A blurred reality

Along a country road I drove past a place I have often wondered about – an old stone house surrounded by iron fences adorned with bicycle wheels and religious iconography.  On  a makeshift sign the words ‘Celestial Being’ were crudely painted.   The gate was open and a roadside board advertised antiques for sale.   I’ve never seen the place open before so, curious, I pulled into the carpark.

On an old plaque by the rustic gate the words ‘Salesian Order’ were engraved.   I had some recollection that this was some kind of Catholic religious order.   Well that explains all the religious artifacts I thought as I took in a Jesus made of rusty iron with crown of barbed wire round his head.

Entering the shop/shed I was confronted with a dusty mishmash of old plates, dark wooden furniture and the like.   Nothing grabbed my attention and I was about to leave when a 50ish guy appeared.  An air of melancholy hung around him yet he was eager to take me on the tour of the grounds and explain something of the history.

The house, he said, had been owned by Salesian Brothers up until a few years ago when he bought it. A pub had stood on the corner of the property.   I said something about the odd mix of religion and grog.   The guy replied morosely, ‘They were heavy drinkers’.

He took to me see the old cellars he’d excavated by hand. 

 2015-07-03 14.33.28   The curious mixture of a romantic imagination, hard work and disregard for the bits of junk left lying about had me intrigued. 

On one side of the cellars a statue of Mary and a model windwill presided over an incomplete water feature.    2015-07-03 14.37.54

On the other was the remains of old blacksmith shop where rescued fragments of the past were displayed.

The guy was so into the curious world he was creating I found I was somehow swept up into the flow of his words.  As I followed him round I developed a kind of selective vision where I overlooked the incongruity and the unfinished and saw only isolated pockets of beauty.   For a while I felt as if I was seeing the project through his eyes.   I’ve processed my mobile phone photos to try and convey that feeling.

14360522038561  2015-07-03 14.37.54_20150704203846524-02_20150704204431197 

 2015-07-03 14.34.32-01-01-01

The magic wore off by the time we got back to my car.   We wound up our conversation staring at an incomplete gazebo where lovely old stained glass windows were rotting beside a tub of blackish water filled with saplings in desperate need of being planted out.   The guy himself to have some kind of reality check at that moment for he said bleakly, ‘It’ll look better when the trees grow.’

Driving away I found myself hoping that celestial beings  really do visit him and give him some heavenly help and guidance for if he ever does finish the project he will have created quite a wonderland.

                                                  2015-07-03 14.33.03

Prompt:   Sally D’s mobile phone photos – blurred lines


When people ask me what kind of creative work I do I am often at loss for words.   If I try to explain that I am currently combining haibun with haiga people look at me in complete mystification.   Trying to come up with a short and snappy answer I’ve been researching definitions of haibun and haiga.  

The term haibun was first used by the 17th century Japanese haiku poet, Matsuo Basho to describe the short pieces of prose he wrote about his  travels. Traditionally a haibun was written in the first person and in the present tense.   Focusing on the writer’s experience traditional haibun often has a distinctly Buddhist flavour.  Basho’s ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’ is his most famous haibun.

On the site  Poets.org – a  closer look at writing haibun  I read:

Though Bashō coined the word haibun, the form as it is today existed in Japan as prefaces and mini-lyric essays even before the seventeenth century (when Bashō first popularized the form). After his famous journey to Mutsu, he crafted a sort of guideline to the form in order to plunge deeper into the aware (pronounced ah-WAR-ay) spirit of haiku. Thus, another important feature of the haibun is not simply to provide a writer a shape in which to jot mundane musings of landscape and travel but also to evoke that sense of aware—the quality of certain objects to evoke longing, sadness, or immediate sympathy.

I first heard about haibun from Hamish Managua Gunn.  Experimenting with the form really expanded the way I write.  As I also love to take photos it wasn’t long before I started experimenting with combining haibun and haiku with photos and creating contemporary haiga. 


Traditional haiga are a combination of haiku and ink brush painting but the form has now expanded to include all forms of modern art and photography combined with haiku.   Digital imagining programs have extended the possibilities even further.  In the online journal Haiga online I read ‘Internet-based multimedia haiga is still a very new form of expression and the definition of “experimental” is a target that is continually moving outward as the artistic and technical possibilities expand.’  In an issue of the journal the work Lingering Snow, a graphic haibun series by Linda Papanicolaou is featured.   This exciting and experimental work presents both haiku and haibun within the format of the graphic novel.   It’s definitely worth taking a look at if you are interested exploring in the creative possibilities of haiga.


Narrow Road to the Deep North - Yosa Buson Image from Buson’s ‘Narrow Road’  – http://www.wikiart.org/en/yosa-buson/narrow-road-to-the-deep-north

Haibun and haiga were first combined by Basho’s disciple Buson in a six fold screen painting where he combined  the words of Basho’s ‘Narrow Road’ with his own illustrations.  This combination is sometimes called haibunga (W.A. Poets. net). 

The right side of the Buson’s six fold screen



On the W.A Poets website I also came across the idea of the linked haiga –

‘One form of haiga can be a linked haiga. You can “put together haiga with similar subject matters and similar representational styles. When they are combined and appropriate adjustments are made, they can be a single coherent art work. In painting, coherence and consistency is most important for a work to be appreciated as a piece of art. The same rule applies to haiga. I also consider the haiku. In my linked haiga, haiku verses do not work like in renku, but I feel that they somehow resonate and produce interesting effects.” Kuniharu Shimizu’

My research has led me no closer to that short and snappy definition but has led me to think about new ways I can combine haibun and haiga.   The linked haiga combined with a collage of images and haibun written onto the images  – now how would that work …  I don’t think I’ll tell people I make haibunga though  – it sounds like something my grandson would yell at kung fu practice.

Finding connection

The blogosphere seems to full of synchronicity for me today.   Late yesterday I went for a walk on a wild, stony hilltop.   It was experience I wanted to write a haibun about but I couldn’t think of a way in.  Today on CDFHK I found a prompt that gives me the starting place I was seeking.:

  http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/carpe-diem-special-154-afriku-haiku.html  – “Stones”.    As part of the prompt Chevrefeuille has written –

I have another wonderful haiku poet from Ghana, Africa, for you this month as our featured haiku poet. His name is Adjei Agyei Baah and his is the co-founder of the Poetry Foundation Ghana. He has “invented” the (as he calls it) Afriku, the haiku from Africa.
Yesterday Adjei emailed me to ask me if I would publish his haiku (afriku) at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Of course I was immediately enthusiastic and we had a little chat. It’s a great honor that I may use his haiku for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
Here are his “stones”-haiku/afriku which he would like to share here at CDHK:
shoreline pebbles…
a reminder of how far
we have come

daddy’s delicacy-
taking stones out of gizzard

stone temple
leftover boulders
add to reverence

© Adjei Agyei-Baah, Kumasi, Ghana



On the wild clifftops beyond the town there is a sign stating the area is a place of archaeological significance – there is evidence of aboriginal occupation dating back at least 30,000 years.   

Walking out there as a storm front approaches and the wind blows in cold and clear off the Southern Ocean I am  transported into a more intense relationship to the world around me.  The busy work-a-day thoughts that are swirling round in my head are blown away as I take photos from the crumbling limestone cliff top.  Far below the sea swirls wild and fierce.  There is no one else around and I realise that one misstep and I could fall to my death out here.  It is a raw, instinctual thought.


I move away from the cliff top and walk a narrow track where tangled tree roots and stones protrude from the earth.  My toes catch on a root and I stumble slightly.  It is an environment that demands my full attention, my full participation. The cold wind whips my hair across my face and the sea birds screech.   Out there in the elements I am insignificant and yet – simply by being there – by feeling it and interacting with it – I become part of it.


Putting things perspective

After my technological woes of yesterday I woke up this morning thinking I needed to distance myself from the project and  put things in perspective.   That led me to think about bird’s eye views and seeing life from a more detached viewpoint.   When I came online I was delighted to discover Paula’s  challenge Lost in Translation –  bird’s eye view.   Here’s a selection of photos I have taken from lookouts on the crater rim of Tower Hill, an extinct volcano in s.w.  Victoria, Australia.





Not the right kind of brain

flying aps

It turns out I don’t have the right kind of brain to create an eBook on a tablet using the app  Book Creator and then publish my work online in some format you can access.   I can publish it so that you can come over to my house and read it on my tablet so feel free to invite yourself round if you’re in the neighbourhood  (msg first please).

I have spent far too long thinking about this eBook (at least 1/2 year on and off!) and far too long working on it (every waking minute? Sad smile )  Now that’s it’s finally complete I find I cannot understand the instructions as to how to upload it.  I have spent hours today trying to figure it out and believe me, I’m now at breaking point – well more at the laugh hysterically and move on or break down and cry loudly for a very long time point.  

                                                                                   in flight off a seesaw of emotions I leap

What I’ve decided to do is post pages I created on this blog from time to time.   As the book is called Solstice it’s kind of imperative I publish at least some of it while it’s fairly relevant.   As June is now over I’d thought I’d post this page today for it is about my experience of June 2015.



Prompts:   Tokubetsudesu #50 one-bun  –  https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/heeding-haiku-with-ha-in-flight/

                              –    https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/photo-challenge-67-see-saw-june-30-2015/

Give and take

I discovered another haiku challenge site last night.  Ronovan Write – haiku prompt challenge I think it must have been around for ages,  – I just haven’t been aware of it.   The challenge is quite complicated – I think this week’s challenge is about using the words ‘future’ and ‘give’ in a haiku but I’m not 100% certain.    I hope those more familiar with the site and with the nature of the prompts will apply a little give and take when viewing my haiga and take what I have created without giving too much attention to any errors I may have made in understanding the prompts.

                                     lens flare

Gallorus Oratory


Recently I’ve been looking through my blogs to find material to include in the eBook I am creating.   I found these photos I took out on the Dingle Peninsula in western Ireland in 2012 and decided to put them into a collage for Paula’s Traces of the Past challenge on her interesting and creative blog, Lost in Translation.      The photos were taken at an old Celtic church called the Gallorus Oratory and at a nearby Celtic Christian monastery.   Opinions vary as to when these places were constructed.   Some archaeologists date them as early as the 6th century while others say they are more likely to have been constructed in the 12th century.

While I was going through my blogs also found a haibun I wrote about the Oratory a couple of years ago.   It hasn’t made the cut into the eBook so I’ll reblog it here.


The Gallorus Oratory is a celtic Christian church that still stands out on the windswept shores of the Atlantic in western  Ireland.   It was a cold, bleak day when I went there and I shivered  as I gazed at the words upon the sign.   My mind played a trick and I read ‘Garrulous Orator’ .

What would he say, that garrulous orator of Gallarus Oratory?

I can see him striding out of the mist to speak of the circular nature of time – of how the past creates the future until we go back and heal the pain of past sorrows.

Then again, being Irish, he may well take a more mystical approach and speak of the way the light out there glances across the headland and sits atop the hills.

‘It is a faery light,’ he’d say with a twinkle in his eyes.  ‘If you gaze at it long enough you can walk between the worlds.’


One of the reasons this piece didn’t make it into my eBook is that there are two versions of the haiku I wrote.   I can’t decide which one works best and would be fascinated to hear your opinions on this.   Then again – maybe, like me, you think neither work very well.   Please let me know if you think that’s the case –  a comment as to why would be very helpful too.

Version a     ireland


Version b    Irish haiku