A Haibun for Bilbo

We drove for miles ‘cross lush countryside, the majestic Kaimai Range in the background. Rolling hills in myriad shades of green were everywhere, always dotted in white. There are more sheep in New Zealand than people.

We finally reached the sprawling Alexander family farm, centerpiece of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Setting out on foot to stroll the Shire, we were enthralled by the massive pine known as the Party Tree, the scene for Bilbo’s eleventy-oneth birthday. We walked along paths that led to vegetable, herb, and flower gardens – each different in shape, texture and color – next to thirty-seven colorful Hobbit Holes. Delightful miniature sheltered smials. Underground homes built into the hills, with roofs covered in grass and clover, and windows so low we had to crouch as if to take a peek. A clothesline was strung with miniature work shirts. A small wheelbarrow leaned up against a tree stub. We were giants walking through a magical world.

lily of the valley
miniature belled flower tops
tabby cat traipsing through


Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse where Toni is hosting today, giving us free rein in terms of a topic. Haibun: prose (not fiction) followed by a haiku (must have a nature theme). Photos from our wonderful trip to New Zealand. We visited the 1,250 acre Alexander family sheep farm outside Auckland, NZ, home of the mythical Hobbiton. The rolling topography, huge trees and lakes were deemed the perfect spot for 17th century Middle Earth immortalized in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. 

Australasian Little Penguins

Europeans settle rugged land,
in truth, unsettled. Balance disturbed.
Predators introduced to cure a plight
became the plight.
Land and species suffered
well-meaning mistakes.

One man saw and understood,
wed himself to land and a special mate.
Rejuvenated forest. Fought for,
and won, two marine sanctuaries.
Nesting birds depleted,
retreated to his cove.

Aptly named, Helps worked.
Natural burrows plundered,
extinction threatened,
he transformed bits of wood and rock
into havens above the ground.
Feathered flipper friends prospered.

Mrs. Helps built predator traps,
nourished wounded birds to health.
Children count and document.
Pale blue chicks hatch and grow,
march each year into sea,
return to breed again.

We are privileged visitors,
two among sixteen this day.
Ride rugged roads cross mountain tops,
marvel at miniature ships below.
Hills and seas, aquamarine and greens,
panoramic challenge to peripheral skills.

Sheep scamper as we descend,
his valley tall with forests proud.
We peek into nesting havens,
met by quiet, watched by trusting eyes.
Some sit upon their eggs,
others sit, little ones wedged beside.

And we witness this miracle of life.

Because one man and his wife,
dared to say enough.
Sacrificed wealth as many know it.
live a simple life upon and with the land
guardians to an eco system.
Their love given to generations.

Come take their tour and see their work
and you shall leave with wonder in your heart.
One extended family
in New Zealand’s awesome land.
Protectorates for nature
as it used to be.

On our amazing journey; now in New Zealand. We had the privilege of spending an afternoon at the Pohatu Penguin Sanctuary, located in Flea Bay near Akaroa, NZ. Mr Francis Helps and his wife (and children now; and eventually his grandchildren) do amazing work to protect the land and insure the Australasian Little Blue Penguins continue to survive. They also have 1,000 sheep on their land – have planted and are guardians of native forest. Such an amazing day. Such a dedicated family and a truly meaningful mission. This narrative poem is their story and dedicated to them. These small creatures are now thriving rather than disappearing.