Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Carpe Diem #666, Poppies

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Recently I was given a present by Jane Reichhold ... finally I can read her "Writing and Enjoying Haiku". I started reading it immediately and it was an "eye-opener", not in the idea "all new", but more in the idea "yes I knew it". It's a great book to read and it will certainly make my haiku-ing better. I am very grateful that Jane send it to me and it gives me the opportunity to broaden my ideas and visions on haiku. Awesome!

As I created the prompt-list for February I realized that I had used several of the prompts earlier and so it is with our prompt for today poppies. I remember for example an episode of our "distillation"- feature in which I shared a wonderful poem by John McCrae "In Flanders Fields". I love to share that poem here once again.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

© John McCrae

In some way I have the feeling this poem fits our impressionism theme very much, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. It's a very strong poem with a very deep meaning and full of emotions. Yes ... for sure this poem is impressionism.

And I recall an episode on Basho Revisited in which I wrote about a haiku by Basho on White Poppies, here is that haiku by Basho:

shira geshi ya   shigure no hana no   saki tsu ran

white poppy
it must have bloomed
from a wintry shower

© Matsuo Basho

I even can remember that I tried to explain in that episode that Basho was indeed writing in Kanshicho-style (which we have discussed here in one of our episodes of "Ask Jane ...") for several years. After that period Basho re-wrote his haiku in Kanshicho-style to the regular haiku-style.
As you maybe know in every episode of Basho Revisited I try to write a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one by Basho, whom I see as my master, and here is my attempt to write an all new haiku on this one of the "white poppy":

at sunrise
poppies still redder
sacrifice for God

© Chèvrefeuille

Let us look back at the poem by John McCrae ... then we can see that this haiku I wrote fits the "impression" which is "painted" in the poem "In Flanders Field". A coincidence I think, but it came to my attention as I was preparing this episode.

We are busy with our central theme impressionism this month and all our prompts this month are based on Impressionistic paintings. This episode is inspired on this painting by Claude Monet (1873):

Credits: Landscape with Poppies - Claude Monet (1873)
Wow! What a wonderful painting ... it's really an Impression of a field with poppies and it's so clear that this is the "hand" of Claude Monet. Must be fabulous to paint like Monet, but ... I am not that much a painter with oil-pastel ... I am more a painter with words (smiles). As I stated in one of our "Haiku Writing Techniques" episodes, I think that a haiku is an impression of a moment in time, as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. How can haiku be more then that? It's ... just an impression of a moment in time and it's awesome to catch that moment in time with so little words ....

one summer day
poppies coloring the meadows -
raindrops start to fall

© Chèvrefeuille

Is this an impression of the scene I see? Well ... it could be ... 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 14th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Tulips, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your "impression", your haiku with us all.


  1. Kristjaan --- your blog, the posts as well as the prompts, are addictive. I find myself looking forward to reading every morning.
    How wonderful to receive such a gift from your haiku icon.

  2. I think the message you are giving us through the presentations on Impressionism and that haiku are Impressions is both an important and unique one. Too many times haiku is treated as a complex inner therapy, with the poet featuring heavily within the three lines. The concept of Impressionism strikes the right note I feel.

  3. Love your haiku and enjoyed this post