Ferry Ride

The young man circles the passenger deck, a baby in the crook of his arm. He stops and holds the baby upright in front of a glass case containing a carved Salish mask. The baby gravely examines the face of the mask, then grasps a corner of the case and pushes, as if to make the case turn. The man moves the baby so it can view the mask from the side. After a while the baby pulls on the glass corner. The man moves the baby to see the mask from the front again. Push and pull, to and fro, back and forth. Finally the baby turns its head and puts its fist in its mouth. The man tucks the baby in the crook of his arm and resumes circling the deck.

near the end
my father stops telling me
to straighten up

blue waves yellow sky


Margaret D. McGee

I’m pleased to say that this haibun appears in the 2014 Winter edition of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. Brad Offutt says:

    Margaret, congratulations! That’s a very moving haibun, on several levels. I am coming to realize the tremendous therapeutic value of poetry, both in reading it and, especially, in creating it. You have brought back to me some of my own baggage that needed to be gotten out and opened up. Thank you!

  2. Margaret, Good going! I like this. I remember the straighten up but with an attached fly right or Wright???. I always wanted to ask about the fly right and airplanes but thought it unwise.

  3. I agree with Brad. I appreciate the strength of this haiban, and the courage to write it. Also, the father shows the child many diverse settings and ways to view life. This child/father image ties in with the haiban…ideas of flexibility, diversity, rigidity and change.

    • Thanks, all.

      Sharon, I especially appreciate your pulling out the many sides of the father. I wanted to give a sense of tenderness at the beginning of life, and perhaps a return to tenderness near the end of life, without glossing over tensions in between. Real relationships have many colors.

  4. Haiban. a new term for me, dear mistress of haiku. The mask, a covering AND a revealing. Lovely piece, Margaret.