September 18: Giving haibun another shot


March in Moscow — snow not melting yet. Everything I see that muddied shade of ash I call Communist Gray. My only solace the white marble and gold leaf of the metro stations — all that richness, so deep underground. I stand by the tracks closing my eyes as the breeze of the train sweeps my face. Where I come from, spring feels like this.

I wonder if he’ll miss me when I’m gone.

onion seeds
deep in my pocket
warm tickets


Steve Mitchell of Heed Not Steve and I made a humorous pact to write one haibun that we didn’t hate by the fall equinox. He went and jumped the gun on me though and posted his today (you should check it out, it’s pretty good). So I said, “Fine, be that way,” and took a deep breath and posted one of the ones I’ve been working on this week.

I don’t hate it. I don’t say I like it. I think Persephone probably deserves better. But I don’t hate it.

I think this will be one of a series — I’ve already written another but the haiku part is giving me some lip so I’m having to talk sternly to it. Watch this space for more installments.

(And she may not want to be associated with this effort in any way, but thanks to Roberta Beary for her excellent example and for the inspiring and informative haibun workshop she led last weekend in Mineral Point.)

8 thoughts on “September 18: Giving haibun another shot

  1. Melissa:
    I’ll let Roberta respond. I was thinking that maybe it could be expanded a little more, so that the last sentence of the prose connects a little more with what came before. Just a thought . . . But, I do like it!

    • Good feedback, Charlotte. I think that was well-spotted of you because I didn’t tack that sentence on until a couple of minutes before I posted, so it is sort of an afterthought. That will teach me to change things I’ve been working on for days right before I expose them to the public. 🙂

      I think my logic was this — the prose without that sentence seemed a little too much what Roberta might call travelogue-y, or Lee might call “So what?” 🙂 I mean it was a little picture of an episode, maybe a meditation on spring or something, but even with the resonance of the Persephone reference there was really nothing more to it. So I felt I needed to get deeper into the narrator’s mind, to add another layer of meaning, and also elaborate on the Persephone analogy … I thought about adding more to connect the two paragraphs, but at the time I think I just thought it would be too much, too well-spelled-out or something … I’m still not sure what I think. I’ll be staring at this one for a while.

      But that’s why I put things up here, to find out what other people think about them, so it’s good to know that you wanted more of a connection. I’ll be interested to hear the reactions of others.

  2. I don’t hate it!

    Actually, I like it.

    I can see the point of maybe expanding a bit to connect to the last sentence, but, I also liked the jolt from the sudden shift. Reading the last sentence while imagining her standing near the tracks, eyes closed, feeling nostalgic and seeking solace, my first thought was “OH NO! She’s going to JUMP!” (Hey, there’s more than one way to get to the underworld.)

    It does stand alone but I think it will be even better in a series.

    And, yeah, sorry for jumping the gun. I *am* that way. 🙂 I didn’t want to spend the next few days fretting and fussing over the dang thing so I set it free. Ready or not, it’s on the interwebs now.

    • JUMP? Geez. Obviously there is something very, very wrong either with your psyche or my writing. (I’m betting on the latter.) Okay, must revisit this…

      No worries on jumping the gun, I was really ready to post too. I am still going to lean on you to write more haibun in the future though. 🙂

      • 🙂 Well, there’s no defending my psyche, but I think it’s just the words “when I’m gone” which put me thinking down that path.

        I don’t know if I’d have ‘jumped’ (heh heh) to the same conclusion if the line were, “I wonder if he’ll miss me.”

        And as far as writing more haibun, I’ve already added a haibun category to my blog. That was the easy part!

        • So you’re saying that “when I’m gone” is redundant, excess, unneeded, superfluous verbiage? 🙂 Yeah, okay, I guess I have to agree with you there. 🙂

  3. Hi Melissa,
    I like it too – and I also thought that she might jump. For me it doesn’t matter so much if it is “only” a meditation on spring if it is short. And I’m looking forward to the other parts of the series!

    • Okay, that’s two votes for “This character is suicidal.” Must do major revision.

      I’m hoping the other parts of the series live up to everyone’s hopes for them … so far I am a little underwhelmed by them myself. 🙂

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