Spellbook Haībun

IMG_9784“And then there are the times when the wolves are silent and the moon is howling.”

— George Carlin

Autumn leaves tapped the small windows. Elspeth blew the dust off the book. She knelt amidst generations of clutter and debris in the Martin family attic. She was looking for a costume, because Halloween was that night. On the leather book cover was burnt a full moon surrounded by a five-sided symbol. As the dust settled on old crocheted blankets and old-fashioned high chairs, she opened the book at random.

hidden in the trunk

voice rusty with disuse

still with much to say

“Scarab powder, dash of scaly rot, and ground bat bones sprinkled on seven squashed wolf spiders. Stir widdershins under a howling moon with a finger of oak. Stroke quarter over the main mast and quarter on the crow’s nest. Every particle that remains, seal in wax and burn until gone in the hold. Soon will come to you a strong headwind, fair weather and enemy bane. Beware shoal and reef, but raise proudly your flag, for safe port you will make, wise cargo making your fortune.”

seek the howling moon

sailing toward future fortune

magic within you

Fate had brought her to her ancestor’s spellbook, and fate denied becomes foe. Elspeth decided to be a witch for Halloween. She had no immediate need for a sailing spell, but perhaps it could be adapted for her car.  Elspeth embraced the book, and put it back under the crocheted afghans in Grandma Demeter’s favored avocado and pumpkin colors. Grandma Demeter had always seemed to have a charmed life. Now Elspeth knew why.

hold close heritage

its magic will come to you

when fate brings you home

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Prepared from the weekly Līgo Haībun challenge. Please visit them if you want to see some great writing!

28 thoughts on “Spellbook Haībun

  1. Pingback: Get Your Orange On | Friendly Fairy Tales
  2. I love Witch stories…
    for within each line of fantasy
    is a drop of truth
    stirred in the cauldron as we set a spell
    and have a cup of tea
    and memories of magick ones long ago we tell
    their tales
    Wonderful story….
    Take care…You Matter…


    • This might be the best comment I’ve read in a month!! Thanks, Elephant!! I really had fun with this one, but I feel vaguely like a rule-breaker. The haibun has so many rules it brings out my inner rebel. 🙂 I feel like the haibun is a daisy, and I am plucking a petal each week, it loves me, it loves me not, it loves me. 🙂 I like your writing, too. Blessings you great Scottish Elephant! Warmly, Brenda


  3. I like the way that as soon as you mentioned the dusty loft everything fell into place and it was easy to picture what was going on. And the autumn leaves tapping the window was a nice touch too. For some reason a dusty loft and autumn leaves go together really well. Was that deliberate or accidental? I’d love to know because if it was deliberate I want to know what technique you use!

    Here’s a link to some information on haiku basics. It always helps the prose if the haiku can accompany it well. Having said that I really like your pacing of haibun and haiku. Something I could definitely learn from!

    Thanks for the read,
    Joe @flatfroghaiku


  4. Oh, I love this! It has such a resonance – that your ancestral history is always with you, will always seek you out – brilliant. I love the imagery of the attic too, it reminds me of my Great Aunt Ida’s house…
    Blessings on your week (wish us luck with the storms!) Bia 🙂


    • Thanks! This was a tough one for me, writing for kids, so I went back to my fairy tale and fantasy vein. I’m glad you saw through the story to the things that are me. 🙂 Have a magical week! Brenda


Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.