Roo Borson: Summer Grass

pasture-80259_1920 It’s summer in Australia. Here’s a bit of our favourite Roo Borson to cheer you up under the snowdrifts:

The willows are thinking again about thickness,

slowness, lizard skin on hot rock,

and day by day this imagining transforms them

into what we see: dragons in leaf, draped scales

alongside the river of harried, spring-stirred silt.


From Summer Grass, in Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida,  2004)

Image: Pixabay


23 thoughts on “Roo Borson: Summer Grass

        1. Well — a minor catastrophe. I survived the bone marrow transplant for leukemia in 1997, and the seven years of low-dose chemo for relapse, and am extraordinarily fortunate to have come through all that with such good health (tests have been fine for nearly ten years now). Others did not make it or had many bad long-lasting side effects. You are absolutely correct — there are so many other things that would truly have been much worse. It becomes very relative.

          1. I had no idea about any of that. Bone marrow transplant is very serious stuff. So you know how it feels to feel absolutely vile for a long long time. And it must mess with your head just as much as the physical ordeal.

            1. Bone marrow transplant is dicey — but didn’t mess with my head nearly as much as divorce, or miscarriage, or treacherous third pregnancy that luckily came out well for both me and kid. I had a wonderful support system, was able to keep my job, and had distractions of kids, and Jim going to work out-of-town (2 weeks a month, doing medical research for his friend in Seattle). I had so much else to hold on to and think about that despite the health side of things, my head stayed OK Also, it was too much too grasp that I might not be here in a few months, and so I early on decided that I couldn’t think about that, and didn’t. I felt sort of bad that I didn’t have any life-changing epiphanies, but finally decided I’d had them earlier with all of those other things, and didn’t need them at that point. Maybe one thing the leukemia did was push me more to write, and keeps me going now when I realize that life can be short and I’d better get those words down somewhere.

              On a different topic — I have to do a senior presentation to graduate in June — 20 minutes on some sort of lit crit topic. I want to write about haibun as a good form for memoir. Any thoughts about that? A lot of what we wrote with Allegra fit into that category, and many of the stand-alone haibun do also. I can only find a few memoirs that are written as haibun, though — an eclectic assortment. Any observations you have would be great —

              Heat wave means?? 100 degrees? Worse? Lots of iced tea?

                1. 77 degrees sounds delightful! Hope it stays so that you don’t have such heat.

                  Thanks for the haibun link; it’s very interesting. That’s one good thing about the haibun journals; they tend to have a number of craft article in each issue.

                    1. Still on haibun. Do you know Some Measure of Existence: Collected haibun by Marjorie Buettner? Here is a lovely excerpt

                      The night, cupped around our ears like a sea-shell, has blood-rush music of its own. And these ever-fixed, every-changing stars (like a lost friend or death of one loved) are transposed, noted and found in the air, on the trees, and over this crystallized ground teaching us, once again, how to sing.

                      end of winter
                      my daughter’s rain stick
                      sounding like the sea

                      This work is around the seasons. But also could do a short book in the form of a journal as so many of them seem to be. Thanks Teri, for rekindling my interest in haibun.

      1. Bush fires = no fun. Does the smoke come into Melbourne? I hope that Nar Nar Goon is not threatened by them (or your places either). Is the north wind a hot wind, or more of a problem because of the fires? Hope it eases up soon —

        1. Yes, the north wind here is a hot one, opposite to yours. Right now there aren’t bushfires round Melbourne, but at times there are – Nar Nar Goon has so far been spared as have Williamstown and Geelong where the Gerts live. Geelong is at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and there have in the past – including last year – been huge fires in the seaside towns in that area. We have a lot more of the summer to go so everyone is expecting that there will be some major fires.

          1. I got to reading about Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, and forgetting all about the bush fires. The names are such a great mix of Aboriginal/indigenous and British — they bump up against each other in intriguing ways, and spark all sorts of images (probably mostly wrong of course). And then there are gold fields, and sheep, and breweries, and ports . . . I guess we will have to figure out how to drive on the “wrong” side of the road so that we can drive the Ocean Road. So looking forward to getting there one of these years. Meanwhile — hope you can escape the fires. Very best of luck —

  1. Very humbling to read about your health problems, Teri. You sound like a courageous woman! I hadn’t thought about haibun as a form for memoir, and will follow up those links.I’ve been talking about haibun in some writing workshops I’ve been running for the Barwon Estuary Project – basically a project about getting to know our river estuary better. That very hot day, last Saturday, was my birthday…

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