Friday, January 17, 2020

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #112 Transformation ... sketching from life (Shiki's Shasei technique)


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday, January 19th at 7:00 PM (CEST) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new Weekend Meditation here at our wonderful Haiku Kai, the place to be if you like to create Japanese poetry and share it with the world.

Maybe you remember that new feature I introduced a while ago "Carpe Diem Transformation" in which I challenge you to "re-build" a given haiku into a tanka. In the first episode of this feature I challenged you to "re-build" a famous haiku by Chiyo-Ni (that episode you can find HERE).

And for this weekend meditation I have chosen a haiku by that other famous haiku master, Masaoka Shiki. In this episode I love to challenge you to re-create a haiku by Shiki into a Tanka. Maybe you can remember that Shiki has a certain haiku writing technique named "shasei". Let me introduce this technique again here.

Japanese Stamp with an image of Shiki

Shasei

The word "shasei" has not yet been invented at the time of Basho, but the idea was there according to what Basho tells his disciples:

[...] Matsuo Basho advises his disciples: “Learn from the Pine!”To do that you must leave behind you all subjective prejudice. Otherwise you will force your own self onto the object and can learn nothing from it. Your poem will well-up of its own accord when you and the object become one, when you dive deep enough into the object, to discover something of its hidden glimmer. [...]

Here is an example of this Shasei technique:

Come spring as of old.
When such revenues of rice.
Braced this castle town!

© Masaoka Shiki

It's a good example of the shasei technique. What is the Shasei technique? Let me try to explain that to you all with the help of Jane Reichhold.

Sketches of Life, Tree of Life (image found on Pinterest)

Though this technique is often given Shiki's term Shasei (sketch from life) or Shajitsu (reality), it has been in use since the beginning of poetry in the Orient. The poetic principle is "to depict the thing just as it is". The reason Shiki took it up as a poetical cause, and this made it famous,  was his own rebellion against the many other techniques used in haiku. Shiki was, by nature it seemed, against whatever was the status quo - a true rebel. If older poets had overused any idea or method, it was his personal goal to point this out and suggest something else. This was followed until someone else got tired of it and suggested something new. This seems to be the way poetry styles go in and out of fashion.

Thus, Shiki hated associations, contrasts, comparisons, wordplays, puns, and riddles - all the things we are cherishing here! He favored the quiet simplicity of just stating what he saw without anything else happening in the haiku. He found the greatest beauty in the common sight, simply reported exactly as it was seen, and ninety-nine percent of his haiku written in his style. Many people still feel he was right. There are some moments that are perhaps best said as simply as possible in his way. Yet, Shiki himself realized in 1893, after writing very many haiku in this style, that used too much, even his new idea could become lackluster. So the method is an answer, but never the complete answer of how to write a haiku.

Eggplant

I hope you can relate to this Shasei technique and can work with it. This weekend I love to challenge you to re-create a haiku (in Shasei style) by Shiki into a Tanka. Here is the haiku to work with:

kaboocha yori nasu muzukashiki shasei kana

Sketching from life —
eggplants are harder to do
than pumpkins

© Masaoka Shiki (Tr. Burton Watson)

A challenging task for you this weekend. I am looking forward to all of your wonderful "transformed haiku". Have a great weekend!

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday January 19th at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 26th at noon (CET). 


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Carpe Diem #1799 New Beginnings ... a huge wave (Crossroads feature)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today a very special episode in our wonderful Kai. This month our theme is "New Beginnings" and today I will leave that theme in a way.
As you all know one of the renown modern haiku poets was Jane Reichhold (1937-2016), she was a co-author here and co-host. She is still missed.

Today I have chosen two haiku written by her and I love to challenge you to create a "fusion-ku" and with that "fusion-ku" a Troiku ... (more on Troiku above in the menu).




Here are the two haiku by Jane to work with:

a huge wave
thundering across the beach
my birthday

sky-clad
the new-born comes wrapped
in previous lives

© Jane Reichhold (extracted from the online Saijiki "A Dictionary Of Haiku", section "New Year")

Two beautiful haiku created by the Queen of Haiku, Jane Reichhold, to work with. Enjoy this excercise.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 23rd at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Carpe Diem #1798 New Beginnings ... Metamorphosis


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Kai, the place to be if you like to create Japanese poetry and share it with the world. This month is themed "New Beginnings" and there is an amazing new beginning in nature's small world of insects and butterflies.

Today I love to challenge you with "metamorphosis", that awesome idea of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.

Metamorphosis

What a transformation this creature makes ... awesome!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 22nd at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on. Have fun!


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Wednesday (9) I ate a persimmon


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new Tan Renga Wednesday, that special feature in which I challenge you to complete a Tan Renga by adding your second stanza of two lines with approx. 7-7 syllables.

This week I have a nice haiku by Shiki to create a Tan Renga with, but let me first tell you a little about Shiki.

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) put effort into poetry activities to bring about innovation in the haiku from the Edo period. In the seven years of his later years, he kept making haiku while suffering from tuberculosis.

In 1867, Masaoka Shiki was born in Iyo Province (today’s Ehime Prefecture). He was a son of the lower-class samurai who died 40 years old in 1872. With the support of his mother, he entered the Iyo clan school Jobankai. He began to learn haiku when he was 18. But Shiki got the illness which he suffered from ever since. Tuberculosis was fatal disease at that time and 21 years young haiku poet vomited blood for the first time. Shiki (子規, hototogisu) means little cuckoo in Japanese. He named own pen name after the bird because a little cuckoo was described as a bird sing so much that it vomit blood.

He entered Tokyo Imperial University (today’s Tokyo University) in 1900 and gave the lessons of haiku for Kawahigashi Hekigoto (1873-1937) and Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959). Shiki gave up to graduate from Tokyo Imperial University and started to work at Nippon Shinbun Newspaper. While working as a journalist, he continued to publish haiku poems. During the Sino‐Japanese War (1894‐95) he went to the front. But that made worse of tuberculosis and Shiki went home. He had been in ill bed and suffered in his later years but he composed the jolly and creative haiku poems.

Horyuji Temple Nara (woodblock print)

When I ate a persimmon
The bell rung
The Horyuji temple


© Shiki

Can you create a Tan Renga with this beauty by Shiki?

This Tan Renga Wednesday is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 21st at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Carpe Diem #1797 New Beginnings ... First Snow


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First my excuses for not publishing yesterday. I had some trouble with my PC, but now it has been made, so today I will publish two episodes. This (belated) episode will be short. I will give you only the prompt and a few examples of haiku created by several haiku poets.

Today's prompt is "First Snow", it's a classical kigo for Winter and that means you have to try to create a classical haiku or tanka following the rules as I think you all will known.

The first snow
That the young Hijiri-monk has
The color of the wooden box.

© Basho

Another one by Basho:

The first snow,
When is the pillar set up
For the Great Buddha?





snow's falling!
I see it through a hole
in the shutter...

© Shiki

Well ... it's up to you now to create a haiku or tanka (classical way) themed "first snow".

Here is mine:

a cold moonlit night
just the sound of fresh fallen snow -
wandering over the moors

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 20th at noon (CEST). I will publish our new Tan Renga Wednesday episode later today. For now ... have fun!


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Carpe Diem #1796 New Beginnings ... first sunray


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are continuing our exploration of our them "New Beginnings". There are a lot of new beginnings as we have seen already last week. Every day starts with the first sunray. As a new day rises we see how the sky is starting to change colors ... and than ... there it is the first sunray. That first sunray awakens us from our sleep and has something magical.

Today our prompt is "first sunray". I found an example with this prompt in it hidden by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):

Mume ga ka ni  notto hi no deru  yamaji kana

Scents of Ume blossoms ―
The sun rises like a marvel
Ah, this mountain path

© Matsuo Basho


First Sunray

What a joy to feel the sun awaken you with his first rays. I can feel the warmth on my naked body and ... makes me happy ... a new day rises, another day to enjoy.

a new day rises
the first ray of sun
cherishes my body


© Chèvrefeuille

Not as good as I had hoped, but I think this haiku gives you that feeling to awaken from a night's sleep and the happiness it will give you.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 19th at noon (CEST). Have fun!


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #111 Troiku ... New Beginnings ... Lotus starts to bloom


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation, our special feature for every weekend. My excuses that I am a bit late with publishing this weekend meditation, but ... well you all know the circumstances I have to deal with at the moment.

For this weekend meditation I have chosen a wonderful haiku to work with and create a Troiku with. More on Troiku you can find above in the menu.

Lotus
Here is the haiku to work with, a haiku chosen from our archives themed New Beginnings:

in deep prayer
eyes closed in devotion -
Lotus starts to bloom

A beautiful haiku to workj with I think. Have a great weekend!

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday, January 12th at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until January 19th at noon (CEST). Have fun!

PS. If you like Tanka than you can also visit Tanka Splendor, that special website on Tanka. I have published a new Tanka Splendor episode there.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Carpe Diem 1795 New Beginnings ... Rainbow


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of wonderful Kai. This month I have themed "new beginnings", so all prompts have to do with new beginnings. Today I have chosen the prompt "rainbow", but what has the rainbow to do with new beginnings? Let me explain that to you all, but maybe you have an idea yourself.

The Rainbow was a sign of God, after the flood He promised Noah that He never would send a flood again to destroy all life. So in that context ... the "rainbow" is also a new beginning. This promise to Noah you can find in Genesis Chapter 9 verses 13 to 16:

13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (New International Version)

rainbow
Here is one from my archives:

the little child sobs
'I want to cross it' -
the rainbow bridge

© Chèvrefeuille

And here is a new one:

promises
no more destroying
peace will come


© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 16th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Carpe Diem #1794 New Beginnings ... new born


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful ai. This month our theme is New Beginnings and today I love to challenge you to create a haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry themed "new born". This can be about new born babies, new kittens and more ... it even can be about the birth of a new haiku of a new year.

her smiling face
she holds her first born
tears of happiness


© Chèvrefeuille

New Born

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 15th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on. Have fun!


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Wednesday (8) New Year's Morning


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our special feature "Tan Renga Wednesday" with a new logo for 2020. As you all know this special feature challenges you to create a Tan Renga from a given haiku. You have to add the two lined stanza (approx 7-7 syllables).

For this first Tan Renga Wednesday I have chosen a beautiful haiku by our so missed Jane Reichhold. It is taken from her online "Dictionarry of Haiku" from the season New Year.

Here is the haiku to work with:

New Year's morning
the first day begins
in the same dream

© Jane Reichhold (1937-2016)


This Tan Renga Wednesday is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until January 14th at noon (CEST). Have fun!


Monday, January 6, 2020

Carpe Diem #1793 New Beginnings ... first day of spring


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the 2nd episode of this new CDHK month. This month it's all about "New Beginnings" and today I love to challenge you to create a Tan Renga with the following classical kigo: first day of spring.

The first day of spring is in the Japanese calendar around January 15th, because that's the date on which that very special 5th season, New Year, ends. Spring ... new life sprouts, the snow melts, the temperatures becoming higher ... new life ...


First Day Of Spring

after the dark
first blossoms bloom
at last


the song of birds will fill the sky
praising their Creator


© Chèvrefeuille

Maybe not a really classical haiku, but I think this is one that really points towards the "first day of spring".

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 13th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Carpe Diem #1792 New Beginnings ... New Year's Day


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First ... HAPPY NEW YEAR ... to you all. Let us make this a wonderful year full of love, beauty and inspiration. This month is themed "New Beginnings" and that's what this year will bring us all I hope.

As I told you several days ago my mother has been institutionalized in a nursing home for the elderly people. She has peace with it, but ofcourse it's not easy to cope with this new beginning for her and for me. Time will bring us healing for this ...

The theme for this month is New Beginnings and today we start with ... New Year's Day ... Our classical haiku masters wrote a lot of haiku about New Year's Day ... here are a few examples:

New Year’s Day
dawns clear, and sparrows
tell their tales

© Ransetsu
Japanese Crane

it’s play for the cranes
flying up to the clouds
the year’s first sunrise …

© Chiyo-ni

the first dream of the year —
I keep it a secret
and smile to myself

© Sho-u

New Year’s Day–
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

© Issa

Year after year
on the monkey’s face
a monkey’s face


© Basho

Japanese Calendar (Wikipedia)

The old calendar
fills me with gratitude
like a song


© Buson

New Year comes,
and I become poorer
than before


© Shiki (never published and recovered in August 2018)




All wonderful haiku on New Year's Day. In Haiku philosophy we count five seasons and the first season is New Year, it's roughly the period of December 15th and January 15th. So I challenge you to create a classical haiku themed New Year, to celebrate the new year.

Here is mine:

New Year's eve --
through the bare branches
the wind as always

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 12th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!