Saturday, October 4, 2014

Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" #8, Kikaku's "in the rays of the setting sun"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another week has gone and it's already time for a new episode of our "Sparkling Stars" feature in which I am introducing "masterpieces" by our classical haiku-ancestors. This week I have chosen for a haiku by Kikaku (1661-1707) a contemporary of Basho and one of his leading disciples.

yuhi kage machinaka ni tobu kocho kana

in the rays of the setting sun
there flutters along the city street,
a butterfly

© Kikaku

In the Gogenshu, a complete collection of Kikaku's poetical works, there is a proscript, which was a common use in the Japanese classical haiku society, in which Kikaku says: "without the noise of horses and carts". This "proscript" catches in a great way the time of the scene in which this haiku took place.

In this haiku, there is no talking of distant realms, no philosophizing, no poet to be seen; only a white butterfly flickering in the level rays of the yellow sunlight, aimless and lost in the city street. The pathos of life is seized and expressed, - so strongly, so quickly, that the intellectual and emotional factors are all subsumed into the life of the sun and the street and the wandering butterfly. (source: R.H. Blyth)

What an awesome scene ... if I re-read the 'description' of the scene than a thought came in mind ... "Could it be that Kikaku has written this haiku for Yozakura? And ... if he did ... than they must have known each other ...

Credits: Giboshi (Japanese Mountain flower) photo © John Osaki

A similar haiku by Yozakura comes in mind:

tandokude wasurete watashino nagusameni dake ippan tekina yamano hana

alone, forgotten, 
only a common mountain flower 
to comfort me

© Yozakura

Wow! And of course it brought another haiku in my mind. I certainly have told you all when I started to write/compose haiku and when I wrote my first haiku in English ... That first haiku in English I wrote in 2005 or so and it was in the same sphere/spirit as this one I share here composed by Kikaku. I think I share my very first haiku in English here another time ... if you don't mind ...

a lonely flower
my companion
for one night

© Chèvrefeuille (2005, first English haiku ever)

This episode of Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday October 11th at noon (CET). For now .... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku inspired on this episode with us all. By the way ... for this "Sparkling Stars" episode you don't need to use the classical haiku-rules.

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