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Welcome, poets! I am Frank Tassone, your host for today’s Haibun Monday! Today, we blend prose and haiku together to craft that famous Japanese poetic form. And today, our inspiration is the first solstice of the year!

Summer Solstice? Or Winter Solstice?

You decide. Because that depends on which side of the equator you live.

solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countries, the seasons of the year are determined by reference to the solstices and the equinoxes.

The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the day when this occurs. The day of a solstice in either hemisphere has either the most sunlight of the year (summer solstice) or the least sunlight of the year (winter solstice) for any place other than the Equator. Alternative terms, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context, are “June solstice” and “December solstice“, referring to the months in which they take place every year.[3]

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”), because at the solstices, the Sun’s declination appears to “stand still”; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.

Today, on the Solstice, Summer (or Winter) officially beings. Consider how these poets celebrate:

Summer Stars

Bend low again, night of summer stars.

So near you are, sky of summer stars,

So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,

Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,

So near you are, summer stars,

So near, strumming, strumming,

                So lazy and hum-strumming.

Carl Sandburg – 1878-1967

From Smoke and Steel (Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920). This poem is in the public domain. Courtesy of the Academy of American Poets


Winter solstice 2020

13/12/2020 dream haiku
small hours of Sunday morning

family’s little strength
for mourning


still growing
on old apple tree—


the peanut feeder
disappears —
flap of crows wings


scuffed oak leaves
muddy track
futile acorn hunt

above Amroth

soggy cornflakes
skeletal oak leaves
sprouting acorn

Helen May Williams 

courtesy of Ink, Sweat & Tears

Summer Solstice Sale

My wife goes to the bathroom and leaves me standing in the checkout line with three pairs of panties hanging off miniature hangers. I try to strike up a conversation with the woman behind me. “Long line, no?” I comment. She mumbles something. I smile and decide I’ll talk to the man in front of me. That’s a mistake. The man won’t shut up. The line is a death march to the cashier. I learn about some battle in South Korea, the names of all his grandchildren, a bout of prostate cancer, and a cruise to Alaska he’s hoping to take before he dies. His wife was a saint, but she died young, as saints often do. My wife shows up and says hello to him. That’s a mistake.

small talk the cost of a bargain

Bob Lucky

Courtesy of Contemporary Haibun Online

Gracing a beach? Building a snowman? Either way, celebrate the day with an original haibun that alludes to the Solstice, whether Summer or Winter.

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 Solstice.
  • 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.
  • Have fun!