Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Intro to Haibun

photo source:

I haven't written any poems in awhile. There have been several lines bandying their way through my brain lately but nothing more than that. Just not enough time, I guess. I was intrigued by this week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry, though, so I thought I'd try to find my muse.

The challenge--write a haibun, a composition that combines prose and haiku. The catch--the haibun is supposed to be a travel log. And not just a travel log, but a log of a trip on which you encounter a mythical creature.

Sounds daunting, I know, but I actually had some fun with it. I just sat down and pounded it out, so I'm sure it's a bit rough. But getting something down on paper felt good. I'd never tried to write a prose poem before. I'm not sure if there are rules, but I'm pretty sure there aren't.

As for my quest, I chose a Chimera, a hideous beast known for breathing fire and being an omen of natural disaster. I think I chose it at random, from a Wikipedia list of Greek mythical creatures, although an analysis of my subconscious may reveal otherwise. I don't know. I think I just like the sound of the word chimera.

I pictured a group of warriors out on a journey for weeks and weeks, tracking this beast. Not in hopes of killing her, but in hopes of maybe taming her or at the very least figuring her out. It doesn't end that well, but I tried to contrast the failure of their mission with a more optimistic closing haiku. So, here you go...


That cirrus-framed rectangle of the faintest blue ripped in the graying sky was our signal. This ill-fated quest had come to an end, its apocalypse a product of hubris and fate, of misfortune and audacity, and now it was time to end it, to let it all go, to heed the warning and follow our instincts. Away. Away from this washed out villa of mistaken tranquility and inebriated lust, of foolish clingings to time-gone-by and memories of strength no longer possessed. The rectangular gateway: our omen, our message to flee, our oncoming storm, our subconscious--emphasized more by the searing, uncontrollable fires of the Chimera, the very beast we sought to tame, to deconstruct, to make sense of. The very beast incapable of capture (we knew this all along). The very beast that set us on this path.

the four sided sign
of what will never be true
the blueness of hope


  1. Like how this operates at literal and metaphorical levels of meeting our mythical beasts. The haiku apt conclusion.

  2. The journey of the real juxtaposes readily with the mythical while the closing haiku is wise and wonderful.

  3. i really appreciate yr comments as to how you got to the place of writing this piece. fire is always an interesting tool used in writing... and the blue sky signal... we should never discount the tiniest of details when we write. these often bring the wonder of words to our understanding... taming fire, yeah, that sounds good... diapedesis

  4. It is always great to try a new form. You did well!