Haibun (winter)

The shivering of a frosted lake as nesting swans trouble its unfamiliar surface, their beaks long, orange beacons in forensic sunlight.

The air is photon-charged, the path percussive to my feet. Everything this winter day is hard-edged, alert.

cirrus clouds’ white canopy
rook nests blacken bony trees –
winter monochrome

Carole Farnan is a Belfast-based poet whose work has been published in several anthologies including The Honest Ulsterman, A New Ulster and various other platforms. She was the winner of An Culturlann Poetry Award (English section) in March 2021 and more recently her work has featured in the Poetry Jukebox (Belfast) and in Washing Windows (Arlen Press)

She writes: Farset River Park, which opened around the start of the pandemic, became a great place to go and walk with friends in lockdown, often bringing flasks of coffee. Just watching the water flow and all the life it sustained has always been a comfort.

The haibun is prose (or a prose poem) interleaved with one or more haiku:

  •  The prose is not an explanation of the haiku.
  • The haiku is not a linear continuation of the prose.

Make each word count in the prose text, as in a prose poem.

Compact micro-haibun limit the prose text, such as to 20-to-180 words.

Most commonly only one haiku is included, placed after the prose, and serving as a climax or epiphany to what came before.

Many haibun include more than one haiku and longer text than the above range, as long as the resulting work is strong enough.

The juxtaposition of prose and haiku is important.

  • The prose should add to the depth with which we experience the haiku.
  • The haiku should add meaning to the prose.

Poets Collective – Poetry Forms


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