Haibun: ‘Black Fridays’

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Fridays were special,
work was plentiful;
when the job centre found you.

Now just any other day —
yet blacker,
more dastardly,

that Friday feeling
banished forever
to that distant land

called happiness.

Gold fish in a bowl
Endless demented circling
Who’s the first to speak?

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: Unity

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Unity doesn’t mean we’re all the same.
Unity means acceptance and integrity.
Unity means honesty and truth.

We are not the same
We are sharing this same realm
We can get along

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: Bodhisattva


I follow you,
my Buddha in the being,
born to fame and luxury,
subject to loss and tragedy.
You lead a life of example,
of peace and patience.

I judge you by what is done,
not by what you say,
though such few words
have meaning

Better a good man
Rather than one who is great
I can follow you

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: Eye to Eye

young frustrated woman screaming with closed eyes
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I wish we could agree.
Our difference of opinion
enflames the things unsaid.
So we skirt around the issue
whilst I remained perplexed:
Whatever happened to your
rebellious youth?

And why am I the radical?

Brainwashed opinion
Open mindedness thrown out
Worn out paradigm

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: Ulysses in Chains

hallway with window
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I lied about reading Ulysses.
I started it, just didn’t get to the end.
I wanted to sound cool,
as if I understood Joyce’s intellect,
his significance in literature.

I day dream each day
Make out I am some hero
In truth I am snared

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: God is Within

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The 60s came and they declared You dead.
For a time many might have believed it.
But events transpiring ever since
have only convinced me that You are —
and always will be —
that still small voice inside.

Peace and love have gone
Division has gone viral
So I turn to You

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: It’s Up To You

woman holding her head
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The tension is palpable.
We stand at the crossroads.
It is clear which road
we should take,
yet ultimately it’s our choice.
Let’s not pretend we don’t know
but don’t let me be the one who said:
“I told you so.”

Now at breaking point
Desperate actors go rogue
Pray deliverance

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: The Long Game

playing rock game chess
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The silence is deafening,
tension taught as the tightest string.
We face not armies
but a hidden host
against whom we play
the game of our lives.

Who is first to blink?
Chequerboard duality
Playing the long game

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun: Keeping The Faith

silhouette image of person praying
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In the heat of battle
it’s easy to lose faith.
Give up, run away.
Watch something else,
bury your head in the sand
and pretend it isn’t real,
like a movie scaring you
which can be frozen any time.

It won’t go away
This hiatus must be faced
Remain in our faith

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun Poem: Amnesia

low angle photo of four high rise curtain wall buildings under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Philipp Birmes on Pexels.com

We found cameras in the rubble
of abandoned buildings
and started shooting.
We lived in ways which never matched 
those plush surroundings,
demolished before our eyes
to make way for the steel and glass –
an inferior civilisation tethered in debt.

Tell me what is real
Our amnesia is profound
Wake up to the dream

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haibun Poem: Inheritance

grey concrete stair inside building
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

History is a narrative,
tomes written by the victors,
stories bequeathed to us children
who merely play
among the cast offs of giants.

We inheritors
Our shacks around palaces
Digging in the dirt

copyright Francis Barker 2020