Prayer for the Dead . . .

The ruins of a medieval castle stand on its outskirts. The River Úhlava runs through it.  It’s ringed by the Böhmerwald.  This much I know from guidebooks, but my pen-pal quickly gets to the heart of our ancestors’ village.  “In the old days,” Ragnar writes, “Jews lived there.”

cobblestones . . .
a klezmer song drifts
through ancient streets

Ragnar sends me eight 5×7 black and whites: four snapped around town; four of the old Jewish cemetery—a long view of the muddy field he trekked through with the farmers’ dogs barking at his heels; two closer views of headstones—some upright, others overturned; the last, a stone engraved with Hebrew.  “It seems very likely,” Ragnar adds suddenly, “that our great-grandfathers knew each other.”

saying grace—
the cantor’s voice rises
in a minor key

Years later I decipher the name engraved on the last picture’s tombstone.  Moshe.  Son of Meier.  He was, his tombstone says, “upright and pious.”  His name was Moshe.

passover . . .
a gypsy moth circles
the candle’s flame

Contemporary Haibun Online, vol 8. , no. 1 , April 2012

About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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3 Responses to Prayer for the Dead . . .

  1. Yousei Hime says:

    I really love the stories that whisper through this post, in particular that last haiku. The whole piece is a bit like staring at a flame for me–mesmerizing and dreamlike. When I’m done, I have to shake my head and blink my eyes to clear the visions. Thank you for your recent visit and like.

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