“Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”
― Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
Hello my dear Poets and Friends. It is another prompt for Haibun Monday. Years ago I read this incredible book, In Praise of Shadows (“In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃 In’ei Raisan) by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It was written in 1933 and is a book long essay on Japanese aesthetics and culture and was translated by academic students of Japanese literature, Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker (source Wikipedia). I was moved by it and began my immersion in the Japanese Culture because of this book. I re-read it again last month and was still equally moved by it.
Here is another quote from the book: “Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
― Jun’ichirō Tanizaki,
And so today, I would like you to write a haibun about shadows: sitting in a dark room with the fireplace or candles flickering, taking a walk at night under a full moon or in the snow, the way raindrops dripping from the eaves cause shadows to form on the ceiling during the night, watching the shadows from clouds racing across a meadow, pond, mountain, street lights reflecting on a wet street, dark times in your life in which some light was shown….anything to do with shadows. I used to play with my shadow when I was a little girl. I still love watching the sun shining through leaves and causing shadows to dance on a walkway or porch. I have written many poems about the moon and stars and even snow at night. I have written numerous haibun. One of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, has a lovely scene of Olympia Dukakis standing at a window and looking up at “la bella luna” – the full moon. The moonlight playing through the lace of the curtains create an incredible image of black lace against the white of her skin or the lovers gazing up at the moon and the shadows on their faces.
image from Moonstruck public domain image
And the shadows in our homes and buildings! Do we consider them? Fear them (afraid of what may step out)? Do they make us feel serene? When we walk in the forest, do we fancy elves hiding in the shadows?
So…shadows is a pretty open theme. The only rules are:
• Must be written in Classic Japanese form with one to two tight paragraphs with a seasonal haiku to wrap it up.
• Must be true and have actually happened to you.
Write about shadows! The shadow knows…mwahahahahahahaaaa!
Here is how to play!
*Write your haibun and link it to this post.
*Add the link to Mr. Linky below this.
*Read and comment on others who have linked. It is how we grow our community and it is always interesting and useful to see how others responded to the prompt.
**Get to know your fellow poets better!
Post on your social media #dversepoets
And most of all, have fun!