Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #25, Onitsura's Spring Haze

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Isn't it wonderful to explore those classical Japanese kigo? It's really a joy to read all of your haiku inspired on those classical kigo. I am glad to see new contributors to Carpe Diem so I love to welcome them.
Today our first Carpe Diem Special for this month. This month our classical haiku master Onitsura is the haiku poet who shares his haiku with us for your inspiration. For our new contributors I will explain the goal for this Specials.
In every Special I share a haiku written by a classical haiku master. This month Onitsura (1660-1738), a contemporary of Basho (1644-1694), is our haiku master for the Specials. It's the goal to write a new haiku (or a few) inspired by the one given and to try to write those new haiku in the same tone and Spirit as the one by the haiku master.

Onitsura (1660-1738)

Onitsura was a distinguished haiku poet in the Edo era who was born as a son of a sake brewer at Itami(Hyogo prefecture) in the first year of Kanbun,1660.
He initially became a disciple of Nishiyama Soin but came to Osaka during the years of Enpo and he developed his own field after years of study to reach the stage which Basho later attained.
He was a man of gentleness and sincerity and made friends with Konishi Raizan.
He respected Basho and called on him to ask after his health a few days before Basho died.
He left his writings on haiku named
Taigomonogurui Hitorigoto.

He died in the 3rd year of Genroku(1738) at Unagidani at age 78.

Tomb of Onitsura (Osaka)

I love to share the next haiku with you, my dear haijin, be inspired and creative ... and I hope to read wonderful composed haiku in the Spirit of Onitsura.

tokitaru kane no ayumi ya haru kasumi

the bell from far away -
how it moves along in its coming

through the Spring haze 

R.H.Blyth (author of a four volume series on haiku) says about this haiku:

[...] The poet is trying to express the feeling he has of the bell coming through the spring mists, the feeling of not merely there and here, far away and close to, but to actual movement through space. The mist of spring helps this feeling and its expression, for in weakening the sense of sight, the imagination is thereby strengthened, and the bell moves from there to here walking over the waves of sound. [...] (Source: R.H. Blyth, Haiku Vol. 2 Spring)

As I look at this haiku and try to empathize with Onitsura I feel loneliness and dispair, but also somewhat of joy. In the sense of 'almost being there' ... the sound of the temple bell through the mist leads me to a save harbor a temple to rest, meditate and eat something.
This is a complete different feeling as Blyth's feeling ... that's (in my opinion) the strength of haiku ... haiku leaves the reader free to feel the haiku in it's own way. Reading haiku isn't easy, but really a joy.

To enclose this Carpe Diem Special I love to share my inspiration on this haiku by Onitsura:

lost and alone
wandering over the misty heath -
the cry of an owl

the cry of an owl -
the sound of a temple bell
finally shelter

finally shelter
after a misty adventure
lost and alone

I think these are in the Spirit of Onitsura, but that's not to me to decide ... that's to you to decide. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I hope that you're inspired and will share your haiku with our haiku community here on Carpe Diem.

This prompt will stay on 'till March 7th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Neko no Koi (cats in love), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET)


  1. Kristjaan,I love to write on these specials, and the best thing is to see all different interpretations. Mine was altogether different too and I find this amazing. A little bit that poetry can only be created when it's read, and not when it's written.

    Amazing, and I look forward to all amazing haiku that will come out of this.

  2. I'm loving the prompts this month :)

  3. Your set evoked a certain sadness in me but I liked the idea of the owl finding shelter because of the bell tolling.

  4. beautiful prompt. I find no sadness in it, just the idea of waking up early which isn't my favorite.

  5. I pity the lost owl, but rejoice at his/her finding shelter at last!

  6. The example you gave about the bells really resonated with me last night. I had written in the morning about feeling like spring was coming. In the afternoon I had a massage and was just feeling the bells of the spa music reach into my heart. It so inspired me. And your temple bell one is my favorite. I had used the word temple too feeling the spa as a sacred place.

  7. I was stymied earlier, but this is a lovely prompt.
    Thinking of what can be heard thru the spring haze...
    This prompt will stay with me thru the spring as I hear
    the signs of spring, the church bells ringing thru the
    spring haze...thank you.