dVerse Haibun Monday: The Now

For Kim’s haibun prompt over at dVerse. A haibun is a real, not fictional writing of several tight paragraphs closed by a seasonal haiku.


public domain image Emily’s bedroom

The Now
I remember the first time I read the poetry of Emily Dickinson.  I pulled the book out and opened it up halfway through. ‘The soul selects her own society and then shuts the door”. I caught my breath. I read the poem again. I had seen the tattered book down in our library. It was one of the books my grandmother had picked up at a yard sale and brought home. It was tucked in between the Iliad and The Turn of the Screw.  I immediately began reading from the beginning: the short biography, the introduction, and poems arranged by category. I stood there that afternoon and read from the first page to the last. I was 12 years old and I had just discovered one of my favorite poets. The sun faded through the windows and then became dark. I came out of the library in a bit of a fog. “Where have you been?” asked my mother. I showed her the spine of the book. She smiled. I took the book up with me to my room and it was never replaced in the library. It traveled with me everywhere. It lives on my bedside table after all these years.

When I was a junior in University, I decided on a whim to drive to Amherst and visit the Emily Dickinson Museum. I paid for my ticket and wandered along behind the tour guide. I snuck away and stood at the doorway of her bedroom and looked and pondered. After an hour, the tour guide noticed me. She was a middle -aged lady and could sense I was totally entranced. She took me on a private tour. I even was allowed to go into her room and touch her desk where she often wrote. I saw the kitchen and the library and touched things that Emily had touched. I sat on the back steps and inhaled the summer day. I wandered around the yard and looked up at her bedroom window. The museum closed and I had to leave. I went back the next day and the next. I didn’t want to visit her grave site. I wanted to see her as she had lived. I still visit there about every three years. I am always fascinated and enthralled. I felt her presence everywhere, I heard her voice – in the words she wrote, in her home, in the samples of her handwriting. I felt that unique communication of souls in a select society.  “That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.” “Forever is composed of the nows.”

the garden is silent
except for the singing of birds –
I live in the now

public domain image Emily Dickinson museum

public domain image

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mish
    Jan 21, 2018 @ 20:49:56

    What a treasured memory this must be for you….and one that can live on even ” in the now “. I was captivated by your story, especially your opportunity for a private tour. Wow! The first quote is so profound, so wise. Thanks for sharing this, Toni!


  2. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jan 21, 2018 @ 21:03:36

    You lucky woman. This actually gave me the chills. I also relate to her and have her complete works in the other room and I’m off to read the poem you cite. My haibun is also of a blessed now moment that hangs with me.


  3. qbit
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 12:53:12

    That is an amazing story. How deeply wonderful in every way.


  4. Frank Hubeny
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:28:23

    I can see how that was a very memorable tour. I liked the haiku about living in the now with the silent garden and birds.


  5. kim881
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:38:52

    I was right – your haibun is perfect, Toni! You are the haibun queen, and no doubt about that! I so enjoyed reading about how you discovered one of your favourite poets. If I were to visit the Emily Dickinson museum, I would want to move in to her bedroom.You have totally conveyed how precious this experience was to you. I plan to visit the Bronte house in Yorkshire, which we couldn’t do the last time we spent some time there as we have my daughter and her dog with us.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:42:30

      They have since added a white dress she wore on a mannequin to her bedroom. I wanted to move in there as well. The Bronte house would be exceptional to visit. And you have your daughter and her dog visiting. How are the cats taking to the dog? 🙂 Thank ou for accepting my haibun. I was sneaky and read the instructions from someone who posted early.


      • kim881
        Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:45:27

        That was a quite few years ago when we took Ellen and Ruby on holiday to Yorkshire, Toni. It’s breathtaking there and York is a very old city, full of history and ghosts. Ellen has two dogs now, Ruby and her son’ and we have the cats, so she doesn’t bring them any more, Soon she’ll have the baby, too.


        • kanzensakura
          Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:46:55

          That is so exciting…a grandchild. I never had children so I am not sure about that. But I am excited you are excited. I wish her well and safe landings to the baby and to her!


          • kim881
            Jan 22, 2018 @ 16:49:10

            I can’t wait! My middle sister, the one who still talks to me, never had children but she has just retired from teaching pre-school and infants and is now free to travel around the UK and Europe, setting up her tent and exploring as she goes.


  6. Vivian Zems
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 18:33:21

    This was obviously an amazing experience. I’m glad you got to immerse yourself in her life.


  7. Beverly Crawford
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 18:36:36

    I so enjoyed the telling of your wonderful experience. Loved the haiku!


  8. rothpoetry
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 19:51:46

    What a really interesting and exciting piece. I loved your story. Did you feel her presence at her bedroom??


  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 00:18:35

    What a beautiful way to experience a poet. Almost as good as meeting her alive… I have not been good at visiting houses like that, but I have been at Hemigway’s House in Key West..


  10. Vaccinius
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 10:58:56

    Your story is beautiful. I have not read Emily Dickinson myself. I understand, though, that I ought to. It is nice to keep the great in the past in mind.

    You must work on your Google+ profile, Toni! I could not find your blog!


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 23, 2018 @ 13:49:55

      Thank you for your kind comnents. If you click on my link at Mr. Linky, it takes you directly to my blog. I do not maintain a Google profile as I am a private person. Click on Mr.Linky. It takes you directly to my blog.

      Get Outlook for Android



  11. merrildsmith
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 15:32:25

    I love everything about this–the way you devoured the book as a child to your pilgrimage to Dickinson’s house as a student–and then your lovely haiku that speaks of time and eternity.

    One of my friends lives in Amherst, and she was on the board of the historical society (also in a historic house) and worked there sometimes. The one time I visited her, we didn’t have a chance to go to either site.

    And now I’m going to remember this line: “The soul selects her own society and then shuts the door.”


  12. Singledust
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 17:42:13

    thank you for sharing your heart Toni. I felt her presence too when I started reading her in earnest. it always seems to be one Emily poem that touches a soul and then we want to do deeper into her writing and the things that inspired her to write with such clarity about the human spirit. I so enjoyed your tour of the house and I can feel the connection you have with a place where she lived and breathed. your haiku is like a little Emily snippet, live in the now sounds like something she would write.


  13. hypercryptical
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 18:13:39

    Thank you for sharing Toni and you took me there, and I too felt tingles down my spine, a wonderful chill as I imagined you there and the connection you have with such a wonderful place.
    Thank you again.
    Anna :o]


  14. Misky
    Jan 24, 2018 @ 09:25:12

    “I live in the now” … just perfect.


  15. paul scribbles
    Jan 25, 2018 @ 08:40:57

    Oh what a heartfelt Haibun. I was ‘in there’ right from the first word. Stunning Haiku. Took my breath away.


Thank you for reading! I try to reciprocate all comments. If you want me to visit a particular post, please direct me directly to that post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: