Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
As you can see our today's prompt is 'Early Plum Blossoms (soobai)', this is a late winter kigo (or seasonword) and it's the start of our third part of this Carpe Diem month on classic Japanese kigo for winter, late winter. The coming days we have all 'late winter' kigo. Late winter in classical Japan starts around January 5th and ends around February 2nd, it's called 'Rushing about (shiwasu)'.
|Early Plum Blossom
Let's look at some background on Early Plum Blossom as provided by: World Kigo Data Base the blogspot of Gabi Greve, a rich source for information on kigo.
The plum blossom, which is known as the meihua, is one of the most beloved flowers in China and has been frequently depicted in Chinese art and poetry for centuries.
The plum blossom is seen as a symbol of winter and a harbinger of spring. The blossoms are so beloved because they are viewed as blooming most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, exuding an ethereal elegance, while their fragrance is noticed to still subtly pervade the air at even the coldest times of the year.
Therefore the plum blossom came to symbolize perseverance and hope, but also beauty, purity, and the transitoriness of life.
In Confucianism, the plum blossom stands for the principles and values of virtue. More recently, it has also been used as a metaphor to symbolize revolutionary struggle since the turn of the 20th century.
Because it blossoms in the cold winter, the plum blossom is regarded as one of the "Three Friends of Winter", along with pine, and bamboo.
Japanese tradition holds that the ume functions as a protective charm against evil, so the ume is traditionally planted in the northeast of the garden, the direction from which evil is believed to come.The eating of the pickled fruit for breakfast is also supposed to stave off misfortune.
Plum blossoms come in different colors. So we have the White Plum, gives a feeling of winter, and the Red Plum, who's more giving a feeling of Spring through it's warm color. So we can say: 'when the plum blooms Spring is near and Winter has almost gone'.
A few examples of haiku written by Issa on Plum Blossoms:
kado shishi ya shishi ga kuchi kara ume no hana
lion puppet (*) at the gate -
from his mouth
(*) a lion puppet play (shishima) is a popular 'New Year's entertainment
ume ga ka ni shoji hirakeba tsuki yo kana
plum blossom scent -
when I open my paper door
a bright moon
Aren't they wonderful!
OK ... let's go do some haiku composing myself on Early Plum Blossoms (soobai).
red plum blooming
while the last snow is melting -
the shivering cold
creeps into my old skeleton -
white plum blossoms
what a feast!
finally winter has gone
early plum blossoms
covered with snow
the fragile plum blossoms
longing for Spring
scent of plum blossoms
mingles with the scent of the hearth
This prompt will stay on 'till December 22th 11.59 AM (CET) (if the Earth has survived of course (smiles) and I will post our new episode of Carpe Diem around 10.00 PM (CET) today. Than our new prompt is quilt (futon).
Have fun, be creative and inspired ... and share ... share your haiku with Carpe Diem.