early this year, i discovered haibun (through a blog whose name i forgot, unfortunately).   it is a japanese form of writing which can but does not have to have all the following characteristics:

  • contains one or two haiku
  • tends to focus on everyday experience
  • somewhere between 100 and 300 words
  • descriptive
  • terse, poetic prose
  • slightly ironic
  • sensory impressions
  • sparse or no philosophical comment
  • more showing than telling
  • written in the present tense

more about haibun here.

this is the first haibun i wrote, when i was in hawaii.

inside, a fan brings cool breeze-air. outside, a slight wind does the trick, born on kealaloloa where the windmills live. the stark red ginger blossoms by the bamboo gate move slowly against their heavy leaves.

the writer sits inside, putting together words about air here and there, the world flowing through brain and fingers. this writer could also be outside, feet on the warm pavement, arms moving now in the sun, now in the shade. tickled by a gecko scrabbling over a wall, a dragonfly disappearing into the banana tree by the koi pond.

the writer still sits in the deep arm chair, connected to energy brought by a thin, black cord hiding its prongs in the north side of a stucco house.

the nene bird sings
songs i do not know. far gone
are the cloudy hills.

image by the shane


  1. Interesting…I totally used to not like poetry at all in high school, but the older I get the more I really understand that poetry has a special power to convey meaning that other ways can’t. Thanks for sharing this style.
    .-= Scientific Living´s last blog ..The Power of Aesthetics =-.

  2. neat form.

    “connected to energy brought by a thin, black cord hiding its prongs in the north side of a stucco house.”

    there’s something really *in* that line, isabella.

  3. Hi Isabella,

    You paint an extremely vivid picture here – as I was reading that I could almost feel I was actually in the room watching the writer to which you refer.

    It must have been incredibly challenging to stay in the present tense. Good on you for being willing to have a go at a different style of writing. You seem to have a talent for halibun!

    P.S. I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t respond to your comment on my blog about a month ago (at least I don’t think I did).
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Back home/back online! =-.

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