Friday, July 17, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Machine #12 Botan (Peony)

Dear Haijin, visitors, and travelers,

For today we revisit June of 2013, “Botan” or “Peony”.  Japanese poets considered the peony to be exotic due to its connection to ancient Chinese tradition:

for peony blossom viewing
a pale kimono is good
and Chinese tea

There would be no carousing during peony viewing!

He explains that:
“The lush, densely ruffled blossom of the peony contains many mysteries. That is why the peony has become the special weapon of those who wish to communicate their love in a secret manner. So whether you’re a secret admirer or the recipient of a lush, lovely bouquet of peonies, you’ll know the special message these flowers contain.”
Here is our host’s cascading haiku featuring peonies:

     deep mysteries
     hidden in the Peonies -
     secret lover

     secret lover
     face behind a bouquet of Peonies -
     the first step

     the first step
     sending Peonies to my love
     deep mysteries

     Chèvrefeuille (2013) 

Chèvrefeuille’s haiku sits at the crossroads of Eastern and Western culture, sharing the excitement of new love and hinting at the language of flowers used today in Western culture. Long-lived and sweetly perfumed, they also represent good fortune, beauty, and happiness.  Victorians believed that mischievous nymphs hid in the peony’s petals.

The peony could bear the message … or it could symbolize the woman herself. 

Utagawa Kunisada.  Visit to a Peony Garden.  WikiArt.

Some haiku were gently sensual…

     dusk on the flower
     of the white peony,
     that embraces the moon.

     –  Gyodai

Other poets were … less than subtle…

     the peony flower:
     it’s a woman with plenty
     of meat on her bones

     - Hakuo 

And when is a bee just a bee?

     a bee
     staggers out
     of the peony 

     - Basho 

Shotei Takahashi.  Peony & Paddy Birds. WikiArt.

Of course, I must include a tanka in a woman's voice:

     wine brings
     the red light of evening
     a poem
     for a sisterhood
     of unknown peonies

      - Akiko Yosano (A Girl with Tangled Hair)
     (tr.) Jane Reichhold

And here is my offering, hopefully in the same gentle tone:

          her nectar offered
          opens sweetly –
          blossoming for the one
          who treasures mystery 

          - Paloma

So ... when you consider the peony, which images come to your mind?

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 20th at noon (CET).


  1. Replies
    1. Very glad you enjoyed it, Joanna -

  2. Lovely Haiku, especially the one by Gyodai

  3. What a beautiful post ... very inspirational!

    1. Thanks Bastet - I was hoping it would make the muses dance ;)

  4. beutiful haiku, all inspirational :)

    1. I'm so glad you were inspired :)

  5. usha menon's page wouldn't open for me. Was there a typo?

  6. Thanks for putting this post together, Jen. Your eye and ear for beauty are apparent.

    1. I'm honored to have been able to help Chevrefeuille --
      and thank you --

  7. Yes very nice post....and clever!

  8. Robust in beauty is the peony...