Texas Haibun

Originally posted in February, 2014.

This is my first attempt at a haibun. Please forgive my transgressions.


Texas Haibun

I dream of poetry in all its forms, rising and flowing and subsiding without end, much like ice shrugging within itself. Last winter a hard freeze split a valve on the downstream side of the cistern. Had it cracked even a few inches up-line there would have been no need to replace the valve.

captive rain recalls
its journey towards the ground
the garden returns

The well terminates at 280 feet. The water is hard, but cool, and tastes of dark limestone and ancient rains.

Even the gnarled live oaks have dropped their leaves. Grass crunches underfoot and smells like dead insects and dried herbs. Mosquitoes have vanished. Only the prickly pears thrive. Their flowers are bright yellow and bloom a few days each year.

sauteed with garlic
nopalitos on my plate
their thorns, forgiven

I wipe sweat from my forehead with the back of the glove, and wonder how many ounces of fluid have passed through my body this year, how the rain navigates from clouds through layers of soil and stone, only to return, how a cold beer might feel sliding down my throat.

stoking the fire
winter rain whispers to me
forget tomorrow


53 thoughts on “Texas Haibun

  1. Strange and interesting form–could be taken in pretty much any direction, and I like what you do with it here. BUT–I think there is something truly problematic and unfair about posting a picture of a beer glass with no beer in it just after lines of a poem thinking about drinking beer. It all makes sense, sure, but I have no beer in my house just now. So there it is.


  2. This wonderful work. I recently discovered Basho’s travelogues and your haibun read as thoughtful as his. I look forward to reading more of your writing, now that I’m a follower! Thanks so much for visiting my writing blog and leaving a few likes.


  3. I have not heard of haibun, but I like it and will find out more about it. Glad I didn’t let Texas stop me from reading this. Do you write in Japanese, then translate to English? I have always had difficulty using the parameters of haiku in English as Japanese is a syllabic language, with each syllable having the ability to convey so much more than is conveyed in an English word. Thank you for this lovely gift.


    • I wish I could write in Japanese, but English is difficult enough for this good ole boy from Texas. And yes, the nuance one may find in the characters and character combinations is incredible. A while back I attended a lecture by Arthur Sze, who discussed the difficulties of translating Chinese into English. I imagine the same is true for Japanese. Daunting!


      • You achieved great description within the parameters. Usually, poetry does not evoke images for me, so I avoid it. But your haibun had me seeing and smelling things. Good to see what can be accomplished. I will have to try harder to work in this form as I do have a fondness for Japanese forms of expression.
        I’m the daughter of a Texan who really didn’t care for her home state. No offense meant.


    • Some of my favorite people come from Texas: Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Carol Burnett, Janis Joplin, Lady Bird Johnson (’cause she put up with Lyndon!), Sandra Day O’Connor, Tommy Lee Jones, Willie Nelson, Walter Cronkite, Willie Shoemaker, and my mom! Indeed, these folks have had my admiration for a long while. Gonna add you to the list! Looking forward to your next haibun.


    • I hadn’t encountered haibun before either, and I’m not sure whether I’m more interested by the writing or by the discovery of an artistic mode that’s wholly new to me yet, obviously, pretty accessible.


  4. Thanks for introducing me to the haibun — what a great form! You’ve used it well here to establish a vivid sense of place, especially for this native Texan now moved far away…


  5. Pingback: Hangman Haibun | RunawayKeyboard

  6. What a beautiful ending, perfect poem to read before bed, whispering me gently to sleep. Delicate imagery, perfect.

    Candace Jean xo


    • Hard to say. I work on multiple pieces, and often set them aside for varying periods (days to years). This started out as a long prose piece, and was resurrected after I thought to attempt a haibun. It probably took about 6 hours to reduce the prose piece to its current form, and then a while to write the haiku. But I am very slow!


  7. Thank you for liking my little piece on tax time. It was the opposite of yours: quick and snarky – what this particular situation deserved and not one iota more. I could really feel the time, grace and depth of feeling that went into your piece, so thanks for this poem, too. Going to google “haibun.”


  8. I don’t think I can overstate how fantastic I think this post is. I had never seen a haibun in English before but this is amazingly well-done in my opinion. Keep up the good work.
    ~่‹ฆๆ —้ผ 


  9. tremendous creative expression! Thank you for visiting LightWriters (5wise.wordpress.com). Look forward to more of your writings!


  10. Reblogged this on Merely A Blip In Time and commented:
    For those fascinated with poetry, this is a prime example of how to create a rhythm without rhyming. I think, too often, we are lost in the alliteration and syntax, worrying more about how the sentence ends instead of the content we put on the page. My belief is that the power from our words comes from the imagery we choose- and our ability to detach that uniquely from our lives, and instead apply it in a context that creates an open ended portrait. Even a painting is a story. And this is a very powerful painting. Well done sir.


  11. What a lovely encapsulation of nature in words. I also liked the juxtaposition of your experiences in with the natural ones. I am going to look up “haibun” as I have never heard of the form until now. I am always on the hunt for learning new ways to write! Thanks for visiting my blog, I followed yours so that I may be further educated and enlightened. ๐Ÿ˜€ Jamy


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