Houseboat

houseboat wreck - river deben, suffolk
‘mother ship’ @hanginguptodry

It’s going on all the time, second by nanosecond under our very eyes, but only when there are big enough bundles of accumulated moments along a timeline do we sheaf them together and call it change. After months away, I revisit holiday haunts, accustomizing, noting absences, novelties, further decay. The abandoned houseboats have sunk a little more; they feel like old friends, family even, their decrepitude as familiar as an unfamiliarity with my own mother. I hear there are further cracks in her health; she moves painfully at the end of the rope she has been unwinding since the 1920s. I see her only when I look in the mirror. The tides are stripping us all back into skeletons.

birds nest below deck
houseboat seasoned to soft wood
ice will sculpt a wreck

Sadly Toni is temporarily leaving the DVerse slot and this is written for the last for a while Haibun Monday:Change. 

27 Comments on “Houseboat

  1. Wow – you capture so much in a short post! I love it especially – “I hear there are further cracks in her health; she moves painfully at the end of the rope she has been unwinding since the 1920s. I see her only when I look in the mirror.” Even in our differences, we SEE similarities!

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  2. So much I like in this, the accumulated defining the change… almost like we have to be absent to notice it, and then that moment of seeing your mother in the mirror… really well done… I think we had some of the same sentiments, but yet very different.

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    • yes Bjorn – almost like we step out of time to notice its effect but actually it is happening in all the moments we had not/do not noticed 😮

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  3. I specially admire these lines:

    I see her only when I look in the mirror. The tides are stripping us all back into skeletons.

    Love your reflections and haiku !

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  4. Laura: The photo imagery and the word imagery paint a combined scene/situation that is so human, earthly, and vulnerable. It evokes an emotion that we all experience, but you put into words so well.

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  5. A lot of emotions in this piece. I especially like this line: ” she moves painfully at the end of the rope she has been unwinding since the 1920s.”
    Well done.

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  6. This is incredible. I know you and I both have issues with our mothers and dementia. The haiku outlines the dementia perfectly. Thank you so very much for this.

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    • I am glad if this resonated with your experience – no matter how painful, it is sometimes a little relieving to have the words – we are experiencing estrangement for different reasons though. [My recent poem about dementia was feeling for a fellow patient as well as the eternal fears for the future

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  7. Laura, this is packed full of wisdom. I especially like: only when there are big enough bundles of accumulated moments along a timeline do we sheaf them together and call it change. It’s true that we experience abrupt change, but often the result of subtle, long-term erosion.

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  8. I absolutely resonate with this moving Haibun Laura, my ma is from the 1930’s…so…you understand…the image of the houseboat, a one time shelter, is poignant & exquisite…

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  9. Being old enough to be your parent my thoughts are constantly on how much there is to do and so little time. Luckily the doing part is writing! However seeing the houseboat you used in this post can I say from one old wreck to another that was a great haibun.

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