A Challenge for Writers – Ligo Haibun

If you write and would like to improve your writing skills, I challenge you. Write a haibun this Week. TheLigo Haibun Challenge Ligo Haibun Challenge is open to all writers, we encourage you to enter.

To read about the Haibun style of writing and the rules to this challenge, click here. This is a weekly challenge so be sure to enter before the closing date and time. Click on the link collection to view time remaining, add your link and to access and read other entries for this week.

August has past and September has arrived, bringing seasons change to many parts of our planet. We tend to reflect more on things, as a new season emerges. I think possibly we are closer to nature during these times. Why is that do you suppose?

Another time of reflection occurs when we read quotes. The hosts (Nightlake, Ye Pirate and myself) of the Ligo Haibun Challenge have chosen the following two quotes for your reflections; delving into the romantic and philosophical nature of things. 

The haibun you will be writing this week will use one of the following two quotes:

“Not only the thirsty seek the water,
the water as well seeks the thirsty.” Rumi
If your heart is a volcano,
how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”Khalil Gibran

I have picked the second quote by Khalil Gibran, as my prompt:

“If your heart is a volcano,
how shall you expect flowers to bloom?” – Khalil Gibran

There has been great turbulence within me. Rumbling, cascading, volcanic emotions spewing forth in varying directions. Should one wonder at this? Extremes. Where they lay within. Am I given to holding inside the intensity of my feelings and then releasing all in an explosive cacophony of rich sensations. Is this how I live?

Now, just as my fellow volcanoes, I sit dormant as those around me – I, the expatriate of change. Is my time done or as a few of them, do I wait? Seething beneath calm smoothed over exteriors, viewing meadows of flowers in the nearby valley. I so long to feel the color and beauty they project and exemplify. I feel drab with lifelessness. At least I felt alive with my explosive nature during those passionate outbursts of living life.

Those same wildflowers have come to play and bloom upon the surface of my understanding. Wind, rain and sun – all companion me. I should be grateful, gazing upon the growing lushness of life around me. I did contribute after all, in my own fashion, within my nature. Why then am I so unsettled? Am I only a volcano in the scheme of things?

no middle ground
only a volcano knows
extremes of change


Thank you for reading my haibun offering this week.

There will be a special post honoring all the entries of the Ligo Haibun Challenge for the past month of August. This will include special mentions and updates!

I look forward to sharing these writers with you!

Have an excellent rest of your day and weekend ahead, thank you for stopping by,

~ Penny


49 thoughts on “A Challenge for Writers – Ligo Haibun

  1. Pingback: Escape | Oh Pithy Me

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  3. Beautifully allegory and introspection delving into how best to live a life. Many layers, many things to contemplate. Simple yet profound. I am seeing some common threads this week even across the two quotes. Your research sounds interesting…maybe you could write a book on your findings. 🙂

    • Wow, to write a book of this, Eric? I’m still in the discovery mode of it all, and it is fascinating. I do hope to pass on information to others that might be helpful for them (with their approach to the written word), however. Much richness of expression has been lost in the ages (from around the world). 🙂

    • Thanks LuAnn, it is fun researching and learning, A mystery actually as this Classical style of writing has not been well researched in Western Literature … or written about (the history of) and it’s thousands of years old! 🙂

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  5. you did fab with the volcano quotation, Penny. the volcano actions when activated sure makes life interesting – a rush of adrenaline so much more powerful than the strongest caffeinated beverage. 🙂 love your haibun. ♥

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  7. I too feel volcanic at the moment – life thrusts events at us and we never are prepared for them, let alone the aftermath. I know why I am so unsettled, but it’s accepting this and learning from it that is the hard part. A many-layered piece that has given me food for thought. Thank you.

    • I like your expression Freya. Feeling volcanic! Perfect expression. So true, all your words here. I’m glad you could relate (no that sounds wrong) I’m not glad your feeling volcanic but I’m happy that my words have you pondering and exploring the reasons why (a little), Thank you, xx

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  9. I’ve read the comments above and I’m wondering is the traditional haibun a literal take eg the volcano or can it be a metaphor?
    I like yours by the way. Beautifully put.

    • Hi Michael, my sense here, from what I’m gleaning through parts and pieces of things, is that the haibun can be rich with metaphors, mysterious meanings and or other either whimsical or literal references at the writers preference. The more the piece illustrates and points to the (awareness, understanding, illumination) through the specific use of word combination, the better! Thank you. I was exploring with words what I just described to you. How fun is that! 🙂 xx

    • Huge hugs to you also B. Thank you. I’ve been doing a fair amount of research going back to ancient classic Chinese to discover the roots of form and style with the prose in haibun writing. Fascinating. It is really hard to find a straight line to this because very little has been written to connect the relationship of the ancient literary world (in China) to the literary world several centuries ago in Japan (strongly influenced by ancient Chinese writers of prose and poem) to present day. Lots of bits and pieces, starting to make a whole picture, but it does give me more grist to employ when I write in this unique style. 🙂 xo

  10. Penny, I love how you connect the natural world with it’s changing seasons with the volatile nature within each of us… you had me contemplating what happens to “middle ground” if you are dormant or spewing. The artwork by Vancura was a perfect accompaniment. -Maureen

    • Thanks I’ve been studying the very ancient techniques used in the writing of classical Chinese prose, very similar to haibun writing. Actually the Japanese, around the middle of the 17th century, were studying it also which greatly influenced both the haiku and the creation of the “haibun” we understand today. So playing with the mixture of expressions and meanings and connections to nature and our own human natures. Very fun!

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  12. Fascinating haibun,and a haiku that finishes so nicely. “Why then am I so unsettled? Am I only a volcano in the scheme of things?” very powerful. Enjoyed this immensely.

    • Hi Pirate. I’ve been immersing myself in ancient Chinese classical works (both prose and poem) by Zhuangzi, (400 BCE) who the popular “haiku” poet (Matsuo Bashô) (and many others in this time period were greatly influenced by. As you know Bashô gave the name (haibun) to the combination and confluence of poem (haiku) and prose during the latter half of the seventeenth century, but this pure prose originated long before. Also been studying the writings of Jane Reichhold regarding haiku/haibun techniques. Both the ancient and current giving me lots of insight as to the potential richness of the haibun style of writing! 🙂

      • Wow! Yes, I remember discovering Jane Reichhold some time back, and her writings on the haiku. I didn’t know she wrote about haibun as well. I never heard of Zhuangzi. Really fascinating,,,

        • She (Jane) had been researching it (haibun originations) and discussing the limited amount of available historical information. So I’ve been finding pieces here and there from Japanese scholars who’ve been able to trace a huge influence of Zhuangzi to Bashô, his own writing style, and his referring his students to the study of Zhuangzi’s ancient literary works. Not mainstream information. So doing a lot of digging. It is fascinating, yes! 🙂

  13. What a lovely perspective, there are more depths to a volcano than just the obvious one. As reported by The telegraph ‘The [volcanic] ash would not only fertilise plants but help the soil hold water and encourage bacteria.’

    Destruction and rebirth, it is nature and human nature, I’m peeling back the cooled magma of this Haibun, I love it!

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