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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 12th January '23 — a Thursday feature

Updated: Jan 17

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh

poet of the month: Glenn G. Coats

12th January 2023

Come to the Light

The hospital opens at five a.m. and we are early. I turn the car off and wait with my wife. She notices clumps of pansies that blur red and white; two tall cedars mark an entrance to a walkway. There are no vehicles coming or going in the parking lot. My wife asks me to hold her glasses. “I won’t be needing them,” she says as lights click on in the lobby.

early procedure

the ping of prayers

on a cell phone

I lay her raincoat on top of mine, tuck my wife’s identification cards into my shirt pocket. There is a picture on a waiting room wall, three large circles side by side, smaller circles float inside like bubbles. Some are clear, others distorted so they may not be circles at all. I look harder and sense three soccer balls, each in a different stage of coming apart at the seams.


a power beyond


My wife is in a yellow gown with a pattern of blue symbols. We both remember a two-piece bathing suit that was much the same color, a small sailboat gliding across a reservoir. She lifts her head to see the tubes in her arms. Doctors and nurses keep asking about her birthday as I kiss my wife good luck.

when all the dreams

are put on hold

spinal anesthesia

My knuckles are swollen and I can not twist my wedding ring back on. There is a permanent dent where it used to be. My wife can’t go on with the pain in every step. The perimeter of the house is too great a distance for her to travel, a strip of sand too great a barrier to cross in order to reach the sea. Something has to change.

between stars—

the point where talking


There are no guarantees or false promises. There may be minimal improvement in mobility but the pain will be diminished. In the weeks to come after the surgeries, pain will lift like a mist and vanish. The surgeon says my wife will feel as though she has wings and we will wait quietly by a window for her time to fly.

life of a mayfly

the breath it takes

to say I love you

* Contemporary Haibun Online, 2018

* A Synonym for Gone, Snapshot Press, 2021

We had the pleasure of asking Glenn a few questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Here's the second one.


THG: What is your writing process?

GC: I write haiku wherever I am. I write them in response to what I am reading. I compose them in my head when I travel then scribble poems down in hotel rooms or at rest stops. I will stuff my wallet with scraps of haiku. Haibun are different process. They evolve more slowly. I will consider a beginning, a middle, and an end for several weeks, even longer, before writing anything down. I usually write the prose first then focus on the title and haiku which I consider equally important.

More about Glenn:

Glenn G. Coats lives with his wife Joan in Carolina Shores, North Carolina. They enjoy exploring the nearby waterways. Glenn’s haiku collection about rivers, Furrows of Snow, was published by Turtle Light Press in 2019. Glenn is the author of five haibun collections: Snow on the Lake, Beyond the Muted Trees (Pineola Press), Waking and Dream (Red Moon Press), Degrees of Acquaintance and A Synonym for Gone (Snapshot Press 2019, 2021).

Essays and Reviews:

Contemporary Haibun Online, Book Reviews by Glenn G. Coats

CHO April 20022, Review of Home and Away by Ruth Holzer

CHO August 2022, Review of Invisible Dictionary by Stuart Bartow

Haibun Today

HT March 2016, Essay on “Homeless in the Universe” by Bill Wyatt

HT December 2015, Essay on “A Change of Address” by Ken Jones

HT December 2012, Essay on “Honour and Glory” by Ken Jones

HT March 2011, Review of A Boy’s Seasons by Cor van den Heuvel

Your Challenge: Glenn is a skillful storyteller who uses vivid details to make you feel the story, but other than that look how beautifully he inserts the ku between the prose, rather than disturbing the flow of the prose they move the story forward, they're essential to the whole. He leaves hints for the reader to come to their own conclusions. "Implication" is the key here; show, don't tell. This one left me in tears. Tell us a story with this in mind; make sure your haiku deserves a place between the prose and moves the story forward. Leave us wanting for more. (You can write outside this challenge as well) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Kala and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun. Keith Polette is the MENTOR for THE HAIBUN GALLERY from 16 December 2022. Thank you, Keith PLEASE NOTE: 1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt. Please put your name and country of residence under your poem, it makes the editors' work easier. Thanks. 2. Share your best-polished pieces. 3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written. Let it simmer for a while. 4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version. 5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.


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