Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer May 4, Cathy Tenzo of Haiku Plate Special and Yggdrasil

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This second Ghost Writer week looks great again ... I have read wonderful Ghost-Writer posts and I have read wonderful Tanaga and haiku. I hope that everyone enjoys this week and ofcourse if you have ideas to change something in this Ghost-Writer feature than please let me know.
Unlike earlier planned schedules I have a little change to make in the consecution of our Ghost Writers and in the list of prompts.

Today I will publish the post by Cathy Tenzo and the prompt Yggdrasil (The Tree of Life) from the Norwegian Mythology. By the way we had Yggdrasil earlier in December 2013, because it was also the title of a composition by Adrian von Ziegler.
Yggdrasil (The Tree of Life) is very known so I only publish the post by Cathy of Haiku Plate Special here.


Hi everyone, this is Cathy Tenzo of HaikuPlate Special. It’s an honor to write a guest post today for our fabulous Haiku Kai.

Haiku is a very special form, as we all know, and it has its own sensibility and rules. It should also follow the rules of poetry and of writing. I wanted to talk to you today about one of the cardinal rules of writing: “show, don’t tell.” You may have heard this, and following this rule will make your haiku (and your other writing) better whenever you apply it.

What does it mean? “Show, don’t tell” is an admonition to the writer that means that we should show whatever we are trying to express so that the reader  can see the emotion we want to convey and experience a feeling for themselves. Consider the following haiku I just wrote on the theme “joy”.

happy summer
full of ice cream trucks
sweet joy

This is a not a good haiku. This is an example of “telling”.  If I have to use the word “joy” and the word “happy” I am telling you what to feel. You are not in the moment with those kids—you don’t even know there are kids. It’s not specific, and it doesn’t let you join in the emotion. Consider this haiku on a similar theme:

playground full of kids
an ice cream truck serenades
sweet sticky smiles

This haiku is much better. You can see kids playing, and if you’ve ever heard the bubbly tune of an ice cream truck you may be hearing it in your head right now. The sweet sticky smiles tell us the kids got some of the ice cream, and they are joyful in the messy way that kids are. You may even feel a popsicle melting in your hand as you read this. If I had more room, I would have given you more of those details.
Ice-Cream Truck

Haiku is short, and we don’t have a lot of syllables to use to put in our specific images. I’d prefer to be specific and tell you what game the kids are playing—I didn’t have the space, but this poem still has room for improvement. I’m not sure which prompt Kristjaan is using today, but I challenge you to use “show, don’t tell” in today’s haiku. Either use the prompt of the day, or write a haiku on the prompt of “joy”. I look forward to reading your haiku, now and in the future. 



This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until May 10th 11.59 AM (CET). I will try to post our next episode, our last Ghost Writer post, later on today. For now have fun.


  1. I'm confused. I thought the prompt for today, from the list, was "creation," with "Yggdrasil" to follow tomorrow. Am I completely befuddled?

    1. You're not confused MMT ... I haven't had a Ghost-Writer post yet of Gillena, so I have switched the prompts for thursday and friday, because Cathy's Ghost Writer post is now online.
      I hope to post tomorrow our Ghost Writer post by Gillena.

  2. This was a difficult one.. to combine Cathy's with Yggdrasil .. not the easiest one..

  3. Hi Kristjaan --

    In thinking about today's prompt, I realized I wrote poems *either* about Yggdrasil *or* about show-don't-tell. I'm adding an additional haiku to my previous post. Is this closer to what you'd had in mind for us?

    stripped of brown skin /
    Yggdrasil’s slick white roots /
    peek from Nidhogg’s mouth //