Until I read TJ McIntyre’s Isotropes, I had no idea what a haibun was. My dad is a poet and a walking poetry encyclopaedia. I asked him what a haibun was. He didn’t know either.
So I Googled the word “haibun”. My God, there’s an awful lot of haibun-related activity out there. This may be a highly specific literary niche, but it’s a big one. These people have got their own society.
For the uninitiated, a haibun is a literary composition that combines prose and haiku.
It’s a fascinating form, and one that TJ McIntyre uses to great effect in a short book spanning several genres – sci-fi, fantasy, fairytale, realism.
You can read the book here.
When the winds first blew down from the outer tip of Olympus, it carried with it the dust of time, of loss, of empty years that went on for far too long without any meaning. There was an ache spanning the entirety of the crater itself. We did not notice at first, but that was all before things went bad.
the hanging bodies
swaying from cords in closets
blood lost in red dust
The winds battered the dome. The metal supports groaned as they bent and swayed. The Plexiglas, once so clear, grew pock-marked and stained a faint maroon. The storms raged over and around us. We watched digital displays from the weather satellites, but they were useless. It looked clear and clean on the screen, but we could see the funnel clouds overhead. Dust devils danced around the perimeter of our base, and all night long, the weather screamed.
there was no pattern
Olympus began to crumble in on itself. We watched, helpless, as waves of dust raced down the cliffs and came at us like a dirty red typhoon. Soon all outside light was blocked. What little sunlight we obtained on this distant outpost dimmed and then faded away, leaving us in the dark. None of us liked what we saw when the lights went out, when the solar generators lost their charge and the windmills ceased turning. The turbines and ever present electric hum grew quiet. None of us knew if it was imagined or real, but we feared dust came in through cracks. We could taste another world, one very cold and very unlike our own.
when we faced our end
nobody struggled or cried
we tied our own knots