Iteboshi: haibun

c. Mary Kling used by permission

c. Mary Kling used by permission


Every day it was his ritual.  A bit before sunset, regardless of the weather, he would sit and gaze in the direction of the ocean, looking east.  His mind travelled over the ocean until it came to the west coast of America and then would travel all the way to a certain city on the east coast.  He often wondered if she ever thought of him.  After all, he had been the one to decide to leave, to return to his home in Japan.  They had discussed moving there together but for several reasons, it would not have worked for them.  And so he wondered.  Does she ever think of me?  A mutual friend told him she had married.  “I will not wait for you forever.”  She had waited nine years – not forever but a lifetime.  She had married a good man and loved him deeply.  A deep sigh came from his chest.

It snowed last night – first snow, hatsuyuki.  A light dusting but still the weather was cold and promised more snow here in this mountainous area.  He thought of how she loved snow.  It always amazed him how she knew when snow would come or in the middle of the night, if snow would begin.  He would become aware in his sleep of her absence beside him.  He would go to the window and look out and there she would be – outside in the garden in the snow.  Holding her hands to the sky trying to catch snowflakes or dancing slowly as the flakes swirled around her.  Sometimes he would join her and like children, they would chase each other and laugh and dance.  On her black hair, in a long braid down her back, the flakes would settle and before they melted, they looked like stars in the night sky, and then the stars would blink out.  One night, he held her braid up for her to see the snow and told her it was stars caught in her hair.  He told her the name for these frozen winter stars – iteboshi.  He could tell by the look in her eyes how she loved that word and the meaning.  He closed his eyes and whispered, “Iteboshi.  Do you ever think of me in your snowy nights?”

silent as dust
snow falls – swirling frozen stars
dance in the wind.


For dVerse Poets Pub, Mary is the prompter for Haibun Monday and provided several photos she took for us to choose and follow our muse in writing our haibun.  I chose the photo above for my haibun.  It spoke to me as soon as I saw it and reminded me of a part of Hakone, Japan.  I am also linking to Poets United Poetry Pantry #281

dVerse Haibun Monday link:

59 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. seeker
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 14:44:44

    sight…. unrequited love?


  2. Donna@Living From Happiness
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 15:02:16

    What a heartfelt story…one we all may be able to feel as we wonder over a lost love….what a haunting feel and the haiku at the end is exceptional!


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 15:15:57

    The story told for the opposite perspective… it’s a wonderful tale, of separation, but also finding new paths in life. Water and first snow is a perfect place to remember it.. Now I just have to see what I can come up with.


  4. Sanaa Rizvi
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 15:26:08

    That’s one stunning haiku! The story left me in a daze as I pondered upon the effects of a love lost… Excellent write 🙂

    Lots of love,


  5. Sherry Blue Sky
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 15:31:02

    Such a beautiful love story – and yes, I am sure she thinks of him. Smiles.


  6. Bryan Ens
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 16:08:52

    You have told parts of this tale from your POV, I like the speculation you have put into setting things from his POV.


  7. Mary
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 19:26:40

    This is an emotional haibun, Toni. So sad that two who had once really loved one another were separated; but really one cannot wait forever… And nine years IS a long time. I do sense, however, that this love still impacts your life. And I am sure that they both think of one another on snowy (and other nights).


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 07, 2015 @ 12:07:56

      and I think when I pull my sword or write haiku or when the seasons change…but I am blessed with my second great love. not #2 but second in time. I dearly love my husband and he is also my best friend. Isn’t it great when that happens?


  8. thotpurge
    Dec 06, 2015 @ 20:46:01

    Beautiful haibun and what a word that is…iteboshi!!


  9. MarinaSofia
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 01:02:04

    Ah, I too wonder sometimes what that lost love remembers and if they think of me at all… Oddly enough, I was working on a similar poem (similar topic) just yesterday, but it’s not suitable for the haibun prompt, so will have to write another.
    I love the metaphor of ‘iteboshi’ – love frozen in its path, stars frozen in the sky – so much. And that whirling of the two of them in happiness, the snowflakes on her hair… lovely!


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 07, 2015 @ 12:05:29

      I think we all wonder about those past loves in our lives. I wrote this for the prompt – the picture I chose was the man sitting and looking out over the water. I almost used the picture with the umbrellas and taxis remembering one of our many trips and trying to get a taxi in the rain, having been to the theatre or trying to get to the ballet or just out sightseeing. So your haibun on a simily subject of wondering would most def meet the prompt. 😊

      Iteboshi or frozen stars have become one of my favorite kigo for haiku or subject for tanka and now it seems, for haibun.


  10. Sarah
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 04:54:22

    Beautiful. 🙂


  11. Sumana Roy
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 05:18:50

    the emotion is so pure here that it straight away goes to the heart…touching and beautiful…


  12. Laura Bloomsbury
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 06:02:24

    bet he thinks of her when the snow falls in Japan – sweetly evocative haibun – so beautiful


  13. Jae Rose
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 07:55:44

    Stars caught in her hair – so very tender and full of hope and the best kind of love and longing…


  14. 1sojournal
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 11:04:29

    Really like your haibun, so full of intimate imagery and such deep and abiding feelings. She thinks of him, I am certain,



  15. Susan
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 11:11:05

    I love this. The narrator gave his love the stars of snow, and they will–do–live forever.


  16. Myrna
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 12:56:02

    I like this gentle story. Sad but totally lacking in bitterness. Very sweet.


  17. lightwalker1
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 14:03:38

    What a poignant tale. I so enjoy reading what you write. I believe I can feel and touch this hiabun as if it were my own memory. In love and light Cheryle


  18. Victoria C. Slotto
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 15:07:08

    I sense there is a touch (if not more) of non-fiction in this…and you have created a sensitive mood of regret and longing. It makes me so aware that we all have those moments in our lives, those “what ifs.” For me, though, the crowning glory is that haiku. Wow.


  19. Victoria C. Slotto
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 15:30:38

    I like the idea of beginning with the haiku…maybe I will try another one if I can find time.


  20. Glenn Buttkus
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 15:43:40

    Gosh amighty, what a wonderful set of responses to your terrifically tender haibun; great story telling, even more so when we understand that you know the people involved. It sparkles with authentic emotion & soulful recall, just lovely & touching as it can be. A perfect haibun, both in form of course, & in its content. I appreciate your note to me on my site, but I really wanted to submit my older haibun before I found out the prompt was not open-ended. I’m writing another to one of Mary’s images.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 07, 2015 @ 15:54:13

      It is a very different, very Glenn haibun. I like it. I always like “out west” stuff. maybe I was a cowboy in another life – just another kind of samurai. I wish we could submit two poems to OLN because it gets so many submissions and more people would be able to read. Like Bjorn, I always submit early as well for some people read mine and get an example. This one was hard but I appreciate Mary using her own photos instead of one by a stranger or famous artist. I know you do your script for OLN but this haibun would be so very different from other submissions and get lots of read. I know whichever photo you chose, it will be stellar as always. And yes, I do know both of the people and the gossipy mutual friend…smiles. I usually click on your linky link first because I know I will be in for a most excellent read.


  21. Bodhirose
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 17:12:23

    I suppose it’s difficult not to have feelings of regret about a love lost but your stories have an absence of anger or bitterness when it comes to these two…which makes it even more compelling. A beautiful haiku pulled it all together.


  22. ayala zarfjian (@ayalazarfjian)
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 17:35:31

    Lost love…. Sigh


  23. Grace
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 19:03:00

    This one touched me deeply, as it full of longing and wistful regret for the long lost love ~ I love the imagery of frozen winter stars, sigh ~

    A beautiful haibun Toni ~ Thanks for the sharing it ~


  24. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 19:31:42

    I love this tender tale, so beautifully written.


  25. Gabriella
    Dec 07, 2015 @ 21:09:49

    Yes, do the people that once loved us still think of us? I also wonder if the memories are the same as the ones we have. I like the way you explored this through the image of the snow, especially as snow returns every year.


    Dec 08, 2015 @ 07:43:02

    Emotional and beautiful, specially the haiku.


  27. kaykuala h
    Dec 08, 2015 @ 08:47:42

    To have been separated for 9 years is no brainer without marriage in between. Sometimes fate plays a hand to make it happen



  28. writersdream9
    Dec 08, 2015 @ 11:24:07

    You’ve woven a gentle tale!


  29. Linda Kruschke
    Dec 08, 2015 @ 15:39:39

    Such a sad haibun, but beautiful, too. Once again you challenge my dislike of snow with the image of light flakes landing on her black braid. Peace, Linda


  30. Hannah Gosselin
    Dec 12, 2015 @ 15:46:00

    I love that you turned this into a story!! The haiku is the perfect close!


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