mute
so he wouldn’t derail her thoughts)
marching behind her with the ladder.

Her great time was before anyone started
to link the Green Man image
with the Great Memory
or the Face of Glory.
Theories she despised.

It would have been about the time
when I was still puzzling
over Goethe’s notion,
das Ewigweibliche zieht uns hinan—
the eternal spirit of womanhood,
conceived by the great German poet
as the force that drove civilisation

out in the garden
love-in-a-mist tangles
with forget-me-nots

—A version of this haibun previously appeared in Journeys: An Anthology of International Haibun, edited by Angelee Deodhar (Nivasini Publishers, 2014); republished here by author’s permission

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