Haiku challenge: Charm & Harm

For Ronovan’s challenge. Not a haiku but a haibun. Not wanting to bore anyone with yet another haibun about spring (this is already the second in two days) I’m posting this one to the dverse prompt too.


The time has come for cutting, for taking knife and secateurs and chopping burgeoning vines sewn with buds bursting. Do they feel pain in this dismembering, or loss? Is it to heal the hurt that afterwards they shoot in such profusion from the wound? Grape vine and rose lay their last year’s vigour in the grass, shorn but not wasted. I cut again, trim, plant, and come spring, the force that drives the leaf will drive the root, and from one vine will grow a vineyard, one rose tree a hedge.

sun rides the sky

brigid’s fiery chariot

breaking winter’s spell


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.

44 thoughts on “Haiku challenge: Charm & Harm”

  1. I like the fiery chariot! I think Brigid does a better job than Apollo. Plus, as is expressed, Brigid brings the spring!

    I hadn’t considered profusion meaning healing from wounding. Do plans bear scars as well? I guess trees do.

    1. Plants always produce a number of shoots from the cut, that’s why we do it, I suppose. Why they do it is another matter, for a biologist.
      Brigid was a great character, so much better as a person, more admirable than Apollo. Are any of the Greek gods admirable?

      1. No, they’re not. First thing, they destroy their parents (Titans). Then they screw with humans in every way. They’re vain and greedy and war among themselves. It’s good we stopped believing in the ones on Mount Olympus.

        Brigid is much better. Powerful and (in the best way) noble.

      2. I’m glad you dislike them too. I’ve never seen anything admirable in either the gods or the heroes, all nasty, manipulative, jealous overbearingly patriarchal as far as I can see. The celtic notions of specialness were rather different.

      1. I meant re-using the same haibun. I’d written and posted this one for another prompt earlier in the day. I thought it looked a bit mean not writing a new one for dverse, but that would make three haibun on the same theme in two days.

  2. The title is apt, Jane, and I love how you expand it in your haiku. I believe plants do feel pain, but that may be the point of their profusion – like childbirth, it helps them forget the pain. I enjoyed the heat of the haiku!

      1. I guess they must! It’s always weird to me when it’s warm, but the daylight isn’t right. My husband didn’t understand that, but the cats probably do. 🙂

  3. A visceral characterization of pruning! I’m reminded of three very tall and scraggly rose bushes we pass on our walk up to the main street in our San Diego neighborhood here, to catch the bus. Most others have been trimmed way back, but somehow three (one red, one white, and one peach/orange/yellow) were left to get very tall and they are sprouting flowers out of season here. The flowers are somewhat “scrunched” and you can tell the bushes seem a bit confused 🙂 We met the woman of the house a few days ago and she said she just doesn’t have the heart to do the pruning now that there are flowers there…even if they are rather sparse and sad looking. So there you go….she has a visceral sense of that job as well!
    Enjoyed your write!

    1. Thanks Lillian. I understand how that lady feels, and she ought to be right, that you shouldn’t prune plants that are already in flower, but this year the roses haven’t stopped blooming and now that the weather has got so springlike, all the masses if buds will certainly flower. It’s going to take nerve to prune them, but I shall plant all the pieces I cut out so the roses won’t feel so bad about it.

  4. I always wonder, too, if they feel the pain of being cut. Yikes. Yet we must tidy up and prepare for another season of growth.

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