Sunday, June 24, 2018

Carpe Diem #1460 heat at zenith (hizakari)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend full of inspiration. My weekend was okay ... I enjoyed being free and it gave me some time to meditate and contemplate about the future of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. What will bring us the future here at CDHK? I hope to create posts for several years, but I hope that you all will stay to participate. Making CDHK takes a lot of time, but I love making it. So I tried to look at CDHK in a new way ... what can I change to bring more haijin, visitors and travelers to our wonderful Kai? First I will create a new kukai next month; second I think I will bring back some features from the past; third I will try to create the possibility for you all to be part of CDHK in another way ... as co-editors. Maybe you can remember our Ghostwriter feature, in that feature I gave participants the possibility to create a post for CDHK and I remember that several of you did a Ghostwriter post here. Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a warmhearted family of haiku poets, can grow further and can become better ... but I cannot do that without your participation. Well ... maybe you have some ideas to change Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and make it bigger and better than ever. Share your ideas with us all through the comment-field.

Heat at Zenith (hizakari)

Today's classical kigo is taken from the sub-division "The Heavens" and is a kigo for late-summer. Today's kigo is: heat at zenith (hizakari). This kigo points to the heat of the day as the sun is at its highest point. (Say around 12:00 PM). That moment of the day is really the hottest part of the day and, as I look at myself, it's that moment of day in summer that I will avoid as much as I can.
As you can see on the image above, the trees have the shortest shadow and that points towards the moment of the day that is called "zenith".

I found two haiku by Santoka Taneda (1882 - 1940) in which this classical kigo, heat at zenith (hizakari), is used:

Hizakari no O-Jizō-sama no kao ga nikoniko.

In the sunlight
Jizō's face *
Smiles brightly

* Stone statues of Jizō Bosatsu are often placed at crossroads or other places frequented by travelers. Jizō (Ksitigarbha) is the patron of children and travelers and is usually shown standing, holding a pilgrim's staff in his right hand and a pearl in his left. His head is shaven, and he has a compassionate smile.

Hizakari naite mo warōte mo hitori.

In the heat of the day
Crying or laughing--
Only one.

© Santoka Taneda

Jizo, patron of children and travelers

These haiku by Santoka Taneda are exceptional, because Santoka Taneda wasn't a great fan of the required kigo in haiku, but in these two haiku he uses our classical kigo for today, heat at zenith (hizakari).

the heat of the day
walking beneath the leaves of willows
ah! that coolness

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope I have inspired you. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 1st at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our next episode later on.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Carpe Diem Crossroads #12 young birds are raised

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all can see I have changed the logo of this Crossroads feature. The original image I used was by a photographer Martin Liebermann and he has asked me to remove the image from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Of course I am sad that I had to change the logo of our Crossroads feature, but I understand the question by mr. Liebermann. I will search for another image to use as a logo for Crossroads, but for now I have changed it to the above shown logo.

For this episode of Carpe Diem Crossroads I have another nice set of haiku for you to work with, but let me explain the task again for Crossroads. The task is to create a so called "fusion"-haiku from the given haiku. With that task you create a symbiosis bewteen the two haiku. Every set of haiku used here in Crossroads are always by the same haiku poet, because I don't think it's possible to create a "fusion"-haiku from two haiku by two different haiku poets.

This episode I have chosen two haiku written by Ryokan (1758-1831). Let me tell you a little bit about him:

Ryokan was born in 1758, the first son in a noble family in Izumozaki in the Echigo District. He entered the priesthood at the age of 18 and was given the Buddhist name "Ryokan" when he was 22 years old. He kept searching for the ultimate truths through his life. Leaning the Chinese classics and poetry at Entsu Temple of the Soto Sect in Tamashima in the Bichu District, he practiced hard asceticism under Priest Kokusen for 20 years. After this, he traveled all over the country on foot and returned to his home village just before the age of 40. He lived at the Gogoan hut in Kokujyo Temple on Mt. Kugami, and then moved down to a thatched hut in Otoko Shrine at the foot of the Mountain. It is said that he enjoyed writing traditional Japanese poetry, Chinese poetry and calligraphy all through his simple, carefree and unselfish life.

Ryokan (painting by Yasuda Yukihiko)

He was also called "Temari-Shonin (The Priest who Plays with a Temari ball)" and was much loved by children, since he often played with a Temari ball (Japanese cotton-wound ball), Ohajiki (small glass counters for playing games) together with children in the mountain village. Much of his poetry and letters which still remain, all of which are full of his sympathy and affection for children, describe his joyful times with children and also reveal his high personal qualities as a man who devoted his life to meditation. Ryokan was a Zen priest, but he never established his own temple, and lived by alms. Instead of preaching, he enjoyed companionship and conversation with many ordinary people. In 1831, he ended his 74-year life as an honest priest respected and loved by all he knew.

Here are the two haiku to work with and create your "fusion"-haiku:

river in winter 
soaring over peaks
an eagle spots its prey

hedge branches 
young birds are raised 
morning snow 

© Ryokan


Two nice haiku, but it will not be an easy task to create a "fusion"-haiku with it I think. Of course I have given it a try myself and this is what I came up with:

first snow falls
old birds nest covered with a blanket
the eagle without vision

© Chèvrefeuille

Awesome to wotrk with these two haiku, but for sure it wasn't easy. Now it is up to you my dear Haijin ...

This Crossroads episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 30th at noon (CEST). Have fun!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #38 A Trip Along Memory Lane #1 Carpe Diem Special

!! Open for your submissions next Sunday June 24th at 7:00 PM (CEST) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I welcome you all at a new episode of our Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation, our weekend challenge or our meditation and contemplation feature for the weekend. This weekend I have a new feature for you to work with, but I have to tell you something about the background of this feature.

As you all know I started with Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (then titled only Carpe Diem) back in October 2012. Before I started with CDHK I had some experience with writing haiku (or tanka) every day on two other websites. Those websites however did this for just one month (February and September). I was a very active participant in those daily memes and I missed it almost immediately after writing the last episode of the daily haiku meme in September 2012. So I wanted to fill that hole and decided to create my own daily haiku meme. Well ... right on that moment I created Carpe Diem, now renown as Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, and started to create every day haiku (or tanka).
To make Carpe Diem more attractive I created several special features. The first special feature I created was simply titled Carpe Diem Special and in that feature I introduced several known and unknown haiku poets and gave a haiku written by them. The goal was to create a haiku in the same tone and sense as the given haiku. In other words I tried to inspire my visitors to create haiku in the way of the given classic haiku poet.

This weekend I love to bring a "new" episode of this Carpe Diem Special feature, but of course I had several other special features here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai for example the weekly Tan Renga Challenge or "Little Ones" and more.

Credits Logo
 Okay ... here is the first "stop" on our Trip Along Memory Lane, a trip back in time: This weekend I have (as said above) an episode of that feature titled "Carpe Diem Special" and the goal is to create a new haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry in the same tone and sense as the given haiku. For this Carpe Diem Special I have chosen haiku written by a not so renown haiku poet: Sumitaku Kenshin (1961-1987).

Sumitaku Kenshin

Sumitaku Kenshin wrote mostly one-lined haiku-like poems, so it's a little bit strange to share these with you, because we are all haiku poets that use the three-line lay-out of haiku, but well ... maybe it inspires you to explore this way of writing haiku ... you never know.

Here are the (5) haiku to work with:

While lost in talking, the stars have grown more and more distinct 

How happy! Bathing in the tub full to overflowing 

A dragonfly, with its thin wings sick in summer 

Autumn is lonely, a mosquito bites me 

A lonely night, someone begins to laugh 

All nice one-line haiku to inspire you, but don't forget ... the task is to create in the same sense and tone.

Well ... I wish you all a wonder weekend and I am looking forward to your responses on this new weekend-meditation feature "Along Memory Lane, A Trip Back In Time".

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday June 24th at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until July 1st at noon (CEST). For now ... have fun and have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Carpe Diem #1459 evening lull (yuunagi)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today summer starts and that makes me happy and I love to dance and sing in praise of summer, in praise of nature, wonderful and beautiful nature. Nature ... the source for all haiku poets. It's one of the main themes of the classical haiku and that's what we are exploring this month through the classical kigo of summer (and winter).

Today's summer kigo is evening lull (yuunagi) and I think this is what gave me the idea of dancing and singing to celebrate summer.

I had some trouble with todays kigo evening lull, but after some web-surfing I ran into the translation of lull. It turned out that it means pause, silence, repose, peace, stillness and tranquility. So yuunagi means evening peace, silent evening or so.

evening lull (yuunagi)
The above image, is that evening lull? A serene beach somewhere in Japan, the rippling of the water, the sun downing ... maybe a few seagulls that sre crying, maybe a faraway sound of a temple bell ... Yes ... this is (in my opinion) evening lull.

Here are a few haiku I have taken from my archives, just taking the easy way this time, forgive me.

deep silence
listening to the song of cicadas -
sultry summer night

evening lull
the sweet scent of Honeysuckle
arouses the senses

on the beach
around the campfire -
rippling waves

entwined bodies
in love on the beach -
evening lull

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 28th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode, a weekend-meditation, later on. For now ... have fun!

Here is the kigo for winter to work with on the Southern Hemisphere: winter grove (fuyu kodachi)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Carpe Diem #1458 short night (mijikayo)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Summer, in this case the astrological summer, is almost starting. Tomorrow, around 7:00 PM (CEST), summer is starting and that means that we will have the longest day of the year and (of course) the shortest night of the year too. In Japan you all know that Shinto is the most important religion, but (as I discovered yesterday as I was writing my weekly post on MLMM, a wonderful website on WP) in Shinto religion which you can compare with NeoPaganism they don't celebrate the Summer Solstice. All other seasons equinoxes are celebrated, but not the Summer Solstice. In the classical Saijiki (a collection of seasonwords or kigo) you will not find Summer Solstice, but you will find our kigo for today: short night (mijikayo). And I will try to share a few haiku on this classical kigo for summer written by haiku poets of all ages.

For example these by Yosa Buson (1716-1784), by the way Buson wrote a lot of haiku about the short night (or the long day). Here is a selection:

mijika yo ya ashiato asaki Yuigahama / mijikayo ya ashiato asaki yui no hama

A short night of summer:
Faint footprints
On the shore of Yuigahama.

© Yosa Buson

Yuigahama (woodblock print) (image found on Pinterest)

mijikayo no yami ni kakurete nio no umi

hidden in the darkness
of this short night -
Lake Biwako 

© Buson (Tr. Gabi Greve)

mijikayo ya asai ni kaki no hana o kumu

this short night -
from a shallow well I scoop
a persimmon flower 

© Buson (Tr. Gabi Greve)

mijikayo ya namiuchigiwa no sutekagari 

this short night -
an abandoned fire
at the shoreline 

© Buson (Tr. Gabi Greve)

mijikayo ya asase ni nokoru tsuki hitohira

this short night -
in the shallows remains
one sliver of the moon 

© Buson (Tr. Gabi Greve)

In the Western world the Summer Solstice is celebrated on several places. One of the renown places is Stonehenge (UK) were they celebrate the Summer Solstice every year again.

Stonehenge (Getty images)
Here is a tanka I wrote several years ago inspired on "the short night" or the Summer Solstice:

the longest day
spirits are rejoicing nature
Summer Solstice
spiritual energy stronger than ever
the longest day

© Chèvrefeuille

Or this haiku also from my archives:

at the seashore
wind of summer through my hair
the shortest night

© Chèvrefeuille

To conclude I have another nice selection of haiku on "the short night":

By Issa (1763-1827):

in the short night
the dew works fast -
blades of grass

By Basho (1644-1694):

washing my feet
I fall asleep for the short night
with my clothes on

And two haiku created by myself in response on those haiku by the classic masters:

in an eye-blink
I lay down asleep
and awake

finally summer
this shortest night of all
I love the most

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... enjoy your summer solstice celebration ... celebrate nature even on the longest day and in the shortest night of the year.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 27th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our next episode, evening lull (yuunagi), later on. Have fun!

For our friends on the Southern Hemisphere I have another nice winter-kigo: short day (tanjitsu)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Carpe Diem #1457 luxurance (shigeri)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It will not be easy to "translate" this kigo for you all, because it's a "rare" kigo and I even don't know if I have written it the correct way. Today's classical kigo is taken from the sub-division plants and I will try to explain it to you.

Luxurance (shigeri) is specifical used to describe the beauty of foliage, the beauty of the richness of for example the Wisteria, the Willow or other beautiful trees, bushes and flowers that are in full bloom. Isn't that richness? The beauty of nature that we are celebrating in every haiku or tanka.

Luxurance (shigeri) of foliage, nature is beautiful

Nature is beautiful and a rich source of inspiration. Well ... I think I will  write no more to explain our today's kigo luxurance (shigeri).

I found two nice haiku written by Buson (1716-1784) in which this kigo is used as I explained it:

sake jyuuda yuri mote yuku ya natsu kodachi

ten horses carrying loads of sake,
swinging, pass by a thicket
of trees in full summer foliage. 

© Yosa Buson (Tr. by Shoji Kumano)

izuko yori tsubute uchi kemu natsu kodachi

from nowhere
stone was thrown into a thick of trees
in full summer foliage. 

© Yosa Buson (Tr. by Shoji Kumano)

Two beauties by this haiku master, one of the five most famous classical haiku masters. He (Buson) was not only a haiku poet, but also a great haiga-painter. And ... he followed in the steps of Basho who he admired. He created haiga for the first edition of "the small road into the deep north", the most famous haibun ever.


I have tried to catch this beautiful kigo in my haiku, but I couldn't come up with a good one. So I decided to dive into my archives and found a nice haiku in which this kigo, isn't visibly used, but can be found.

swaying in the breeze
like waves in the ocean
Miscanthus leaves

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 26th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode,  short night (mijikayo), later on. For now ... have fun!
And here is the winter kigo for our friends on the Southern Hemisphere, withered mums (karegiku)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Carpe Diem #1456 sweetfish (ayu)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Kai. I had an easy day today. I had a day off and so this day I was going with the flow so to say. Of course I was busy in another way. I am busy with creating new features here and I love to bring back a few of the features we have seen here. Last Saturday I started again with reading Jane Reichhold's "Basho, The Complete Haiku" and I ran into wonderful haiku written by the master. Haiku that I hadn't really read the last time I read this book. That brought me an idea that I will use next month, but there was also a very rare incident this weekend.
I got an issue of a renaown mindfulness magazine here in The Netherlands and I read a wonderful article in that issue. Maybe you rememeber that I did a pre-announcement about our upcoming summer -retreat and it's theme "Finding The Way". Well that article I mentioned above was about "Finding The Way", it was about a pilgrimage, not the usual pilgrimage as for example "the road to santiago", but about an "inner pilgrimage", a pilgrimage you can do in the warmth of your own home. I will tell you more about it as I start our summer retreat on July 15th.

Okay ... back to our all day business this month, classical kigo for summer. Kigo, as you all know, are words that point towards the season in which the haiku was written and kigo are part of the classical way of writing haiku (or tanka).

Today's kigo is sweetfish (ayu) and I will try to tell you a little bit more about this classical kigo for summer.

The ayu or sweetfish, is a species of fish. It is the only species in the genus Plecoglossus and family Plecoglossidae. It is a relative of the smelts.

Native to East Asia, it is distributed in the northwestern Pacific Ocean along the coast of Hokkaidō in Japan southward to the Korean Peninsula, China, Hong Kong and northern Vietnam. It is amphidromous, moving between coastal marine waters and freshwater lakes and rivers. A few landlocked populations also exist in lakes in Japan such as Biwa. It is an introduced species in Taiwan.

Sweetfish (ayu) grilled in salt

The name "sweetfish" was inspired by the sweetness of its flesh. In reference to its typical one-year lifespan, it is also written clled "year-fish". Some individuals live two to three years. The ayu is the prefectural fish of Gunma Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture.

I found a nice haiku by Basho (written in 1689) translated by Gabi Greve about this sweetfish (ayu):

ayu no ko no shirauo okuru wakare kana

young ayu sweetfish
are seeing off the whitefish
and say good bye

© Basho (Tr. Gabi Greve)

This is what is said about this haiku: The whitefish are the first to go upstream to spawn, the ayu follow them one month later. Basho and Sora are ready to depart for "Oku no Hosomichi" and he has to leave his young disciples (ayu no ko) behind at Senju.

And another haiku, also by Basho:

mata ya tagui Nagara no kawa no ayu namasu

once again - this rare
pickled sweetfish
from river Nagaragawa

© Basho (Tr. Gabi Greve)

Sweetfish (ayu) woodblock print by Utagawa Hirosighe (1797-1858)
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 25th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode, luxurance (shigeri), later on. For now ... have fun!

By the way here is the winter kigo for our friends on the Southern Hemisphere: wicker fishnet (ajiro)