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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 22nd December — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Reid Hepworth and Shalini Pattabiraman Keith Polette is the MENTOR for THE HAIBUN GALLERY from 16 December 2022. Thank you, Keith

22nd December 2022

Today we bring you week 4 of the series featuring Terri L. French. If you haven't figured out a pattern for my choices for the month of December, I will spell it out - all but one of the haibun chosen feature children. This is because I happen to think children are just about the coolest people on the planet. And as we near so many winter celebrations (Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza, New Years, etc.), it seemed fitting.

Terri L. French

Mishaps and Marbles

My little sister, Betty Ann, is a six-year-old accident just waiting to happen –and she happens a lot. She spills milk most every morning when she’s trying to pour it over her Cheerios. I offer to help, but of course she can do it by herself. And she does, all over the table and running onto the floor. The cat just stands under her chair ‘cuz’ he knows it's only a matter of time.

Last week, I found the snow globe I got for Christmas in a million pieces on my bedroom floor, little bits of fake snow and pieces of glass strewn from here to tarnation. I managed to save the little dog that looked like Mud and the boy pulling the tiny sled. I’d caught Betty Ann shaking it before, and I told her if she ever broke it, I’d shake her head ‘til her eyes fell out. I told her the cat would bat her eyeballs around the floor like marbles and she’d stumble around like Mamaw B without her spectacles.

I know that was ugly and it made her cry, but she went and shook it again, anyway. I really wanted to shake her head like I threatened. If her eyeballs did fall out, I could always claim it was an accident.

away in a manger

the baby Jesus wrapped

in yesterday’s news


Keepers a book of haibun

R: As the younger sibling in my family, I can’t imagine doing anything that would set my older brother on edge. Smile. I say that in jest, as I know that I was in pain in the backside more than once. And I do remember one childhood friend, whose older brother nailed her dolls to the top of the basement staircase and threw darts at them until they were unrecognisable. It's a sibling thing. It's what makes the world an interesting place and what makes families family. We sometimes torment one another, sometimes look out for each other, sometimes give each other the space to test our wings and fly.

From the first line of prose, Terri opens the porthole, preparing us for the gift that is Betty Ann. She then takes us on a tour of sibling dynamics. “...she happens a lot”...”but of course she can do it by herself”. The humour laced with frustration, the tenderness mixed with anger. And then she pulls us in, to the child in a manger, wrapped in yesterday’s news. What an image! Celebrations have come and gone, that little child in a manger, wrapped up for another year.

Tied with a nice bow, the title, the prose and the ku. Such a gift.

Terri’s thoughts about Mishaps and Marbles:

The poor kid, he really does try hard to be a good boy! Many of us have dealt with younger siblings who find a way to tap dance on our last nerve. I had a fascination with snow globes as a kid—still do—and I can see why this one was dear to JT’s heart with the likeness of he and his dog, Mud, encapsulated inside. But Betty Ann just couldn’t keep her sticky paws off of it. Can’t blame him for wanting to throttle her a bit. The haiku, again, brings in the religious element. The image of baby Jesus in yesterday’s news, put away until next Christmas. Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men (and kids) for a while anyway. . .ya just can’t be holy all the time.


For this week's prompt, we ask you to delve into the time capsule of your life and pull out a nugget that you feel comfortable sharing and bringing into the light. Think about a favourite gift you received, your biggest disappointment (mine was Sea Monkeys) or just let your imagination run and see where it takes you. Have fun!


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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