Monday, July 24, 2017

Carpe Diem #1225 cool, cool evening, cool wind (Suzushi,Ryofu)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit late with this new episode, because I had a very busy day-shift at work. So my apologies for this small delay. Yesterday we had "dunes" for prompt and today I love to inspire you with a classical kigo for summer, cool, cool evening, cool wind (Suzushi,Ryofu), and the first thing that came in mind was a haiku by my master Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):

Matsuo Basho
You remember for sure Basho's haiku 'Old Pond', this famous haiku we have seen here often, we even have created an e-book around this famous haiku (see for the link to this e-book, the right side of our Kai):

an old pond
a frog jumps in
the sound of water

The following haiku by Basho has the same third sentence but fails to achieve the importance that it does have in the above verse.

Basho wrote the following haiku in the Summer of 1688.

taneshisa ya   aota ni suzuma   mizu no ato

cooling one self in a rice paddy
the sound of water

As we look closer at both verses we can see the picture, but in 'Old Pond' the main figure is the frog and in 'delightfulness' it's a human. Basho uses the same third sentence but, there is a difference in 'the sound of water'. In 'Old Pond' the sound of water is very short. It's just the frog who breaks the water. That sound is the essence of haiku, short as an eye-blink, just an 'aha-erlebnis'.
In 'delightfulness' the sound of water is made by a human who is cooling his feet in the water of the rice paddy. That 'sound of water' is a longer sound, the sound of splashing. In 'delightfulness' the cool water of the rice paddy is the 'aha-erlebnis'. How refreshing the cool water of the rice paddy on a hot summer day.

In my opinion 'the sound of water' in 'Old Pond' is stronger and important for the picture. In 'delightfulness' 'the sound of water' is less important for the picture. It's the coolness of the water of the rice paddy that's important.
Well it's just a thought, a reverie ....

dew drops on grass
The above image I used several years ago as the cover for a haiku-book in Dutch, but it also was used to illustrate the haiku I wrote in response on the above delightful haiku by Basho:

with my bare feet
in the cool grass of dawn
Ah! what a feeling

© Chèvrefeuille

Another haiku by Basho with the same theme, coolness, is the following:

essential to life
the little space under my hat
enjoying the coolness

This is a not so well known haiku of Basho. The Japanese hat in this haiku is the so called "kasa".

The "kasa" was an umbrella like hat. In some way through wearing this 'kasa' Basho always had his own shady place at hand.

such a hot day
my shadow needs to cool down
under the willow

© Chèvrefeuille

Another one with the same theme:

hot summer day
the shadow of the willows
Ah! that coolness

© Chèvrefeuille

the shadow of the willos

In some of Basho's haiku he refers to himself as part of the scene or looks to the scene from a distance. Not very common for haiku poets. It isn't done to be part of your own haiku as haiku poet, but rules are there to be once read and than to forget them immediately.
In the following haiku he does both. He is part of the scene, but is also watching it from a distance. I think it's a great way to write haiku (unless it wasn't common).
This "not being part of your own haiku" is still in our times one of the rules. Rules? Basho once said: "Know the rules of writing haiku and forget them immediately". Well ... that's my way to write haiku. So I 'forgot' the rules of the classical haiku and embraced the rules of the Kanshicho style in which Basho wrote his haiku between 1683 and 1685. In that style the syllable count is different and less important. But as Basho said: "Forget the rules immediately". Well I can say "forgetting the rules feels good and makes my mind free". With that thought I have written a lot of haiku.

kawa kaze ya   usu gaki ki taru   yu suzumi

a river breeze
the one wearing a light persimmon robe
enjoying the coolness

© Basho

Basho wrote a preface to this haiku.

"Enjoying the cool breeze on the bank of Shijo, an observance is practiced from the beginning to the middle of June. A special floor is set up right on the river, and people enjoy drinking and eating all night. Women tie their sashes correctly tight, and men wear their formal long coats. I see even the apprentices of a cooper and the blacksmith. They seem to have too much leisure time, singing and making noise. This is probably a scene which can only be seen in the capital (Edo, now called Tokyo)".
summer coolness

observing the crowd
having fun on the seashore
almost naked

© Chèvrefeuille

I love the full beaches in summer. Everyone has fun enjoying the warm summer and the coolness of the sea.
Children laugh making sandcastles, grown ups reading, playing, drinking, eating and laughing. Summer is a wonderful season and I think ... everyone enjoys it.

Sorry ... maybe a long (to long) read this episode, but I was on a roll. I hope I have inspired you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 29th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, swamp, later on. For now ... have fun!

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