Thursday, November 27, 2014

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #13, "The Whirligig "

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you know I have change some things at our Haiku Kai. One of those changes is the bi-weekly special feature in which "Little Creatures" and "Sparkling Stars" will appear in turns. So this week it's an episode of Little Creatures. And I have found a nice haiku written by Tan Taigi (1709 -1771).He became famous through Masaoka Shiki, who took up his haiku. Taigi was a haiku poet who lived in the mid Edo-period. At the age of 40 he became a priest at the temple Daitoku-Ji  in Kyoto. Later in his life, he stayed in a hermitage called Fuya-An (Hermitage with no night) in the precincts of the courtesan pleasure quarters Shimabara  in 1748 and lived as a friend of Yosa Buson. He liked to socialize and drink sake and used to say

 “When praying to Buddha I write haiku,  when praying to the Shinto gods I write haiku”.
Because of his heavy drinking he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in the Year Meiwa 8. He is burried at the temple Korin-ji in Kyoto.

shizumareba nagaruru ashi ya mizusumashi

the whirligig;
when it stops skating,
the legs float away

© Taigi

Credits: Whirligig or pond-skater

The amembo, the pond-skater, seen skating in summer, has a long slender body, long legs, and wings at certain times. When for a moment it ceases its perpetual gyrating and figure-skating, the current pulls his legs along and the whole posture of the insect becomes assymmetrical. This is all there is in this haiku, but we feel in and through it just as much of the power of nature, law, inevitability, as in the rising of the sun or the procession of the seasons.

It's a very nice and fragile insect this Whirligig (pond-skater) we see it very often here in The Netherlands and it's a sign that the waters (ponds, rivers and so on) are clean, because to skate upon water the surface of that water has to have a certain tension. That tension is only seen in very clean water (with a lot of oxygen).

The goal of this "Little Creatures" feature is to look closer to our surroundings and try to write/compose a haiku in the classical way (5-7-5; seasonword; cuttingword; a short moment; in a way a spiritual or deeper layer and the first and third line have to be interchangable). So here is my attempt to write a haiku inspired on this one by Taigi (by the way I am not that familiar with Taigi).

This episode is open for your submissions at noon (CET) and will remain open until next Thursday December 4th at noon (CET). Have fun!

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