Haibun for Two – February 17, 2015

One early morning we went to the beach when I lived in  Djibouti.

The beach was already nearly covered with wall to wall people.  The sea went out gradually here, so it was a fine spot for kids and it was a Sunday morning too. I remember that a lot of children were romping and splashing in the shallow water.  Other’s were making sand castles. There was such a festive air of pleasure and innocence.

Suddenly there came a scream from a little farther out to sea where the water was deeper.  The life guard did not react immediately, people often played around screaming and splashing but this time the figure was obviously in real trouble.  He ran to help the person and we who stayed behind exchanged opinions; “he must have gotten a cramp!” … “how’s it possible to drown in just three feet of water!” …. “could it be a shark?”  A mixture of cynicism and fear snaked through the watchers, but the general opinion was that all would be well.

The life-guard brought the young man back to the shore and did what he could to reanimate him, but there was nothing anyone could have done.  A silent scream of horror went up among those looking upon this tragic event. The man was so young.

a silent scream
observing impermanence
a day at the beach

© G.s.k. 15



Rarely does it happen that on two different prompt pages you get the same prompt, but that’s what happened this week with The Scream by Edvard Munch … so, I’ve written a haibun for both Carpe Diem haiku Kai and Haibun Thinking This was a true story.

Sleeping with Butterflies – Haibun – January 24, 2015


Sleep With Butterflies by Tincek Marincek

Sleeping With Butterflies
Tincek Marincek


Walking through a dream – a vision came to me, of a youth surrounded by butterflies.  Was he then, a bloom waiting to be pollinated?  Could he have been my ideal of spring beauty? Delicate as a young girl in dormant serenity, his was the innocence of a child sleeping, but somehow, a sense of anxiety filled my soul.

dormant innocence
a youth lost in his ideals
butterfly monarchs


Haibun Thinking

Gift Shop Memories – Haibun – January 17, 2015

© A Mixed Bag 2014

Clearing out the old ladies apartment was of course a sad event.  She’d spent so many years in the flat that it seemed that part of her spirit must have stayed when she passed on.

In the living-room, with its old furniture, still in mint condition, there was a wall to wall many tiered knick-knack shelf.  All the souvenirs from her rare trips to Venice or Rome were mixed up with the objects her children and grandchildren had brought her from places like the Seychelles or Los Angeles. Her grandson had just recently given her a toy Mummery & Fudger truck from London. It was in the place of honor on the shelf.

gift shop memories
on a wooden knick-knack shelf
an old woman’s life

© G.s.k. ‘14


Haibun Thinking- The Rainbow – January 8, 2015


A rainbow is like a miracle.

That early evening walking down the streets of Bolzano after a downpour of epic proportions, I almost missed the rainbow. Street lights were already lit to pierce the darkness that had enveloped the city.  From my vantage point though, I could see that the skies were clear on the horizon and there the sun still kissed the land.

Then I spotted it … the rainbow. Faint at first but it soon gained strength. It seemed to be a symbol.  A bridge between the darkness of near night into the clear blue skies full of light. I thought, ‘now I understand why the rainbow flag is used to symbolize peace’.

Everyone else continued along their way huddled in their coats under their umbrellas.  It seemed that I was the only one who’d seen that portent created by Mother Nature as a gift and a hope.

in the darkness
a rainbow shows the way
clear skies

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for Haibun Thinking

Carpe Diem – Haibun – December 3, 2014

train station


Carpe Diem!  Running I caught the train at the last moment.  I hadn’t planned the trip, it was a vague idea the evening before after talking to my son, but the during the night the idea grew.  Waking up the idea was mature.

I grabbed my bag, threw in a change of clothes, my computer, wallet and phone.  I called my son whilst on the bus, telling him I’d arrive that morning.  Waiting for the regional train in Verona for Padua, a “freccia” for Venice pulled into the station it had a stop-over in Padua so I decided to take it instead, paying extra.  I arrived in Padua at 10:30 instead of noon.  We had a lovely day together my son and I, walking the streets of the city and then having dinner at an Indian restaurant.  After dinner we went home and watched “Doctor Who” on the computer then talked until around three in the morning.  The next morning we had breakfast at the train station and I returned home.  (The photo above was taken that morning as the “freccia” arrived in Verona).

Some of the most important decisions of my life were made on the spur of the moment … getting married, going to Italy, buying a house just to name a few. Of course, making a snap decision, can also be the first step in making a mistake.  On the other hand, often,  if you try to have all the facts before you make a decision, you might find that there’s no longer a decision to be made at all!  Life’s like that; an adventure, a triumph, sadness, tragedy but if you don’t seize the moment,  you just watch life pass you by, a passive spectator.

two roads divided
choosing where to go
Carpe Diem

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Film Quote Prompt:  “Carpe diem. Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary”

~ Dead poets Society (Robin Williams)


Linked to Haibun Thinking!

Reflection: Behind Fences – Haibun – November 19, 2014

An old prison camp … bright lights glaring at night, making sleep difficult … prisoners of war.  A flash vision from Hogan’s Heros or Schindler’s List comes to mind.  Cold snow and drafty unheated wooden shacks.  Soldiers with machine guns on watch towers.

As I sit in my comfortable central heated home, I can’t help wondering, how would life have been in such a situation, happy that I’ve never had this experience but have only lived the situation vicariously through films and books. But on the other hand, one never really knows, does one. Many of those prisoners lived with their creature comforts never realizing that one day they would be prisoners of war.

To think, even today, somewhere on this planet, people live in camps surrounded by barbed wire with armed guards on a tower.  Prisoners of war.

on a barbed wire fence
frozen in silence

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Linked to Haibun Thinking – Photo prompt by Arthur Brown 



Worlds Inside – Haibun – November 13, 2014

Tienny The Storyteller

Tienny The Storyteller

Sitting on a park-bench reading the Prisoner of Zenda on my e-reader near the placid lake in the early morning … what could be better.  There’s not a soul around … excluding the sea-gulls and ducks. What peace.

The world around me is silent, ah .. but the world inside me!  I’m transported into a simpler world of adventure and chivalry.  Swash-buckling escapades, adventure and illicit love – but though this love is illicit it’s not immoral!  In fact, it pushes the poor protagonist to “do the right thing” and save his beloved’s betrothed husband.

What a splendid world, so far removed from listless reality with its uncertainties and shoddy morality.  I do so agree with my dearest of friends, Jane Austen.

enchanting magic –
travelling through time and space
sitting in the park

 (c) G.s.k. ’14


“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!
How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!”
~ Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice)

Linked to Haibun Thinking

The link in red will take you to the Project Gutenberg  where you can download the book ‘Prisoner of Zenda’ for free …. which I’m going to do as I’ve never actually read it but have only seen it referred to in other books I’ve read!   😉


The Grey House – Haibun Thinking – November 7, 2014

The old grey house kind of leaned slightly out of kilter. Looking at it you’d almost think it’d collapse like a deck of playing cards.  The old woman lived there by herself.  To my eyes of 9 she seemed to be an ancient witch, though to my eyes, she would have been in the white witch category.

That summer she sat on the old wooden slats that were the steps into her house … they were grey like everything else about that house.  She’d smile at the us as we raced by with our bicycles, who knew what she was thinking.  One day I decided to stop and talk to her for a moment.  My Uncle, who was actually a year younger than I, reluctantly stopped too.

She stood up and said: “Howdy, nice to see ya.  I’ve got some cookies on the table.”  Just as though she’d known us all her life.  We went in with her. There wasn’t much to see, an old wood burning stove, a table with two chairs an old rocking chair, a few shelves, and a closet next to her bed with a curtain along side it, which she drew when we came in.

She didn’t have a refrigerator, in fact thinking about it later, I realized she probably didn’t have electricity in the place either.  Although it was summer, there was a fire going in the old stove and an old metal tea-pot bubbling away.  I wonder now where her sink was, because I don’t remember seeing one at the time.

We sat drinking tea and eating cookies and she rambled on about her life; the people who used to live nearby but went “out west”, the depression, the war and her husband who never came back home from the war, the closing of the paper mill. She seemed to be talking to herself more than to us. She was caught-up in her memories, we were there to hear her testimony of what had been.

We finished eating then we said our goodbyes, she gave us a kiss on the cheek and a few more cookies to take with us.  It was sort of weird  to be kissed by that withered old lady … her skin was so dry and wrinkled and she had an odd perfume about her … she smelt like old flowers.

A few days later, she died, just like that.  She’d seemed so vital when we’d seen her, she certainly didn’t seem sick. When I asked my Grandma why she’d died, the only thing she said was that the lady was very very old.

Her grey house was torn down not even a week after her funeral. Nothing remained to say that she’d lived there.

an old grey house
memories her companions
– now lost forever

(c) G.s.k. ’14


“All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain.”
~ Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)


Linked to Haibun Thinking

Hanover Lake – Haibun – October 23, 2014

© Anja Partin

© Anja Partin

It was a summer day at Hanover lake in 1959. In those days, things weren’t as organized as they are now days.  It was already something that an area of the lake had been dragged and netted off from the rest of the lake so people could go swimming.  There weren’t any life guards and no one had opened a kiosk or snack bar. People brought their own food and sometimes lit a fire in the sand to roast hot dogs or whatever.

It was nearly time to go home, and the sun was already pretty low.  I’d been running along the tiny beach, as usual bare-footed and not looking where I was going when suddenly a burning sensation under my foot stopped me in my tracks.  I began to scream and cry and my mother ran to see what had happened.  Seems that a happy picnicker hadn’t removed all the red-hot charcoal from his impromptu barbecue. I’d found the wayward ember. She took me in her arms … though I was 9 years old and almost as tall as she by then … and told me about the Indian fakir who walked on coals.

yogi in bud
walking on hot coals
in New Jersey



Growning Up – Haibun – October 19, 2014

 train tracks


“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do.
It is much easier to skip it
and go from one childhood to another.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald


Walking along the railroad tracks … just walking, with nowhere to go and no goal to reach. Thinking about yesterdays, when everything was golden books and chocolate cake.  The years of my childhood, happy memories – boring memories.  The up-right piano my Dad bought me for 25 dollars, trips to the farmer’s market on Sunday’s, paper doll cut-outs and kool-aid.

The changes in the world, without a premonition … one day we were a happy family, then the slow creeping tragedy.  Mom went to work, Dad couldn’t cope … he began to drink, they began to fight, sometimes she didn’t come home at night. Estrangement and unhappiness.

walking near the tracks
leaving happy childhood
– grown up

(c) G.s.k. ’14


Written for Haibun Thinking