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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 18th August — a Thursday Feature

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Akila G.

18th August 2022

The third haibun in this series featuring Marietta McGregor received an honorable mention in the BHS 2017 haibun contest.

Last Autumn Apples

Picture a ten-year-old child. Her mother is cook-housekeeper on an apple orchard in the south of the island. They share a high-ceilinged room in a white-painted weatherboard house beside a dead-end dirt road that winds through a valley between other orchards. The hallways of the house are lined with rough hessian to provide warmth and insulation against the bitterly-cold winters, when the sun leaves the valley at three in the afternoon. The child rarely sees the house owner. A semi-invalid in his eighties, he lies up the wooden stairs where she is forbidden to go. His grown son also lives in the house. Next door lives the younger son, a drinker, with a wild brood of children.

wind-up gramophone between each scratch an Irish ballad

She is quiet, this lonely child, and keeps to her make-believe world. The setting of the house between hills sloping gently to a narrow overgrown creek is magical, she thinks. But she needs to be on her guard. She’s a city-slicker, bookish, so a perfect mark. The wild kids set out to toughen her up. Still, she loves it here. She bites into Cox’s Orange Pippins and Ladies-in-the-Snow missed by the pickers, frost-sweetened on bare trees. She finds apple-scented corners in the packing shed, amidst pine boxes marked with the names of exotic ports. On cold mornings there’s a squirt of warm milk from the Jersey’s teats. Muscovy ducks and bedraggled yellow ducklings forage in the slush. Her mother makes duck-egg sponges, fresh-churned butter, apple pies with clotted cream.

in a cubby of crates the stencilled dreams of elsewhere.

Then one year she and her mother leave for good. She starts high school in the city. Later she learns the owner of the orchard died soon after, and the first-born son shot himself in his bedroom. A new owner artistically restores the period features of the old weatherboard house. The room once home to a mother and her solitary child, with its bay window, mirrored fireplace over-mantle and pressed tin ceiling, becomes an elegant sitting room. The hessian-walled hallways are kept intact and the white-painted staircase still leads somewhere upstairs. In the 100-acre orchard someone long ago has grubbed out all the apple trees, the hills are smooth pasture. The apple-packing shed is in ruins.

obituary notice on an empty shelf dust of children’s laughter

Marietta borrows from personal experience to create really diverse narratives. In her telling of a story I feel she invests time and patience along with details. It is these details that create a space that one finds very easy to picture in the mind's eye.

This week, I leave the choice of the landscape to you. You may decide to work in the urban space or the rural and rustic. I invite you to invest some of your thoughts and energy in creating details as you experiment with your next haibun.

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


269 views97 comments


Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Aug 23, 2022

(Feedback most welcome. I have attempted a difference in both form as well as the idea of 'space'. Thanks for your time.)

Revised Version:

(Thanks Pamela. I have changed Line 1 and Line 2)

Mind Games

I dust the house every day

but the cobwebs have a way of creeping in

to dangle from corners

The fine dust settles snugly on every surface

like an unwanted guest who gets a kick

out of knowing that he is unwanted

I check the windows

draw in the curtains

slide mats into the gaps under doors


how did the fly get in

tearing the space behind my ears

slicing it in front

buzzing across my breath

In battle mode

I grab a…

Replying to

Yes, Anju, this revision makes the poem much more clear and I'm able to step into it, as I would step into the house, very easily now. The ending is much stronger, especially now that the reader understands, from the capitalization of "His" that the figurine is of Buddha. How satisfying to end with stepping outside the house - a whole new narrative is about to begin in the reader's mind. Well done!


Xenia Tran
Xenia Tran
Aug 20, 2022

Cove Bay

The sea retreats as the sun rises, leaving ripples in sand and glittering water. It feels great to be back on the beach. A young springer chases balls and catches them mid-air. Our elderly dog walks more quietly and gazes past the headland. We both rest our eyes on the mountains and hear a gentle voice saying Stay, stay a little longer.

august moon

walking through tidal pools

a star follows

Xenia Tran
Xenia Tran
Aug 23, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much for your kind words dear Gauri, so lovely you can hear that gentle voice too _()_


thanks to Diana for all her help

Present to The Presence

feather in the wind the wind in the feather

I cross the narrow road, coffee in hand and bend my head to fit under the honeysuckled arch that leads to the garden. The smell of roses greets me and the scrunch of coarse gravel underfoot. I am swept away by the view and almost miss the step down.

A round metal table with spiral like patterns on the top is surrounded by three worn plastic chairs at the far end. Beyond them the blue sea unfolds across the bay, like a scene from a travel magazine. Not the Mediterrean but sun-soaked Donegal!

The waves roll in to the long…

Aug 23, 2022
Replying to

Love the scene that you have pictured in words. Both the ku in the edited version are lovely.


I would be grateful if someone would inform me where the next journal will be published. I do not know if back copies can be viewed nor do I know if this is an online journal or hold in your hand one.

Unknown member
Aug 21, 2022
Replying to

It works really well now. Transports me to that beautiful place. Thankyou..


The Taste of Love. The last edit posted on treveni haiku

It was the empty brown paper bag, gaping open, sitting on the kitcken chair that caught my eye. My husband could not have put it there for he’s not well either. I venture dwnstairs to make some coffee in my yellow mug. I am suspicious now, not of a crime you understand, but of some kindness being brought here. There is a chicken pie wrapped in one of those two sided bags, grease proof paper on the bottom and selaphane on the top. I have to confess I am a wee bit disappointed that it is not an apple pie. There’s a compostible box, containing salads from…

Replying to

Thank you so much Shalina. a lesson in keeping the suspense going and eliminating what does not add to the story.i have posted this edit above.

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