Haibun isn't the form for me, but I've written a few about things I've experienced firsthand. This was first published at Simply Haiku.

Three Shouts


In a 1980's black slip-dress and fishnet stockings specially chosen for this event, I think to myself, how unique it is to be the only female present. Having occasionally run the ship's crew in my husband's absence, tonight I'm proud to be recognized as "the Port Engineer's Wife". What an honour it is to be presented with exceptional gifts that came off the 350-foot Reefer Star (Mother Ship for Starkist Foods):

twenty inches

the diameter of my

glass float balls

Ultimately, the reality of this traditional bon-voyage party deeply sinks in. The ships may have been American-built, but the rituals of a Japanese fishing crew prevail. Course after course of eye-pleasing food passed only to the right; toast after lengthy toast, and each one accompanied by a cup of saki. Embracing their customs, I marvel at such patience:

farewell banquet

the captain teaches me

to eat with chopsticks

At evening's end, my husband and I experience a significant oral tradition in the Japanese fishing culture. What most people in North America think is strictly a "war cry", is really an expression of joy and happines (as the Japanese peoples did to celebrate the birth of their new princess), or a way to wish "ten thousand years of life" to honoured guests:

three shouts of bonzai!

suddenly the crew leaves us

alone in the room