leaves like love let go
spiral down to snoozing earth,
dark, russet-brown loam.
when fall took those leaves
love became a lonely land—
warmth withdrawn, wan sun’s
waning light bled slow
blind trails of mud and sodden
footsteps veined with ice
where ghosts shadowed past,
skulked all through that leafless land
to haunt our autumns…
stark, unfelled, strange-boughed—
love’s remains in lonely land:
bare old beeches, clumped,
storm-ridden and gaunt,
sheltering our homeless hearts,
love’s a vagabond
wandering to a nameless place
of endless leaving—
on tracks untravelled
from fall to spring, we will see
leaves, let go, return.
– I originally wrote this haiku chain on Twitter — a bad habit of mine — poetry on Twitter being so hit and miss, nobody’s looking for it — but I find it a good place maybe for knocking out a first draft.
– When I’d written it I thought Love is a lonely land was a new phrase but then I checked and I saw I had actually lifted it (subconsciously…) from an old, sweet song.
– This was Billie Holiday’s beautiful, mournful Deep Song (by Cory and Cross), which includes the line:
Love lives in a lonely land
Love is a barren land, a lonely land/A lonely land.
– That’s a song I must have listened to more than a couple dozen times since childhood (my parents also loved Billie Holiday).
– At any rate, my haiku chain has ended up as a sort of retort — a positive echo if you like — to the somewhat bleak sentiments of Deep Song…
– So thanks to Billie, Cory and Cross!
– And here’s their song in all its glory: