for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

purring/the only sound…(a haiku that went on to be a vignette, not a haibun)

the only sound
between them

…as if it is unusual, marks the way evening falls ever so quietly in our lives in the winter. The cold bars us in, our thoughts seemingly unto each own. Winter, I once said, drawing a deep long sigh, asks of us a wearying task of digging into our burrows alone and not together. He had quipped, like squirrels and hares and bears, right?

He makes light of the dark, that’s him, my friend and lover. I see beyond everything and make too much of it, as he describes my thought patterns. As if I hardly change, as if the seasons pass me by and like a portrait on stone–my pose in reverie engraved the way I must look right now, looking out to the soft snow glowing on its own light as it falls. No sound except Kat-kat sleeping, purring its dreams.

Don’t worry, he breaks the silence. In a few weeks, the bare trees will sprout, he says without looking at me from the book he’s reading. I know, I murmur. I know. The cold winds will curl up and roll into the depths of seas. Heat will seep off the waters and the dark frozen earth, breathing life back to whatever withered and died in the cleansing whiteness of snow. I’m not worried or sad, if that’s what you think, I retort delayed. I’m simply pondering…

…and I continue. A clump of snowdrops by the gate will spawn again shy as virgin girls who would never look up to their lovers’ eyes. In a while, crocuses will raise their buds like pursed lips, waiting for a kiss. Not filigreed lawns but front gardens dotted with Queen Anne’s lace will soon unfurl. This morning, I glimpsed pregnant knuckles of hydrangea twigs, though the cherry trees in the winter sun remain starkly bare, and flapping among winter debris, the nuthatch, an early migrant bird. Spring, a brief and giddying season, I know, always seems to burst and spangle the skies with cherry blossoms, white plums and magnolias as if overnight…but I must end here and take the rest of the seasons in a new cycle of our lives.

Kat-kat wakes up, looks out the window and tightens up to a hunter’s pose. I follow her eyes to a stirring in the trees. Not a leaf but a nuthatch. Spring, I cry out! I told you so, he says without looking.

Possibly a haibun? No it can’t be because one of the many features of a haibun according to “Poetry Form-The haibun” from J. Zimmerman’s book, parts of which can be read on the web, is that “The haiku is not a linear continuation of the prose” or in this case, I suppose not an introduction to the prose.

In this post, the vignette just took over from the haiku. I see it though as a string of several possible haiku!

March 3, 2011 - Posted by | haibun, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I don’t know who J. Zimmerman is but I know this is a haibun and a very fine one.

    Comment by Melissa Allen | March 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Wow!!! Thank you, Melissa!

      I think we should really just follow our instincts, our intuition with regard to what we write–at least the essence of it and what form it asks for or flows into. Yours and my agony about what makes a good haiku at times could block a good haiku a-borning. It’s been written again and again that haiku–because of their language and their culture–is perfectly Japanese, which is why debates on EL or OL (other languages) haiku seem to be raging non-stop. Add to that, the nature of poetry, which to me haiku innately is, that springs from a writer’s/poet’s unique spirit. You write exquisite haiku, Melisssa-haiku that is. I believe you should continue to listen or let go or let flow your lines the way they want to. You’ve read enough, you’ve read more than enough about the art and other’s haiku–what’s bursting from you is what must, what’s yours.

      I feel the same way–when I write, I’m no longer aware of what’s working in me (is it 5-7-5, 575777, rhyming or not, free verse or not?), out of me. The eyes that read my haiku, haibun or tanka, alone can tell. If any of them resonates even if only with one heart, one soul, I believe, I’ve written a good one. If none, that’s when I go back and tear myself (the ku) to pieces to see what went wrong.

      Of course, the great ‘zero’ would be a rejection note from an editor, which used to be rather devastating for me. But recently, with a growing readership and reactions in this blog, mostly positive and constructive from you, Margaret, Wrick, Patrick–who first thought my haiku ‘is the best he has read yet’, and new-found friends at OSP, Joy, Jen and many others, in this blog, the rejection-pain has been less and less. And that must have helped because acceptance has been more though not on my haiku but on my haku-ish and tanka-ish poems. Maybe that’s who I am–what I write best! And yet, the challenge to write haiku has turned into an obsession almost.

      Thank you so much again!

      Comment by alee9 | March 5, 2011 | Reply

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