Sunday, December 2, 2012

Carpe Diem #60, Winter shower (shigure)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy it was to read your haiku on our yesterday prompt 'withering wind', today we are going further on our journey through the Classical Japanese Kigo (seasonwords) of Winter. We are still in the first part of this month so another kigo of early winter for today.
Today our prompt is winter shower (shigure). Let me tell you a little bit more on this prompt, this kigo.

There are many Japanese kigo related to this kind of early cold rain in the overlapping time from autumn to winter. According to the weather patterns of this season, when cold air masses come down from Siberia, the rains come and go fast, as is represented in the Chinese characters, meaning "rain for a (short) time".
It might hit you unexpectedly on a mountain pass and leave a thin white cover on the peaks. Most common in Northern Japan, these showers come fast and leave fast, so it may rain here and shine there (kata shigure).

Credits: winter shower

The short cold drizzle evokes many melancholic feelings for the Japanese haiku poet. It is a symbol of the passing of events in the human life, of the passing of life itself.
It is also something that can be enjoyed hearing, it makes a hushing sound and this kind of sound is reflected in other kigo, for example the famous cicada shrilling (semi shigure). I often go to our local shrine and listen to the shigure on the roof, quite an eerie sound!
These drizzle kigo have mostly been used already since the Heian period and are well loved and full of allusions to famous poems. SHIGURE is a good example to show that kigo are much more than just the weather report.

For example a haiku on shigure by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):

hatsushigure saru mo komino o hashigenari

first snow shower -
even the monkeys would want
a straw raincoat

On my Basho Revisited weblog I have once written a episode about the straw raincoat. You can find that post HERE  it's not one on shigure, but worth the read.

OK ... back to our prompt for today shigure

cold drizzling rain
i would like to have an umbrella 
for shelter

is that a cicada?
the sound of a winter shower
on my window

Nice ... little stories packed in a few words.

Enjoy this prompt, be creative and share your creativity.

This prompt will stay on 'till December 4th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new prompt later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). That would be Plovers, Sand pipers (Chidori).


  1. Uplifting word. I thought I'd take a break from Carpe Diem after doing every day in November... But here I am again. Those cold rains you really write well, especially in your first haiku. Lovely

    1. I am glad that these prompts have kept you here Bjorn :-)

  2. These are fun. I started on this one yesterday. Funny how we both came up with umbrella in our haiks

  3. As soon as I saw your prompt, my haiku wrote itself! I love your first one, Kris. It seems the umbrella is never where you need it!

    1. Thank you WabiSabi and it's really a wonder ... sometimes you've just to read a word or see something to write a haiku for the moment in which you are.

  4. Oh, Kris ... we need some of this type of rain!! Refreshing to use my imagination ~~

    1. I thought I had posted it late last night before I commented --- hmmm, maybe I forgot to press "publish". Thanks for the visit!!!

    2. Thank you for linking your post Becca.

  5. Lovely words as always, thank you for the explanation & inspiration!

    1. Something went wrong with your link, so I have re-arranged your link. I hope you don't mind.
      Thank you for your kind comment. I love to give the explanation for the winter kigo.

  6. I hope your longing for an umbrella comes to fruition before you get soaked through and through!

    1. Well ... I was soaking wet, I hadn't an umbrella on time (smiles).

  7. I'm a bit late, but I had nature's assistence as it had been snowing and raining here. No snow staying on the ground. Just dark, brooding.

  8. I linked to you yesterday evening (Maine time) and I see that Plovers has been added to "posted" haiku, but not winter shower...It has been posted.
    Thank you,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA

  9. Thank you...I see it is posted...
    Have a wonderful day...Siggi