Saturday, July 5, 2014

Carpe Diem #508 Basho (2), ''autumn frost''

!! I have a busy weekend so I will publish our new episode, the one for next Monday already today, but it's open for your submissions Sunday night at 7.00 PM (CET). I know it's not the regular way for me to do that, but ... well ... sometimes there is no reason ... only the lack of time. So forgive me that I post this episode earlier (much earlier) than I normally do !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This CDHK-month is a celebration of haiku by the classic ''big five'', Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Issa and Shiki. We had had a haiku by every one of the ''big-five'' and today we start with the second round of haiku by these five great haiku-poets.

Today I love to share a, nott so wellknown, haiku by (my master) Matsuo Basho in which we can read and see how ancient Japanese honored their parents. As they did honor their parents we see nowadays more dis-honor for parents or likewise parents for their kids.

Credits: Statue of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

te ni tora ba kie n namida zo atsuki aki no shimo

if taken into my hand
melting in the heat of tears
autumn frost

© Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

As was common in those times this haiku had a preface:

''At the beginning of September I came back home. I was already long since my mother had died. The grass in front of mother's room had withered in the frost. Everything had changed. The hair of my brother and sisters (Basho had a brother, an elder sister and three younger sisters) was white and they had wrinkles between their eyebrows. We could only say, 'we are fortunate to be still alive'. Nothing more. My elder brother opened an amulet case and said reverently to me, 'Look, at mother's white hair. You have came back after such a long time. So this is like the Tamate Box of Urashima Taro. Your eyebrows have become white'. We wept for a while and then I composed this verse.

Note: The Tamate Box of Urashima Taro, is an ancient Japanese folktale which we have encountered last May. Click on the ''reddish link'' to read that story again.

Credits: Autumn Frost
Isn't it a wonderful haiku? I remember that I once was very inspired by this haiku and I love to share my inspired haiku here with you (including a preface, yes I do sometimes write a preface to my haiku as was common in Basho's time):

This verse of Basho touches me deep, because it brings painful memories. My Grandparents are all gone and also my elder brother died. As I look into the mirror my hair is starting to become grey. When my brother was still alive he surely would be grey, because he was several years older.

life passes -
in the early sunlight
the ripe melts

frost on the branches
melts in the early sunlight
life passes

© Chèvrefeuille (2012)

Credits: Frost on Bare Branches
my hair turned grey
as if it was the frost
on bare branches

a pebble
thrown into the old pond
in an eye blink it's gone

© Chèvrefeuille (2012)

This haiku has the same tone and sense of the one by Basho. Ripe melting in the sunlight goes fast. Life also goes fast and just like the ripe in the sunlight life passes. I think this is the meaning of writing haiku. Life is a fleeting world. Just like time flies our life passes by in just a moment, in just an eye blink.

in just an eye blink
the shortness of life, the sound of water -
Morning Glories

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong ''impromptu''-haiku, but I like it a lot ... I think it shows how short our life is and that we have to enjoy avery day given to us.
This episode is open for your submissions Sunday July 6th at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 9th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, our second haiku by Chiyo-Ni, later on. For now have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.


  1. Drawing on memories as my summer has just begun -
    But I do like autumn.
    I think of my hair as turning white and silver... each one earned?
    Though I think it is only a tale that worry changes the color of our hair :)

  2. I'm not sure if my response today is exactly in keeping with the prompt. Please excuse me if not... I've been a bit preoccupied with my wife's dad's health.

  3. Melanie Bishop's link is not working... can you please tell her.

  4. You have written, in my perspective, an awesome post with a lot to ponder.

    I know I am playing "catch up" but if I weren't I would have missed this wonderful prompt.