Monday, July 20, 2015

Carpe Diem #779 Seika (Midsummer)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Haiku Kai. As you all know we are exploring the classical Japanese kigo (seasonwords) for summer. Kigo or seasonwords are a kind of markers to place the haiku (or tanka) in the right season. Kigo are very important to the haiku poet, but also to his/her readers, because of the time, time needs to be clear to help the reader to experience the scene, the impression in the haiku.

Today our classical kigo is Seika or Midsummer. I think this midsummerfeeling is approximately around this time in summer (on the Northern Hemisphere) July 21st until August 21st, so in my opinion midsummer starts today.

As I started creating this episode I first thought at the play A MidsummerNight’s Dream by William Shakespeare and the wonderful music composed for this play by Felix Mendelssohn.

A wonderful piece of music I think, but that's just my humble opinion as a fan of classical music. I hope you did like this music.

Ok ... back to our classical kigo, Seika (Midsummer), because that's why we are here (smiles), but I love to create sometimes episodes with more than only haiku.
The rainy season is now over and summer comes with all its might, daily temperatures well over 30 degrees centigrade, which are called "midsummer days" (manatsubi) in the weather forecast. Sometimes they last for about 50 days in Kyushu.
Summer season in Japanese Haiku  is fixed according to the Asian lunar calendar from the beginning of summer around the sixth of May until the eighth of August. In reality the summer in Central Japan lasts roughly from June to the end of August, so July 21 is somewhat the middle of summer according to the Japanese lunar calendar.

Let us look at a few haiku written with seika as kigo:

guisu ni doyô yasumi wa nakari keri

for the nightingale
there's no break...
midsummer heat

asagao no hana kara doyô iri ni keri

from the morning-glory's
midsummer begins

mizugire no hondôri nari doyô nari

the main road
dry from drought...

kozue kara doyô ni irishi tsuki yo kana

from the treetop
gliding into midsummer...
bright moon

© Kobayashi Issa (all above haiku)

Credits: Takotsubo (Octopus trap, Japan)

takotsubo ya hakanaki yume o  natsu no tsuki

mere octopus traps,
evanescent dreams beneath
a midsummer moon.

© Matsuo Basho

And I found a nice haiku written by a modern haiku poet, Stewart C. Baker. (I couldn't retrieve an email-address to ask permission)

midsummer storm—
shadows rushing over
a burst of rose

© Stewart C Baker
All different angles for "midsummer", but all are really nice, however not the correct kigo seika, because I couldn't find haiku in which seika is used, so I have selected the example haiku on midsummer ...

I love to share the following haiku written by myself inspired on this kigo, not a recently written one, but one from my archives, a nice cascading haiku which I wrote in February 2012:

young dancer © Enosh
ankle chimes
listen to the movement
of the young dancer

a ballerina
dances through the streets
sound of chimes

sound of chimes
through the midsummer night
fading away
© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like this episode and that it will inspire you all to write/compose an all new haiku (or tanka) and share it here with us.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 23rd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, a new Tokubetsudesu episode, later on.


  1. I love the last one "fading away"...

  2. Echoing Mandy -- your "fading away" haiku will stay in my memory. Stewart Baker, as well. So much inspiration in this post!