Genjuan ’12 Winning Haibun

GRAND PRIX: 

Jackdaws by D.J. Peel (Takenoko, U.K.)

To call jackdaws social birds is, at times, surely the grossest of inaccuracies. As I lie now in my bed, 8:00am on an early summer Sunday morning, I feel them to be the most anti-social of all the feathered visitors to my garden. From the dark density of a nearby yew tree comes the incessant racket of clacks and clatterings as if all the world’s fishwives with their sharp tongues and knives were bantering and berating each other whilst butchering the fish. In the brief silence that follows an angry neighbour’s loud SHUT UP and clapping of hands, one almost hears them whispering What was that?… before they carry on; until, like sooty tatters from a suddenly erupting bonfire, they burst into the air to flaunt their aerobatic skills. Lang-lauf skiers of the sky, they let themselves be lifted almost out of sight to sweep back down again with outstretched wings. And now they swirl around in interchanging groups, until in ones and twos, they take their leave; one straggler flapping furiously to catch up, leaving an empty sky and silence.

Often I’ve watched them swagger across the ridge tiles of neighbours’ houses to join in preening and quiet conversations; or perching silhouette-like on a comfortable television aerial, before hurtling off as if on some forgotten appointment. And sometimes, one has seemed to stalk across to another as if to say Race you to that tree and back. But these last few months, I have noticed one pair taking increasing interest in a particular chimney pot, titling head-down to peer within, sometimes disappearing inside for lengthy periods. Doubtless, they had their nest inside; though how one adult and three or four nestlings moved safely around in the sooty darkness of such a confined space defies imagination. I guess, though I never recognised them, today has been the great fledgling coming out day when offspring finally flew the nest, and adults, free at last from parental duties, have had one last big get-together before flying off on a well-earned break.

Days later, they’re back in their yew tree, noisily exchanging all the latest news.

. how I’d love to know / their language, their wind-torn flight -/ those pesky jackdaws

.

AN (COTTAGE) PRIZE:

The Blue Jacaranda by Kala Ramesh (India)

waiting for a call
…. that never came . . .

new year’s eve

I was your maid.  You remember me?
The one who used to tie your shoelaces and make the chapathis and that potato curry for you. Pack your lunch and escort you to the bus stop.

The school bus would come to our street corner somewhere around 8 am daily.
Your smile, as you wave goodbye, asking me to be there waiting when you get home in the evening.
You had a loud voice.

In case you feel like seeing me, do come over. I stay at The Jacaranda Old-age Ashram. No 18, Queen’s Lane, Pune-411009.
Ask for Shalini bai.

Everybody here knows me well and they know you too. I keep talking about you to all the inmates.  I posted a similar card to you a year back, but I’m thinking it didn’t reach you …

restless night . . .
turning and tossing
the repeat
…… mindsong
as the ache sinks deeper

.

AN (COTTAGE) PRIZE:

Crime and Punishment by Cara Holman (U.S.A.)

For reasons best known to her, my nursery school teacher has placed me on top of the upright piano because I refused to sing “I’m a Little Teapot” with the rest of the class. Actually, it wasn’t so much that I refused—I just wasn’t singing when Mrs. K. suddenly swept me up and placed me here, with my stocking feet dangling precariously over the edge of the piano, to reflect on my wrongdoings. I know Mom will straighten this all out when she comes to pick me up this afternoon, but right now, all I can think about is, it’s a long way down, if I should jump or fall.

…………. lost…
…………. mountains
…………. everywhere I look

.

AN (COTTAGE) PRIZE:

Yeh Go I by James Norton (Ireland)

…………. The slow boy
…………. gazing skyward
…………. hears it first

I put down the map and listen with him, hear nothing but the trucks and cars roaring past. He stands quite still, looking at me. “You’re sure?” “Yeh go I”. OK. A mile or so off the motorway, sure enough we find it, hidden in the hills.

Now the noise is deafening. Boy racers screech around the big circuit in souped-up roadsters. We watch for a while. Cows graze the hillsides undisturbed. Clouds in a blue sky sail out to sea.

Then to the figure-8 go-kart track. Around and around he goes at a sedate pace while I watch. Tiring of it, I go back to the van for a snooze, leaving the attendant to keep watch.

“Good?”. He nods, and we’re several miles away when I notice he’s holding his hand awkwardly. A nasty burn, blistering. He gazes stoically out the window. I can get no explanation out of him. Afraid I won’t take him again.

The village pharmacist. Cool-gel and a dressing, painkillers. No, he won’t take any payment.

……… Healing hands
…………….. where the name itself is balm
………………………………………………… Watergrasshill

Drive on to the seaside.  He loves the merries. Yeh go we.

9 Responses to “Genjuan ’12 Winning Haibun”

  1. We are eagerly waiting to read the winning pieces . . .

    • You need wait no longer!

      • Thanks Tito.
        You’ve put it up so well.
        Perfect :)

        I loved reading all the haibun.
        Congratulations to all, the organisers and the winners.

        Incidentally, I’ve not received my letter from your office, as yet. I wish you could send me the judge’s comments by email to me?
        A request.
        _k

  2. enjoyed all of these so much. All so worthy of the prizes they were awarded.

  3. […] An (Cottage) Prize in the 2012 Genjuan Haibun Contest. All of the winning haibun can be read on the Icebox […]

  4. Congratulations to all the winners.

    Very nice personal snapshots from the Cottage Prize winners.

    And from the Grand Prix winner; What seemingly acute observations supported by highly descriptive language, particularly with the onomatopoeia in the first section. I was especially drawn in to this piece by the imagined quotes from the Jackdows.

  5. […] Genjuan is the name of the cottage near Lake Biwa where, in 1690, Basho lived for a while and wrote one of his most famous haibun. It was probably the happiest period of his life. This is the second year of the contest crowned by the name of Basho’s cottage, and its purpose remains to provide a common arena for haibun writers of the world. Fortunately, we had a warm response in 2012, receiving about 100 entries from 14 different countries. The award for Grand Prix will remain the same – a good replica of a Hokusai ukiyo-e print – and smaller gifts will be sent to authors winning an An (‘Cottage’) Prize. The writers of the decorated works will each receive a certificate of merit. We sincerely look forward to your participation. Some sample haibun can be read at the following link: Genjuan Winning Haibun 2012 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: