This is a haibun I wrote that was first published in December of 2017 in a quarterly journal called, Haibun Today. Just a quick refresher – a haibun consists of a prose segment accompanied by a haiku. The editor, Ray Rasmussen, really helped me through the revision process so that I could get the haiku portion up to par. He suggested I abandon the 5-7-5 syllable count in favor of a more streamlined form. The only criteria was that the haiku had to be three lines, and the total syllable count could not exceed seventeen. This style is becoming the preferred method in English haiku.
Ray Rasmussen is a master of the English haibun form, as are many of the authors who appear in the journal. I was just happy to be along for the ride. Haibun Today is one of my favorite journals, and it is absolutely free to read. Just go to haibuntoday.com and you’re in.
So, here’s my work. Questions, comments, criticisms are always welcome.
On Being Still
The old timer pays me for the work I did on his roof and offers me a cold beer. I tell him, “Thanks, but I better get going.” At the end of his lot there’s a wooded area – towering oaks and maples. Just beyond the trees I hear it – the drone of the interstate. It sounds angry, like a huge hornet nest that was pelted with rocks.
I say, “A cold beer does sound pretty good, after all.” He brings out a couple, and we sit on lawn chairs and are quiet for a minute. Semper Fi is tattooed on his right arm, and I wonder if it was Korea or Vietnam where he got that faraway look in his eyes.
“My daughter thinks I should put the house up for sale,” he says after awhile. “Wants me to move to a retirement community in Tampa.”
“What do you think?” I say.
“I think I’ll just hunker down here and live out my days.”
We click our beer bottles together, and we each take a good draw. The talk turns to baseball, and the frenzied world pulses by.
long shadows –
water droplets condense
on beer bottles
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