Business in Eden

What a good find this was, in the Old Station bookshop in Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk. I’ve been enjoying the haibun in it all week, and Cobb’s knowledge of the area and its history is stunning. Here’s a couple of ‘Norfolk’ haiku that appear together:

Suffolk and Norfolk
the boarder between them marked
by sheep on both sides

ewe and small lamb
the bleating of parted sheep
across the Ouse

I think the second poem is the strongest; it almost says the same as the first but not so overtly. However, in the context of the haibun, ‘Spring Journey to the Saxon Shore’, placing the two poems together gives the sense of immediacy. This haibun is a journal of a cycling trip, so placing the poems consecutively almost makes us feel that the first might have been the first draft, whereas the second is a little more crafted. Speculation, of course, but I’ve always been interested in the writing process, so I’m often on the lookout for little clues like this.

Another poem I like from the same haibun is this one:

day and night equal:
as celandines close
the stars come out

What I like here is how much is implied, rather than actually stated. The shapes and colours of both the stars and the flowers are there, but not in words! And in the context of the haibun they also colour the prose and bring the landscape and Cobb’s journey vividly to life.
As you might have guessed, it’s been a bit of a haibun week, both in terms of reading and writing. How fortunate I feel, to have reading and writing time. Two weeks to go before the start of term – and believe me it always comes around too quickly. So, I’ll finish with this fun haiku, taken from the haibun ‘The School Christmas Show’:

a child blows
into a balloon
the balloon blows back


Cobb, David, Business in Eden, Equinox, 2006

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