dVerse Poetics – Open Link Night 150- 俳文 初雪

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poetics and it is #150!!!!!  We do not submit to a prompt but rather, submit a poem of our choice.  I have done a haibun – 俳文 – for first snow – 初雪   Please come join us.  Submit your own poetry and read the offerings of very differently talented writers.

初雪 Hatsuyuki
Deep winter and total blackness of the night. The stillness of the night awakens me as if it had been a deafening clap of thunder.

I lie under the quilt, warm and cozy but….something in the atmosphere beckons. I change into jeans and heavy sweater, socks and shoes and open the front door. Since going to bed, it has begun to snow.

Ignoring the cold, I step out onto our front porch. Miraculous transformation! Smooth glowing white covering the yard. Against the blacker than the black night trees, silvery white snow has clumped into vees of little branches – night blooming winter magnolias they seem to be.

I carefully go down the steps and into the yard, turning slowly to see all around. The air is cold and sweet with the perfume of snow and it is so silent…so very silent I can hear the snow falling – a slight hissing sound as tiny flakes strike against each other, slough off from each other, group together and fall.straight.down.

I look up at the sky and can see the snow clouds against the black of the sky. I lift my face – bit of instant fire touching my cheeks, lips, eyelids….I hold out my hands.
It is the first snow of the season:  初雪 Hatsuyuki

midnight: snow flowers
spiral down and quickly die
on my outstretched hand.

I walk to the trees at the verge of the woods. I can see against the rough black bark where bits of snow have settled into the crevices of the bark – like exotic plants on the steep side of the cliff. I touch the snow with my lips – soft cold against rough and then melting. I bow my head against the tree – I murmur 侘寂 wabi-sabi

The stillness, the snow, the silence. I am no longer here but there – years past on the viewing platform at Ryoanji. On the wall sit hundreds of suzume – sparrows. Like me, they are watching the rocks in the 枯山水, karesansui. Feathers fluffed against the cold, tiny bright eyes seeing all. I watch the rocks, silent, down jacket pulled close against the cold. The air becomes sweet and before the suzume begin to flutter, I know…snow. I feel them on my face before I see the flakes and soon, they stick to the gravel, to the moss around the base of the rocks. The birds flutter off to more sheltered spaces but a few stay for the crumbs the humans leave behind.

Ryoanji and hatsuyuki. I stay until the moss is white and the suzume have all left. Straight down and fast, the snow falls. I stand and bow the long, deep bow of deepest respect. As I leave, it comes together for me – impermance, the beauty of imperfection, the deep sadness at the passing of things – the snow that melts, the birds that fly away…and the rocks that stay behind.

Snow falls. White *sho-ru.
Silence drifts to cover rocks.
Peaceful dragon sleeps.


38 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madeleine Begun Kane
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 22:42:16

    A wonderful balance between prose and verse! Lovely!


  2. claudia
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 23:38:58

    you managed the impossible – you made me long for snow… ha… in the middle of spring here… i love the silence and magic freshly fallen snow brings – the sense of peace… really beautifully done


  3. thotpurge
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 23:42:32



  4. Prajakta
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 01:15:19

    The poetry and prose has been blended so well with perfect timing!


    Jun 05, 2015 @ 03:00:00

    Especially interesting, as I was thinking all day of the phrase, “snow falling”…


  6. Suzanne
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 05:21:29

    A very beautiful haibun that captures the spirit of wabi sabi. Superbly done.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 05:29:27

    Wonderful. Your ability to give the fleeting beauty of imperfection, the sentence of only rocks that stay behind really brings this prose to the level of an allegory… really wonderful haibun. I think i need to write one soon again.


  8. X
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 08:00:51

    Nice haibun. Snow can be so magical. I love the hush of it, and yet it brings its own music as well. so far from it now, in summer here. Though our weather has been wonky. Wet and in the 50s. I would rather snow than that. The thoughts on impermenence in the last lines are solid as well.


  9. Grace
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 08:22:09

    Wow, love the haibun ~ Prose and haiku are deep with reflections of winter snow and how it quickly passes by ~ Love the impermanence theme, yet how things stay behind (like rocks) ~


  10. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 09:08:04

    Snow. Stillness. Silence. Magical. Mythical. Memorable.
    The soft ‘s’ sounds hypnotizing, slow the motion. ❤ ❤ ❤


  11. Glenn Buttkus
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 11:06:15

    I always adore your Haibun, & it has become my go-to form these days. This one is magical. Living in a mountainous area, snow always starts out lovely, then brings calamity as its companion; but as Claudia said, somehow you have found the inner beauty, the spiritual power /as peaceful dragon sleeps/–but I would submit that that dragon will awaken, & there will be hell to pay. The Haibun allows so much flexibility. I tend to open & close with haiku, have several paragraph/stanzas that are intermingled with lunes & American sentences & rhyming sonnet lines. For me, the haibun is liberating; as it certainly is for you.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 05, 2015 @ 12:04:40

      I like that while there is no form for haibun, per se, it still has functionality. It is the “free” part. As I never write anything except traditional haiku, that is where the structure comes in. Being a deep respecter of the haiku form, the culture, and the aesthetics of the culture, I will only write traditional haiku. But the haibun is a wonderful place to wander off the path and play abit. I do not always have any set way to do haibun except for inserting traditional haiku along the way. And I can tell you, except for autumn, the peaceful dragon is peaceful and the only fire it emits is the autumn foliage. We had over 48 inches of snow this past winter, unusual for this area of the South. The dragon awoke and went to Florida as he did not want to be endangered by idiot drivers. I lived in Philadelphia for several years, during which time was one of the most brutal winters in 90 years, lived in NY, and in the moutains of NC. I knew how to deal with snow and extreme weather, but I did want to flee and leave the idiots behind. I love cold weather and snow and try to ignore the bad. I go to mt happy place, Ryoanji, when I need to because I have plenty of it in my heart.


  12. MarinaSofia
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 13:07:59

    When I heard you were writing about snow, I thought you must be mad – just as we are facing soaring temperatures and getting tetchy with them… but you reminded me of all that I love about the anticipation of winter. You know how much I like your Japanese influences…


  13. Anonymous
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 13:14:32

    love the words how they drop and melt with the inner being…beautiful haibun…


  14. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 14:08:18

    Your writing is so exquisite…both the prose and the haiku. Thanks you for being here.


  15. katiemiafrederick
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 15:01:53

    i suppose.. one of the most wondrous lights about snow.. are the white
    glory ..in brightening up.. the shadows of dark winter nights.. and
    grey days Winter’s leaves.. in wake of killing cold.. but in Florida..
    not uncommon for blooms and evergreen.. year ’round..
    So perhaps.. snow does not bring
    same delight.. when green life
    lives so fervently.. all around..
    never the less.. i love snow..
    as it is my rare friend..
    of once a decade..
    or so..:)
    Different snows
    for different


  16. Linda Kruschke
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 15:47:26

    So, I really dislike snow and cold. Give me a sunny beach any day. But you made me feel as though I am missing something because of that attitude. How you saw the snow, flake by flake, and all is represents was beautiful. Peace, Linda


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 06, 2015 @ 21:30:51

      Thank you. I love the beach as well but not in full tilt summer. I’m not a heat and sun person although I love it for my garden. We all are so different, aren’t we? I think it makes for an interesting life.


  17. lynn__
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 16:01:57

    Lovely haibun, Toni! I also love the quiet beauty of snow.


  18. Vagrant Rhodia
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 20:54:51

    Beautiful infusion of imagery and the sound of words 🙂 I learned quite a bit from reading this as well


  19. kaykuala h
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 08:50:46

    Snow falls. White *sho-ru.
    Silence drifts to cover rocks.
    Peaceful dragon sleeps

    The calming effects can be so overwhelming!



  20. Vinay Leo R.
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 09:03:58

    Lovely prose and poetry blended together. Some of the prose was very nice to read, like transporting the reader to the place!


  21. hypercryptical
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 09:45:52

    Wonderful write. How calming and beautiful the first fall of snow, mystical too.
    Anna :o]


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 06, 2015 @ 21:23:48

      Yes it is. The Japanese consider the first snow of the season to actually be a mystical thing – part of the whole concept of intransience, impermanence, fleeting beauty, unusual beauty….it is always a special time for me as well.


  22. Mary
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 16:52:06

    Your haibun helps us look (all too soon- ha) at the beauty of winter through your eyes. I liked the perspective that if you step out into it you can enjoy it. Sometimes one just has to get beyond the cold to enjoy the particular beauty of the very first snowfall.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 06, 2015 @ 21:22:21

      Thank you. that is pretty much my philosophy – you have to step forward into anything different to learn about it and enjoy it. But I have always been a winter person and for the past 30 years, an insomniac….so…but I enjoy most walking about on winter and on snowy nights.


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