Monday, August 26, 2013

Carpe Diem's Distillation #1, A poem by Otomo Miyuki (Manyoshu)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Early this morning, around 8.00 AM I read one the most inspiring haiku books I have and while reading an idea for a new feature came in mind. So here we are ...

I love to introduce to you a whole new feature on Carpe Diem. It's an experimental feature, and I will try this two months. This new feature will be appearing as a bi-weekly feature, so we have four (4) episodes to go for this new feature.
As we have seen in August ... music can be a source of inspiration to write haiku. Also we know that a photo, painting or other image (as in Carpe Diem's Imagination) can be an inspiration, but ... I am sure that another poem can be a source of inspiration too.
Our ancient haiku-poets and haiku-masters used other poetry on a regular base to be inspired. They were inspired by e.g. classical Chines and Japanese poetry as the Tang-poetry (618-907) or the Manyoshu (the oldest known anthology of Japanese poetry 347 A.D.).
I think that we can be inspired too by poems. So this new feature of Carpe Diem I have called "Distillation" and the goal is to distil haiku from another poem. It's not easy I think, but ... well we have to try don't you think too?

The Manyoshu

 For this first episode of Carpe Diem's Distillation I have chosen a poem by Otomo Miyuki, who wrote this poem after the Jinshin conflict (672), in which Emperor Temmu in 673 moved the capital of Japan back to Yamato Province on the Kiyomihara plain, naming this new capital Asuka.
This poem was included in the Manyoshu.

Our Sovereign, a god,
Has made his Imperial City
Out of the stretch of swamps,
Where chestnut horses sank
To their bellies.

© Ōtomo Miyuki 

My attempt to distil a haiku from this poem ...

raised from the swamps
a new imperial capital
like a lotus

Well ... I don't know if I have succeeded in this 'distillation', but I sense the tone and spirit of the poem by Otomo Miyuki.

Now ... it's up to you ... distil a haiku from the poem by Otomo Miyuki and share it with us all here on Carpe Diem. This first episode of Carpe Diem's Distillation will stay on 'till September 9th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will try to publish the second episode of Carpe Diem's Distillation later on that day around 7.00 PM (CET). !!! This episode is now open for submissions !!!


  1. Emperor Temmu
    raised his new capital
    upon a dried swamp

  2. An interesting new special Kris. Should be fun to this this evolve. Thank you :)

  3. A good poetic exercise, thank you!

  4. I am looking forward how this new feature will evolve. The classical masters referred on a regular base to classic poetry or literature.

  5. this is an interesting addition. thanks. :)

  6. I love this technique! Discovered it too late to post for this prompt but will certainly be around for future ones.