Haibun Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Welcome to Go Dog Go Cafe’s Inaugural Haibun Wednesday!

A bit of background…

If you’ve been around the cafe awhile, you might know that I was working through 100 Poetry Forms with the help of Robert Brewer at Writer’s Digest. But of late, I found myself struggling and not wanting to write. The forms were complicated and not at all what I wanted to be working on, so, last month, I decided to let the challenge go. This letting go is not something I do easily; instead, I tend to keep a death grip on things, doing more and more until I crash in exhaustion. The truth is, I’m still learning how to be a well-functioning human (at 51 😂), and each time we say yes to something, we say no to something else. By continuing the 100 Poetry Form challenge, I was saying no to learning and practicing the forms I enjoy.

So then…why this new Haibun Wednesday challenge? I adore writing poetry, and over the years, I’ve grown to adore the haiku and haibun (prose and haiku) AND I enjoy being a barista here at Go Dog Go Cafe, so why not combine the two pleasures? 

What exactly is a Haibun?

In his old age Basho, who may be credited with establishing the haiku form, undertook a long journey to the remote regions of northern Japan, fully expecting to die before completing it. He did complete the journey, and his record of it has become a classic of world literature and an example, in the broadest sense, of haibun, autobiographical poetic prose accompanied by haiku. – Journey to the Interior, American Versions of Haibun, Edited by Bruce Ross

Autobiographical poetic prose accompanied by haiku.

Bruce Ross

Let’s get to writing…

Each week we’ll practice this form together. I’ll provide a prompt of sorts along with a haibun to study.

Cooling off by the river at Shijo is a custom from the time of the evening moon till it passes through the dawn sky. People line up on a platform over the river to pass the night drinking, eating, and having a good time. The women’s kimono sashes are extravagant, the men’s haori jackets long in the formal style, Buddhist priests mingle with old folks, and even the blacksmith’s and bucket maker’s apprentices, their faces smiling with leisure, sing loud rowdy songs. It is a scene to be expected in Kyoto.

River breeze —
wearing pale persimmon
in evening cool  

Narrow Road to the Interior, Matsuo Basho

What I love, love about Basho’s haibun is its simplicity and its mindfulness if you will…Basho is painting us a beautiful picture of an ordinary moment and in doing so, for me at least, reminds me to stop, see, and capture my life, ordinary moment by ordinary moment in my writing.

And you’ll also notice, the poetic prose flows into a haiku. We could spend a lifetime mastering the simple haiku and will explore it more in-depth in future posts.

Now over to you…

  • Write a haibun poem that captures an ordinary moment from your day. Incorporate the color, scents, activity you witness. Share with us the beauty in the everyday. 
  • Add the link for your poem in the comments below.
  • Read one or two of other writer’s links…we all get better together. 

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life


Hey y’all, thanks for visiting the Go Dog Go Cafe and reading today’s selection. I am Donna Matthews, a born and bred Texan who can usually be found writing at the DJ Ranch, doodling, taking pictures, and traveling the world on foot. I’m all about love, people, sharing, and exploring life together, and would love to get to know you. Come on over for a visit sometime 💙

19 thoughts on “Haibun Wednesday, December 1, 2021

  1. Reblogged this on Ivor.Plumber/Poet and commented:

    Hello readers and followers, today we are presenting something new from “Go Dog Go Cafe”, which is being organised by Donna Matthews, an interesting format of writing a “Haibun”, so read all about how to write a Haibun, and you are all welcome to join us at Go Dog Go Cafe, and post your articles here on “Haibun Wednesdays” …

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Ah, Suzanne used to write really nice haibun…lovely to see Dora and others here, will write one more to be here at the start, too. That was a LOVELY excerpt. Am so glad I found this…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Haibun Wednesday, December 22, 2021 | Go Dog Go Café

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