Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Carpe Diem #722 buried in moss

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to bring a new episode of our Haiku Kai month May in which we are on the trail with Basho. This month we are following Basho in his footsteps by looking at several haiku he wrote on his journeys. It's a real adventure ... as is life every day again, not only an adventure, but also a challenge. We all have goals to reach and everyone of us is doing that in his/her own way.
For me haiku is one of the goals I am reaching for ... to write the perfect haiku .... to become as good as Basho was, maybe even better. And of course there is that other goal in my life being an oncology nurse who is caring for his patients out of unconditional love ... and than there is me being a father and grandfather of a wonderful caring family .... I am truly blessed ...

Today the haiku which I love to bring up is not a very well known haiku, but it's a beauty. This haiku comes from the haibun Kashima Travelogue in which he describes a journey to the "Kashima Shrine" about fifty miles east of Edo. He travels with a friend and visits his (Basho's) Zen master Butcho. In this travelogue there are mostly haiku composed by Basho's disciples, but our haiku of today is an exception and is written by the master, Basho, himself.

Credits: Kashima Shrine

This time I have chosen for another translator, Sam Hamill, and here is his translation:

koke uzumu tsuta no utsutsu no nebutsu kana

buried in moss
and ivy leaves, but from within
the tomb, a faint prayer

© Basho (Tr. Sam Hamill)

A very strong emotional and spiritual feeling gets me. Basho visits his Zen master Butcho who has retired to the Kashima Shrine ... this haiku is full of sentiment and love for his master entwined with the deep religious Zen Buddhist experience Basho has right at that moment as he sees his Zen master again. Isn't it a wonderful haiku?

How can I write a haiku which is close to the spirituality of Basho's ... I just have to try ... I hope I can come up with something.

buried in moss
hidden under colorful leaves
a pebble

© Chèvrefeuille

What do you think? Let me know ....

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until May 8th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, buying a cookie, later on.


  1. Thank you Jen, Tournesol, Basket, Suzanne, Janice, Mark, Leslie, Girl Friday, Birgitta and Magical Mystery Teacher for always commenting and reading, not just my blogs of course, where commenting is a nightmare. It is important! Others please take note.Thanks so much to Chèvrefeuille for the same - goodness knows how you find the time! I really hope there are some replies to your request about your haiku, which is frankly more objective, simple - in a very good way, enlightening, communal with nature and unexpected that Basho's. Really, really liked it.

  2. PS http://www.vcbf.ca/community-event/haiku-invitational

  3. Yes. and yes.

    and the haiku with that pebble forming a link between the cheery petals and the sinister moss is making me think. What does it look like, or rather feel like when you pick it up? Is it smooth and noncommittal? Or is it a necessary bridge between good and evil?
    What would Basho have made of it?

  4. How is it that I continually fail to comment on your wonderful posts. What a wonderful coat you gave the humble pebble. Lovely.

  5. Ah, Kristjaan, Basho's haiku brings me to sombre thoughts but it is rich as a master's would be. Your haiku made me smile as I read that last line,brought me back to a time when I was engaged and a mere teenager; I had lost my diamond ring in the garbage. Sifting through not such nice leaves (smiles) beneath the ordures, under the last pile I found my diamond.

  6. I have always admired your knowledge, energy and dedication to the Carpe Diem, Kristjaan. Although I haven' t been able to write haiku for a while due to my work, I still read your posts and get inspired, learn from your haiku and the way you create them.
    Basho' s haiku is true art, and so are yours. Every step of the way! The one you have written for this post is another true gem...inspiring me to look closer, to see and notice all the way to the tiniest details. With such a lightness the way nature does... Dare I say it but ...yes, your haiku did "speak" to me more than Basho' s.

  7. Thank you so much Kristjaan for your inspiring posts, enlightening us everyday, giving us an avenue to express ourselves and learn each step of the way. Each of your Haiku's inspire me and touch my soul in some way!!

  8. Oops. I hit the wrong button. So - I apologize if you get two responses here! But my goodness -- what I've missed in falling behind for a day! All I can do is echo the rest of your students! Thank goodness for your time, your patience, your skill, your devotion-- you've made all the difference in the world. I too find your haiku just as rewarding as Basho's -- perhaps more so. A moment of simple surprise in discovery. :)

    With greatest respect, Chevrefeuille --

  9. BTW, if one has google maps, one can walk the paths of the Kashima Shrine. Thanks so for this exciting prompt my Honeysuckle haiku friend.

  10. Beautiful haiku - Basho's and yours! Enjoying the trail.