Haibun: Shadows


(“Dusk”, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2005)

Over at dversepoets pub, Kanzen Sakura is calling for poets to write a haibun with the theme “shadows”.  Go visit dverse site for more information and to read some wicked good submissions.

Lady Nyo

The newborn radishes are shadowed by cherry tomatoes. The almost-red globes drop down to visit. They compare hues. The garden is bathed in the light of a horizontal crescent moon, grinning like an idiot, suspended over trees that cast shadows on hillocks and deepening the valleys with their creeping darkness.

It is very early Spring. Dusk and day still balance in a pale sky, though the moon has risen. Oh, the mystery of the night where shadows churn with imagination!

I sit on a concrete wall, watching distant clouds dance on the wind. The oaks are feathery with their foliage, the pecans still winter-nude. Day is closing. Doves are almost silent, sleepy sounding. Bats speed by, scimitars of the night. I close my eyes and drink in the approaching dark. Only those shadows attend me, and possibly a few lurking monsters.


Night’s benediction:

Bull frogs bellow in the pond

Shadows blanket day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

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47 Responses to “Haibun: Shadows”

  1. Jane Dougherty Says:

    I do like the imagery in this, all of it. Peaceful and busy all at the same time.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Jane. My head must have been someplace else: I don’t think I did justice to this marvelous theme. I feel it is lacking in some way. Perhaps too much imagery, too wordy. but in any case, it’s the only thing that came to me. Thank you, again, dear friend.


  3. kim881 Says:

    I really love your art work, Jane. The colours and reflections in this one are particularly delicate, Your haibun made me feel relaxed and contented.


  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    This is a wonderful scene… the scenery of night, the clouds and the crescent moon… I so wish I could feel warm at night, but darkness is always cold in the north (and in the summer there is little darkness).


  5. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Kim…that haibun had me snoring. LOL! I really felt that I missed the boat on this theme, but it was the best I could do. As for the art work….I am going back to painting more and perhaps less writing. I’ve missed it, and it makes my hand claw up when I have been away too long. Painting in watercolor is a torturous meditation with oneself. You think when you first start a painting that you can’t remember anything of technique and you panic…at least I do. Then the hand or eye or brush takes over and you can (mostly) relax. But I have never understood those painters who have said that ‘painting was a relaxing hobby’. Ake!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane Dougherty Says:

    I didn’t think there was too much imagery. A haibun, seems to me, allows for flights of imagery. There’s nothing stopping you writing a more sober one if you want 🙂


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! I forget (or haven’t learned) the difference in climates and continents. And that time of the year when the light doesn’t quit. Thank you, Bjorn…for reading and your comment, but also for reminding me the differences in our regions. This makes me appreciate the South more. And I have been resisting this for too many decades. (I am a former Northerner….)


  8. lillian Says:

    ooooh so beautiful! “the pecans still winter-nude” is just one of the many lines I love. Night time benediction indeed.


  9. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! You are right, Jane. Haibun is a perfect vehicle for flights of imagery…poetic flights as long as they bear something of direct experience (except those lurking monsters…) or reality. I am loving haibun as a form….it frees one up so much. Thank you, Jane…as one novelist to another….you speak the truth.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Lillian. Haibun is truly a great form for these sort of meditations. In investigating haibun a few months ago….I realized thatthey were one of the earliest Japanese forms and the variety within was startling. Thank you so much for reading and your lovely, lovely comment. Be around tomorrow morning. We just had tornadoes to the west of us…about 30 miles away. and I want to see what has come about.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane Dougherty Says:

    I have too many chunks of flowery prose cut out from novels to pass up the opportunity to let rip in poetry 🙂


  12. Beverly Crawford Says:

    Reading your haibun. it seemed serenity and peace settled about me. What a pleasant picture your words drew. Thank you!


  13. ZQ Says:

    I thought you did an excellent “job” with the theme.


  14. paul scribbles Says:

    A very beautiful read, a superb painting and an exquisite Haiku


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you ZQ. I had my doubts….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Bev. It had me snoring. LOL! I realized that serenity was the more a main theme…or afterburn…from the prompt shadows, and therefore I thought there was something lacking. but if it soothes and gives peace to readers..I think it made the prompt. Thank you, again.


  17. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Exactly! Love your sentiment!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Paul! Thank you. That painting seemed to work for the haibun. I want to do more painting this spring and perhaps less writing. More reading. How is it going with William Stafford? Found another book of his here, Even in Quiet Places”, which I think are probably his best poems.


  19. paul scribbles Says:

    It is not going with William at all yet. I am just coming out of a pretty intense period of work and am slowly winding down and then I will attend to my ‘things to do’ list which has Will firmly on it.


  20. jillys2016 Says:

    Scimitars of the night – what a charming line. I inhaled your words deeply. Nice!


  21. frankhubeny Says:

    Nice watercolor with the scattered trees reflected in the clear water. I also like the build up in the prose section of the haibun to those “lurking monsters” and shadows blanketing day in the haiku.


  22. Singledust Says:

    i was entertained by the image of you sitting on the wall alone, listening to bull frogs hum – lovely presentation


  23. ladynyo Says:

    First, thank you, Frank for noticing that watercolor. I love to paint reflections of trees, rocks…birds…whatever mirrors in the water. LOL! Some paintings I have done have been miss hung because it was hard to tell what was the ‘proper’ top. LOL! The lurking monsters was to throw in a bit of something because what was previous was putting myself to sleep. I had wanted to do something more dramatic with this theme of shadows…and I just couldn’t develop it. So I wrote what I did. I thought perhaps I had ‘over shadowed’ it a bit in mentioning something of shadows in every paragraph..but this was because I think I was fishing around for a better approach to the theme. Well, so it goes. But thank you very much for reading and leaving your insightful comment. I’ll be over tomorrow.


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Jilly. The only thing we are inhaling around here is extreme pollen. It goes deep into the lungs. Thank you, again.


  25. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, I am so glad, Paul. In reading him more, I appreciate him more….the character that comes through his poems, the simplicity of his verse that has complex sentiments behind it…but there is a nobility and greatness I find in his poetry. Plain, intensly personal, with universal connection.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Singledust. I do some of my best thinking out on that hard concrete wall.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. jillys2016 Says:

    HAHA! Here, too. Might I recommend a poem by one of our fellow poets that you will enjoy?


  28. purplepeninportland Says:

    A dreamy peaceful scene. No monsters lurking here! Love that artwork.


  29. kim881 Says:

    Or writing! I’m putting myself through NaPoWriMo with The Poetry School prompts and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it up.


  30. paul scribbles Says:

    I look forward to the time when I can sit and appreciate him.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. maria Says:

    Great imagery, Jane. And I love the painting that goes with it. That haiku is a powerful end.


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. ladynyo Says:

    Ugh. that’s a lot of work, Kim. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, PPP~!


  35. ladynyo Says:

    sure, as long as it isn’t anything from the stable of Hyde Park Poetry. They are scammers.


  36. Grace Says:

    Love the mysterious nights with all the senses reeling from the hues and shadows ~ Stunning photo and haiku ~


  37. ladynyo Says:

    thank you grace. that’s actually an earlier painting when I changed from oils to watercolor. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.


  38. kim881 Says:



  39. Grace Says:

    Do you have a clear photo of the painting? Would love to see it up close. Thanks ~


  40. ladynyo Says:

    Those were slides taken professionally a few years ago. Noticed today that I hadn’t finished the right side of the painting….the reflections. LOL! Nope, nothing clearer. perhaps you can enlarge it on your computer? Toni has a lot of them but hasn’t found a way to use them yet. Hopefully they will come out ok.


  41. jillys2016 Says:

    That one is from one of our fellow d’versers and a friend. No worries!


  42. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Jilly…I’ll read tomorrow when my eyes uncloud.


  43. ladynyo Says:

    did read. It resonates on a couple of levels. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Sabio Lantz Says:

    Pretty, I felt I was sitting there with you feeling the bats swoooooop and swooooopppp


  45. ladynyo Says:

    thank you, Sabio. Loving the haibun form.


  46. sreeja Harikrishnan Says:

    Nice Haiku….yes shadows blanket….and they play so much with imagination. ….


  47. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you for reading.


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