Friday, January 16, 2015

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #16, Shiki's "lost in the mist"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's time again for a new episode of our CD Sparkling Stars, the feature in which I introduce haiku (sparkling stars) of well-known and unknown haiku-poets, classical and non-classical. This time I have a nice haiku by Masaoka Shiki, one of the big-five haiku-poets.
The goal is to write an all new classical haiku (following the rules of the classics, you can find those rules in Carpe Diem Lecture 1 in the menu) inspired on the one given.

kaerimireba yuki-aishi hito kasumi keri

when I looked back,
the man who passed
was lost in the mist

© Masaoka Shiki

When we try to point at the soul-state of such a simple and profound experience we lose ourselves in words. This verse is neither a bare statement nor a symbolic representation of the instability, the impermanence of things. There is, in the mind of Shiki, a feeling that the man who was seen and who is now unseen, is the same thing; the moment when he was here and this moment when he is gone for ever are the same eternity. But this ineffable state must be expressed, and is so, in the most matter-of-fact way, otherwise we should find ourselves seeking in all kinds of "poetical" directions for what is really in the mind of Shiki as he looks back and sees nothing but the haze.

Credits: Morning Haze

It's a haiku full of Zen and in my opinion this is a koan-like haiku ... it gives us a scene which is mysterious and without a possible answer. Why this man disappeared, was it just an image or a ghost? Did Shiki really see someone or was it a hoax? This haiku gives me a feeling of despair, a feeling of loosing my mind ... it's a very strange feeling to me, because I always am in control of my senses, but this haiku ...

beheaded bushes
just the creaking of bare branches
lost in the morning haze

© Chèvrefeuille

I think I have caught the same feeling of despair as I had with the haiku of Shiki in my own haiku. It gives me a feeling of loneliness, feeling lost .... not finding my way back ... anxiety takes over, but than ... the sun rises and the haze disappears ... I feel free again.

This episode of "Sparkling Stars" is open for your submissions right NOW and will remain open until January 22nd at noon (CET). Have fun!

1 comment:

  1. I really like how Shiki manages to conjure so much atmosphere from what seems like a straightforward description. I haven't read much by him yet so I'm looking forward to exploring more :-)