Category Archives: haibun

Water or Chardonnay: A Weird Little Haibun


When the choice of drink is water or chardonnay, I usually take water. I don’t want to end up in some faraway place, sleeping under a bridge, and wonder how I got there. Nobody’s going to rescue me from my own stupidity. If someone asks why I prefer to eat by candlelight, I say, “It’s fine to dine in the dark, but the last time I tried that, I nearly ate my finger, mistaking it for a French fry. Don’t you think it’s important to be safe rather than sorry?”


Yellow butterfly,
will you meet me on the path
to the mountaintop?

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #257
 
More Writers’ Pantry #11 at Poets and Storytellers United

The Cat’s Wisdom: A Haibun of Imagination


Yesterday at noon, when I opened my kitchen window, I looked out toward the clothesline, and saw the neighbor’s scruffy cat. “So, you’ve finally decided to wake up,” I said with a laugh. Instead of purring, the cat began snarling at me. It had my full attention! An intimate talk followed, although I will not tell you what was said. That moment stays between the cat and me, and I will hold onto it forever. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to listen. If anything can keep me from seeking the cat’s wisdom again, then I don’t deserve to hear its voice.


Fog envelops me,
yet I keep moving forward
on the unseen way.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #256
 
More Writers’ Pantry #10 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Onion Sandwich: A Haibun of Imagination


My mother used to say, “It’s hard to improve on an onion sandwich.” She’d peel three small beauties, slice them, and lay the slices between thick slabs of buttered brown bread, sprinkling them with salt and pepper. She chewed slowly and thoughtfully until she had eaten every pungent morsel. Then brushing the crumbs from her lips, she’d reach across the table for her garden catalog, delve into it and dream of planting peas—and more onions—in several parts of her garden.


Winter afternoon—
two jays at the bird feeder
fight over one seed.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #252
 
More Writers’ Pantry #6 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

First Flowers of Spring: A Haibun

For weeks I stumble through dark clouds of grief, after losing my little point-and-shoot camera to an ignominious death. My constant companion on nature walks no longer functions—the lens will not retract—and I slog through my beloved wilderness with unseeing eyes.
 
Yet a new day dawns, with a new camera, and I am ready again to romance the little things that others spurn.
 
I slip through a fence with a sign that warns against trespassing, my heart beating wildly. Will this be the day that my transgressions are discovered?
 
But I have no time to worry, for at my feet I spy some tiny, reddish-purple flowers. Willing the wind to pause in its pummeling of the delicate blossoms, I fish my camera from my pocket, kneel, and focus the lens for the first photo of the day.

 
First flowers of spring
nourished by underground streams—
gratefully I drink.

 

Haibun © by Magical Mystical Teacher
 

Anything Is Possible: A Haibun


If I could touch the sound of a dove with my fingertips, I would. But my hopes are dashed; the little songster flees as I draw near. The dove calls again. Surely this time! Stealthily I move forward, but a dry leaf crackles underfoot. Hush now, I say to myself, you’re making too much noise; surely she hears you. But, no, there on a branch of the plum is the dove, and there is her song, pouring from her beak like a silver waterfall. Slowly, ever so slowly, I approach, I reach, I touch the sparkling notes. The dove does not stir, though she knows full well what I’m doing. You doubt my story? In the Age of Donald Trump, anything is possible.

An old Buddhist monk,
who never tells me his name,
visits me in dreams.

 
  

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #248
 
More Writers’ Pantry #2 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

The Art of Dying: A Haibun


One day I will practice the art of dying. Darkness will gain the upper hand. No one will ring mournful bells from the church spire to announce my passing. While feuds and wars continue on Earth, I will be at peace, having slipped away into a wild and wonderful place. No more false living for me!

Tattered butterfly,
tell me again the reason
nothing stays the same.

 
  

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #247
 
More Writers’ Pantry #1 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Haibun: Grief Work


My grief over my father’s death has become my life’s work. Some days I drink from a bitter cup. Other days I choose to spread my bread with honey. And sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall, shaping me as it will. Sheer stubbornness drives me to try to understand why a tear leans into the wind, hoping to dry itself; or why the dead enter our world saying nothing, giving neither comfort nor counsel, but simply watching and waiting. So far, I have failed in my quest, but I will not quit. Stubbornness, remember?

Walking through the woods
on an autumn afternoon—
this is song enough.

 
  

Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #239
 
More Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3 at Poets United

Haibun: Wisdom Is Waiting


I am following a path that leads, they say, to Willow Woman, who stands in solitude. How will I find her? Stooped and ungainly? Or singing songs that she learned from her ancestors? Songs of leaf and twig. Songs of root and branch. Songs of drought and disease. In the absence of answers to my questions, I keep moving, as I have done year after year. My one desire—I have no other—is to see Willow Woman at last, for in her, wisdom is waiting.

Autumn afternoon—
in my neighbor’s tiny yard
one red rose still blooms.

 
  

Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #238
 
More Pantry of Poetry and Prose #2 at Poets United

October: A Wilderness Walk


October. The month of the dead and the dying.
 
As I shuffle through the arroyo, I keep dropping to my knees. An onlooker might mistake me for a pilgrim making my painful way to Lourdes. But the healing I seek cannot be found at some distant, holy shrine. It is here in the dust at my feet: palo verde twigs snapped off by windstorms; brown clumps of parched grasses; and small stones quickly losing their warmth as the daylight fades.
 
I pause before some tattered sunflowers, bleached and bitten by the unforgiving desert sun, to quench my thirst. Words from a letter written long ago come to mind: “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…” (1 Corinthians 1:28, Revised Standard Version).
 
Low and despised is nature’s detritus in the wilderness, but it heals my battered spirit as I kneel in awe and wonder before it.
 
While three crows argue,
I gulp tea from my thermos—
autumn’s first chill wind.


 
  

Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher

The Apartment: a Fictional Haibun


Until I rented this apartment (pink flamingos flank the door!), I had to walk up three long flights of stairs. Now I’m on the ground floor, and even have a little kitchen garden, where I grow basil, chives, and parsley. I’ve squeezed in one tomato plant and one pepper. After supper each night, I set aside my sorrows (who knew that life could be so difficult?), and pore over maps of far-off places, dreaming of cruises that last for years, not weeks. Could there be a better way to spend my twilight days?

 

Burn down, white candle,
veer off course, distant planets—
my wineglass is full!

 
  

Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #231
 
More Poetry Pantry #493 at Poets United