Sunday, March 31, 2013

Carpe Diem #159, Zodiac

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is the start of a new Carpe Diem month and today we share haiku on 'zodiac'.I haven't had the time to write a big episode about it, because of Easter. So just the prompt and an all new haiku.

zodiacal stars
telling us who we are -
I am an Aries

This prompt will stay on 'til April 2nd 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Aries (the Ram), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). So have fun and share your haiku with us.

Blue Zodiac Disc

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Carpe Diem #158, Yanagi (Willow)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today is our last day of Carpe Diem's daily haiku meme month March. I have really enjoyed this month of haiku writing. I have read wonderful haiku and I know it wasn't easy to write them with all those nice classical Japanese kigo for Spring, but you all did very well. It makes me so proud that this haiku community is a success and that you, my dear haijin, visitors and travelers, have written all those excellent haiku.
I have published the new prompt-list for Carpe Diem's daily haiku meme month April. You can find it under the tab Carpe Diem April 2013. I think I have succeeded to make a wonderful new prompt-list. Let me know if you like the new prompt-list and if you have prompt suggestions ... please share them in the Prompt Suggestion part of this weblog.

Today we share haiku on Yanagi (Willow), a kigo for late-Spring. I haven't time enough to write an 'big' episode so I love to share a wonderful picture of a Willow.

Willow (Salix)

And I love to share a new haiku freshly written:

reflecting willow
on the bank of the pond -
upside down world

Well ... have fun and share your haiku with Carpe Diem. This prompt will stay on 'till April 1st 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our first prompt of April, Zodiac, later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #29, Onitsura's 'voice of the pine-tree'

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This Carpe Diem month is about to end, just two to go and than a new Carpe Diem month will start. April will be a very special Carpe Diem month to me. In that month I will become 50 yrs of age and it's also the month in which I hope to celebrate my 25th anniversary as a haiku-poet. As I have told you all already in April the Carpe Diem Specials will be haiku of my own. I am writing under the 'nom de plume' Chèvrefeuille, which means Honeysuckle. I hope to share wonderful haiku. I think I have written almost 10.000 haiku (could be even more, but I have never counted my haiku). So I can choose from a broad range of haiku. But that's for our next month.

Today I love to share the last haiku written by our haiku-master of this month, Onitsura, for this Carpe Diem Special. I have given that haiku already in my yesterday episode and I love to give that wonderful haiku here again.

suzukaze ya koku ni michite matsu no koe

the cool breeze
fills the empty vault of heaven
with the voice of the pine-tree

(c) Onitsura (1660-1738)

Credits: Pine tree bonsai (visit this site, it's a wonderful site on bonsai)

Onitsura was a contemporary of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) the most known haiku-master ever I think and he is my role-model. I even have a weblog on which I 'revisit' haiku written by Basho. You can find that weblog HERE. Onitsura tried to write his haiku in the style of Basho and followed his rules for writing haiku. As you may know a classical haiku has a few rules:

  • syllables count (5-7-5)
  • a kigo (seasonword)
  • three lines, but the classical haiku poets used to write their haiku as one-line
  • in haiku is nature (and the place of human kind in nature) very important. It's sometimes called 'the poetry of nature'
  • a haiku describes a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. (Maybe we can say: 'haiku ist einer Aha-Erlebnis').
  • haiku is mostly based on the philosophy of the haiku-poet and in the classical haiku setting it was based on Zen-Buddhism.

Back to the haiku written by Onitsura. R.H. Blyth wrote a comment on this haiku in his Haiku Volume 3 Summer-Autumn. (Blyth wrote several books about Haiku, but his four Volume series Haiku is 'the Bible of haiku'.
Blyth wrote:
[...] Which is it makes the sound, the pine-tree or the breeze? Is empty space warm or cool? The region of the poem is not different from that of these questions, the answer to them, - not the logical or purely intellectual answer, but the answer that willy-nilly we have to accept. If you arein the state of mind to accept the answer willingly, life accomplishes its ultimate and only object, to be lived. [...]

I found a wonderful haiku written by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), one of the four haiku-masters:

waga matsu mo katajikenasa ya haru no ame

my pine tree too
is grateful...
spring rain

It's a nice haiku and refers to the soul of haiku, nature, and to the idea that everything and everyone has a soul. Even a stone has a soul. It's as deep in it's layers as the one by Onitsura. 

To write another haiku inspired on the one by Onitsura isn't easy, because I would love to touch the soul and spirit of Onitsura in that new haiku. So here I go ... meditating and contemplating on the haiku by Onitsura, trying to come in touch with his haiku, to become one with his haiku and his soul and mind.

in touch with the gods
pine trees reaching for heaven -
skylarks sing their song

skylarks sing their song
high against the bright blue sky
in honor of the gods

in honor of the gods
pine trees and skylarks together
reaching for heaven

reaching for heaven
sending up my prayers and become
in touch with the gods

What a lovely cascading haiku. Looks like the growing of the soul ... chakra's opening to heaven, my spirit joins in with nature ... feeling like the pine trees and skylarks.
I think that I have touch the soul, mind and spirit of Onitsura ... I am blessed.

Well ... this concludes the last Carpe Diem Special for March. I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope to read wonderfully composed haiku inspired on the one by Onitsura. Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us here on Carpe Diem and with the world.
This Special will stay on 'till March 31th (Easter Sunday) 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our last episode of Carpe Diem's March later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). That will be: Yanagi (willow). That's our last classical kigo of Spring. I hope to prepare a new month of classical Japanese kigo in the first month of Summer, June. 

PS.: I am still busy with preparing our new prompt-list for April, but I will succeed. Be patient, I will soon publish the new prompt-list.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carpe Diem #157, Tanpopo (Dandelion)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I am preparing this episode the sun shines, it's cold, but not that cold anymore as we had the last week. The Eastern wind has become less hard and that makes that the temperature is better, still to cold for the time of the year, but ... well ... I will not complain, I like this dry cold weather very much.
Today we share haiku on Tanpopo (Dandelion). I had to sought out the Internet because I didn't know what 'Dandelion' was. I found the following background on 'Dandelion':


Taraxacum (pron.: /təˈræksəkʉm/) is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North and South America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion (/ˈdændɨlaɪ.ən/ dan-di-ly-ən, from French dent-de-lion, meaning "lion's tooth") is given to members of the genus, and like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.
The species of Taraxacum are tap-rooted biennial or perennial herbaceous plants, native to temperate areas of the Old and New worlds.[clarification needed]
The leaves are 5–25 cm long or longer, simple and basal, entire or lobed, forming a rosette above the central taproot. The flower heads are yellow to orange coloured, and are open in the daytime but closed at night. The heads are borne singly on a hollow stem (scape) that rises 1–10 cm or more above the leaves and exudes a milky latex when broken. A rosette may produce several flowering stems at a time. The flower heads are 2–5 cm in diameter and consist entirely of ray florets. The flower heads mature into spherical seed heads called "blowballs" or "clocks" (in both British and American English) containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Each achene is attached to a pappus of fine hairs, which enable wind-aided dispersal over long distances.
The flower head is surrounded by bracts (sometimes mistakenly called sepals) in two series. The inner bracts are erect until the seeds mature, then flex downward to allow the seeds to disperse; the outer bracts are always reflexed downward. Some species drop the "parachute" from the achenes; the hair-like parachutes are called pappus, and they are modified sepals. Between the pappus and the achene, there is a stalk called a beak, which elongates as the fruit matures. The beak breaks off from the achene quite easily, separating the seed from the parachute.
Seeds being dispersed from a Taraxacum seedhead by air currents
A number of species of Taraxacum are seed dispersed ruderals that rapidly colonize disturbed soil, especially the common dandelion (T. officinale), which has been introduced over much of the temperate world. After flowering is finished, the dandelion flower head dries out for a day or two. The dried petals and stamens drop off, the bracts reflex (curve backwards), and the parachute ball opens into a full sphere. Finally, the seed-bearing parachutes expand and lift out of it. The parachute drops off the achene when it strikes an obstacle.[citation needed] After the seed is released, the parachutes lose their feathered structure and take on a fuzzy, cotton-like appearance, often called "dandelion snow".

Dandelion seeds

In Dutch we call the 'Dandelion' "Paardebloem", in a free translation that would be 'horse-flower'. It's very common in my country and at the end of Spring, (Tanpopo (Dandelion) is a kigo (seasonword) for late-spring, you can find it everywhere. My grandchildren are enjoying Dandelions very much as they are loosing their color and the seeds are seen. They love to blow against the seeds and when they are loosening the stem that's one big party for them. It's a lovely sight as they're blowing against these seeds and their laughter is filling the air. Really I enjoy that sight.

Dandelion seeds dispersal

I found a nice haiku about Dandelions, but I couldn't retrieve the poet. So if you are the poet of this haiku, please let me know. Until than 'thank you for your kindness that I may use this haiku.

White and full of life
The sun gleams it's liveliness
Live on through the wind

I like this haiku (it's not one of mine by the way) very much and it inspired me to write my own haiku on Dandelion. (Today I have chosen to use the classical way of writing haiku ... so a one line haiku.)

on the banks of the stream as far as I can see a yellow sea of ​​flowers

Another one, now written in the Western way (three lines):

walking through the meadow
seeds of Dandelions airborn -
to another place

'look granddad!'
my youngest grandson plucks Dandelions
blowing against the seeds

blowing against the seeds

my grandson helps the Dandelion
to spread out

Aren't they wonderful? I loved writing these haiku and enjoyed preparing this episode of Carpe Diem. I hope that you are inspired and I am looking forward to all of your nice posts on Tanpopo (Danelions).

This prompt will stay on 'til March 30th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode of Carpe Diem later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). That will be our last Carpe Diem Special by Onitsura this month. I love to share that Special haiku by Onitsura hereafter.

suzukaze ya koku ni michite matsu no koe

the cool breeze
fills the empty vault of heaven
with the voice of the pine-tree

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carpe Diem #156, Tako (kite)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today a short episode of Carpe Diem, because of lack of time. Today we share haiku on Tako (kite). I think everyone knows what a kite is and that in ancient times the people thought that the good reach the gods by kite flying. So in many cultures there are several forms of kites, but in China and Japan the Dragonkites were very popular. So I love to share a haiku about Dragonkites.

Credits: dragonkite

against the blue sky
the devilish dragonkite
just like yesterday

Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku. This prompt will stay on 'til March 29th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode lateron today around 10.00 PM (CET). That will be: Tanpopo (Dandelion)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carpe Diem #155, Oborozuki (hazy moon)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today it's Full Worm Moon, that's the name of the full moon of March. I have sought on the Internet for the name and meaning of this moon and I found this:

Full Worm Moon – March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.
That last name 'Lenten Moon', sounds familiar to me, because we are now in the 60 days before Easter, and that period is called 'Lent' or 'Lenten'. And yes it's the last moon of Winter. At least to me, because in my eyes when Easter has come, Spring has really started.

Credits: Hazy Moon with Cherry Blossom

Today we aren't sharing haiku on the full moon by the way, but on Oborozuki (Hazy Moon), because that's a kigo for late-spring. 

So let's do some haiku composing on Oborozuki (Hazy Moon).

hazy moon
cherry blossoms look mysterious -
the Spring breeze

Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with our community. This prompt will stay on 'til March 28th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode of Carpe Diem later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). Our new prompt than will be Tako (kite).

Carpe Diem #154, Shuntoo (Spring lantern)

Dear Haijin, visitors, travelers,

This month is almost over. We have still a few days to go in this all classical Japanese kigo month. I have read wonderful haiku the last few days, but I am also a bit behind with commenting on all of your lovely posts. I hope to catch up, but please don't be sad if I haven't commented yet on your posts.

Today we share haiku on Shuntoo (Spring lantern). The first thing what came in mind was the Autumn lantern. When the evenings start earlier, nights getting longer, its time to get out the lamps (consider you have no electricity in the Edo period). 

It is a time for huddeling together and become quiet looking in a candle light.
It is also a time to sit in peace and read a good book under the lamp light.

But we are busy with Spring kigo and than the meaning of Shuntoo (Spring lantern) is a more pleasant thing, with evenings getting shorter. It's also a time to huddeling together and look at the sunset when the evenings becoming longer. Sitting on the terrace or the porch together with your loved ones. When the evening goes on and the sunlight becomes less, the shadows become longer and we enter the 'twilight', lighting the candles or lamps. Shadows on the wall dancing in the candlelight ... wow what a spooky, but also romantic thought.

Credits: Japanese Lantern (Edo period)

I have found a nice haiku written by Issa on Spring Lantern:

chôchin de tabako fuku nari haru no kaze

smoking a pipe
by lantern light...
spring breeze

A wonderful haiku I think. Very well ... let's do some haiku composing myself.

on the verandah

in the light of a Spring lantern
writing haiku

writing haiku

inspired on the wonderful sunset
a Spring evening

a Spring evening

on the porch with my beloved ones -
the sound of frogs

the sound of frogs

resonates through the Spring night
young leaves rustle

young leaves rustle -
lighting sweet scented candles
on the verandah

Well ... I was on a role as you can see. I like this prompt a lot and I was inspired. I hope that you all, my dear haijin, visitors and travelers, are inspired as well to write haiku on Shuntoo. This prompt will stay on 'til March 27th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Oborozuki (hazy moon), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). I hope to be on time, but if not my excuses there for. I am in the nightshift and so I will maybe not be able to post on time. Just as I did today. Sorry for this late post.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Carpe Diem #153, Haru ta (Spring paddy fields)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another nice day in haiku paradise Carpe Diem. Today we share haiku on Haru ta (Spring paddy fields), let us look somewhat closer to this kigo for late-spring.
Haru  ta rice paddies in spring.
This refers to rice paddies in the spring, before the seedlings have been planted. Over the surface of some paddies, "vetch" will be blooming, and others will be roughly plowed. Later, as paddies are prepared for plowing, the ridges repaired between them, the paddies raked, and so on, the paddies become busy with farm workers. As wet paddies, they will shine brilliantly. But when one speaks of "spring paddies" there are hardly any people out there; everywhere feelings of loneliness and silence remain. 

Credits: Spring paddy fields

Look at those greenish paddy fields. So nice and quiet. It must be a joy to walk through these Spring Paddy Fields and feeling the loneliness and silence ... a Zen Buddhistic experience I think.

remaining silent
in awe walking through the paddy -
feeling lost and alone

feeling lost and alone
overwhelming experience -
Spring paddy fields

Spring paddy fields
everywhere you look a green sea -
remaining silent

I am afraid that this cascade isn't really a good one, but the feeling in it is so strong and makes me silent and humble in awe of the beauty of Mother Nature.

I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope that it will help you to write your own haiku on Haru ta (Spring paddy fields). Have fun, feel free and share your haiku with us.

This prompt will stay on 'till March 26th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode of Carpe Diem, Shuntoo (Spring lantern), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #28, Onitsura's Cherry-Flowers

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

While on our way to the end of this Carpe Diem month with Spring kigo I have found a wonderful haiku written by our special haiku master Onitsura on Cherry-flowers. It's in a way a different kind of haiku written by him, but it still is a gorgeous verse.

Onitsura (1660-1738) was a contemporary of Basho (1644-1694) and he tried to follow in Basho's footsteps with his haiku. So sometimes his haiku are very similar with those of Basho, but always you can read Onitsura's Spirit in it. Feels somewhat like my own way of 'revisiting Basho's haiku' as you can find on one of my other blogs Basho Revisited were I look closer to haiku written by Basho and write one (trying to write one) in Basho's spirit.

saku-karani miru-karani hana no chiru-karani

the cherry-flowers bloom;

we gaze at them;
they fall, and ...

(c) Onitsura

R.H. Blyth, a wellknown haiku entrepeneur, commented in his Haiku Volume 2 Spring on this haiku the following:

[...] There is nothing beyond what is said here, in spite of the "and ..." Pilate asked Christ, "What is truth?" The answer is given here. The answer is,

The cherry-flowers bloom;
We gaze at them;
They fall, and ...

This "and ..." is the human element in Nature. It is the peasant or sage somewhere visible in a Chinese landscape. [...]

What a comment don't you think too? This haiku by Onitsura could have been written for Easter and we are approaching Easter as you may know. So this Special is quit nice for the time of year.

Well ... let me see if I can write a whole new haiku inspired on this one by Onitsura and I hope to catch his Spirit in it. I think it will not be easy, but I have to try of course (smiles).

just like that
cherry blossom petals fall -
a colorful shower

a colorful shower
walking beneath the cherry trees
while cherry petals fall

while cherry petals fall
a haiku by Onitsura comes in mind
just like that

Awesome! I love it when a haiku feels good. I like this cascading style very much, but (as you maybe know) I have created a new haiku form: Troiku (You can find a post on that new form HERE) and I love to share a Troiku with you all based on the haiku by Onitsura.

(The Sleigh):

the cherry-flowers bloom
we gaze at them
they fall, and ...

(Horse 1):

the cherry-flowers bloom
finally King Winter has gone
Ah! What a feast

(Horse 2):

we gaze at them
weeping in joyful honor -
cherry trees bloom

(Horse 3):

they fall, and ...
the promise of given fruits
in late Summer

Credits: Cherries

Isn't it a wonderful way to explore your creativity with haiku? This "Troiku" has become a nice one, as I may say so.

Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku (or maybe a Troiku) with us all here on Carpe Diem. This prompt will stay on 'til March 25th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Haru ta (Spring paddy fields), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

Friday, March 22, 2013

Carpe Diem #152, Hanagumori (Blossom Haze)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are busy with Late-Spring kigo, so the posts are all written as meant to be somewhere in June. Spring is almost over. I am already yearning for Summer, but we have to go a few days in this month of Carpe Diem. As I look back today to all those wonderful prompts we have had 'til now this month than I am happy. I have read wonderful haiku and have seen new contributors to our daily haiku meme, but also I saw a growing group of travelers by which are posting anonymous comments, mostly spammers and that makes me a bit sad. So I have to be stricter with my rules and that, my dear friends, visitors and travelers, isn't my kind of being.

Here are the rules:

  • If you post a haiku please share a comment on the post (of course if you like to comment)
  • Don't comment ANONYMOUS, every anonymous comment will be seen as SPAM and will be removed
  • As you post a haiku, please take care of the right URL to your post
  • Enjoy reading the posts
  • Enjoy writing haiku and sharing them with us
  • Haiku writing and composing has to be fun and not an obligation

It's sad that I have to do this, but I have to. As I always say "read the rules and than forget them" is also here with these rules, but I will make a page for these rules so they are always there to read again. Sorry for this dear friends, but .... well I can't do otherwise.

OK ... back to our prompt for today. Our kigo now are all of late -spring and so this one also is of late-spring, Hanagumori (Blossom Haze). What does this kigo tell us?
It's telling us that all blossoming trees are in full bloom and the view is like a haze, sometimes as mist occurs it gives the blossoms a magical, mysterious look.
Hanagumori is especially a kigo for cherry blossoms and so our haiku inspired on this kigo has to be about cherry blossoms, but as you know, rules you have to read once and than let them go. Feel free to compose your haiku without rules. So if you don't can write a haiku about cherry blossoms? Well ... all other blossom or flower or plant can be used of course (smiles).
I think this one isn't easy, but that makes it a challenge.

I found a wonderful haiku on Hamagumori (Blossom Haze) written by Narayanan Raghunathan, one of the co-founders of Wonder Haiku Worlds which I love to share here with you:

old man and woman
walk into the twilight sky -
blossom haze

(c) Narayanan Raghunathan

Or this one written by Michael Henry Lee:

blossom haze -
even the plum tree knows
when to let go

(c) Michael Henry Lee

As you can read these two are very different and not especially written about cherry blossom, so follow in their footsteps and enjoy just composing haiku right from your heart ... as I do.

blossom haze -
walking in the middle
of falling petals

Ah! those cherries
have to let go their blossoms -
blossom haze

Hm ... I like these two I hadn't thought that I could write/compose a haiku on this prompt, but it looks like I did it.
Well ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with our haiku community here on Carpe Diem. This prompt will stay on 'til March 24th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, a Special by Onitsura, later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

The new Carpe Diem Special haiku by Onitsura (1660-1738) is the following haiku:

saku-karani miru-karani hana no chiru-karani

the cherry-flowers bloom;

we gaze at them;
they fall, and ...

Carpe Diem Imagination #4, Weeping Cherry

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As we are in the beginning of Spring I love to challenge you with a new Carpe Diem Imagination episode. The goal of this Imagination is to write and compose haiku inspired on a given picture, painting or photo. For this episode of Imagination I have chosen a wonderful photo of the Weeping Cherry.

Weeping Cherry

It's a wonderful tree and I think it can inspire you all to write nice haiku. You also may compose a Tanka or Kyoka or Senryu. Tanka and Kyoka are another Japanese poetry form that has five lines with a syllables count 5-7-5-7-7. Tanka and Haiku are similar to eachother in their meaning as are Kyoka and Senryu. Kyoka and Senryu are mostly more humorful and are about human affairs.

Well .... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku, senryu, tanka or kyoka with Carpe Diem.

This Carpe Diem Imagination will stay on 'till March 31th 11.59 AM (CET).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carpe Diem #151, Haru Fukashi (deep Spring)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I am preparing this episode outside it feels really like Spring. The sun is shining, a few Forsythia flowers blooming, nice temperature, almost no wind and I have been in the garden to drink my coffee. Really it feels like Spring ... awesome!
Today another late-Spring kigo, Haru Fukashi (deep Spring), is on. Deep Spring ... spring runs to it's end and the most trees, bushes and weeds are wonderfully green ... the sun has become warmer and the longing for Summer starts being in my bones. Spring was great ... all those wonderful flowers, like Narcissus and Tulips and those blossoming trees, Plum tree, Cherry tree and not to forget the Magnolia. Nature has become completely new. Mother Nature has her nicest robe on ... Spring ... ah what a wonderful season.

I found a nice haiku on this kigo. It's written by Narayanan Raghunathan, one of the founders of Wonder Haiku Worlds , a website about haiku and other Japanese poetry forms. He wrote this on in 2010.

golden dawn -  
deep spring mountain 
shivers in breeze

(c) 2010 - Narayanan Raghunathan

Credits: Deep Spring (This is really a wonderful website).

I wonder if I can write haiku on Deep Spring?

everywhere I look
nature is in full bloom -
deep Spring

deep Spring
I already can feel Summer -
walking along the beach

walking along the beach
the russtling of the dune grasses
deep Spring

Not a strong cascading, but I loved writing and composing it. Have fun, be creative and share your haiku with us all here on Carpe Diem ... where you just have to enjoy composing haiku without strict rules.

This prompt will stay on 'till March 23th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Hanagumori (blossom haze), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carpe Diem #150, Haru Higan (Spring Equinoxe)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

A new mile stone in our Carpe Diem history ... today we have our 150th prompt. I think this is a wonderful prompt. Today we share haiku on Haru Higan (Spring Equinox). Meteorlogical Spring starts (on the Northern hemisphere) on March 1st, but astrological Spring starts on March 21th and that's today.

Credits: Druids celebrating Spring Equinox at Stonehenge

The most common equinox are Summer - and Winter equinoxe, but Spring and Autumn also have equinox. Spring equinox is called Vernal Equinox or 'Alban Eilir' and on that day druids celebrating the coming of the light back to the world. It's, for druids and pagans, one of the most important celebrations. After the dark period of Autumn and Winter finally light is returning to the world and nature's coming to life again.

In ancient Egypt Achnaton, a pharao, promoted the One-God Religion of the Sun and in that religion the returning of the light was also an important issue.
Druids, as you may know, are a kind of religious man (and woman) in the Celtic culture. I have sought the Internet for some background on this Spring Equinox, which in Celtic druidry is called 'Alban Eilir' and I found this:

The name for the festival of the Spring Equinox in Druidry is Alban Eilir, which means 'The Light of the Earth'. As the Sun grows warmer, so life begins to show through the soil. Small signs at first - the daffodils and crocuses - then more green as the bluebells and wood anemones spread through the woodland. Plants are seen by some as inanimate greenery with no actual feelings and life force. But Druids see life in all living things, from rocks and stones, to rivers and springs, plants and trees - all life is sacred. Have you ever thought about how you recognize the beginning of Spring? Is it the plant life? The weather? How does a plant know when it is time to grow? It cannot tell the time or see a calendar. Yet it knows. If it has senses, then it has consciousness, if it has consciousness then it is more than an inanimate life form. So it is the return of life to the Earth that is celebrated at Alban Eilir, the time of balance.
One of the inner mysteries of Druidry is the Druid's egg. Life-giving, it is the egg protected by the hare, which is the symbol of Alban Eilir - still celebrated by the giving of Easter eggs by the Easter bunny.

So we know now a little bit more about the Spring Equinox in our region of the world, but how is it  celebrated in Japan? Let's look a bit closer to the meaning of the Spring Equinox in Japan.

Higanbune (festival boat)

In Japan the Spring Equinox, Haru Higan, or Vernal Equinox is one of the most traditional Japanese National Holidays. These holidays seem to have a double origin. One is the celebration of seasonal change typical of an agricultural society: This is the day when the day-time and the night-time are equal length. The actual date of the Vernal Equinox day may change from year to year due to leap year. Based on the Buddhist teaching, this Vernal Equinox is also called Higan no Chu-Nichi, as is Autumn Equinox on September 23rd. On Haru Higan Many Japanese visit their family tombs on this day in the middle of the week of Higan to pay their respects to their ancestors. People weed their family tombs, and leave flowers, incense and ohagi (sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste). It is tradition that ancestors' spirits prefer round food! Japanese consider this period the changing of the season, because it is usually around Higan that the cold front hanging over the Japanese islands weakens, and the weather changes to spring.
Thus we have a saying "Atsusa samusa mo Higan made" ("Heat and cold last until Higan").

At those festivals boats are used to celebrate the returning of the sun, this is called higanbune. And it was a custom to go walk around, enjoy one's shadow, pray at the temples and shrines and to pray foor good fortune. This custom is known as 'praying to the sun' (I couldn't retrieve the Japanese translation) and it's part of the Spring Equinox and the Autumn Equinox. In the Spring Equinox festivities it was called 'welcoming the sun' ( hi mukae, himukae) and in the Autumn Equinox festivities it was called 'saying goodbye to the sun'. During this day Japanese people are visiting friends for a snack, talk and a drink.

I have found a few nice haiku on Haru Higan which I love to share with you all here on Carpe Diem. First a haiku by Issa:

higan made to wa moosedomo samusa kana

"fair weather by Spring's Equinox"
so they say ..

(c) Issa - 1823

Winter was long in Issa's snowy, mountainous province. Shinji Ogawa notes that there is a Japanese proverb which states, "Hot or cold only lasts till an equinox." In Issa province of Shinano, present-day Nagano Prefecture, this saying doesn't at all hold true. Literally, Issa is saying, "Only until the spring equinox [will the cold weather last], they say...[and yet] it's cold!" My rather free translation attempts to evoke Issa's emotion and humor.

Or what do you think of this one written by Origa (nom de plume of Olga Hooper) in 2008:

vernal equinox -
the rising moon is lit
by the setting sun

(c) Origa - 2008

On Haru Higan Many Japanese visit their family tombs on this day in the middle of the week of Higan to pay their respects to their ancestors. 

And what are we doing on this Spring Equinox? As far as I know in my country (The Netherlands) we're not celebrating this equinox. We are celebrating the Summer solstice and the Winter solstice. But ... back to this nice (and difficult) prompt Haru Higan to do some haiku composing myself.

celebrating the sun
with narcissus flowers in my hair -
Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox
day and night the same lenght
departing Winter

departing Winter
visiting my ancestors graves
paying my respects

paying my respects
to Mother Nature ... flowers in my hair
Vernal Equinox

I am looking forward to all of your inspired haiku on this prompt for today. Come on celebrate Spring Equinox (or in the Southern hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox) with Carpe Diem. Have fun, be inspired and creative and share your haiku with our haiku community.

This prompt will stay on 'til March 22th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will publish our next episode, Haru fukashi (deep Spring), later on today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Carpe Diem #149, Tsukushi (horsetail)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a wonderful Carpe Diem month we have this month. I have read such fine haiku, well penned and composed ... really it's a joy to make this daily haiku meme for you all. And it's even a bigger joy to see that our little haiku community is growing step by step.

Today we share haiku on Tsukushi (horsetail) it's a fragile kind of grass and it can grow very big. It looks like a christmastree, same shape, same color, but without all the lights and ornaments.

Credits: Horsetail

In my country (The Netherlands) we have also a weed called 'paardestaart'(Dutch for horsetail) it's a kind of orchid that looks like a horse's tail.

Horsetail (Europe)

It's really a wonderful kind of weed. So let's go do some haiku composing on this prompt, that will not be easy, but ... well it's fun ...

floating with the stream
christmastree without lights and ornaments
horsetail bouquet

colorful sight
along the country road
a row of horsetail

Not very strong these haiku, but that second one (how immodest) has become a wonderful haiku, as I may say so.
Well .... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here on Carpe Diem's daily haiku meme.

This prompt will stay on 'till March 21th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our first episode with late-spring kigo (seasonswords), Higan (Spring equinox), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Carpe Diem #148, Aomugi (green barley)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost through our prompts for mid-spring, we will enter late-spring on March 21th, and I am longing to share haiku on late spring. Late Spring ... all is green and the sun starts to be warmer and stands higher in the sky. The warmth of Summer, longing for the longer days and the sultry evenings and nights.
Back to our prompt for today, Aomugi (Green Barley), one of our last prompts on mid-spring.

Green Barley

I didn't know about the health power Green Barley has, it's used by people suffering from e.g. High Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure. It's even used by people with cancer to make them stronger and give them a better quality of life. A really strong kind of grain. I think that our classical haiku poets knew this very well as we know that in ancient times all medicins were natural.

I couldn't find an example of haiku on Aomugi (green barley), but what I did found was a wonderful haiku written by Sono-jo, a haiku poetess and pupil of Buson on grasses and leaves in Spring:

te wo nobete ori-yuku haru no kusaki kani

as I go along,

stretching out my hand and plucking
the grasses and leaves of Spring

(c) Sono-jo

I find this really a nice haiku. The grasses and leaves of Spring so soft and pleasant to the touch, so acridly fragrant are the plants and bushes in spring time, that the poetess unthinkinly, almost wantonly, breaks off twigs and branches, sprays and leaves, coming into bodily contact with spring through the feel of things.

Really it's a wonderfully composed haiku. Who am I to try and write a new one? It feels almost like a sin to write a new haiku on this delicate issue for Spring ... I hope to do well and will try to touch the fragility of Sono-Jo's haiku with my own haiku on Aomugi (green barley).

wandering through the fields
the scent of green barley
in the Spring breeze

touching the spikes
of green barley covered with raindrops -
refreshing tears

Raindrops on Green Barley (Aomugi)

so fragile
like crystal
rain on barley

rain on barley
sparkles in the low sunlight -
so precious

I hope that I touched the fragility of Sono-Jo's haiku with these written by me. These little verses giving me joy and I feel the greatness of Mother Nature in them. Who am I that I may write this in praise of God.

I hope that you enjoyed the read and that the pictures and haiku will be your inspiration to write your own haiku on Aomugi (Green Barley). So have fun, be inspired and creative. Share your haiku with our Carpe Diem haiku community.
This prompt will stay on 'till March 20th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Tsukushi (horse tail), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). By the way, I have the evening shift so it's possible that I will post earlier, but also it can be later on.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #27, Onitsura's Valley Stream

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's halfway this month of Carpe Diem and I am already busy to prepare our new promptlist for our next month April. In that month I will become 50 yr and so there will be a few prompts referring to events which have occured in my life. And I love to share in that month haiku written by myself for the Carpe Diem Specials if that's ok with you of course.

Today another haiku poet is the composer of our Special. Onitsura (1660-1738) was a physician and a haiku poet. He has written wonderful haiku and this one is one of my favorites. So have fun, let the haiku by Onitsura be your source of inspiration and write your haiku inspired on the one by Onitsura (and maybe in his Spirit).

tani-mizu ya ishi mo utayomu yama-zakura

the wild cherry:
stones also are singing their songs
in the valley stream

Credits: Valley stream

Well ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with our community. This prompt will stay on 'til March 19th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Aomugi (green barley), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).