Burial Rites on White Island Volcano (haibun)

The way the sulfur burns our throats on this molten prison
This smoking island “it can’t possibly be worth it” digging
Yellow neon sweating rock – but oh how on some sun-filled days
The deep water around us seems gentle and free and how the birds
May have returned to say goodnight as we settle in, bones aching
From hard labor, our feet covered in volcanic dust, our nostrils
Burnt with the sulfur, oh it is ungodly quiet when we settle in to sleep,
It is quiet when the lahars bury us at sea….

End of days foretold
swiftly the darkness becomes
a light to walk towards.

[written about the the White Island volcano in New Zealand: “Attempts were made in the mid 1880s, 1898–1901 and 1913-1914 to mine sulphur from White Island but the last of these came to a halt in September 1914, when part of the western crater rim collapsed, creating a lahar which killed all 10 workers. They disappeared without trace, and only a camp cat survived.”]

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10 Comments

Filed under conceptual, Japanese Short Form, poem, poetry

10 responses to “Burial Rites on White Island Volcano (haibun)

  1. dang…this is chilling…the calm as they lay down is haunting to me….ugh on their loss of life as well…

  2. dang…this is chilling…the calm as they lay down is haunting to me….ugh on their loss of life as well…

  3. it was chilling to be there, Brian. there are some physical parts of the old mine still standing…

  4. it was chilling to be there, Brian. there are some physical parts of the old mine still standing…

  5. The lure of money and adventure have led so many young men to their deaths in places far from home and this poem hurts for them and those left behind. Stirring and moving!

  6. The lure of money and adventure have led so many young men to their deaths in places far from home and this poem hurts for them and those left behind. Stirring and moving!

  7. A chilling reality which symbolises the threat we all face when “tampering” with Mother Nature. Loved the words:
    “this molten prison”.
    Somehow the “this” is very inclusive!

  8. A chilling reality which symbolises the threat we all face when “tampering” with Mother Nature. Loved the words:
    “this molten prison”.
    Somehow the “this” is very inclusive!

  9. thank you Beachanny and Gemma for your comments. Appreciate it.

  10. thank you Beachanny and Gemma for your comments. Appreciate it.

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