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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 13th October — a Thursday feature

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Reid Hepworth

13th October 2022

Keith Polette

Barring an escape

The house across the street has fallen into foreclosure, plummeting like a lamb down a well so deep that we never heard the bleatings. The bank has sent workers who, like carpenter ants, have carried out the jetsam of lives lived in the margins of a checkbook. Yesterday, they tore out the carpet and what looks like a wall and threw them in a dumpster the size of a swimming pool. Today, they are high on the roof, laying down new shingles, the rapid fire of their pneumatic hammers sounding like the keys of a heavy typewriter. One worker, though, hammers slowly, like one who has never learned to type, tapping out carefully, not the letters of a note, but the steady sounds of a blind man’s cane feeling his way home in the dark.

abandoned house

beneath the leaves

the welcome mat

Note: “To foreclose” is derived from Old French and Middle English, “to bar from escaping.”

Source: Eunoia Review

On reading this haibun, the lamb, the ants and the blind man reminded me of different works—lamb reminded me of Blake's poetry, ants of the classic fable of 'the ant and the grasshopper' and the blind man reminded me very much of a story about 'the elephant and the three blind men' from childhood and I wondered about how each of these in turn influenced my reading of the haibun.

Keith shares: It is difficult to say where the images of lamb, ant, and blind man came from — one of the mysteries, for me, of the dialectical imagination, which often provides images that may seem disparate, but are, in fact, parts of a greater whole. As I write, I often wait for the arrival of allusions and images, ones that are surprising since they often usher forth from what Jung called the creative unconscious.

Here's a bonus haibun that also explores some really interesting similes.

Prompt: For the prompt this week, I invite you all to pick characters from fable, myth, folklore to craft your haibun, but instead returning to the original, I encourage you to bring these characters into the contemporary world.

As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun.


1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt.

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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