Haibun – Writing the Essence (the method of)!

Hello!

Would you like to understand the written style of haibun a little better?

A brief disclaimer: “When it comes to the history of the written word, I do not have a formal education. My study and research into haibun writing is just beginning. Some of what I write on this written art form is of a speculative nature and my own opinion”.  Penny L Howe

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Consider viewing haibun, (a classic Japanese style of creative writing), as an introspective approach to the written word.

The haibun is composed of two elements 1) one or more paragraphs, written as prose (without metric structure). AND  2) haiku (short free verse poem) on a subject, theme or prompt!

Prose -The approach is to convey a specific message or feeling (experience or thought – there is a strong relationship of most haikun to the nature of things.) while restricting the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, using your word power so each word adds an emphasis to the whole.

Use the word “the” only when it adds extra meaning to your thought and less use of sentences that explain what you just wrote. No verbosity, only using words that add value to the whole piece. If you write precisely enough, you shouldn’t need to belabor the point – written haibun flows as a result of this method.

Each written haibun piece is a stand alone! Concise, explicit and strong in content (so we’re clear on the definition of strong – you can be gentle in your written approach but everyone should clearly know when they finish reading that “gentle” was the goal).

Another key element is interpretive. A well written haibun can seem simply written, but is complex or even sophisticated in the understanding, and can have several values or levels to this awareness. Much like an internal thought process.

Haiku – is a Japanese poem – free verse, 3 line, with no caps. It is “generally understood” there is a total count of 17 or less syllables in the entire poem, again, popularly considered to be written in a 5-7-5 format (5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the third line). It is not essential or necessary to rigidly adhere to this formula) but the middle line is longer than the first and the third lines. Rule of thumb approximately 17 or so syllables in all three lines, total. View syllables as “soundings”. Recall that a syllable is organized units of speech sounds. Say (outloud) this potential first line of a haiku. Feel the sounds from the words.

“flowing haibun’s essence”

The haiku becomes vivid and alive when sentence connectors or “words that link” (words like: also, therefore, however) also prepositions and conjunctions (such as: of, to, in, but, and, or) are used in a discriminate manner. This is also true in the haibun.

Think in terms of the value of each word you use. Prepositions, conjunctions and sentence connectors should only be used when they help to emphasize or carry forward an expression.

The haiku can be a summation of the prose portion of the haibun or it can be an illumination that occurs as a result (understanding) of the written prose. The haiku can appear at the ending of the piece or placed in between the paragraphs to add emphasis. There can be more than one haiku in the haibun.

In summation, there exists a connection between the haiku and the prose of haibun. The connection may be clear and obvious or subtle bringing home a point, an awareness, an illumination or other thought process.

SAMPLE HAIBUN:

Dewdrops

Though small in stature, glistening diamonds of moisture confront me during early walks through nature. I revel in luxury. The warmth of my skin embracing dewy, cool and moist softness. I see and feel the sensation of dewdrops.

Dewdrops suspended from blades of grass, wispy cobwebs, sturdy leaves, and delicate flowers. Each encounter experienced while travelling through morning’s meadow.

An arrested view of life, focusing on the nature of dewdrops. Beautiful to view, suns golden rays shimmering on these minute whispers of water. The substance of liquid.  Quintessential to well-being of all life – my life. My relationship with water, reduced in the moment to all encompassing dewdrops.

Elemental need
entire world suspended
dewdrops expression

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Thanks for stopping by and reading. If you found this article of value and would enjoy reading more of my personal insights about haibun writing please let me know!

Have a great day,

*ps – I have been persuaded to continue hosting the Ligo Haibun Challenge, as time permits, so I will be hosting a new one this week as usual!

~ Penny

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

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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

penny

Ligo Haibun Challenge – The life of a Morning Glory

The two prompt words for this week’s Challenge are “oblivion” and “morning glory“. I have chosen “morning glory“.

Morning Glory

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Just as sunshine spreads over early morning horizons, beautiful trumpet-shaped blossoms of morning-glory vines burst open, pollinated by early rising birds and industrious insects. By late afternoon the morning-glory blossoms fade and die, new flowers appearing on the ‘morrow.

There seems a special magic to the hard working morning-glory. Their entwining vines hardy in dry earth and lovely blossoms giving forth rich mixtures of greenery and various hues of colored flowers.

The morning-glory flower makes the most of its day, for one day is all it has. To me a specialness in this. A point nature is making here. Will I make the most of my “lifetime’s day” on this planet? Will I enthuse a richness in my manner of being? Can I be hardy as the vines, even on the toughest of days? Will there be a fullness of beauty, an openness of expression in the sharing myself with others, so they too may share and so on?

Yes, I can do this. I shall be as the “morning-glory” in my human life!

I, a morning-glory
blossomed, open and sharing
my “one day” – all days

~

Thank you,

The honorable mentions for the final two weeks in the July Ligo Haibun Challenges are:

Ese’s Voice
Peripatic Eric
Oh Pithy Me
Yarnspinner
Angie Inspired

13682519091 (1)Congratulations! And to all who entered, the quality of your written haibun is so good that selecting honorable mentions has become very difficult. This also means I am really looking forward to reading and sharing each of your new creative haibun in the coming weeks.

And please don’t forget to check out the two other co-hosts of the Ligo Haibun: Nightlake and Managua!

join us – become a haibuner! Write your own original haibun – a few paragraphsligo_circle_of_appreciation2 (prose) based on your thoughts, experience, or take, from one of the two prompts given (“oblivion” or “morning glory”), include a haiku (short free verse poem – such as the one above – that imbues the essence of your written piece (the several paragraphs). For more information click on the Haibun Challenge section at the top of this page.

Enter your written piece, after publishing it on your blog, by clicking on the little blue box and following the directions!

Thank you for your interest, have a pleasant day and better tomorrow,

~ Penny

penny

An Aspect of Her Being

© Godfer | Dreamstime.com

A Woman Who Loves

Ask her … why she is who she is?

Ask her … how she feels …

about you?

Ask her … why she loves you?

Ask her … will she always love you?

And ask her … why!

If she tells you …

there will be no moonsong without you in her night time.

If she tells you …

there will be no sunshine to light up her day without you.

If she tells you

… you are an aspect of her being

as essential as her beating heart

 her reason

 her purpose

 her reality

… of existence

that the thought of ‘no you’

is equivalent 

to an emptiness of being.

Your questions have been answered!

Can she ask you the same?

And can you answer?

~ Penny L Howe, 2013

My Thoughts on Writing haibun and haiku

Form, Balance, Flow

I have spent the last several months researching and studying the history of both the haibun and the haiku.

For those of you interested in reading a very brief understanding of these two writing terms, I have added this information today into the Ligo Haibun section (tab) at the top of this blog.

From the research, I learned the narrative (prose) portion of the haibun began it’s life, hundreds of years ago, as mere jotted down notes and comments in the journals of Japanese travelers. Later to be used for the purpose of assisting with the composition of the haiku (poem) of his experiences.

Eventually these notes evolved into what became it’s own literary style of work along with the haiku and thus the haibun was created and began to evolve.

I have kept a journal for much of my life. It was recommended to me, when barely out of my teens. And it became a life style habit of mine.

I’d write my thoughts, of the previous day, first thing in the morning (on days I didn’t work) or my thoughts, of the day, that evening when I would retire.

The interesting thing is I always felt the need to summarize my thoughts at the end. And yes, it appears that I was doing my own version of a very rough form of the same methodology of how the haibun originally came into being.

It didn’t take me long to realize, that I enjoyed the haibun style of writing because I was very much at home with it. Perhaps in a less refined style, I have still been writing in a similar way, in my own journal, for years.

My advice to those (and I do encourage you to begin to keep a journal for yourself) who write, is to give a try to writing a haibun. Join the Ligo Haibun Challenge. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Proceeding on:
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(some hints)

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~ free yourself from a preconceived mindset of what you want to accomplish when you write ~
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~ be there, in the moment ~
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~ start with your own creative energy and think about how you feel about what you want to write ~
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~ with the image in mind, view your interpretation of how you’d like to present it ~
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~ write ~

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My personal view:

The haibun: A meaningful narrative – ‘the body‘ and the haiku – ‘the heart’ of the piece. It is a work of art, a song in “word expressions” relating to your emotions/feelings in the form of a short story, opinions or series of thoughts. The haiku – the essence.

“In summation, to me, writing a haibun is about extending yourself within the form/balance/flow of the haibun (writing style), which can, in turn, expand the value of your presentation.

In other words you have the ability to improve both yourself and your writing skill as well as illustrate how powerful the haibun, itself, can be – through your own written words.” Penny L Howe, 2013

Thank you,

Penny L Howe

An Act of Kindness

The most unexpected considerations can bring about the most amazing results. In almost every case it is usually related to .. an unselfish act of kindness, given in the moment … just because …

As kindness
blooms 
from open hearts,
 flowering gratitude adorns.
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Petals of love are bestowed
upon the giver and the receiver.
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Such an enriching beautiful thing!
One would wish such a bouquet
 
might be shared by all
with each
passing day!
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~ Penny L Howe, 2013

Ligo Haibun Challenge ~ The Monsoon Comes

Welcome to the weekly Ligo Haibun Challenge. To view the honourable mentions from last week’s Challenge, scroll to the bottom. You will also find more information on how to enter.

The prompts this week are:

Monsoon or Haze

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For my haibun entry this week I have chosen the word: Monsoon

The Monsoon comes

His boat touched sandy bottom. Breathing huge gulps of salty wet air, he tugged on the small boat; still fighting the torrential winds, rain, and his exhaustion. Pulling his boat up a little further from the waves he fell onto the soaked sand, rain continuing to pummel his body.

He had almost been claimed by the sea. So very close. The ocean becoming vast, looming over him with deep and rolling waves. The shoreline, far away. Lost and alone in his boat he knew he was too far from shore. Proud. His pride in his boat, the carvings his own. So he had strayed and stayed, out on the ocean – too long.

The struggle, intense. Ocean waves pouring down, tumbling him and his boat over and under the monster waves, his now insignificant and small boat.  But he had a hand hold and held on to the edge of his boat, swimming through the roiling waters pushing himself and his boat in the direction of the shore. He swallowed so much of the ocean, his body was bruised and he lay next to his boat, staring at the carvings, as the monsoon swept over him. He had survived.

the monsoon comes
torrential rains, changing winds
unforgiving of life

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The Honorable Mentions for last week’s Haibun Special Challenge are:

Celestine, of Reading Pleasure

Eric, of Peripatetic Eric

Penny, of The Why About This

Thank you, Celestine and Eric for your haibuns. They were both excellently written. Click on their name to read their entries. It was very difficult for the judges to chose from so many quality submissions this week and with much reluctance I allowed myself to be overruled and picked as one of the honorable mentions by the other judges. I am honored to be included along with the others.  

To me, writing a haibun is a personal challenge and I would, at this time, like to extend an invitation to all those who enjoy writing, to join us and become a part of our Haibun community. We welcome your creative talents.

For more information on how to enter click here or go to the tab marked Ligo Haibun at the top of my blog. Your entry should be submitted prior to next Friday, 

Thanks for your visit, have an wonderful weekend!

~ Penny

Penny L Howe

The Essence of Truth

So I hung out with my friend “Willy” last night (William Shakespeare – love his words) and Muse showed up desiring to play, so my prose discusses the “today” of life that is so filled with commercial artifice and pretense, please enjoy!

truth

TRUTH

Is that you
The persistent hovering
near the backstory of my being …
Truth,where art thou?
I sense your longing
to reveal all.
You seem so close yet far away
I can’t quite touch you
surrounded by life’s illusions,
this glamour of falsity,
enticed by artificial pleasures.

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Are you still really there?
Cloaked dissimilation,
Truth,
you present naught
but ambiguity of manner,
unrecognizable.
I cannot bear your distortion.
trapped within life’s backdrop
the current unfolding drama,
or should I say comedy
(of errors perchance?).
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I sigh for such is life today
where truths are only words
… of which are played.
And we, most amateur of playwrights
unable to see you as you really are,
make much of puzzling enigmas,
while busily
fashioning the fashions
of the state of our being.

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Alas, the curtain will still rise
the show must go on.
If  I could but see and know you
But truth be told
I don’t know that I would recognize you
from
the falsity of purpose
you’ve become.
Could you, would you
come a little closer
and give not just an essence
but a pureness of thought
word and deed,
For I find, we need you now
more than ever.
~
Penny L Howe, 2013
 

plh

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend,

 

Sensuous Shadows

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sensual shadows

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Night

dark

sensation

tantalizing

strokes of shadows.

Reaching

caressing

moist

tasting

inhaling

sensual shadows.

Memory?

Thought?

Dream?

Ah, je ne m’inquiète pas!

I

succumb

submission

release

pleasure

deeply satiated.

Slumber now,

Shadows Release.

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~ Penny L Howe, 2013

plh

Hope you like my “prose of surreality”.
Thanks for stopping by,
~Penny
 

Sing … you

sing for the children

Sing you, for the children

Sing, we’re all the same,,

Sing for joy and happiness

Even through the pain.

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Sing you,  for the future

Sing for all you gain,

Sing for the tomorrows

Sing through all the pain.

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Sing you, for those suffering

Sing without the blame,

Sing with much forgiveness

Sing thru all the pain.

~

Sing you, thru all weather

Sing thru all the rain,

Sing, your voices raised on high,

Sing thru all the pain.

~

Sing you, ’cause you’re living

Sing thru all the strain,

Sing for all those loving

Much stronger than …

… your pain!

~

Penny L Howe, 2013

Thank you,

plh

~ Penny

Copyright © 2013 by Penny l Howe,