© 2020 Frank J. Tassone
In Indiana, where I grew up, gray skies muted the summer sun. The six-foot-deep ditch at the end of the street represented the most climbing we children could experience. Slide down, scramble up. Our panorama from the top of the ditch – cornfields, cows, a two-lane road teeing into another, and a 1950s housing development.
No mountain grandeur,
No rocky ledges to scale,
Winding through pine trees.
Today blue skies peek through the dense forest.The scent of pine fills my empty lungs as I lumber up the narrow path to the top to Gertrude’s Nest. Where are the steps and handrails? Forget the steps, where’s the elevator? The slide down this crevasse is nothing like home.
A struggle to climb,
Step after step I struggle.
Driblets burn my eyes.
Mosquitos the size of grasshoppers nip at my shoulders and elbows. Blisters dot my heels. Loose rocks echo as they skitter down the mountain. I embrace the mountainside until my stomach stops churning.
There’s no place like home.
Why did I agree to this –
Atop Shawangunk Mountains, I survey where I’ve been and hold up my arms in triumph. The summer breeze dries my skin. The world is mine!
This is my entry to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka for June 30. I chose to do the prose envelope. Even if you’ve never tried to write a Haibun, step out and do something new. 🙂 Leave me a link in your comment section and also link it on Colleen’s website. We’ll both visit, read, and comment. 🙂
How to Write Haibun
- Begin the haibun with a title. The title should hint at something barely noticeable in the beginning which comes together by the ending.
- Your haibun prose can be written in present or past tense including, first-person (I), third person (he/she), or first-person plural (we).
- Subject matter: autobiographical prose, travel journal, a slice of life, memory, dream, character sketch, place, event, or object. Focus on one or two elements.
- Keep your prose simple, all excessive words should be pared down or deleted. Nothing should be overstated.
- The length can be brief with one or two sentences with a haiku, or longer prose with a haiku sandwiched between, to longer memoir works including many haiku.
- There are different Haibun styles: Idyll: (One prose paragraph and one haiku) haiku/prose, or prose/haiku; Verse Envelope: haiku/prose/haiku; Prose Envelope: prose/haiku/prose, including alternating prose and verse elements of your choice.
- The prose tells the story and gives the information which helps to define the theme. It creates a mood through tone, paving the way for the haiku.
- The haiku should act as a comparison—different yet somehow connected to the prose, as it moves the story forward by taking the narrative in another direction.
- The haiku should not attempt to repeat, quote, or explain the prose. Instead, the haiku resolves the conflict in an unexpected way. Sometimes, the haiku questions the resolution of the prose. While the prose is the narrative, the haiku is the revelation or the reaction.