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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.


PLEASE NOTE:

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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89 Comments


Firdaus Parvez
Firdaus Parvez
Oct 18, 2022

Beautiful haibun. What fantastic allusions throughout the piece. And so very inspiring! Thanks for sharing :)

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mona bedi
mona bedi
Oct 18, 2022

Revised thanks to Shalini:)


Passing on


I sit in the room that once belonged to my late mother in law. She had lovingly bequeathed it to me just before her death. I have left the room the way it was before she passed. The old wooden mandir in the corner of the room, her idols and the photographs on the walls are same as before. Sitting on the bed I visualize her praying. I hear the jingle of her bangles. I revel in her laughter. I feel her presence.


missed chances—

I open another window

laced with sunshine


Passing on


I sit in the room that once belonged to my late mother in law. She had lovingly bequeathed it to…


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mona bedi
mona bedi
Oct 19, 2022
Replying to

Thanks 😊

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Rupa Anand
Rupa Anand
Oct 17, 2022

Revised 2 - With input from Shalini


That Autumn Fragrance

It’s ‘summer vacation’ time in Delhi. The girls are enrolled in dance and theatre classes.


My cousin from Kolkata, a cancer survivor, invariably comes to Delhi to spend these two months with us. It is a good break for both. ‘Dancing, prancing still on?’ she asks on the telephone. We wait together in the car, listening to music, for the classes to be over.

Shortly after her death, my daughter and I are sitting in the living room, recollecting those bygone June months.

For some inexplicable reason, we both look towards the kitchen doorway at precisely the same moment. We are certain that Indira is standing there, smiling.


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Replying to

Hi Rupa

It is indeed challenging to write about a loved one. Where does one start? How does one capture the essence of a person? What should one highlight?

What should we hold back? Think about these parts as you read your haibun. I sometimes find listening to my recorded work works well too in helping me find the missing chunks, remove the discordant parts and refine the draft.


I think the opening paragraph needs some work. it doesn't read very smoothly.


Focus on the key ideas here in this part where the narrative rests. Lift this up and make it stronger.


My daughter and I are sitting in the living room, recollecting our(whose? establish the setting using this) times…


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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 17, 2022

Thanks to Anju:


The Quiet Within


she becomes the soul in the dance the dance

Indian classical dancers dance barefoot and pay their obeisance to Mother Earth before stepping onto the dais as if saying "Sorry for trampling you, Mother Earth. Forgive me."

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Does Thich Nhat Hanh’s thought have anything to do with the dancers’ practice?


twilight across

the quietly glowing alley

wild lantanas


>>>

Original


The Quite Within . . . . . . she becomes the soul in the dance the dance Why do Indian classical dancers dance barefoot and pay their obeisance to Mother Earth before stepping onto the dais?

It’s as if each dancer is…


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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 18, 2022
Replying to

Yes, I did reflect upon this and felt 'quiet and quietly' brought resonance to the piece. But again, this is just my take and I could be wrong :))

Was thinking about your Q, Shailini. My take is - if I bring the protagonist and characters who are in the prose into the haiku - the haibun doesn't open out.

What do you feel?


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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Oct 16, 2022

Revised #2

(based on suggestions from Shalini. Thanks Shalini.)


Battlefields It's that time of the year when God comes home. A caparisoned elephant accompanied by drums and trumpets carries the temple deity and stops at all the houses in our lane.

Appa would have been up and about since dawn, arranging an elaborate welcome for the procession. We would decorate our doorstep with kolams and wait with bated breath with our offerings.

But this time, a wisp of his former self, he lies fighting the demons in his head. Amma lights the lamp and reads aloud from the Bhagavatham. The sharp smell of the burning wick seeps into our walls along with the fragrance of the sandalwood paste she has just prepared.…


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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Oct 18, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Shalini. I am relieved you feel this looks better. I wouldn't call it final yet. It is still open to suggestions 😊

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