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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 17th November — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh


This month we're excited to bring to you excerpts from probably the most famous and iconic book by Basho. It is the beginning of 'haibun' as we know it today. You can find it here


THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH AND OTHER TRAVEL SKETCHES

BY BASHO


Translated from the Japanese with an introduction by NOBUYUKI YUASA

PENGUIN BOOKS


These translations first published 1966

Reprinted 1968, 1970



A VISIT TO THE KASHIMA SHRINE


Visiting the Suma Beach on the night of the autumnal full moon, Teishitsu, a poet from Kyoto, is said to have written,


Crouching under a pine

I watched the full moon.

Pondering all night long

On the sorrow of Chunagon.


Having for some time cherished in my mind the memory of this poet, I wandered out on to the road at last one day this past autumn, possessed by an irresistible desire to see the rise of the full moon over the mountains of the Kashima Shrine. I was accompanied by two men. One was a master-less youth and the other was a wandering priest. The latter was clad in a robe black as a crow, with a bundle of sacred stoles around his neck and on his back a portable shrine containing a holy image of the Buddha-after-enlightenment. This priest, brandishing his long staff, stepped into the road, ahead of all the others, as if he had a free pass to the World beyond the Gateless Gate. I, too, was clad in a black robe, but neither a priest nor an ordinary man of this world was I, for I wavered ceaselessly like a bat that passes for a bird at one time and for a mouse at another. We got on a boat near my house and sailed to the town of Gyotoku, where, landing from our boat, we proceeded without hiring a horse, for we wanted to try the strength of our slender legs. Covering our heads with cypress hats, which were a kind gift of a certain friend in the province of Kai, we walked along, till, having passed the village of Yahata we came to the endless grass-moor called Kamagai-no-hara. In China, it is said, there is a wide field where one can command a distance of one thousand miles by a single glance, but here our eyes swept over the grass unobstructed, till finally they rested upon the twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba soaring above the horizon. Rising into heaven, like two swords piercing the sky, these peaks vie with the famous twin peaks of Mount Rozan in China.


Not to mention

The beauty of its snow,

Mount Tsukuba shines forth

In its purple robes.


This is a poem written by Ransetsu, my disciple, upon his visit here. Prince Yamatotakeru also immortalized this mountain in his poem, and the first anthology of linked verse was named after this mountain. Indeed such is the beauty of the mountain that few poets have found it possible to pass by it without composing a poem of their own, be it waka or haiku.



Your challenge: Write a haibun about your visit to a temple, mosque or church. Or a temple in the Himalayas, if you have visited it, would be interesting! Infuse it with simple details - and write an effective haiku to cap your narrative.


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As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Firdaus 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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86 comentários


Dipankar Dasgupta
Dipankar Dasgupta
23 de nov. de 2022

#1


Final Version (Thanks to Amoolya Kamalnath, Reid Hepworth, Anju Kishore, Kala Ramesh)


The Creator


Lord Venkateshwara. A long queue of devotees waiting overnight like caged animals to meet him in his abode. The lucky few, including me, have special permits. No cages for me to wait in. Dimly lit corridors lead me to a noisy chamber where the Lord stands blindfolded. Loud priests hurry us on. “Get going, get going!” I view Him for a microsecond and am asked not to loiter. I wonder if He can see me through the veil covering His eyes. Someone whispers. “Don’t be miserly. Offer as much money as you can. Or else, the Lord will snatch it away from you. I deposit…


Curtir
Dipankar Dasgupta
Dipankar Dasgupta
23 de nov. de 2022
Respondendo a

Thanks Kala.

Curtir

Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
20 de nov. de 2022

Revised version:

(I have altered the prose. Thank you Diana, Reid, Dipankar, Vidya and Kala for your feedback.)


Unfastened The sky had been hanging dark and low, ready to drop to the earth in one thundering mass. The air lay thickly in between, as if oppressed and awaiting redress. I set out on foot, empty handed. People are hurrying in the opposite direction, gathering whatever possible before the storm strikes. Some try to stop me. Some pause to look at me, but clatter on. The gale has made a mad man of me, snatching at my hair and robe. My sight is on the hill that almost always stands shrouded on the horizon. Crowned by a small shrine, it begins to appear through…


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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
07 de dez. de 2022
Respondendo a

Thank you so much for getting back to my attempt and taking time to respond, Rupa ji. Glad you liked the revision.

Curtir

Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
19 de nov. de 2022

Post #1


Changes made to Reid's comments on my edited version.


Fecund Earth


The antechamber to the sanctum sanctorum is small, dark, warm. Almost like a cave. It can hardly hold the five of us — my mother, my aunt, my two siblings, and me. The only air inlet is a doorway so low that even I, a ten-year old, have to bend to get in or out. Beads of perspiration roll down my forehead and settle into my bushy eyebrows but I don’t complain. I stand enthralled of the Goddess within, Friday after Friday, when the five of us walk down here to offer prayers. A few weeks ago, I had come to Her with a special prayer, a…


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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
01 de dez. de 2022
Respondendo a

Lovely haibun.

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mona bedi
mona bedi
18 de nov. de 2022

Post #1 Reverence The temple bells are silent today. Gates of the temple are closed. The god idols haven’t been bathed. The devotees have lined up outside in anticipation of a darshan*. I hear the priest is down with covid. meteor shower not all our wishes come true *an opportunity to see or an occasion of seeing a holy person or the image of a deity. Feedback appreciated:)

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Dipankar Dasgupta
Dipankar Dasgupta
23 de nov. de 2022
Respondendo a

I truly enjoyed reading this. The contrast between the prose and the poetry made me smile.

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Membro desconhecido
17 de nov. de 2022

Outside the Box ( third version )


A candle here. A candle there. A petal here. A petal there. And a window to show just what a rainbow is made of.


showered with droplets

a tree in the sun

the light in your eyes


Outside the Box ( 2nd version )


A candle here. A candle there. A petal here. A petal there. And a window to show just what a rainbow is made of.


tree in the sun

just after a rain shower

the light in your eyes


A candle here. A candle there. A petal here. A petal there. And a window of coloured glass to show the white stone just what it's made of.


Outside the Box…


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Dipankar Dasgupta
Dipankar Dasgupta
23 de nov. de 2022
Respondendo a

Third Version.


Your haibun spoke to me, even though I am not sure that my way of thinking matches yours. I see a temple in the prose. I see what's outside the temple in the haiku. I wish the fragment (L3?) in the haiku were somewhat shorter. Simply "your eyes" would have worked for me, the way I am thinking. Enjoyed this thoroughly.

Curtir
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