Margo Roby, in her Tuesday Tryouts,, asks us to write a haibun: a combination of a narrative and a haiku.

Flickr image by tfangle

UPDATE: After suggestions by Margo and Paula Wanken, I rewrote my narrative section. It still doesn’t feel like poetry, but it is better.

UPDATE 2: Paula took a look at my first update and made additional suggestions and did some editing to show me how to cut out the dross. I believe it is finally starting to look like something.


My exploration of the replica of the Santa Clara (called the Nina by her crew) was not at all like being her passenger. Her austere main deck of only 1,900 square feet was where the 20-man crew competed with masts and sails for space to work, eat, and sleep. The hold below was used only for storage of supplies and trade goods. These sailors were exposed to the elements with no relief. Months-long voyages through heavy seas, driving rain, blazing heat, and icy cold to travel to the New World.

The spirit of explorers
When seeking new lands

Writing note: Sunday, we took two of our grandsons to the Grafton, Illinois, dock on the Mississippi River. The full-scale reproductions of the Niña and the Pinta,, two of the ships of Christopher Columbus, were there on display. In the above photo, one can see how little of the deck is available for crew to live on.

This entry was posted in Haibun, Narrative Poem, Poetry, Sea, Ships, Tuesday Tryouts, Un-rhyming and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to NIÑA

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Interesting and enjoyable haibun. The haiku really sums it up. And then came the slave ships – what a travesty.

  2. margo roby says:

    You said you need to work on the narrative. Look in what you have for what you want to stand out. Your process note “There were no living quarters below decks. The crew spent 24 hours a day on a deck that would be awash from a wave as small as three-feet high” is what you are looking for, I think. Go back into your narrative and pull out the elements that demonstrate the indomitableness and spirit.
    This form has great possibilities, doesn’t it?


  3. Renee says:

    I did think they were not large ships but had no idea they were that small either. I have enjoyed your site with your writing and also various other posts. I love history and so this post is especially nice. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Enjoy!

  4. earlybird says:

    I remember seeing a replica of the Pinta at Baiona in Spain (where she/then? set out from). I couldn’t believe anyone could face the Atlantic (or rather the Unknown) in something so small.

    Nice haiku.

    • earlybird says:

      AGGG! Of course La Pinta didn’t set out from there – she came BACK to Baiona to announce the discovery of the New World. What was I thinking of!

      • Mike Patrick says:

        La Pinta was an interesting ship. She only made the one trip to the New World and then disappeared from history. La Niña, which was a little smaller than La Pinta, became the flag ship for Columbus and made three trips back to the new world. One can’t help but wonder what became of the Pinta. The Santa Maria sank in 1492.

  5. Mike, I love anything nautical, so you had with this from the start. Nice.


  6. Mary says:

    Your comments about these three ships were very interesting. So often we just quote their names and don’t picture what they are really like. I really liked the Haiku that went along with the narrative. Indominatable spirit indeed. Here is my Haibun, if you have time to look:

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