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THE HAIBUN GALLERY 28 April — a Thursday feature

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman & G. Akila

28th April


Contagion

I stitch the seams of a DIY face mask and think about my grandmother. Over a century ago, she dipped bedsheets in Lysol and hung them in a sickroom doorway where she brushed against them each time she passed in or out. Inside, a four-year-old boy lay stricken with polio. Outside, four little girls, ages 6 to 12, kept house as best they could and looked after their newborn sister, who would become my mother.

My grandmother was fond of saying ‘adversity is the diamond dust heaven polishes her jewels with,’ and she tried hard to teach me to recite prayers. I preferred the German cuckoo-clock counting out the hours on her wall and the Japanese silk kimonos, radiant with chrysanthemums, that lay folded in her chest—gifts from a little boy who survived polio and grew up to join the military and travel across the globe.

family photos I shelter in place


Jenny Ward Angyal



Photographs are repositories of memories as are many other objects that establish a significant link to our association with people, time and space. Where do we come from, or where do we speak from is a deeply thoughtful question that intersects across many roles and relationships to arrive at an answer. What is your answer to these questions?

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly journal.






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93 Comments


mona bedi
mona bedi
May 01, 2022

Everlasting I look at the silver framed picture on my desk. Two men, one older than the other, are laughing in the photo. The older one is my father-in-law and the younger one, my dad. It is a precious moment from my marriage 35 years ago. After all “a picture is worth a thousand words.” autumn eve- still a bouquet of forget-me-nots

Feedback please🙏

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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 04, 2022
Replying to

I liked the simplicity of this haibun. Sweet haiku.

Perhaps you could delete the last sentence of the prose. Also delete the word 'precious' and instead, say something like it was clicked after the kanyadaan, a moment that placed a new family in your young hands. Or something emotional like that.

(Please feel free to ignore my inexperienced comments.)

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Unknown member
May 01, 2022

Just wanted to add Shalini that I loved this prompt as I've loved all of them and the piece came whole in the middle of the night. The original haiku was


time to fathom

the truth of black holes

a grandson's gift


I altered it after hearing what Sean said whic made complete sense.

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Replying to

It's an interesting haiku. Let me place these together to have a look.


time to fathom the truth of black holes a grandson's gift


time in winter

to fathom black holes -

a grandson's gift


A season word does add layers to a haiku, but not all haiku need one.


In the first version—'truth' is a word that is difficult to explain. But here black holes as a concept (with reference to your haibun on the mysteries that the universe holds is a good link and shift for me).


For me the second haiku's first line doesn't work. Irrespective of the season, a grandson's conversation on black holes can appear as a gift. The only relevance to winter would be the fact…


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Unknown member
May 01, 2022

How like an Angel ...


A small framed picture of a haloed Child, upright in his crib, surrounded by the animals,domestic,farm and wild. Flanked by a pair of seraphic beings,fair of face,soft-sculpted wings protruding from each back,two supple arms outstretched for perching birds.


feather at a fingertip a trace of song


Gifted by a godmother, this painting, sometimes placed for all to see, sometimes hidden,always somewhere in my home from far back as my memory extends ...


far side of the pane

end of thread a dandelion seed

still quivering


NB: title is from first line of a poem by Thomas Traherne

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Unknown member
May 01, 2022
Replying to

Yes. I think I do need both. When I'm looking at the picture, I'm outside the picture looking inside, whereas in the haiku, I'm inside, looking outside at something happening in the world of nature.

I don't quite understand why you've put in lots of dashes and other punctuation marks to replace the ones I'd used myself, all of which I felt were perfectly fine.

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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Apr 30, 2022

Revised version #2

(Thanks Shalini, Kala and Mona)


Infusions Leaving for the hostel after a weekend break, she takes both my palms in hers and raises them to her face. She inhales slowly and deeply. "Mmmm, coriander and heeng! This will sustain me all of this week…"


migrating stork

a little soil

on each claw

*********************************

Revised version

(Thanks Shalini and Kala)


Infusions As she leaves for the hostel after a weekend break, she takes both my palms in hers and raises them to her face. She inhales slowly and deeply. "Mmmm, coriander and heeng! This will sustain me all of this week…"


…migrating stork

a little soil

on each claw snow dust —

she seasons her sambar

on the boil


******************************

Infusions As…


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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
May 04, 2022
Replying to

You are right. Will remove one she. Thanks mona

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
Apr 29, 2022

Have reworked my haibun taking Akila's tip for ending it at the first haiku. Thanks everyone for all your valuable inputs.


#Revised Final Version


Eternal


Appa slides his hand under his pillow and extracts a black and white photograph.


“I found this when I was going through some old stuff. Do you know who that is?”


He points to the beautiful, young woman in the picture.


Mother. But not the mother I know. This was before she married Appa and had me, my sister and my brother. Before she was ravaged by the asthma that we three grew up watching her suffer from. The asthma that took her away from us.


a water bead

at the tip of a leaf...


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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
May 06, 2022
Replying to

Sorry Shalini. Seeing this message only now. Thanks for so beautifully pointing out the suggestion. I get it now. Actually, I missed this part of Akila's suggestion.

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