1956 saw my birth
and the devil’s rope gain ground.

I have yet learnt to fly
or succeed
where the movie star failed
to jump the wire
by motorcycle
in the Great Escape movie.

I did not leave a country by force only umbilically in a Chelsea hospital.

You left your motherland that year,
as I left my own,
and we returned together decades later to rust in old blood.

the scent of colour
in every crime scene
becoming chimera
Alan Summers
Ekphrastic haibun inspired by:
‘1956’ by Magdolna Ban
1988, oil on canvas,
Bridgeman Art Library, Private Collection
devil’s rope:
One company (in Wales U.K.) has made, and sold, in excess of one million rolls of barbed wire a.k.a. devil’s rope – enough to go 5 times around the world.

4 thoughts on “1956

  1. susan beth furst says:

    Wow! You know I had a feeling when reading this that it was strangely familiar…and then I saw your name and i said of course. 1956 was really quite compelling and horrible and sad and really a knock out punch for me. Of course I did some research and I am amazed at all of the themes and connections that run through. This is really amazing and one of my favorite a Brave and Powerful and Unforgettable Haibun!


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Alan:
    Quite an interesting Haibun to ponder.
    Thanks for the link to the painting and its description.

    That last line carries so much weight.
    “… we returned together decades later to rust in old blood.”

    Two readings for me, and well worded in pulling that off.
    Also, the last line sets up the senryu but one has to re-read it several times with the poem to be satisfied in the senryu.
    It would have been too easy to put the word blood in the senryu. To have blood as the last word of the prose seals the proposed “slip-realism” in it.


    1. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to crime scene in actual life, but we witness the minute changes over the days, and months, as time and nature, and human passage, makes its way through and around it.

      the scent of colour
      in every crime scene
      becoming chimera

      The leading line can mean the actual ramifications of the crime, but also of the wild flowers, and often flowers laid to rest at the scene by family and close friends.

      Then again, what is a crime scene? We can immediately think it’s a small area where one human has done immense harm on another human. But there are the quiet crime scenes, often legalised by governments and corporate companies, where shifting colours provide their own fragrance.

      Nature as a whole is ‘chimera’ of course, ever changing and evolving, with or without human interference.

      kind regards,



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