Monday, December 21, 2015

Carpe Diem #884 on our way home: the scent of early rice, the tomb also shakes, autumn coolness, red more red, a lovely name, how pitiful

!! triple episode !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have an announcement to make: this will be a "triple episode", because I hadn't time to create our episode of today, so I decided to bring you two episodes in one. This can mean that this episode will be a little bit longer than I usually do, but than we will be "back on track".
Second: Thank you all for your kind words and prayers for my dad. Just a few hours ago I heard that he will be released from the hospital. This afternoon we will have a conversation with his cardiologist.
Third: It's almost Christmas and the end of 2015 is almost there. I love to ask you all something. Please share with me, with us, with our Haiku Kai your thoughts about 2015. Which were the highlights, which prompts did you like and maybe you have ideas for new prompts or making our Haiku Kai even better than it is already.

Okay ... let's go to our "triple episode" of our "Narrow Road" which we are walking together with Basho and his companion Sora. Have fun!


the scent of early rice
coming in from the right
the Ariso Sea

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Across the mountains of Unohana-yama and the valleys of Kurikara- dani, I entered the city of Kanazawa on July the fifteenth, where I met a merchant from Osaka named Kasho who invited me to stay at his inn.


There was in this city a man named Issho whose unusual love of poetry had gained him a lasting reputation among the verse writers of the day. I was told, however, that he had died unexpectedly in the winter of the past year. I attended the memorial service held for him by his brother.

the tomb also shakes
my weeping voice is
the autumn wind

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

A visit to a certain hermitage, were I was invited to attend a rengaparty. I wrote the following greeting verse, which we used to start the renga with:

autumn coolness
each peeling with our hands
melons and eggplant

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

red more red
in spite of the indifferent sun
an autumn breeze

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

(note: normally the autumn wind was thought of as white)

Credits: Hiyoshi Shrine (Little Pines)
At a place called Little Pines:

a lovely name
at Little Pines blows
bush clover and thatch reeds

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

(note: As you all know (I think) Basho was a very important and famous renga-master in his time. He attended a lot of renga parties and was often the haiku poet who wrote the hokku. The above haiku was the starting verse of a so called “yoyoshi”, a renga of forty-four links. This haiku which was used as the hokku, was the greeting verse to the host of this “yoyoshi”, Kosen, the chief priest of the Hiyoshi Shrine at Komatsue (which means “little pines”).

I went to the Tada Shrine located in the vicinity, where I saw Lord Sanemori's helmet and a piece of brocaded cloth that he had worn under his armor. According to the legends, these were given him by Lord Yoshitomo while he was still in the service of the Minamotos. The helmet was certainly an extraordinary one, with an arabesque of gold chrysanthemums covering the visor and the ear plate, a fiery dragon resting proudly on the crest, and two curved horns pointing to the sky. The chronicle of the shrine gave a vivid account of how, upon the heroic death of Lord Sanemori, Kiso no Yoshinaka had sent his important retainer Higuchi no Jiro to the shrine to dedicate the helmet with a letter of prayer.

how pitiful
under the armored helmet
a cricket

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Credits: Tada Shrine
An awesome part of the "Narrow Road" and while we are leaving Tada Shrine ... we also leave Carpe Diem Haiku Kai for today.


I have sought all over the Internet for an example of the poetry by Issho as mentioned in the above episode and finally I only found one haiku written by Issho. Issho was a very famous haiku poet in his own region, but he died in 1688. Basho loved to visit him, but the only thing he finds is the grave of Issho, who passed away a year before Basho arrived at the village were Issho lived.

Here is the only haiku which I could find written by Kasugi Issho. I have tried to translate it and honor Issho with that translation.

mi tsukushita me wa shirgiku ni  modori keri

seen with my eyes
white chrysanthemums
again I saw them

© Kasugi Issho (1652-1688)

A wonderful haiku I think, but Issho was more famous for his love poems, however I haven't sought the Internet for his love poems ...


finally spring
one tulip after another blooms
rainbow garden

© Chèvrefeuille

What a joy it was to create this episode. I hope you did like it and ... I hope it inspires you to write an all new haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until December 24th at noon (CET). I hope to publish our new episode, a new episode of our Haiku Writing Techniques and the fourth CD special by Georgia, later on. For now .... have fun, be inspired and share.


  1. The triple episode should keep us busy for a while! Thank you. Linking the first of three responses. Glad to hear your dad is recovering.

  2. ABOUT BEST OF 2015 - These last 2 months.......amazing. These 'journeys' are just wonderful. Hopefully there will be more. I remember one person saying she could not write about the Nile before, as she had not been there. Such a pity, and wrong. In fact she could, and your posts provide ample nformation. I am sure it is very good to be stretched a bit, taken out of the comfort zone, and learn new things, and be more creative. Your sessions about haiku techniques have been enthralling, frankly. I cannot believe how much you have put into that, how much we get out of it, and how much there is in haiku to get out. We all need to publicise kukai more.

  3. Great Post - missed the link up - I've been waiting for a new cord to charge my laptop. It came this morning and I'm hoping to get around to read everyone's posts. My link if anyone interested.