Haibun for sanctuary

A haibun for the dverse flower moon and for earthweal’s sanctuary prompt.


If I was a grass snake or a wren or a pheasant with chicks to hide, if I was a roe deer with a baby in tow, a fox or badger looking for a place to dig, I would live here in these vole-rich meadows, where willows overhang the frog ditch, poplars, oaks and alders shade the stream, and the deep hedge keeps out the others.

It’s a small place for so many, a safe place, when all around is a minefield. Do they know? When I watch the pheasant walk past with her chicks, disturb the hind who leaves her baby safe in the long grass, when foxes wait in the last light to see what supper will be, and owls perch beneath the porch, I believe that they do.

deer crop midnight grass
ignore the tight-closed moon bud
in the dark sky-pool

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.

60 thoughts on “Haibun for sanctuary”

    1. Thank you, Frank. Yes, you’re right, it is besieged. I wish I could keep them all here, but then I suppose the foxes would eat the pheasants and the ducklings, and the deer would destroy the rest of the saplings…

  1. I like how you took the animals’ viewpoint here, and created a sanctuary for them. I hope it’s real. I really would like to think there is a safe place for them all.

    1. It would be a sanctuary if they stayed here all year round, then the hunters wouldn’t get them. But it’s not big enough, and over the stream and through the hedge, it’s another world.

  2. “where willows overhang the frog ditch“

    “ignore the tight-closed moon bud
    in the dark sky-pool”

    I love those sections especially.

    1. It’s the first time I’ve come across a deer ‘resting’ in the daytime. Usually they’re on the move in daylight, not staying too long in one place. She maybe had a baby that she left in the long grass. I didn’t go to look.

      1. I know deer mom’s actually walk away from their babies when there are people/predators about, so the predators will follow them and the babies will be safe.

      2. That’s what I reckoned. Funnily enough, I’d tried to get Finbar to walk along that part of the path and he wouldn’t, just stood there sniffing the air and refused to go any further. I went back on my own if he wasn’t going to walk. That’s when the deer bolted. Finbar probably thought if we started a deer, I’d expect him to chase it 🙂

    1. I live on what was once a smallholding. There are a few neighbours who live in modern houses on land carved out of farmland and surrounded by farmland. Their ‘gardens’ are the antithesis of natural yet they claim they live here to be surrounded by nature…

  3. Wonderful to see from the point of view of wildlife. As you say, if only more people could see their garden as a place not just for themselves … Love the images in your haiku.

    1. Thank you. It depresses me to see ‘gardens’ that are devoid of anything natural or of use to insects or birds. What pleasure is there is a garden where nothing lives and everything that tries has to be eradicated?

  4. Such stunning images you evoke, Jane, which are very similar to what I can see if I walk around my garden and out of the back gate, although I haven’t come across any badgers here. Happy to be human or animal in such surroundings. I love the haiku and the thought of a ‘tight-closed moon bud in the dark sky-pool’.

  5. Indeed a sanctuary, for both humans and the creatures who inhabit the land. If only it could extend itself to the rest of the world…(k)

  6. Very lovely. It is hard for critters to find a safe corner any more. How lovely that you live near so many.

  7. i suppose sanctuary to life’s eye to be a space where life is fierce and abundant. The details count here and you brushed them with care. -B

    1. Thanks. A sanctuary is a place of safety from a particular threat. It isn’t the Garden of Eden. I reckon the fox got one of the pheasant chicks last night…

  8. This landscape is seeped in such a harmonious beauty, almost held my breath reading so as not to disturb it. And the haiku images are wonderful.

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