Seven Day Challenge 3: dVersity Haibun

Tourists in shiny puffy coats, seeking famous Saihō-ji’s Koke-dera green mosses, rush by the little bamboo ticket office. ‘Koke-dera?’ on the move shouted at the Ticket Ladies. The Ladies give back narrow eyes, gently straighten pink kimono. No bow, no eye contact, delicate fingers gesture up the steep hill. Thirty dollars entry it must be worth the walk. I’m the only one off the train who stops at this emerald gem. Tiny, exquisite Gio-ji. Eight hundred years of moss, bamboo and maples growing quietly, relentlessly. Model for my own modest garden eight thousand kilometres south. Flaming fallen maple leaves scarlet against my own green moss has been my birthday marker for fourty years. Here on this significant decade birthday pink ume snow, cherry buds and bright winter green are my compensation. Years of dreaming and saving to be here, now. Only three dollars entrance.
The Ladies keep a close eye on the white paper umbrella just inside the gate. Beneath gaudy pink struts the very first of the early spring peonies sit breathtaking in the moss. White paper, Schiaparelli pink, moss green. I stop breathing for a moment. Bashō may have stood here under my very footfalls reflecting on a broken-hearted beauty retiring from her lover’s rejection.
How reluctantly
the bee emerges from the deep
within the peony
The temple fundraising committee anticipate that such astonishing beauty laid naked must surely entice the paying customers. All winter the ladies anticipate that strident pink. Stopped at the bamboo gate, I am the bee. Camera in hand, I gaze a little too long. Stern fingers tap the price placard. Entrance price barked in a rough tone. Startled, ‘Yes’ I bark back in the same tone. I hand over the correct coins, beaming the joy of pink and green from my green occidental eyes into their dark oriental ones. Raucous laughter, teeth showing, loud, surprised into unlady-like mirth. ‘Hai’ – yes – bark back all the Ladies grinning. The emphatic, strident Japanese tone that says ‘You see the world my way.’
‘What’s this?’ laughed Father
‘Digging to China.’ Small hand waves fan.

This week I have set my self a challenge to visually interpret one Haiku each day. I’m told that setting an achievable goal is a good thing.

Today I am combining my seven day goal with a dVerse challenge. Kim’s challenge is a birthday haibun. This is my first haibun. I had to look up what it was.
The diversity of the creative responses to a single prompt always amazes me. As does the speed at which that others can create. Have a read here:

6 thoughts on “Seven Day Challenge 3: dVersity Haibun

  1. I’m so glad you made it Max! I enjoyed your haibun very much, it took me on a journey to a place I’d love to visit but probably never will. I like the way you placed your beautiful haiku within the prose, and the way you described the Ticket Ladies, very stern and proper, and the emerald gem, Gio-ji. It’s amazing that it has been growing, untouched by humans, for eight hundred years. What a placed to spend your birthday! I especially love the use of colour in ‘Flaming fallen maple leaves scarlet against my own green moss’ and ‘Beneath gaudy pink struts the very first of the early spring peonies sit breathtaking in the moss. White paper, Schiaparelli pink, moss green.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kim, for your kind comments. I do love this garden. It’s my favourite in Arashayama. Perhaps my prose was misleading; the garden has been tended since the twelfth century. Mind boggling really. I can’t take credit for the Haiku in the prose, that’s Basho. That version is my favourite translation of this particular Haiku. The more modest haiku at the end was mine. This was a great prompt. I didn’t know what a haibun was, the form really appeals to me. With practice I’d like to get more concise like some of the other inspirational writing inspired by the prompt.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s