Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #54, Kikaku's "The beggar!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today, we can look back on a wonderful August month. We had wonderful music and the haiku by Kikaku were all masterpieces which inspired you all to write your own masterpieces. I am grateful that I can and may be you host here at Carpe Diem.
As I look forward ... a new stunning month of Carpe Diem's daily haiku meme is ahead of us and we will have our first anniversary next October. It's exciting to look forward, but it's also fun to look back. Yesterday (8/26) I launched a new feature Carpe Diem's Distillation in which I challenge you all to distil haiku from another poem. As I write this episode I have just published the first episode of this new feature and I can already say that it starts to be a success ... we will see how things go on ...
This month all our Specials were haiku by Takarai Kikaku, a contemporary and disciple of Matsuo Basho, who also had part in the composing of Basho's famous "old pond" haiku. As we look at the haiku by Kikaku we can see the influence of the master, but we also can see Kikaku's own way of composing haiku. Basho was always searching for Karumi (Enlightenment) and in Kikaku's work we find that quest also.
The following haiku by Kikaku has that Karumi in it. It's a masterpiece in which he 'paints' 'selflessness', one of the pillars of Zen BUddhism. It's in my opinion really a masterpiece.

kojiki kana tenchi wo kitaru natsugoromo

the beggar!
he has Heaven and Earth
for his summer clothes

This refers to the common use of changing clothes. Many people look upon Kikaku as the obverse, or compliment of Basho, and there is good reason for this. He is the non-religious, non-moral poet. He and Basho correspond to Ritaihaku and Hakurakuten in Chinese poetry and to Byron and Wordsworth in English poetry. In the above verse of Kikaku, haiku is doing something which it was never intended, perhaps, to do. There is a similar passage at the end of Soshi; there may be some relation between the two:

[...] When Soshi was about to die, his disciples wished to bury him in a grand style, but Soshi said: "My coffin will be Heaven and Earth; for the funeral ornaments of jade, there are the sun and moon; for my pearls and jewels I shall have the stars and constellations; all things will be my mourners. Is not everything ready for my burial? What should be added to this?" [...]

Isn't it a wonderful haiku? And the idea Soshi talks about his burial ... isn't it a wonderful thought also?
Well ... now I have to reach the goal of this Special haiku by Kikaku to write an all new haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Kikaku. Not an easy task, but ... well I have to try of course (smiles).

Credits: Butterflies on Buddleia

butterflies attend
the flowers of summer lilac (*)
nothing more, nothing less

(*) Buddleia or Butterfly-bush

Well ... what do you think? Did I succeed? Let me know ...

This Special prompt will stay on 'till August 29th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next regular episode of Carpe Diem, Hidden Places, later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). Have fun, be inspired and share your inspired haiku on the one by Kikaku with us all here at Carpe Diem. !! This Special by Kikaku is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!


  1. Your haiku is as peaceful and beautiful as the one by Kikaku you have chosen for today's challenge.

  2. Eat your fill, my friend
    When life departs your body
    It is the worm's turn

  3. I think you captured the sense of it very well.

  4. Your haiku is beautiful and it inspired me more than Kikaku!

    Love the 3rd line. "nothing more, nothing less."

  5. I planted a butterfly garden after returning from Sedona and have two butterfly bushes. Not so many Monarch in mid-town but I love to see the fluttering of the few that do grace my garden. Your haiku and image are amazing and beautiful.

  6. beautiful butterflies attending a gorgeous flower! i enjoyed your completion haiku.
    i hope you do not mind, i missed the deadline for this challenge but thought i would leave my link here. thank you again. your Carpe Diem is truly inspirational.

    1. Good day Sunshine, I have added your link to this weblogpost. I have visited your weblog, but couldn't leave a comment, so I will give the comment here:

      [...] What a wonderful take on The Beggar by Kikaku. I love the imagery of the strays who are sharing their food with eachother. A nicely composed set of haiku. Thank you for sharing. [...]

    2. Kristjaan,
      I am wondering about you not being able to comment - were you logged OUT of WordPress? I am wondering how to make it easier for those using Blogger to access my site. If you could let me know, if you were logged in or logged out of WordPress, I can try figure why you had this problem.
      Sorry you had a problem. Thanks for the note.

    3. Good day Sunshine, I was logged in to my account on wordpress Basho2012, but I use a different name there, as a haiku-poet I write haiku under the penname Chèvrefeuille. So as I comment on wordpress I change the URL of wordpress-account into the URL of my blogger-account, maybe that's the problem. But I do that often on other wordpress weblogs were I comment and then I have no problems. So I hope you can figure out what the problem is.

  7. I am posting too late, but you can find me at: http://purplepeninportland.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/burial-rite/