Haibun: Shadows




(Oil painting, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2010)


I love the Japanese form of Haibun. It’s a form 1000 years old and originated as a travel document by poets and priests. It’s supposed to be just ‘notes’ about the surrounding environment, but at times was extended to something longer. I was challenged to write a Haibun incorporating shadows. I include a haiku at the end to ‘seal the deal’.

Haibun: Shadows

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, 2018

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