Rocks piled – the way is marked by
lichens and iron and quartz and clouds and shadow.

Its grasp tentative on the ridge.
Balanced and noteworthy, frozen action, a beacon that today is unnecessary.

But what if tomorrow brings lightening and fog cover
and seamless retreat is the gatekeeper?
To faulter or lose one’s way resulting in death as lightening finds the shortest path.

The rocks piled then would be direction, hope.
Steadfast against the drenching rain.
The angle of the top catching one’s eye quickly.
The careful hands that placed each stone so as not to crush fingers guide your feet.

Stone by stone a gift –
for the desperate retreat –
Glance behind in thanks.

– a haibun poem


A haibun is an originally Japanese poetic form popularized by the 17th century poet Basho. It is comprised of a section of prose and capped with a haiku poem. In this poem I followed the central thread from the prose section through to the haiku and added an element of gratitude in the capping phrase. One element I am interested in exploring in the future is the inclusion of capping phrases from Zen Koans into haibun poetry.