Urami Falls.  MLMM

Behind the waterfall there is no time, there is no pain, there is no loss. There is only love and light and the inexpressible joy of being a fairy.  Come with me, then – hold my hand – I will not let you fall – so do not be worried.  Do not be weary. 

Come. Touch. Feel the drops of water on the ferns. Run your fingertips through the pines. Pluck a blade of grass and stroke your lips; the fairies do not mind. 

borne on mists
the scent of green life

Take my hand; together we’ll dash through the waterfall.  Run.  Be a sleek puppy, frolicking.  Feel the jolt – the weight of the water that pushes you away – then hear the watersong that pleads for your return.  Play along with the water.  Flirt with it. Dance with it.  

It makes you stronger – or so the fairies say.

in a shudder –
reality’s fine line
swept away

Embrace me.  Laugh with me.  Because on the other side of the waterfall the world is vast and open and free.  Watch as the world shakes off the old, tattered cape of today.  Watch as the spirits of the past become solid.  Come stroll with me through wide open streets, where the fairies dance under blossoming cherry trees.

Had you forgotten the fairies?  They did not forget you. Look. With a smile, a fairy offers her parasol.  Take it, and thank her.  Your mumbled, blushing “thank you” is nice – but thank her with a song or a poem instead.

Fairies love that.

She smiles and points to a pavilion in the midst of a vast garden.  There is music and laughter and dancing.  There are instruments of every shape and sort, and in the world of the fairies everyone can play.  Come, then! Let’s follow this fairy! 

your notes plunk across the sky –
skipping stones

There is fountain in this garden – a fountain surrounded by boulders.  The sound of the water is vaguely familiar.  It makes me think of waterfalls.  What do you think?   The fairies pause and shake their heads.  The fountain is the doorway.  It leads to the other side – to the sad world of the tall people. 

one chance
to see beyond the waterfall –
a fairy’s gift

cherry blossoms nagasaki front

Linked to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie, where Chèvrefeuille is now hosting Fairy Tales.  Exciting stuff!

We were inspired by the following haiku from “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” about a waterfall named “Urami no Taki” (“the waterfall seen from behind”):

for a while
confined behind the waterfall
summer’s start

© Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Our host says:

“Imagine that you are behind the waterfall. There is a secret path. Follow that path through the mountain. At the end of the path you find a wonderful garden. It looks like paradise, but it’s also a magical garden in which fairy tale figures are living together. Imagine this garden. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? You have been invited to attend a cherry blossom party.”


The Yoshida Brothers rock.  No, really – they rock.

I hear some of the younger fairies listen to this.


40 thoughts on “shamisen! (haibun fantasy)

  1. Even I can see that this isn’t in the accepted tradition of haibun lol. But, hey, it’s perfectly fine to invent your own traditions – especially when they’re as well crafted and as much fun as this 🙂

    So many wonderful lines; my favourites –
    “Be a sleek puppy, frolicking.”
    “Watch as the world shakes off the old, tattered cape of today.”

    And the haiku work perfectly: not simply telling three short lines of the story, but taking a step back to encompass the whole atmosphere at different stages.

    You were right, too – the Yoshida Brothers rock 🙂


    • Aye! ‘Tis Paloma, looking tradition straight in the eye and saying, “Meh. I’ll consider it.” 😉
      This was such a fun piece to write — fun to be so light in places (“Fairies like that”)! And what’s more fun than a sleek puppy, frolicking?
      Very happy that you like this — and Yoshida Brothers too! 😀


  2. Really this blew me away. The standard of the writing is very good and you kept the tone. consistent throughout. Has a wonderful, innocent appeal


    • Thank you, Hamish!

      I guess **technically** it’s more “fantasy” than haibun — but it’s a wonderful hybrid form that I’d like to explore in more depth. Plus, I think prose-poetry has great potential used in haibun. But — there’s that fine line, you know?

      Your encouragement means so much — thank you 🙂


  3. Ah what a lovely haibun/fairy tale you’ve written … this is such a pleasure to read from the beginning to the last video … the card looks like a view of fairly land .. and tied well with he sad world of the tall people …


  4. Wow! Paloma, such a gem indeed, Chèvrefeuille said it perfectly…your haiku within this haibun are each diamonds…I so enjoyed being in this fantasy garden. You could feel that you were really there…vraiment charmant!!!


  5. This was fantastic Jen, I loved the imagery, the visuals were stunning and inviting, the sounds mesmerizing. I think your fairy tale telling abilities are stunning such that where is this place and how do I get there??


  6. Such a sweet and enchanting tale. I particularly like your last haiku. Your words bring the fairies gift to life.
    The Japanese postcard is such a powerful reminder of a world lost to us all now. Such atrocities must never happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It can be hard to stick to the rules of haibun – I do think they can be stretched into new forms that respond to the wonderful technological advances of our own age.


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