Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #41, Soliloquy No Renga "the spring wind!"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

The first quarter of 2015 all Wednesdays were for Haiku Writing Techniques (which are now available as e-book in the right column of our Kai) and now we will return to our Ghost Writer posts on Wednesdays, however I have changed the idea behind the Ghost Writer posts. There is of course still room for Haiku Family members to write a Ghost Writer post, but in the Ghost Writer posts I will also bring back the special features of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai e.g. Carpe Diem "Little Ones", Carpe Diem "Soliloquy No Renga" and other special features we had.

This week I bring back our "Soliloquy No Renga" or in other words "Renga written by one poet". Back in 2014 somewhere in September I introduced this special feature, this "solo-renga", in a post which you can find HERE. And of course you can find some more background on Renga above in menu or by clicking HERE. I will give the starting verse (or hokku) here and the goal is to write a "solo-renga" of a maximum of 12 stanza through association on images in the divers links. So you are getting to the second stanza by associating on images in the first stanza. (See also our Haiku Writing Techniques e-book chapter 11 baransu).

Here is the hokku ... I have chosen a haiku written by myself to start this "Soliloquy No Renga":

At this moment we have a really heavy wind and I am anxious for the young cherry blossoms, yes my Sakura has bloomed and now this storm will scatter the beauty of the fragile cherry blossoms, so I have a nice starting verse, or hokku, for you all based on this moment:

such a malice
cherry blossoms in full bloom
the Spring wind!

© Chèvrefeuille

For the second stanza you can choose for example malice to associate on for your 2nd stanza of two lines. Maybe I have to give you the chain links lengths .... first stanza (3 lines), second stanza (2 lines); third stanza (3 lines) and so on. You may use the classical or the non-classical syllables count, for a three lined link 5-7-5 and for a two lined link 7-7, but that's not an obligation ... just feel free, maybe do some "free styling" as Santoka Taneda did, you can use several Writing Techniques as we have seen in the last three months ... just go for it.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 4th at noon (CET) ... that's a day longer than I usually do, but that's because of the task .... to write a "Soliloquy No Renga". I will try to post our next episode, chariot, later on. With that episode we will start our journey through the Bhagavad Gita and maybe find Peace of Mind as is the theme for April. Have fun!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Carpe Diem #697, Weeping Willow

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit late with posting this episode, but here it is ... our new (and last of this month) episode. Next month we will explore the Bhagavad Gita and the wonderful haiku by Kala Ramesh, our featured haiku-poet of April.
This last episode is Weeping Willow and this time I have taken the easy way and have a short episode for you all ... just my haiga for your inspiration and nothing more.

Well ... this is it ... this was our Carpe Diem Haiga Festival. I hope you all did like the extra challenge to make a haiga and become more artistic and creative with images and words.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 3rd at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, a Ghost Writer post, later on.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Carpe Diem #696, Nudity

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First this: I will not publish a Time Glass episode this week, because of lack of time and that lack of time came because of the creation of our new e-book "Haiku Writing Techniques", which is already available at our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (you can download it at the right column of our weblog or read it in the menu at the top). And my youngest grandson has become 1 year so we had a birthday party to attend ...

Today our prompt is maybe in a way controversial, because today our prompt is nudity, not in the negative perverse way, but as seen in e.g. the paintings by Rubens. In those paintings nudity is celebrated as is done in several countries by the way. Every country has its own rules according nudity. Here in The Netherlands we have for example special beaches on which nudity is allowed. Around my hometown there are several places were recreation in the nude is allowed.

So in this episode we are celebrating nudity in the positive way.

In her "dictionary of haiku" Jane Reichhold has gathered modern kigo and one of the modern kigo for summer is nakedness or nudity and she shares a few wonderful haiku which I love to share here with you.

summer afternoon
the coolness of white
naked on a quilt

on the porch
passion flowers

© Jane Reichhold

Credits: The Death of Adonis (1614) - Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
I love the paintings by Peter Paul Rubens ... he was really a great painter. He preferred the more voluptuous people for his models ... in that way I see nudity as a kind of art. There are of course more ways of nudity in art like photos.

I ask myself ... "why is nudity such a problem in our modern time, in our modern world?" We are all born completely naked, but as we grow older ... nakedness becomes shameful ... why? Our Creator has given us all a wonderful body ... why could we not show that to the world? Because of religious movements who are preaching that humankind was expelled from paradise and therefore we needed clothing and nakedness isn't accepted ... nudity is only for private circles and nudity isn't for the public.

I love to be naked ... it feels great and it gives me a feeling of freedom.... 

For this haiga I used a haiku from my archive which fits the prompt very much.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 2nd at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the last of this Carpe Diem Haiku Festival month, weeping willow, later on. For now .... have fun!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Carpe Diem #695, Fashionista (or fashion-queen)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today I have a rather strange prompt for you all fashionista (or fashion-queen), it's the nickname we Dutch men give to men and women who are all following the new fashion trends and want to have it. Mostly these people are famous and are rich, but there are also people who are buying everything of fashion without having the money for it.
Fashionista's (fashion-queens (and -kings)) are always clothed like the newest ideas and fashion wear. Here in the Netherlands we have a daily TV-show in which these fashion-queens (-kings) are followed. This TV-show is only on week-days and not in the weekend. Every Friday the TV-show announces a winner of that week ... not because of the amount of money they have spend, but for their taste of fashion and looking great.

I am not such a "fashion-king", not only of the lack of money, but I don't follow the fashion-trends ... Fashion is not my cup of tea, of course I want to look good, but I don't need to have the latest fashion.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 1st (no joke) at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, nudity, later on.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #139, Santoka Taneda's "the dragon flies"

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's a bit sad and today with a little pain in my heart I present to you our last CD-Special by Santoka Taneda (1882-1940), our featured haiku poet of March. Next month we will have another featured haiku-poet. Maybe you already have read which one that will be. Next month we will have Kala Ramesh, an Indian haiku-poetess, as our featured haiku-poet.
Recently I discovered that Kala Ramesh and I were published in the same worldwide anthology "Spasms of Light" (2011). I am excited and I am looking forward to next month especially the haiku by Kala Ramesh, who already has granted me permission to use her haiku.

Ok ... back to Santoka Taneda, this month's featured haiku-poet. As you maybe remember ... Santoka was a for-stander of the so called "free-style" haiku. However the haiku for today's episode of CD-Special is very classic and (in my opinion) a real beauty.
The goal of this CD-Special is to write/compose a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one given by the featured haiku-poet.

the dragon flies
perch on my kasa
as I walk along

© Santoka Taneda

I didn't say to much I think ... a beauty, but how to catch that beauty in a new haiku inspired on the haiku by Santoka? Maybe it's an idea to look at another "dragonfly" haiku which I found on "Hello Poetry".


Dragonfly with wings of Blue, what makes me wonder just like you
You hover over a yellow flower, mesmerized by her power
I see myself attracted to, the colors of life, just like you
Something bright will pull me in, to take my light deep deep within
Oh dragonfly Oh dragonfly lets savor life, just you and I

© Johnny Dod (2010)

A wonderful poem by Johnny Dod in which we even can see something of Santoka's way of writing haiku and using repetition (the last two lines).

And here is my attempt to write an all new haiku inspired on the haiku by Santoka Taneda:

what a surprise!
as I kneel next to the old pond
dragonflies mating

© Chèvrefeuille

This is real beauty. Look at those dragonflies while they are mating they look like a heart ... amazing.
I have tried to make a haiga of this haiku and here is the result.

This episode of Carpe Diem Special will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, fashionista, later on. For now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #78, Shoha's "out from the grass"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Last week we hadn't a Tan Renga Challenge, but this week of course we will have a new Tan Renga Challenge. This week I have chosen a haiku by one of the classical haiku masters/ -poets. I hope this haiku by Shoha (1727-1772) will be the source of inspiration for this TRC episode.
In the TRC the goal is to complete the Tan Renga by putting a second (two lined) stanza towards the first stanza through association ...

at the wagon's approach,
out from the grass
flies the butterfly

© Shoha (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

A lot of images to associate on I think. So have fun ....

This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday April 3rd at noon (CET).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Carpe Diem #694, Experience

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to welcome you at a new episode of our Carpe Diem Haiga Festival month at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai were we have today experience as the source for inspiration. We have all experiences which we cherish or which us make sad. For example: I am an oncology-nurse and through my work I have a lot of experience with sadness and sorrow, but also with become stronger to fight the cancer. I have seen a lot of oncology patients and have cared for them too. It's amazing to see how these patients stay positive and optimistic and it's really a joy to work with them and of course there are a lot of tears spilled, but also a lot of laughter. This kind of experiences have made me whom I am today.
Another example: I am a haiku poet since the late eighties and as I look back to the years behind me and look forward to the years to come than I am glad and grateful that CDHK has brought me more than I ever had thought. I feel that my English becomes better and my haiku (and sometimes tanka) are become more compact and strong ... that's also based on experience.
There are haiku poets who are part of our Carpe Diem Haiku Family and who are saying that I am a haiku master or the Basho of our era (thank you Hamish for that big compliment) and that I thank my experience, and you all my dear haijin, for. I am just your humble host and ... yes ... I like haiku a lot.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 30th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, our last CD-Special by Santoka Taneda, later on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Carpe Diem #693, Chess Game

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday was a tough day to create our HWT-episode, so today I will make it easy for you all (and for myself). Today our prompt is chess game not my kind of play. Yes I have tried it, but it's not really my "cup of tea". I am more of checkers which I play very often with my grandsons and they are becoming better and better I even have lost a few games already.
As I started creating this episode I thought almost immediately at the movie-musical Chess by Andrew Lloyd Webber. And I love to share a music-video from this movie-musical.

I think it's a wonderful song from Chess and I hope it will inspire you all to make another nice haiku, tanka or haiga.

Credits image
Hm ... a nice haiga I think, of course it's sad that I used a picture from the WWW, but I hadn't a good image to use. Forgive me.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 29th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, experience, later on. For now ... have fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #12, Resume

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's with a feeling of sadness that prepare this episode. For now this is our last episode of our Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques feature. Maybe later this year I will do another series of this special feature.
Today I love to give you all a resume of our Haiku Writing Techniques. What have we done in the last three months?

First we had Juxtaposition in which we discussed the images in haiku. In haiku there are mostly two opposite images, this is called "juxtaposition" as Robert Spiess (editor of 'Modern Haiku') says:

[...] “Juxtaposition of entities in haiku cannot be simply the throwing together of just anything; the poet must have the intuition that certain things, albeit of "opposite" characteristics, nonetheless have a resonance with each other that will evoke a revelation when they are juxtaposed in accordance with the time-tested canons and aesthetics of haiku.” [...]

wind of winter
touches the last flowers -
Ah! that perfume ...

© Chèvrefeuille

In our second episode we explored Onomatopoeia or try to bring sound in your haiku by using specific characters. Western languages don't have really a "sound" as e.g. Japanese. 
Japanese is a language of sounds as we can see in the three-lined form of haiku with its 5-7-5 sound-units (or onji). Japanese people are part of nature, they are one with the sounds of nature and therefore haiku became what it is ... the poetry of nature ...
I had never heard of onomatopoeia until I discovered haiku in the late eighties, but I learned through the years that haiku are made, written, composed for saying aloud twice (or more times). Haiku are written down but the essence of haiku is this onomatopoeia. How we say a thing is of more importance, of more significance, than what we say, the conscious meaning; for through the tones of the voice, the words chosen, their combination, the sounds echoing and reechoing one another, their concords suspended and reestablished, their discords sustained and resolved, through all this there is a music as free and yet as law-abiding as is that of the flute, the oboe and the violin.

osoki hi no tsumorite toki mukashi kana *)

slow days passing, accumulating,
how distant they are,
the things of the past!

© Buson

*) Buson uses the k sound to portray the bitterness of the passing of time

In our third episode we talked about repetition or the use of the same words in a haiku to make the 'painted' scene more intense. As we see e.g. in the haiku by our featured haiku poet Santoka Taneda or in the following by myself:

cherry blossoms fall
the spring breeze rustles through the leaves
cherry blossoms fall

© Chèvrefeuille

Surprise was the theme for our fourth Haiku Writing Technique and I used it to introduce another idea that haiku is an impression. That impression we explored further in February as all our prompts were about Impressionism.
"Surprise" is also part of haiku ... it's the "catching" of a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water ... e.g. the "frogpond"-haiku by Basho:

old pond
frog jumps in
sound of water

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

Comparison, this was our 5th HWT episode, is a nice way to write/compose haiku ... it brings you in a way immediately two lines and you have just to write a third line towards it to make your haiku complete.

seeking for relief
aching of a broken heart -
love isn't forever

© Chèvrefeuille (published earlier on my personal haiku page)

Than we had a more difficult HWT Wabi-Sabi and it needed two episodes to expalin this Haiku Writing Technique, but finally we managed this technique.

Wabi refers to simplicity and humility. It's about being content with little. Wabi, stemming from the root "wa", which refers to harmony and tranquility, has evolved in meaning from describing something sad and desolate to describing something that is purposely humble and in tune with nature.
Sabi refers to the passing of time, which creates a feeling of sadness, longing and melancholy. It's about transient imagery, how things convey how they've lived - their age, their knowledge. Sabi by itself refers to the natural progression of time, and carries with it an understanding that all things will grow old and become less conventionally beautiful. However, things described as "sabi" carry their age with dignity and grace. At the heart of being "sabi" is the idea of authenticity.

"Wabi-Sabi IS haiku. let us take a look to how a haiku comes to life, maybe we can "discover" that Wabi-Sabi IS haiku.

You start by being part of the moment (as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water), see the impression of the moment. Come in contact with the moment, BE the moment. Feel it, smell it, hear it, see it, touch it ... use all your senses to become one with the moment ... BE the moment. Let go all of your thoughts, make your mind empty, feel only the emptiness, be humble to the experience. It's a privilege to be in the moment. That moment grants you its permission to Be IN IT, be grateful to that.
Do you feel it? That's Wabi-Sabi, that's what haiku is. An example:

on an old branch
young sprouts of cherry blossoms
bloom again

© Chèvrefeuille

Do you "see", "feel", "hear", "smell" and "touch" the moment? I think so ... this is Wabi-Sabi.

What followed was Basho's "task for life"-haiku writing technique Karumi (Lightness).
Bashô developed this concept during his final travels in 1693. Karumi is perhaps one of the most important and least understood principles of haiku poetry. Karumi can best be described as “lightness,” or a sensation of spontaneity. In many ways, karumi is a principle rooted in the “spirit” of haiku, rather than a specific technique. Bashô taught his students to think of karumi as “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. When karumi is incorporated into haiku, there is often a sense of light humor or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world. Many haiku using karumi are not fixed on external rules, but rather an unhindered expression of the poet’s thoughts or emotions. This does not mean that the poet forgets good structure; just that the rules of structure are used in a natural manner. In my opinion, karumi is “beyond” technique and comes when a poet has learned to internalize and use the principles of the art interchangeably.
I think karumi can only be the concept for your haiku when you are not only a haiku poet, but also living haiku ... Living haiku is being one with the world around you including nature and enjoying the emptiness, loneliness and oneness of being part of nature as a human. A haiku poet (in my humble opinion) lives with nature, adores nature, praises nature and respects nature. Haiku is not only a wonderful poem ... it's a life-style.

just one leaf
struggles with the wind
like Basho

© Chèvrefeuille

Recently, this month, we explored the 'free-style' haiku as written by Santoka Taneda. 'Free-style' haiku don't use kigo, kireji or the 5-7-5 structure. It looks somewhat like the Kanshicho-style on which had a discussion here last year.
'Free-style' gives you more freedom (and pleasure) in writing your haiku (or tanka) and I think that our Western way of haiku-ing is more like the 'free-style', but that's just my (humble) opinion.

And of course there was that episode which I maybe could have done as the very first episode of HWT, but I didn't do that, not on purpose ... I just hadn't thought about it as a haiku writing technique. That episode was titled "back to basic", but could even be titled "back to the roots of haiku". That episode was about the classical way of writing haiku (as e.g you can read in Carpe Diem's Lecture 1, above in the menu) and it was a joy to make that episode ... to me ... writing a classical haiku is always a challenge, but here I have a classical haiku written by me:

the rough landscape
reaches to the deep blue sky
so impressive

© Chèvrefeuille

Than last week ... I dared to introduce an all new haiku writing technique which I called Baransu (Japanese for 'balance') and I brought the idea of "bringing balance in haiku by associating" under your attention.
As I read the responses than the most of you had some difficulty to understand this "all new haiku writing technique", but you all managed to compose a "baransu"- haiku and that makes me happy. I hope that this "baransu" haiku writing technique will find its way around the globe, but ... that's not up to me ... haiku writing must be fun and no obligation and ... maybe I can bring some more joy into this wonderful poetry form ... haiku.

the old pond
yesterday ... Irisses bloomed
only a faint purple

© Chèvrefeuille

the cooing of pigeons
resonates through the grey streets -
ah! that summer rain

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you all did like this little course of Haiku Writing Techniques and I hope that the techniques we have discussed will give you all more 'handles' to enjoy haiku. For this episode you may choose which haiku writing technique you want to use for your submitted haiku. And  ... please share your choice of the technique with us.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, chess game, later on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Carpe Diem #692, mud snail

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are counting down o the end of March and today (24/3) we have another nice prompt to become inspired. Today it's mud snail to be our source of inspiration. I have sought for haiku with snail or mudsnail in it, and I found a lot of them, here are a few examples:

en hana ya jyôzu ni magaru katatsumuri

verandah flower--
making a skillful turn
a snail

© Kobayashi Issa
Or these haiku by Buson and Basho:

hiroinokosu tanishi ni tsuki no yûbe kana

a few remain uncaught
under the evening moon
© Yosa Buson
sode yogosuran tanishi no ama no hima o nami
with dirty sleeves
farmers-turned-fishermen pick up mud snails
ever so busy
© Matsuo Basho (at the age of 39)
slowly, but slowly
the mud-snail finds its way
after the heavy rains
© Chèvrefeuille
I remember that we have had a CDHK "Little Creatures"-episode with mud-snails in the lead. And I wasn't aware of that when I created the prompt-list for March. So sorry if you read/see something familiar in this post.
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, the last Haiku Writing Technique (for the time being), later on.

Carpe Diem Extra #12 - 2015, Our first Kukai "Wisteria"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you have read in one of the earlier posts ... I love to start our first Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Kukai, a haiku contest in which we are all the judges and by giving points we will decide with each other who is the winner. Let me tell you something more about Kukai ...

What is a Kukai?

A kukai is a peer reviewed poetry contest. A topic is assigned by your host(s), and all poets submit their poems on that topic to the following email address: carpediemhaikukai@gmail.com

An anonymous list is then distributed to all participating poets and they are invited to vote. Votes are returned to the host(s) who tally the votes and resend the poems to the participants, this time with names and points revealed.
How does OUR CDHK Kukai work?

I will give you a theme (or prompt/topic) to write/compose haiku about. Most times that will be a modern or classical kigo (unless otherwise stated). You don’t need to follow the classical haiku rules, but feel free to do so.
You can send your submissions for this first CDHK Kukai to the above email-address. Please write CDHK Kukai March 2015 in the subject box.
You may send a maximum of three, never published earlier, haiku including your name (or penname). !! Only haiku !!
Please send your submission for our first kukai before April 15th at noon (CET). I will make an anonymous list of the submitted haiku and will email it to you.
Then it’s your turn to be judge. You may give 3, 2 and 1 point (3 for the best in your opinion) to three of the haiku. Of course you may not give your own haiku points.
When you are ready with judging the haiku than please email the anonymous list back to our above email-address. (Please write scored or judged haiku in the subject box).

I will gather the points and after that I will publish the list (with names) here at our Haiku Kai.

I hope to see a lot of haiku for this first kukai and I hope it will bring us joy.

This first Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Kukai (March 2015) is NOW OPEN for your submissions and our theme for this first CDHK Kukai is

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Glass #26, First Blossoms

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you all did like the posts by Jen and that they inspired you to create all new haiku. Jen thanks for stepping in and granting me some free off. It's Sunday again and than it's time challenging day. I have a new episode of our Time Glass feature for you all and I hope you will like it.

Today, March 22nd, spring has started here with a great sunny day and that gives hope for an all wonderful spring. Trees start to blossom, but my Sakura hasn't started to bloom yet ... it will take a few days of sunny weather I think, but the buds are almost bursting into joy and colors ... I think you already know what the prompt is for this Time Glass episode!

Yes ... you're right cherry blossoms ....

I have a gorgeous photo for you which I took several years ago from my Sakura ...

And the prompt for today is FIRST BLOSSOM ... you have just 24 hours to respond with a haiku, a tanka, a haibun or haiga. So have fun ...

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 23rd at 7.00 PM (CET). So you have just 24 hours to respond.

Carpe Diem #691, Witch Hazel

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a great weekend I have had ... no worries about CDHK and that felt great. Thank you Jen for stepping in and keep CDHK on road this weekend. You have shared wonderful posts here and I am grateful for that. So thank you Jen ...

Thank You
We are on our way to a new month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai ... we have just 8 days to go and than it will be April. I am really looking forward to our next month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and especially because of our featured haiku poetess that month Kala Ramesh (you can already read a few of her haiku in our last Sparkling Stars episode) and of course our adventure through the Bhagavad Gita that wonderful story about Arjuna speaking with Krishna before going into battle.
Another thing which I need to say here is the following: I will start this week with our first Carpe Diem Kukai, a kind of haiku-contest in which we all will be the judges and give each other's haiku points. Soon I will publish an episode of Carpe Diem Extra in which I will explain the Kukai.

Credits: Witch Hazel
Ok back to our prompt for today. Today our prompt is Witch Hazel ... a unique bush with a lot of uses hidden in it e.g. health issues. I will try to tell you all first a little bit more about Witch Hazel
The Virginian witch hazel or the magic hazel contributes the botanical name Hamamelis virginian. It is either a shrub or a small tree that sufficiently thrives in damp forest areas. The tree is very delicate and flowers that unfold in November and December. The branches of the magic Hazel for a long time are used as a means of divination; bark and leaves are strongly astringent and have a soothing and toning effect.
In general spiritual idea/thought is that witch hazel stands for: a
part of yourself, who possesses ancient knowledge of healing; an aspect of your personality that can take either real or in a figurative sense of water.

I found a nice haiku written by Hata 3 about the witch hazel, Hata 3 is a Japanese haiku poet.

~ mansaku ya huruki koromo o nugi suteyo

Japanese witch hazel -
throw off cloak of
an old time

© Hata3
Credits: Woodblock "Witch Hazel" by Kono Bairei 1880
And I found a wonderful poem, Reluctance by Robert Frost (1874–1963) in which the Witch Hazel is part of the scene so to say.
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
Credits: Witch Hazel
I love this bush ... it's just made for being praised in haiku I think ... but how to catch that idea, that feeling in a haiku? I have tried the "Baransu" technique, but I had some difficulties to find the first line ...

magic is in the air
the sun climbs to his throne
witch hazel buds burst

© Chèvrefeuille

Than I thought of our Haiga Festival and sought for a photo of the Witch Hazel in my personal archive, but couldn't find one ... so I sought the Internet and found a wonderful photo which perfectly fits the haiku.

Credits: Witch Hazel photo (not the haiku)
Well ... I liked creating this episode and I hope it will inspire you all to write/compose an all new haiku and share it with us all here at our Haiku Kai.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 26th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, mud snail, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #138: Santoka Taneda’s “Soaking Wet”

Hello once again, Haijin.  This is Paloma from Blog It or Lose It, helping Chèvrefeuille for the weekend.  It’s been an honor – and quite an experience!  Thank you, once again, Chèvrefeuille for making Carpe Diem such a joy!


For today we return to the haiku of Santoka Taneda.  As Chèvrefeuille shared in this month’sprompt list page, the poet spent much of his life wandering as a mendicant priest.  And while he made many observations on the natural world – the loneliness and isolation of his wandering is a constant theme in his work.  Consider this haiku, for example:

shigurete sono ji ga yomenai michishirube

soaking wet
I can’t read the letters
on the signpost

I love that this haiku is ambiguous – “soaking wet” refers to what?  the poet? the signpost? both?  Do you hear the hissing of the rain in how he’s repeating sh / s / ch sounds?   And – what wonderful layers of meaning in the haiku!

Here is another example from Santoka Taneda’s Grass and Tree Cairn:

In April 1926, burdened with unsolvable illusions, I set out on a journey of alms-begging and drifting.

     Wakeitte mo wakeitte mo aoi yama
     I go in      I go in      still the blue mountains

     Shitodo ni nurete kore wa michishirube no ishi
     Soaking wet      this a road-marker stone

     Enten o itadaite koi aruku
     Burning heaven on my head      I beg      I walk

                 © SantokaTaneda

Did you notice that his line length is very irregular – and that he loves repetition?  


Here is another example:

kyō mo nurete shiranai michi o yuku
Today again     soaking wet     I walk on an unknown road.    
(Tr. by John Stevens)

And – here is an unusual haiku from the journey – which I will leave without comment:

nombiri shito suru kusa no me darake
Nonchalantly urinating    By the road     Soaking the young weeds
(Tr. by John Stevens)

Here is my haiga – attempting to stay in the spirit of Santoka Taneda:

     If you are interested in reading more of Santoka Taneda’s work, visit these sites:

     Santoka: Grass and Tree Cairn (Haiku Foundation)
     Fire on the Mountain (Internet Archive: Wayback Machine)
     The Poetry of Santoka Taneda (Greenleaf)
     Taneda (Terebess Asia Online)


This prompt will be open for entries from March 21st at 7 PM through March 25th at noon (CET). 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Machine #6: Skylark

Greetings once again, Haijin!  This is Paloma from Blog It or Lose it, helping Chèvrefeuille during his weekend break. 

Today’s prompt is “skylark” – and at first I had no idea what to do for this prompt.  The skylark has figured prominently at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – featured many, many times.   Then I read the following haiku from Chèvrefeuille:

mezzo-soprano sings
a love song by Chopin -
cry of a Skylark   

in touch with the gods
pine trees reaching for heaven -
skylarks sing their song

These haiku reminded me that the skylark is a staple of Western poetic tradition as well as Eastern tradition.  Percy Bysshe Shelly wrote "To a Skylark"; Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote to "The Caged Skylark", and – William Wordsworth wrote his own version of  "To a Skylark". 

So – I hope Chèvrefeuille will be okay with this – why don’t we look at the Wordsworth version for inspiration today?

Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still!

Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!

And for more inspiration – here is a recording of a skylark’s song!

What images in the Wordsworth poem strike your fancy?  You’ll find joy, sensuality, freedom, and centeredness.  

Or – would you like to try a senryu or a kyoka – and be an “anti-Wordsworth”?

I have no skylark photos, sadly, so please forgive my use of a Wikimedia image.  Here's my attempt:

This challenge is open to your entries from March 20th at 7 PM through March 24th at noon (CET).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Carpe Diem #690: Higan (Equinox)

Hello everyone!   This is Paloma from Blog It or Lose It, and I am helping Chèvrefeuille for the weekend while he enjoys some time with his family and friends.  It’s an honor to be able to help out – and once again – I’m sending a big **thank you** to Chèvrefeuille.  He is enormously busy with Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, Tanka Shrine, Family, and Shuukan – and recently – with the Fairy Tale prompt!  Thank you for sharing your love of haiku with so many people!


For today we’re looking at the Higan festival.  This is a theme Carpe Diem first visited in March of 2013.  Those of you who live in the Southern Hemisphere will be happy to learn that Higan is celebrated for one week in March (Haru Higan) and for one week in September (Aki Higan) – it is a celebration of the Equinox – in which there are equal periods of day and night.   

The term “Ohigan” means “the other shore” or “the shore of Sanzu River”.  In Buddhist literature, this refers to leaving the shore of ignorance and suffering and crossing to the shore of Enlightenment.

Haran no Higan lasts for seven days in March, but “Shunbun no hi” is celebrated on the actual day of the equinox.  On this day, people visit their hometown and tend the graves of their ancestors:

“To help their ancestors make the crossing, family members visit the cemetery to pray, weed graves, wash tombstones, light incense and leave flowers.  According to tradition, food, in the form of ohagi or botamochi (sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste), is left to help nourish their ancestors journey to the next world.” 
Farmers may use this day to pray for an abundant crop, and there is a folk saying related to higan:

Atsusa samusa mo Higan ma de
[“Heat and cold last until Higan”]

But – as you know – Mother Nature doesn’t care much for folk sayings – as Issa points out in this haiku:

"fair weather by Spring's Equinox"
so they say …

© Issa

Here are some haiku about Higan to inspire you:

walking on and on
among the endless
blooming higan flowers  

a lone crow
pensive on its perch
spring equinox

Here is an Aki Higan haiku for the folks in the Southern Hemisphere:

autumn equinox -
the dead old relatives
visit my dream

© 2006 – Gabi Greve

And of course here is a spring haiku that is part of a series by Chèvrefeuille:

                celebrating the sun
                with narcissus flowers in my hair -
                Spring Equinox

                © Chèvrefeuille

What can I write about higan and the equinox?

There's also this slightly more cheerful haiku - but I didn't have a photo to turn this into haiga:

toddler’s joy:
Daddy’s home before dark
on the equinox 

Probably not my best, but hopefully they will trigger some thoughts about Higan.  :)

This episode is open for your submissions from March 19th, 7 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 23rd, at noon (CET).   

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Carpe Diem #689, Melancholy

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is the last regular prompt which I will do this week. As you all know Jen of Blog It Or Lose It will take care for our regular prompts for March 20th, 21th and 22th. And as you all know ... last month she did great and I have already had a sneak preview of her episodes and they look great. So Jen ... thank you for helping me out.
A few announcements which I love to share with you all:

Next Friday (March 20th) there will be no Tan Renga Challenge, not because of lack of time, but more because I think the Tan Renga Challenge gives you all to less inspiration, but maybe that's a wrong idea.
Next Saturday (March 21th), the start of spring on the Northern Hemisphere, there will be no bi-weekly "Little Creatures" episode. I have decided to skip that special feature for one week, so our first "Little Creatures" episode will be March 28th.
Than to conclude these announcements ... I am proud to tell you all that I have gotten permission to use haiku written by Kala Ramesh next month. Kala Ramesh, a famous Indian haiku-poetess, will be our featured haiku-poet for the CD-Specials in April. It makes me happy that I may use her haiku in a month in which we will discover the Bhagavad Gita, an Indian Epos.

Ok ... back to our prompt for today. Today we have melancholy for prompt, but what is melancholy? I have found the following meaning(s):

1. a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression.
2. sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

I don't really know if that's what I am feeling when I am melancholic, but maybe that's more my idea, because English isn't my mother tongue.
As I am melancholic than I am in a kind of mood that gives me a strong longing to go back to my childhood, to re-live my history. Sometimes as I am in that kind of mood ... I become sad and tears stream ...
"Was it really better than?" I have given this prompt serious thought and I decided to make a haiga with a picture of my childhood.

long time ago
when I was just a child no worries -
just happiness

© Chèvrefeuille
In the background on this haiga you can see my older brother (who died almost 20 years ago) it's one of the photos which I cherish. Than ... there were no worries, no sadness ... we just were kids and could do anything ... yes I had a wonderful youth.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until March 22nd at noon (CET). Upcoming weekend I am free and Jen will take over. Thank you again Jen for helping me out.