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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 14th July — a Thursday Feature

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh

14th July 2022

This month we'll be showcasing haibun written by our four editors! This week we have Firdaus Parvez. Out of Breath

May heat ...

the singed petals

of a rose

New Delhi burns, Mumbai burns. Hell, the whole of India burns. Smoke from pyres choke lungs as one waits to find a spot for another loved one. The stench of death is heavy in the air. Sorry, no oxygen.

memory foam

curve of a head

still on the pillow

* * *

This stunning haibun appeared in haikuKATHA issue 2, December 2021; 'String Theory' The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku-2021 and in contemporary haibun 17, 2021

The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku each year assembles the finest haiku and related forms published around the world into a single book. This volume, twenty-sixth in the most honored series in the history of English-language haiku, along with haiku, senryu, had only 17 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay, and sequences), and this haibun found a place! Congratulations, Firdaus!

********** Firdaus's style is most suited for haikai and reading her work, you would think she's been at it for decades. Let's take the title, the prose and the haiku individually and the place they play in getting the readers' attention. Title: 'Out of Breath' was in our conscious ever since March 2020, when Covid struck the whole world. Prose: yes, the prose is about Covid - but not about the breath or about what the Carona virus was all about. She goes straight to the burial grounds. The link and leap are most seamlessly done. This leap is an intrinsic part of careful editing. The stench of death is heavy in the air. Sorry, no oxygen. This is not the time for poetics or flowery language. Haiku: The leap again to the haiku: where the N (narrator) talks about: memory foam

curve of a head

still on the pillow Ha! The N is missing her beloved one. What a haiku, a complete haiku - most satisfying. It doesn't have any seasonal reference but we know it was during the summer because of the first haiku - which speaks about the rose - a summer kigo word. Most masterfully done! Challenge: 1. Can you write a succinct haibun - not running into words but economising the length, so the 'unsaid' is left to the readers' imagination? 2. Can you try this subtle link and shift (leap) Firdaus has tried here? 3. Third and most important - is your haiku a stand-alone poem - when juxtaposed with the title and prose - does it perform the magic of bringing the whole haibun together? Throughout this haibun, notice how 'resonance' plays a pivotal part. * * *

Give us a good haibun, thought-provoking, something that tugs y.our heartstrings.

And we’ll do our bit – publish it in haikuKATHA – Issue 10, for you!


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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