Worth the Struggle #Haibun

© 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 –

Adventurous quest?

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.

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. In November, 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

26 thoughts on “Worth the Struggle #Haibun”

    1. Thank you, Colleen. Your instructions were right on and easy to follow. It wrote itself. When I read and reread the instructions, I panicked. I’m terrible at mystery. And there is a suggestion of mystery from beginning to end. The. When I saw the picture-a place I’d never been I really had to write fiction. It was fun!

      Liked by 2 people

          1. LOL! I don’t have many travel photos. But I bet you do. This would be a lovely book. You should go for it. I’m much more a dreamer. Meanwhile, I’ll finish the next book in my Fairies, Myths, & Magic – A Celebration of the Winter Solstice that will contain poetry and short fiction pieces. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I have about 37,000 photos, not all travel, and definitely not all publishable! I’m not the expert author here, but I definitely think this is a topic we could explore. I’m so looking forward to our interview. Let’s definitely chat when you have the time.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Will do. That would be a lovely book. Maybe decide on a theme or two and sort through your photos to see which are the best. Then, you could compose your haibun to detail each photo. Sounds amazing! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

          4. I have four artist/photographer blogger friends. I’m thinking they should/might like to be in on something like this. Their photos are amazing. I’d like to have more than just my photography and haiban’s in this gorgeous book. Could we tie into your Tuesday contest, or should we start a different one just using the haiban form. I do love that form because of the prose. However, I haven’t tried the others yet, so one by one, I’m giving them a try. I love the idea. So did my hubby. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Awwww I’m getting my writing wings back! Girls on Fire edits pretty well devastated me at least temporarily! These challenges and interviews about challenges are the bandages and casts that are healing my broken spirit.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Aw, and I know what you mean. Sometimes the focus is difficult and it’s great to get pre-occupied with useful distraction. Writing is writing. 🙂 x

            Liked by 2 people

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