Lilacs…a haibun for dVerse

Posted: May 30, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

This is one of my first attempts at haibun, although I’ve done a number of haiku before.  I welcome constructive criticism but please be kind.  🙂

(A note for the other haibun writers: I’ll be out of town until Tuesday, so I won’t have much time to read and comment.  But I’ll get to your posts as soon as I can and look forward to it.)


photo 2(59)


Clothes-drying racks
stand before open windows,
the robust breezes of Illinois spring
rolling endless waves of lilac-perfumed air through the house.

Will I wonder one day soon
whose lilac scent was too near my husband
during his day at work,
when the subtle scent twitches my nose
as my hug welcomes him home?

How can a fragrance from a hundred blooms
be more delicate yet pervasive
than the tsunami of perfume
that numbs my senses
when an overly-bedaubed women
prances past my shrinking olfactory passages?

Nature’s sweet perfume
Beauty in the form of scent
Artifice is shamed

  1. The ‘tsunami of perfume’ is an excellent image Janet. You’ve included cleverly the sense of nature and season and you’ve created a clear sense of the here and now. I think you have done wonderfully well.

  2. M-R says:

    Love the lilacs, Janet – not qualified to comment on the poetry. 🙂

  3. brian miller says:

    dang…interesting turn in this…and what is it that erodes our trust to where suspicion creeps in…and what is a beautiful scent is soon the evidence of infidelity

  4. Linda says:

    Nothing like the delicate perfume of natural flowers, and I love lilacs. I love what you’ve done with this haibun.

  5. Hey Janet. .great to see you here.. wonderful thought expressed, that tsunami of smell. (which I think at least is rarer today than it used to be) is a brutal onslaught on my privacy — but the nature’s one is much more subtle and elegant..

    As I know you are one that like constructive criticism (it’s not that common at dVerse) I can come with a few suggestions..

    First, you can go with your normal prose in the text.. haibun is very tolerant though so there is nothing wrong with doing poetry and I wanted you to experiment. Secondly for the haiku — doing a summary of the conclusion of the text is also allowed, but the really strong effect you get by doing “show not tell” I would make it less connected to the text.. to add that dimension that you want in a haibun… All in all I liked your haibun a lot, and other’s taste might differ….

    • Bjorn, I asked Hamish just this morning about the haiku being the same and he said it was fine. I think next time, I’ll try to have it be more disconnected. I’m looking forward to having time to read other haibun so I can learn from them (as soon as the next few days are gone.) Thanks for the feedback. Since I’m just starting with haibun and trying to gain a better understanding of it, I appreciate it even more.


      • Oh do not misunderstand me, Hamish is more than correct, and your haibun is lovely.. I just wrote my comment to give you some advice to make it even more interesting, and when it comes to that, taste certainly differs a lot. Haibun is a lovely format — and so very versatile.. actually I think you could go back to a few of your better 100 word story and add a haiku.. 🙂

      • Bjorn, I was happy to have your comments and didn’t take them in the wrong way. I’ll try a variety of ways and was thinking myself that I might be able to use a FF story or just something I’ve already written and add the haiku, the way I did earlier in the week at Hamish’s urging. I liked that there wasn’t a specific photo prompt so that I could use the prose poem I’d just written. 🙂

  6. tigerbrite says:

    What a fragrant laundry, I can just smell its freshness.

  7. I liked your subject of betrayal.Interesting take. The overpowering scent of another woman is much more interesting that the trace of lipstick on the shirt collar.They say if a man buys new underwear he is having an affair:)Enjoyed this one.

    • Of course I suppose men have to buy new underwear sometime, even if they’re not having affairs. 🙂 Glad you liked the haibun and thanks for stopping by. I look forward to reading everyone else’s when life slows down just a bit. That will be a great learning experience.


  8. claudia says:

    oh i hope that he will know how to politely tell her to sprinkle her scent on someone else and that there’s no need for doubts and that you can fully enjoy the scents of nature

  9. Joyce says:

    Very pretty verses, Janet. I have a lilac bush in my yard, the ‘dwarf’ size, it’s called, but getting quite large now, and it produces faithfully every year with the most fragrant blooms. The lilac is my most favorite scent and flower of spring blooms.

    • Hi, Joyce. We had three bushes, trees almost, at our former house, one with white, one lavender and one purple flowers. At the rental, the blooms are all lilac but there are five or six bushes right outside the front windows, so the scent is marvelous. Have a great weekend.


  10. Tina Schell says:

    Interesting Janet – hope it’s not autobiographical! Never heard of the haibun, looked it up. Very interesting. I love your piece.

    • The first verse is autobiographical, the second just made up, although I have to say I was only thinking of a scent that would get on a man’s clothes at work, not from an affair. But it could cover both. I was on the road all day so I haven’t had a chance to do the photo challenge. Have to see if I can get to it at all this week. Enjoy your weekend.


  11. hypercryptical says:

    ‘tsunami of perfume’ – wonderful words.
    Betrayal betrayed by the perfume of lilacs – how sad this must be. (I have just read your response to the comment above – phew!)
    Reminds me of the time my hubs brought me home a bouquet (something he never had before) and alarm bells rang and I asked him if he was having an affair – he looked shocked and denied it – I believe him to this day.
    Anna :o]

    • Anna, what a relief to hear that your poor husband was just being nice. 🙂 I didn’t realize how many people might think this was true but as I said, that part wasn’t true and I wasn’t even thinking of the husband having a real affair, just the scent being there. Thanks for coming by and for commenting.


  12. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    I love the sentiments in your haiku! The preceding writing made an interesting story.

  13. Anita says:

    Lovely fragrance! Your words carry a great smell 🙂

  14. Mary says:

    Oh, I love the scent of lilacs. I really enjoyed how you carried the sense-uality throughout your poem; and you left the reader with questions and speculations.

    • Thanks, Mary. You’re an intimidating group (in all positive ways) to be joining and I look forward to growing more adept at writing haibun. I was amused to see how many people assumed an affair which, as I commented earlier, hadn’t even entered my mind. Writing is so interesting. Thanks for coming by and commenting!


  15. Gabriella says:

    Don’t worry, Janet. You did well for a first attempt. I enjoyed reading where an innocent fragrance could lead to.

  16. Well, I think this was wonderfully done. I loved the imagery that you created in my mind with this. You should feel very pleased with your work!

  17. Grace says:

    I love the lilacs scent though their perfume can be overpowering ~ And I like the haiku as well, beauty in the form of a scent ~

    Nice to meet you ~

  18. says:

    Really nice mental and sensory imagery Janet !

  19. Poet Laundry says:

    Oh I love the scent of lilacs. If another woman’s perfume/scent was on someone I’d suspect they’d been a little too close too. Well done haibun Janet!

  20. Bryan Ens says:

    Very well written haibun. The betrayal is powerful enough in the prose portion, and is made that much more poignant in the haiku.

    • Thanks for reading and for your comments, Bryan. It’s been a great learning experience to read all the various entries for the challenge. I have a few more to go, but what a talented group!


  21. Imelda says:

    Ah, your post appeared as “Janet’ not “Sustainabilitea” in the linky. Having said that, I enjoyed this post because (1) it is an ode to lilac which at this moment, perfumes the house; (2) I like the comparison/contrast you made between lilac fragrance and a woman’s tsunami of fragrance.

    As for the constructive comments, I am not in a position to make any as this DVERSE prompt is also my first time to write a haibun. I sneaked a peak into Bjorn’s comments though because I find it very useful. I should ask for constructive comments like that, too, because comments like that help one improve in the craft. 🙂

    • Imelda, thanks for taking the time to come by. I’m in the same position of not being able to give helpful criticism, but we’ll learn. And even among those who write lots of haibun, there are different tastes and ideas.


  22. Lovely work!! One of my favorite scents as well. Love that word, “bedaubed.” 🙂

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