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Seasons in My Mind (Haibun)


Haibun writing - I’ve come to realise that the core of my writing is akin to the prose poem form of Haibun. Written in the nature tradition. [...] A pair of Bullfinch light up a solitary Ash tree - soft glow light bulbs of carmine red and cinnamon pink. They call softly to each other. Their rumps as white as the snow. [...]

The haibun is the combination of two poems: a prose poem and haiku. The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment, in autobiographical prose. It is characterised by dependence on imagery and detailed narrative of experience; whereas haiku is one such moment, using just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader's mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself.

Here are some passages from my blog, written over the last couple of years or so, reworked here as a collection of haibun.

Seasons in My Mind


The Imminence of Spring

A pale cerulean-blue sky – crisscrossed with misty white vapour trails of planes - a modern art canvas; paint casually, thrown from the artists brush; white clouds tinged salmon-pink hanging over blue-grey mountains; just before sunrise – white wreaths of mist lingering over the fields and valley wood mirroring the trails above. Low and plaintive 'peeawee' 'peeawee', a Lapwing calls from the open fields; an early (over-wintering) Chiffchaff sings ‘chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff‘ at the edge of the wood, the double notes hanging in the still air; a lone Buzzard calls ...

february days
blackbirds sing
by a roaring fire

Early Sunday Morning

The sun streams through the bedroom window - slightly open, the red and white gingham curtains moving gently in the morning air - dust motes caught for a moment - faerie dust, shining like tiny golden stars; the incessant chatter of House Sparrow and the garbled chuckling, whistling and mimicry of Starling from the cottage eaves and chimney pots; Green Woodpecker laughing from the nearby Ash; And Cuckoo calling from the copse across the fields. Listen ...

apple blossom
scents the morning air -
church bells ring

The Water Meadow


Lying lazy in a meadow by a stream home to sheep ‘n’ cows and wagtail yellow buttercups dance in the meadow grass so high above kestrel hover a flit of swallow; wild rainbow cast the summer breeze ‘cross grasses mix’d an artists palette red gold ‘n’ green finches twitter ‘n’ tweeze.

yellow flags *
twittering swallow
a moorhens nest

Summer Love

The smell of new-mown hay; the distant gentle clatter of a ‘Little Grey Fergie’ - daisy chains, dandelion clocks and buttercup chins - the chime of the Church clock on the quarter hour from ‘tother side of the village green; the gentle purr of turtle dove - the drowsy hum of summer

sunny afternoon
chasing lost dreams
in buttercup meadows

Autumn Wayfarers

Along the hedge as summer leaves fall
into autumn, colours flying, a fiery flash
of flirtatious tail ‘n sweet ‘tweet-tut’ call
teasing us. A white-arse cuts a fine dash
dapper on the autumn sun warmed wall -
atop sprigs of gorse; all along the chase
the ‘tic tic’ of furze-chat watchin’ sentinel;
on a bare leafless branch of a dying ash
a flycatcher pied in black ‘n white apparel,
the hedge below all red with haw, awash
with chakking feldfare; summer leaves fall

swifts scream
across thundery skies
on wing to Africa

A Winter Morning

A fresh fall of snow overnight - green fields mantled white; the blackish branches of willow and ash, edged white, starkly outlined, against the morning light; mirrored in the dark brown-grey of the brook; the distant woods a purple haze against the blue-grey snow clouds above. A pair of Bullfinch light up a solitary Ash tree - soft glow light bulbs of carmine red and cinnamon pink. They call softly to each other. Their rumps as white as the snow.

drifting snow
shattering the silence
a Wren sings

Spring in Winter

At the edge of the wood early catkins - lambs tails - tremble and dance, sprinkling yellow gold-dust over the snowy branches. A small party of Long Tailed Tit tinkle through the delicate filigree of branches outlined against the winter sky; first three, then from nowhere - five, then seven, then twelve. It is mid-January - still Winter

a blush-pink morning
mirrored in feathers

I have submitted the collection for publication in the Wales Haiku Journal. Keep your fingers crossed!

Artist Credit

The Featured Image is of a coloured woodcut titled ‘Bullfinches on snow covered branch’ c1911 by Allen W Seaby. I thought it fitting as this piece is about the Japanese form of prose poem - the Haibun, to head it with another form of Japanese Art - the Colour Woodcut.

He was an outstanding watercolorist, woodcut artist, author, and illustrator. He mastered the techniques of the Japanese Color Woodcut and became one of its leading exponents. He won a gold medal for color woodcut in Milan in 1906 and was a founding member of the Engravers and Printers in Colour and the Colour Print Guild.

A short biography can be found here

Artists Inspired by Nature – Allen W. Seaby

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March 10, 2019 12:14 pm

I think haibun really lends itself to nature writing or nature writing to haibun. These are very evocative and the haikus give a fixed focus.

March 21, 2019 10:05 pm

[…] on from my last post – Seasons in My Mind – a haibun, I felt the haiku poems may stand on their own or may even work as a linked poem of the […]

Andrea Stephenson
March 25, 2019 3:34 pm

This is a beautiful collection Clive, well worthy of publication, so fingers crossed for you. You transported me to another world through those moments. I can see the gentle flutter of curtains in a breeze, hear the call of the birds and the church bells, see the catkins trembling. I travelled through all the seasons, but I’m left with a tranquillity that is like the sunshine and breeze of early spring.

Andrea Stephenson
Reply to  Clive Bennett
March 26, 2019 7:28 pm

You’re very welcome.