Haibunga: We’re waiting for an egg.

Joel Seath has an interesting thoughtful playwork-related blog, which looked at haiku in passing (the best way)


“Are you familiar with ‘haibun’. If not, look it up? Here’s something I wrote in April. It links.

”At the farm, I sit in the sun. Ten of the children I’ve brought here have scattered. They’re somewhere over there, over by the sheep pens. I can see their heads lined up. They’re attentive. I wander over to see. Newborn lambs, six hours old, are being lifted by the farmhands so the children can stroke them. The children, the younger ones and the older ones too, are engrossed.
I’m here thirty seconds: a farmhand tells the children they’re going to castrate this lamb and snip his tail. The children don’t move. I’m not sure they understand. The procedure happens as matter of factly as the announcement has been made. The ewe’s glutinous sac of afterbirth trails from her and into the hay.

“The two youngest children, five year olds, are on their knees and poking around, trying to reach under the chicken coop; prodding. I watch them for a while. ‘What are you up to, girls?’ ‘We’re waiting for an egg.’

“between realities

young of our species —


Well said, Joel.

And if it is a haiku and a pic, as I’m sure you’ll be aware, it is a haiga.
And if it is a pic AND a haiku AND some prose –
– as in Basho’s ‘Journey To The Deep North’ (the proper title for it – then it is a *haibunga!

Haibunga is a word I made up 2 years ago as part of my prep for my haiku tent workshop at ‘Beauty of Play’ event.

I have appreciated the link between haiku, Zen and playwork since the 70s. It has occasionally got me into trouble, as my playfulness often does. In this case I got a bollocking for using haiku form for my second monthly report to my line manager when I was a playworker at the Moulsecoomb Adventure Playground in Brighton). Here it is:

“satisfactory progress

nothing to report—

the richness of everyday life”

Only recently have I started to write about it.

*And if it is said by an 8 year old boy with yellow skin spiky hair and a skateboard it is a cowabunga, and if said by a deposed dodgy Italian president it is a bunga-bunga…


One thought on “Haibunga: We’re waiting for an egg.

  1. A few days ago I said: ” I got a googleplex – a single search result – when I searched for ‘haibunga’ just now. A googleplexity! Can’t believe no-one else had made such an obvious coinage. Basho’s “Journey to the Deep North” is described as haibun, and he invented it, but surely it is haibunga, combining as it does, both prose, haiku and illustration.

    Except I got that wrong, I meant googlewhack, not plex.

    Now my screensaver just told me something else amazing! It’s a dictionary screensaver – word of the day.

    The word (phrase actually) was:

    hapax legomenon


    It means: A word occurring only once in a given corpus.  

    Could be the Bible or Shakespeare or the Highway code or the Hungry Caterpillar.


    So if you find a hapax on the internet, and the internet contains everything, then isn’t it a supermegahyper hapax?

    I coined haibunga and it is my google-hapax-legomenon!

    Readers, do you have an internet hapax legomenon to share?

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