Kikakuza ’10 Winning Haibun


Night Fishing with Daddy by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

We turn off the national road, bump-bump-bumping through the veld*, till we arrive at the great wet eye of the dam*. The sun is low but it’s still light. We unpack the truck. I’ve brought a friend along, she’s thirteen to my aspirant twelve. While Daddy pus up the tent, we play shyly around the water’s edge. She’s Italian, not used to camping or the outdoors. Her brand new tackies* sparkle against the wild grasses. Two boys swim across the dam to talk to us. They ask us if we are models. My eyes are full of my friend: she’s so sophisticated, the way she laughs at boys. Daddy prepares the rods and the bait. I am self-conscious. I don’t want her to see how expertly I can hook a worm. Our favourite fish are sweet-fleshed kurper and carp. We use worms for carp. Kurper prefer lumps of bread or mielie pap* flavoured with custard powder or curry. We grasp the rods and follow Daddy’s movement, and cast. Listen to the long song of the line as it flies over the water, then the plop as the bait-laden hooks hit the water, and we girls giggling. Three times: song, plop, giggle,

song plop giggle

song              plop             giggle

Daddy lights the lantern. Boredom nibbles at our minds. A wild bird bustles noisily through the reeds, finding its nest. I steal a look at my friend. She sits passively as the shadows come to lie around her like old pets. I am mortified: she must be hating this. Teenagers should not be forced to go fishing. Worm-like I resent, struggling against the hook. Finally, I resign myself:

surrender to night

wait to see what the water

will return to us.

* veld – grassland area; dam – reservoir; tackies – sports shoes; mielie pap – maize meal, the staple diet of most South Africans



the godless month by Jim Kacian

a late autumn trek to Raven’s Rocks—the trail nearly hidden beneath a thick layer of bronzed leaves, making the forest feel untrammeled    weirdly verdant cane of denuded greenbrier, shining as with some private ardor in the midst of the decline of everything else    brilliant air gutted of birds, save for hugger-muggering ravens and crows, annoyed

two rills empty the swales running higher than usual from recent rain    away from them, on higher ground, there is only absence of sound, absence of presence    in a wood where it’s all too easy to be observed, nothing is willing to be found, not even a gnat

at the top of the ridge, though, looking down from the eponymous rocks, the hollow scattered with boulders from rock slides of centuries past    from this aerial view through the emptied trees, three deer can be seen nosing through underbrush, each separate from the others, each sleekly, superbly round against the linearity of simpled woods, scarcely denting the forest with their hooves and beings    the barest hint of a deer path    each of them follows and at the same time meanders from it    some part of me wants to move with them, gracile and sleek, and some other part wants to scare them up, so they become even warier of humans and our capacity for long-range slaughter    instead i simply watch from my perch, able to predict their movements even as they are not, all the time fearing the arrival of men, guns, hounds and the god of snow

mulling it over the legs of the brandy

One response to “Kikakuza ’10 Winning Haibun

  1. Pingback: Concours Kikakuza Haibun 2011 (anglais) : 575 haibun

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