Saturday, July 26, 2014

Carpe Diem #525 Buson (5), "a glimpse of dawn"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Slowly, slowly ... the end of this month is coming closer. It was a month full of haiku of the big five, Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Issa and Shiki. They all wrote wonderful haiku and you all did a great job every episode again with writing all new haiku inspired on the haiku by the big five. It makes me proud and humble to be your host here at CDHK.

Today we have our last haiku by Buson and I hope you all will be inspired by this haiku written/composed by Yosa Buson.

shira ume ni akuru yo bakari to nari ni keri

the night almost past
through the white plum blossoms
a glimpse of dawn

© Buson

Yosa Buson died on December 25th 1783 and the above haiku was, what we call, his Jisei or deathpoem. Even on his deathbed Buson wrote haiku as if he was painting ... what a gorgeous haiku he left behind as his soul travelled to Paradise.

Credits: White Plum Blossom (woodblock print by Kawarazaki Shodo)
It will not be easy to write an all new haiku inspired on the last one Buson wrote, but I have to try ...

white cranes
flying above the meadow -
church bells ring

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 29th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode later on, that will be the last haiku by Issa for this month.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Carpe Diem's Sea Shell Game

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know I have started the first edition of the Sea Shell Game on Carpe Diem. You can find that post  HERE ... I have understand that there were problems with submitting haiku entries for the Sea Shell Game, because of not working of the email-link in the post.
I have checked another time and it occured that there was a mismatch in the link. I have repaired it so I hope the emailaddress link will work now.

This the correct email-address:

I have it also repaired in the post as refert to above.

Sorry for causing this problem.

Hope to see all of you participate in this first edition of Carpe Diem's Sea Shell Game.


Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Carpe Diem #524 Chiyo-Ni (5), ''waterweed''

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This wonderful month is running to it's end and today we already our last haiku by Chiyo-Ni. I think I have found a wonderful haiku written by her and therefor I will not write more than is needy.

floating away, despite
the butterfly’s weight on it

© Chiyo-Ni

Credits; Yellow Swallowtail
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 28th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the fifth haiku by Buson, later on. For now ... have fun!
!! PS. I have created a new feature at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Special weblog !!

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #44, Sho-u "spring in our country''

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

A new Tan Renga Challenge is on ... to challenge your senses and insights in the association on themes. As I have done this month with the Tan Renga Challenges I have another classical haiku-poet for you to write Tan Renga. This week I have chosen a haiku by Sho-u. As far as I know he wrote only two haiku and there is nothing else to tell about him ... I couldn't find anything about Sho-u ... The goal of the Tan Renga Challenge is to write a second stanza of two lines (7-7 syllables or less) towards the given haiku by association on the first stanza in this case the haiku by Sho-u.

mannaka ni  fuji sobietari  kuni no haru

in the centre,
mount Fuji towers up:
spring in our country

© Sho-u

Poetry, like charity, begins at home, and if we do not love that country in which we have seen, how shall we love that country which we have not seen? For various reasons, excellent patriotic poems are rare in the literature of every country. Every nation has its own peculiar love of country, inexpressible save obliquely as in the above verse. It cannot be explained and hardly be imagined by anyone unless born and bred in that country, imbibing in the most trivial affairs of daily life something which sees, for example, in Mount Fuji an embodiment of his most secret origins and aspirations.
The love of country here, that is identified with the springtime of that country, is rightly felt by Issa to be something of living value:

[...] ''A symbol endures, but everything beautiful vanishes with the life-pulsation of the man, the class, the people or race that feels it as a specific beauty in the general cosmic rhythm''. [...]

Credits: Mount Fuji

I have never been to Japan so I cannot feel the intensity of the Japanese living with their country, but as I look to my own country, than I can feel the same as is said in the haiku by Sho-u and in the words by Issa. So this Tan Renga, started by Sho-u, has to have a second stanza which is making that feeling of love for nature stronger ... So that will not be an easy task ...

in the centre
Mount Fuji towers up:
spring in our country

a gathering of families
celebrates the cherry blossoms

Awesome! I did succeed I think to make the Japanese love for their country even stronger and I even could share my love for the Cherry blossom in this second stanza. I celebrate the Japanese spring every year again in my own garden as my Sakura starts to bloom.

This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday August 1st at noon (CET). Have fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Carpe Diem #523 Basho (5), ''How Rare!''

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today our last ''role'' of haiku by the big-five starts with a beautiful haiku written by Matsuo Basho. I hope you like this post and I hope it will inspire you all to write new haiku.

mezurashi ya   yama wo ide ha no   natsu nasubi

how rare!
on leaving the mountain
the first eggplant

Basho was host of a renga party at the home of Nagayama Shigeyuki, a military man of the Shonai Clan. This was the greeting verse and it was used as 'hokku' for the renga.
He had visited Mount Hagura for seven days and was glad that he could finally eat fresh vegetables. It was published in his 'Narrow Road to the Deep North', his most well known haibun.

I love this haiku, it's not so well known verse, but it's a verse in which we can see Basho as a traveler. On the other hand this verse brought some nice memories.
The first sentence 'how rare!' was the same as my first thought when I wrote my first haiku. I think that's almost 25 years ago. I had scribbled some short verses at the school where I then learned to be a teacher. One my fellow students told me that the scribblings I had made looked very similar like haiku. I had never heard about haiku. I thought those short verses 'rare' 'strange', but from that time on I never let go of haiku. I can't remember that very first verse, but I can recall that in that first verse I used Honeysuckle as a seasonword. Several years later I took the French translation of Honeysuckle as my nom de plum or my pseudonym. I became Chèvrefeuille, haiku poet.

Since I had nice memories when reading the above verse I have written a haiku for this episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai with my pseudonym, Chèvrefeuille, in it:

the sweet perfume
of the Honeysuckle
makes me drowsy

At that time I couldn't know that haiku would become my passion and still is. I also couldn't know at that time that my haiku would be Internationally known. I am glad to write haiku and will write them for a long time.

What a joyfull haiku don't you think so too? As you maybe have read I have started our first Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Sea Shell Game a few days ago. This first edition is open for your submissions until October 15th at noon (CET). I have understand that a few of you couldn't use the email-adress which i created for our Sea Shell Game. So if you have trouble you use it too ... than you can email your haiku for the Sea Shell Game to our other emailadress:

I hope you all will participate in this all new Sea Shell Game of our CDHK-haiku family.

This episode of Carpe Diem will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 27th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the fifth haiku by Chiyo-Ni, later on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Carpe Diem #522 Shiki (4), "the cuckoo's cry"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today (July 23rd) The Netherlands have a noational day of mourning for the casualties of the Malaysian Aitlines Shoot Down, so this new episode of CDHK will be severe in it's choice of words and it will not be a long episode. Just the haiku by Shiki ...

minazuki no  kokū ni suzushi  hototogisu

in the coolness
of the empty sixth-month sky...
the cuckoo's cry

© Masaoka Shiki

A wonderful haiku I think and it's also in the same sense, tone and spirit as The Netherlands are today ... thinking at all those who died in the Malaysian Airlines attack. Our thoughts are with those who are left behind with empty hands and mourning for their loved ones who didn't survive ....

the summer heat
trembles at the horizon -
a cooling breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 26th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the fifth haiku by Matsuo Basho, later on. That will be the first haiku of the last week of this wonderful haiku-month.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carpe Diem's Sea Shell Game (Introduction)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I love to introduce an all new feature at our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. It's very different of our other features, but I think it can be real fun and learning. It is called Carpe Diem's Sea Shell Game ... and as the 'name' already says it's a game ... a game in which we will choose a winning haiku ...

Let me first tell you something about the history of The Sea Shell Game.
For centuries part of the training of Japanese children to be sensitive to beauty and the different levels of it was accomplished by a game. Even adults, in their lighter moments, will start a game with shells, or leaves or flowers. Perhaps you, too, have done the same process in order to find the best or loveliest in a collection.
From a pile of, let us say, stones one person draws two stones at random. The stones are compared and then judged to say, "This stone is lovelier than that one." The ‘’winners’’ go in one pile, the ‘’losers’’ in another until all the stones have been compared. Then the process is repeated with the “winners”, again and again, until one stone remains.

Credits: Seashell pair painted by DSisson

When poets would gather for poetry contests, often sponsored by the emperor, even in times before Japan's written history (764 AD), this same process of elimination was used. The prizes then were bolts of silk or, if a poem was really special, the emperor would give one of his possessions -- a musical instrument or his fan.
When Basho was a young teacher of renga (the linked poetry form) he felt that the first verse of a renga (then called a hokku) was so important that his students should be made aware of the difference between a “good” hokku and a great one. Basho would organize contests built on the old principles of comparing things. Thus, in 1672 he commissioned scribes to write down records of his judging comments to be saved and these he collected under his title of "The Sea Shell Game." This was the only book he published in his lifetime. Other books that he compiled or advised were all published by his patrons or students. Translations of "The Shell Game" give us a peek into what and how he taught.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

We are playing the Japanese Sea Shell Game in English. Poems which are called haiku are compared, commented on, and sorted out until one poem remains as “winner’’. Various persons who are active haiku writers will be invited to do the judging. (For this first edition of Carpe Diem's Sea Shell Game I will be your judge). You can only submit haiku written by yourself for the contest.
Your poem will be printed without your name but with a pen name if you so chose. These will be picked, two at a time, at random. The judge will display the poems, comment on each and choose one over the other. This process will continue until one haiku is left. This one will be declared winner, the author's name will be revealed and a prize awarded. A list of the winning haiku will be kept so that people who are new to the game can read the winning poems and authors' names. The judges' comments, as well as the poems discussed, will be archived in the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Archive. (Source: Aha-Poetry)

For this new CDHK feature I have made a new emailadress to which you can send your haiku which you want to be in this SeaShell Game. This first edition runs to October 15th. After that date I will try to be your judge and will pick a winner as is described above. You can email your haiku for the Sea Shell Game to:

I am looking forward to your submitted haiku for this Sea Shell Game.


Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #18 Jessica Slavin on Issa

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another week has gone, it was a very week full of ups and downs ... but also a week with wonderful summer weather here in The Netherlands. Today we have an all new Ghost Writer post. This time it is written by Jessica Slavin from Jessica Slavin (Jessica has a new weblog at Silvrback) ... she loves to share a post about Kobayashi Issa and of course that's ok. Here is her GW-post I wish you all a lot of pleasure reading it and I hope it will inspire you all to write new haiku.



Issa's Hot Night

How fun to have the chance to write a post on Kristjaan's fantastic haiku blog. I am really happy and grateful for all the effort Kristjaan has made and for this nice little (well not so little!) haiku community. It brings a lot of joy into a lot of lives, including mine.

For this post I decided to do offer what Kristjaan calls the "special" type of prompt--looking to a particular haiku of a master and responding in the same style and spirit. The haiku I chose is by one of my favorite haiku poets, the master Kobayashi Issa. The translator and poet and writer David Lanoue has translated many of Issa's haiku into English and offers a searchable database of more than 10,000 of them. He has also written essays about Issa's style and themes. He writes that Issa's haiku share a theme of "the dewdrop-like elusiveness of happiness.” To me that phrase captures why I love haiku. Somehow they hold still in their words that fleeting movement of beauty and experience that makes up our days.

Even when Issa's haiku are sad, which they sometimes are, they have that quality of savoring something precious. For example so far I think my favorite of Issa’s haiku is this one:

don't go geese!
everywhere it's a floating world
of sorrow

Lanoue also suggests that maybe Issa would have been uncomfortable with the label of "master" that he shares with the other poets recognized as the classical masters. Issa was unpretentious and his haiku were not just about cherry blossoms and harvest moons but the more humble aspects of life too. There are 19 haiku by Issa with the word "poop," for example, in Lanoue's online archive. Here's one:

the high priest
poops in the field...
Credits: Bats (Woodblock print)

So. I think that's enough to give you a good sense about the interesting and wonderful Issa. On to the haiku that is our inspiration for this particular post.

hot night --
bats dangle
at the river's edge

I found this one by looking through a book Lanoue recently released called “Issa’s Best,” where he selected some of what he thinks are Lanoue’s best haiku. He links to it on the main page of his blog, which I linked to above. I chose this particular haiku because of its summer theme and because it delights me.

It also reminds me of watching the bats fly between the tall lights that stood in the lawn and driveway area of the dairy farm when I grew up. I was terrified of bats at the time and yet it was also mesmerizing to watch them fly so swiftly, chasing the mosquitos.

July dusk
bats flitting in the lamplight
shadows flicker


And now it's up to you my dear haijin, visitors and travelers to write a haiku inspired on these haiku by Issa. And I think it will be fun.

late at night
bats fly around the block
on the hunt for food

© Chèvrefeuille

Somewhere beneath the roof of my home we have bats hiding and every evening as it starts to become dark they fly out to hunt for flies. It's a gorgeous sight, but I always close the windows (as they are open), because I don't want them inside my home.

This GW-post is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 25th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the fourth haiku by Shiki, later on. For now have fun! And Jessica ... thank you for being a Ghost-Writer. Thank you for this wonderful GW-post on Issa.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Carpe Diem #521 Issa (4), ''O cooling melons!"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I think you all will be surprised to read another episode of our CDHK-haiku-family, but during other activities I have decided to publish a second episode today. However ... that episode will be open for your submissions next Monday at 7.00 PM (CET), as was the original plan. So I hope you don't mind.

Today (Tuesday July 22th) I love to share another haiku by Issa, his fourth of this month. It's a nice haiku and it's a real example of Issa's ''child-like'' look at the world. It's really a joy for me to prepare these episodes to help your inspiration flow.

Here is the fourth haiku by Issa:

hito kitara kawazu to nare yo hiyashi uri

if anyone comes,
turn into frogs,
o cooling melons!

© Kobayashi Issa

Issa has just put some melons into a tub of water outside the house, to cool them. As they float on the surface of the water, their green bellies remind him of frogs, just at the moment that he has a feeling of hesitation, of uneasiness, at leaving them ungarded. This momentary see-sawing of the mind makes the notion of melons turning into frogs more than merely fanciful. The humour also, joins where it seems to separate.

Credits: Melon turned into a frog
Another haiku on melons by Issa is the following:

nusubito no miru to mo shirade hiyashi uri

of the gaze of the thief. -
melons in cool

© Kobayashi Issa

This essential immobility,imperturbability of the melons being cooled in cold water is here grasped and expressed through the contrast with the greediness of the would-be thief, probably Issa himself. Man, and the world of things he is in, are brought before the single eye of the mind.

Both are in my opinion gorgeous haiku ... and I think these will inspire you all to write new haiku. Here is my attempt to write a haiku in response of this haiku by Issa.

cooling down
together with the melons
I take a bath

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode will be open for your submissions Monday July 21th at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 24th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the fourth haiku by Shiki, later on. Sorry that you have to wait a little while before you can respond on this episode.

Carpe Diem #520 Buson (4), "flowers of the plum"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I want to thank you all for your nice and tributing haiku you have shared on my yesterdays post in tribute to the loved ones who have lost their lives in the Malaysian Airlines Attack last thursday. They were all very comforting and helpfull. Thank you for all your loving thoughts and prayers shared with us all her in The Netherlands, but also in those other countries who have lost loved ones in this same attack. We all hope that the truth will finally come out and that there will be justice done.

Today I love to share a haiku by Buson, but I also want to tell you something more about Buson's haiga, because next to his wonderful haiku, he also was a great painter.
Buson was a haiku-poet, but also a painter and he has painted wonderful haiga (haiku & painting). As I told you in our introduction for this month Buson made several haiga for the first paper version of Basho's ''Oku No Hosomichi'' (The Small Road Into The Deep North), but he also painted haiga on other verses by Basho e.g. this one:

sekizoro o suzume no warau detachi kana

year-end mummers
are a sight to make
the sparrows laugh

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Addiss)

Sekizoro Singers by Yosa Buson
As I stated above Buson illustrated the first paper version of Basho's haibun ''Oku No Hosomichi" in the following painting by Yosa Buson you can see how Basho and his companion Sora are leaving their home for the ''Oku No Hosomichi''.

Basho and Sora leave for the ''Oku No Hosomichi''
To conclude this part of this post a last haiga painted by Yosa Buson which he created on the world famous haiku ''frogpond'' by Basho:

Haiga ''frogpond''
Let's go to our haiku by Buson for this episode of CDHK. Buson wrote almost 3000 haiku in his lifetime and he was in a way a master of observation, which is to understand, because of his painting skills. This haiku is one of my favorites:

Sumizumi ni nokoru samusa ya ume no hana

in nooks and corners
cold remains:
flowers of the plum

© Yosa Buson (tr. RH Blyth)

Credits: Plum flower
Don't you think also this is one of his best haiku? He paints an image with his words instead of painting with ink (or paint) ... a true Buson haiku. It will not be easy to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as Buson, but ... I have to try.

fresh fallen snow
reflects the light of the full moon -
first plum blossom blooms

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... now it's up to you to write a new haiku or senryu ... have fun! This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 23rd at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, the fourth haiku by Issa, later on.