sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

The torii of Itsukushima Shrine, the site's mo...

I learned a new literary term yesterday, haibun, when I was reading a story by another writer in a group I belong to. It turns out that haibun is a relatively new literary form that combines prose and poetry, notably haiku. It’s been around since 17th century Japan but is relatively new to Westerners.

According to Wiki, “A haibun may record a scene, or a special moment, in a highly descriptive and objective manner or may occupy a wholly fictional or dream-like space. The accompanying haiku may have a direct or subtle relationship with the prose and encompass or hint at the gist of what is recorded in the prose sections.”

So I thought I’d try writing one. Here it is.

Master of Pain

A friend can block pain like turning off a light switch. I ask him, how does he do it? Easy, he says. I focus my mind completely on the task at hand, so deeply that I block out everything else. I’ve been able to do this since I was a young boy.

That explains it. How he achieved so much on playing fields, working through pain to win gold. Great success in board rooms with marriage crumbling around him. Calm and collected in storm of chaos while others cry like croaking ravens. I’m envious.  Why can’t I do that?

Hand grips glass tightly
He likes to watch birds soaring
Feelings numb like hand
Later I find out he was once a twelve-year-old, giving CPR to his dying father.
Maybe I don’t need that light switch after all.

©2012 Lin Neiswender


Comments on: "Enter the World of Haibun" (4)

  1. Michele said:

    you captured the universe in this poem, Lin. The ending caught in my throat.

    Thanks for taking us into this new form, and for the link. I’ve been wanting to try it, and now I’m inspired!

  2. Lin Neiswender said:

    Thanks Michele! Glad to introduce you to something new.

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