Sarah Ann Hall

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

Ligo Haibun – 30/8/13 – Illusion of Ecstasy

with 16 comments

Yes, I know those were the prompts for last week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge, but I couldn’t come up with anything as my creativity took a holiday. They work well with this week’s photo prompt, even if the link between it and my story is a bit tangential.




Illusion of ecstasy

Her curls hang like string, sweat beaded at the hairline. Feet bare, she stands in a bloodied white shift, her skin as pale as her clothing. She shouldn’t be standing at all. She should be resting, suckling her babe, but it is gone.

After all the black and white heads that bobbed up and down while she screamed there is no one about now. Some, the young ones, whispered encouragement. The older ones, faces set grim, hands rough, admonished her for her sins.

All that activity, all that noise, a baby’s wail, then nothing. The grey corridor is silent. She is exhausted, cold, and alone.


unplanned pregnancy

illusion of ecstasy

leaves women confined

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Written by Sarah Ann

September 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm

16 Responses

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  1. This is gritty, to the point and elegant too. I feel loss, just from the haiku. Well done.


    September 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    • Thank you for the comment. It’s heartening to know the loss came across. I worried the piece might be too sparse.

      Sarah Ann

      September 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

  2. the silence of a heart breaking to pieces. i feel this pain.


    September 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

    • I shouldn’t say I’m happy about you feeling the pain but as it indicates the piece works, I’m pleased.

      Sarah Ann

      September 4, 2013 at 11:29 am

  3. Wow, raw, sad – and that haiku that tells us what it’s all about – very moving. That last line is perfect – leaves women confined.


    September 3, 2013 at 2:08 am

    • Thank you for the great comment. It’s good to know it moved you.

      Sarah Ann

      September 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm

  4. a moving combination of three prompts – this photo and the topics, illusion and ecstacy. The narrative is touching, but the haiku pins it. lovely


    September 3, 2013 at 4:03 am

    • Thank you Nightlake. I’m glad you appreciated the weaving together of the prompts. And thanks too for the complimentary comment on the haiku.

      Sarah Ann

      September 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  5. A exceptional haiku that quaifies the haibun. Excellent writing.


    September 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    • Thank you. I think of all my LH pieces the haibun and haiku work together best in this one. At least I’m not sure one would work without the other.

      Sarah Ann

      September 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm

  6. powerfully emotional and raw. Finely written!


    September 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  7. Very powerful. The haiku complements the prose beautifully.

    Peripatetic Eric

    September 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    • Thanks. I’ve tried to get the prose and haiku to mirror each other in the past. This completion/ explanation by the haiku seemed to be the best way to go to stop the prose becoming too convoluted.

      Sarah Ann

      September 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

  8. Thank you for your visit to ‘Ramrod’ – while one would like to think this type of pregnancy is a thing of the past – there are all to many woman made to feel shame.

    This reminds me a time when women were forced to go to specific religious communities to ‘hide’ their ‘misfortune’ – babies taken from their mothers and ‘gifted’ to strangers for care. And the mother left like an empty sack in disgrace.

    While this piece is extremely sad I believe you have drawn empathy to the situation.


    September 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    • Thanks Jules for your comment. It is tragic and shameful how women used to be treated. I was thinking particularly of the Irish wash-houses as I wrote this, but a Victorian asylum would work as well.

      Sarah Ann

      September 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

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