April – My Love – 2002

This haibun goes back to an encounter in 2002

April – I have not seen her for a few months. When I hear her calling from the gate – I know it is her, before I recognise her. I leave the car, engine running, and rush over.

She tells me she left Uni after the first semester and is now jobbing until she finds out what to do. Her face yet rounder, she looks younger again – and well. I tell her so. She smiles. Even our self-consciousness is tender — as we recognise each other.

Not the sun…in April –
…your face…shines*

I pass her in the car again as she closes the gate after her bike, and we both wave.

Not mother, not daughter –
my love, so much younger
in you


* Inspired as this was, of course, by April (name changed) — my thanks and appreciation also go to the unknown 20th century German poet, who wrote the poem below. It came back into my mind through the encounter reported here:

“When I see you,
The sun rises –
Can’t be, you say?
You only think so, because
You don’t see yourself when another
Recognises you.”

(translated into English by BS)

the image shows a stretch of Mawddach Estuary in North Wales  where I was living at the time – the character of the image underlines the paradox expressed in the haibun – in what way can Love be present in absentia…


~ by Barbara S on June 9, 2021.

4 Responses to “April – My Love – 2002”

  1. The encounter with a young former student of mine in my late forties had my heart sing – all at the same time a touch of being-in-love, motherly tenderness, respect, closeness and distance.
    The latter not only because this was, of course, not to become an intimate relationship, but also because the love points to something else – in her case the longing to emigrate to Canada, in my case the solitary life style – where love also flows. Or so I hoped.
    The line
    ‘my love – so much younger in you’ surprised the writer: It embraces the ambiguity of first addressing the beautiful and radiant young woman – to be stopped in my track, as it were, realising that the encounter was what it was for the moment (and beyond!) and complete in itself. The similarity, the love would live on. The haiku-style poem ends with the word you – echoing.
    And still the core of the Moment remains hidden, to be intuited, between words.

  2. Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch evangelical Christian saved many Jews from Nazi persecution when her country was occupied by the Hitler army,
    In her book The Hiding Place those years. are descriebed. It is mentioned that she was bitterly disappointed by a fiancee who broke off the engagement to go off with someone else. Seeing her grieving, her father is reported as saying she may want to offer the love she had felt for her fiancee, and probably still felt, – to God.
    On a surface level, talking about a religious ideology, the story makes me slightly cringe.
    However, on a deeper level, I have come to believe that what her father talks about to Connie is an anthropological given, a transformational potential in the human psyche when totally engaged with a matter – it can turn into something that is not owned anymore but owns the person (as far as he or she agrees).
    And I don’t mean intentional sublimation as in Freudian concepts either.

  3. In Luise Rinser’s early novel ‘Mitte des Lebens’ (Mid Life), the protagonist’s boy friend says she really rather loved him as part of her calling to love Life – whereas he had come to a deeper love for Life through loving her. A very subtle yet very practical distinction, as I had to learn, again and again. – Until, to my huge surprise, I met a friend again and found that in platonic love, with some distance as well, after lots of fights, we could be child-like and – a new synthesis becomes possible.

  4. The late Ruth Pfau, German Nun and, for many decades, Doctor in Pakistan, describes, in her biography, a scene prior to her becoming a nun – a boy friend asked her to marry him and – after she declined said, he was not really surprised she had something about her that spoke of the absolute…

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