Whittled Words – Haibun Poem


Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




The haibun is the combination of two poems: a prose poem and haiku. The form was popularized by the 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. Both the prose poem and haiku typically communicate with each other, though poets employ different strategies for this communication—some doing so subtly, while others are more direct.

The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment in an objective manner. In other words, the pronoun “I” is not often used—if at all. Meanwhile, the haiku follows the typical rules for haiku.


Examples of Haibun Poems:




by Timothy McGuire

Finally realizing in the autumn of this life the lessons learned are for the benefit of those who will come after me. Events, like stepping stones laid down with love, tears and blood to create a path of enlightenment in hopes that one will choose to follow.

life lessons learned

bricks laid along heavens path

for those who follow



By Indiana Shaw

Can you imagine in another million years, core drillers examining the earth crust, and teaching that this was the 21st century, as we can see from the remains of plastic debris found within these layers of the earth’s crust . . .

Self-worth was lacking

No silver or gold was found

Nowt’ but cheap plastic



By Indiana Shaw

The bumblebee does not know that her wings cannot hold her up. She flits from flower to power, pollenating like crazy, with no worries. Not expecting to fall or fail. Her tenacity and self-confidence amaze me as I watch her dig into the flower with a fierceness that only a bumblebee can master. I am in awe of her ability, her self-assured confidence and her work.

flower delicate

pure pollination power

flight of bumblebee



By Brad Osborne

The village sleeps. The tasks of day have been put aside. The body seeks to rest its weary self and ease the strain of the existential life. With the night, comes the quiet stillness of pause whispered in the cooling breeze as lullaby. The crops and fields glisten with settling dew.

just one little worm

squirms through dampening soil

his work is not done


I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Haibun poem. Thanks for reading!


12 Responses to “Whittled Words – Haibun Poem”
  1. beth says:

    I really like this style and so interesting to see the different forms used to express the same thing.

  2. Your example was brilliant, as always Brad, truly beautiful!

  3. K.L. Hale says:

    I’ve never heard of the Haibun! The Japanese have such a rich literature style don’t they? I thought of one after trying to decipher what/who decided to make a temporary home UNDER my home~and then HE found his place in my little bluff~
    “My new flitting friend.
    Peeking up and down at me.
    He’s found a new home.”
    I named him Chuck~my woodchuck. And just like Groundhog Day, he appears the same way every day! 💛🤗❤️

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Wonderful poem, my friend! You are so sweet even the animals want to be around you. And of course, you named him “Chuck”! Much love and have a great weekend. Tell Finn I said “Hi”.

      • K.L. Hale says:

        Aw, thank you, my friend. The kids at school always loved my quirky humor. When I’d pop into classes they’d ask me what imaginary animal was my sidekick that day (sometimes my pet monkey would be on my shoulder 😉😘). Finn and I send you much love back. The Covid is like the cha cha. Yesterday I took a step back. I’m trying to give myself grace and patience. The sunshine for the next 5 days should help. You have the best weekend! Mucho love and hugs! 💛❤️😘🤗

  4. sudrakarma says:

    I love how your haibun is more like synchronicity than directly related to the prose. I took a different turn, however, based on some doom-scrolling I did last night.

    Haibun Poem: Too Late

    It was 143°F in central India this week, and the temps are on the rise. “Climate Change” doesn’t begin to describe what humanity will face in the coming years; severe drought, crop failure, ecological collapse, inescapable heat, mass-migration and death on a scale the world has never known.

    Think unthinkable
    Beyond our comprehension
    No one will save us

  5. kristianw84 says:

    I really like this style, and your poem is brilliant, as always!

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