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Posts Tagged ‘haibun’

HAIBUN – The Heat Rises

Seeing some recent photographs from Japan, ( train riders do so love to click the rising sides of Mount Fuji as they speed past to and from Tokyo), I remembered how it was there towards the end of May in Honshu. The temperate Spring weather suddenly gives way to an increasing heat. Vegetation that budded discretely in warm sun now turns rampant jungle, sliding down walls and roadsides in tumbled tendrils. Pocket towels delicately sweep sweated brows and necks, the weight of a humid summer sun bends heads and we begin to avoid the wide open city spaces where light rebounds off dazzling bright concrete. The shade in parks is inhabited by quiet, slowly moving people. Pale skinned girls, translucent as moons, carry parasols in lace-gloved hands and the perspiring salarymen, ties loosened, curse their cheap suits and dream of beer.

End of May.
The heat rises
To the top of Fujisan.
We move more slowly,
Like carp in green waters.

The past turns haiku.
The valleys dissolve in rain.
Disappearing light.

To culture silence
And watch unhurried,
A task few relish.

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enoshima edit1

DREAM SUTRAS

Something here in Japan, perhaps the lightness of the summer mornings, perhaps the way the land subtly shivers and sways, perhaps that we are intruders unfamiliar with the nuence of its neural patterns, make night dreams here more vivid. Certainly I awake more often from fright, or from discomforting imagery than at home. An alien technology, or maybe the sake!

in Japan
these eloquent dreams:
still completely mysterious.

Last night, a strong constant wind accomapied us through the entire night. Sometimes I would wake and wonder if a rainstorm was passing overhead, the roar was so steady and insistent.

the long wind
fuelling strong dreams.
mysterious purpose.

Of all the dreams that night there was one particularly convoluted and long-lasting, (or so it seemed). Based around an old man, something of a genius, both an artist and a scientist, as well as an amateur sleuth or criminal investigator. He was involved in many complex layers of research, but was the bane of those who loved and cared for him as his health was failing fast and yet he would not take rest nor ease up on his schedules.

Long wind,
who is the dying sage
so eloquent and ancient, in my dream?

dragon wind
dreams of sages
utterly bemusing.

An interesting point I saw recently on a post about haiku was that amongst the many ‘rules’ was one that stated that a haiku should make no comment. Haiku as a record of perceptions that can evoke numinous emotion without explicitly saying what the emotion should be. Like a haibun, a haiku can lead to endless mazes of commentary and extrapolation. A thought motif, a riff, a theme, can lead to jazz-like improvisations. Now, this rule is not one of simple objectivity. The poet is always objectifying the internal as well as external. Perhaps it is the avoidance of the passing of judgement, not reinterpreting or making a second or a third judgement, that makes haiku resonant, that prevents it simply becoming a commonplace sentence divided into short lines. Who knows…

how many miles is this long wind?
night-long it roars through the curtains.
even my own dreams
are a complete mystery to me.

Haiku, seen as a child-like entrancement (entrancing entrance), a fluidium between self and not-so-self. Paying attention to when nothing is happening, we discover that something is…

roaring dragon wind
how many miles
do you traverse?

as wide as the moon:
this long wind
over hills and valleys.

There is a shamanic, primal sort of awareness in the best haiku. An overlay of worlds. A denial of incorrect or correct ways of perception. Juxtaposition, significant only because it is juxtaposed. For an instant, in this mind, and then in the mind of the reader, sense data and interpretations hold equal value, are equally valid, equally ephemeral.

long wind,
aching bones.
mysterious dream
of ancient sages.

maybe it is my aching bones:
dreams of ancient sages
and steep hillsides.

long night wind.
my dream too,
arising from distant lands.

dream sutras
though inexplicable,
endlessly fascinating.

Finally, the long hours of the night begin to move away, light edges between things, but the wind, having blown away most of my thoughts, still remains.

long wind
blowing away night
to other lands.

In daylight, the warm airs sweep yellows and golds. The palm tree still shaking its dry fronds between the houses, laughing, dancing, bending, chanting.

cats in the sun
eating, sleeping,
composing haiku.

—–

dragon lantern

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The full length piece can be found here as a blog page as it takes up a bit of space (though does not comprise many words). I have recently been looking at some very old travel writings, mostly taking the form of haibun. This one was composed on a brief visit to the Orkney Islands, north of mainland Scotland, during the midsummer of 1980. I have added a few new linking texts, but apart from that the piece remains as originally composed. Accompanying the text were originally some black and white photographs, but as this was long before the days of digital anything, I will have to do considerable playing around to reintroduce them (once I have located prints or negatives)

XVI
(solstice)

Returning to Stromness I cooked an evening meal and then wandered aimlessly along the coast. Although I had to rise early next morning, planning to take a boat to Hoy, I was unable to leave such a beautiful evening. Despite the hour, it was still very light, and a deep silence filled both myself and the land through which I walked. Resonance was everywhere. Great wellings up of deep emotion when I beheld the waves on a small foreshore; the trawler, its mast-light flickering, heading out to sea; the hills and cliffs of Hoy across the water almost melting into the deep stillness of oncoming night; young lambs bleating on the hillside; mother ducks with their young by the shore.

this evening, too, lingers,
unwilling to leave
your summer stillness,
Islands of the far north.

on the shore
wave upon wave
only deepens the silence,
Islands of the far north.

XVII
(gift)

soon to depart,
at last
the tune
of something
framing this land

the stranger
knows a wholeness
to which
he does not belong.

mull kodak2 072

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Here are a couple of haibun inspired by the Ligo haibun Challenge for this week
(http://yourligo.weebly.com/haibun.html)

PEACE

The rising wind scours the walls, all four. Swings down and sings in the chimney, brightening the small flames. It is late. The cats are attentive, but unwilling to stir. Content will the small silences of the house. If I wait, the tumble of the day will subside. Thoughts will scatter, settle, lilt into corners like leaves do in autumn. Perhaps one or two shall remain to keep the company.

afterglow of single malt
bees dozing in noon sun
something important, forgotten

PEACE 2

They turn so carefully, the cats. First one way, then, after some thought, the other. Winding up to relax. Taking just the right angle for air, for warmth, for watching. Not a hair out of place, their senses, too, sleek and flowing.

still rivers of wind-
inside the house
not silence, but listening

fire roars
sings and whispers
longing for wind’s freedom

slow, long voices
wind and rain-
dream language

soon the fire will falter
though the fast winds run
we turn, fall into dream

**

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