top of page

THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 6th October — a Thursday feature

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Reid Hepworth

6th October 2022

This month we have the privilege of presenting Keith Polette.


Keith Polette has published many haibun, haiku, senryu, and tanshi in both print and online journals. His first book of haibun, Pilgrimage, received the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2020, and his book of haiku, The New World, was on the shortlist for the Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award in 2017. He has been a guest editor for Drifting Sands Haibun Journal, a judge for the first San Francisco International Haibun Contest, and is currently a judge for the Touchstone Awards with the Haiku Foundation. He has also published four children’s books and numerous articles and books on Language Arts pedagogy, literary criticism, and Jungian studies.


Keith Polette

Resurrection


“Watch out for largemouth bass,” my grandfather said, “especially the lunkers, they’ll eat anything: frogs, mice, muskrats . . . I even saw one leap out of the water and pull down an eagle whose wingspread was as wide as a paddleboard. Those fish see everything with their dragonfly eyes.” That was the day before he left in the hour of the wolf to row to the middle of the lake where he cast his line deep. Just as dawn pulled itself up over the horizon, like a pink-crested bird struggling out of a trap, a behemoth bass hit his boat and swallowed it whole. All that was left was my grandfather’s straw hat bobbing on the water like a buoy.


before time

moon-sized mouths

lurking below


Three days later he returned, smelling faintly of fish, but with a light in his eyes that I had not noticed before. When I asked him, he would not say what happened, only that he’d been somewhere that was like the inside of a cold coal furnace. After that, when we fished, we kept close to the shore, pulling in perch and bluegill, walleye and bass small enough so that they wouldn’t break the line. One evening as we were rowing back to the dock, he said, “In a few years, it will be time for me to take you out to the middle of the lake while it is still dark. In the meantime, and this will take a while, you’ll need to learn how to breathe underwater.”


dry dock

the creak and groan of wind

in the old boat



On where he finds his inspiration, Keith shares, 'My writing is often motivated by a word or phrase that appears in my mind, an image from a dream, a memory, or an idea that springs forth after I’ve read a poem. I try to remain as open as possible to the urgings of the creative imagination. And my poems often begin with a line or a partial line that may suggest an imaginative path to follow.'


My thoughts:


I have read this haibun a few times now and in each reading I find something interesting to think about. Although the speculative theme is self evident here, it was the phrase, 'hour of the wolf' that caught my attention the most.


Scott Fitzgerald describes the halfway place between midnight and dawn as the dark night of the soul. In a brief note, Ingmar Bergman calls this the "Hour of the Wolf," and explains: "It is the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are more real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful. The Hour of the Wolf is also the hour when most children are born."


Additionally, I remember Roald Dahl using a similar phrase in his children's book 'The BFG', where the opening chapter is titled, 'The Witching Hour' and establishes a fabulous setting for the unraveling of this exciting story.


For me the entire haibun becomes something more, a deeper and layered piece because of the use of this phrase. 'Resurrection' becomes a distinct idea. Nuance is heightened by such allusions. Of course as always allusions can be missed if it is not a significant marker in our cultural and social fabric, yet, the turn of the phrase itself is so engaging that our curiosity is piqued by it.



Prompt: For this week, I encourage you to pick a word or a phrase that you have never used before. Let the word itself be a journey—a new opening that may clear a path for you to discover something. An interesting way to engage may be to pick a word or phrase from a dictionary or another language.


Have fun writing something eerie and exciting. Perhaps this is an invitation to dabble in the mystical, the mythical or the speculative. This month as people in many parts of the world enter a season of darkness, let's seek light to break its tenacious hold on us.


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



Tags:

312 views75 comments

75 Σχόλια



Mostly final. Made the corrections suggested by Shalini and also tweaked the final haiku a little bit more. Hoping this is better.


Living again Children are cooped up at home and don't know what to make of the situation that has befallen them. COVID ward - the old man's face writ with death They play hopscotch while their mother toils away in the kitchen. screaming alarms the dreaded flat line Solvitur Ambulando. The treating physician walks for kilometres, round and round in the only place known to be open to walk these days. At some point he decides to leave for home to be with his wife and children. extra hug he knows it's value


---------


Modified my earlier one including its title, thanks to inputs from Reid, Rupa…


Μου αρέσει
Απάντηση σε

Thank you Rupa 🤗

Μου αρέσει

Billie Dee
Billie Dee
14 Οκτ 2022

Revision: (mostly the final haiku with some minor prose adjustments)


Sasquatch Country


Shooting stars punctuate our family conversation. The city noise we left last week is replaced by hooting owls.


campfire stories

we take turns stirring

the embers


Suddenly, the woods fall silent and a heavy pungence overpowers the sweet scent of s'mores. I feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck.

Dad stands and picks up the rifle. "Something's out there, you kids stay quiet," he whispers. Mom calmly grabs an iron camp skillet and leads us back to our cabin. The lake shimmers with moonlight.


pine sough. . .

the crisp edge of mountain air

deepens the witching hour


The next morning Dad and I…


Μου αρέσει

Άγνωστο μέλος
13 Οκτ 2022

Void


My old friend the heart of darkness are you beating still with pulsars do you have a gift for me she's groping for a torch to find the worn old book the torn out opening page is without form


a blur of words

deciphered...

let there be

Μου αρέσει
Shalini Pattabiraman
Shalini Pattabiraman
24 Οκτ 2022
Απάντηση σε

Hi Diana


Here are a few suggestions:


Void


My old friend—the heart of darkness—are you beating still with pulsars? Do you have a gift for me?

She gropes for a torch to find the old book. The torn out opening page is without form.


I found the Haiku elusive.

Μου αρέσει

Billie Dee
Billie Dee
11 Οκτ 2022

Sasquatch Country


Shooting stars punctuate our family conversation. The city noise we left last week is replaced by hooting owls.


campfire stories

we take turns stirring

the embers


Suddenly, the woods fall silent and a heavy pungence overpowers the sweet scent of s'mores. I feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck.

Dad stands up and picks up his rifle. "Something's out there; you kids stay quiet," he whispers. Mom grabs her cast iron skillet and calmly leads us back to our cabin. The lake shimmers with moonlight.


soughing pines. . .

the crisp edge of mountain air

deepens the witching hour


The next morning Dad and I rise early, gather our fishing gear and head out. Sage-co…


Μου αρέσει
Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
12 Οκτ 2022
Απάντηση σε

I loved this. Looking forward to reading your revised last ku.

Μου αρέσει

Subir Ningthouja
Subir Ningthouja
11 Οκτ 2022

No.1 11/10/22


Feedbacks most welcome.

-----

Revised with kind inputs from Kalaji and Reid


Different flows


I am sitting in the woods and listening to the conversation made by diverse winds.


Presently a gale passes me and this makes them more active and talkative. Their figures are invisible, and their dialogues are hard to understand, but I know they are delighted.


fall stream

pieces of the sun

dance wantonly

-----

Different flows


I am sitting in the woods and listening to the conversation made by diverse winds.


Presently a gale passes me and this makes them more active and talkative. Their figures are invisible, and their dialogues are hard to understand, but I know they are delighted.


fall stream

Μου αρέσει
Shalini Pattabiraman
Shalini Pattabiraman
24 Οκτ 2022
Απάντηση σε

Hi Subir


Some suggestions:


Different flows


I am sitting in the woods and listening to the shifts in the wind—as if in conversation—moving between active talk and quiet pause.


fall stream

pieces of the sun

dance wantonly

Μου αρέσει
bottom of page