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Haibun by Robert Wilson

A Vietnam Rumination

like yesterday---
two bowls of rice




I grew up in middle class America. My family and I ate as much as we wanted to eat. None of us went without. There was always money to buy a hamburger and french fries. We drank soda pop like water. Starvation was something we read about in National Geographic and Life Magazines.

Going to the Republic of South Vietnam during the War changed my outlook on life forever. I was thrust into a culture far removed from anything I'd every experienced. Poverty in the Mekong Delta region was the norm. There were no food stamps and welfare programs. No fast food restaurants and public housing. On several occasions, I saw people starving to death, pleading for food with vacant, lifeless eyes. Even today, their faces visit me in dreams.

Robert Wilson lives in the mountains near Yosemite National Park in northern California, with his wife and children. He also has a second home in the Republic of the Philippines.

He is the director of a community day school serving troubled teenagers, a columnist for Teacher Librarian Magazine, co-managing editor/owner of Simply Haiku, and is co-editor of Cherry Blossoms and Sakura haiku anthologies. He is also the author of Vietnam Ruminations (

Wilson has had haiku, haibun, and haiga published in several online and offline publications, including the Japanese textbook by Ikuyo Yoshimura, entitled The Americanization of Japanese Poems.

Wilson was awarded the Hoshino Takashi Award for 2003.


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