Haibun for the dark side

Today started off with death—hunters with a pack of hounds passing on the other side of the stream. Gunshots and laughter. Me, stomping out to shout at them to clear off, me ready to punch somebody in the face. The day hung on a thread, saved by having all the children for this last day of the holidays plus the eldest’s partner, a day of family, laughter without killing. But it’s always there, the ugly side of human nature and it makes me unutterably sad.

This haibun is for the dverse prompt about faith.


Faith is not something I possess, if faith means blind belief. Nothing is inevitable except death. Each moment is to be taken and tasted, rolled on the tongue, each element savoured as if it were the last, the only. Each smile, caress, loving word is a gift, not a right, and thunderclouds hang beneath every horizon. Springs fail, summers stillborn pass by in cold and wet, and sometimes, the winter will not loose its grasp. Nothing is forever; all is change, and I watch the new leaves uncurl hoping that all the rest will follow in the hoped-for course, anxious as a mother watching over a sickly child.


River runs green

algae, silent poison flows

in this clear wound.

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.

53 thoughts on “Haibun for the dark side”

  1. I would feel the same way, having a day of family interrupted by hunters. I enjoyed this perspective….each moment considered a gift and you describe it so passionately, the way we should embrace each one.

  2. Seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing. Faith should never be blind. Each moment is to be taken and tasted, rolled on the tongue, each element savoured as if it were the last, the only. Each smile, caress, loving word is a gift, not a right, …..true, true, true.

    1. I take it to mean an implicit belief, and I’m not sure what I believe in implicitly. I hope in lots of things, but I wouldn’t count on them. People change, even the climate changes. As for the supernatural…

  3. Oh, well done for standing up to the hunters, Jane! I agree with you about blind faith and that nothing is inevitable except death. I also agree that each smile, caress, loving word is a gift, not a right. My favourite imagery in your haibun is ‘Springs fail, summers stillborn pass by in cold and wet’, the essence of which echoes in your haiku.

    1. Thanks Kim 🙂 I hate the people who kill for fun. Even when the hunting season is over and the animals are all occupied with bringing up babies, they still find an excuse for a massacre. I won’t have any killing on my little bit of land.

      1. I hate it when it’s pheasant shooting season around here. We name the pheasant who spend most of the day in our garden and I jump every time I hear a gun in the distance. And as for fox hunting… 😦

      2. I believe almost all the pheasant we see are bred to be shot at, and they aren’t very good at fending for themselves in the wild. I’ve seen a couple this spring that survived the shoot in the autumn. How long they’ll last I don’t know. Foxes are beautiful creatures and all they eat are voles and mice. It’s nearly always stray dogs that get the chickens, during the day when they’re roaming about.

  4. The idea that life is a gift certainly strikes a chord. If only we could remember it more often. Each day is a new day, a new surprise. But we need to give it room to be what it is. (K)

    1. I would disagree. Faith is blind belief because it is exactly that—belief in something for which there is no proof and never can be. It doesn’t need doubt, it fights doubt. You can live and love without ‘faith’, because we do, loving even when we know full well that the object of love doesn’t reciprocate, deserve it, or even be particularly aware of it. Hope isn’t the same thing as faith, which is an unshakeable conviction.

  5. The hunters–I’m glad you shouted at them, even though I’m sure they’ll be back. I agree that smiles, caresses, and the beauty of nature, too, are gifts to be appreciated.

    1. Oh, they’ll be back. This was the first time we’d seen an organised hunt with a big pack of dogs. The last one, in December, we only saw a few reflector jackets among the trees. This was blatant, cars parked along the road, marshalls, and a couple of dozen dogs. I don’t care how many of them there are, I won’t have them using my bit of land as a highway to get at the wildlife.
      On a day like that, I was so pleased to have the whole bunch around me, plus the addition of the eldest’s partner. We were eight, quite enough to seem like a party without calling on outside help 🙂

      1. Ewwww–an organized hunt like that sounds even worse. I just assumed it was a couple of men in the reflector jackets. I’m glad you had your gang about you, too.

      2. They didn’t stay long. I imagine they were after foxes. The hunting season is closed, but for ‘pests’ they can get a gang of the faithful together and shoot away at any time of the year.

      3. Nearly everybody round here keeps chickens and I asked one of the neighbours who I know is a huntsman (most of them aren’t) if they went after the foxes because they ate the chickens. He laughed and said the foxes never get chickens if you have a strong hen house. So, why? His answer was simply that there were lots of them. They killed 60 last year therefore there must be plenty left. There’s no arguing with that kind of logic or that kind of attitude.

  6. I’m glad you shouted at the hunters too. It seems awful that they can come so close to your house. I agree, love and smiles build our faith in each other and our power to bring about positive change.

    1. They aren’t allowed to shoot their guns off closer than I think it’s 100 metres from a house, but they rampage about as if they own the place.
      I don’t have much faith in anything or anybody. Even counting on people who are close, I wouldn’t push it too far. And positive change, I believe comes about by changing the law and forcing it on people. Left to our own devices, we’ll turn the oceans into a cess pit and the land into one huge commercial centre in no time!

      1. Oh gosh – you seem to have a very jaundiced view of humanity. I see things differently. Although there is a great deal of desecration going on I see signs that many people are waking up and beginning to change how they live. Who knows what the future holds but, for me, holding onto hope that things will get better is essential .

      2. Some people are waking up and some people were never asleep. At an individual level, I meet some good people, but as a group, even most of the ‘good’ people I know will go with the flow. Cynical, I know, but at least I am only ever pleasantly surprised 🙂

  7. For me at Least Faith is Never
    ‘Blind’ And Never Taken For
    Granted Always
    GRAtitude NoW
    Seen Death As LiFE
    And the oppoSite oF ThaT
    Love that never wavers aLWays
    PRaCTiCinG NoW aS Gold Beyond MeASure
    Now No
    aT aLL
    FeeL aND
    SeNsE FaiTH LoVENoW..:)

    1. But faith is only ever that—trust and hope in something that either hasn’t happened or can’t be proved one way or the other. It’s what you DO have to accept without proof. Some things are high on my faith scale, like that the sun will rise and set, but even that I don’t take for granted because one day it won’t. Other things are low on the faith scale and one of the lowest is that there is a god in any shape or form. It’s more a question of probability than faith which means something different to everyone.

      1. SMiLes.. i never had what i Feel and Sense as Faith until i Mastered the Regulation of my Emotions and Integration of my Senses and Mastery of my thoughts through extensive moving meditation of 9115 Miles now in 55 months and a Song of words that is now 12 Million in 88 Months.. i am a master of self and no one else as this Faith and this Free Will as a positive experience of life i Direct and Produce and Play is a Work of Art and Science that i organically Co-create as my Nature integral with the rest of Nature in terms of Brain waves and Bio-electro-neuro-chemical-hormonal bliss and nirvana as A Kingdom of Heaven within.. SMiLes my FriEnd the Nature of God that is me and Nature too within and just three feet including my two bare feet is all i need now to achieve a work of Faith that is only a Naked Human Animal Dance like what the other Animals experience as Faith not lost in Neo Cortical Hell.. similar to Yogi but innate instinct and intuition is the core of where we Derive our Faith that is simply organic trust in Nature as the oldest Love that still Loves.. SMiLes.. at least in me.. benefits include both my SMiLes and those i generate for total strangers that are only Friends to me..:)

      2. SMiLes my FriEnd I’ve 100 Percent found what i am LooKinG for alWays now and that is the Faith of the Real organic Love Given and Shared of Love that is only DoNoW..:)

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