Saturday, August 3, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #50, Kikaku's "Kagura Dance at night "

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today I share with you our first CD-Special of August. The Specials for this month are all haiku written by Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707) (also known as Enomoto Kikaku) he was one of Basho's leading disciples. He edited two of the major anthologies through which the Basho School earned its reputation, including Minashiguri (Shriveled Chestnuts, 1683), and wrote the preface for a third—Saruminosho (Monkey's Straw Raincoat, 1691). But his relations with his master were often tense—he is often the butt of anecdotal lore handed down among the disciples—and there seems to have been a final falling out. He is nowhere mentioned, for example, in Basho's last great work, Oku no hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Back Country). Kikaku's poetry is known for its wit and for its difficulty. Whereas Basho, especially in his later years, focused on the countryside and espoused an aesthetic of simplicity, Kikaku preferred the city and the opportunities it provided for extravagant play. He also preferred a more demanding form of poetry, one laced with wordplay, allusions, and juxtapositions of images that defy easy explanation. At the time of his death, he was perhaps the leading poet in Edo (today's Tokyo), which then had a population of around one million, making it perhaps the largest city in the world at the time.

This first haiku by Kikaku is about Kagura, Kagura is a dance which is performed in the Shinto Religion. It looks great, I found a video about Kagura on You Tube.

It's a very traditional dance as you can see and hear. Not really my kind of music, but I had to share this with you all my dear friends.

This is the haiku by Kikaku:

Kagura dance at night
the performer 's breath white
inside his mask

The goal of this Special is to write a new haiku inspired on the one by Kikaku in the same tone, sense and Spirit as his. So let's go ... let me try to write a new haiku.

shinto priests dancing
in praise of Mother Nature -
cicadas sing their song

Well ... what do you think? Is this in the Spirit of Kikaku?

This Special prompt will stay on 'till August 5th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next regular episode, Goa Sunset, later on today around 8.00 PM (CET) I hope I will have posted then, because I am in the nightshift. Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with Carpe Diem. !! This 1st Kikaku Special is open for submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!


  1. I really like the way the cicadas chime in with the music.

  2. What a marvelous introduction - I have a little break coming in with my entries ;-)

  3. A real page of knowledge and learning today Kristjaan - very interesting. And a haiku praising mother nature - I am ALL in favour of!

  4. Love the vocabulary offered by the video and the meanings. This is a challenge to write like Kikaku but am inspired to write something using the video as inspiration as well.