Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #1, "Frogpond"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I love to introduce an all new feature here at our Haiku Kai. It's a bit similar with the CD-Specials, but there is a little difference. In every episode (once a week on Thursday) I will introduce a 'masterpiece' of one of the classic haiku-poets (well-known and less-known) to inspire you to write a new haiku. Here is the difference with the CD-Specials. Those new haiku, inspired on the 'masterpiece', have to follow the classical rules of haiku:

1. 5-7-5 syllables
2. a kigo (or seasonword)
3. a kireji (or cutting word, in Western languages mostly interpunction)
4. a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water
5. a deeper meaning (could be Zen-Buddhistic or other spiritual or religious thought)
6. and the first and the third line are interchangeable.

Of course I will tell also something about the scene and background of the haiku which you can use for your inspiration. I hope this new feature will be fun.

Haiga "frogpond" (Woodblock-print)

For this first, introduction, episode I have chosen the well known haiku by Matsuo Basho "frogpond". This is situated during a gathering of Basho's disciples at his Basho-hut. Basho is writing a haiku, but doesn't get a good first line. he struggles with it and Kikaku, one of his disciples suggested 'Irisses pond', but than Basho 'sees the light' and writes:

the old pond (-)
      a frog jumps in
            sound of water

This one became that famous, because until than, the frog was used only for its own croaking and not for its movement. As you can see this translation doesn't follow the classical count, but in the Japanese Onji it follows for sure that count.  'Frog" is a seasonword (kigo) for Summer; the "-" is the cutting word (can be translated into the Japanese "ya"); it's a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water; the deeper meaning is in the 'movement' of the frog and if you interchange the first and third line the haiku is almost the same:

sound of water
       a frog jumps in
              the old pond

Well ... now it is up to you and I have struggled with my own new haiku, but maybe, I succeeded at last ...

in the dark forest
walking in the full moon light -
Nightingale's song

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until next Thursday (August 21th) at noon.


  1. The dwell of your ideas never runs dry, Kristjaan - I admire and thank you for that.
    What a wonderful new challenge! I felt inspired by Basho' s good, old masterpiece as much as from your haiku that I think is a true gem.

  2. The romantic feeling of your haiku is exquisite... I love it.

  3. Kris, I did a short explication of your poem on my FB page....Thank you for all the inspirations you have provided for us....They make me work.....