Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Carpe Diem #1336 Elegance

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's with pain in my heart that I am creating the last regular episode of this marvelous CDHK month in which we explored the beauty of the novels by Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite authors. We read several quotes from a lot of his novels and today I love to conclude this month with a wonderful quote from "The Witch of Portobello". Coelho published this novel in 2007 and it is really a beautiful novel sure worth a read.

I have titled this episode "elegance", because that's the 'theme' of the quote which you have to use. But what is "elegance" according Merriam Webster's Dictionary it means the following:

a : refined grace or dignified propriety : urbanity
b : tasteful richness of design or ornamentation the sumptuous elegance of the furnishings
c : dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style : polish the essay is marked by lucidity, wit, and elegance
d : scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity the elegance of a mathematical proof

One of the meanings of the pink rose is "elegance"
"Elegance" we find everywere around us, not only in our homes, but also outside in nature. Think about a swan for example. Or the beauty of for example a rose. Elegance is all around us and in our haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form we can find that elegance too. Of all poetic forms, haiku stands as one of the most elegant and immediate – a rare combination that creates an aura of mystery and artistry. This creative ambrosia, combined with an exotic history embedded in the courts and hillsides of Japan, has made haiku globally popular for the past century.

With the challenge of precisely conveying a natural movement as a universal moment in three lines and 17 or fewer syllables, it is easy to see why Western poets like W.H. Auden, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Jorge Luis Borges, Billy Collins, Allen Ginsberg, e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, Joanne Kyger, Anne Waldman, Richard Wright, and Sonia Sanchez fell in love with haiku.

Let us take a look at a few haiku and tanka in which you can find elegance:

lightning flash–
what I thought were faces
are plumes of pampas grass

© Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

I remember that even in a sad themed tanka you can find "elegance" like in this one:

broken wings
a butterfly crushed
under my feet
fragile beauty gone
leaving me with a broken heart

© Chèvrefeuille

Do you see the elegance in this haiku written by Sora, Basho's companion while he was on his road into the deep north:

white flowers in my hair
I walk through the gate into the deep north
my only gala dress

©  Sora (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

And another elegant haiku by Basho in a beautiful translation by Jane Reichhold:

roots of elegance
on this trip to the far north
rice-planting song 

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Elegance in haiku and tanka awesome. Let us now go back to the quote I have chosen for this last regular episode of CDHK of 2017. A quote taken from "The Witch of Portobello" by Paulo Coelho.

[...] “Elegance is the correct posture if the writing is to be perfect. It’s the same with life: when all superfluous things have been discarded, we discover simplicity and concentration. The simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be, even though, at first, it may seem uncomfortable.” [...] (Source: The Witch of Portobello - Paulo Coelho)

The above quote suddenly reads familiar. It sounds like I have used it in an earlier episode this month, but after checking I came to the conclusion that I hadn't used it earlier.

just one line
the beauty of a painting
caught in a haiku

© Chèvrefeuille

Not as strong as I had hoped, but I think in this haiku you can read "elegance" ... because the "elegance" of a painting is caught in just one line (or in this case three lines), because traditionally haiku were written in one line.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 3rd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our last weekend-meditation of this year later on. I hope you all have enjoyed this month and this year here at CDHK. I hope to see you again in 2018 ...



  1. When I click on Delores' link, I'm sent to edit page of an earlier post of mine. Anyone else have that glitch?

    1. Hi Lynn__ I followed Dolores'link, but I came on her website Ada's Alcove ... I don't know what the problem can be.