Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Carpe Diem Extra -- March 18th 2020 --- CDHK Lock Down


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I think you all have noticed that I haven't posted this week, or not that much this month. Let me explain it, but I think you all will know.

As you all know I am an oncology nurse and with the Corona virus spreading all over the world it is all hands on deck with caring for our patients, and in my case, the elderly people. So I don't have time anymore to publish our regular posts. You can say that "Carpe Diem Haiku Kai goes in Lock Down.




a summer drink
now turned into a plague
spreading ...


© Chèvrefeuille

I am dearly sorry that I have to "Lock Down" our wonderful Haiku Kai, but ...

Take care my beloved haiku family.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Carpe Diem #1824 Yasaka-ji (temple 47)



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize (again). At the moment my life is a bit upside down, because of circumstances in private and at work, so my mind isn't really at our wonderful Kai. So before I give you our Thursday episode I have to tell you all that this month I will not always publish an episode every day. I just can't find the peace to create them for you in the quality you all deserve. I hope you all will accept this choice.

This month we are on a pilgrimage at Shikoku Island, a kind of reprise of our earlier pilgrimage there back in 2014. Today we have a nice episode about Yasaka-ji, the 47th temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.


Yasaka-ji (temple 47)

Yasaka-ji temple is dedicated to Amida Nyorai. Let me tell you a little bit more about Amida Nyorai.
Amitābha, also known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", and Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" so Amitābha is also called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life".

Kobayashi Issa, one of the big-five haiku poets, was a buddhist in the tradition of the Pure Land Buddhism and he wrote several haiku with that theme, here are a few examples:

"Praise the unshackled
heavenly gods!"
plum blossoms

if you're praying
pray to Amida Buddha!
summer cicadas

one paulownia leaf
good choice!
it falls westward

© Kobayashi Issa

That 2nd and 3rd haiku are very specific themed Pure Land. According to Pure Land Buddhism is paradise situated in the west.




at dusk
the colored clouds show the Way
Pure Land calls
reaches out to humankind
Eternity awaits

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 18th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Carpe Diem #1823 The Path Of Enlightenment


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Kai, but before I start with this episode I have to apologize for not publishing last weekend. There were circumstances in private life that needed my attention so I hadn't time to publish our weekend meditation last weekend.

Today I have a more informative episode for you all about the Shikoku Pilgrimage, the pilgrimage that is our theme this month.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage or Shikoku Junrei is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims (known as henro still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes.
In addition to the 88 "official" temples of the pilgrimage, there are over 200 bangai — temples not considered part of the official 88. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order; in some cases it is even considered lucky to travel in reverse order.

The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete. "Henro" is the Japanese word for pilgrim, and the inhabitants of Shikoku call the pilgrims o-henro-san, the o being an honorific and the san a title similar to "Mr." or "Mrs.". They are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and kongō-tsue or walking sticks. Alms or osettai are frequently given. Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mount Kōya in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kūkai and remains the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Koya-san still exists, but most pilgrims use the train.




mysterious Island
dedicated to the Path of Enlightenment
four countries* as one

© Chèvrefeuille

(*Shikoku means "four countries")

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 16th at noon (CET). Enjoy!


Friday, March 6, 2020

Carpe Diem #1822 Kanjizai-ji (temple 40)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This Shikoku pilgrimage took us two whole months (February & March 2014) and I love to share part of the first episode of March 2014, about the 40th temple Kanjizai-ji. (Just to make it myself easy).

Kanjizai-ji (temple 40)
[...] Kanjizai-ji is situated in the town called Ainan and is devoted to Yakushi Nyorai or the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. He is still one of the most important Buddhas especially during rituals which are performed at funerals, because he is also the Buddha who leads the buddhists to Nirvana.

Nirvana calling
Yakushi Nyorai guides you
to Enlightenment

© Chèvrefeuille

Sorry for being late with publishing and that I give you just a short episode.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 12th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #16 Basho's "karumi"


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our special feature Tan Renga Wednesday. Today I have a nice "karumi" haiku by Basho. As you maybe know ... it was Basho's lifetime long goal to share his idea of "karumi". More about "karumi" you can find HERE.




What is karumi?

Bashô developed this concept during his final travels in 1693. Karumi is perhaps one of the most important and least understood principles of haiku poetry. Karumi can best be described as “lightness,” or a sensation of spontaneity. In many ways, karumi is a principle rooted in the “spirit” of haiku, rather than a specific technique. Bashô taught his students to think of karumi as “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. When karumi is incorporated into haiku, there is often a sense of light humor or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world. Many haiku using karumi are not fixed on external rules, but rather an unhindered expression of the poet’s thoughts or emotions. This does not mean that the poet forgets good structure; just that the rules of structure are used in a natural manner. In my opinion, karumi is “beyond” technique and comes when a poet has learned to internalize and use the principles of the art interchangeably.

Here is the "karumi" haiku to work with:

White chrysanthemum
I look holding it straight
no dust at all

© Basho

Now it is up to you to make a Tan Renga with this haiku by adding your two-lined stanza of approx. 7-7 syllables.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 11th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Carpe Diem #1821 Ryozenji (the first temple)


Youkoso at Shikoku dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage and so I started this episode with "Youkoso", which means "welcome''. From this day on we will make a pilgrimage along a selection of the 88 temples on the Isle of Shikoku and will trod in the footsteps of thousands of O-Henro (pilgrims on Shikoku-route) and in the footsteps of Kobo Daishi (774-835).

The Shikoku Pilgrimage starts at the first temple, Ryozenji, but before we start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage we first have to learn the "Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra":

Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra

When a sincere truth seeker attains the wisdom of enlightenment, he realizes that all the five senses are empty and he transcends every suffering.
Listen: All things are no different from emptiness; emptiness is not different from all things. Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness are also like this.
Listen: The original nature of all things is neither born nor extinguished. There is no purity, no defilement; no gain, no loss.
In this world of emptiness there is no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, or consciousness. No eye, ear, tongue body, or mind. Therefore, no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought. The world of form does not exist, nor the world of the mind or of ignorance; no old age and no death.
Yet there is continuous ignorance, old age, and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering; no wisdom and no attainment because there is nothing to be attained. The compassionate truth-seeker depends upon the wisdom of enlightenment.
When the mind does not become attached to anything, there are no obstacles and fear does not exist. This mind goes beyond all disruptive views and attains Nirvana. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future depend upon the wisdom of enlightenment--and so attain the supreme, wisdom of enlightenment as the great unexplainable true word, the great shining true word that is able to remove all suffering. It is true, not false. This true word of wisdom says:
Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara So Gyate Bodhi Sowa Ka.


Ryozenji (the first temple)

Well ... as we are prepared now I say again "Youkoso" and I bow for you. In my heart I chant the Heart Sutra to become in tune with Shikoku. We are on our way and will start at the first temple Ryozenji at Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture. It is here were the pilgrimage starts.

Ryozenji Temple is also known as "Vulture Peak" which refers to one of the sermons the Buddha once gave on a mountain with the same name. It was on that mountain that Buddha started with his religion and wrote the Heart-Sutra and e.g. the Lotus-Sutra.
So this first temple is in every way the start of our Shikoku Pilgrimage.
In the upcoming episodes of our Shikoku Pilgrimage I will try to tell you all more about Buddhism as one of the roots for our beloved haiku. As you maybe know ... in the classical rules of haiku is said that there has to be a Buddhistic layer in haiku. Of course I will use haiku examples written by the classical haiku-poets and sometimes written by modern haiku-poets.
OK ... let us start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage and I love to share my first haiku for this new month with you and I am looking forward to all our new insights and wonderful haiku.


Vulture Peak
pilgrims chanting
the Heart Sutra to honor Kukai -
cry of a Vulture
breaks through the serene temple -
pilgrims chanting

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... our new month has started ... enjoy our small pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 9th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Carpe Diem #1820 Introduction to Shikoku Island


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you can remember our earlier Shikoku Pilgrimage months back in 2012 and in 2017, we became Henro (as the pilgrims are called) and walked this wonderful pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island.

This month we are going again to walk this pilgrimage together hoping that Shikoku Island will bring us the inspiration for our Japanese poetry. The Shikoku pilgrimage is a once in a lifetime to do pilgrimage for Buddhists ... so this month we will be Buddhists, Henr-o that walk the pilgrimage along the 88 temples established by Kobo Daishi (774-835).


One of the 88 temples on Shikoku Island, the Sakura Temple

Are you with me this month?

first cherry blossoms
winter is running towards its end --
a new day rises

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 8th at noon (CET). Enjoy this new month.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Carpe Diem Extra February 29th 2020

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I will not publish a weekend meditation this weekend. I need a weekend off, so i decided to not publish.
Have a great weekend!

Namasté,

Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Carpe Diem #1819 romance on the beach (haibun)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is our last regular episode in this CDHK Love Month. For this last episode I have chosen a nice theme I think Romance On The Beach, and this time I love to challenge you to create a haibun (prose and poetry) with a maximum of 100 words (including the poems).





Video © Rodica Madan

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 5th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Carpe Diem #1818 ... the color of love



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a belated episode of our wonderful Kai. So I will give you only the prompt for today.
Today I have chosen The Color Of Love for you to work with.

too old for new love
the moon rises each night
as I remember
the backseats of strange cars
it's helpful light afterwards

© Jane Reichhold

A beautiful tanka in which we find the beauty of the rising moon, but also the beauty of discovering sexuality as teenagers. Maybe you can remember having the first kiss in a car, or the first time having sex on the backseat of a car. In this tanka you can find that strong romantic atmosphere.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 4th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday (hineri) #15 Cherry Tree in Full Bloom


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our special feature "Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Wednesday", that nice feature in which I challenge you to complete a Tan Renga from a given haiku. This week I have chosen for a "hineri" episode or an episode of the Tan Renga Wednesday with a twist.

This week I will give you the second stanza, the two-lined one, of the Tan Renga. You have to create the first stanza, the three-lined (hokku), to complete the Tan Renga. For this episode I have created a whole new 2nd stanza to work with:

shadows become longer
cherry tree in full bloom grows


© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... enjoy this Tan Renga Wednesday !


Cherry Trees in Full Bloom (Japan)

This Tan Renga Wednesday is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 3rd at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem #1817 Renga With ... Jane Reichhold ... Moonlight Moving


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are counting down to the end of this wonderful month full of Love. Only four days left (regular episodes) and than we will start a new month full of exciting words and views ... next month we will do a reprise visit at Shikoku Island.

Today however we are still in the Love mood and with love we know there comes ... desire ... Today I love to challenge you to create a Renga With Jane Reichhold, our beloved and so missed co-host of CDHK may she rest in peace.

The goal of this feature, Renga With ..., is to add your two-lined verses / stanza through association on the scenes in the given haiku ... together with Jane Reichhold you are creating in that way a so called "Junicho" (a 12-stanza renga).

Jane Reichhold (1937-2016)

Here are the six (6) haiku by Jane Reichhold, extracted from her online Saijiki "A Dictionary of Haiku", section Spring, sub-section Moods:

morning fog
dreams not buried
deep enough

spring sunshine
the strangeness of his perfectly
normal thumbnail

kids laughing
in the neighbor's house
the childless couple

moonlight moving
with the gate as the servant girl
takes an evening


Desire In The Moonlight

Saturday rain
desire by a warm stove
for an affair

waterfall
delicate forms
for a spirit

© Jane Reichhold

As always you can choose your own "line-up", but ... your Renga With ... has to start with the following haiku:

moonlight moving
with the gate as the servant girl
takes an evening


What an awesome series of haiku on desire to work with ... love cannot exist without desire ... Create your Renga With Jane Reichhold ... enjoy!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 3rd at noon (CET). Have fun!


Monday, February 24, 2020

Carpe Diem #1816 kittens



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new week of our wonderful Haiku Kai. February is running towards its end, so we have only a few days to go this week to conclude our wonderful Love Month. It was a wonderful month full of love in all its beauty.

Next month I hope to take you all on a trip to Shikoku Island, that wonderful island with its 88 temples, the Shikoku pilgrimage is for Buddhists what the pilgrimage to Mecca is for our muslim citizens. Shikoku Island is a pilgrimage you have to do once in a lifetime ... Several years ago we also walked this pilgrimage along the 88 temples, but I think it's a wonderful reprise worth. But that's for next month.

Shikoku Island (photo © Dorinser)

Okay ... back to our Love Month. In this wonderful Love Month we have seen several kinds of Love, but as far as I can recall, we hadn't a prompt about animal love. So today I love to challenge you to create a haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form about animal love, especially "kittens", but all other animals are okay too.

I found a nice haiku by Don Iannone ... he made it into a haiga:




Isn't it a beauty?

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 1st at noon (CET). Have fun!


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #117 the cold night


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday, February 23rd at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new weekend meditation here at our wonderful Haiku Kai. I am a bit late with publishing, but I am in the nightshift. This weekend I will give you a nice "fusion-ku" challenge, or "crossroads". That nice special feature in which I ask you to create a "fusion-ku" from two given haiku. Your "fusion-ku" you have to use to create a Troiku (more about Troiku, you can find above in the menu).

Here are the two haiku to create your fusion-ku with and create your Troiku:

spring snow
purifies earth and heaven
our enemies perish

© Mizuhara Shûôshi

the cold night
comes out of the stones
all morning

© Jim Kacian

stones

Two beautiful haiku, with two very different scenes ... both haiku-poets are modern time poets and they are both well known also.

Your task ... create a "fusion-ku" from the two haiku given and create with your "fusion-ku" a Troiku, that nice modern way of creating haiku, based on the Russian sleigh "troika".

Have a wonderful weekend. This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday February 23rd at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 1st at noon (CET).


Friday, February 21, 2020

Carpe Diem #1815 Haiku ... the first love


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at this new episode (somewhat belated) of our wonderful Haiku Kai were we are exploring Love this month. Can haiku be a love poem? I think it can, but I also can say it in a different way ... Haiku, the first love ...

That is so true ... haiku really was my first love ... Back in the late eighties I discovered haiku and I was immediately sold to the beauty of this wonderful small Japanese verse ... Well you all know what happened the years after that discovery. It resulted in 2012 in the start of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (CDHK).

CDHK has grown and has become a family of haiku loving poets. During the years I introduced other forms of Japanese poetry and now ... more than 7 years later we are still alive and kicking.

out of earth
the flower shape
of a hole

© Jane Reichhold 

By actually seeing that the hole dug for the seed already has the shape of a flower, one has a new awareness of dirt and flowers and their relationship. (extracted from: Writing and Enjoying Haiku)




Jane Reichhold was a renown haiku poetess all around the globe and she was our co-host for some time. I still miss her. She brought us her knowledge about haiku and through her my love for haiku became stronger and stronger ... Haiku really my first love.

three lines
enchanted by nature
Cupids arrow


© Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong one maybe, but this little verse, this haiku / senryu, gives words to my feeling that Haiku was (and still is) my first love.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 27th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Carpe Diem #1814 lost love


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. This month it's all about Love in all its wonderful forms. Today however I have chosen for a prompt that's not that wonderful ... or maybe even a "lost love" can be wonderful.

Our prompt for today is "Lost Love".


Lost Love

rainy day
tears become one with puddles
new moon


© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 26th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #14 Wisteria Beans


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our special feature Tan Renga Wednesday, that wonderful feature in which I challenge you to complete a Tan Renga by adding your two-lined stanza to a given haiku.

During lack of time I will give you only the haiku to work with. This week I have chosen a haiku by Basho:

wisteria beans
let's make that a theme for haikai
a flower fruit 

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Well ... a nice one I think to work with.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 25th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Carpe Diem #1813 Love At First Sight


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First my apologies for being late with publishing our new regular episode. I hadn't time enough to create it. Because of that I will just give you the theme for today (Tuesday February 18th). As you all know this month our theme is ... Love ... so for today I have chosen that wonderful and exciting experience ... Love At First Sight. I know what I am talking about, because my wife and I fell in love at first sight ...

one heartbeat
her wonderful smile
a blanket of love


© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 24th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Carpe Diem #1812 The Day After Valentine's Day ...



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Love Month here at CDHK. Last Friday it was Valentine's Day and today I have chosen a nice theme ... The Day After Valentine's Day ... Ofcourse that was last Saturday, February 15th, but as you all know we have our weekend meditation nowadays in the weekends.

This haiku is about Valentine's day or more the day after. As you maybe know Saint Valentine's Day is on February 14th and is a holiday in almost the whole world, also in Russia. Here is a special haiku by Alexey Andreyev for your inspiration to write an all new haiku in the same sense, tone and Spirit as the one given.

Russian Icon of St. Valentine

To stay in touch with our Love theme I have used the above Icon.

РПУМЕ чБМЕОФЙОПЧБ ДОС -
ЛТБУОЩЕ МЕРЕУФЛЙ ОБ РПМХ, Й
НЕФМБ Ч ХЗМХ
                      
day after Valentine's -
red petals on the floor, and
a broom in the corner

© Alexey Andreyev

A wonderful haiku I think. As I read this haiku I thought "what happened here?" Did the young lovers have a quarrel? Or is the scene more metaphorical? Tells this haiku that the love is over after a long time? Why didn't they sweep the floor? All that kind of questions came in my mind. And with those thoughts I wrote my own haiku inspired on the one by Alexey. I even have tried to write this haiku in the classical way.

petals of roses
scattered through the living room
a ring on the table

© Chèvrefeuille

petals of roses

A sad haiku ... but that sadness is also part of haiku. Haiku is a great medium to share your emotions caught is a few lines. This also is part of Love ... breaking up.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 23rd at noon (CET). Have fun!


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #116 Renga With ... waiting for the full moon


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday February 16th at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new Weekend Meditation episode. This weekend I love to challenge you to create a Renga With ... That beautiful feature in which you have the opportunity to create haiku with known and unknown haiku masters.

This weekend I love to challenge you to create a renga with the so called "big five" (Basho, Issa, Buson, Chiyo-Ni and Shiki). And, how immodest, one of my own haiku.

Here are the six haiku to work with:

the autumn wind:
thickets and fields also,
Fuha Barrier

© Basho

a dandelion
now and then interrupting
the butterfly's dream

© Chiyo-Ni



the thunderstorm having cleared up
the evening sun shines on a tree
where a cicada is chirping 

© Shiki

simply trust:
do not also the petals flutter down,
just like that?

© Issa

in nooks and corners
cold remains:
flowers of the plum

© Buson



ancient warriors ghosts
mists over the foreign highlands -
waiting for the full moon

© Chèvrefeuille

Six nice haiku I think. Now it's up to you to create a renga with them by adding your two-lined stanza of approx. 7-7 syllables. You can choose your own "line-up". Enjoy this Renga challenge and have a wonderful weekend.

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday, February 16th at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 23rd at noon (CET). Enjoy!


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Carpe Diem #1811 Valentine's Day ...


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Valentine's day, a day to send cards to secret lovers or give gifts to the one you love. But ... who was Valentine? I did some research on Valentine.

Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February
14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").



Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several (14 in all ) martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name "Valentine", derived from valens(worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity. Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14, he was born on April 16. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name. For this reason this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969. But "Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter and those with him at Rome" remains in the list of saints proposed for veneration by all Catholics

Well ... now I know a little bit more of Saint Valentine's Day. Now I can write a few new haiku for today's haiku challenge :-)

behind the clouds
the mysterious moon
'be my Valentine'

Valentine's Day
the postmen brings love cards
someone unknown




newly weds
eating oysters
under the plum tree

her lovely face
smiling at me in the mirror
'love you forever'

newly weds
under the blooming cherries
Ah! how lovely

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you all will have a secret lover that sends you flowers or cards on Valentine's Day.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 20th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Carpe Diem #1810 rainbow


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Kai. This month it's "Love Month" and that my friends means all our prompts have to do with love. Today I have chosen the prompt "rainbow" and as you all know the "rainbow-flag" is for all kinds of love, not only the love between man and woman, but also the love between two man, two women, transgenders and bisexuals. Isn't it a joy to see that in the most countries around the world you can be gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. Ofcourse there are countries were it isn't possible to have a relation with a man if you are a man, or two women in a love relation. That makes me sad.

Isn't it the most intense emotion we all know ... LOVE?




Awesome to see this flag wave against the blue sky ... colorful ... as is life, as is nature, as is love.

against the blue sky
Gods Love waves at us
shining rainbow


© Chèvrefeuille

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


Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #13 Winter Chrysanthemum


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Tan Renga Wednesday, that nice special feature about Tan Renga. Your goal is to create a Tan Renga with a given haiku by adding your two-lined stanza through association.

Here is the haiku to work with:

Winter chrysanthemum,
Wearing nothing
but its own light

© Mizuhara Shūōshi (1892-1981)

Winter Chrysanthemum (Japanese Woodblock print by Kono Bairei)

This episode of our Tan Renga Wednesday is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 18th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Carpe Diem #1809 Wedding Bells


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Kai. Yesterday I challenged you to create an Acrostic Dodoitsu, a nice Japanese poetry form, but also a short poem. So today I love to challenge you with a Long Japanese Poetry form, the Choka. Let me tell you a little bit more about the Choka.

The choka can be of almost any length, because its form depends on alternating phrases (or lines) containing either seven of five sound units (onji). The end of the poem is signaled by two lines of seven sounds. So the form is five/seven, five/seven, five seven, .... , seven/seven.
This was the most popular form of poetry in the 9th century as indicated by the large number of works in the celebrated anthology Man'yoshu (The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves). This anthology of anthologies contained 260 choka and 4200 tanka.


Page from The Man'yoshu

The poet Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, who composed most of his work in the last decade of the 7th century, took the choka to its highest lyrical point with his finesse in the use of ritual language.
The connection to tanka is evidenced by the envoy or hanka - a tanka-like poem attached at the end of the choka. Occasionally more than one envoy will close the choka. There have been a few efforts to revivie the form over the intervening centuries, but the form has failed to gain any popularity in Japan, and even less has been accomplished in English. (Based on Jane Reichhold's "Writing and Enjoying Haiku")

Here is an example of a choka from the Man'yoshu (no. 802):

The briefest chōka documented is Man'yōshū no. 802, which is of a pattern 5-7 5-7 5-7 5-7-7. It was composed in the Nara period and goes:

When I eat melons
My children come to my mind;
When I eat chestnuts
The longing is even worse.
Where do they come from,
Flickering before my eyes.
Making me helpless
Endlessly night after night.
Not letting me sleep in peace?

(envoy or hanka)

What are they to me,
Silver, or gold, or jewels?
How could they ever
Equal the greater treasure
That is a child? They cannot.

© Yamanoue no Okura (Tr. Edwin Cranston)

Choka ... a wonderful Japanese poetry form ... Today I love to challenge you to create a Choka in which Love is the main theme.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 17th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Carpe Diem #1808 LOVE acrostic challenge


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. I had a busy weekend because I had to work. I am at work now, but have my coffee-break, so I have a little time to publish our new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai.

This month our theme is LOVE and for today I have chosen a nice challenge for you. I love to challenge you to create a  so called "acrostic" dodoitsu. Let me first tell you what "acrostic" means:

An acrostic is a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet.

An "acrostic" haiku example, acrostic: ONE:

Only eyes for you
Naked she lays down on the beach
Everlasting love

©️ Chèvrefeuille

sunny beach

But today I love to challenge you to create a Dodoitsu, that's a 4-line Japanese poetry form, let me tell you a little bit more about the Dodoitsu:

Dodoitsu is a form of Japanese poetry developed towards the end of the Edo Period. Often concerning love or work, and usually comical, Dodoitsu poems consist of four lines with the syllabic structure 7-7-7-5 and no rhyme or metre.

An example of a Dodoitsu:

One Night

one night I searched for a star
what I found was a full moon
now my every day is
full of shooting stars

© Ben Gieske (2012)

So the goal of this challenge is to create a Dodoitsu with the "acrostic" LOVE, the first characters of every line need to form that word.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 16th at noon (CET). Have fun!