The Great Auk – Ligo Haibun Challenge

AnElephantCant always be serious
But sometimes he despairs for mankind
He tells of the Great Auk
Who with scarcely a squawk
Into the dustbin of history is consigned

The Haibun Ligo Challenge is a weekly event hosted by the delightfully delectable Penny along with lovely Nightlake and the perhaps less pretty Pirate.
Visit them for all the guidelines and background.

This week there is a choice of picture prompts.
AnElephant bases his tale on this one.

Copyright Penny? AnElephant dunno!

Copyright Penny? AnElephant dunno!

The Great Auk

In the autumn of 1840 three Scots fishermen landed on St Kilda, on the western extremities of the Outer Hebrides.
There they found and captured a large flightless bird.
Although they did not know it, this strange creature was the Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis).
They took it with them to their bothy* where they prepared food for themselves.
Almost immediately the weather changed dramatically.
Howling winds and torrential rains were followed by great claps of thunder and startling bolts of lightning.
As it intensified the superstitious men began to fret, and soon blamed the poor bird for their plight.
In their panic they beat the helpless creature to death with sticks and rocks.
This is the last recorded sighting of a Great Auk in the British Isles.
Officially it has been extinct for around 170 years.
Perhaps the penguin is wise to live at the other end of the earth.

ignorance and fear
are twin tragedies
that sadly never die

*bothy –a rough shelter or hut

As seen in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

This entry was posted in Daft Rhymes, haibun and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Great Auk – Ligo Haibun Challenge

  1. Peripatetic Eric says:

    Insightful haiku finishing an interesting story.


  2. Sarah Ann says:

    Fantastic haiku telling it like it is. That poor bird. It must have loved being cooped up in a bothy. If only it hadn’t started to rain…


  3. deeply written and so sad. 🙂


  4. nightlake says:

    Ignorance and fear targets other animals and also fellow humans. Technology has improved, but the mindset is still the same. Reminds one of the albatross. So well done this week


  5. Steph says:

    Interesting… and sad. Ignorance and fear are all around us, unfortunately. Nice piece. Well done.


  6. Very thought provoking, in a very elegant haiku. So sad that we never seem to learn.,.


  7. Penny L Howe says:

    You created a wonderful haibun from the prompt. And your haiku sums it up perfectly. Were you going to link this to the other entrants at the inlinkz?


  8. emmylgant says:

    Well done AnElephant.
    Le Haiku resume la narration de cette tragedie merveilleusement bien.


  9. RoSy says:

    If only we could capture ignorance & fear & do away with it.


  10. Anja says:



  11. helenmidgley says:

    great piece 🙂


  12. Alastair says:

    This is sadly very true.


Go on, say something, even if it's rude!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.