Monday, September 30, 2013

Carpe Diem #311, Eclipse (provided by Bjorn Rudberg)

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a daily haiku meme. Today our first anniversary starts to be celebrated. A year ago I started Carpe Diem to share and promote haiku, a Japanese form of poetry. I am a big fan of haiku and since the late eighties I have started to write haiku myself. Haiku is a short poem of three lines with 5-7-5 syllables (the classical way of haiku writing) and tells about a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water.
As I started Carpe Diem October 2012 I hadn't dreamed that I could celebrate my first anniversary, but here I am, here WE are, a group "Kai" of haiku-poets "Haijin" still alive and kicking. I have seen this Kai grow and I have seen how all our contributors have grown in their way of haiku writing. I am proud and humble that I may and can say that Carpe Diem Haiku Kai has become a family, a community of haiku poets who write and share their haiku with the Kai and with the world.
I am glad that I can say: "Let's start a whole new year of haiku writing at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai". I hope to see again wonderful haiku and of course I hope that this second year of Carpe Diem will be even better then the first year.
In our anniversary month I have prepared a prompt-list with mostly prompts suggested by you all my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers. So this month is really a festive month, because we all have a part in the prompt-list. The 'kick-off' is a prompt by Bjorn Rudberg

Today we share haiku on Eclipse. I am sure you all know what I am talking about here, so I don't have to explain what it is. We have Sun- and Moon-eclipses and they occur on a irregular base through the centuries.
Around the world, in every country or culture (ancient or modern) there are all kinds of Myths and Legends around eclipses, because of our roots of haiku I love to share a few of those Myths and Legends from Japan.

Ancient Chinese also believed that a celestial dragon ate up the sun, during solar eclipse. To scare away the dragon, they used to bang drums and pots and make loud noises. They even tried to scare the dragon by shooting arrows. They used do the same thing when lunar eclipses occurred.

In Hindu mythology, people in ancient India believed that the demons Rahu and Ketu swallowed the sun during solar eclipse. They believed that Rahu and Ketu sucked all the life-giving light and poisoned food and water.

The Shintos in Japan used to place a talisman - a precious stone studded necklace - on the branches of the scared Clauria tree. The brilliance of these stones was thought to compensate for the amount of sunlight lost during eclipse. At some places bonfires were lit as a substitute for the talisman.

Another great Myth of Japan about eclipse is the next one it's about the Japanese Shinto Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu:

Amaterasu is a sun goddess of the Shinto religion. It is believed that Amaterasu sent her grandson Jimmu to Earth 3,000 years ago to be the first ruler of Japan, beginning the divine family of Japanese emperors.
Amaterasu was given rule over the sky by Izangi when he handed to her his holy necklace.
Later, in a competition with her brother Susano, Amaterasu gave birth to three goddesses, who with Susano's offspring, are collectively the ancestors of Jimmu.
During this competition, Amaterasu was unwilling to admit defeat. This caused Susano to furiously wreak havoc throughout the heavens and the Earth. Amaterasu fled into a cave, and her absence caused darkness throughout Japan.
Amaterasu's absence caused much dismay on Earth. As the crops died off and the people suffered, the gods decided they needed to return Amaterasu to her position in the heavens. They sought the help of several dieties, and performed ritualis and sacrifieces outside of Amaterasu's cave. They also hung a mirror from a tree outside of the cave.
Hearing all the commotion, Amaterasu came forth and asked why the gods seemed to be rejoicing. They replied that they had found a new mistress who would be the sun goddess' replacement. Amaterasu came forth in curiosity, and peeked out of her cave. She immediately saw the mirror and was drawn to it. Having never seen her own reflection, Amaterasu thought she was looking at her majestic replacement. As she stepped forward to examine it, she was caught by one god and the cave was blocked by another. Amaterasu's presence illuminated the fields and life returned to Japan's land.

I found a nice video on You Tube about this Myth:

It's in short the Myth which I described above. Eclipse ... a wonderful prompt and I thank Bjorn for providing this one for our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai first anniversary month.

I found a nice haiku written by Kobayashi Issa, one of the four greatest haiku-poets, about a lunar-eclipse which occurred in 1819 as it was Harvest Moon (the full moon of September, or the 8th Lunar-cycle):

kake yô no rippa mo sasuga meigetsu zo

eclipsed splendidly
as one would expect...
harvest moon

Or this one, not a wellknown haiku, by Matsuo Basho:

fire-white halo
at the moment of eclipse
I notice your face

All wonderful haiku on eclipse, and that ... my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers is the task for today ... write a haiku about eclipse (which one you are free to choose it's lunar- or sun eclipse).

a halo of pearls
as the moon blackens the sun -
mid-day night fall

I like this one ... it's a joy to write haiku and of course I am looking forward to your haiku inspired on Eclipse. This prompt will stay on 'till October 2nd 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode around 7.00 PM (CET), that will be: Stonehenge provided by Managua Gunn. Have fun, be inspired and share. This episode is now open for your submissions.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carpe Diem #310, Tsuyujimo (dew frost)

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am preparing this episode with mixed feelings, because it's our last classical Japanese kigo for autumn, but also joy, because we start with our new month. October is our first anniversary and that makes me happy. I hadn't dreamed that Carpe Diem (CD) would be that big of a success as it has become. We have a vast group of contributors and that makes me happy. I have seen you all grow in your skills of writing haiku and that growth has had also effect on me. I love the haiku, and the other Japanese poetry forms, even more then I already did. Earlier today I read a magazine of the Dutch Haiku Society and in that edition I read a few nice articles about Basho (my master) in one of it the author said: "Haiku isn't only a form of poetry, but it's also a way of life". And that is what haiku is ... haiku is a kind of lifestyle intwined with Zen-Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and other ancient philosophies. All those religious/spiritual ways of life are all a piece of Basho's work and life.

The above picture shows a cherry tree starting to blossom and that's what we are here at Carpe Diem ... just starting to bloom. As our next month starts, we start to grow further in a new year of Carpe Diem. To make that second year a way to grow I have changed our groups name a little bit. I have added "kai" to it. "Kai" means "group in Japanese", so we have grown to a Haiku Kai and that makes me happy. So from this day on our haiku-community is called: Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. And with that name I hope we will blossom further and that we will become a full grown cherry tree.

Today we have our last day with a classical Japanese kigo. Today we share haiku on Tsuyujimo (dew frost). And with this kigo we not only depart from autumn, we also enter winter and of course our first anniversary month in which we will have wonderful prompt suggested by you all and we have a wonderful featured haiku poet Garry Gay. I am looking forward to this festive month.

"Dew frost" is a kind of thin layer of frost on branches, grasses and so on. It's the first signal for the upcoming winter cold, but it also is a wonderful fragile kind of frost which changes Mother Nature's face in to a mysterious and magical world. I love to walk through nature as this dew frost occurs and the early sunlight starts to shine. The trees look somewhat like crystal or diamonds, so fragile in it's beauty. Really awesome ...

Credits: Dew frost

What a wonderful sight ... look at those dew drops frozen, like pearls ... nature can be that beautiful, that fragile, that transient ... just like life itself.

early morning walk
through the park that looks so fragile -
sunrise and dew frost

cobweb sparkles
prince winter has made his round
through the city-park

Dew frost ... so fragile and so beautiful ... I hope this episode has inspired you to write your own haiku on dew frost. Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
This prompt will stay on 'till October 1st 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode (the first of our anniversary month) later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). That new prompt will be:  Eclipse, provided by Bjorn Rudberg. !! Now open for your submissions !!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Carpe Diem #309, Bashoo (Bananaplant)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to prepare this new episode of Carpe Diem. Why? Our prompt for today is the reason why Basho became a wellknown haiku-poet called "Basho". It was this Bashoo (Bananaplant) from which he took his penname. It's a lovely story and I love to share that story with you all.

In the Spring of 1681 a disciple of Basho, called Rika, presented him a bananaplant (a Bashoo). From that moment on he changed his name to Basho and his home was called 'Basho-an' (the banana tree cottage).
As Basho he became a famous haiku master. His earlier haiku, which he wrote under several pseudonyms, are now also known as haiku written by Basho. The first haiku he wrote as Basho was the following one:

basho ue te    mazu nikumu ogi no    futaba kana

planting a banana tree
more than ever I hate
sprouting reeds

This haiku isn't well known, but according to Jane Reichhold's "Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku", this was the first he wrote as Basho.

I don't like this haiku, because it's a haiku with a negative feeling in my opinion. On the other hand ... I can sense the hatred in this one. In reaction on this haiku I once wrote, back in January 2012:

with tears in my eyes
I look at the sprouting reeds
of the Bamboo

I can't write haiku with the feeling of hate, but this one comes close. As you may know Bamboo can overgrow your garden in a short time. You can cut it, but it will soon sprout again. When you will got rid of it you have to cut and remove the roots. I love Bamboo but I 'hate' the fast sprouting of it.

Credits: Bashoo (bananatree or -plant)

The above part of this post you can read back at my other weblog: Basho Revisited, a weblog in which I try to write new haiku in the same sanes, tone and spirit as a haiku which I discussed in the posts. That weblog was by the way the reason why I have Special Carpe Diem episodes.

My attempt to write a new haiku for todays prompt:

unseen flowers
between the oversized leaves -
a humble haijin

Basho took his penname, because the Bananaplant blooms with almost unseen flowers and it's wood isn't useful at all. It's a plant that is so similar to Basho himself who was a humble haiku-poet who couldn't adjust to the status of a haiku-master. He loved being unseen and not of use, but through that he became the most famous haiku-poet ever.
For closure of this episode of Carpe Diem I love to share another haiku by Basho in which he uses the Bashoo (bananaplant): 

Bashoo no ki  towa ni ari si ya  nebu no hana

the basho tree
staying for good―
the mimosa blossoms


all June’s rainy days  have left untouched the Hall of Light i
n beauty still ablaze

Credits: Basho statue

I hope you all did like this new episode of Carpe Diem. With this one we are closing in to the end of our September month and into the start of our second year of Carpe Diem. I am excited ...
This prompt will stay on 'till September 30th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, the last of Carpe Diem's September month full of classical Japanese kigo for autumn, later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). That new episode is titled: Tsuyujimo (Dew frost).
!! Bashoo (bananaplant is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Carpe Diem #308, Sake (salmon)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to tell you something, through lack of time I will post the next episode of Carpe Diem's Oku no Hosomichi later this weekend and not today, but today of course I do publish our new daily prompt. Today we share haiku on Sake (Salmon), at first I thought "Sake? That's a Japanese drink and has nothing to do with Salmon", but it turned out that Sake has more meanings. First Sake is ricewine, but it's also the name for Salmon, if the Salmon is still in the water. If Sake (Salmon) is on a plate as a dish then you write still Sake, but you have to pronounce it as Shake.

There are several Ainu legends about the Salmon and I love to share one of those legends with you, but first this; the Ainu (Japanese: アイヌ?), also called Aynu, Aino (アイノ), and in historical texts Ezo (蝦夷), are an indigenous people in Japan (Hokkaidō) and Russia (Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands). 

Credits: Ainu

And then now a Ainu Legend (thanks to Gabi Greve):

Why you should always use a willow stick to kill salmon, this revered fish

Among freshwater fish the salmon and salmon-trout hold the highest place. This is what one would expect, inasmuch as these are the largest and most useful fishes to enter the rivers. The true salmon is called shibe, and this word means either "the great thing" or "the chief food." It is also known as kamui chep besides, and that means "divine food" or "divine fish," and it is reported to have originally come down from Paradise....
When the Ainu go salmon fishing they always provide a thick willow stick about two feet long with which to strike the salmon's head and kill it. This stick is called isapa-kik-ni, "the head-striking wood" .... The Ainu say that the salmon do not like being killed with a stone or any wood other than good sound willow, but they are very fond of being killed with a willow stick. Indeed, they are said to hold the isapa-kik-ni in great esteem. If anything else is used, the fish will go away in disgust.

Enough to think about I think. So I hope you will be inspired and please share your haiku on Sake (Salmon) with us all.

My attempt:

salmon swims up the stream
searching for a place to breed -
willow leaves fall

Credits: Sake (Salmon)

This prompt will stay on 'till September 29th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode later on around 7.00 PM (CET). That new episode will be: Bashoo (Bananaplant). !! Sake (Salmon) is now open for your submissions !!

Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Challenge #16, Jazzbumpa's "cold raindrops falling".

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another week has gone by, a week in which I was very busy with renovating the bedroom for our grandchildren and inbetween those renovating actions I posted our regular episodes of Carpe Diem and a few other features. The bedroom for the grandchildren is almost ready and then we can starting decorating it.

This week's first stanza of our Tan Renga is a haiku written by Jazzbumpa of Retirement Pastels and the goal for the challenge is to complete the Tan Renga by writing the second stanza (7-7 syllables). The Tan Renga looks very familiar to the Tanka but with one difference. A Tanka is written by one poet and the Tan Renga is written by two poets, it's a short chain poem. Let me first give you all the haiku written by Jazzbumpa (JzB):

green leaves turn orange
amid the colors we see
cold raindrops falling

What a wonderful haiku. JzB wrote it in respons to our first episode of Carpe Diem goes back to it's roots. I was completly 'knocked out' as I read this one.
As I make my round along all of your wonderful post and write my comments I ran on a regular base into wonderful haiku, by the way all of your haiku are wonderful, which are really gems, diamonds or masterpieces. On my rounds I have already asked several haijin for permission to use their haiku for a Tan Renga Challenge and 'till now every one is giving me that permission which I am grateful for.
What a wonderful community of haijn we have here at Carpe Diem. I am honored to be your host and that makes me also humble. Thank you all for the joy and love which I can sense through all of your nice haiku and comments on my posts.

I think we have made Carpe Diem a big success through respect, acceptation, love and so on for each other. We have become one big family of great haijin and that makes me happy and proud. It gives me hope for the future of Carpe Diem. For sure I am looking forward our second year, starting next October with a very festive month of prompts suggested by you all my friends and the Specials of our featured haiku poet Garry Gay.

Back to our feet (smiles). This is a new Tan Renga Challenge and it's again a beauty. As you all know next November we have our first Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge month in which I will challenge you every day to write a second stanza for a given haiku by one of our family-members, classical and modern haiku-poets. If you would like to contribute haiku for that Tan Renga Challenge month as the first stanza of the Tan Renga, please let me know. You can let me know that by saying it in the comments field or by sending an email to:

I have already made the Logo for that Tan Renga Challenge Month and I love to share that already here with you. I hope you all like it:

The goal of the Tan Renga Challenge is to write a second stanza (7-7) in respons of the first stanza (5-7-5). In that way you make the Tan Renga complete. The first stanza, a haiku (this week by JzB), is 5-7-5 syllables (don't take it to hard, don't make it a counted verse) and the second stanza has 7-7 syllables. To post your completion please copy and paste the first stanza into your post and enclose your second stanza.

Stanza 1 (5-7-5):

green leaves turn orange
amid the colors we see
cold raindrops falling       (JzB)

Stanza 2 (7-7):

???????????????           (Your respons)

Credits: Autumn leaves

My attempt to complete this Tan Renga:

green leaves turn orange
amid the colors we see
cold raindrops falling       (JzB)

summer has passed away
with tears in my eyes I say "goodbye"      (Chèvrefeuille, your host)

This Tan Renga Challenge will stay on till October 4th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post on that same day (I hope) our next Tan Renga Challenge. For now ... have fun, be inspired to complete this Tan Renga.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #59, Southard's fifth and last one for this month "widening rings"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy it was to share all those wonderful haiku written by O. Mabson Southard and your responses were awesome. Today the last Southard haiku for this month, I have called it "Southard's Fifth", with a glimpse to Beethoven's Fifth. I think I have a wonderful haiku by Southard to share with you today. So I am looking forward to your responses."

a patter of rain ...
the lily-pad undulates
on widening rings

(c) O. Mabson Southard

Credits: the lily-pad undulates

This is in my opinion a real masterpiece, and maybe it's one of Southard's best haiku. It will not be easy to write a new haiku inspired on this masterpiece by Southard in the same sense, tone and spirit. So good luck to you all.

ballroom dance
between petals of cherry blossom
raindrops seek their way

This Special prompt will stay on 'till September 28th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Sake (Salmon), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET).
!! This Special is NOW open for your submissions !!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Carpe Diem #307, Kari (Goose)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month of Carpe Diem with all those wonderful classical Japanese kigo is nearing it's end, so our prompts that are still coming up this month are also autumn kigo nearing winter. So today our prompt is Kari (Goose), these great birds are going to the south to escape the cold winter and to have their youngsters elsewhere. I like those V-formations in which they fly and I can enjoy looking at that very much.

Credits: Geese on track (a Dutch website)

Isn't it an awesome image? Geese departing for the warmer regions flying before the sun.

A nice haiku written by Buson I love to share here:

kariji ikkou no kari ya hayama ni tsuku wo insu

calligraphy of geese
against the sky--
the moon seals it

And what do you think about this haiku by Basho?

geese's come time
more red

Cockscombs (Celosia cristata) have reddish leaves all year turning deeper red about the time that geese fly south to Japan as winter approaches. Basho draws directly from the literal meaning of the Chinese name for cockscomb: "geese come red".

Credits: Cockscomb

My attempt to write a haiku on Kari (goose):

cockscombs redder
winter is nearing - geese take of
over the 'Route du Soleil' (*)

(*) Route du Soleil, is the common way to travel to Spain from The Netherlands.

in V-formation
pointing to the warm southern countries -
autmn's departure

I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope that it will inspire you all to write your haiku on Kari (goose). This prompt will stay on 'till September 27th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode of Carpe Diem, the last Special by our featured haiku-poet O.Mabson Southard, later on today around 7.00 PM (CET).
!! Kari (goose) is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Carpe Diem Extra #3, Tan Renga Challenge Month 2013

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

November will be our first Tan Renga month. I will challenge you all with an everyday Tan Renga to complete. I love to use haiku written by you all my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers for that month. So if you would like to contribute one or two haiku written by you for that new November month of Carpe Diem ... please share them in the comment field of this Carpe Diem Extra episode or  by linking your haiku for this Tan Renga month to this Carpe Diem Extra episode. It’s also possible to e-mail me at:

I have created that email-account especially for this Tan Renga Challenge month. I am looking forward to all of your wonderful haiku which I may use for this first Tan Renga Challenge month. It is possible to share your haiku for this Challengemonth until October 20th.
Hope to see a lot of your haiku for that Tan Renga month.

For closure a Tan Renga which I wrote as a tribute to my brother.

decomposed flowers
silent witness of a relative
red tear-stained eyes

looking back to better times
biking holiday with him

(In loving memory of my brother who died in 1995)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Carpe Diem #306, Chooyoo (Chrysanthemum Festival)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today another nice prompt for late autumn. As you all know ... the Chrysanthemum is THE flower of autumn and in Japan they have a so called Chrysanthemum Festival Chooyoo. Japan has a lot of festivals and every region has his own festivals. Chooyoo is just one out of many. As today this festival is our prompt I love to tell something more about this festival.

Chooyoo (Chrysanthemum Festival)

September 9, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month ... Now mostly held in October, celebrating the end of the harvest time.  Now October 26, 旧重陽 Old Lunar Chrysanthemum Festival.
It was one of the five special "double" days with double prime numbers, which are auspicious in the Lunar calendar, like January 1, March 3, May 5 and July 7.

Chrysanthemums were introduced into Japan around the 8th century AD, and Emperor Gotoba 後鳥羽 (1180-1239) adopted this flower as his official seal.

Let's pluck and wear you,
O chrysanthemum flower,
while there's still dew --
that never-aging autumn
must then abide forever.

(c) Ki no Tomonori

Chrysanthemum and deeper meaning of a long life

The association of chrysanthemums with long life was imported from China along with their use in the longevity festival on the Ninth of the Ninth Month, which at the time fell some time in what's now October. According to Chinese folklore, drinking the dew off a chrysanthemum retarded aging or even, in some circumstances, granted immortality. Strictly speaking the wish is "for a (very) long time," but the effect (especially combined with "not aging") is close to "forever." A nice haiku written by Kobayashi Issa:

yamadera ya kate no uchi naru kiku no hana

mountain temple --
here, too, they serve
chrysanthemum petals

(Tr. Chris Drake) 

This hokku is from the 9th month (October) of 1819, the year Issa chronicles in Year of My Life. Every year on 9/9 the Chrysanthemum Festival was held, and in the 9th month various exhibits of chrysanthemums were held. Chrysanthemum petals had been drunk since the ancient Nara period, and in Issa's time the wine drunk at the 9/9 festival with petals in it was believed to ensure long life. Chrysanthemum petals were also widely used as a side dish or sprinkled on salads, sashimi, sushi, tempura, and other dishes. The petals were also used in several herbal medicine mixtures.

Issa seems to have visited a secluded mountain temple that, like many other temples, provides meals to visitors, and he is surprised to find chrysanthemum petals even here. Presumably the petals have been sprinkled on vegetarian dishes at the temple and are a treat during the 9th month for both monks and visitors.

So the Chrysanthemum has a nice history over centuries back. Must be a joy to write haiku about this festival (or the Chrysanthemum). I found two haiku by Buson about the Chrysanthemums:

kikunokaya tsukisumi shimono keburuyoni

Chrysanthemum fragrance--
On this night of a clear moon
And hazy frost.

kikuwa kini ame orosokani ochibakana

The chrysanthemums yellow
Rain scant--
Fallen leaves. 

As you all  know the Classical Japanese Culture had several great festivals, such as the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' and 'Tanabata', but they also had a big festival on September 9th. That festival was called 'Cho yo no Sekku', this means 'The Chrysanthemum Festival'. The Chrysanthemum is a season word for autumn. I think Chrysanthemums are wonderful season bound flowers in so much different colors and species and they are a wonderful theme for haiku.
And what do you think of this piece by Basho. I have used this haiku for one of my other weblogs in which I try to write haiku inspired on haiku by Basho (as we do with the Specials every month).

izayoi no   izure ka kesa ni   nakoru kiku

lingering moon
which is better this morning
early chrysanthemum

This haiku had a preface (very common): 'At Sodo's house. The chrysanthemums on the tenth. The elderly host of the lotus pond (Basho's host) loves chrysanthemums. Yesterday he held a party for the Chrysanthemum Festival just like that of Long Shan and today he offers the rice wine left over from our Renga party. I wonder who will stay in good health for next year's party!' 

This haiku was part of a Renga which Basho and his host Sodo composed. It's not sure if this was the 'hokku' opening haiku, but it could have been.
Chrysanthemums are beautiful. I personally love white chrysanthemums mixed with red roses. Maybe I will use that in my haiku.

in the backyard
gazing at the Milky Way -
white chrysanthemums

I have tried to write this one in more than Basho's Spirit I also have tried to bring a touch of Sodo in it. It surely is a touch of Chèvrefeuille.

And another "impromptu verse" written right now:

in the frontyard
colorful chrysanthemums exposed
for todays festival

Awesome ... This prompt will stay on till September 26th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Kari (goose), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). !! Chrysanthemum Festival is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Carpe Diem #305, Warazuka (Straw bundles)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Autumn ... what a wonderful season. This season is really my season. I love the change in nature through an explosion of colors from green to yellow, from yellow to orange, from orange to red and finally brow in all kinds of shades. Autumn a time of detachment, a time of saying farewell to summer ... but autumn is also the season of harvesting the crops on the fields. Autumn is a time of preparation. We prepare our families and friends for the winter by filling the basement or the pantry. In this we don't be so different of the animals and birds around us, who also are preparing for winter. The only thing which remains on the fields and meadows are the bundles of straw or Warazuka our prompt for today.

harvesting rice
only the straw remains
bundled up

straw bundles
used as building stones for their hut -
laughter of children

Well ... not a long post this time, because I have some troubles with Internet, pictures don't load and that kind of things.
This prompt will stay on 'till September 25th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode, Chooyoo (Chrystanthemum Festival), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). !! Straw bundles is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at Carpe Diem.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Carpe Diem #304, Yanagi Chiru (Willow leaves fall)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you know we are busy with classical Japanese kigo or seasonwords for late-autumn. The Willow is one of the trees that loose their leaves in late autumn. It loses it's leaves in late november, early december and as the Willow leaves fall winter is near and the departure of autumn is almost there. It's the last period before the wintersolstice in which the day is at his shortest and the night the longest. The wintersolstice means that the days will become longer and that the light will return. The returning of the light we celebrate with Christmas when we also celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World.
When there wasn't such thing as celebrating Christmas the heathens celebrate already the returning of the light with the wintersolstice, so our Christmas has it's roots in the culture of heathens.In paganism and Wiccan traditions the winterslstice is one of the biggest events, next to the summersolstice.

Credits: Willow in autumn

I found a wonderful haiku by Buson, about the fallen leaves of the Willow ...

yanagi chiri shimizu kare ishi tokoro dokoro.

fallen willow leaves --
the clear stream gone dry,
stones here and there

(c) Buson

And what do you think about this haiku by Basho, "my master" which he wrote as a payment for his stay at a temple during his "Narrow Road to the Deep North":

niwa hou te   ide baya tera ni   chiru yanagi

to sweep the garden
before I leave
falling willow leaves

(c) Basho

And I found a nice haiku written by a modern haiku poetess named Anna Holley (Source: AHA-Poetry):

autumn passes
willow leaves fall
onto a moored boat

(c) Anna Holley

All wonderful haiku on Yanagi Chiru (Willow leaves fall) another nice classical Japanese kigo. So this is a challenge, but also a joy to write a haiku on "Willow leaves fall".

Credits: Willow in autumn (2)

My attempt to write a haiku on Willow leaves fall:

autumn departs
in deep silence willow leaves fall -
tears on this grave

tears on this grave
as the willow is green again
another year has gone

another year has gone
here again at this graveyard
willow leaves fall

Wow! What a wonderful set of haiku ... I was thinking about my brother who died in autumn 1995 as I wrote these haiku and I think they are doing justice to the love I have for my brother.

This prompt will stay on 'till September 24th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Warazuka (straw bundles), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). !! Willow leaves fall is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Carpe Diem #303, Tonbo (Dragonfly)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another new day in our Carpe Diem (CD) daily haiku meme. I was very productive yesterday, but today I will only publish the post for our new prompt. Today we share haiku on Tonbo (Dragonfly) and it brought a nice memory back in mind.
Several years ago we had a mobile home on a camp-place somewhere in my country. It was an inheritance of the grandma of my wife and we went there every weekend and every holiday. Our kids loved to be there and they were the whole day outside playing with their friends. Only for eating and drinking (and of course sleeping) they back to our mobile home.
We had a place for the whole season and I had made a wonderful garden around it, with a pond in which we had Koi Carps. In spring the garden looked like a rainbow because of all the colorful tulips, narcissus, violets, daisies and so on. And to break that colorful sight I had planted a few little trees e.g. a pine-tree.
One summer evening, it had been a warm summer day we had all the windows and doors of our mobile home open to cool the inside of it. As we were drinking coffee my wife shouted anxious. I looked in the direction she pointed and there I saw a big dragonfly certainly 8 to 10 cm big and the wings also. It was a black one and it had lime-colored stripes around it's body. Such a great dragonfly I had never seen in my live. Finally it flew outside and landed on one of the waterlillies in our pond. It was a wonderful experience, but also a bit anxious.

Credits: Dragonfly

I found a nice haiku written by Buson about a dragonfly:

Its tail un-dyed
How charming--
A red dragonfly

And a nice one by Kobayashi Issa:

the dragonfly
settles to sleep...
on the scarecrow

Really wonderful haiku about dragonflies and to enclose this introduction to our new prompt I love to share a haiku by "my master", Matsuo Basho:

Crimson pepper pod
add two pairs of wings, and look
darting dragonfly

Credits: Green Dragonfly

It's a wonderful creature, sometimes scary, but always beautiful to see. A nice late-autumn kigo, because with this episode we are entering the kigo for late-autumn.

green dragonfly
almost invisible on the Lotus leaves -
the sound of raindrops

I like it, this is however not a strong haiku, but I like the scenery it paints. So I am looking forward to your haiku on Dragonfly ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us.
This prompt will stay on till September 23th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Yanagi chiru (Willow leaves fall), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET). !! Dragonfly is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Carpe Diem Special #58, Southard's "This morning's rainbow".

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today our fourth Special by O. Mabson Southard (1911-2000), our featured haiku-poet of this month, and one of the greatest modern haiku poets of the last century. His haiku are all wonderful and very much acording to the classical rules of haiku composing as once given by e.g. Matsuo Basho and other classical haiku poets.

This morning's rainbow
shares its deep violet edge
with the misty moon.

(c) O. Mabson Southard

Credits: Misty Rainbow

The goal of this Special is to write your haiku respons on the haiku by Southard in the same tone, sense and spirit as his one and because of his (strict) 5-7-5 structure, your haiku has to have also 5-7-5 syllables.

This is my haiku in respons on the haiku by Southard and I hope it's in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one by Southard, if it's in 5-7-5 that I don't know for sure.

Credits: Rainbow Cobweb

crystalized cobweb -
dewdrops sparkle in the sunrise
spider crawls the rainbow

I think this is a nice haiku in respons on the haiku by Southard and I even dare to say that it is a masterpiece and so not my way of haiku writing, because of the 5-7-5 syllables count in this one.
I see an awesome image in front of my eyes. It is a wonder of the Creation as it is meant to be.

This Special by Southard will stay on 'till September 22th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode of Carpe Diem, a new classical Japanese kigo for autumn, Tonbo (Dragonfly), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET).
!! This Special by Southard is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Carpe Diem's Tan Renga Challenge #15, Managua Gunn's "Cricket's last song"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Time flies, that's so true and I have some trouble to catch up, but this week another Tan Renga Challenge will start today.
This week's Tan Renga Challenge starts with a haiku written by Managua Gunn from "Coffee with Yer Pirate". He is one of our long time contributors to Carpe Diem and he writes wonderful haiku, but sometimes I am really caught by one of his haiku. This haiku by Managua Gunn did at first read bring another haiku into my mind. That haiku has been written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) and is part of his haibun "Oku no Hosomichi" (The Narrow Road to the Deep North). I love to share that haiku by Basho first, before I share the haiku by Managua Gunn.

staying at an inn
priest and prostitute under one roof --
bush clover and the moon

(c) Matsuo Basho (tr. by Chèvrefeuille)

Well ... as you will understand, the haiku by Managua Gunn, is also about a prostitute. So our first stanza of the new Tan Renga Challenge is:

Cricket's last song
even the prostitute hears -
stops waving her fan

(c) Managua Gunn

The task of this Tan Renga Challenge is to complete the first stanza with a second stanza with 7-7 syllables. Copy and paste the first stanza by Managua Gunn and your second stanza into the contributed post. Have fun, be inspired and share your completion of this Tan Renga.

First stanza (5-7-5):

Cricket's last song
even the prostitute hears -
stops waving her fan                                            (Managua Gunn)

Second stanza (7-7):


My completion of this Tan Renga:

Cricket's last song
even the prostitute hears -
stops waving her fan  (MG)

the sound of a thunderstorm
makes the client anxious  (Ch)

I hope you like this completion. And I hope that you all will complete this Tan Renga with a lot of inspiration. This Tan Renga Challenge will stay on 'till September 27th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new Tan Renga Challenge later on that day.

Carpe Diem's "Little Ones"#4, Tanka

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit late with this new episode of "Little Ones" in which I challenge you to write another short poem instead of haiku. So other short poems can be, Pi-ku, Naisaiku, Cinquain, Sijo or some other short Japanese poetry form.
This week I will ask you to write a Tanka, identical with the Tan renga, but written by one poet instead of two. Tanka is also known as Waka, that's the old way (old name) of a five-line poem. Let me give you some examples of classical Tanka (with and without the strict syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7):

Ono no Komachi, a female poet, lived ca. 850:

was it because I went to sleep
thinking always of him
that I caught a glimpse of him?
had I known it a dream
I would not have awoken

Or what do you think of this Tanka by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241):

the path at the feet of the mountain
through which the one I wait for wents his way
must by now be blocked
for, on the cedar by the eaves
the snow is heavy

Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241)

From Tanka's long history - over 1300 years recorded in Japan - the most famous use of the poetry form of Tanka was as secret messages between lovers. Arriving home in the morning, after having dallied with a lover all night, it became the custom of well-mannered persons to write an immediate thank-you note for the pleasures of the hospitality. Stylized into a convenient five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 onji (characters), the little poem expressing one's feelings were sent in special paper containers, written on a fan, or knotted on a branch or stem of a single blossom. These were delivered to the lover by personal messengers who then was given something to drink along with his chance to flirt with the household staff. during this interval a responding Tanka was to be written in reply to the first note which the messenger would return to his master.

A modern example of Tanka written by Ellen Compton (Washington DC)

night cries ...
wild geese leaving, winter
bring winter -
I wear remembrance
in a necklace of shells

Or this one by a fellow Dutch poetess named Marianne Kiauta:

over the heads
of the shopping crowd
a red balloon -
as elusive as you
that remained unborn

Also human emotions, as in the above Tanka, are part of Tanka (and Haiku) writing. And to honor the source of this post,, a Tanka written by Jane reichhold. It's Tanka from her book 'A Gift of Tanka'.

desert leaving
one of dream souls
in the lizard
patterns on his back
passport to change

As you have seen maybe, also Tanka uses a syllable structure, 5-7-5-7-7, but as you know about our beloved Haiku, that syllable-count isn't that a strong rule in Western Haiku and Tanka.
As Iwas preparing this episode of Carpe Diem's "Little Ones" I ran into a form of Japanese poetry I didn't know of. So in our next episode of "Little Ones" I will tell you more about the Choka or the Japanese long poem.

Now to end this episode I have composed a Tanka, by the way Tanka isn't my "cup of tea", I even don't really like the Tanka, but I have to do it, because I ask it of you all ...

crystal cobweb
sparkles in the early sun
dewdrops vaporize
just a little while
I felt a rich haiku poet

(c) Chèvrefeuille (your host)

Not a strong Tanka I think, but it was worth the try. Have fun, be inspired and share your Tanka, or another short form of Japanese poetry with us all here at Carpe Diem.
This episode of CD's "Little Ones" will be open for submissions 'till September 30th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will try to post a new CD's "Little Ones", about Choka, later on that day.
!! CD's Little Ones is now open for your submissions !!