poem in progress – Burning

I thought it was probably time to post a work-in-progress.


Haibun – Burning

Winter, and I’m burning tree-stumps. This one, deep in the cattle-camp of scribbly gums, sticking out a metre, with a sharp point like the one that bled the broodmare dry.

Build the twig-pile around the base, burn the wood-witch at the stake. Bullgrass and bark-pith tucked under. The match flares like a curse, like a hole ripped open into another world. Friend and enemy, servant perpetually on the point of rebellion. Blessings laid at the foot of the mountain. I lean close, give it my own breath.

first light –
a dusting of ash
against frost


I started writing this haibun about a week ago. It’s made up of lots of different memories, but is loosely based on a particular event. I’ve been toying with the length a fair bit – the first draft was much longer, and covered a couple of days. But pared back feels better. I know the haiku is still not right – it’s verging on being a recapitulation, rather than an extension of the ideas.

As seems to be the case quite often these days, the poem was prompted by reading some new haibun by Jeffrey Harpeng. It’s a collaboration between four poets – Jeff, Patricia Prime, Diana Webb and Jeffrey Woodward – called “Quartet: a string of haibun in four voices”. Wonderful stuff. I think they’re looking to publish it as a chapbook, funding permitting.

Suggestions? Comments? (Be nice! Or at least interesting!)

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One thought on “poem in progress – Burning

  1. Agree – the haiku does not contribute as much as it could. Still a good haiku, but maybe something different is needed for this haibun?
    Like the prose a lot – more poetic in style than in some haibun.

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