Of Green Tea Cups

Growing up in a military family meant moving a lot; but no matter where we lived, we always went to Grandma’s house for Christmas. I remember Grandma’s house more vividly than any of my own. Perhaps it’s because we moved often and she never did. Grandma’s house was the one constant in my ever-changing childhood, and my favorite place in her house was the coat closet.

In the bottom of that closet was a box, placed there especially for us children. The box held a spinning top with a crank handle, a jack-in-the-box, some lettered blocks, and a few other toys. But our favorite playthings were not the items designed for children, but the olive green tea cups and saucers that Grandma had added to the mix from her kitchen. Long after we had tired of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” my sisters and I would still be sitting cross-legged on the floor around the coffee table, sipping our pretend tea—with a pinky poking out—and talking about “adult” things. For a special treat, Grandma would wash the cups and let us fill them with hot cocoa…. I still love sipping tea with my sisters, though I now favor chairs over sitting on the floor.

bare branches bend—
cold wind welcomes hot cocoa
steam curls, rises

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun: Delving into the Traditional

Lillian is hosting Haibun Monday this week and she has given us a full explanation of this traditional form so that we can do our best to write our own haibuns in the spirit of the masters.

Today Lillian would like us to journey together into the interior of  the house we grew up in, or the first house we remember living in, and try to recall a room or place in that house that still resides in our memories. She asks us to take our minds around the rooms and see what details we can picture. Do we remember this room because of something that happened there…..or someone who habitually sat there?

Our haibun should begin with one or two short paragraphs describing that room—a true account, not fiction—followed by a haiku that adheres to the musts as given by Lillian:

  • nature-based
  • 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables (or short-long-short)
  • have a direct or subtle relationship to the prose paragraphs without being a restatement or summary of the same
  • must include a KIGO, a word or phrase associated with a particular season
  • must have two parts, divided by a KIREJI, a cutting word. We don’t really have an equivalent in English, so we often substitute a dash, comma, ellipsis, or exclamation point. But sometimes there is simply a natural pause.


8 Replies to “Of Green Tea Cups”

  1. I love this! So glad you posted to the prompt. I love how you contrasted your constant moving with still having a physical place of stability in your grandmother’s house. In the second paragraph of prose we’re privileged to go inside her house with you….and enter that special closet. The details of what’s in the box delight us as we the reader, open it with you….and in the examining of the contents more closely. So very sweet to see you and your sister sitting on the floor with the green tea cups. Your grandmother was indeed special….knowing just how to please two little girls by washing those cups and filling them with hot chocolate. This is a wonderful reminiscence – I hope you share this post with your sister!
    The haiku is lovely — does it make sense to you if I say it has a softness and warmth to it as did your grandmother’s comforting ways? The first line bases it in nature — bare branches are a kigo for winter…perhaps seen through a frosted window pane or actually while being outside, not just seeing the outside. The kireji comes in the reading, the pause after that first line – moving us inside to just perhaps hearing the wind while we are holding the warm cocoa. I think a hyphen at the end of that first line might make the kireji even more apparent.
    This is just a wonderful haibun, through and through!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your detailed comments, Lillian. You know, I had a hyphen at the end of the first line, and I removed it. I’ll put it back. Writing a haiku related to the interior of a house took me out of me comfort zone, but I found “hot cocoa” listed under winter kigo on the website you referenced, in the human relations category.

      Thank you, too, for your detailed explanation of this form. This was my third time writing a haibun. Yesterday I looked back at the other two and realized they did not come close to following the rules. I’m glad to be learning and improving as a poet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😊. Oh yes! Hot cocoa as a winter kigo- I just stopped at the bare branches as a winter kigo.

        I really enjoyed reading all the posts for this prompt. The reading as well as the research on traditional haiku helped solidify what it should be. I figured out a saying to help me remember: nature plus 2 K (kigo and kjiero).
        I don’t dare look way back at mine as the only thing I really knew about haiku was the 5-7-5 syllabic rule. Toni, who used to be a pub tender, is masterful at traditional haiku and I always learned a lot from her posts.
        I do like the dVerse community!😊

        Liked by 1 person

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