Sunday, September 21, 2014

Carpe Diem Special #108, Words by Francis of Assisi (3)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another CD Special episode in which I bring you quotes by Francis of Assisi for your inspiration. And this time I have (at least I think it is) a wonderful quote by him:

[...] "Remember that when you leave this earth you can taken nothing of what you have received, but only what you have a given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage". [...]

Isn't it a wonderful quote? But to write a haiku inspired on this quote will not be an easy task, but I have to try of course.

on her deathbed
she looks back on her life -
lotus flower blooms

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Pink Lotus
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 24th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, prayer flags, later on. For now ... be inspired.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Carpe Diem #566, Crow

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Crow is our prompt for today and I think this bird is so autumn ... however I couldn't imagine first why Jane has chosen 'crow' as a modern kigo for autumn, because there are several haiku written by the classics about crows e.g. this very famous one by Basho:

kare eda ni karasu no tomarikeri aki no kure

on a bare branch
a crow has stopped
autumn dusk

© Basho

Basho wrote this final version of this seminal haiku, i
n 1689, five years before his death, which, according to many literary critics, ushered in modern haiku replete with its subtle yet profound power. It represented a revolutionary change from the shallow, pun-ridden, clumsy haiku of the Danrin  School that held sway at the time. In the words of R. H. Blyth, this 'crow' haiku by Basho was the watershed in "the setting up of his own, indeed, the creation of what we now call 'haiku."
!! By the way ... I am coming back on this famous haiku by Basho in a new feature which I am creating right now !!
Or this one e.g. by Issa:

ki ni naku wa yamome karasu ka ama [no] kawa

cawing in the tree
are you a widow, crow?
Milky Way above

© Issa

And this is one of Jane's examples:

a crow's wing tips
sweeps from the clouds
dark rain drops

© Jane Reichhold

Isn't it a wonderful creature? But is it only for autumn? I don't think so ... but as I talk about crows there is an association with autumn or winter ... 

black on white
a flight of crows settles down
in an autumn field

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 23rd at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, a new CD-Special, later on.

Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" #6, Sodo's "There is Nothing"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's episode of "Sparkling Stars", the feature in which I bring haiku written by classical haiku-poets, known and not-known to you, is about Zen. What is Zen? Zen is as they say: "Not a thing exists of its own nature", all is bound together and is part of each other. What does this mean? As we think back at our "river"-prompt all and everything has its own Buddha-Nature, but is also bound together. And that's what Zen says: "All and everything has its own spirit. All and everything is God-like/Buddha-like and bound together".

This week I have a wonderful haiku (full of Zen) for you all, for your inspiration, written by Sodo (1642-1716). I think it's a wonderful haiku because of its simple complexity. In this episode I will, hopefully, bring this simple complexity, to real simplicity to let you all understand the meaning of this haiku and all other haiku are at their base a like with this one by Sodo.

yado no haru nanimo koso nanimo are

in my hut this spring,
there is nothing, -
there is everything!

© Sodo

This is poetry only when we take it as a spontaneous gush of feeling at some particular, fresh expression of the infinite meaning of things. A mouse runs over the tatami, and the whole Zoological Gardens cannot manifest more of life. Mildew covers an old piece of leather, and the mystery and power of Nature are revealed. The "philosophy" of the verse may be illustrated by a poem of Hakurakuten (penname of Pinyin Bo Jugi (772-846), a Chinese poet):

A Summer Day

The Eastern window is not hot at dusk;
Through the Northern door comes a cool breeze.
Sitting here, reclining there,
I have not left the room all day;
But if the mind is in its essence attached to nothing,
At home or abroad is just the same.

The Zen expression of Sodo's verse, however, is terser and better:

[...] "Not a thing exists of its own nature". [...]

This is what Mugaku Sogen (a Zen-Buddhist monk who lived from 1226 'til 1286 who also wrote wonderful poems), expresses in the following whimsical but profound way:

I thought
I would like
To give you something, -
But in the Daruma Sect,
We have not a single thing

And this poem says it all I think. Sodo, maybe did know this poem by Mugaku and used it for his inspiration ... who knows ...

Credits: Empty Bowl

To write a haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Sodo will not be easy, but I have to try is of course ...

an empty bowl
but in it is the spirit of emptiness -
the spring breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode of "Sparkling Stars" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday at noon (CET).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Carpe Diem #565, cutting wood

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy ... to have some spare time to create a new episode of our wonderful haiku kai. This month we are discovering modern kigo for autumn as compiled by Jane Reichhold in her "A Dicitionary of Haiku", a great saijiki in which you can find several modern kigo.|
Today our prompt is "Cutting Wood" and it immediately brought a haiku by Jim Kacian, our featured haiku-poet of August, in mind:

chopping wood-
someone does the same
a moment later

© Jim Kacian

To re-read this episode of CD-Special click HERE. It was our first CD-Special in August and I recall that you all shared wonderful haiku on this haiku e.g. by Björn Rudberg:

axes sing -
quenching winter’s dirge
of dying embers

©Björn Rudberg

Or this one by Nimi:

With each strike
the groan resonates -
Chopping wood

© Nimi

Both are beautiful and so different from each other. In my response on that haiku by Jim Kacian I wrote:

deep silence
in the forest I only hear
a Woodpecker

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Cutting wood
As I am preparing this episode another haiku came in mind. This time one by Yosa Buson and here it is:

ochikochi ochikochi to utsu kinuta kana

near and far
here and there the beating sound
of fulling blocks . .

© Yosa Buson

In ancient Japan, fulling blocks to chop wood on were also used for washing clothes. Another one also by Buson goes as follows:

kangetsu ni kiwo waru terano otoko kana

Under the winter moon
chopping up firewood,
the man of the temple

© Yosa Buson

All wonderful haiku on "cutting wood" and I think it's great to look at what Jane Reichhold uses as an example for this modern kigo.

the mountain path
being drawn through the woods
a sound of saws

© Jane Reichhold

Or what do you think of this example, also by Jane:

chain saw stilled
the sound of the ocean
comes into view

© Jane Reichhold

Isn't it a beauty. The chain saws are stilled and you can immediately hear the sound of waves, the song of birds or the rustling of leaves. Awesome.

after the rainstorm
again the sound of roaring chain saws -
dripping raindrops

© Chèvrefeuille

Awesome! What a wonderful prompt we have today. I hope you all will be inspired to share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai. Keep on going ... let's do some "wood cutting" (smiles).

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 22nd at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, crow, later on. For now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #50, Ese's "glittering blue"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It looks like we are into renga here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, but that's of course not the idea behind CDHK, but it's fun to "play" with haiku, so renga (as the mother of haiku) is very important for us haiku-poets.
This week's Tan Renga Challenge is by Ese of "Ese's Voice" and it's the 50th Tan Renga Challenge here at CDHK, so we have a little celebration, which I have given form in our new feature "Soliloquy No Renga" and in this post I just want to say THANK YOU ALL for being part of CDHK and participating in this Tan Renga Challenge every week.

This new Tan Renga Challenge is started with a nice haiku written by Ese in response on our earlier post "river" ... it is a stunning haiku and I couldn't resist it ... so I use it this week for our Tan Renga Challenge.

glittering blue
above empty riverbed
wings of dragonfly

© Ese

Isn't it a beauty? The goal of this feature is to write a second stanza towards this haiku. That 2nd stanza has two lines with respectively 7 syllables, but that's not an obligation. By associating on a theme, word, feeling or something in the given haiku (the first stanza of the Tan Renga) you have to complete or continue the Tan Renga.

Credits: Dragonfly
Here is my attempt:

glittering blue
above empty riverbed
wings of dragonfly   (Ese)                          

through the mist, the croaking of frogs;
soon the riverbed will be full again   (Chèvrefeuille)                    

A nice continuation I think, but that's not up to me. This episode of our Tan Renga Challenge is open for your submissions today at noon (CET) and will remain open until next Friday September 26th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem Soliloquy No Renga (an introduction), "purple shadow"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have a new challenging feature for you all ... (thank you Jen). As you all know haiku came from 'hokku' the opening verse of a Renga or chained verse ... Renga was a collaborative kind of poetry in which several poets were participating. Basho, one of the four greatest haiku-poets (next to Buson, Issa and Shiki) transformed the 'hokku' into a poetry-form on itselves, the haiku ...
I love to bring you back to the roots of our beloved haiku and created what I will call 'Soliloquy No Renga', a Renga written by one poet. Soliloquy means monologue and is a synonym for it.

The goal of this new feature is to write a Soliloquy No Renga, a Renga composed by one person. With this new feature it is possible to help you to be more associative, because you have to compose an all new renga with at least six (6) links.
As you all know a renga has stanzas of three and two lines. The first verse "hokku" gives the title to the renga and sets the entire image of your renga. By association on the verse before the verse you have to write you can make the renga a complete story.
This new feature is just for fun and I hope it will bring you the fun and inspiration as I had in mind. You can choose on your own how much links you use, but at least (as I said above) six (6) links. The last link has to make the "circle complete" and in that way has a link with the first verse. That last verse is called "ageku".

I will give you the "hokku" for the Soliloquy No Renga and than it's up to you. That "hokku" can be a haiku by a classic or modern haiku-poet.
As you all know this month we have all wonderful haiku by Jane Reichhold based on her saijiki "A Dictionary of Haiku", so to honor her I have chosen a nice autumn haiku composed by Jane as the starting verse of this first episode of Carpe Diem "Soliloquy No Renga". So our first "hokku" ever for this new feature is the following haiku:

blue autumn skies
folded into mountains
purple shadow

© Jane Reichhold

So you have to start with this opening-verse or "hokku" and in your closing-verse or "ageku" there has to be a link or association back to this "hokku". Why? Well ... it's because of aesthetic reasons ... by linking or associating from the "ageku" to the "hokku" you make the "circle" complete.

Here is my first "Soliloquy No Renga" (a 10-stanza renga):



the autumn skies
folded into the mountains
purple shadow

fresh breeze brings new sounds
I have never heard earlier

nightingale sings-
a serenade for, her, the moon
hidden behind clouds

leaves, colorful and bright
fall one by one as was planned

after the rainstorm
reflections of blue sky and clouds
in muddy waters

Credits: reflections on water (moon and aurora) © Robert Berdan

raindrops - rhythmic art of nature
in the pond circles fade

in faint moonlight
shadows of bare branches
move like humans

fireflies lightning my path
to the top of the mountains

high above the clouds
the thin air crystallizes


everywhere around me I see
blue sky and everlasting snow

© Chèvrefeuille

It's a great way to learn how to associate on themes to make this all new kind of renga "Soliloquy No Renga" and I hope you all like it and will try it. 

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until October 20th at noon (CET). Than I will decide if I will do this feature again. Have fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Carpe Diem #564, Vineyards

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday we had an "out of box" post about 'river' and today the prompt brings us back to earth. Today our prompt is Vineyards and there is a lot to tell about vineyards, but I am not going to do that. I am just giving you the prompt and that's it ... (smiles)

No ... I can't do that. Vineyards are e very specific prompt for autumn October is the harvesting month for grapes and that's a lot of work. The Vineyards are giving us wine and that's a lot of work too. I am not someone who drinks wine, I am more of beer, yes I know that's maybe a bit to normal, but I don't like wine really. Of course I love to have sometimes a glass of wine at dinner or on a romantic evening, but I am not someone that drinks a lot.

Credits: Vineyard
Vineyards we find everywhere on earth even in my flat country The Netherlands. In our southern region we have vineyards, but were I live ... in the polder, in the midst of my country we have vineyards too, because of the soil here.

walking in the vineyard
with the one I love to share a glass with -
the scent of grapes

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... as I said ... not a long post for today. Now it's up to you to write a haiku inspired on this prompt. Jane Reichhold gave the following example(s):

pale fog
yellow vineyards over
champagne cellars

at the family-run vineyard
a cat too

Wonderful examples on Vineyard ... let those haiku inspire you.

Credits: Vineyard
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 21st at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, cutting wood, later on. !! PS. I am behind with visiting and commenting I will catch up a.s.a.p. !!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #5, Ants

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

"Time flies when you have fun" they say and I think that's true. I have vacation, so no rush to work or something. Time is on my side and that's a nice thing to know.
As I mentioned in the last "preview" I am busy creating a few new features and a new website. In the next weeks I will present and introduce the Carpe Diem Ginko in which we will take a walk through my neighborhood with pencil and paper in hand. So ... you will learn a little bit more about me and the place I am living.

In this episode of "Little Creatures" the leading role is for the ants those wonderful little creatures that work so hard, they are always busy (as I am, maybe I am an ant?) We will look at them in admiration and awe. Of course there will be a few examples of haiku written by classic haiku poets about ants e.g. Buson, but that's later in this episode. First I will look at a wonderful saying about ants in the Holy Scripture:

[...] "Go to the ants, you sluggard, see their ways and become wise". (Proverbs 6: 6) [...]

or what to say about this verse (also from Proverbs):

[...] "(Ants) which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest." (Proverbs: 30: 29) [...]

That first verse from Proverbs is one of the most known and in my country it has become a "saying". The haiku examples I will share here are not that well known, maybe the one by Buson, but I don't know that for sure.

Credits: Leaf Cutter Ants (photo © Gail Shumway/Getty Images)

yudachi ni hashirikudaru ya take no ari

an evening shower:
the ants are running down
the bamboos

© Joso

The touch of Zen is in the unexpressed and therefore all the more poignant feeling of the unity of our life with that of nature. This is felt in the ants' agitated running back down the trunks of the bamboos, the same ants that seem to have been climbing up the bamboos all day.

ari nagasu hodo no oame to nari ni kiri

it became a rain
heavy enough
to wash the ants away

© Kuson

This is not so much an expression of pity for the ants as a description of the summer rain. We may say the same even of the following, by Gyodai:

yakue naki ari no sumika ya satsukiame

nowhere to go;
the dwellings of ants
in the summer rain

© Gyodai

To endorse this row of classical haiku I have a haiku by Buson:

haari tobu ya fuji no susano no kore yori

winged ants fly
from a small house
at the foot of Mount Fuji

© Buson

This may be reminiscent of the beginning of Soshi. Winged ants, a small house, Mount Fuji, here is a gradation of size, a relativity which shows the meaningless of mere quantity. There is a mystery in this verse which is like that of Alice in Wonderland, but not so obvious. (Source: R.H. Blyth, Haiku Vol. 3)

Credits: Bull Ant (© J.Green, Photographer)

And now ... the goal of this "Little Creatures" episode: You don't have to use the classical rules. You have to write an all new haiku about ants or another little creature, but ... you have to write a six (6) linked renga about it, so your response starts with one of the given haiku (you may choose which one you will use as the starting verse (hokku) of your six (6) linked renga), than a two line stanza, a three line stanza, a two line stanza, a three line stanza and the last stanza (ageku) has to be a two line stanza and must have a link or association on the first three line stanza (hokku).

(For example) I will start my six (6) linked renga with the haiku by Joso:

an evening shower:
the ants are running down
the bamboos

(In renga this starting verse is called "hokku")

as the day ends in the west
the last sunbeams disappear

the cool summer night -
I have restless dreams next to you
the one I love

nightmares torturing me
attacked by mosquitos

the first sunbeams
cherishing my naked body
blankets have fallen

awakened by rustling bamboo
a new day rises for the ants

(In renga this closing verse is called ägeku")

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Ants on Bamboo

And now it's up to my dear friends and family-members ... not an easy task I think, but for sure it will be fun. So "become" the ant (or any other little creature) and look around you ... nature will inspire you ...

This episode of Little Creatures will be open for your submissions Thursday 18th at noon (CET) and will remain open until next Thursday September 25th at noon (CET). Well .... have fun!
!! Soon to come an all new feature related to renga !!

Carpe Diem #563, River

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we have river for prompt and I will 'write out of box' because I love to go in to a deeper layer. Why? I will tell you ... Herman Hesse wrote the wonderful, fictive, novel titled 'Siddhartha' in which he describes the story of a young Brahman-son named Siddhartha ... the same as the Buddha ... After a long time he ends up at a river becoming the ferryman ... Siddhartha learns a lot from the older ferryman and finally finds "his truth" in the river from which he says:

[...] "It is this what you mean, isn't it: that the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?" [...]

River's well
As the time passes Siddhartha encountered his son and lost him again, because the boy wouldn't live in poverty, because he had a life in richness. As his son has gone he (Siddhartha) sat down at the river together with his 'master' Vasudeva, the old ferryman, and they listen to the river.

[...] They listened. Softly sounded the river, singing in many voices. Siddhartha looked into the water, and images appeared to him in the moving water: his father appeared, lonely, mourning for his son; he himself appeared, lonely, he also being tied with the bondage of yearning to his distant son; his son appeared, lonely as well, the boy, greedily rushing along the burning course of his young wishes, each one heading for his goal, each one obsessed by the goal, each one suffering. The river sang with a voice of suffering, longingly it sang, longingly, it flowed towards its goal, lamenting its voice sang. [...]

Siddhartha discovers that he has to be like the river, and that time not exists, that's what he learns from the river ... and that, my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, is how I see the river as a metaphor for life itself, for not being on one place ... the river ... from it's well to it's delta is the greatest teacher we have in the nature around us ... look at the river, look really to the river ... and than ... well ... it will be magical.

A last quote from Siddhartha, as he is speaking with his old friend Govinda while sitting at the river I love to share here ... it's something Siddhartha tells about his master Vasudeva:

[...] "He had noticed that the river's spoke to him, he learned from it, it educated and taught him, the river seemed to be a god to him, for many years he did not know that every wind, every cloud, every bird, every beetle was just as divine and knows just as much and can teach just as much as the worshipped river. But when this holy man went into the forests (a metaphor for dying), he knew everything, knew more than you and me, without teachers, without books, only because he had believed in the river." [...]

Isn't it a wonderful thought? To see the river as a teacher, just by listening to its gurgling, look at it's clearness, it's everlasting journey ... the river has been everywhere and brings far away places to us ... as we listen to the river ... it can tell us wonderful stories.

I hope you did like this post and I hope you didn't see it like a sermon, because I am not a preacher, I am just a humble man who listens to the river, or ... to nature. In nature we can find knowledge, wisdom ...

For this episode I decided not to use a haiku by Jane Reichhold, because it wouldn't fit into this post, but I love to share a poem here by Julian Mann on

River feeling is
As simple as
Closing your eyes
For a moment.

Everything flows like river

River feeling is
As smooth as
Everything after
The first step.

Everything flows like river

River feeling is
easy as forgetting
Walking boots.

Everything flows like river

River feeling is
nice as
iron ties
Coming off.

Everything flows like river
Everything flows like river
Everything flows like river
Everything is good and flows
like river

As I read this poem by Julian Mann ... I think that he knew the story of Siddhartha and his river, but maybe that's not true, I don't know, but what I can say ... this poem is very similar to the feeling I got form reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. (!! the quotes from Siddhartha are from the Project Gutenberg version of Siddhartha !!)

high in the mountains
crystal clear water gives birth to a river -
I light a candle

© Chèvrefeuille

Wow! ... the river has done me a favour ... it inspired me in a strange way almost magical ....
!! All three photos are from Free Big Pictures !!

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 20th at noon (CET). I will post our new episode, Vineyards, later on. For now ... listen to your inner river of wisdom and find the right words to compose a haiku inspired on this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #25, Björn Rudberg on "Haiku and Humor"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have a nice GW-post for you all. This time it's a Ghost Writer post by Björn Rudberg of Björn Rudbergs Writings and he invites us to bring humor into our haiku. Humoer in haiku isn't my "cup of tea", but sometimes I try it of course. I will look for a few examples and post them in response on this GW-post. Have fun!


Humor in Haiku and renga

One thing we use to little in haiku is the dry humor you can sometimes find in classical haiku. Maybe we are too respectful to the form sometimes, still when reading through I see (often with apologies) attempts in this direction. Today I would like you to take an approach to the dry wit of haiku writing, 

We have had even classic example previously here, consider for example this one by Issa:

spring peace -
a mountain monk peeks
through the hedge

The combination of the monk and peeking through the hedge removes some of the respect for the monk and make him a human of flesh and blood, and spring is an excellent time when this might happen to a monk full of hormones.

Another way of doing humor in haiku is a concept of renku haikai no renga (俳諧の連歌, "comic linked verse"),. This is similar to renga in the sense that we create a comic effect in collaborative poetry.

A classic example is:

The robe of haze is wet at its hem

to which the disrespectful response was:

Princess Sao of spring pissed as she started

Imagine, a deity like the princess of spring gets wet by peeing on herself.

So today I want you to either, write a classic haiku with humor embedded, or take a classic haiku (maybe from our earlier challenges), and to a tan renku, where your second stanza create an effect of humor through coarseness and disrespect. 

Do not be afraid, this is a day to be merry.


Well ... let us have a smile on our faces or let us laugh out loud ... it's up to you my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers.

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 19th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, river, later on.