Small Friend – Līgo Haibun Challenge

This week, I have decided to dip another toe in the world of the haibun – a piece of prose followed by a haiku poem. The Līgo Haibun Challenge is hosted by Penny, Ye Pirate and Nightlake – why not take a trip to their blogs to find out more?

This week’s two alternative prompts are photos – of a goat and a group of penguins. I have chosen the penguins, for no particular reason at all! I hope you enjoy it. Please do go and check out the other entries by visiting any of the co-hosts’ blogs and finding the InLinkz linky thing! There are some very talented writers out there…



– Small Friend –

“Does your Daddy like penguins?”

I look down at the little face raised upwards like a smiling flower. Her small, sticky hand grips mine tightly as we watch the trio waddling around the penguin pool. The innocent question stabs at my heart, so delicately protected by a tissue of time. The words slice through, finding their target.

I smile, determined not to crumple in front of this cheerful four year old, lost in the excitement of her day out at the zoo.

“Who doesn’t like them? Don’t you think they look like old men, waddling around?”

She extracts her starfish hand from mine, holding out both hands – her signal for a ‘carry n’ cuddle’.

“Please, I’m tired now.”

I crouch down noticing the mild ache in the small of my back, a remnant of too many days spent in unforgiving hospital chairs. Picking her up, I relish the warmth of her grasp around my neck. One arm releases as a thumb slips into her mouth, and her index finger hooks over her nose, rubbing gently, comfortingly.

“Don’t be sad,” she says. “You can ask him when you get home.”


little girl in spring

her life beginning, sees pain

inside, gives comfort


22 thoughts on “Small Friend – Līgo Haibun Challenge

  1. I agree with Anja there,some emotional feelings running under there, and the mystery of the hospital too, giving both an extra poignant sadness and edge to this delicately-described, soft piece. The haiku is subtle but gives a little gentle stab. Very nice writing, at different levels, touching feelings in me long untouched.

    1. Thank you, Ye Pirate. I’m using my writing abilities to get rid of some recently acquired demons. In reality, I’d like to write everything in bold and capitals, but that’s not appropriate – I’ll save that for my private notebook. I’m glad you found something in this for you. I’m chuffed that you describe this as delicate and subtle 🙂

  2. Such a touching moment. I like the unexplained mystery of the hospital chairs. And the end where we know the child can ask him herself – uplifting and hopeful. Nice piece.

  3. Children are very good at intuiting emotions. As well as bringing comfort. I remember reading a story about a little boy (I think at or after a funeral) who went up to the person who was in painful grief and just went up to them without a word and sat in their lap.

    A beautiful piece.

  4. This is gorgeous, so tender and touching. Love the description and imagery of a starfish hand. Really enjoyed reading this, despite the painful undercurrents.

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