Come Inside My Haibun

He was an immigrant. A painter. A Swede who arrived at Ellis Island many years ago. I was privileged, as were many, to experience his journey in a most unlikely place. A basement room, in Chicago, Illinois.

Entering that underground space, we stepped onto a ship sailing across the mighty Atlantic. Sky cerulean blue overhead, dipped to meet the horizon, forever brightened by an invisible sun. Gulls hovered above waves rolling with white caps, dabs of paint that never splashed. We sat in the midst of many family celebrations, our chairs backed up against basement walls, as if leaning on Grampa Hallberg’s painted ship rails. A lifeless life preserver hung never-used, drawn not quite round.  It was a room like no other. It was the USS Sweden, frozen in time.

young beaver crosses pond
gathers sticks and stones and spring time mud –
journey revealed in lodge

IMG_1484

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets and I’m hosting today – asking everyone to delve into the traditional … and at the same time, take us on a trip into an interior they remember from their past. A room they can recall.

The Haibun must include 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose describing the interior (cannot be fiction); followed by a traditional haiku: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; must be about nature; must include a kigo (reference to a season) and a kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku.

Photo: Grampa Hajalmer Hallberg on the left in 1972, two years before his death. He immigrated from Sweden in 1906 at the age of 22. He’s sitting in the basement he painted to remind him of his journey to America on the USS Sweden.

46 thoughts on “Come Inside My Haibun

  1. kim881 July 23, 2018 / 3:10 pm

    Jinx! I didn’t see your post before I wrote and posted mine, Lill, and we’ve both written about grandparents! I love the description of the ‘USS Sweden, frozen in time’ and the background to your history, Lill, and the beaver haiku!.

    young beaver crosses pond
    gathers sticks and stones and spring time mud –
    journey revealed in lodge

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      We really should start keeping track Kim – of how many times we are sympatico. I remember writing a poem about my mother’s drawer – gloves, sachets etc and I think you remembered a similar drawer in your family?
      For today – remembering grandparents together 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 July 26, 2018 / 2:08 am

        And I had my fingers crossed!

        Like

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 3:39 pm

      My dad did the same — but as a draftsman would…we had the Chicago skyline on one wall…all to proportion with exact lines and corners using his t-square.
      Grampa Hallberg’s was total freehand and amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) July 23, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    It was an amazing time, so many Swedish emigrants leaving over the years, and what an amazing memory to have of a trip that must have been an ordeal (it was for many)…

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      It was so so sad when this house was sold. I’ve often wondered if it still looks like this.
      We actually have an old black and white photo of Grampa Hallberg standing on the ship, holding hands in a circle with several other men, dancing a jig at the moment they first saw the Statue of Liberty!

      Like

  3. sarahsouthwest July 23, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    What an amazing room! I love the stories of migration, the US as a great melting pot. How enriched it has been by the people it has welcomed. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 5:25 pm

      Glad you enjoyed, Sarah. My grandson has one of Hjalmer’s paintings in his room😊

      Like

  4. Glenn Buttkus July 23, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    Wow–you & I & Kim. I, too wrote about my grandfather, who was an artist. He once painted a fabulous mural on our living room wall; a high mountain scene. It was so realistic, our cat kept trying to leap onto a low branch in the foreground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 5:28 pm

      Smiling I am! My grandson has one of Hjalmer’s paintings in his room. In addition to his basement being painted like this, he stenciled their kitchen. His studio was in the loft of their garage. On the stair wall as you walked up was an old pin-up of Jane Mansfield😊😉

      Like

  5. rothpoetry July 23, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    How very interesting Lillian! Amazing how these pieces on nostalgia bring out a rich history!
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      Yes! I am really enjoying reading all the posts. They’re like peeking into everyone’s past a bit. And then, on so many of them, I can remember things that are so similar…:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol J Forrester July 23, 2018 / 6:15 pm

    What an amazing room Lillian. I’ll admit this prompt stumped me a little as I couldn’t think of one room in particular that held significant importance for me, it was more the house as a whole.
    Thank you for this little snapshot into your family history. It’s always fascinating to look back and to learn more about how people came to be where they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks, Carol. Oh….sorry to stump you…but I really enjoyed reading your post! I thought you responded to the prompt quite well 🙂

      Like

  7. Jo July 23, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    This is a wonderful snapshot into your grandparent’s lives – great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you, Jo. So glad you enjoyed! Hjalmer was a very very special man 🙂

      Like

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      It was actually in the basement of their house! And he stenciled the kitchen too. Some people used to say that if they drank too much of Grampa’s glogg at his Christmas parties, they’d get sea sick! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Waltermarks July 23, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Your Grandad gave you a perfect adventure already made up. That sounds like the beginning of many great adventures. And he actually painted it to resemble his voyage to America. That’s really cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 10:53 pm

      It truly was an amazing basement! Don;t know if you read my reply to someone else….but sometimes, at Christmas especially, if folks had a bit too much of Grampa Hallberg’s homemade glogg, they would get seasick! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kanzensakura July 23, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Truly superb writing this is. I love the painted basement! It is also good to learn of your origins as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 23, 2018 / 10:54 pm

      Thank you, Toni. I must say, I really enjoyed learning more about the haibun, and in particular, the traditional haiku. I think folks are really working toward that goal here. Fun to see. I know it will help me to go back and read my post about it as I face more haibun Mondays! :)Glad you enjoyed this write.

      Like

  10. Sabio Lantz July 24, 2018 / 5:44 am

    Without reading your explanation about the painted room below, I would not have understood the haibun. But with it, the story is rich and fascinating for me. He must have been a fascinating man.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. annell4 July 24, 2018 / 9:10 am

    A beautiful story of your Grandparent’s room, and loved the pic of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 24, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      Thank you, Anell. It was an amazing place to just sit and look all around.

      Like

  12. Jane Dougherty July 24, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    Beavers seem to fit with Sweden, to me, and that chilly North Atlantic deco is something else! What memories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 24, 2018 / 2:20 pm

      Hah! You’re the only one who commented on the haiku…the beaver. I tried to think of a more romanticized animal…and better sounding word than “beaver” — but — it fit so well. Coming across the pond (ocean), gather sticks and stones and mud to build his den — his lodge…and then the lodge/den of the animal actually shows where he’s been. It just seemed to fit to me…so, very glad that you thought so too!

      Like

      • Jane Dougherty July 24, 2018 / 4:52 pm

        The beaver is a quintessential northern forest animal and for me, the northern forest is Scandinavia. Also, beavers are industrious and hard-working, as I imagine the Swedish settlers were.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. merrildsmith July 24, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    Wonderfully written, Lillian–and what an amazing story and room.
    It’s nice that you have a photo of it, too.
    I like how you turned your grandfather into an [eager] beaver constructing his lodge for the haiku. Clever! 🙂
    I wish I had asked my grandfathers more about their experiences in immigrating–and life before and after.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 26, 2018 / 11:15 am

      I’ve often wished I’d done oral histories with my grandparents and parents….tape recorded their voices answering questions, talking about their childhoods etc. What a rich legacy that would be. I do so treasure the old photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith July 26, 2018 / 11:45 am

        I wish I’d that, too, Lillian!

        Like

  14. lynn__ July 25, 2018 / 10:38 am

    What a unique gathering room…painted with memories! Beavers make many water crossings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. jazzytower July 25, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    What a nice way to peek back into that past. Like stepping into a scene:) Just a great way to liven up a basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 26, 2018 / 11:17 am

      I’ve often wondered if the people living there now still have this scene on the walls and ceiling of the basement. I’m certain the stenciling is gone from the kitchen….remodeling etc probably. But harder to repaint a basement, yes?

      Like

      • jazzytower July 26, 2018 / 11:24 am

        I am hoping so too. It would definitely be a point of conversation in a hangout space😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 26, 2018 / 11:17 am

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Like

    • lillian July 26, 2018 / 11:19 am

      Thank you, Frank. I just wrapped up all the haibun reading. I really enjoyed how people responded to the prompt. It was fun delving into the traditional haiku!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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