Sunday, February 14, 2016

Carpe Diem Special #197 Hamish's third "Forest Walks, a winter kikobun"

!!  Last call for submissions for our Kukai "Time", you can submit your haiku (a max of three) until tonight 10.00 PM (CET) to Please write "kukai time" in the subject line !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new CD-Special by Hamish Managua Gunn, our featured haiku poet. Maybe you can recall that Hamish once wrote a Ghost Writer post about Kikobun and I have chosen to share a kikobun by Hamish this time instead of a haiku only. As you all (maybe) know Hamish is not only writing haiku, but also haibun and as in today's special kikobun.

What is a kikobun?

It is structured somewhat like a haibun, a passage of prose with at least one short poem (haiku or tanka). It features landscape and nature, and interaction between writer and the landscape. Bashô focused on exactly that, the nature and not on prescribed formulas or conceptions.

The key specification is that a kikôbun involves movement of the writer, in that it is a short travel diary. The haiku should not repeat what is in the prose, and should not attempt to ′globalise’ the prose like a conclusion.

Here is an example of a kikobun written by Hamish Managua Gunn:

Credits: Winter Forest
Forest Walks

The day she arrived it started to snow. That is what is good about snow; it softens memories.

As teenagers we’d climbed a few snow-peaked mountains together in the French alps. I say climbed, but most were walked, though now and then we were roped together on tall magnificent cliffs.

Today we no longer climbed, though the ropes that held us together in friendship were stronger than ever. Yasuko had always liked to touch the fragility of nature, and she did often in the forest, and I rediscovered the forest through her eyes. She smiled and spoke softly, just as she used to, and it fit into the quiet surroundings.

“Every walker should know and feel the rhythm of nature,” she said, “and since every writer should also be a walker, he or she should use this mystical understanding as the foundation of the fantasy world she or he needs to construct his book into, and so the walker should take his or her steps into forests, on mountain paths and beside rivers to feel the seductive energy of the trees, the long grass and fresh clear water; an intoxicating bouquet for the writer’s mind as she or he walks. Thus the writer translates nature into words, and wanders, searching, though never aimlessly, words that are meant to be plucked from untouched wilderness.”

We walked through the forest for hours that day, a few days ago, Yasuko and I.

“How much of this land is forested?” she asked.

“As much as you want,” I said, and together we tried new paths that led us over old hills, on snow that covered the landscape and made it hers, for she enjoyed it so much.

We walked until late evening, long past early sunset, and stayed in a small hotel, delaying our ferry crossing to Sweden, our competitive egos from days gone by back again, and wanting to finish the walk to the frozen Pyhäjärvi lake.

“There are 39 lakes with this name in Finland,” I said, as we stood on its frozen shores in the early afternoon of the next day. “Do you want to cross it?”

“We have nothing to cross,” Yasuko said, “ours is the quiet friendship of falling snow, even after all these years.”

two sets of footprints
in freshly fallen snow
one pair from Kyoto

© Hamish Managua Gunn

A wonderful kikobun and I think this kikobun can be a lot more for CDHK, maybe I will create another new feature in which kikobun will play the head character.

The task for this CD-Special is to write a kikôbun, about a journey, or part of a journey or wander. The idea of it being about wandering and observing is very relevant.

Have fun!

This CD-Special is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 17th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, intuition, later on.


  1. Be-au-ti-ful! You ELEVATED that post! Made it all so interesting.

  2. smashing!! I want to walk there with you, Hamish. Bring a cushion to sit on that bench ;-)

    I will enjoy dreaming something up for this prompt.