And Then: A Haibun*
Cheers and squeals like flock of giddy birds bade goodbye to the newly weds. Hand on hand, he takes her to the restored Cadillac that took her to the church this morning. Twenty more minutes they’ll arrive in their home, amid winter’s rash cries their bodies will create warmth of their own. For the fifth time he kissed her soft yet with urgency, with eyes closed they were not able to see.
iced road cradles cars,
tires screech with blinding bright light,
and then there were none.
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Haibun is a joining of prose and haiku. Originating in Japan, found as far back as the 10th century and made popular by Basho in the 17th century, it is autobiographic often taking the form of a travelogue. Modern haibun usually draws its inspiration from everyday events. The form usually opens with prose which is short narrative. It sets the scene or describes a specific moment in objective detail. The haiku that follows relates to the core of the prose bringing emotional insight through an intensified image. There can be one or more prose-haiku combinations.
- The prose describes in depth a scene or moment in a detached manner. It should be brief, concise and poetic. It is written in present tense and does not give away the moment of insight that should be revealed in the haiku that follows.
- The haiku should not be in direct relationship with the prose but bring a different slant to the images to heighten the emotion drawn from the defining moment of the prose revealed in the haiku. It should not repeat words or phrases from the prose.