THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 7th July — a Thursday Feature

Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh

7th July 2022

This month we'll be showcasing haibun written by our four editors! We begin with Shalini Pattabiraman.

All of you know Shalini in this forum. As an editor, she has been giving excellent feedback. And it’s not at all surprising that this haibun – Out of Axis – received the 1st prize in the “Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Award” conducted by THE BRITISH HAIKU SOCIETY AWARDS 2020.

Congratulations, Shalini.

Out of Axis

In my dream, the daughter I longed for, is playing the violin.

Her strain holds the violence of a beginner wrestling with strings and bow. Her heart doesn’t know what it means to listen, yet.


a feather falls

into stillness

A hook sinks. The line becomes heavy with weight.

Somewhere, a door falls off the hinges.

BANG! The sound carries itself into the pond. Ripples spread.

The judge, Tim Gardiner writes:

The winning haibun which stood out from the rest for its emotional depth was Out of Axis by Shalini Pattabiraman. In this piece, prose, haiku and title combine together to form a superbly structured story of a longed-for child. This immediately stirred my emotions from the sadness of the opening line to the innocence of the second and third lines (‘Her heart doesn’t know what it is to listen, yet’). This segues so beautifully into the central haiku, where the economy of expression reinforces the melancholy of the writer. After the haiku, the prose switches to the heaviness of the author’s despair before the abrupt BANG! eviscerates the dream’s tragic illusion. I was left feeling the emptiness of waking reality and words from the original series of Star Trek ‘She has an illusion and you have reality.’ A very powerful haibun and an excellent example of less is more.

I loved it the first time I read it, and love it each time I get to read it.

Taking a cue from this haibun, what is it that I can ask you to write about? The underlying emotions? The brevity? The truth in the words? The tight link between the title, prose and poem?

Give us a good haibun, thought-provoking, something that tugs your heartstrings.

And we’ll do our bit – publish it in haikuKATHA – Issue 10, for you!


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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