Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Ligo Haibun Challenge – 6/7/13 – photo prompt

with 24 comments

This week over at the Ligo Haibun Challenge, Pirate has been standing at the helm, cracking the whip, while we crew get splinters in our knees scrubbing the decks. (Only my fantasy then?) Managua wanted us to react personally to the prompts.

[There used to be a photo of a full moon here, but it’s been taken down.]


‘The haībun format  is  as follows: 

A paragraph (more than one paragraph is fine, or just a few sentences) in prose form


  • the haiku/collection of haiku related to the text to close. The haiku should be as authentic as possible, with therefore no syllable count, no capitals or full stop, all ideally making 220 word max, all inclusive
  • each week there is a choice of two prompt words or phrases, or two visuals. Please choose one for your theme
  • wear the Ligo badge to the right with pride on your blog! And pin the Circle of Appreciation to your blog too if your haibun is one of the Honourably Mentions in Dispatches each week!



‘Tu as froid?’

‘Non. Je suis anglaise. Il fait pas froid.’

I am 15, alone. It is 10.30pm, 11, 12. The moon shines over a spent French August day.

My parents left me a week ago. I am staying with my old au pairs to improve my French. Tonight, Françoise and I have come to a friend’s birthday party in Montélimar. In company I am mostly silent. I can’t even say my own name – something to do with the way they pronounce their ‘r’s.

Late afternoon the meshoui is served – the spit-roast sheep’s stomach is split and herb-laced rice caught on platters. Guitar playing and singing follows. Françoise smiles. I am safe. I am loved.

When I am 30, Françoise tells me I taught her English. I have no memory of my three-year-old self taking her hand, pointing at ‘the fridge’ and telling her the names of its contents. I wish the 15-year-old me had learnt half as well.

Françoise has breast cancer, but recovers. She has pleurisy with complications, but recovers. Today the cancer is in her brain and bones. She is in constant pain, dosed with morphine, can’t do anything for herself.

I know where this story ends.

cold moon in a warm sky

evokes happy memories

and pain

(217 words)


Written by Sarah Ann

July 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Haibun

Tagged with , , , , , ,

24 Responses

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  1. it is a good feeling knowing a person from our childhood days…the memories shared. i like how you ended with an emotional haiku. i felt your friend’s struggle.


    July 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    • Thank you. Shared memories, and disputes about them, are good. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2013 at 10:24 am

  2. Very poignant haibun! The pain on both sides is acutely felt.


    July 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

  3. “I know where this story ends.” What a poignant line…

    Reminds me a bit of Gaff’s last line in Blade Runner: “Too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does?”

    Seriously, we all end the same way. Makes life more precious.


    July 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    • Yes, we all end up in the same place. It’s how we get there and when makes the difference.
      (As an aside, there was something on the radio this week about Bladerunner and how films are test run and changed to suit audience preference before general release. I still like the original ending as above, but apparently the director’s cut is the better one. I suppose we like what we know.)

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

      • I haven’t seen the directors cut. I would rather not mess with the film. I have so many memories tied up in it that, like you, I am sure I’d like the film I know better than the film that was intended no matter how much “better” it was.


        July 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      • By the way, the rules say:”The haiku should be as authentic as possible, with therefore no syllable count, no capitals or full stop, all ideally making 220 word max, ” What does it mean to be a haiku if there is no syllable count? I thought a haiku by definition had 5/7/5 syllable pattern. What gives?


        July 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      • On the haiku format question, I direct you to Penny’s comment below.

        Sarah Ann

        July 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      • Is it an “I know it when I see it” kind of thing? If you capture a haiku feel, then it’s basically haiku enough? I’m thinking of trying this challenge out so I want to understand.


        July 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      • I hadn’t written a haiku before I started this challenge so stuck to the 5/7/5 forumla. The feel for them has developed as I’ve read others’ haikus and haiburn. I was also sent here for more info and practise. Looking forward to reading once you join in.

        Sarah Ann

        July 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      • What’s worse is that the director is now claiming that Decker was also a replicant. I guess it doesn’t matter because, “Then again, who does?”

        Love that movie.

        Great post. Several of the lines are gripping, none more so than “I know where this story ends.”

        David Navarre

        August 3, 2013 at 2:57 am

      • Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure about Decker being a replicant either. It seems a cop-out to me.

        Sarah Ann

        August 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm

  4. Well told story. Sad. I like the way you told it, not overly sentimental, but still we feel the pain of it.


    July 11, 2013 at 12:07 am

    • Thanks, Steph. I’m not sure I can do sentimental without it deteriorating to mush. Well, there’s a challange (I probably intend to avoid.) 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

  5. a sad tale told really well. a captivating haiku in the end


    July 11, 2013 at 2:26 am

    • Thanks Nightlake. I’m happy it worked. I wasn’t sure I hadn’t gone too personal with this.

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

  6. Sarah, this is good! Very very good! A smooth flow to your Haibun with a well crafted story that holds your attention and draws you forward. And your haiku couldn’t be better! So very well done!

    Penny L Howe

    July 11, 2013 at 7:04 am

    • Thanks Penny. I fiddled with the haiku to try for a 5/7/5 but I didn’t feel it had the same impact, so went free-style this week.

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

      • 5/7/5 is an American interpretation of the classic Japanese sounds of speech, that are often in this formula when they write their haiku and yet even there, there are many “free style” as you say, with a total of 17 or less “sounds”. In other words, they also “go” with their feelings. You did it exactly right! You went with your own awareness on how your haiku should be.

        Penny L Howe

        July 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

  7. Your poignant story develops so well from beginning to end.

    Peripatetic Eric

    July 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  8. very well told…beautiful memories.. and the ending, painful to read.


    July 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    • It was painful to write (this story is happening now) so I’m pleased that the pain came across.

      Sarah Ann

      July 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

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