Saturday, April 11, 2015

Carpe Diem Little Creatures #20, "Wren"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's a while ago that I published a Carpe Diem Little Creatures episode, but this Saturday I have a new CD Little Creatures episode for you with an all new logo. This week I have chosen to bring a little bird under your attention. In Dutch we call this little bird "Winterkoninkje", in English this little fellow is called "Wren" and the scientific name is Troglodytes troglodytes.
Not so long ago I spotted a Wren in my frontyard. It was searching for food and it came very close to me, but (it's a shame) I hadn't my photo-camera at hand, so the photo which I will share here isn't made by me.

Credits: Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
The Wren is very common in The Netherlands, but its only seen in winter, that's why we call this little fellow "Winterkoninkje" in my country.

The Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), is a very small bird, and the only member of the wren family Troglodytidae found in Eurasia and Africa (Maghreb). In Anglophone Europe, it is commonly known simply as the wren. It was once lumped with Troglodytes hiemalis of eastern North America and Troglodytes pacificus of western North America as the winter wren. The Eurasian wren occurs in Europe, a belt of Asia from northern Iran and Afghanistan across to Japan. It is migratory in the only northern parts of its range. (Source: Wikipedia)

As it occurs Wren is a classical kigo for winter and so there had to be haiku about Wren. So I 'dived into' the WWW to search for haiku on Wren (or misosazai) and I found a gorgeous "free-style" haiku written by Santoka Taneda, our featured haiku poet of March.

hissori kuraseba misosazai

I live
withdrawn and
a wren

© Santoka Taneda (1882-1940)

And I found a wonderful haiku on Wren at THE Issa website Haikuguy:
misosazai kugatsu misoka mo gatten ka

hey wren!
do you realize it's Ninth Month
30th day?

This undated haiku seems to be a revision of this one that Issa wrote in 1813:

misosazai kono tsugomori wo gatten ka

hey wren!
do you realize
it's the 30th?

In the old Japanese calendar, the 30th day of Ninth Month was the last day of autumn. Since the wren is a winter bird, Issa is either saying: "You're a day early!" or: "Get ready; your season starts tomorrow!" Issa implies here that the Wren doesn't need a calendar.

Credits: Wren © John Bridges

I have also sought for haiku on Wren written by Basho, but I couldn't find any. What I found was a haiku written on Wren by Izen, one of the disciples/students of Basho. Izen wrote this haiku in Basho's last days.

light of foot indeed
in its flight through bamboo groves,
a wren passing by

©  Izen (1646-1711)

It's really a wonderful little bird and it even has a deeper spiritual meaning especially the Celtic meaning, because the Celts are much alike haiku poets, they are one with nature.

Celtic meanings of this little bird begin with observations in raising their young. Both male and female wrens take part in caring for their young. This is symbolic of sharing tasks within the home. It's also a reminder to not getting stuck in gender roles, and approach the "traditional" from a fresh, innovative angle.
The wren is an active little bird, and so its symbolic Celtic meanings include activity, vibrancy, alertness and efficiency. The wren is rarely seen resting on her laurels. The Celts honored that fastidiousness, and took the lesson of making progress each day to heart in their own lives.
Further, the wren is quite sociable. She reminds us to keep a happy heart and be kind to others.

Symbolic Celtic Meanings for the Wren

Friendliness; Sharing; Determined; Quick-Witted; Active; Agile; Creativity; Light-Hearted; Free-Spirited.

This light, bright cheer carries over into the delightful song of the wren. Bards were particularly inspired by this songbird's lyrics, and the wren wins high status as a symbol of musical poetry, art and song. (listen to the wonderful fragile song of the Wren)

Like many songbirds, the wren is a champion at migration and movement. She's content to flit from place to place with shallow roots. This is symbolic of the old adage "home is where the heart is."
In this respect, the wren reminds us it is not the material items we gain, but the quality of relationships made along the way that enrich our lives.
We can also interpret the wren's flighty ways as a message to branch out, expand our circle of contacts, and step out of our habitual rounds in life.
The wren may be tiny, but she packs a powerful symbolic message, encouraging us to go beyond the realm of the "known" and to access the adventure that waits for us!

Well ... we have learned a lot about this wonderful little bird and I think it will inspire you to write an all new haiku. Of course I had to compose my own 'Wren"-haiku and so I wrote the following haiku:

without anxiety
Wren looks for food in the garden
a sacred moment

© Chèvrefeuille

What a joyful episode of Little Creatures this was and now it's up to you to write a haiku on Wren.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday April 18th at noon (CET).


  1. Very complete piece - and wow! What you said about a Celt I was so interested - could my love of nature be in my genes! Your haiku comes stronger to me than the masters', or more relevant.Thanks!

  2. Yours is such a joyful post...but alas my haiku took a sad turn (to fit my photo). In Iowa, we're happy if wrens return in the spring!

  3. I added another haiku stanza to recapture their song :)