Alan Peat & Réka Nyitrai

Three Ekphrastic Haibun

harmful recessive

You tame a magpie into a woman’s silhouette. You rip out her heart and pin it to your lapel. You tell her not to worry, 
you will take good care of her heart. You tell her she will never die because she will, forever, be your muse. You start 
upon your first poem dedicated to the magpie. It is an outburst of language - there are birders, winter berries, a 
snowcapped mountain, and metal leg rings with punched numbers. They are used to pair unrelated birds in order to  
maintain the gene pool’s diversity. 

rocky landscape —
a brother and sister play
with the baby

(based on ‘The Maid and the Magpie, A Cottage Interior at Shillington, Bedfordshire’,  William Henry Hunt (1834))

the work for which all other work is but preparation

When Rainer Maria Rilke died his soul was divided in two. One part now resides in a peacock’s cry, whilst the other can
be found in a crocodile’s tooth. The two halves of his cleaved soul will only reunite in a time when reptiles are kiss-
fed by peacocks. 

eye feathers —
passing trucks 
make the still bird 

(based on ‘Peacock and crocodile’, Maria Primachenko (1937))

More than a literal interaction with the scene

Most of my lives I’ve spent in a sea of trees. Often, I was a small, white dove. The gods that roamed the forests kept 
me caged. Sometimes they used me for light, sometimes as bait. More often than not they were warring with other gods. 
If they dreamt of me with a sword in my beak then they took this as a sign of victory. If they dreamt of me carrying 
a laurel leaf  in my beak it was surely a sign of defeat. I do not remember if victory or defeat meant anything to me. 
But, what I do know with certainty is my wish to be reborn as a German landscape artist. 

grattage  —
from a fog of scraped paint
pulsing wings

(based on ‘Forest and Dove’, Max Ernst (1927))

Alan Peat is a UK based poet. In 2021 he placed third in the International Golden Triangle Haiku contest & second in the New Zealand International Haiku contest. In 2022 he was runner up in the British Haiku Society, Ken and Norah Jones Haibun Award; honourable mention in the Haiku Poets of North California International Haibun contest; second in the Sandford Goldstein international tanka contest; second in the Heliosparrow semagram contest; joint third place in the 2022 Time Haiku ekphrastic haibun contest etc.

Réka Nyitrai is a spell, a sparrow, a lioness’s tongue — a bird nest in a pool of dusk. She is the recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2020 for her debut haiku volume While Dreaming Your Dreams (Valencia Spain: Mono Ya Mono Books, 2020).
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