Sunday, September 14, 2014

Carpe Diem #562, Hot Springs

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost halfway this wonderful month full of modern kigo of autumn based on the modern Saijiki compiled by Jane Reichhold and today we have a very nice prompt, not a regular one, because today we have Hot Springs. In my country we don't have such a kind of Hot Springs, but I know that in several countries they have. For example in Japan you can find a lot of Hot Springs (in Japanese "onsen") as e.g. this one in Chiba Prefecture:

Credits: Yamato no Yu onsen, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
There are several haiku written about Hot Springs and one of them I love to share here with you. It's a haiku written by Matsuo Basho, my master.

Basho wrote the following haiku on Mount Yudano (bathroom). On this mountain was a spectacular waterfall which had been a Shinto place of worship since early times. Only men could visit it and only after a rigorous climb with several rituals and services in various temples. At the gate, after purification rites, they must remove their shoes to climb the rocks barefoot. In addition, before being allowed to view this wonder, each men had to swear never to reveal what he witnessed there. In modern times, in interests of disclosure, the secret of Mount Yudano has been revealed.

Due to the wearing away of the rock and the reddish minerals in the thermal-warmed water, the waterfall looks exactly like the private parts of a woman complete with sounds and gushing water. The practice can be thought of as worshipping the reproductive aspect of the feminine earth.

The priest Ekaku had asked Basho to write some poems on his visit to the three holy mountains of Dewa. Basho couldn't do that because it was an awesome experience for him and so he couldn't find the words. Also it was forbidden to talk about what he had witnessed on the mountain.

Mount Yudano

katara re nu   yudano ni nurasu   tometo kana

forbidden to say
how sleeves are wetted
in the bathroom

© Matsuo Basho

It's a strange story, but it has also something ... spiritual. To write a haiku in the same tone and sense as Basho did ... looks like climbing a mountain barefoot, but I will try.

what has happened?
petals of red roses around
the morning glory

© Chèvrefeuille

Morning Glory

an other haiku (with a bit of humour) inspired by the one of Basho:

secret admirer -
petals of red roses around
my morning glory

© Chèvrefeuille

As we are discovering "A Dictionary of Haiku" the modern Saijiki by Jane Reichhold I have to bring in her example(s) for this kigo. So here they are:

mineral baths
at night the many colors
in dreams

around the hot springs
dried salt

soul bathing
in hot springs
desert stars

© Jane Reichhold

What a wonderful prompt ... don't you think so too? I hope it will inspire you to write/compose an all new haiku. Have fun, be inspired and share your new haiku with us all.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 17th at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, the second quote by Francis of Assisi, later on.


  1. For K J

    tsk raunchy haiku
    the hags become excited
    basho is blushing

  2. Great with coarseness and humor in haiku.. we need that too. :-)

  3. Love the term "soul bathing". Soothing and beautiful. Thank you for welcoming me back. Will be sporadic but much appreciated to still belong.

  4. Okay, this is one of the times when I really *did* "LOL". ;)
    Great post -- needed the laugh today!

  5. definitely a new approach ~ hope you like this one ~ great red roses around your morning glory ~ fun! Happy week to you!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  6. Made me chuckle a lot, as did Basho, too!