Monday, December 8, 2014

Carpe Diem #622, Solitude (Kodoku)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a wonderful comments I have read on the post of yesterday, first light. To give answer on a question by Pirate Gunn, Hamish Managua Gunn. I have re-evaluated the haiku I shared in that post. Let me first give the haiku which I shared in our yesterday's post here again:

winter morning
the fragile light of the sun
reflects in the snow

© Chèvrefeuille

In my first version the third line was different, but I thought that it wasn't the right line to use. The third line was: "shimmers in the snow", but it didn't feel ok, so I sought for another word to use. I finally came up with "reflects" which I used.
I think that reflecting is a better choice than shimmer. I, however, can't really explain why I chose "reflects" instead of "shimmers". It felt better as I re-read, re-evaluated, that haiku. By the way ... nothing wrong with re-doing your haiku after a first version. It is very common, not only nowadays, but also in ancient times, to re-do your haiku. For example: Matsuo Basho wrote "The Small Road Into The Deep North", a haibun in which he describes a journey. Before he "published" it, he re-wrote several of his haiku.

Ok .... back to the prompt for today, solitude, another wonderful modern kigo extracted from Jane Reichhold's "A Dictionary of Haiku". Solitude .... loneliness, emptiness, isolation or silence, all synonyms for solitude. I think I can write a nice haiku with this prompt, but let me first look at the examples of Jane Reichhold.

the shape of wind
writing in dunes

alone in the house
the flavor of peppermint
cold on the tongue

a journey begins
the way familiar
to the door

frozen to his feet
the length of a shadow
wanting to sleep

© Jane Reichhold

Credits: Solitude Tree

Aren't they wonderful? These are all so strong in their imagery and so "full of solitude". By the way I think this prompt is not especially for winter, but I can relate to that feeling of solitude in winter. It will, however, not be easy to write a haiku inspired on "solitude", but ... well .... you know me ...

the vastness of the heath
just the sound of fresh fallen snow
a cold moonlit night

© Chèvrefeuille

That wasn't easy. As I started to 'connect' with solitude the first thing I felt was the loneliness of a field of heath in the middle of winter. Wandering in the moonlit night .... the freezing cold, the soft cracking of snow. I just had to catch that feeling in a haiku ... Here is another version:

a cold moonlit night
just the sound of fresh fallen snow -
wandering over the moors

© Chèvrefeuille

Which version do you like the best? I think that second version gives a stronger idea of solitude, however I get that feeling also from the first version. I will publish this haiku also on our Carpe Diem Forum. To close this "solitude" episode I love to share a video, it's from one of the volumes of Buddha Bar and the video is made by Miss Mary Cielo::

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 11th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, a new GW-post AND the second haiku by Richard Wright, later on. For now .... have fun!


  1. Your leaving out a very important aspect of solitude: aloneness.
    Not sure that this is an accepted noun.
    You must know of the biography written by your Queen Wilhelmina, the great grandmother of the present king.
    She calls her book: "Eenzaam maar niet alleen" [= lonely but not alone ].
    Solitude is a very positive condition my view; something to be desired but sadly very fleeting and ephemeral in today's world.

    Anyway, there is too much meat in this subject for a haiku, unless one is extremely skilled. I shall attempt a longer version, either a tanka or a haiku string of beads.

    As usual, you give us thought for the day. Much appreciated.

  2. Very nice intro, I agree with you. The ''reflection'' makes the light move, so we have, in fact such a clear picture. They key word for me was ''fragile.'' The fragile light - really made the image so strong..

  3. To be honest I like the first one just a touch more, yes. The vastness of the heath really gives a stark, empty feeling, and helpd us be located in an exact place. The sound of the fallen snow there seems to resonate stronger, to have more power. The wandering over the moors is a nice concept in the second one, but I still prefer the precision of the first.

  4. Great post, Chevrefeuille :)
    Love the video -- always great to find new music -- and the haiku choices are wonderful. Much to think about.

    As to your first haiku, yes, I agree -- "reflection" is a better word -- it seems to enhance the sense of fragility, whereas "shimmer" seems more active and less fragile.

    As to the haiku on the moors --- hmmm --- answer's not quite as simple! Your second haiku has that magnificent reflective quality that I enjoy so much -- wonderfully interchangeable first and third lines. But -- the term "wandering" brings a human presence into the poem which lessens the feeling of solitude. The language of the first haiku, though, is just gorgeous -- "vastness of the heath" is one of those lines you want to read aloud - and read over and over again. The imagery is beautiful and crisp, too. So - I'd also say that the first haiku is probably stronger. But that's just me. ;)

    Loving all of these haiku -- how each one has captured one particular aspect of being alone - one particular face of solitude - and really, solitude can wear many faces, can't it?

    Great prompt --

  5. Thanks for the opportunity you provide here.