Monday, July 10, 2017

Carpe Diem #1217 Cormorant fishing (Ukai)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month it's all about classical and non-classical kigo (seasonwords) and today I have a classical kigo for you which brought immediately a haiku by Basho in mind, maybe you know this one it's a well known haiku by my master:

so fascinating
but then so sad:
cormorant fishing boat

© Bashō

Bashō  strikes a perfect balance of humanness - the fascination with this 'ingenious' method of fishing and, suddenly, the revelation of its implication, karmic and otherwise. The range of emotion from one mere moment to the next is, in itself, something of an analogy for the human experience.

Cormorant fishing (ukai)
But what is it ... cormorant fishing? Let me tell you a little about this way of fishing. Cormorant fishing is a method of fishing in which the bird has a snare attached to the base of its throat. When the cormorant catches a fish, it is unable to swallow it and the fisherman extracts it from the bird's throat. The process is repeated, over and over again.

This method of fishing, hundreds and hundreds of years old, inspired many haiku. And, as would be expected, most are in empathy with the plight of the bird.

Here is another example of a haiku on cormorant fishing:

my soul
dived in and out of the water
with the cormorant

© Onitsura

A not so nice way of fishing I would say, but well ... it's the only way for a lot of Japanese fishermen. Here is my haiku inspired on this theme for today:

at the seashore
the fishing-boats are overgrown -
playground for children

© Chèvrefeuille

Have fun!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 15th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, solar eclipse, later on.

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