Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Carpe Diem #876 the journey continues: early summer rains; fleas and lice (a short episode)

Dear Haijin, visitors and trvaelers,

What a joy to be on the Narrow Road Into The Deep North with you all my dear family. Today we are going further into the deep north following Basho and his companion Sora on their way to find enlightenment.


early summer rains
their falling leaves untouched
golden hall of light

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Credits: Shitomae Barrier gate

Turning away from the high road leading to the provinces of Nambu, I came to the village of Iwate, where I stopped overnight. The next day I looked at the Cape of Oguro and the tiny island of Mizu, both in a river, and arrived by way of Naruko hot spring at the barrier-gate of Shitomae which blocked the entrance to the province of Dewa. The gate-keepers were extremely suspicious, for very few travelers dared to pass this difficult road under normal circumstances. I was admitted after long waiting, so that darkness overtook me while I was climbing a huge mountain. I put up at a gate-keeper's house which I was very lucky to find in such a lonely place. A storm came upon us and I was held up for three days.

fleas and lice
now a horse pisses
by my pillow

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)


I love that last haiku. It's just a real scene. It was not always very clean in the hostels were Basho stayed the night and that gave of course all kinds of nasty experiences as is shown in the "fleas and lice" haiku. I have read and re-read that haiku several times. Silently but also aloud ... and it gives me a real feeling of being one with all and everything. Maybe this "fleas and lice" haiku is one of Basho's best karumi (lightness) styled haiku.

I have given it a try myself to compose such a haiku using this "karumi" - style:

along the seashore
hand in hand with the love of my life
a seagull shits on my head

© Chèvrefeuille

Not as strong as I had hoped, but I like the simple scene and the humor hidden in it.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 12th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, a new CD Special with our featured haiku poetess Georgia, later on. For now have fun!


  1. Love your haiku Kristjaan! It brings a smile :)

  2. When I look at your haiku again and again, it stands the test of time. I think very good, funny, dark...definitely a moment..

  3. Ah .. one can count on a gull to have the "last word" ;-) Thanks for this new adventure with Basho! Bastet