Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Carpe Diem #318, Desert Island (provided by your host)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy ... we are busy with our first anniversary month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and today I have the opportunity to provide you my prompt (especially for this festive month) Desert Island. What would you take with you to a desert island? I gave it some thought and if I had the opportunity to go to a desert island I would take with me for sure enough paper and pencils to write haiku, haibun and other poetry. Next to that I would take enough books to read and (if possible) music.

As I was preparing this episode the story of Robinson Crusoe (by Daniel Defoe) cam in my mind and I love to share that story with you. It's one of the greatest novels I have ever read, next to of course Basho's "Narrow Road".

Did you know that the original title of Robinson Crusoe was an extreme long one? Here it follows, the original title: "The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates." (Source: Wikipedia)

The story in short goes as follows:

Crusoe joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa but he is shipwrecked in a storm about forty miles out to sea on an island (which he calls the Island of Despair) near the mouth of the Orinoco river on September 30, 1659. The details of Crusoe's island were probably based on the Caribbean island of Tobago, since that island lies a short distance north of the Venezuelan coast near the mouth of the Orinoco river, in sight of Trinidad. Only he and three animals, the captain's dog and two cats, survive the shipwreck. Overcoming his despair, he fetches arms, tools, and other supplies from the ship before it breaks apart and sinks. He builds a fenced-in habitat near a cave which he excavates. By making marks in a wooden cross, he creates a calendar. By using tools salvaged from the ship, and ones he makes himself, he hunts, grows barley and rice, dries grapes to make raisins, learns to make pottery, and raises goats. He also adopts a small parrot. He reads the Bible and becomes religious, thanking God for his fate in which nothing is missing but human society.

More years pass and Crusoe discovers native cannibals, who occasionally visit the island to kill and eat prisoners. At first he plans to kill them for committing an abomination but later realizes he has no right to do so, as the cannibals do not knowingly commit a crime. He dreams of obtaining one or two servants by freeing some prisoners; when a prisoner escapes, Crusoe helps him, naming his new companion "Friday" after the day of the week he appeared. Crusoe then teaches him English and converts him to Christianity.
After more natives arrive to partake in a cannibal feast, Crusoe and Friday kill most of the natives and save two prisoners. One is Friday's father and the other is a Spaniard, who informs Crusoe about other Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. A plan is devised wherein the Spaniard would return to the mainland with Friday's father and bring back the others, build a ship, and sail to a Spanish port.

Before the Spaniards return, an English ship appears; mutineers have commandeered the vessel and intend to maroon their captain on the island. Crusoe and the ship's captain strike a deal in which Crusoe helps the captain and the loyal sailors retake the ship and leave the worst mutineers on the island. Before embarking for England, Crusoe shows the mutineers how he survived on the island and states that there will be more men coming. Crusoe leaves the island 19 December 1686 and arrives in England on 11 June 1687. He learns that his family believed him dead; as a result, he was left nothing in his father's will. Crusoe departs for Lisbon to reclaim the profits of his estate in Brazil, which has granted him much wealth. In conclusion, he transports his wealth overland to England to avoid travelling by sea. Friday accompanies him and, en route, they endure one last adventure together as they fight off famished wolves while crossing the Pyrenees. (Source: Wikipedia)

It's a wonderful novel in which you are in the adventure itself ... really an awesome novel. 

Here is my attempt to write haiku on this prompt desert island:

while meditating -
in the midst of the ocean
desert island

center of the world
like Robinson Crusoe -
writing haiku

only one palmtree
to sit against while writing -
the sound of waves

This epsiode will stay open for your submissions 'til October 11th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode, Shell (provided by Lolly), later on today around 7.00 PM (CET).
!! Desert Island is open for your submissions at 7.00 PM (CET) !!


  1. Defoe and hius adventure stories make you feel you are part of the adventure

    I worked at a camp that is on a desert island and it gave me fond memories
    thanks for the prompt

  2. Sorry I am behind several prompts. Will start with today instead of trying to catch up. The last I did was Bjorn's "ivory".

  3. That was an interesting write about about Robinson Crusoe. Saying that you are part of the adventure sums up alot of what Carpe Diem here is for me. The haiku about 'centre of the world is an interesting concept.