Haibun: No Ko Me

Today Victoria is prompting us for the Monday Haibun.  A haibun is a Japanese poetic form mixing prose and haiku.  It must be true and is usually written in the first person.  Today her prompt is:  No Ko Me—Tree Buds or something pending.  Come join us for this beautiful and seasonal prompt.

copyright kanzen sakura

No Ko Me
My ex-lover and I always marked the changing seasons as the Japanese do; but he was Japanese so there you go. As a Southern white girl, I always made note of the seasons, usually by smell: the freshly cut grass of summer, the snow scent of winter, the autumn leaves’ must, and of course, the fresh smell of tender buds of spring. Masashi taught me much more – the tens of thousands of kigo relating to the changing seasons and about mujo – change.

Around mid-February we would inspect the trees and shrubs on our property seeking out the most infinitesimal of growing buds which sprinkled the branches like individual dark red snowflakes. We knew that first spring was soon to be here. The buds would grow bigger until they would burst forth into bloom. A flower here, there, and soon second spring there would be flowers everywhere.

I would delicately touch the tree buds or gently kiss them soothing their pain. He told me the buds felt pain at growing large and then giving birth to flowers and leaves just as a woman felt pain at giving birth. In the rain I would imagine the buds weeping with pain but then the joy when the flower would unfold. I would stand beneath our cherry trees as the petals would fall to the ground – children that only lived for a day.

pain of tree buds
birthing into flowers –
petals fall – drops of blood

flowering quince copyright kanzensakura




For Paul’s Poetics. We are to write about change. Mujo is the Japanese word for change. A couple of years ago I did a haibun prompt for dVerse about Ch-ch-ch-changes, mujo. Now we have it in poetry form. Change is good! I outlined my plans for changes in my haibun Monday. Mono no aware is the term for sadness of at the passing of things.

Bare plum tree – skeleton
sleeping upright in deep snow –
shivers in wind dreams –
Plum tree awakes – buds
sprout tiny and vulnerable
awaiting spring warmth.
the first plum blossom –
sweet star shines under blue sky –
birds make their wishes –
plum tree blossoms – pink
constellations now earthbound –
heavenly river.
Pink stars laugh for a day –
rains rush overnight –
stars fade, fall onto grass.
all things grow faint – weary – die away –
wind blows the petals
across the grass –
beauty is brief –
mono no aware

copyright kanzensakura

Mujō – Change: Tanka set

Tuesday, I am privileged to be the Pubtender and Prompter for the Tuesday Poetics at d’Verse Poetics Pub.  It is getting to be (in spite of the heat!) autumn.  Subtle signs but there if you take the time to notice.  My prompt for today for our community and those who want to join us, is to, in 24 lines or fewer, write about change.  The Japanese word Mujō 無常 means “impermanence”.  It is one of the major aesthetics of the Japanese culture that all things change, nothing is permanent, and to embrace that idea.

I think this quote from Alan Watts says it all – about the culture of change, embracing it, and joining in the dance of change in our world:  “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”  Please come and visit us to read the discussion about changes, to join in, to enjoy the poems that will be linked with all the different takes on the prompt and to please, add your own if you feel inspired.  A video from my favorite group World Order is included on the post.  The slideshow illustrates changes in the lane and woods by my home – summer and autumn.  My poem is linked to d’Verse:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/09/15/poetics-ch-ch-changes

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Three Autumn Tanka
autumn knocks softly –
a long absent friend unsure
of being welcomed –
gold leaf against green back drop
summer smiling beckons in.

red carp scale clouds hang
in cool morning sky – heavy
dew pearls on thin web –
garden spider curled dead in
corner of its final web.

chill of soundless night –
faint light of crescent moon – time
has no meaning as
one gold leaf drifts down to the
edge of sleeping country road


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