Tag Archives: haibun

Don’t Shake Fountain Pens – a Haibun

The fountain pen was left unused for some time, wrapped in the leather cover of the journal I had sworn to visit daily. When I accomplished a thought and began to put it to paper the dry nib jumped on the page, leaving blank spaces and smudges. I made the novice mistake of giving the pen a shake….. Now there is ink splattered on the page and trailing across the blanket on my lap. My favorite blanket, something you must have when you reach an age of sharing recliners with dogs on rainy afternoons. I looked for a moment or two at the mess I had made and evaluated the consequences. In the past this evaluation would have been preceded by a tantrum, replete with yelling and expletives. Today, I am aware that the blanket is no more than old fabric with no intrinsic value, which now has some spots on it. The page was merely paper, absorbing ink as was intended. Perhaps it is age that causes me to contemplate before reacting, or life experience, or merely no longer having the need to be angry about unimportant things. I don’t know if it is wisdom that recognizes spilled ink is not a tragedy, or amusement at myself for being unwise enough to shake a fountain pen.

The entry I was intending to start before the ink calamity is to be a letter to my young adult children. An opening attempt to impart lessons I feel I failed to teach about life, and living it, and what matters versus what is trivial. I think now the letter will include an anecdote about shaken fountain pens and old blankets.

Cold and rainy nights
precede warm and breezy days,
each a beginning.

shared at dVerse Poet’s Pub




Filed under Poetry


Several of the boys — old enough to think we were tough, not yet old enough for scars — followed the prophet as he made his way into the hills. We kept our distance, hiding behind rocks and trees, never getting close enough to be heard, fooling ourselves into thinking he was not aware of us. When the light faded we turned back; for the rest of them he was gone from memory by morning. He stayed in my thoughts. Many years later I made the climb, searching for the man who went searching. I found his cave after three days. There were no scrolls, no records of visions, no cure for sin, no diary of pronouncements on how life should be lived. No, there was merely a skeleton, hunched naked by the ashy remains of a long cold fire. I sat next to him for several hours, contemplating what he must have seen in the last flickers of flame, before leaving him as I found him, and heading back down the mountain.

Seeker of secrets,
unholy union; power,
knowledge, vanity.


Filed under Poetry