Notes on the LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE, the Web’s Original Haibun Challenge

Come join us in our weekly LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE! Here’s some notes about haibun to help you get started.

 

  • Haibun is a passage of prose with at least one haiku.
  • Haibun usually relate to a journey, whether the travels are exploration or  internal, and/or should be in contact with nature.
  • They can and ought to contain an epiphany received through experience.
  • The concept of a haibun being part of the series, or an ‘episode’ is a very important one, and often overlooked. Your haibun should tie together by some strand, either theme, location, journey or other.
  • The haiku describes a moment or happening. As part of the haibun it might serve as a ‘mirror’ or look at the prose in a ‘different’ way.
  • Use of a ‘season’ word is a classical way of writing a haiku. These are words that signify a given season and give the haiku earthing or anchoring.
  • Each week, at the Līgo Haībun Challenge here is a choice of two prompt words, quotes, or visuals. Please choose one for your haibun.
  • Wear the Ligo badge below with pride on your blog! And pin the Circle of Appreciation to your blog  if your haibun is one of the monthly  Honourable Mentions in Dispatches

Click on the url below to join the challenge!

Haibun as a literary form really started when Basho, the ‘father’ of haiku set off on a 2,400 km walk through Japan, deliberately straying into the mountains when he could. The travel journals were a mix of prose studded with haiku, and were published titled ‘Narrow Road To The Deep North’. Frankly, it is a wonderful book, and started a very special form of writing. Basho claimed the art and heart of haibun as his with his reflective writing, awareness and sharp imagery.

While seen as a classical form in Japan, haibun has seen a revival in English over the past decades.

People should write their haibun in the way they like to write. However, I do think that the register of the language used, not the style, is important. There is a difference.

The above looks difficult, but in fact we are not talking about a story with a twist here – at all, though a moment of discovery or epiphany in a haibun fits very well.

The first thing I look to in a haibun is if the writer was at the scene or not him or herself.  The scene may be a memory, or a plan, merely witnessed or interacted with, or a mix of many or all of those.

It is not a story, though is a narrative. Personally I find it hard to read a haibun not interacting with nature. Indeed, an emphasis on emotion and not imagery is something that does not work in a haibun as a whole.

I am personally not a fan of direct speech, or lengthy direct speech in a haibun.

Remember that with the prose comes one or more haiku, and they must relate – when they do it is wonderful reading, but those who write a beautiful prose and don’t carefully tie it together with a powerful haiku miss something, I think.

I do very much see haibun coming in a series, rather like a diary, so would accordingly expect each haibun written by a given writer not be completely and totally separate from the one before. But if you are writing about your thoughts, actions, journey or a period in your life this seems logical to me.

A deeper meaning to the haiku might be found by the reader, but that is the reader’s prerogative, not the writer’s.

  • Līgo is the largest summer solstice festival in the world very much connected to nature, and located in Latvia. Of recent years a similar New Year festival at around the same time has been gaining popularity in Yakutia and will probably catch on in Kazakhstan.

 

 

Naughty Sunday Haiku

Today’s Naughty Sunday Haiku prompt was found on Tumblr. I don’t know the details, but I have an idea some women drawing might. All traditional haiku forms apply to this challenge. 3 lines, or 1 line, and a haiku or senryu with imagery, or strong moment, without simile or metaphor. Dare yourselves to ‘paint’ this haiku and link it in the blue critter below! The challenge is only open till Monday afternoon Helsinki time, and opens Sunday morning, so make your seductive words count quickly!

nsh

 

Carpe Diem Haiku – Gypsies

Before I post my haiku, or you read it, I’d be honoured if you just took a few minutes to watch this video of the guys – gypsy dancers I know from far back. If anyone thinks this is easy stuff, well, I think you might want to try it.  know exactly how hard it is, and remember one night with guitars, milk jugs, my bongo drum and an Australian with didgeridoo. A beautiful night but some of the toughest dancing ever to learn. But its the synchronicity also – just watch how it builds up, and you’ll go some way to understanding my love for the roma people, the gypsies. Worth every minute, this short video.

barefoot gypsy
dances her path before me
-a romany blessing

russian_gypsy_girl_20_by_dg2001-d2zvdjn

To finish off see how the music reaches deep in this gypsy home. These roma are quite light-skinned, and in my experience more so than the lovely bronze tone some friends had. Makes no difference of course, once a gypsy always a gypsy for many of the European population, who discriminate against roma people, the largest minority in Europe, in the crudest of ways.

 

If Jesus Was a Woman (For Magpie Tales)

el greco feast-in-the-house-of-simon 1610 (1)


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

If Jesus was a woman
and not a lesbian
Would there still be feminism?
Would religion start to make sense to me?
And would she have worn a bra?

Could she possibly have had
better hair?
Along with line in fine lingerie
for those seeking salvation
in the arms of a woman

Would her twelve disciples have been women too?
Would they have cross-dressed
or simply just had more style?
And would she have hung from the cross?

And would Peterina
Upon arrival in Rome
have been hung upside down?

If the Buddha had been all-woman
would she have sat under tree so long?

If Stalin had been a little girl
from somewhere deep in the Urals
would the gulags have functioned so well?

Its only Mick Jagger
that would remain the same
if history could be changed
To be herstory
And of course me
Though then
I would be une Lesbienne
-as I secretly am

magpie tales statue stamp 185

2-1=0

when I turned around
she’d left town
Forgetting to collect her last words
from my mind

her polish still in the bathroom
where she did her toes
and her watch on the chair
still yelling me the time

and open doors of rooms
permanently closed to emotion
no dishes in the kitchen sink
phones that make no calls

a shower permanently dry
trees sweeping their own leaves outside
pavements bare, sterile and cold
streets that go nowhere under rain that won’t fall

and the drip on the faucet that demands to be fixed
as if I have the time now I’m alone
and anyway it’s not my fault
she should have turned it tight before she left home

dVerse – Let It Rain

soft rain
takes me home

to watch drops
roll on a window pane

grey skies
waves caress sand
-a background refrain

I walk the forest
bathed
hesitate not
in my step
it leads me away
from where I came

the passion
of the Amazon has gone
the storm that lashed my skin
nectar of native fruit sinned

her arms tightening
under the lightning

I know
I’m not tamed

for the soft shores of a final destination
that to roam is my home

that my peace is found
in the eye of the monsoon

An Endless Migration In Us…The Fourth Qasida

Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011) wrote most of the poems for his first book in 1982 and 1983, when the Israel Defense Forces were invading Lebanon, leading to the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.  But it was in 1948, in Muhammad Ali’s village of Saffuriya, captured by the army of the newborn Jewish state, that the seeds of  The Fourth Qasida were probably planted.

Along with most of the village’s population, the teenage Muhammad Ali and his family fled on foot to a refugee camp in Lebanon, where his 12-year-old sister, Ghazaleh, died of meningitis. They were able to sneak back a year later and eventually even to obtain Israeli residence cards, but were never to return to their ancestral village, as Saffuriyya had been razed to the ground and turned into Tzippori, a moshav or Israeli settlement. Taha Mohammed Ali  settled in Nazareth instead, where he opened a souvenir shop for Christian tourists.

In his poem “The Fourth Qasida,” Muhammad Ali addresses Amira, the girl to whom he was betrothed in childhood, but whom he was not able to marry because she ends up on the wrong side of the Lebanese-Israeli border. Amira’s mysterious departure, never to return, can be equated to the events around Saffuriyya, but is left open for the reader’ s own interpretation at the same time.

The deeply moving poem is full of the flavour of what used to be known as ”Asia Minor’, with its references to nature and fruits, which add tragic appeal. The Fourth Qasida can thus almost be tasted, and is a poem, like many in Arabic tradition, that should be read or ”thought” aloud.

With each reading one discovers more, as always, and for me, in the latest reading, it is when a sudden ”powerful feeling” grows, that Amira might return, and then the sudden shout of ”Amira!” of the last stanza, that echoes still now. Enjoy the read. 

The Fourth Qasida

When our loved ones leave
Amira,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away—
departing, not to return.

The pomegranate trees
whose flowers you loved,
drooped and their shade withdrew,
and the path, and the china bark tree,
and the brooks—
all departed
after you left
and won’t return.

~

During the winter
strange birds seeking refuge arrive,
among them quails
and songbirds with colorful wings,
and also birds of prey,
and some that are sad and frail
and hold you spellbound in their goodness
gathering pebbles and grain,
and trembling in the tremendous cold
and out of a sense of profound strangeness—
though all of a sudden together they leave.
They come as one in winter suddenly,
as with it they suddenly flee.

~

I have, Amira, a strange and powerful feeling,
which grows still stronger in winter,
becoming increasingly forceful
and strange,
and I sense that you’ll arrive
one day with these birds,
an olive’s dove—
enchanting,
sweet-smelling,
graceful and gentle,
and restless,
alighting near
the almond tree in our garden.
A dove whose feelings of cold are fatal,
whose sense of strangeness can kill,
whose longing for the olive
grove is lethal;
a dove who smiles,
her eyes holding gardens of sadness,
while joy’s remains linger on in her coo.
The minute I see her, I’ll know her,
and recognize, too, catastrophes’ rings
hanging from her tender neck.
I’ll know her clear, springlike glance,
her dewy gaze
like the dreams of lakes.
I’ll know her shy, velvety steps,
her measured paces,
like breaths taken by seedlings of lettuce.
And I’ll know her sweet, singular, lilac voice,
which—every time I heard it—
I sensed was coming from deep within me,
a remote place within my soul,
lost and unknown—
this voice that reaches me
and which I greet
and embrace before my hearing stirs.
I will not mistake it,
for I can distinguish between
the voices of all the doves of the world
gathered together in a single garden.
And when I see her, my feet will set out
for the heart’s site within my breast.
But I will not let her see the tears
welling up in my eyes,
neither the tears of my joy for her,
nor the tears of my fear for her,
and not the tears of years of sadness,
nor my years of pain.
My blood will rush in my veins
to meet her then and welcome her.
And she will know us as well,
our sadness will lead her to us,
our anticipation will lead her to us,
the longing will lead her,
the evenings, the ardor.
The night will guide her,
and the clouds and grass
and the forest will show her the way,
the seasons and rivers
and paths—
all will guide her towards us.
And she will know us and cry
remember us and weep,
gather the greens and grain
and sob,
tremble from the force of the cold
and the depth of strangeness,
and weep,
We’ll tell her of the fields of thorn,
the colocynth fruit
and crimes of the wind,
the fangs of dispersal,
the mill of night and its cruelty,
the ardor of evening;
we’ll speak to her of defeat,
of bitterness and the loss—
and remind her of the olive buds,
as she weeps on and on.
She’ll neither find us strange nor fear us,
and she will not draw back from us,
but suddenly she’ll depart
as suddenly as she appeared,
and the winter that brought her
with it when it arrived
that morning will pass from our garden
swiftly like a train.
Waking from her slumber
in terror then, she’ll cry
and hanging from one of its coaches’ windows
she’ll weep,
withdrawing into the distance,
the tears filling her lovely eyes.

~

Amira!
When our loved ones leave us,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins,
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away,
departing, not to return.

There Was No Farewell
We did not weep
when we were leaving—
for we had neither
time nor tears,
and there was no farewell.
We did not know
at the moment of parting
that it was a parting,
so where would our weeping
have come from?
We did not stay
awake all night
(and did not doze)
the night of our leaving.
That night we had
neither night nor light,
and no moon rose.
That night we lost our star,
our lamp misled us;
we didn’t receive our share
of sleeplessness—
so where
would wakefulness have come from?

Should you wish to ”hear” some more from Taha Mohammed Ali, please do click on this poetry reading of ”Revenge”, read by the poet in Arabic, then by Peter Cole in English (just before the 4th minute), a pearl of an experience.

dVerse – Where Is She Now?

Where is she now?
The girl whose picture I found
Posing just after the last snows
Fresh, in her Yakutian meadow

What were her dreams, back then?
Among the flowers that only bloom in Spring
When she posed so long ago
The dark nights so short, the days so slow

Did she spend each spring in her field?
And did her memories leave with the end of summer?
I hope she slipped out of her heels
To walk barefoot in the grass, among scented heather

Did she pluck one wild flower to take home and press?
The girl from Yakutia whose photo I found
In the antique chest I bought last night
From the silver-haired woman, whose eyes shone so bright

 

At Rat’s Creek

the sailing boats have sunk
down at rat’s creek where a summer
was not complete without
at least one great big furry rat bite

where knees were meant to be skinned
and where Josie taught me
how to have sinned
down where the water rose each spring

where summer we dared each other
to swim the length of the pond bared
to the midday sun
nothing on except water

and where in those Autumn days
the sun sent its last golden rays
and one by one the boats clogged with leaves
till there was only my one boat left sinking 

so I grew up too
loved and lost and left town
and rat’s creek is now frozen 
every time I’m there in the snow

all the sailing boats have sunk forever
Josephine’s doesn’t even recognise me anymore
glass in her hand when she answers the door
the boats are all sunk – and  there’ll never be anymore summers


written for the wonderful http://dversepoets.com/ page – (topic Childhood Toys & Games), a truly beautiful bi-weekly challenge. My apologies for not getting the reading done I want. But I will.

Ten ‘Things’ We Could Not Do Without

10- Blues. What was the world like before the invention of Blues? Impossible to conceive. BB King, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Taj Mahal, and so many more. You cannot breathe without blues man, how did they before?

9- Tea. In tea friendship, the Japanese saying goes, To say the least. What can’t you say about tea? There is everything in a cup of tea, best drunk in a papercup, or from a flask, or a glass, among friends, lovers, alone, in the morning, afternoon or at midnight. If the world stopped to have a cup of tea,…

8- Tango. The definition of sensuality. You do not use words to describe the tango. Everything is in the accordian and high heels. And inner thigh.

7- French. There is not a more evocative, beautiful language. Period. Granted, it is just a slang of Latin, but no French woman has ever paid for a copper bracelet in my shop, just saying, “bonjour!” guarantees it is free… The language is style itself. When I speak French my voice is in a different octave, and everything is more relaxed.

6- Politeness. The absence of politeness is like the absence of fresh air, or sunrise. When travelling to countries where people are very polite like Iran, where politeness is the culture, it is a sheer delight. Afterwards one misses it like a life without tea or blues.

5- Deserts. Like the tango. Words cannot describe a desert. Imagine an environment that changes a little bit everyday as sand dunes reveal new curves and lines , always warm, where you can sleep outside every night in a perfectly and naturally-cushioned bed, without any mosquitoes or flies. Sheer luxury. Desertification is much underrated..

4- Rain. Rain in the desert is like diamonds. But rain anywhere is beautiful. Rain separates parasites from those who want to enjoy life deeply. I have heard those who curse rain but expect beautifully orange carrots from their supermarket. The whole Bollywood film industry survives on that dance in the rain; rightly so. No-one should own an umbrella. Especially not the queen.

3- Fish n Chips. The royalty of food. None better. Served with tea. Tetleys. Malt vinegar a must. Big chips. You simply have not eaten if you have not had a decent fish supper. Better than any food in France, except a meal shared with my new French neighbour who recently got locked out of her flat, but that is a whole other delicious story.

2- Immigration. Imagine a country with only rednecks. With boiled or deeply-fried pork and overcooked potatoes, wishy washy music without soul, and racism as humour. No spice, zest or colour. Blond hair and blue eyes ruling, and nice high alcohol abuse.. Immigration has been the one overriding success of the modern era. I hate whiter than white countries, with suspiciously pure thoughts. The pilgrims were intolerant, ignorant people who would have all died off without native Indian help, There are those among us that revere religions from the Middle East , yet act as if the people from that area of the world are in some way inferior to “us”. Weird. Most don’t even know where the Middle East is: rednecks.

1- Trekking. There are still people who still drive their cars two blocks to drive cigarettes. Unbelievable. And that people still smoke is actually funny. Talk about sheep controlled by the corporate world. The tobacco stuffed into cigarettes bears little to no relation to the much milder tobacco smoked in the peace pipes my friends, it has been engineered to be much stronger, much more addictive with higher levels of tar, even the lite brands, which is compensated anyway with more chemicals. So buy a pair of canvas slippers and walk in a desert instead. Walk, for days, sleep at nights, through the desert sands. Glorious.

And now, just because…

Public Display of Breast Feeding Day

On 15th August mothers, and all of us, should celebrate Public Display of Breastfeeding (PDB) Day. A mother’s devotion to her baby is a beautiful thing. To imagine that public breastfeeding is actually controversial tells me a lot about the negative aspects of some of our societies, My ex-partner breast-fed our child in an Arab airline flying over Saudi Arabian airspace without an issue, and it sickens me when some pathetic official of some pathetic capacity takes it upon himself to prohibit this ********* act – the word is beautiful, not the sick terms used by those with sick missions.

Breastfeeding in public empower mothers and shows the world that if a mother needs to breastfeed, it’s her right to feed her baby whenever and wherever she needs to. Breastfeed-in-Public-

You can show your support of breastfeeding by doing your own PDB on August 15. Visit www.thebump.com/pdb to take the pledge and tweet @thebump #PDB to say where you are feeding your baby!

Not a mother yet? That can be arranged… but no pirate jokes about breast feeding me..you can still join the boob-olution by pledging to breastfeed when baby arrives.

Friday Fictioneers – When She Danced…

copyright-renee-heath

When it rained, she was a mess. Mascara rolling down her face, like tears of soot from her papa’s past, her tutu looking like overused fishing nets; grey, patched, hanging down awkwardly, and her slippers, too, discoloured, muddy, seemingly irreparable. As she danced under the downpour on those occasions she wore an expression of defeated stoicism, and those who did not make a detour watched from the corner of their eyes, hoping, wishing for her sake she’d stop, and go home.

But when the sun shone, she pirouetted, twirled and laughed, remembering papa’s words! “You’ll be a wonderful dancer, my  cherry blossom, one day!” He’d sighed, so many times.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

for Friday Fictioneers  100 Word Fiction- admirably run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields <> photo by Renee Heath

Jamie Wyeth  Monhegan's Schoolteacher, 2004

Magpie Tales ~ View Through A Winter Window

I kiss her fingertips as she sits
hair and breasts undone
her belly warm to rays of sun
her neck, back, shiver to my lips,
though still she drinks in the verse,
her book open in front of her
while her thighs envelope my senses

I have no recipe only desire
that her needs be met
by every touch
as her thirst for the words
in front of her
intensifies

Her nipples and dimple
in her smile
betray her gaze at the page
her eyes slightly glazed
still she tries
and sits still,
stiffles cries
as I taste
with no recipe in mind

The attention she craves
as she sits by the window
as I walk by in the snow
is therapy to my creativity
and she knows
how much I admire
so lifts her arms
as the snowflakes drift

her eyes on her book
open
before me

………………………………………………………………………………

magpietalespoetrychallenge

Friday Fictioneers: Even A Horse Can Laugh!

copyright-janet-webb

“There it is!” He announced proudly, jettisoning up from his seat, “Oor new hoosie, oor new home!”

“What!” She shrieked, hanging from his arms like a clothes stand, her buffant wedding dress ruffled and reaching for mud.

“Do ye no’ like it, my bonnie wee lass?” He enquired into the mass of creamy chiffonerie.

“But…you bought paint, you said you’d been painting!” She said, octaves rising with syllables, fervent hope in eyes a deeper desperation at each furlonged glance.

“Och lass, can ye no’ see the fence?” He swept his arm out sideways, her wedding dress now osmosis in the mud.

“Wrghhpllrph!” The horse said, head bobbing.

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((For Friday Fictioneers)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

“The weekly gathering of the Fictioneers has commenced.  Bring out the halt, the lame, the blind, the murderers and aliens, vampires and vamps. Look carefully and you might see a human or two.  Take them all, stir thoroughly, add a dollop of disbelief, a soupçon of silliness. Dip a spoon into the resulting slumgullion:  each recipe meticulously prepared, marvelously rendered, tasty to the tongue.  Your personal recipe is solicited or feel free to simply feast and go away replete; perhaps not always uplifted, but with your brain stimulated.” –Janet Webb

THE CHALLENGE: 

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end.

Run by ye incomparable Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photograph by Janet Webb