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Southern Cultures 13.4 (2007) 117-118

Near Bluffton Mill and Late Spring, Rockfish Gap
Haiku by
Rebecca Lilly

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Figure 1
The Shenandoah Valley from Maryland Heights up to Rockfish Gap (on the north, or right, side of the valley), 1864, by A. R. Ward, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress.

Near Bluffton Mill


The old house ruins
Shine with dust; late day coolness
From the pine forest


Among the grass tufts
Along a fence: cattle bones . . .
Dry weeds, there again


Sawdust and bark chips
In the yard; treetops crackling
As the starlings arc


The parched yellow grass
Near a high water mark; sun-
Streaked banks caked with mud [End Page 117]


Golden field slopes fade . . .
Hay bales scenting through the boards:
Weathered, flecked with paint

Late Spring, Rockfish Gap


On a tree-lined creek bank
Redstarts flutter, hovering,
Darting from birch leaves
After rain: green pastures—
Cloud shapes change at the summit
Through scattered sunbeams


At dawn, in the field,
Feathers of a long-eared owl
Float among the stalks
Ripples going outward . . .
Birch twigs drift across water
Where the path runs out


On a sunken porch,
An old table and chairs; wasps
Buzz through weathered doors
The horse pasture warms . . .
Some mist-wrapped morning glories
Open through fence boards

Rebecca Lilly holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell University. She has published two books on spiritual practice and two collections of poems: You Want to Sell Me a Small Antique, which won the Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize, and Shadwell Hills, a book of haiku.

Ed. Note: The haiku is an ancient Japanese form noted for its ability to capture landscape and emotion in a very short space. It seemed an intriguing act of globalization to apply the form to Bluffton Mill and the creeks and trees of Rockfish Gap.



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pp. 117-118
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