Real Toads Bits of Inspiration

This is for Real Toads Bits of Inspiration: Dragonflies. there are all kinds of stories about them, myths. Japan is no different in its stories of dragonflies, especially among the Samurai. The dragonfly helmets are known as the type of armor called kawari kabuto – exotic helmet.


My lover took the antique helmet out of the case to show me. He explained that it was one of the helmets worn by his Samurai ancestors. I reached out a tentative finger to touch it. A tingle went through me – old times, men long dead, battles fought. It was a dragonfly helmet. I asked why such a fragile thing for a battle helmet design. He laughed.

“Dragonflies are relentless hunters”, he explained. “They can fly forward, they can hover but, they can never move backwards”. I asked again, why such a fragile thing? He laughed at me. “ Have you ever seen a dragonfly hunt? The ancient lords chose such embellishments so they could be easily found on the battlefield. They often chose a motif that they felt described themselves. They are also considered to be far seeing.” I later learned that an ancient deity, while sitting on top of a mountain looked down upon Japan and named it Akitsushima, Island of the Dragonfly -because of the shape of the islands. My lover then took down his katana and said, “Come, it is time to practice.” I did a jaunty step, “Float like a butterfly, hunt like a dragonfly.” He laughed. Years later, I learned that like the dragonfly, I could never go back to that time.

ancient far seer –
the dragonfly hovers –
no going backwards

public image domain

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria C. Slotto
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 18:37:48

    I love the moral behind this…never go backwards. And it’s so easy to do.


  2. sanaarizvi
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 18:44:27

    It is an intriguing fact that dragonflies can never go backwards!❤️ Love the image of the dragonfly being a relentless hunter.. and the lesson “Float like a butterfly, hunt like a dragonfly.” Beautifully, beautifully penned!❤️


  3. coalblack
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 20:16:37

    They can’t see behind themselves, and so they wisely forget about what isn’t meant for them. Wonderful stuff, Toni.


  4. kanzensakura
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 20:35:24

    Thank you Shay. Since then, dragonflies have seemed a bit sad to me.


  5. MNL
    Nov 16, 2017 @ 20:46:05

    love the haibun with the haiku, enjoyed the story


  6. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 01:47:36

    What a fascinating blend of science, romance and history, woven into a poignant tale.


  7. Laura Bloomsbury
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 04:48:40

    such poignancy in this intense moment Toni – fragile and enduring. The dance step you made reminded me of Eliot’s words; ” Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
    I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where”


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 17, 2017 @ 07:23:41

      And ultimately, the battles were all about the dance…the sparring, the practice, the lives and deaths…Thank you for this wonderful comment, from one of my favorites of his works.


  8. Frank J. Tassone
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 06:14:48

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #5: Toni’s latest #haibun for Real Toads!


  9. ladynyo
    Nov 17, 2017 @ 07:40:02

    A lovely discourse on dragonflies, helmets and things Japanese. And we all can’t go back.


  10. purplepeninportland
    Nov 18, 2017 @ 09:57:08

    Thanks for sharing this historical aspect of the dragonfly. It is true; we can never move backwards.


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