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Summer 2005, vol 3 no 2

Haibun ~ Patricia Prime


Failure in Communication

From my friend's house the flight to the South Island of New Zealand is in two stages: a 36-seater plane to Wellington and a short flight in a16-seater across Cook Strait.
It's a cold windy day and Wellington Airport is notorious for its bumpy plane passage across the harbour between rocky hills to the city. This flight is no exception. The plane veers and bumps but lands safely. I can't help noticing the patch of vomit at the entrance to the airport arrival terminal.

There's an hour's delay before the smaller plane takes off and my friend and I spend it browsing in the bookshop. We each pick up a purchase: hers is a book of poetry by a New Zealand poet, Nice morning for it, Adam by Vincent O'Sullivan; mine is Fiona Farrell's superb new novel Book Book.

On the small plane the captain is a young slip of a girl whose parents occupy the seats behind her. They are busy photographing the take-off with their cine camera and proudly tell us it is her first time piloting a plane. A thick fog envelops the aircraft and it's a bumpy, eerie, silent flight broken only by the occasional remark from passengers.

hands clasped in prayer
I glance beneath the seat
for a paper bag

Finally the plane lands. The captain says, with a wry smile, "I hope you enjoyed the flight as much as I did."

In the arrival lounge there is no one to meet us. We decide to wait for half an hour before calling the friend with whom we are staying. When he fails to arrive, we go and 'phone him. A gruff voice answers the phone: "Damn, I thought you were arriving tomorrow. Give me half an hour and I'll be there." While we wait we enjoy a cup of coffee and a sandwich and look through the windows at small aircraft landing and taking off.

no taxis in sight
at the country airport -
seagulls on the runway

Finally our friend arrives, gives each of us a sheepish grin, a huge hug and a kiss. "Welcome back," he says, "good to see you again." He lifts our suitcases easily into the waiting car, sees us safely seat-buckled, turns on a Mozart CD and we drift out into the countryside. There is little traffic, the sunshine is brilliant and the fields green with new grapevines.

summer beginning
the fresh light green of vines
how quick the mood change


Patricia Prime is a teacher living in Auckland, New Zealand. She writes poetry, reviews, interviews and essays, and has had the occasional short story published. Patricia is co-editor of the haiku magazine Kokako, reviews editor of the Internet magazine Stylus, and poetry judge of the traditional poetry magazine MetVerse Muse. She writes haiku, tanka, linked verse and haibun, sometimes in collaboration with other poets. In 2005, Patricia is to lead a ginko for poets attending the Haiku Festival Aotearoa.

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku