“Creative Intentions,” #Haibun #Tanka

This week for my weekly syllabic poetry challenge, I used the word, “frigid,” for cold, and “tempest” for storm.

I wrote a Haibun/Tanka Idyll which consists of a prose paragraph, followed by a Tanka poem (5/7/5/7/7). All syllabic poetry has rules, and the Haibun is no exception.

Here are a few of the rules for writing a Haibun in English:

  • Every haibun must begin with a title.
  • Haibun prose is composed of terse, descriptive paragraphs, written in the first person singular.
  • The text unfolds in the present moment, as though the experience is occurring now rather than yesterday or some time ago. In keeping with the simplicity of the accompanying haiku or tanka poem, all excessive words should be pared down or deleted. Nothing must ever be overstated.
  • The poetry never attempts to repeat, quote or explain the prose.
  • Instead, the poetry reflects some aspect of the prose by introducing a different step in the narrative through a microburst of detail.
  • Thus, the poetry is a sort of juxtaposition – seemingly different yet somehow connected.

It is the discovery of this link between the prose and the poetry that offers one of the great delights of the haibun form. The subtle twist provided by an elegantly envisaged link, adds much pleasure to our reading and listening.


"Creative Intentions," #Haibun/Tanka

I shivered as cold wind gusts pushed against my beating heart. A
blizzard was brewing, and I didn’t have much time to spare.
I clutched the slip of paper where weeks before I had scratched
out in longhand my new moon intentions. All of my hopes and
dreams were scrawled on that one tiny scrap of paper. Now, I had
one last task left to complete.

Beneath the rubicund glare of the Full Blood Wolf Moon, I burned
those intentions, setting free the scorched embers of my dreams to
let loose the wild storm of inspiration raging within my heart.

May the universe
favor you with abundance
fulfilling your dreams.
Let winter's frigid tempest
ignite creativity.

©2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

In the prose above, I created a scene, told in the first person. The prose is all about my hopes and dreams and of the wishes, I hope will come true.

The Tanka poem which follows speaks to the reader of the winter in our souls and how that time can be used in creative pursuits which rise out of us like flowers blooming in spring. Both pieces are similar in theme, but I tried to keep the prose and the Tanka from repeating the same thing.

I find Haibun prose to be liberating because there is no counting of syllables until you reach the accompanying syllabic poem. And, just so you know, it took me a couple hours to compose and play with the wording.

Typically, we see a Haibun accompanied with a Tanka, Haiku, or Senryu, but I see no reason why a Haibun couldn’t contain a Shadorma, Nonet, Etheree, or Cinquain. And, more than one!

When writing a Haibun speak from the heart and let your words flow. Experiment with vivid descriptions that draw the reader into your experience. Look for words that show more than tell. <3

Have fun and write some syllabic poetry! <3

44 thoughts on ““Creative Intentions,” #Haibun #Tanka”

  1. we have an extreme cold snap coming in our near future and this says it so well. i will hunker down and create beautiful things, new life is on the horizon

    1. LOL! Whoa… that blizzard was a doozy! Snow blowing sideways, 60 mph winds battering the house. Our bedroom faces that direction (north) and get the brunt of it. Thankfully we only get these storms every other year or so. <3

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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