Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Carpe Diem #1215 cold sake (hiyazake)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of Carpe Diem. This month we are exploring the kigo for summer. Kigo are seasonwords that are used in haiku to point towards the season in which the haiku took place. Today we have a classical kigo as used in ancient Japan. The most kigo were chosen with Edo as the tracking point, because of the long stretched country. Today the classical kigo is hiyazake or cold sake.

Sake is a rice wine and mostly it is served warm, but in the summer, when it is hot, it is served cold.

Hiyazake (cold sake)
Here are a few examples of haiku with this kigo:

Santoka Taneda (1882 - 1940) had an unhappy life which was, since his eleventh year, marked by the suicide of his mother, which she apparently committed because of her cheating husband. Santoka was raised by his grandmother, and whole of his life was marked by constant drinking which left him outside of community, irrespectively of his great poetic talent. He couldn't keep a job and all he was able to do was wandering and writing sad haiku poetry marked by his addiction to sake. The addiction probably killed him in the end.
As you (maybe) know Santoka's haiku have a free form and don't follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule. Santoka thus departs from the traditional haiku, but his poetry can be still classified as haiku, although it does not fit there with regards to form. It does fit in there, however, with regards to the spirit, because it remains faithful to revealing the whole world in a moment, in a single experience - in this, Santoka was a sad master.
Santoka wrote several haiku about or themed sake:
If I sell my rags
And buy some sake
Will there still be loneliness?

So drunk
I slept
with the crickets!
Beneath The River of Heaven
The drunkard dances all night.
sound of waves
far off close by
how much longer to live
© Santoka, (tr. Burton Watson)
Or this one by Shiki, more for autumn and winter:

samukeredo sake mo ari  yu mo aru tokoro
it is cold, but
we have sake
and the hot spring
© Shiki (1867-1902)
And here is one by myself:
in the light of the full moon
drinking sake with my haiku friends
under cherry blossoms
© Chèvrefeuille (April 2017)

a strange sight
sailors loaded with sake
dance like fools
© Chèvrefeuille (October 2015)
Well ... it is up to you now ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 10th at noon (CET). I will (try to) post our new episode, a new "weekend-meditation" later on. For now .... have fun!

1 comment:

  1. I think you introduced us to Santoka Taneda in an earlier CDHK post but, I must admit, I'd forgotten about him. It's great to find him again - his poetry is so immediate and startling :)