For the dverse Haibun Monday, I have worked the haiku I wrote earlier today into a piece of prose, again based on Hugh’s birth on a very snowy Easter night.


I watch the light die on this spring evening so unlike the night you were born. The wisteria hangs immobile, filling the air with such heady scent, and the birds settle into silence. Moon soars, pale against the blue, in a sky without cloud, and vine leaves open in dark green clusters. Hard to believe that on this night twenty years ago, there was no light. All was shadow, densely clustered, and snow fell thick and heavy. I put on boots to tramp to the maternity hospital arm in arm with your father, ploughing through the white and stopping to let the contractions pass. It was dark and cold and white flakes blurred our vision, and we feared for the next hours.

Wisteria hangs and I bask in the golden scent. Sun has set and the sky is dark. Roses are in bud and the pansies turn their opulent faces to anyone who will look at them. The shadows fall soft and scented now; there is no fear hiding in their depths. You are all that your birth promised, big and strong and fair, and snow has never fallen at Easter since then.

Easter birth pangs grip,

snow falls hard, a soft blanket—

from chagrin springs joy.




Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

46 thoughts on “Birth”

  1. Oh I love this… and I also remember how different the Easter can be… of course nowadays I always go North to get some real winter :-)… what a memory with that walk through the snow to the maternity ward. It makes a special memory.

  2. I too love this and the “golden scent of the wisteria”. what an incredible memory. And it hasn’t snowed on Easter since. this is truly lovely and the haiku is perfectly splendid…from chagrin springs joy.

  3. This is lovely. I can imagine the wisteria now, and the trampling through the snow then. (That must have been fun while in labor!)
    My brother (twelve years older) was born in April. My mom says there was a heat wave right before, and she was so hot and didn’t have summer maternity clothing. Then either when he was born or shortly after, it got very cold. It may have snowed then, too.

    1. There was a public transport strike and so the taxis went on strike too. And it was Easter so staff was short. And the weather was freaky. We were lucky it all turned out so well!

    1. I had four babies at the Hôtel Dieu in Paris and walked there each time. But the blizzard was a killer. And it was still blizzarding when I came out five days later.

  4. An excellent haibun, capped with a killer haiku. We sometimes get a snow storm in April here in WA state, but yes, it is freakish weather. I remember working in Palm Springs one winter, 85 degrees one day, and snow flurries the next. Imagine what the tourists thought the they deplaned that day.

  5. My eldest was also born on Easter Day, smiles ~ Love how the fear turned to joy with the easter birth ~ Your personal share and haiku are splendid Jane ~

  6. What a memory, Jane! I think we had Easter snow more often back then. I love the way you address you words to your son. I also love the circular structure of the haibun, which the haiku crowns beautifully.

    1. Thank you Kim 🙂 Birth is such a drama anyway, I don’t remember that the additional irritations like blizzard and transport strike made it much worse. I was too worried about what I was going to produce!

  7. “You are all that your birth promised, big and strong and fair, and snow has never fallen at Easter since then.” ~ love this!

  8. its amazing how we as mother’s can remember every fine detail of each child’s birth but sometimes forget their birthdays, loved your self-portrait here Jane. That was a memorable walk in the snow.

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