Sunday, December 16, 2012

Carpe Diem #72, Mandarin Ducks (oshidori)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

In our first Carpe Diem Special by Buson of this month I shared a haiku by Buson on Mandarin Ducks. And today that Mandarin Duck is in the reprise. So it will be a bit difficult to write a new one on Mandarin Ducks, but ... well ... be inspired. For your inspiration I have sought they internet for another nice haiku on Mandarin Duck. This one is written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694).

furu ike no oshidori ni yuki furu yuube kana

at the old pond
snow falls on Mandarin ducks
in twilight

Let me tell you something more about this kigo Mandarin Ducks (oshidori). By the way the scientific name for Mandarin Duck is ' Aix galericulata' .

Mandarin Duck (male or 'drake')

The adult male (sometimes called 'drake' for his colorful feathers) is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and "whiskers". The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange "sails" at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.
The Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in look to Wood ducklings, and appear very similar to Mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from Mallard ducklings because the eye-stripe of Mandarin ducklings (and Wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while in Mallard ducklings it reaches all the way to the bill.

Mandarin Duck (pair)

Pillows with mandarin duck design make great wedding gifts in China, so do curtains and bed-covers.
When one duck carries a lotus flower and the other animal a lotus fruit, this expresses the wish for a marriage blessed with many sons.

"Mandarin ducks in the dew" is a Chinese expression for unmarried lovers, though.
Even in the world of the Chines sexual intercourse instructions, there is the position "Mandarin Duck Union".

Mandarin Ducks, which are referred to by the Chinese as Yin-Yang ducks, are frequently featured in Oriental art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity. A Chinese proverb for loving couples uses the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor:

"Two swimming mandarin ducks".

The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings, because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity. In reality, though, the ducks find new partners each year. Mandarin Ducks are symbol for happy couples.

Isn't it a wonderful bird this Mandarin Duck? Great for kigo, and of course it is a kigo for winter (smiles).

in the moonlight 
Mandarin Ducks making love
happily together

brilliant colors
reflecting in the old pond
Mandarin drake

Mandarin Ducks (pair)

This prompt will stay on 'till December 18th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will share our new Carpe Diem Special by Buson later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). That will be a surprise haiku I think, because I haven't found a nice haiku which I love to use. So ... be prepared (smiles).

Have fun, be inspired and creative. And share your haiku with us here on Carpe Diem's daily haiku meme.


  1. Wonderful haiku Kristjaan. It was indeed a problem to write about it as it was a rerun. But I found a wonderful woodblock that could have illustrated your cascade as well. Have a nice Sunday evening.

  2. i found this one very challenging and stepped out of my usual style ^^ thanks for the haiku prompts and for letting me join ^^

  3. Lovely haiku Kristjaan. I missed the Mandarin Ducks on their first flight, but having read all the other amazing entries beforehand I found this a challenge. You're building such a lovely community for us to learn with...thank you. John :)

  4. I like the image of the ducks reflecting in the pond very much. That word "old" really makes it!

  5. It wasn't easy writing another mandarin duck haiku, but I managed to cobble together a little piece. You'll have to decide if it's worth reading or not!

  6. Well done and very romantic haiku ~ wonderful photography and thanks again for hosting ~

    (A Creative Harbor ~ aka ArtMuseDog and Carol ^_^

  7. I almost didn't enter one -- but woke up with mandarins on my mind. Such an unusual prompt to repeat so close in time. Take 2!! ;)