Haibun for a father’s birthday

This haibun is in response to a fortuitous prompt from the Daily Inkling. Today is my dad’s birthday. The prompt is ‘I’m the King of the World.’


Today is his birthday, not was. It will always be the day he was born. He’d be an old man now, too old to remember the stories he used to tell us, the poems he wrote, the people he’d known. I’m glad he never lost any of his force, physical or intellectual. Living so far from his roots was hard enough, to dip into the sea that lapped his home shore, to feel the same bleak wind in his face. He’s there now, if only I could see him, standing legs braced against an Atlantic gale, looking down into the bay where the seals play and the gulls scream.

Wind full of voices

pours from the distant sea

salt in the wounds.

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.

40 thoughts on “Haibun for a father’s birthday”

      1. He just never found where he really wanted to be. He wanted to go back to Ireland but it had started to feel like a foreign country. I understand his feelings and I know that if he hadn’t had children he would have gone back long before we all left home.

    1. Thanks Damien. None of them ever got what they were looking for. Home was always somewhere unattainable. My generation are still moving and our children don’t feel any attachment to the place they were born. Wonder if it’s genetic?

      1. I think they do if you try, think that’s what you want. All my family have been convinced that they were only passing through. Someday they’d go ‘home’. For the generation who never knew the physical ‘home’ the longing is for the same thing, but in it’s abstract sense. I hope we get there one day, and give the attachment time to grow.

      1. I don’t know. I doubt he would ever have found the place where he was perfectly at home. I recognise the same feelings in myself. There’s the place, the people, my own state of mind, the things I’m creating for myself and the well-being of everybody else. Just finding a ‘nice’ place to live isn’t enough.

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