Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Carpe Diem Special #120, Richard Wright's first "their watching faces "

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to explain the confusing for today's prompt. As you maybe know I write all my posts first on paper, before publishing them. I have done that also with the prompt-lists of every month. In our prompt list for December the prompt for December 4th had disappeared . So I put in another prompt for the 4th "isolation", but as I looked back on my hand-written promptlist for December I saw that I had planned a CD-Special on December 4th. I have corrected our promptlist and so I offer you today a Carpe Diem Special ... a haiku by our featured haiku-poet, Richard Wright (1908-1960). One of the early forceful and eloquent spokesmen for black Americans, author of "Native Son," and "Black Boy", was also, it turns out, a major poet. During the last eighteen months of his life, he discovered and became enamored of haiku, the strict seventeen-syllable Japanese form. Wright became so excited about the discovery that he began writing his own haiku, in which he attempted to capture, through his sensibility as an African American, the same Zen discipline and beauty in depicting man's relationship, not to his fellow man as he had in his fiction, but to nature and the natural world.  

Richard Wright (1908-1960)
In all, he wrote over 4,000 haiku, from which he chose, before he died, the 817 he preferred. Rather than a deviation from his self-appointed role as spokesman for black Americans of his time, Richard Wright's haiku, disciplined and steeped in beauty, are a culmination: not only do they give added scope to his work but they bring to it a universality that transcends both race and color without ever denying them. Wright wrote his haiku obsessively--in bed, in cafes, in restaurants, in both Paris and the French countryside. The discovery and writing of haiku also helped him come to terms with nature and the earth, which in his early years he had viewed as hostile and equated with suffering and physical hunger. Fighting illness and frequently bedridden, deeply upset by the recent loss of his mother, Wright continued to spin these poems of light out of the gathering darkness.

Richard Wright has written a great bunch of haiku so I can choose from more than 4000 haiku ... not an easy task. Richard Wright was caught by the strict 5-7-5 syllables rule, so in these Carpe Diem Specials we have to do that too. As you all know the goal is to write/compose a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one given without the obligation to use the classical 5-7-5 rule, but ... because of Richard Wright's love for that strict form of 5-7-5 this month the CD-Specials have to follow the 5-7-5 rule, not my "cup of tea" by the way, but I will try to do that myself of course ... I have to be your role-model and follow the rules myself (smiles).

Here is our first haiku written by Richard Wright to inspire you and challenge you to use the 5-7-5 rule ...

Their watching faces,
as I walk the autumn road
make me a traveler.

© Richard Wright

Credits: Richard Wright, An Unknown Treasure of Black Poetry
Will not be easy to write/compose an all new haiku inspired on this beauty by Richard Wright, but I have to try it of course ... so here I go .... composing an all new haiku with the classical 5-7-5 rule ...

following the sand path
circling around this mountain
I feel like an eagle

© Chèvrefeuille

Pf ... this was a kind of heavy labour ... as you all know I am from The Netherlands and in my country the rules for syllables are easier than in English (which is not my maiden language), but I am quit confident that this one follows the rules of English and in that way .... I think this is one of my better haiku following the 5-7-5 rule, the classical one .... I hope you did like this CD-Special and I am looking forward to all of your wonderful responses on this haiku by Richard Wright.

I feel like an eagle
And to conclude this post I love to share a video of the once so famous pop-group ABBA, I was a big fan of their music and I kope you like this video and the music. (© BBC, published by f23r on You Tube)

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 6th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, peace, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. 
!! I am busy with some changing on our haiku kai. Today I have tried another font type, but I love to hear what you think of it !!
!! I have revised our "moon Anthology e-book" I have included a moon-haiku by Cathy Tenzo of Haiku Plate Special !!


  1. Dear Kristjaan,
    I am so delighted with the new font!!
    I found the old one very hard to read, and usually had to set the whole page in a simpler font before I could take in the meaning of the words.
    You must have read my mind :-)

    1. I am glad that you like this new font. I, myself, have to adjust at it, but it's a nice font.

  2. I like the scholarly tone of this font. Serious. It seems the right size. Maybe larger would not work.

  3. It's tough to return to 5/7/5 after abandoning that syllable count, isn't it?
    Great haiku- great prompt :)