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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!


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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145 Comments


inside out


It was said that it would not be a difficult procedure. A simple explanation on what options were available for pain relief or sedation and the whole thing would be over in approximately fifteen minutes.


subway…

graffiti on the walls paint

a sinister picture



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Janice Doppler
Janice Doppler
Jul 21, 2022
Replying to

The leap from well-written, matter of fact prose to the haiku with lots of implied emotion has much space for pondering both the physical and emotional experience of the surgical patient.

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Janice Doppler
Janice Doppler
Jul 18, 2022

EVEN NOW


She stands in the light of her open door - last on the left. We hug, then she heads to the kitchen sternly declaring “do not move my clown.” I head for the clown – just a onesie surrounding a six-inch length of lumber that serves as a spine, cardboard hands and feet, felt eyes and mouth glued to a sphere wearing a cone-shaped hat. We enjoy the baked macaroni and cheese Grandma always serves when I come for dinner. We pretend the clown hasn’t been moved.


apartment balcony—

through fall foliage

the setting sun


Many clown-moves later: Grandma phones, says she’s having a heart attack, asks me to stay on the phone with her until the ambulance…


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Janice Doppler
Janice Doppler
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

Your detailed feedback is quite appreciated. Interesting to hear the feelings this haibun evoked.

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Rupa Anand
Rupa Anand
Jul 18, 2022

Revised 3 July 20th (additional Haiku) as suggested by Firdaus

Forks and Knives

With lymphoedema, I make adjustments.

Clothes are re-fitted. Space is organised for compression garments, bandages, and other paraphernalia. Hell, it's debilitating.

The arm swells and deflates. I can no longer adorn it. Mosquitos are not allowed access. I keep it covered. A hundred dead trees grow from my axilla and a dozen people steam-press my chest area.

It’s not survival, it’s management.

The world no longer beckons. I move from the first floor to ground level to be with songbirds and yawning cats.

I thought the road is straight. I discover that maybe, my life’s journey is circular. I come back to where I started, to rethink…


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Janice Doppler
Janice Doppler
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

After pondering Firdaus' suggestion to add another haiku and seeing crayons in hand at the end of your latest version . . . Perhaps crayons in hand could be placed before the prose. It could be perplexing on a first read, yet it ties well to the circular journey and seeking meaning named at the end of the prose. That could send the reader back to the start on her/his own search for more meaning.

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mona bedi
mona bedi
Jul 17, 2022

Revised thanks to Gauri;


It’s the day we all have waited for. Her pregnancy has been fraught with difficulties. Today, all the family is eagerly awaiting the new baby. A few minutes later we hear panting. She starts to pace up and down, refusing to eat. Slowly she settles and minutes later she gives birth to a beautiful baby. Twenty minutes later another baby is born. Both are beautiful furry balls. I break the fetal sac and clean the nostrils allowing the babies to breathe. The proud mother starts licking them. Ah! I am finally a grandma to two beautiful puppies.


spring morn

the pink butterflies

on her school bag


Or


first rain

the invigorating scent

of petrichor


Feedback appreciated:)


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Firdaus Parvez
Firdaus Parvez
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

The revised prose is better but the link to the haiku isn’t clear. Haiku should either be adding or furthering the prose. As much as shift is important there has to be some relevance to the prose too (link) however subtle.

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Subir Ningthouja
Subir Ningthouja
Jul 17, 2022

Revised with kind suggestions from respected mentors. I am not sure whether I am saying too much.


Multiverse


crescent moon where is your earthshine


My headache plays up as I drive home from the office late. Deep shadows crisscross the road. The phone rings. My wife has a fever and sore throat. Pandemic times.


Years back, I had my hopes in easier days.


The night breeze washes us with the fragrance of blackboard tree flowers. We are arguing intensely on the cycle rickshaw.

The rickshaw driver rides on without paying heed. She too flies away one day.


revolving door ...

momentary glances

hold a lifetime


Original :


Multiverse


The headache plays up as I drive home from office late. Dee…


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Firdaus Parvez
Firdaus Parvez
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

Your title had me expecting the prose to bend towards sci-fi but instead it deals with the pandemic in the initial paragraph. I can’t comment on the one line haiku because I’m not too conversant with the concept. But I like the word ‘earthshine’, the title links to this in a way. Now the rest of the prose shifts to another setting. Arguing on the rickshaw is not an uncommon scene, now if you specify where you’re headed (hospital) it might link to the above para. Just a thought. The last sentence has thrown me off a little. ‘She too flies off one day’ comes rather suddenly and I’m hoping it’s not what I’m thinking (death). The haiku is different…

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