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THE HAIBUN GALLERY : 23rd June — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Akila G. and Shalini Pattabiraman

23rd June, 2022

This month we'll be showcasing haibun written by Sonam Chhoki.

Sonam Chhoki was interviewed by Vidya Venkataramani. It is a three part series and you can read all about her haikai journey, inspirations, thoughts and favourites. The link to the interview is given below:

For this week's writing prompt, we bring Sonam Chhoki's haibun that appeared in David' Lanoue's "Issa anniversary thread."

And yet ...

you hold my hand and smile – old photograph

It's May again. I no longer ask why. That moment you slipped away without a murmur returns each first light and with the last trace of sun on the ridge. Early monsoon rain drips off the pane. My lament of words not said, moments lost in small talk and thoughts I dared not express, drowns in the monks' chant and their chorus of thighbone trumpets and longhorn.

Relatives, old and young, squeeze my hand and whisper. Tears shackle, obscure the path to the bardo, stop the dead from seeking new rebirth. I nod

and yet ... in the full moon your empty bed


Loss. Longing.

These are words we, as writers, have read and written many, many times. But the pieces that stand out for us, in terms of craft, are those that rope us in without a mention of that word. Right from the title to the last one, the sense of loss is there on the page without an explicit mention. This haibun is one such beautiful piece where the loss lingers long after you close the page.

We invite you to explore this emotion in this piece as a craft. The use of the words ‘And yet’ that sets the piece in motion as a title and renders depth to the narrative by appearing again in the haiku; all this without mentioning the word loss.

Our first drafts are emotions and when we are ready to edit them, that process is the craft. The space between writing and editing is the time we take to recover and face it. That is the toughest thing to do for a writer, to hone it a piece born out of a catharsis.

This week we would like you to re-visit an old piece where you have poured out and now perhaps, you have found the space and peace to read it and visit it as a piece of craft. You may want to edit it in the background of this haibun, look for two or three such words which will capture the essence and layer your narrative. Maybe you could just share a line or two about your experience doing it. You could also write a fresh piece and re-visit it during the week.


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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