Haibun: sound of crickets

An extreme erased haibun for the dverse ‘cricket’ challenge.

Dusk. The moon and Mars above the trees and the pale silhouettes of hunting owls calling, soft and quavering. White scuts sharp in the lowering light as rabbits flit on silent paws, and the air thrills with summer warmth caught in the crickets’ throb.

How loud the silence

this summer night calls

to the pale stars





and owls flit

caught in the silence;

summer calls

to the stars.

Birds at nightfall

Another erased haibun for dverse. I should really be doing something else…


Birds at nightfall beneath the rain wait patiently for the morning and the hope of sun. If not sun, the feast of snails and worms will do. Birds at nightfall have no quarrel with neighbours on the same branch or the next tree down. They sleep, head beneath the wing and fledglings snuggled close. Birds at nightfall keep a wary eye half-open for the roving owl and the opportunist fox and stoat. They watch with calm the stars that peep through rents in the raincloud. Birds at nightfall have no thought for falling shells, burning homes or screaming children—nor do the owl, the fox, the stoat. Strange, when they are so far below us in the league table of worthy species.


Raindrop trembles

on the petal’s edge

sparrow waits to drink.



Wait for morning hope

no quarrel,

sleep beneath the wing.

Watch the stars

the raindrop

on the petal’s edge.

Easy tears

For dverse, an erased haibun, based on the idea of compassion and self-sacrifice.


Why is kindness so hard and indifference so easy? We watch with cold eyes the pain of the world and shrug, retreating behind our holy texts that let us sleep easy despite the tears. From the window I watch the nestlings, cossetted once-eggs—none goes hungry while a parent lives.

Nest and lair

the haven of wild things

beneath the spring sky.


Hard and cold eyes

of the world

shrug easy tears

the hungry live wild

beneath the sky.

Wild wind

For the dverse prompt, a wild poem. I couldn’t resist erasing it.


A chick hatching in a nest,

prey to the winds and prowling padding paws,

I wish I was,

and then, the prowling paws pad,

yellow slitted eyes pierce flimsy leaf cover,

and I wish the safety of the crowd.

Dark and blue is the night,

scented with tree juice,

crying with owl and singing nightingales.

Do I dare?

Do I let go the lifeline

and leap into threshing waves

and the gale that bends the poplars?

Chick grows,

perhaps an eagle

soaring carefree on the updraft,



winds prowl the dark night,

singing the threshing waves


Erased haibun: Walking

For the dverse prompt, an erased haibun.

spring clouds

Beneath these skies, these trees, what is there to do but walk and look and listen? Sky stretches where cloud floats; stream runs mirroring dancing leaves and all about, in the tremulous motion of the leaves is the rhythm of song and the unself-conscious calling of the birds.

Leaves catch the new sun

golden green

the oriole pipes unseen.


skies listen

mirroring dancing leaves

the song

of the golden oriole

Haibun: Erased = happiness


The song goes on, night and day while flowers grow and seed. Sun rises, sets, and the moon swells and scatters stars. There were swallows in the sky, but will they stay? Nothing is attainable, fixable in the hand or in the heart. All is drift and chance except what is preordained in sap and cell. I drift, open my hand to the air and try to catch the sundrops falling on elm leaves. Nothing sticks, the music winds on and on even when the stream runs too low to speak. Standing beneath this wide sky full of leaves and wind, or hiding behind a wall of tired stone, I grasp the trailing silver gossamer of good news, a chance, a sundrop falling into the open palm of my hand.



the white flower

opening with the sun.


Song flowers grow

moon swallows stay

I catch sundrops

grasp gossamer

happiness opening.


I have been playing with this idea of ‘distilling’ a poem or a text by picking out and keeping only a few of the words. It doesn’t give something completely different, but it gives two poems for the price of one.

All my life I have longed to hear a nightingale and thought I never would. They have become very rare now in England and given the amount of pesticides the farmers threw around when I was growing up, I didn’t get to see a very varied birdlife despite living in a semi-rural environment.

For the last couple of weeks, we have been kept awake by birds singing all night. At three this morning, I gave up, opened the window, opened you tube to find the song of the nightingale, and to my great joy, the offenders were nightingales. All round the house, in the trees, the copse by the stream and in the hedge. It’s lunchtime now and they are still singing, louder than anything else. A dream come true.

All night the nightingales sang, cascades of tumbling trills and rippling runs of sound. All night as moon dipped slow and sickle sunk among the stars, I listened. And still they sing—tiny handfuls of feathers, heart and throat, yet such power. Did ever mortal musician play with such passion?


Night of moon and stars

spring soft and dark with song

heavenly woodwind.


And the erased/distilled version


Night trills,

moon, sickle-sunk with passion,

dark with song—