This week’s Basho’s Road Haibun Challenge (week 6)
A haibun is one paragraph followed by one haiku. This week we start the journey with Basho’s eighth paragraph with a haiku (my paragraph numbering changes with the translation as the number of paragraphs depends on the translations –surprised me too!). Use any bit (word, phrase, concept) as the inspiration of your own haibun (one paragraph and a haibun). To participate pingback or paste your haibun link in the comments and tag your contribution “Haibun Road.”
David Landis Barnhill translations of the haiku and eighth paragraph (Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho, “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”, p. 51) :
Black Hair Mountain was hung with haze, still white with some snow.
Sora is from the Kawai family, his given name Sogoro. His hut stood next to my eaves by the lower leaves of the basho tree, and he assisted me with firewood and water. Overjoyed at the prospect of seeing Matsushima and Kisagata with me this trip, and wanting to help me through the hardships of the road, at daybreak of departure he shaved his head, put on ink black robes, and changed the characters used for his name to those meaning “spiritual enlightenment.” And so his poem on Black Hair Mountain, the words “changing clothes” hold great power
Other versions of the same haiku. (translator in parenthesis)
Rid of my hair
I shave my head
Black hair shaved off
Haibun Challenge parameters
There is no right or wrong although there are a couple rules.
- One paragraph followed by one haiku/senryu.
- Paragraphs can be short or long (but please don’t make one paragraph book length!)
- Haiku/senryu should be 5/7/5 syllables or pretty close. 3, 5 and 7 are numbers with special meaning in Japanese culture so that’s probably how the form arose.
- To share what you’ve written, add a pingback or paste your link in the comments and tag your post “haibun road”. My blog is moderated due to spam and to avoid people’s contribution ending up in the spam folder. Your link may not show up right away but should show up within 24 hours. I will check regularly for pingbacks/comments but I have a real life too so be patient please.
Each week I do a round up of everyone’s contributions. I post this on Mondays (late Mondays, not early! so look for it in the evenings Arizona time between 11pm and midnight. I am not a morning person. ). I was going to do it on Saturdays but it turns out it’s not a good evening for me. The writing prompt is for the week, so that you’ll have a week to come up with a haibun.
I’ll write a haibun for this challenge too tomorrow. I figure why write haibun alone? It’s always more fun to share a journey with companions.I hope you will join me and look forward to your writing.
Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho
What is a haibun?
A haibun is a short prose paragraph followed by a haiku/senryu. The paragraph can be one’s thoughts, a travel journal, a diary entry, an essay or even a short story. Basho, a monk in Japan, wrote the first haibun in 1690. I liken it to impressionism: it’s something you capture in the moment through writing, fleeting as the moment changes, imperfect but authentic.
|I’m inviting you to write a short paragraph and a haiku inspired by the prompt. The inspiration may be a word, a phrase, a sentence or the whole paragraph from the prompt. One person might take “time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house” and write about an abandoned building.
Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900 (Abridged Edition) (Translations from the Asian Classics (Paperback))
Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology
|Another person may be inspired by the haiku. Another person may take the word “rambling” to describe their most recent travel. Go with whatever inspires you.
In case you are interested this is a audio reading from Basho’s “Narrow Road to the North” in Japanese by kaseumin (first audio of 5; Chapters 1 thru 9) made available through the Gutenberg Project
Matsuo Bashô: Oku no Hosomichi (Nine Translations of the Opening Paragraph), Bureau of Public Secrets
Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings (Shambhala Classics) (translator Sam Hamill)
Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho (translator David Landis Barnhill )
Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology (translator: Helen Craig McCullough)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches (translator Nobuyuki Yuasa)
Links are to the books on Amazon (I’m an affiliate but it’s also easy to find book titles there).
You can use the Amazon search bar to do any search at Amazon. I couldn’t resist. This time I plopped in “shaving head” as the search term in honor of Sora/Sogo’s transformation.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a fee if you click on the above links and buy something. This does not affect your price which remains the same. Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”