Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chittenden Reservoir

I have been participating in a poetry group while here in Florida.  It offers the opportunity to receive feedback, learn, and improve.

Recently, a member of the group introduced the "haibun."  This is a form I had never heard of, but I gave it a try.  My first attempt fell short on the haiku portion.  I made some revisions.  I don't know that I came any closer to actual haiku, but I am happy with my effort and I am calling it done so I thought I would share.

Chittenden Reservoir

A camping trip at Chittenden Reservoir is a well-planned and coordinated event. Mike starts watching the weekly weather predictions in hopes of finding three consecutive Vermont summer days promising warmth and sunshine.  If a full moon should happen to fall within those days, the camping gods have surely blessed us.

We pack the van at night, leaving only the cooler to be packed with ice, food, and beverage and then loaded in the predawn hours of the morning as we start the 70 mile trip.

Dew trickles through
grassy fields—
Spider laces

We leave the main road for a dirt track that climbs 1500 feet into the Green Mountain National Forest.  A sharp turn and the final 500 yards end at a small boat launch.  Damp detritus of evening activities litter the shore.  Two brightly colored kayaks glide away from the dam and are quickly out of sight.  No need for words as we take the canoe to water’s edge and load it with our camping gear.  Mike parks the van and then shoves the canoe into the cool, glassy water.  I hold steady as he climbs in and we start our paddle.

The reservoir covers 750 acres.  There are a few cabins near the dam, but most of the 7 mile shore line, dotted with coves and small bays is left to the wild,  inhabited by deer, foxes, moose.  Primitive campsites can be found if one knows where to look.  We know and head straight across, hoping to find out favorite cove unoccupied. The not knowing gives us a sense of urgency.

Light bursts over
Pico Mountain,
 diamonds on the water

The canoe crunches on the gravel beach.  We police the area before unloading, always hoping for no sign of previous habitation and too often disappointed.  Once the tent is set up and our camp arranged, we relax.  We gaze at the water and the mountains.  We watch the family of ducks, hoping for hand outs,  watching us.  We read.  We listen to the birds.   We giggle at the antics of chipmunks.  We swim, float gazing at the blue sky.  We talk and laugh.  We make love in the afternoon.

In the evening we paddle to the furthest bay.  The beaver slaps her tail on the water very near the canoe to warn us away.  We see a snapping turtle, the feathers from a duckling, a single webbed foot settling around it.  A bull moose, awkward, yet majestic, dips his head into the water.  We sit quietly watching until, sated, he turns and vanishes into the marsh grasses.

Night symphony begins—
Croaky tunes of longing,
Birds at roost

As the pale darkness of summer settles, Mike builds a fire.  We sit on benches made of logs and stones, sharing our prepared feast.  We make bets on where the moon will rise.  I am always wildly off and Mike wins every time.  He has studied such things.  Our mood shifts to one of awe.  We meditate in silence at the sight of the ascending Full Buck Moon.

Our hearts are full.  We sit and poke the fire, mesmerized by glowing embers. Gratitude spills from out lips between kisses that taste of wood smoke and wine.

With plaintive call
Loon glides to lift-off—
summer echoes.

Olga Hebert
April 18, 2015


  1. Poetry goes over my head and so do haikus, but the prose in this is excellent. Well done Olga!

  2. I really enjoyed this Olga. I think haiku is hard, but it fascinates me. Sometimes, I try my hand at it. I like the mix of narrative and poetry in this form of writing. I think you captured the essence of your emotions about the narrative that was written before each haiku. You also gave us an image in the poem that went with the narrative. Haiku should do that. It should distil the moment and the emotion into a few words that give an image to reader. (Anyway, that's what I remember about teaching it long ago.) Very nice job. A+

  3. Distill, not distil. But, I know you know what I mean. ;)

  4. I don't know the rules about Haiku. Since it is Poetry month at the library, I looked at several books, including Haiku, but chose another book. I'm not sure what type it is called but I'm going to read and then attempt something. I'm sure you have done a much better job than I could. By reading Retired English Teacher's comments, sounds like you did a darn good job.

  5. Haiku is very difficult for me as it seems deceptively simple. This memory was just beautiful and I long for that time. .

  6. I love this form -- haibun. Your narrative was great! And the haiku was perfect. Don't be so hard on yourself -- you did an excellent job!

  7. I LOVE haikus. love, love, love them. :)

  8. I know zip about poetry but I can appreciate what I read. The combination of prose and poetry was quite powerful.
    What a magical trip you took and what a sweet memory it must be. .

  9. Thanks for taking me on your journey ... very evocative.

  10. I haven't heard of this form. How interesting!
    I'm so fed up with pseudoku, where English doesn't fit the style parametres. Usually people miss the 'cutting words.'
    I didn't do any poetry this month. I usually do in April. There is just so much going on!

  11. Just amazing! What a wonderful adventure, Olga, and so well written, too.

  12. Haven't come across this before.

    Was lovely to read, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  13. This is absolutely excellent, Olga. I love all of your creations. I love the "diamonds on the water."

  14. I have not heard of it either. You sure do well to try new things. The trip itself seems poetic.


I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.