Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In a Silent Demesne

(A Haibun)

The palace of a hundred bells stands open, wind pushing against the unshuttered windows, sunlight filtering inward from cracks in the fa├žade. If you stand close, you can hear the sound of the ancient ropes creaking in the belfry tubes. If you walk within, you can see the holes in the floor where the fire ate away at the wood, smell the faint char even after these many years. The mice scuffle in the corners of the rooms, burrowing through the remains of all these artifacts, once fine and gilded. Where once the battlements bristled with soldiers, there are only birds, their sharp little eyes upon you as your steps echo against the abandoned quadrangle. The statues of ancient men have been toppled and sent to ruin, as if injury to the stone could erase them, and you do not recognize their faces or their names, so perhaps the supposition is true. Saplings grow out through the wreckage of the great gates, now only rotted wood and bronze turned a sooty green. Perhaps if a single bell muttered and clamored against the silence of the winds, perhaps if a single scion of these walls remained, obdurate against the ages, this place could be saved. There is no one, no brave, toiling presence in the echoing remainder. There are just we two, we invaders of tombs, we gawkers at incidents long gone, we listeners for chimes that will not come.

We have but a short

season; from spring to winter

in and eye’s blinking

All strength is empty

the gesture of grasping fools

fighting spectral foes

Bitter injury

in time is only grim fact

yesterday’s brown fruit

Even the loudest

voices grow hoarse with shouting

whispering at last


drthunder said...

Thank you for this one. I'm always drawn to your Haibuns. I've also enjoyed visiting your website and reading your stories. It amazes me that you can keep up with so much and still work.

M. Shahin said...

This is my first time reading a "haibun" and the first time hearing of this form. I like it already. I'd like to try it out one of these day.

"Perhaps if a single bell muttered and clamored against the silence of the winds"

What is nice in this poem, is the deep silence I can hear throughout the words. And then I come across the above line, and I'm like yeah, it is too quiet and a bell needs to clamor somewhere in between. You did a very nice job here.

"We have but a short
season; from spring to winter
in and eye’s blinking"

Eloquent, beautifully expressed and filled with truth! I've heard someone say life goes by like a blink of an eye.

Amazing "haibun" Patrick.

And thanks for the link to my blog - that is really kind. Honored to be a part of this great domain :-)

Will be checking out your other blog soon to see if you posted any new installments to the "Snake" thriller. Getting creeps already just thinking about it.

swiftboat said...

I too am a fan of your Haibun work. This discriptive narative is among the best of them. It has a calm pacing and unforced nature, giving it power that a more sensationalist aproach couldn't reach.

This one reminds me of exploring the abandond "Battery" instalations on each side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's also sends me back to the times I spent exploring old mining excavations in Ophir, UT.

You smacked the nail on the head this time. Thanks.

Mystic Rose said...

wonderful flow in prose and poetry.
and profound thought.

Soulless said...

Allow me to join the chorus: I've always loved reading your haibun pieces. ^_^ The scene, as described in the prose part here, is utter magic, and there I am trasported. Treading the grounds of that demesne, trying to relive its times of glory.

Every line read here is a footstep closer to a whisper. ^_^

Firehawk said...

Glad you all liked my haibun. For those of you wondering about the form, it is a short prose piece either interspersed or followed by a haiku or multiple haiku. It is often used as a description piece or travel log/ecolog.


I manage somehow. Often, coffee is involved.

m. shahin,

I'm glad you liked this one. Your words make me blush a little, but I'll take the compliments. I've been meaning to set up a links page for a long time, but I finally got around to it, and thought that yours was certainly one of the pages I wanted to link.


I think there's something fascinating about abandoned places, where you can see that people spent their time and energy to build it up, but somehow couldn't keep things going. The abandoned mines of Ophir, among other places, have that sense about them.

Mystic Rose,

Thanks much for the kind words, and for linking to my site. Many happy returns.


So glad to see you over here! As usual, you give me too much praise. I will, of course, accept it, though I'll need to buy bigger hats...

Thanks, all, for dropping by. Hope the holidays are treating you well.

Bobby-T said...

This speaks to me of solitude & tranquility. Ther is a sense of the immutable effects of time, returning to the natural order of things. I find a measure of serenity here.

Mystic Rose said...

tell me how i can learn to write like this. is there a particular book that you like written in this form that i can read?

Firehawk said...


Time is persistent, and will bring tranquility to all things eventually.

Mystic Rose,

I just read about this form in a poetry encyclopedia I got for college, many years ago. It sounded neat, so I tried it. As far as other examples, I have to admit that I'm pretty much working without any archetype other than the rules of the form.

Here's a page and links that I found on the web:

Thanks a lot, everyone, for coming by.

Mystic Rose said...

thanks! :)

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