Thursday, August 13, 2015

Carpe Diem My favorite haiku by ... #1 Matsuo Basho (1644-1694): a snowstorm of flowers

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know, back in October 2012, I started Carpe Diem to promote the beauty of haiku, that beautiful little Japanese poem with only three lines that celebrates the beauty of a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water.
During the years of CDHK's existence I noticed that other Japanese poetry forms, especially tanka, started to 'shine' at CDHK.
Just recently we decided to make CDHK a kind of place to promote other Japanese poetry-forms next to haiku. I do like that change, but it also makes me somewhat melancholic to those first months of CDHK therefore I created a new feature to honor the beauty of haiku.
This new feature I have called "Carpe Diem my favorite haiku by ..." and as you will understand, this new feature is only about haiku and your favorites. This new feature I will publish every Thursday and in every episode I ask you to choose your favorite haiku by the haiku poet/ess chosen by me.

For this first episode I have chosen ... not a surprise I think ... a haiku by Matsuo Basho, whom I see as my master. Basho has written wonderful haiku (more than 1000) and I love them all. Of course I have several favorites, for example 'frogpond', but for this episode I have chosen another haiku by Basho. This haiku I have never shared anywhere as far as I can recall. I think this is a beauty ...

mazu shiru ya Gichiku ga take ni hana no yuki

knowing it first
on the famous musician's flute
a snowstorm of flowers

© Basho (1677) (tr. Jane Reichhold)

Well ... did I say to much? I love to tell you a bit more about this haiku. Gichiku was a real famous shakuhachi player. The shakuhachi was a bamboo flute and at Basho's time Gichiku had a "hit" with "Yoshinoyama" a song about Yoshino the place to be if you love to see Cherry blossoms. It is said that Yoshino has the most beautiful Cherry trees of Japan.
Basho refers to this song by Gichiku, because he thought about Yoshino.

Cherry blossoms in Yoshino
As you all know one of my favorite themes for haiku are Cherry blossoms, I have written a lot of haiku about their fragile beauty and I share the anxiety with the Japanese haiku poets that those fragile blossoms of the Cherry tree are scattered through the wind ...

spring wind
torn apart Sakura blossoms -
a bamboo flute

© Chèvrefeuille

While I was creating this haiku I almost burst out in tears, because this is the pain I sense as the Cherry blossoms of my old Sakura are torn apart by the wind ...

What is the goal of this new feature? Well ... you have to choose a favorite haiku by Basho (for this episode) and try to "revise" the haiku.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 20th at noon (CET). In our next episode of "My favorite haiku by ..." I will choose another haiku poet/ess, which one? I don't know yet, you have to wait.

1 comment:

  1. I think what I really look for in a haiku is sincerity - one can feel that lack of sincerity at times no matter what clever words are used to describe something - or maybe because too clever words are used to describe.
    Your haiku, Chev, is so clearly sincere it is almost painful. It is a great example.