Haibun Monday: Komorebi

I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. I have given the Japanese word komorebi to get people started. The word means light filtered through trees, specifically in spring or summer. I am asking them to write about the season-between-the-seasons, specifically summer into fall.  A classic haiku must end the classic haibun form. A classic haiku must have these elements: a season word,a cutting word, and 5-7-5 syllable form. I am not being particular about the number of syllables but I am being picky about the season word being part of the haiku. If there is no season word, you don’t have a haiku. You have a senryu or micropoem.


copyright kanzensakura

The cicadas are loud tonight. They clack and thrum, rattle and hum. The night is slightly cool and the dew smells of fallen leaves. Soon the cicadas will burrow down into the earth to sleep over fall and winter. An owl flies overhead, hunting for prey. I hear it in the woods accompanied by a squeal – some creature has become dinner. Small yellow sunflowers peek from the hedge and the butterfly bush has put out its last bloom. The blackberries have all been eaten by birds, squirrels and chipmunks and the bushes are bare except for leaves which are slowly fading to red – here, here, and here. Only the sunflowers have color in this deepened longer night. It is that strange season between seasons – not summer and not yet fall.  The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer.

I stood in my woods today. It is my church, my temple, my cathedral. The light filtering through the leaves give it a holy, hushed atmosphere. Komorebi – the Japanese word for light filtered through leaves 木漏れ. Between the world and the word are three small shapes, the signs for ”tree,” ”escape,” and ”sun.” A beautiful word. I look up and a few of the old oaks are beginning to turn their leaves from deep green to pale yellow. They are still holding tight, refusing to fall. The dead leaves underfoot are damp from the recent rain. They have a moist earthy smell rather than the dry spicy smell of autumn. I brush some of the leaves aside to uncover a large block of velvet green moss. Soon, the little flags they grow to reproduce will turn bright red. A small snake slithers under my boot. I watch it disappear into the safe place of ancient fallen trees. The cicadas are quiet today. But soon they will begin their clack and thrum, their rattle and hum. The moon is full this cool night surrounded by a halo of clouds. Autumn is taking the long road traveling to here.

voice of cicadas –
silent now in the stand of
pine trees on the hill

tani bucho 1817

43 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ladynyo
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 08:23:36

    Lovely! So atmospheric. And Fall is coming. Yahoo!!! The turn of Nature you capture so well. This komorebi is so beautifully described.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 14:33:42

    I love the way you look for those small signs… so many things are changing at the same time. Love how you found the smell of things.


  3. Grace
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 15:08:16

    Thank you for introducing us to a new word, seasons between season ~ In our part of the world, it is still sunny by day and rainy at night ~ I look forward to seeing the changing colors of the leaves here, and finally the big piles of fallen leaves ~ Love also the sounds of the cicadas….


  4. alisonhankinson
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 15:28:19

    They are still holding tight, refusing to fall- I have missed the cicadas and the sultry warmth but welcome the signs of those trees relinquishing their leaves. XXX


  5. sarahsouthwest
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 15:30:06

    This is beautiful, so detailed. I love your haiku, so evocative of autumn evenings, so wistful.


  6. paul scribbles
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 15:54:08

    I do believe you have penned a classic here Toni. Just masterful.


  7. whippetwisdom
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 16:27:52

    A gorgeous haibun Toni, I can hear your forest, the owl, the squeel .. and feel how your woods are your temple. Komorebi is such a beautiful word and it truly captures that experience of the light filtering through the trees. I love that it is made up of ‘three small shapes, the signs for ”tree,” ”escape,” and ”sun.” ‘ xxx


  8. qbit
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 16:29:59

    Your narrative beautifully sets the scene, and a wider sense of the time to come. The Haiku brings us to this silent moment, just now, but still holding the future, ready to breath.


  9. kim881
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 16:51:22

    I wish we had cicadas! We heard them in Tuscany and I love the way you describe the sounds they make in your haibun, Toni, which is full of colours, smells and animal activity, and especially trees.. The haiku is superb!


  10. hypercryptical
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 17:25:30

    Beautiful descriptive writing Toni.
    I can understand how the woods are your cathedral. There is pure beauty in this Earth of ours – if only we would look for it, appreciate it…
    Anna :o]


  11. Beverly Crawford
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 17:29:38

    You opened with “the cicadas are loud tonight”, and near the end “the cicadas are quiet today”! In between your description is exquisite and I could almost smell the moist leaves underfoot. Beautifully written. Loved the haiku!


  12. purplepeninportland
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 19:45:42

    Your words capture every sound and sight of the season. Loved reading this, Toni!


  13. sarahrussellpoetry
    Sep 04, 2017 @ 23:43:09

    So lovely, Toni. I was there with you.


  14. lilliansthomas
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 02:08:12

    I especially like the words you used to describe the smells of the season and the words you used for the sounds of cicadas. Here in Texas they only sing during the day while crickets sing mostly at night or in dark places. Beautifully written haibun.


  15. Walter J. Wojtanik
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 08:04:41

    I love when you regale us with the Japanese culture and words, the sheer beauty of which find their way graciously to your poetry. And into ours. I so look forward to spending more time learning at your hand, Toni. Thank you!


  16. Mary (tqhousecat)
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 08:16:05

    You put me there, beautiful!


  17. nosaintaugustine
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 08:42:37

    Even had I not know you were speaking of late summer I would be able to figure it out from your details of the flowers, berries and many more, down to the smell of the leaves. Nice!


  18. lillian
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 10:52:19

    Oh how I love your haibun, Toni. Most especially today, these words “leaves which are slowly fading to red – here, here, and here” which bring me right IN to your view. Your details are always amazing.
    The leaves filtering sun….am smiling as I remember my post about the spider’s web — the weaving of empty spaces into beauty….I also included the flickering leaves creating lacey shadows on the ground…nature’s tatting….lacemaking. Fits with your prompt today 🙂


  19. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Sep 05, 2017 @ 21:58:03

    Gorgeous imagery and I agree – cathedral like!


  20. Frank Hubeny
    Sep 06, 2017 @ 10:14:57

    I like the description of autumn taking the long road and the description of the woods as a cathedral which is what it does seem like–large and sheltering.


  21. merrildsmith
    Sep 08, 2017 @ 15:51:37

    This is lovely. I love how you describe the sights and sounds of this change of seasons.


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