The Tree (Haibun)

The Tree

Sitting under a mulberry tree by the sea, in Alexandroupolis, Greece, near the border with Turkey, I stare across the sparkling water. A melancholy mood is sapping my energy. The ferry to Samothraki makes me wish to travel further on, but I know I’ve come far enough. This place, at the intersection of continents, symbolizes the crossroads in my own life, leaving behind my youth and entering middle age. I need a push, something to give me strength to take the next step.

I must have fallen asleep because when I come to dusk is falling like rain. I rub my eyes. The town lights flicker simultaneously with their reflections on the water. The notes of a flute pierce the air.

I muse about the times this town has passed between the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Turks, the Russians; shudder at the thought of how much blood has been spilled. And yet humanity continues, the spirit survives whoever the ruler, whatever the belief. I realize the smallness of my own problem, the disease of vanity and self-preoccupation.

A crow lands next to me. We eye each other for a minute or two, then he flies away. Feeling a sense of acceptance wash over me, I walk to my Pension. The hostess noticing the lifting of my mood offers me a theory about what happened.

“It must have been the dervish, the Holy man of the fifteenth century,” she says. “He spent his days under a tree… he is buried there…”

“They buried him under his tree?”

“They say he still heals those who go to sit under it.”

“Is that the Mulberry tree…?” I start, trying to locate ‘my’ tree for her.

She shrugs, and then I know it does not matter.


in the salty air

a single leaf from his book –

dove with crow

In Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2012

3 thoughts on “The Tree (Haibun)”

  1. in the Chinese ‘Book of Changes’ there is a verse from someone who wants to leave a deadlock situation behind and move on . .
    ‘What if it should fail, what if it should fail!?
    Hence he ties it to a mulberry shoot’

    Somewhere there, besides the strength of the plant, I believe, also lies the thought of silkworms who fed on mulberry leaves to produce their durable and elegant yarn . .

    Great to have found your blog Stella, I’m writing this as I stare across a narrow strip of sea over to the Turkish shores (although further south to where you sat). Wishing you a great, creatively moving year!


    1. Dora, many thanks and a great, creative year to you too. I am glad you found your way to my blog, especially since you understood the mulberry/silk connection; and also, of course, that your comment leads me back to your blog. I look forward to visiting you!


  2. thank you for the wishes Stella! I’m very new to this whole thing (both blogging and writing short poems) but I’m curious to find out more about it. I’ll be happy to host your visits or even read any comments/thoughts -feedback is always welcomed!

    take care!


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