Tag Archives: The Haibun Journal

Unknown Stories – a haibun

This is an example of a haibun, following on from yesterday’s post. The eldest (tallest) daughter is my grandmother. She isn’t holding his hand, as mentioned in the poem, but it is the last photograph. For more information see The Carus Brothers at War (Part 1), or The Carus Brothers at War (Part 2) or The Carus Brothers at War (Part 3).

It was first published in The Haibun Journal April 2022.

Unknown Stories

last photograph
in it my grandma holds
a soldier’s hand

In 1920 the Great War was over, but the grieving continued. The British Army exhumed four unidentified bodies from the major battle areas of the Great War. After four years of fighting there was no shortage of choice. There are differing stories about the secretive process, and nobody knows exactly what happened. However, we do know that on the night of 7th November 1920, a General, either blindfolded, or with his eyes closed, selected one of them.

That body became the most celebrated British soldier of the war – the Unknown Warrior. He lies in Westminster Abbey – the only tombstone in the Abbey where nobody is allowed to walk. He is buried with a Crusader’s sword, a gift from the King, in a coffin made from an oak tree that once grew at Hampton Court. The Americans gave him the Medal of Honor and, in 2020, his hundredth anniversary, the Poet Laureate wrote a poem for him.

The remaining three were reburied by the roadside under cover of darkness. They were eventually found by a Grave Registration Unit and moved to a cemetery, as were thousands of other wayside graves. For them, there was no grand ceremony, just a stone marked, like thousands of others, “Known unto God”.

a poppy cross
each year her eyes filled up
two minutes pass

Day 2

I think I may have hit on anew labour-saving idea for titling my posts. It saves a lot of thinking, though it probably won’t seem such a brilliant solution by the time we get to the far ed of January.

I have now also reached Number 2 in my reading target, having just completed Death of Yesterday ,a  Hamish Macbeth mystery by M. C. Beaton. It was formulaic, dull, and badly produced – the blurb on the jacket was so inaccurate that it could have belonged to another book. I’ve actually read it before, but didn’t realise after reading the summary.. I did say, a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t be reading more of these, as the editing was so bad. What I didn’t tell you was that I’d actually read it the week we were away, just before lockdown, and I actually threw it away in the hotel bin. So badly edited.  I may be being unfair on M. C. Beaton, and am still quite fond of Agatha Raisin, but the books did go off at the end.

I’ve also finished The Haibun Journal (Issue 3.2). It has 61 pages of haibun, so it’s as long as some poetry books and I’m claiming it as an allowable book. I’m in it, so this is a biaised view.

I started both of them on 31st December, but I’m counting them fo this year. At the end of the year I won’t count anything that I haven’t finished. Just a word of warning – don’t look for any good books in my list, I tend to gravitate to murder mysteries and a variety of oddments. You will see what I mean as time goes on.

At the moment I am reading The Siege of Mr Khan’s Curry Shop by charliecountryboy. It’s a bit more heavyweight than my average reading and is going slowly. It is my downstairs book that I keep by my chair and dip into in a reflective manner, so it could take some time. So far I’m enjoying it, though nobody has been murdered and Scotland Yard  hasn’t been called in. each to his own . . .

(The  link to the book is the Kindle edition – I have the paperback, but can’t find the link on Amazon).

2,501

If I’d realised I’d have written this post yesterday, and titled it “2,500”, which would have been neater. Like so much of my life it was a missed opportunity.

We had Cauliflower and Leek Soup tonight. It was not my finest soup, but not my worst either.

It featured all the white bits that were fit to eat (and a few greyish bits if I’m honest) and a couple of failing leeks. It was a definite rescue soup, using bits that had slipped through stock control. Roast the veg, boil it up with a stock cube. Reduce it to a velvety consistency by skilful application of a hand blender, add pepper, allspice and lime juice and it’s done. Allspice and lime juice, I hear you cry . . . The truth is that I wanted nutmeg or cumin and lemon juice, but sometimes you just don’t have the right stuff to hand.

Tomorrow I am going to use the last of the Stilton to make Cauliflower and Stilton soup. I may add kale too. It’s good for you. Later in the week I will produce a green soup using cauliflower leaves and the massive stalk that came with this week’s shopping. If I’d been packing my own shopping I would never have selected one with such a big stem.

Apart from that, I got  my copies of the Haibun Journal today, after lengthy postal delays. Yes, I have one in there, that why I’m mentioning it. IT’s nice to be seen in good company and I always feel better for seeing myself rub shoulders with some of the big names in haibun writing. It’s not on-line so I can’t add  a link. I also have a haiku in Wales Haiku Journal, which is good, but I always feel three lines isn’t as good as a haibun, despite being harder. It is online but I am about 104 poems down, so it’s a bit of a slog.

So, 2,501 posts written, cauliflower soup made and two more pieces published. What more could a man want? Apart from cake, but I’m not allowed cake . . .

I’m fairly sure that’s nettle soup in the picture, but it was the first soup picture I came to.

Volunteer’s Medal 1992 Barcelona Olympics

The final picture is a medal I put on eBay today – as far as I can tell it’s a medal for the volunteers who helped at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. It’s quite big, as you can see and weighs in at 217g (or near enough 7 ounces for those of you who still work the old way. It’s quite impressive. The design is a stylised athlete vaulting the Olympic logo.

Where does the time go? (Part 2)

Where indeed?

After making avocadoes for lunch (mashed with poached eggs for Julia, with prawns and pink sauce for me (it got too complicated last time I went into detail1) I settled down to a few quizzes, some conversation and, almost inevitably, a nap. Well, the quizzes are meant to sharpen me up and the conversation is meant to be something married people do, like discussing the husband’s shortcomings and planning to buy new cushions. Life can’t all be about being happy and doing what you want.

I then, having finally managed to find out how to switch the sound on, attended a haibun reading hosted by the Haibun Journal as part of Irish Poetry Week. I think this link should get you there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0r0XxIUnPE&t=3s

That took a while, and was quite enjoyable, though I do get twitchy just sitting there listening. haibun that are quite short on the page seem to take forever when read. Then I spent twenty minutes looking for a notebook from last week – it had some haiku in it that I needed and I’ve ben looking for three days. Anyway, i found them and they are now typed up.

I had a look at Failed Haiku as I’d sent them a submission late last month. It went on the last day of submissions and and I’ve heard nothing back. This unusual, but it seems they have had some internet problems. I’d like to know whether it was late, not good enough or just disappeared, but at the back of my mind is the idea that they do an issue every month and the fewer emails they get from whining writers the better.

Fish finger sandwiches for tea, with potato wedges and tartare sauce for me, with wedges and ratatouille for Julia. Sometimes there is a point beyond which I cannot go and I am feeling all vegged up…

A little more TV, including The Coroner, which I quite like, though it isn’t, I admit, the most complex of shows.

Ah well, I’d better get back to poetry, I need an early night because it’s work tomorrow again.

Some Haibun News

I’m using the header picture of the stones to warn you I’m going to be talking poetry, so continue with care if you are not the poetic type.

I submitted a couple of haibun to a magazine in the early hours of this morning, and just nine hours later I had the rejection. It was hardly a surprise. When I saw the answer was back so soon I realised it wasn’t going to be good news. Editors don’t generally rush to acceptance, they like to take their time. A case in point is a piece I currently have out – it took eight weeks to get a reply, which asked me to make alterations. I made the alterations and I’ve now been waiting nearly a month for a decision. Sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical.

Would I rather have an acceptance taking 12 weeks or a rejection taking just nine hours? It’s a tricky question. I don’t really like waiting 12 weeks, but I’m not keen on being rejected either. (I have to add that I’ve waited a lot longer than 12 weeks in the past, so it’s not a terrible length of time. However, haibun magazines in the 21st century seem to be able to get answers out a lot quicker these days).

I’m working on the netbook at the moment whilst watching Judge Dredd (the Stallone version, which I always enjoy) so I can’t access my list of submissions – I’ll report on the numbers later, but I’m in a bit of a slump at the moment.

It is therefore pleasant to tell you that The Haibun Journal is out. It’s a print publication from Ireland and much more relaxing to read than a web page. Of course, with postage costing a small fortune from the Republic of Ireland, it’s a lot more expensive than a web page, but you can’t have everything. I’m on page 59. Unfortunately I can’t provide a link, and it’s not really etiquette to reproduce haibun so soon after publication, so you’ll have to wait a bit.

I am in the magazine with three people who, in their editorial capacities, have recently rejected work from me. I can’t help feeling that there’s an element of irony in this.

And with that thought, I’m off. I clearly have to do more reading in my quest for the perfect haibun.

Update: This currently leaves me with 4 acceptances, six rejections and two still waiting – not as good as it was, but it could be a lot worse. Last year was five from eight and the year before that was about four from eight, but I didn’t keep a proper record.