Saturday, August 1, 2015

Utabukuro #6 moonflowers

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's Saturday and time for a new episode of CD's Utabukuro in which I ask you to share a haiku or tanka which you love. Maybe you have a memory to it or you just like it for it's beauty. Tell us your story and write a new haiku or tanka inspired on the poem you have chosen. That new poem ... well ... put it in the Utabukuro, the poem bag.

Here is my choice for this week's Utabukuro-episode. It's a haiku by my master Basho at the age of almost 22. This haiku touched me just through it's quality. Basho wrote this haiku in the summer of 1666 and it's one of his haiku in which he hided his love for man ...

This is what Jane Reichhold says about this haiku:

The yugao ("evening face", Lagenaria siceraria) is also called "moonflower" because the large, white blooms open in the cool of the evening on vines of dark, green leaves. The connection here is the ambiguity of whether the author or some unknown lover is floating by the flowers. An additional clue comes with ukari ("to float" or "to be high spirits").

Credits: Lagenaria siceraria ("evening face" or "moonflower")

Yugao ni mitoruru ya mi mo ukari hyon

by moonflowers
a fascinating body
floats absent-mindedly

© Matsuo Basho age 21 penname then 'Sobo'.

Maybe you are familiar with the idea of "moon love" it was very common several decades ago, that homosexual man could only show their affection and love at night "as the moon shone". If you are familiar with that idea, than maybe this haiku by Basho (than writing under the penname "Sobo") says more about the hidden layer.

It's a beauty I think in which I see already his greatness he gathered during his life. It will not be easy to write/compose an all new haiku (or maybe a tanka?), but ... ah you know me ...

hidden beauty
the buds of the honeysuckle
start to open

© Chèvrefeuille

A wonderful haiku written by a very young Basho. At that age he was the personal servant of the the son of a high-ranked samourai, Yoshitada. In that same year, in which he wrote this haiku, his beloved young master and friend died. By the way, in Japanese the penname of a haiku poet was called "haigo".

I hope this haiku will inspire you to write an all new haiku or tanka to share here at our Haiku Kai. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday August 8th at noon (CET).


  1. I'm giving tankas a shot for a while...Lovely prompt and tanka from Kristjaan !

  2. Good Morning,
    I have shared the first time a post with Haiku
    I hope he adapts to their challenge.
    I'm looking forward to a visit from you at my blog
    ♥ly greetings from Germany