Welcome, poets! I am your host, Frank J. Tassone, and today, we write haibun, the hybrid form that combines prose and haiku. Let us explore the only time any of us truly has: the present moment.
We all have history. Many of us would say our history formed who we are. If we are honest with ourselves, some of us would say that we may look too long at our past. Likewise, we all have a future. We may hope for a better one or fear what comes next. If we are being real with ourselves, some of us would admit that we stare too long at what is to come. How often do we pay attention to what is happening right now? This is the present moment.
As I write this, budding maple trees stretch up to an overcast sky. A persistent robin repeats her song. Raindrops cling on the delicate branches of a nearby bush. My feet feel cold. Muted aches of under-medicated joints arise as a gentle rain continues to fall. The tap-tap-tap of my moving fingers on the keypad of an Acer contrast the dull sound of an electric hum. This is my present moment, right now.
The present moment eludes our urge to capture and crystalize it. It is sand slipping through out clenched figures, rushing to the past almost as soon as we are aware of it. But it is real: it is now.
Many poets have sought to express the mystery of the present moment:
Robert Browning – 1812-1889
Out of your whole life give but a moment!This poem is in the public domain.
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it,—so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present,—condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense—
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me—
Me—sure that despite of time future, time past,—
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet—
The moment eternal—just that and no more—
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!
(after Hokusai and Hiroshige)
I dreamt half my life was spent
in wonder, and never suspected.
So immersed in the moment
I forgot I was ever there.
Red-tailed hawk turning
resistance into ecstasy.
The patrolmen joking with the drunk
whose butt seemed glued to the sidewalk.
A coral quince blossom in winter,
pink as a lover’s present.
And tilting my bamboo umbrella
against the warm slant
of rain, was I not a happy peasant
crossing the great bay on a bridge that began
who knows when, and will end
who knows when.From Views from Along the Middle Way by Thomas Centolella is used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2002 by Thomas Centolella. All rights reserved.
The Sickroom Window
Another night of rain passes into a day of stiffened joints. I force myself to get up to open the window. As I do, the world, having been held back by the closed glass, pours in. I let myself lie down again. Tightness loosens into drowsiness as a trace of sweetness carried on a breeze reaches me.
gnarled peach tree –from “The Plenitude of Emptiness”
cling to the clouds
Let us now bear witness to the present moment! However you experience it, write a haibun that expresses the present moment.
New to haibun? The form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.
New to dVerse? Here is what you do:
- Write a haibun that alludes to the present moment.
- Post it on your personal site/blog.
- Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
- Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky.
- Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
- Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
- Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.