We are creeping back to schedule and I am slowly creeping forward with reading the backlog of haibun I want to read, continue here…
We are creeping back to schedule and I am slowly creeping forward with reading the backlog of haibun I want to read, continue here…
Come join us in our weekly LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE! Here’s some notes about haibun to help you get started.
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.
Beaches don’t come much colder than Aberdeen beach, in the northwest of Scotland. But before people bustled onto planes to get drunk abroad, Aberdeen beach was a popular holiday destinations for hardy Aberdonians. They don’t make folk like that anymore. Nowadays, of course, none venture in such cold waters when their are holidays further south to be had.
Advances in technology have brought a fair amount of improvements to our lives, but for every action there is a reaction. Isn’t that the first law of Physics?
Our food is worse now, not better. Our health and fitness worse. The food is less nutritious, and there is much less variety of it, a little known fact. There are many less varieties of apples around than there used to be 50, or a 100 years ago, for example, as industrial production seeks the cheapest to produce, the farthest away. One day we will learn more by looking back, except that many of these varieties have disappeared, forever. In fact there are storage centres desperately being arranged and built in an effort to preserve seeds of disappearing varieties of foodstock. It is that bad.
Our ancestors never got to see and experience what we do, but not everything they believed and lived by was wrong. Our social fabric is torn. Today we have what has become the propagandist aggressive negativity of Feminism, for example, while before we had gentlemen, and decency towards women. Even, maybe, in Aberdeen!
Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly gives an account of Aberdeen beach in his particular style which gives a fair idea of Aberdeen beach – start at 4.40 mins for his account of swimming in Aberdeen.
And the emptiness of Aberdeen beach today…
loneliness by the sea
what is found over horizons
is found here too
Sometimes it feels like that’s all there is left. Two old warrior’s we felt ourselves to be, at the kitchen table this morning, my painter and I. Both about the same age. In his youth he’d been a UN blue beret – attached to the UN through the Finnish army. In my youth, with my beret green, I’d been in exactly the same area, with the French military, Lebanon, Syria, Israel. We’d perhaps even been only yards apart at times.
And both of us knew that rare thing. We both knew and felt the lies so often told about the Middle East by our western governments and press, this ex-UN soldier, attached with his Finnish regiment, and I. He’d witnessed a Norwegian UN soldier, a woman, beaten up by Israelis when she had a flat tyre and was trying to flag a car down for help, though it was true she was in uniform and Israelis revile the UN – but her thumb up gesture was also a dire insult in Israel. I’d heard about it. We both saw or heard about many incidents.
We drunk our coffee, and we knew the lies.
“But still the dates grew in the trees, all year round,” he said, “and the olives too, until those crazy extremist Jewish settlers burnt all the olive groves.”
“That was, and still is terrible,” I said, “and never talked about.”
The cold crept in trough the open kitchen window. I shivered.
“When I was a child, all our winters were cold, full of snow,” he said, looking out the window with me, at the trees just starting to bud. “This year winter did not come properly but still the cold lingers.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Maybe that is how it is now,” he said, “never really starting, or ever finished.”
flowering spring won’t be today
I miss absent palm trees
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.
dances her path before me
-a romany blessing
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.
As Chèvrefeuille says, the goal of this CD-Special is to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the given one of our featured haiku-poet. Here is the haiku, written by Soen Nakagawa, for inspiration:
each patch of grass
illuminated by the moon
There is the visual aspect to this haiku, but the clear emotional attachment is also there, with the use of moonlight as a melancholic influence on each and every blade. My turn now:
a lantern dispatches shadows
where none existed before
-it takes light to see dark
in the thunderous solitude
the answer lies within
THE world’s First Haibun Challenge has moved! It is here - flyindie.wordpress.com/
Thanks to everyone participating in the Ligo Haibun Challenge – if you would like you can post your haibun at Medium here, and label it under the “Beautiful Haibun” collection. This gives you further readership and gives you a step out of the ‘WordPress world.’
My apologies for the lateness of the post this week. I was a bit exhausted after travel and duties, and have a lot of catching up to do. There are a lot of fine people out there and I don’t want to lose them…so I will be catchng up, especially as I want the Ligo anthology out soon – so send your haibun!
I will be contacting folks very shortly about their haibun – that probably means you reading this!
This week is picture week. As usual choose one to write your Beautiful Haibun. I certainly encourage all glancing here to have a read of the haibun, which are of very high quality in an art form that in itself encourages beautiful writing.
If you are new to the form ask here for details..
Please give us some beautiful haibun! Link up with the blue critter below..
…Here’s 3 haibun we particularly liked from last week and are mentioning here:
After two hours yesterday and nearly an hour today, I still cannot and will not nominate one over the other. The haibun are all so good for both very similar and different reasons.
See what I mean….
The prompts for this week are continued…
Nowhere better actually. Just nowhere. The people are wonderful in every country, the tragedy is galling, but the smiles are pure music. The headscarves, wraps, dresses are all magical, and my two favourite ‘perfumes’, the diesel and the dust, are everywhere. There is nothing not to love about the continent: they must make it, just must.
I cannot pin point the best country or town and seat in Africa to sit and write your novel, but where ever it is, the novel will swirl around you, day and night. The difficulty is squeezing it into your pages quick enough.
Once an ex-US Marine
gave me a job in Sierre Leone
my job was not too complicated
wake up in the morning
sit on the front of a truck
with a shotgun
during the diamond run
and also bring back the pay
the very same day.
As a writer I could not refuse
and I knew
nothing is more similar to the holder of a pen
than the trigger of a gun.
I wonder what the difference is between pilgrim and refugee. Both seek shelter from the world. It is true that they both might pass each other on the road, dressed in similar clothes, with the similar, hunted look in the eyes, or upon the face. Of course, the pilgrim wants to come back, and the refugee does not. And the pilgrim is rushing to his god, while the refugee is running away from someone else’s god. But aside from these differences, they are both somewhat similar in nature, more or less.
shooting star at night
or floating ember from fire
grasshopper guesses wrong
In this haiku I am playing with Basho’s haiku, the most famous haiku written, to give a Tengrist leaning.
small pond in grassland
splash carried by winds
The goal of this feature is to write an all new haiku which starts with the given first line.
.This week’s haiku has to start with the following first line:
a shooting star
a shooting star
¤ ¤ ¤
Haiku found at the bottom of my backpack; written ten years ago on a train ticket, during a trek through the Tatra mountains in Slovakia and Poland.
forest is old
house is new
Shaman haiku are a genre that I think have just been started at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai
Here’s what I think they feature:
flight of the eagle
stepping into the world of dreams -
a silent cry
The next haiku is by Ryan. Notice, and feel, the sudden jolted stop. Specifically matched to the increasing tempo. Then notice the sudden silence around you. It may be that I would be even more sparse with the words, dropping the ‘also’, but I did not think of, nor write, nor could write the haiku, so that is presumptuous and pretentious of me. Written by Bryan Ens.
the drum beats faster
while heart-rates increase also
sudden stop. peace
The third haiku was written by Asni. It is a pearl. Just look at that. The release. The eagle suddenly soaring. From where? From the reader momentarily? At what stage? Now read it again. Can you see other possibilities? Wonderful.
faster and faster
the beating of my heart …
an eagle’s cry
Now look at how Bjorn Rudberg composes a haibun, with a one line/17 syllable *American sentence* haiku at the conclusion. Notice how the readers ‘feels’ and ‘senses’ the haiku. Actually, that one line haiku is so full I think I should refrain from comment and just let you experience the sensations. But look at what Bjorn did, also, to build you to that moment; to set the scene.
At some point in our long trip I realize that, though the taiga looks much the same we have came so far into the east, that the train is the thin rope that still connects us to the familiarity of the west we know. We are divide from the forests and the big rivers only by the thin shell of the railway car. We live in bubble of western life but I still sense an unfamiliar taste in the tea from the samovar in the corridor. Like the breath from a dragon I feel the iciness of the air as I open the window to let the Siberian air replace the stale smell of cigarette smoke.
The air filled with drumbeats from a shaman’s skin smells like fresh pine needles
I think the connection to the wilderness of nature and spiritual nature of shamanism is clear in all four haiku, that seem to flow so well together in this new theme or genre. I will attempt mine now. I am quite confident I cannot match any of the four of the above.
under an eagle
I dance to the heart beat
of a shaman’s drum
The haiku is fine, but I am happy it shows, and really highlights, just how wonderful the four above are. http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.fi/
Shaman Woman by Ksenia Spanielf Savchenko
How far we have come. How far we have gone. Yet our life force still lies within the simple rain drop and in the fall it makes from the nourishing sky. It is when walking in nature that one notices, feels and sees the colourful effects of the life force in droplets.
Yet there are many who won’t walk out of the front door without umbrella, and hide from the rain. What a pity. I have seen farmers look up and smile into the rain, and seen bedouins of the desert take deep breaths and enjoy the new, fresh scent of cooling raindrops.
one drop of rain
at the end of a pine needle
on the tall pine tree
Well here we go, my first foray into marketing. I’m laying down the tools, the brass hammer and stamp used to tap peoples’ names and messages into copper amulets and bangles I design, and the pen for the notes I take in-between.
My rifle is hanging up where my coat should be and I set no traps. It is going to be tough moving from sustenance-living to using invisible money (a card issued by the bank) to buy meat wrapped in plastic from the shop.
Its hard to sell though, when one is used to giving things away. But marketing takes time, and the time spent finding food and preparing fishing nets is now to be spent creating awareness about my book, which might lead to selling a copy or two, which means I’ll be able to queue up in the supermarket. Its a strange world.
I keep thinking of that coffee chain, you know that one, and that a good read is as satisfying as a good coffee, which taste so much better from my kettle over an open fire, the beans ground Ethiopian style than it does in that chain.
A good read lasts longer, much longer though, for the same price. My book might not be a good read for all, but it will change my readers, that is for sure.
Its coming out on Amazon and Kobo soon, and surely on ibooks as well, then the paperback will follow shortly. I’ll be giving some copies away of course, thus this post: so here goes with the marketing!
I’ll pose 2 questions every day or so at this first attempt, and the 3 people with the highest amount of correct answers each get a free copy. That’s questions over 21 days, though not every day. I’ll give the answers to the very hard kickoff questions in about 5 days, meaning next Wednesday.
Some questions will be factual, as below, and some won’t, meaning they’ll be guesswork, as below.
I’ll check your answers before displaying them, so others cannot copy you.
Best of luck!
Now, where is that can opener, and how do you open cans anyway?
takes me home
to watch drops
roll on a window pane
waves caress sand
-a background refrain
I walk the forest
in my step
it leads me away
from where I came
of the Amazon has gone
the storm that lashed my skin
nectar of native fruit sinned
her arms tightening
under the lightning
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
I never once walked in my forest with a feeling of wasting time. I never walked my daily forest walk and did not learn something, never went into the forest without coming out with more.
A forest supplies more than meditative energy. There are answers there, even before you ask the questions. If I go with my neighbour from across the hill, our conversation is always different among the trees. She walks barefoot on the pine needles most days of the year, until the snow comes, and ever since she started doing so, her health improved.
I try not to miss one day. We try not to. When we do, we feel it.
is when the wind blows
dance with the trees