22 August, 2012

River Limmat

Gran's Swans

river Limmat
pushed along by
the sound of bells

1 comment:

Hobbes said...

We've often talked about the immediacy of haiku as being a good way to take a "snapshot" of a moment, rather like a photograph-with-words. I was at a conference in Zurich during the summer, and, while missing my wife and son as always, took a stroll down the main river (the Limmat) to the lake. It was slightly drizzling, but the sky was warm with the colours of the descending sun.

At exactly 5 p.m., I was surprised by the peaceful, empty city erupting into a series of bell tolls, from all around. Zurich is famed for its charming architecture, and its large cathedrals in particular; the sound of their (very) many bells shook me out of my thoughts and brought me right back to the present moment.

The rolling of the huge river under the many-arched footbridge on which I was standing seemed linked to the never-ending sound of the bells, as if the water itself was being pushed along by the ringing.

The image that completes this haiga is a painting by my dear, late grandmother, who left with us a lifetime of beautiful paintings. She was an old-fashioned lady, in the good sense of the phrase, and used her days to paint, often in the pretty garden of her farmhouse. I remember playing croquet there throughout my childhood, on a bumpy lawn under some apple trees; my dear wife and I were to have the reception for our wedding in the same garden, many years later.

My grandmother's painting of swans was always one of my favourites, and it is my hope that the colour and charm of her painting is not offended by the words of my simple haiku. She would have very much enjoyed that moment on the banks of the River Limmat; we would have admired those Swiss swans together, and no doubt remembered those back at home, as depicted in the painting.