“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. ❤

Have fun and write some syllabic poetry! ❤

Author: Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist & Poet who loves crafting paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical, which may mean she is experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been decided yet. A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing poetry and storytelling. Colleen sponsors a weekly Syllabic Poetry Challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on her blog where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and several other publications. In November 2017, she won the “Little and Laugh” Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community. In 2018, she won first place for the “Twisted Travel” category. In 2019, she placed second in the Three Act Story category, with her piece called “The Game.” Colleen is a Sister of the Fey, where she pursues a pagan path through her writing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and black cat, Freyja. When she is not writing, she is reading. She also loves gardening and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.

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

    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. ❤

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