Archives for posts with tag: haibun

chakraborty licensed

Framed by a Rainbow
by Ken Gierke

A thundering roar overwhelms the senses, and a refreshing mist on my face and arms brings relief from the heat of an August day. Niagara Falls is a wonder to behold, from the rapids leading to the edge, each crashing wave a character holding the briefest of poses for my camera, to the American Falls, that edge that tempts so many to know its height in their final moments, to the grand Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, best experienced from the Maid of the Mist as it pauses mid-river, drenching its passengers in a deluge of exhilaration that has no equal.

An afternoon could easily be spent here. The Observation Tower, like a bridge that seems to extend partway across the river, offers a view that includes the American Falls at its side and the Horseshoe Falls a half-mile upstream, taking its shape from a ninety-degree bend in the river. A walk across a bridge over the rapids takes me to Goat Island, which separates those two great falls, to the delight of Bridal Veil Falls at its near edge, separated from the American Falls by Luna Island, and then to a view of the horseshoe from Terrapin Point at its farthest edge.

Any visit, whether on a sunny or a gray day, could result in hundreds of photos. This beautiful day under blue skies is no exception, and the tourists recognize that. Some locals will avoid the Falls when those tourists number in the thousands, but I enjoy seeing the excitement on their faces. Some days, I take more photos of people taking photos of people. Niagara Falls offers so many reasons to return, again and again.

seagull on the wing
poised above the mighty falls
framed by a rainbow

PHOTO: Niagara Falls at sunset by Saptashaw Chakraborty, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls that span the border between the province of Ontario, Canada, and the state of New York.

Framed by a Rainbow

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Before moving from Western New York to Missouri in 2012, I never tired of going to Niagara Falls, sometimes visiting several times a month to take photos. The Falls are beautiful from both sides of the border, and I always plan a visit there when I travel that way.  Hopefully, COVID-19 will be just a memory and the border will reopen before my next visit.

PHOTO:  Rainbow and gulls at the American Falls by Ken Gierke.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Gierke started writing poetry in his forties, but found new focus when he retired. It also gave him new perspectives, which come out in his poetry, primarily in free verse and haiku. He has been published at Vita Brevis, Tuck Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, Eunoia Review, and his poem “Unwound” is featured in Pain & Renewal: A Poetry Anthology from Vita Brevis Press. His work can be found at his blog, where this poem first appeared.

PHOTO: The author and his wife during a recent visit to Niagara Falls, New York.

by Vince Gotera

The famed seven hills of San Francisco are actually myriad: hills and steep slopes everywhere in the seven-mile by seven-mile square of the city. Sidewalks that are stairways. Trees and houses clinging to ground that cant seemingly at 45°, climbing upward to starry skies. Small ethnic neighborhoods sprinkled around—Russian, Italian, Chinatown, the Black community of Fillmore Street, the Hispanic Mission District, Gay Castro—and the Haight Ashbury, the diverse, integrated neighborhood where I grew up before the hippies came. Downtown, in the Financial District, when I was a teenager, they built a new peak: the Transamerica Pyramid, tallest building in the city, vaulting up to the sky like the seven hills, a new eighth wonder to rival the world-famous towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. What a marvel, what a miracle, the city was in my childhood. Don’t call it Frisco. Native-born San Franciscans just say, The City. Living now thousands of miles away in snow country, I miss my hometown. Such deep richness and largeness of culture and utter beauty. San Francisco.

steep hills, The City—
pyramid skyscraper glows
in my child mind’s eye

PHOTO: Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco, California, by Caleb George on Unsplash.  Designed by architect William Pereira, the 48-story building stands at 853 feet. When completed in 1972, it was the eighth-tallest building in the world.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Not really a traveling poem, but rather an “at-home” poem about San Francisco and especially the landmark Transamerica Pyramid.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vince Gotera is a Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He was also Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in the journals Abyss & Apex, Altered Reality Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Dreams & Nightmares, Ekphrastic Review, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, Stone Canoe, and the anthologies Multiverse (UK) and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.


(a haibun)
by Shloka Shankar

We must use what we have to invent what we desire. — Adrienne Rich

Our house has often been mistaken for a garage at first glance. With its Prussian blue double doors and brass knocker, it takes a few minutes to register it as a “residence.” We don’t have a compound or a gate; maybe that’s why. My parents and I have been living in our house for over 25 years now. I’ve held the door open to new friendships, old acquaintances, and (proverbial) opportunities. We have seen our doors close behind family members who no longer visit and severed ties for reasons we mutually deemed fit. It’s good to declutter every once in a while.

It has been three weeks now since our door has remained closed for the most part. As the world fights a war against an invisible, deadly virus, we have been given strict orders to “stay home, stay safe,” a mantra to save lives if practised dutifully.

My friends and fellow writers in the poetry community feel they have, like me, been preparing for something similar to self-isolation their whole life. I have always had a strong sense of dislike for groups or crowds of any sort and have been known to inhabit a small, precarious bubble. A bubble that has to constantly be protected against incisive words, the jagged edges of others’ actions, and the brunt of making the wrong choices.

I have burst my own bubble and recreated it several times. Perhaps the world needs a break from us at this moment—to put us all in bubbles and heal before we breakout again.

the play’s the thing unravelling our stories

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This haibun came to me in bits and pieces and evolved as I started writing it. Taking my cue from Hamlet in the monostich/one-line haiku, I feel like we are being forced to spend time with our conscience and truly introspect our actions that have caused the entire world to come to a deathly standstill. Are we the spectators of our own downfall? We are running out of excuses and time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shloka Shankar is a writer and visual artist from Bangalore, India. She enjoys experimenting with Japanese short-forms and myriad found poetry techniques alike. A Best of the Net Nominee and award-winning haiku poet, her poems and artwork have appeared in over 200 online and print venues of repute. Recent publication credits include Acorn, talking about strawberries all of the time, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Bones: journal for the short poem, and Failed Haiku among others. Shloka is the founding editor of the literary & arts journal Sonic Boom, its imprint Yavanika Press, and Senior Editor at Human/Kind Journal. Visit her on Instagram @shloks23.

Russell - front door
Front Door Denizens
by Sarah Russell

The door itself is nondescript, a faded forest green, like others in the complex. Yesterday I hung our cherry blossom wreath on its hook, dancing pink blossoms against the dark panel. The remnants of our finches’ old nest⸺intricate grass lace and a bit of mud for glue⸺hide in the silk flowers. The finches come back every spring, and this morning, there they were, flitting from porch to maple tree, warbling a love song, as if they’d been waiting for their wreath, our door. While they’re in residence, we’ll put a note on the post asking folks to come round to the back.

old nest with new life
open mouths searching, peeping
daffodils in bloom

Russell, finch nest

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Haibun form seemed perfect for telling about the finch family who leases our front door and wreath every year. The above photo is of their eggs last spring.

Russell copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell’s poetry and fiction have been published in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, Silver Birch Press, Rusty Truck, Third Wednesday, and other journals and anthologies. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her first poetry collection, I lost summer somewhere, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Books. A second collection, Today and Other Seasons, will be published by Kelsay this summer. She blogs at

buffalo plaid
by Roberta Beary

the funeral was months ago and i want the big buffalo plaid jacket which i
gone from its usual place on a back hook in the dark of the front hall
maybe it went to the maintenance man for his help with the boxes or
maybe one of my brothers took it and then conveniently forgot to tell me
but the more i think about it the more i realize that never again will i feel
its scratchy red and black wool as i inhale the sweet pipe smell of him
since like much of my life i have left it too late

                                        parade over
                                                   one last twirl
                                                          of her baton

SOURCE: First published in Modern Haiku 38:3 Autumn 2007.

IMAGE: Buffalo plaid fabric.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Beary is the haibun editor for Modern Haiku. In 2017 The Haiku Foundation named her its first Roving Ambassador. Currently in Europe, she is circumnavigating the globe with her husband to spread the haiku word.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken after my father’s death during one of my many visits to care for my mom (and to look for my father’s jacket, so it could care for me).

hood river
Wiping Up for Moving Out
by Tricia Knoll

I wipe cabinet shelves with a damp rag, mop up bits of faded rosemary and dry parsley. Hand you the scallop shell nightlight. Find a forgotten Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew in a mildewed leather holster — that would be his, the man before you. A flat refrigerator magnet says Wisconsin, a tenant’s. Stuff the seashore bird books in a cardboard stereo box. Sniff the olive oil, how old is gone? Save the rusted pruning shears. Wonder if the new owners will regulate the pink climbing rose or let its thorns grab their sweaters. I hope they like blue. The robin-egg blue garage, new Yale blue carpeting. A rivulet of groundwater from the sump pump flows down the gutter toward the corner of Carmel and Beeswax.

You cushion in bubble wrap the print of the mother whale lifting up her baby. I swaddle the Japanese woodblock of a stand-up wave curling under a peach sunset inside a gray towel. We toss the surge protector into a Hood River apple box beside the stack of plastic blue and white Chinese restaurant plates and bowls my daughter wants. Pack the car. Separate out five keys for the realtors. Call our dog who detests car rides.

I think the tide is ebbing. My back is to the window; I do not turn to check. We’re heading up, around the mountain.

     the monarch kite
     dips in sultry winds
     reeling in

SOURCE: Previously published in the author’s collection Ocean’s Laughter, with first publication in Contemporary Haibun Online.


Tricia Knoll
owned a vacation rental in Manzanita, Oregon, on the northern Oregon coast for 25 years, selling the house in 2014. Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press, 2016) collects lyric and eco-poetry about those years. Visit the author at

AUTHOR PHOTO: Collecting firewood in Manzanita, Oregon.