haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Jamie Edgecombe

 

Shodo

Scribbling through the badly brushed characters with the wrong stroke order, they suddenly become beautiful, veiled and somehow resemble a dragon. The pretense of delicate kanji, luckily penned by the hand of this novice, evolves into sincerity. I will stamp my hanko in the opposite bottom corner, frame it with a deep blue border, hang it on the wall and never understand its power over me.

Gleaming black
The scent of autumn pavements
Fills everything

And it is strange, where our minds drift to while wondering through music and the movement of brushes. Taking a large one-meter by one-meter piece of fine paper, slightly see-through and incredibly absorbent, I dip my brush in time to my shodo rhythm and then into the dark watery ink. Prizing away the excess, I dart a glance out of the window and catch an eye full of Hokkaido’s glorious autumn colors, which remind me of a photograph I once saw or a haibun I once read about New England and start thinking how it would be nice to go there and in words I am home. Home. English soil: the chipped, shattered, weathered and worn mix of debris and biological cells: ink into paper: tomaru: quick stroke: tomaru, stroke, stroke: tomaru: draw.

A signpost
Labeling this place as Plymouth
when it isn’t at all

As I approach a difficult kanji, deciding how to scale it against the other characters and spaces of the page, the world turns white and black, one-meter by one-meter square and Japan relaxes into the sound of a brush streaking paper.

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