Saturday, December 8, 2012

Carpe Diem #65, Winter Rain (fuyu no ame)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost at the end of our 'early winter' part of this month. We had wonderful classical kigo and I have read wonderfully composed haiku. I am glad to see new names and it makes me proud that this daily haiku meme still can be on.

Today Winter Rain (fuyu no ame) is our prompt. The word 'rain' (ame)  just like that is not a kigo in Japan. Expressions like "long rain, strong rain, gentle rain, soft rain, steady rain" without the mentioning of a specific season are also not kigo but topics.
"Sheets of rain" can be seen during any strong rain on our windows. This expression is also not a kigo. Raindrops, again no kigo by itself.
But since the rain in a constant partner throughout the year, there are many kigo connected with it. We have the rainy season and the typhoons with a lot of damage, we have flooding and rain rituals. For the farmers of the Edo period, proper rainfall was a matter of life and death, because it affected the rice harvest.
Rain was called the "Water of Heaven", tensui.
Strong emotions are attached to some kinds of rain:
# spring drizzle (harusame) leads to romance -
# long summer rain (samidare) makes us melancholic -
# cold showers in autumn and winter (shigure) show the uncertainty of all things.
So rain isn’t a kigo, but the kinds of rain are kigo. Rain … just the life giving water shared with us by the gods … must be devine to write haiku about rain or as we have today for prompt ‘winter rain’.

Credits: Winter rain

Winter Rain is very similar with our earlier prompt Winter shower (shigure), but winter rain can also be Ice Rain (hi-same). So let's look at a few haiku written by our classical master of this month Buson (1716-1783).

hasukarete ike asamashiki sigure kana

lotuses have withered
the pond now wretched -
a winter rain

hito-watashi okureta hito ni shigure kana

the ferry departs
as the tardy man stands
in the first winter rain

minokasa no ihatsu tsutaete shigure kana

his straw raincoat and bamboo hat
convey an awareness of the master -
winter rain

(This one was a tribute to Matsuo Basho)

Credits: Winterrain
Isn't it wonderful? Winter rain ... dangerous, but beautiful ...

winter rain
beautiful and dangerous -
this morning

this morning
as I open the curtains
snow is falling softly

Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with Carpe Diem.

This prompt will stay on 'till December 10th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new prompt Winter Camellia (kantsubaki) around 10.00 PM (CET).


  1. Hi Kristjaan, I love these haiku kigo, and I learn a lot from them. I really liked your second haiku, there is nothing that compares to the feeling to wake to a white morning. Cheers Björn

  2. You really are writing wonderful haiku ~ thanx ~ I am getting behind myself with all the holiday activities and personal demands ~ will try my best to support the December Carpe Diem ~ would help if you had a December list posted some where ~ do you? ~ (A Creative Harbor) aka ArtMuseDog and Carol ^_^

    1. The complete list of our December prompts you can find on the page 'Carpe diem December 2012' here on Carpe Diem's weblog. Have fun. I am looking forward to your posts.

  3. Happy to be back here, Kristjaan.
    Thanks for your explanation and for posting so beautiful haiku, including yours. One of the gifts of winter is watching the snow falling, yes...
    We could enjoy some snow in our mountains in early November.

  4. That's what I'm dreaming for this year.. a white Christmas, here in Arkansas, we barely had a decent winter last year, and the snakes and mosquito's were terrible this summer.. Here's hoping you wake up on Christmas morning, to a beautiful white Christmas snow! By the way, the haikus were lovely.. just beautiful..

  5. Kristjaan, "as I open the curtains, snow is falling softly" - a wonderful picture of winter is drawn :)
    As always, thank you for your teachings and for sharing.

  6. Love how the rain has turned to snow in your haiku ~ ^_^ ~ Wonderful post and photo ~ most informative ~ ^_^

    (A Creative Harbor) aka 'ArtMuse Dog ^_^

  7. Kris -- thank you for the explanation of kigo and connection to rain. Lovely morning and untouched snow is a beauty!! We don't get much of it in Central TX, USA. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. with us.