Hiking Haibun and Haiku

Today, after we’ve had some rain, I took a walk in Mills Reservation in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, inspired by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk. I am just discovering the Japanese haibun form of poetic prose, and it seems to fit perfectly with hiking explorations, my desire to exercise and blog. I used to go on solo hikes with a book of poetry in my backpack, and this time, I went with a notebook, pen and phone camera. (This is not the haibun, just a more straightforward introduction.) 🙂


The wet earth squelches beneath my feet as I walk. Birds greet each other with song, twitters and squawks as I walk beneath the trees, filtering sunlight. Tall, slender trees tower above me, the sun creating interesting patterns of chiaroscuro among their leaves. For a few moments, I sit, pen in hand, on a damp stone near the stream. The active water gurgles as it flows, and the air smells sweet and earthy.

I rise and continue along the path. The hollow-sounding tattoo of a woodpecker echoes through the forest. Nervous blackbirds scatter and take flight.

The ground is so wet in places that my gait is strange, as I stretch my foot across to a flat rock or a drier spot. When I reach a place where water runs across the path like a stream, I hop across on stones.

Fallen trees abound, the shapes of their branches weaving a tangled design.

Some are overgrown with moss or lichen or climbing plants. Even before I approach a fallen pine, I detect its aroma in the air.

Trees see their reflection in the still water, while, across the path, water trickles and falls over branches and stones, a waterfall in miniature.

Geese communicate,

staccato sonorous blats

piercing the air.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark