Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Archive for the ‘Haibun’ Category

dVerse Haibun Monday 2 – Kahlil Gibran

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For dVerse’s second haibun Monday Björn and Hamish have chosen two quotes of Khalil Gibran as prompts to write to. I decided to go with the second, then the first, and think what I’ve ended up with could fit with either.

 

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”

 

Or,

 

“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”

 

***

 

There are two women from the same town in Spain working in my London office. They didn’t know each other when growing up. In the UK the learnt they had acquaintances in common back home. Both are short, dark and wear their hair long. One is cuddly, the other svelte. With one I talk dance, food, family and not putting things off; with the other it’s paper jams in the printer.

 

for new discoveries

know which woman to befriend

she who lives and loves

 


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Written by Sarah Ann

October 7, 2015 at 9:08 pm

#Ligo Haibun – photo prompt – The Fair

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This week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge gave us two photos to choose from, and I picked this one:

 

Untitled

 

The signs went up weeks before it arrived. As soon as they appeared, my brother and I started pestering.

‘Pleeeeease Daa-aad.’

‘No,’ Dad said. ‘It’s a con. Too expensive. I don’t like them.’

I can’t remember all the reasons he didn’t want us go – he didn’t quite say it was a den of inequity – but it was plain how he felt. My brother and I whinged and Dad gave eventually gave in.

When we were young he stayed with us, bought my brother candyfloss – I never liked it – and both of us hot dogs. He won us goldfish, which we lavished with love and care, and were dead within two weeks thanks to over-feeding.

When we grew older Dad dropped us off with our best friend of the moment, and the sexes parted until home-time. My girlfriend stalked around trying to catch the eye of the ride owners, brash and coy. I stood way off, paid my money, didn’t make eye contact.

Today I am probably as miserly about fairs as my dad was. Who wants to traipse around a grass-flattened field with flashing lights, clashing loud music, and hawkers fleecing you with games of chance you never win. Maybe we just have the wrong sort of fairs come to town.

 

 

nagging children who

fight parental dislike

inherit same view

 

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

June 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

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Ligo Haibun Challenge – quote week – What did you do in the war?

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I have struggled coming up with anything for recent challenge prompts – the muse is playing hard to get. However, I couldn’t pass on this week’s Ligo Haibun prompts – both proverbs are wonderful. I hope it’s obvious I worked with the first.

 

Only when you have eaten a cockroach do you appreciate soup. — Ukrainian Proverb

 

Either dance well or start drinking. — Ukrainian Proverb

 

–––––

 

What did you do in the war?

My grandmother always used to tell stories of how hard it was during the Second World War. She was a woman left at home to fend for herself with a young child, while my blind-as-a-bat grandfather was away in the Pay Corps. My dad was born in 1942 leaving my gran weak, and he spent his early years living with his grandparents. I found this out only after my gran died, before that I was given to understand how hard she had worked and suffered for her only son.

I suspect my grandmother was very good at pulling the wool. I never saw her weak – the strength never left those fingers gnarled by arthritis; she never lost a marble or shied from an argument about what she knew to be right and true.

‘Respect your elders,’ was her mantra. I think the unspoken truth ran along the lines of, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ This was the woman who hid black market eggs in the bath when the customs man came to tea. She lived in a port town, her husband worked on the docks: she couldn’t decline visits from the well-meaning powers-that-be. There are other, now lost, stories about her having far much more butter than her neighbours as well.

 

tales of hardship

exaggerated for effect

poverty unknown

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

June 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

#Ligo Haibun Challenge – I Confess

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This week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge asked writers to choose between the words:

 

Confession and Connected

_____

 

I Confess

Confession. The word blinks at the edge of my vision and taunts me. I have done nothing wrong. I have nothing to confess. I walk away, carry on with my day. I try not to think about it, but when I stop, when the jobs are done and I have spare time, the needle returns – poking, pricking to provoke a reaction.

‘I have nothing to confess. I did nothing wrong.’

And it’s true, because I am an awful liar. I will tell you if you bum looks big in that dress. You can think it makes me a nasty person, but surely it’s better to know that you look like the back end of a bus before going on that crucial date. I won’t tell you you’ve baked the lightest sponge unless you have. What’s the point in telling you it’s perfect if you need more practice at folding flour?

I confess that I sometimes wash my dirty linen in public – better there than festering in some hole. Secrets breed lies breed stress breed mental illness. And when lies are found out there is only pain, anger and damaged relationships.

 

embracing truth

might cause short-term upset

no permanent damage

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Written by Sarah Ann

May 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm

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Ligo Haibun Challenge – word prompt – Memories of Nirvana

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This week, the Ligo Haibun Challenge gave us a choice of words to fire our imaginations:

 Saviour/Savior  or Nirvana

This probably isn’t what they meant me to do, but nevermind.

––––

 

It must be 1991 or ‘92. There are rumours that Nirvana are going to play the Birmingham Hummingbird – an impromptu gig: first come, first served. I don’t know where or how the rumour started, I know only that I am going.

I can’t remember now what day the gig was, maybe a Tuesday, but I have afternoon lectures. Of the group of us going – Stan, Dan, Paul and me – only I have lectures. I am in my first year of university, living in halls in Walsall, a thirty-minute bus-ride from Birmingham, a thirty-minute drive to Wolverhampton where my course is taught. The university provides coaches to ferry us between campuses. The morning one leaves at 8am to get us there for a 10 o’clock start. If I miss the 4.30pm coach back, the next one doesn’t leave until 6pm.

It must be spring ’92 because it isn’t yet dark as the coach arrives in Walsall. I leave my lecture mates disembarking and rush home. I wash and change and learn the lads have gone. It doesn’t matter because these are the days when nothing stops me.

I leave campus and catch the bus to Birmingham. I seem to know where I am going, find the venue easily, and my friends in the queue quickly – Stan is a beanpole and easy to spot. They had a half hour start on me, didn’t want to risk missing this opportunity.

Maybe it’s summer because I don’t remember the street being dark, but then in the UK’s second city, surely there are lights everywhere. Perhaps the remembrance of natural light is artificial.

I don’t know how long we wait. Blue paper tickets relating to another band on another date are thrust into our hands, removed, torn in half, and then we’re in. We disperse, each to our own dancing frenzy. Later, Paul sticks by me and we share screamed observations.

Energetically gyrating sardines give off much heat and the ceiling cries condensation. Head back, I stare at the beaded roof tiles, watch the droplets grow, deform, and drip sweat.

We come home on the bus, Paul and Stan propping up Dan between them. I don’t remember the journey – gone is that heady mood forever. And if we’re all together on the bus, then it must have been autumn ’91 because Paul moved to Wolverhampton after Christmas.

So long ago, in another life, I wonder if it really happened.

 

memory plays tricks

picking out fine details

others blurry edged

 

 

 

I’ve checked online – and didn’t imagine this. There’s a bootleg video of the gig on youtube – 27/11/91 – part of Nirvana’s Nevermind tour.

Notes on the Ligo Haibun Challenge.

Written by Sarah Ann

April 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm

#LigoHaibun – Picture Prompt

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This week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge gave us a choice of two pictures from which to write. I chose:

 

haibun_photos

 

There is a woman on my wall who looks down her aquiline nose at me. Her cloche hat is perched ‘just so’ on perfect black curls. Shapely calves emerge below the hem of a well-cut woollen skirt and end in patent heels. There is an almost smile on her lips and, while her eyes look front, they are off-centre – disengaged. I wonder what she would have thought of me.

Next to her is an unruly head of white permed curls. A long neck sits above an open-necked blouse. Cheeks and wrinkles are scrunched in joy and playfulness as hazel eyes stare directly into the camera lens.

These two are the same woman.

If I didn’t know, would I be able to see?

 

thirties elegance

no indication of she

who will be grandma

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The rules.

Written by Sarah Ann

April 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Ligo Haibun – 7/3/14 – Blossom – Hawthorn

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This week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge offered the word prompts, Sword or Blossom.

 

Hawthorn

The crone spends the winter bent double, knock-kneed, black limbs close to the ground. Her arms wrapped around herself, twisted fingers reaching out occasionally to pull hair and pinch skin.

With lengthening days the hag dons a gown of pink-tinged white, she opens her arms and stretches towards the sky – winter-witch becomes beautiful maiden. As she blossoms, Belle showers the earth with her bounty; petals dance in the air and scatter the ground in blessing. But she is young and pretty for far too short a time.

As the days warm, her white dress thins and disappears, but she is not left naked. Shoots broaden and leaves fill out to cover her soul, and maiden becomes mother. Through the summer she grows thick and nurses fauna. Come autumn her red berries offer sustenance; before the cycle of the year completes, leaves fall, and she is crone once more.

 

blossom the bringer of life

brings joy to the world

gone in the blink of an eye

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Written by Sarah Ann

March 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

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