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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Featured Writer: Diana Webb

About Haibun

Asked at a recent haiku meeting whether I wrote longer poetry, I replied, "Not any more, but I write haibun."

For me creating haibun complements producing single haiku as a way of flexing my writing limbs and allowing words to flow. When asked why she favoured writing prose over poetry, Virginia Woolf said the rhythms of prose were more interesting. Perhaps that is why I too have opted to use prose in conjunction with haiku. I believe that the prose and haiku should work together (or dance together as the late Ken Jones said) to produce a complete piece with neither prose nor haiku taking centre stage.

I feel that haiku can sometimes serve as islands of tranquility to which writer and reader can travel through a sea of turbulent prose.

Much has been said about the therapeutic value of haiku and related forms and I am pleased to report that some people have said my haibun have produced for them a sense of peace.

I tend to avoid grim subjects as I feel that in our troubled world there is a need for writing which uplifts the spirit. As William Blake wrote, "Joy and woe are woven fine . . . Under every grief and pine rubs a joy with silken twine."

I hope the piece I have chosen to share here reflects this and make no apologies about the fact that both of my pieces in this issue conclude with rainbows.

A Small Act

For days and days persistent low grey cloud torrential showers and in between brief spells of brightness as the sun breaks through.

I sit in my usual place beside the window, staring out across the damp slate roofs, searching for inspiration in a heavy sky until one morning unexpectedly: "My heart leaps up as I behold."

I sense what Wordsworth felt! How can I sustain this multi-stranded sweep of light? It lingers, lingers, fades.

I contemplate my pack of colours bought to spark the artist in a child. One or two are worn down at the points. I find a sharpener.

pencil shavings
the scent of
new carved rainbows


The quote, "My Heart Leaps Up," is by William Wordsworth.

'A Small Act" won the Genjuan Haibun Contest 2016 and was published in Cottage of Visions: Genjuan Haibun Contest Decorated Works 2015- 2017, Hailstone Haiku Circle Publications, May 2018.

Diana Webb is currently editor of the haiku journal Time Haiku. She runs a local haiku group called Leaves to a Tree, named from a quote by John Keats, and has held the post of Events Coordinator on the committee of the British Haiku Society. She has won both the British Haiku Society Award for her Haibun 'Seasonal Lights' and the Genjuan Contest Award for 'A Small Act.' Her three published haibun collections are Takeaway (Hub Editions 2008); Pocketing the Tide (Alba Publishing 2013); Traces and Thresholds (Hub Editions 2018). Diana has led haibun workshops for both the British Haiku Society and her local poetry group.