Thursday, April 21, 2016

Carpe Diem Theme Week 3: Magnolia Blossoms, haiku by Soseki Natsume; episode 5 leafless tree

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to bring another nice haiku by Soseki Natsume, one of the modern age haiku poets and a contemporary of Shiki. Soseki was not only a great novelist, but also a great haiku poet and in this theme week we are discovering the beauty of his haiku.

Today I have a nice set of haiku by Soseki Natsume for your inspiration and I will try to tell a little bit about these haiku.

The crow has flown away:
swaying in the evening sun,
a leafless tree.

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.

© Soseki Natsume

As I read these haiku the first thing which came in mind was that world famous haiku by Basho:

kare eda ni karasu no tomarikeri aki no kure

on a bare branch
a crow has stopped
autumn dusk

© Basho (Tr. Stephen Wolfe)

The haiku by Soseki Natsume is very similar with the one by Basho. In my opinion this shows us that Soseki tried to create his haiku in the same way as Basho, with the same intention ... unconditional love for all and everything. This idea fits Soseki's ideas which he described in his "Zen Haiku: Poems and Letters of Natsume Soseki", which I mentioned in our yesterday's post for the Theme Week.

And that second haiku by Soseki brought another haiku by Basho in mind, it even sounds like the last haiku Basho wrote, his jisei (death poem):

tabi ni yande yume wa kareno o kakemeguru

ill on a journey -
dreams keep on wandering
over the heath

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

But I first thought about this haiku by Basho:

matsukaze ya noki o megutte aki kurenu

wind through the pines -
swirls still around the eaves
departing autumn

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

What a joy to dive into the depth of the mind of Soseki Natsume and finding his deeper connection with one of the four greatest haiku poets, Matsuo Basho.

I hope this episode will inspire you to create a haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form, in the same spirit as Soseki Natsume. Have fun!

I couldn't come up with a new haiku, so I dived into my archive and found a haiku which fits these haiku by Soseki:

apple blossoms fall
one by one, each on its own path -
the crow of a rooster

© Chèvrefeuille

I re-worked an old haiku which I have written several years ago and I think that "re-worked" haiku fits the scenes and the feeling of Soseki's haiku above:

mysterious -
leaves falling year after year
without notice

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode of our Third Theme Week is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 23rd 10.00 PM (CET). Have fun!


  1. A post rich in knowledge and information. I do enjoy reading and learning, and comment only belatedly as your information makes one think of what kind of haiku to write. Your haiku fits in with the masters'with ease.

  2. I have been away for awhile but am so glad to be back!

  3. Kristjaan, I have not been visiting daily as I usually do...blogging much less due to body strain and at work I usually get a few hours time to write or read but crisis have not diminished yet...usually by March they subside.

    Also many bloggers are tied up with National Poetry Writing Month as well as Blogging from A to Z. I read many of your posts after they have expired but still gain much from your words. We are like your children and sometimes we want to go out and play with our friends (winks) Namaste