Haibun in the Modern English-Language Style by Ray Rasmussen
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Dover Beach and My Backyard

My daughter has just finished the spring yardwork and has the sun's glow on her cheeks. The raked lawn reveals hints of green, two black-and-white kittens are mock fighting, and our dog gnaws on a toy bone. The red-breasted nuthatches have reoccupied the birdhouse.

A book of poems open to Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" rests on my chest as I sway back and forth in the newly hung hammock. The newspaper with headlines from Iraq is cast aside. Arnold likens the loss of faith in his era to the withdrawing roar of a retreating sea, and the world is portrayed as "a darkling plain" where "ignorant armies clash by night."

My faith lost? No, just shifted. Mosquitoes will hatch all too soon, and the cats are sure to make yet another try on the birdhouse. And, yes, Matthew, family and garden must suffice for now.

storm clouds gathering
a robin's

evening song


See: Matthew Arnold's poem: Dover Beach

earlier version published in Life Sherpa, 2005.