Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #27, Yozakura, the Unknown Haiku poet

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at our new month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, October 2014. This month we will celebrate our second anniversary with all wonderful prompts, Special features and new features to come. You can find this month's prompt-list above in the menu-line or HERE.

Today it's Ghost Writer Wednesday and I think I have a wonderful Ghost Writer for you. He will introduce himself in his GW-post and I hope you will like his story and the task he will give you. Are you ready?



My name is Yozakura, which means "Blossoms in the Moonlight" and I am an unknown Soloku poet or as you call it nowadays, haiku poet. I was born in the Midsummer night of 1640 at Kyoto as a son of a high ranked samourai and a geisha named Fujiko which means "Child of the Wisteria". I can't remember her, because she died as I was born, but my father told me she was as beautiful as the Wisteria.

Credits: Wisteria (or Blue Rain)
My dad raised me alone and taught me all I know about art and poetry. When I was around 20 years old my dad passed away ... I was an orphan now. Being an orphan brought me strong feelings of sadness and sorrow, but it also made me who I am now. To forget my loneliness I started wandering around begging and sometimes I had the luck that I could work for a few weeks, but after my dad's death I never became the same Yozakura again until I met this wonderful man that composed wonderful poems together with his friends and other poets.
He was a great man, a specialist in composing hokku for renga. He was really great and had a revolutionary thought about hokku. I remember one night at his home, if you could call it a home, it was just a hut, that we had a renga party. He suddenly had a revelation of some kind.
"Yozakura!" He said. "I have a wonderful idea". I looked at him, with a kind of adoration in my eyes. He smiled at me and said: "Listen ... Yozakura, what do you think of this idea?" I waited breathless. He had an amazing charisma, it was like he had a lightness around him. "I am gonna make a new poetry form of this hokku. Why we use hokku only to start a renga? Why don't we use it as an alone-standing peom? Listen to this one Yozakura:

an old pond
frog jumps in -
water sound!

"It would be a great hokku, but also on it's own its a great poem. I will call this poetry form 'Soloku'". He looked at me. "Well ... what do you say Yozakura?"
"I don't know master Basho ... but you are right. This is a wonderful stand alone poem and I like that name you have given it 'Soloku'. It's somewhat like myself. My parents died and I am an orphan, but I have done it so well. My life as an orphan has brought me so much happiness and joy and of course there is sadness and sorrow too, but I managed being alone and have become who I am now". Tears rolled over my cheeks. Basho embraced me. "You have done well Yozakura. I am proud to be your friend and your master as I am proud to be your disciple too Yozakura. You have teached me a lot too. I love you". Than he gave me a kiss on my forehead and said: "Come on Yozakura we have something to celebrate ... the birth of a new poetry form, 'Soloku'".

It was great to experience this and I stayed a long time at Basho's home. Maybe I was in love with him, maybe I wasn't, but I know for sure there was a kind of love in our friendship.

How did you became involved with 'Soloku' or as you call it nowadays haiku? Will you tell me? And please will you do me the honor to write a 'Soloku' about that moment?"


During the years I have been your host already I have told you a lot about how I became involved with haiku. So I think there is no need for me to tell you that again, but of course I have to write a haiku to honor Yozakura, the Unknown Haiku poet, who died in the autumn of 1716. He survived Basho, but has never forgotten him. Yozakura has not a lot 'Soloku' left behind, but I have to share a beauty written by him:

yoake ni arau tsuyude watashino ashisaichoubi

at dawn
I wash my feet with dew
the longest day

© Yozakura (1640-1716)

A wonderfully composed haiku very much in the smae spirit as Basho once wrote. I will try to find more 'soloku' written by Yozakura and maybe I will introduce him in November's CD-Specials ... I will give it a thought.

Here is my response on Yozakura's question:

in the moonlight
Wisteria flowers look fragile -
a gust of wind

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like this GW-post by Yozakura, the Unknown Haiku poet, and I hope you will be inspired to share your story about becoming 'addicted' to haiku with us all. Have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until October 3rd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Rough Sea, later on.


  1. I so remember when it started.. we have been doing this for a while indeed.. Loved the post, an unknown treasure.

  2. Happy anniversary, and I have always enjoyed haiku, but I became addicted to it when a friend was challenged to write a haiku a day for a year. As a poet, I also took up the challenge. Before that (a year and 3/4 ago) I had written only a few haiku, but through my daily haiku I am now also addicted. This community has also helped a lot with that. I can't imagine my day without it now.

  3. First encounter with the term 'soloku ', very interesting

    Much love...

  4. thank you for sharing this story of Yozakura. I love this story and thank you for offering us the opportunity to grow, to learn and mostly to enjoy writing haiku.