Autumn Noelle Hall

Writer’s commentary:  It never ceases to amaze me the way one can walk the same road over and over, and yet experience it differently each time.  Sometimes, as I hike my mountain “neighborhood,” I am focused on the emerging or fading flora; other times, I might have an eye to the clouds forming and reforming in the sky.  On this particular outing, I was watching my shadow stretched out ahead of me when a murder of crows rode the winds overhead.  Because what I saw was in silhouette, I was reminded of shadow puppet theatre and the way two dimensions can evoke a three-dimensional world.  I felt a script-like treatment would be an apt way to stage the event.

Shadow Puppetry

Spring Snow (Shunsetsu) by Takeuchi Seiho

The scene: Mid-winter, bare-branch-aspen-white, when the low-slung sun stretches all it touches into allegory.  Enter a graying crone—stage left—trailing her own crystalized breath around a twist of mountain road. Between footsteps crunching on icy gravel, we begin to hear the approaching jeers of those who presage: everything which walks, walks towards death.

one crow’s shadow
pierces my own—
in a torrent of wings
his kin pour from the wound

*Bunraku, a type of puppetry play, is one of the four traditional forms of Japanese theatre, which include Kabuki, Noh, and Kyogen.


About the writer:

For Autumn Noelle Hall, tanka holds memory, emotion, people and place.  Like her cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, it is home to husband, daughters, wildflowers and waterfalls, bears and mountain lions and their tracks through the snow.  But tanka is also a form of reckoning and confrontation, a way to truly see and make sense of the world.  In short, tanka is the lens by which Autumn seeks to collaborate with readers, allowing them a momentary glimpse of life through her eyes.

Image: Spring Snow (Shunsetsu) by Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942). Ink and color on silk. 74.3 x 90.9 cm. 1942. Public domain.