Friday, August 17, 2018

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #46 Renga With Basho Hineri "autumn coolness"

!! Open for your submissions next Sunday August 19th at 7:00 PM (CEST) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's almost weekend and that means time again for our special feature Carpe Diem's Weekend Meditation and this weekend I love to challenge you with a new version of our "Renga With Basho". As you al know (maybe) Basho was a famous renga-master and he attended several renga parties as a guest, a participant or as judge.
Today I was re-readin Jane Reihhold's "Basho, The Complete Haiku" and ran into a beautiful "hokku" he wrote for one of the renga parties he attended. That gave me a nice idea. I love to challenge you this weekend to create (again) a Renga With Basho, but this weekend I have "re-named" this special feature to "Renga With Basho Hineri". "Hineri" means "with a twist" and than you all can know that this is a little bit different than our regular special feature "Renga With Basho".

I will give you six haiku written by Basho in a translation by Jane Reichhold, but one of those haiku is a real "hokku" used by Basho at a renga-party he attended. You have to start your Renga With Basho with that real "hokku".

Here are the six haiku (including the real "hokku") to work with. The goal is to write the 2-lined stanza between the haiku and to close the "chain" with a "ageku" that connects the last verse with the first one. Except the hokku you can choose your own line-up for this Renga With Basho Hineri.

blossoms at their peak
the mountain the same as always
at daybreak

with young leaves
I would like to wipe away
the tears in your eyes

swinging bridge
lives are intertwined
in Ivy vines

Melons and Eggplant (Japanese woodblock print)

autumn coolness
each peeling with our hands
melons and eggplant

a clear night
cooling myself under cherry trees
waves of flowers

to get wet passing by
a man is interesting
bush clover in rain

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold; taken from "Basho, The Complete Haiku")

The original "hokku", the first verse of this renga is the one in fat-green print. That "hokku" you have to use as the starting verse of your Renga With Basho Hineri. You can choose your line-up from the five other haiku (in dark blue).

Create your Renga With Basho Hineri by writing the two-lined stanza with approximately 14 syllables. It's up to you now ...

This weekend meditation is open for submissions next Sunday August 19th at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until August 26th at noon (CEST). I hope to publish our new regular episode around the same time. For now ... have fun and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Carpe Diem #1499 Food For The Soul, music from Afghanistan

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are staying in Asia for a while, because of the richness of the music of Asia. Recently I took care of a very ill patient from Afghanistan. He listened almost every evening to music from is motherland and I can say without a doubt that Afghan music is really beautiful. So today I love to challenge you to listen to an Afghan piece of music for your inspiration, but first I will give you a little bit background on this music from Afghanistan.

The Afghan concept of music is closely associated with instruments, and thus unaccompanied religious singing is not considered music. Koran recitation is an important kind of unaccompanied religious performance, as is the ecstatic Zikr ritual of the Sufis which uses songs called na't, and the Shi'a solo and group singing styles like mursia, manqasat, nowheh and rowzeh. The Chishti Sufi sect of Kabul is an exception in that they use instruments like the rubab, tabla and harmonium in their worship; this music is called tatti ("food for the soul").

Afghan rubab
I have chosen an example of Afghan folkmusic to inspire you.

A wonderful song I think. I loved listening to it and I hope you can appreciate it too. Of course I hope you will be inspired too by this song. This song inspired me to the following tanka:

along the river
I walk barefoot and listen
the voice of water
telling me stories from faraway
cherishing my tearful soul 

© Chèvrefeuille

As you all know tanka isn't really my "cup of tea", but I think this one has become beautiful (how immodest).

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 23rd at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new weekend-meditation later on. For now ... have fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Carpe Diem Extra August 15th 2018 2nd edition of the CDHK Troiku Kukai

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It has been a while that I organized a kukai, but that will change today. I invite you to participate in our 2nd edition of the CDHK Troiku Kukai. What is the goal of the Troiku Kukai? I will give you an haiku from a modern or a classical haiku poet and you have to create a Troiku with it. More on Troiku you can find above in the menu. Troiku is a creative way of haiku-ing invented by myself back in 2012. I know that several of you are caught by this new creative way of haiku-ing and that you enjoy creating Troiku.

This 2nd edition of the CDHK Troiku Kukai starts today and will run to September 15th 2018. You can email your Troiku to our emailadress: Please write Troiku Kukai 2 in the subject line.

For this 2nd edition of the Troiku Kukai I have chosen a nice haiku by the classical master Yosa Buson (1716-1784). Separate the three lines and create a new haiku with every separated line. No need to follow the classical haiku rules, just enjoy creating Troiku.

Shell On The Beach (photographer unknown)

Here is the haiku to work with by Buson:

Springtime rain -- 
a little shell on a small beach, 
enough to moisten it

© Yosa Buson (Tr. unknown)

This 2nd edition of the CDHK Troiku Kukai is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 15th 2018 at noon (CEST).
Send your Troiku to: Please write Troiku Kukai 2 in the subject line.

Have fun!

Your host,


Carpe Diem #1498 Music from the steppes

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are on a journey around the world on a quest for folkmusic. Yesterday we visited Tibet and listened to the throat singing monks of Tibet. Today we are going further and we will arrive in Mongolia.
Back in our history we have visited Mongolia a few times and today we are doing that again, because in Mongolia we also find what is called "throat singing". (More about throat-singing in Mongolia you can find HERE.)

Because of lack of time this will be a short episode with only a video of Throat singing from Mongolia.

Isn't it wonderful how this throat singing sounds great? It's really a joy to listen to it. Enjoy the music.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until August 22nd at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Challenge #110 swinging gate

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you are familiar with the early history of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai then maybe you know that we had a weekly feature on Fridays titled "Tan Renga Challenge". As the title already says the goal was to create a Tan Renga from a given haiku by an ancient or modern haiku poet. I remember that a lot of you enjoyed that feature very much, so I have decided to bring the Tan Renga Challenge back at CDHK. The above number (110) is just a chosen number, because I couldn't find the number of our last Tan Renga Challenge, somewhere back in 2016.

For this "first" newly born Tan Renga Challenge I have chosen a haiku written by our wonderful and beautiful Jane Reichhold. She is still missed and her spirit is dwelling here at CDHK. I have taken this haiku from her online "dictionary of haiku" from the division Summer and sub-division Plants:

a swinging gate
on both sides the flowers
open - close

(C) Jane Reichhold

What was the goal of this special feature? To create the second stanza of the Tan Renga through association on the images. scenes in the given haiku. The second stanza is a two-lined verse with approximately 14 syllables (7-7).
Tan Renga looks very similar to Tanka, but Tan Renga is written by two poets instead of one poet as is done with Tanka.

This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 22nd at noon (CEST. I will (try to) publish a new Tan Renga Challenge every Wednesday. For now ... have fun!


Renga With Basho #6 bush clover and the moon

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a little bit to early with this new episode of our special feature "Renga With Basho" in which the goal is to create a renga together with the master, Matsuo Basho, by writing the inbetween two-lined stanza.
You may chose from six given haiku, you may chose your own line-up. Remember that the first haiku (hokku) and the last stanza (ageku) have to be connected through association and to "close the chain".

Here are the six haiku I have chosen, this time I have chosen haiku by Basho all translated by Robert Hass.

cedar umbrellas, off
to Mount Yoshimo for
the cherry blossoms

attached to nothing,
the skylark singing

staying at an inn
where prostitutes are also sleeping --
bush clover and the moon


when the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
but radishes

with every gust of wind,
the butterfly changes its place
on the willow

the dragonfly
can't quite land
on that blade of grass

(C) Matsuo Basho (Tr. Robert Hass)

Well I hope you don't mind that I have already a new episode of "Renga With Basho" for you to work with.

This episode of "Renga With Basho" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 28th at noon (CEST). Have fun!

Carpe Diem #1497 Music of the Himalayan Mountains, Tibet.

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at our new stage in our journey around the world on a quest for folkmusic. Yesterday and the day before yesterday we visited India and today we are going further on our journey to Tibet. Tibet was once a free country, but was annexated by China back in the fifties of the 20th century.  I am still praying that Tibet will become a free country again and that the Dalai Lama can return to His home.

Tibet is a wonderful country in the Himalayan Mountains and in one of my new novels part of the story takes place in the Himalayan Mountains, because of legendary Shamballa, a heavenly place on earth, but that's not the issue today.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Tibet has a rich history in music. The music of Tibet is (in my opinion) the most religious music on earth and it was "created" by the Tibetan Buddhist monks, known as Lamas. Let me tell you a little bit more about Tibetan music.

The music of Tibet reflects the cultural heritage of the trans-Himalayan region, centered in Tibet but also known wherever ethnic Tibetan groups are found in Nepal, Bhutan, India and further abroad. First and foremost Tibetan music is religious music, reflecting the profound influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the culture.

The Lama Mani tradition – the telling of Buddhist parables through song — dates back to the 12th century. The songs were performed by wandering storytellers, who travelled from village to village, drawing on their own often humble origins to relate to people from all backgrounds. Vividly illustrated Buddhist thangka paintings depicted the narrative and helped the audience understand what was essentially a teaching.

Tibetan monks playing the Tibetan long horn

Tibetan "street songs" were a traditional form of expression particularly popular as a means of political and other commentary in a country that was previously without newspapers or other means of mass communication. They provided political and social commentary and satire and are a good example of a bardic tradition, akin to that in medieval Europe or, more recently, the role calypsos played in the West Indies. As song lyrics in Tibet usually contained stanzas of 4 lines of 6 syllables each, the lyrics could be easily adapted to almost any melody.

Secular Tibetan music has been promoted by organizations like the Dalai Lama's Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. This organization specialized in the lhamo, an operatic style, before branching out into other styles, including dance music like toeshey and nangma. Nangma is especially popular in the karaoke bars of the urban center of Tibet, Lhasa. Another form of popular music is the classical gar style, which is performed at rituals and ceremonies. Lu are a type of songs that feature glottal vibrations and high pitches. There are also epic bards who sing of Tibet's national hero Gesar.

I got goose-bumps as I listened to this wonderful OM mantra chant by Tibetan monks. It gave me a feeling of happiness and relaxation. I hope you will have that same experience. 

deep throat sounds
resonate through the Himalayan Mountains
tears of monks

© Chèvrefeuille

Maybe the above haiku/senryu has somewhat political "tones", but I am still praying for a free Tibet. I hope that there will become a day that China decides to give Tibet back to their rightful owners. If that's happening than finally the Dalai Lama can return home.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until August 21st at noon (CEST). For now ... be inspired and share your inspired Japanese poetry with us all.