Sunday, December 20, 2015

Carpe Diem #883 journey through the rough north of Honshu: a rough sea; in one house

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Again I am to late with publishing this episode, I really hadn't time. First I am in the nightshift and my dad is in hospital after a heart attack, so I have not a lot of time. Today I had planned a nice wellknown haiku by Basho which I have used earlier here at CDHK. We will see ....


the rough sea
flowing toward Sado Isle (*)

the River of Heaven

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

 (*) When direct control from mainland Japan started around the 8th century, the island's remoteness meant that it soon became a place of banishment for difficult or inconvenient Japanese figures. Exile was a very serious punishment, second only to the death penalty, and people weren't expected to return.

Exhausted by the labor of crossing many dangerous places by the sea with such horrible names as Children-desert-parents or Parents- desert-children, Dog-denying or Horse-repelling, I went to bed early when I reached the barrier-gate of Ichiburi. The voices of two young women whispering in the next room, however, came creeping into my ears. They were talking to an elderly man, and I gathered from their whispers that they were concubines from Niigata in the province of Echigo, and that the old man, having accompanied them on their way to the IseShrine, was going home the next day with their messages to their relatives and friends.   
Credits: Ise Shrine

I sympathized with them, for as they said themselves among their whispers, their life was such that they had to drift along even as the white froth of waters that beat on the shore, and having been forced to find a new companion each night, they had to renew their pledge of love at every turn, thus proving each time the fatal sinfulness of their nature. I listened to their whispers till fatigue lulled me to sleep. When, on the following morning, I stepped into the road, I met these women again. They approached me and said with some tears in their eyes, 'We are forlorn travelers, complete strangers on this road. Will you be kind enough at least to let us follow you? If you are a priest as your black robe tells us, have mercy on us and help us to learn the great love of our Savior.' 'I am greatly touched by your words,' I said in reply after a moment's thought, 'but we have so many places to stop at on the way that we cannot help you. Go as other travelers go. If you have trust in the Savior, you will never lack His divine protection.' As I stepped away from them, however, my heart was filled with persisting pity.

in the same house
prostitutes, too, slept:
bush clover and moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

As I recited this poem to Sora, he immediately put it down on his notebook.

Credits: One of the forty-eight rapids of the Kurobe River

Crossing the so-called forty-eight rapids of the Kurobe River and countless other streams, I came to the village of Nago, where I inquired after the famous wisteria vines of Tako, for I wanted to see them in their early autumn colors though their flowering season was spring. The villagers answered me, however, that they were beyond the mountain in the distance about five miles away along the coastline, completely isolated from human abode, so that not a single fisherman's hut was likely to be found to give me a night's lodging. Terrified by these words, I walked straight into the province of Kaga.
As I read this part of Basho's "Narrow Road" I almost feel like I am there at that same moment. As I look at that photo of the Kurobe River than I can hear the sound of the thundering rapids ... awesome. Isn't it awesome that Basho wrote this haibun with such a lot of feeling that the reader can feel the presence of the surroundings where Basho is walking ... that's his strenght of Basho.

I really am a big fan and admirer of Basho and I always like to bring posts about him using his wonderful haiku here at our Haiku Kai.
It will not be an easy task to compose an all new haiku inspired on this part of "Narrow Road", but I have  to give it a try. 
Credits: Sado Island

But first I like to share a haiku by Yozakura (our unknown haiku poet) which he composed inspired on the first haiku of this episode "the rough sea":

an outcast I am
day dreaming along the seashore;
Sado Isle beckons

© Yozakura

dark clouds drifting
waves become higher
a rough sea

© Chèvrefeuille

As I look at this haiku above than I notice a "double entendre" in it, which I hadn't seen earlier as I composed this haiku back in 2012 (short after the start of our Haiku Kai) or even a divine deeper meaning as we have discussed in our HWT episodes.

"Double Entendre": This haiku can mean that there are circumstances which lead to a depression or strong sadness.

"Finding the divine in the common": This haiku can mean that there will Always be a greater power, spirit or God who will care for you notwithstanding the circumstances or situation in which you are.

Isn't that awesome? A haiku which I wrote several years ago ... now looks so different after a few episodes of CD-HWT.
And I just had to share another haiku which I once have written inspired on the "bushclover and moon"- haiku. I think I wrote it as one of the haiku at Haiku Shuukan, but I can't remember that, but this was the haiku, in which you can find also the "double entendre" technique:

courtesan smiles

courtesan smiles
as she walks over the nude beach
Morning Glories awake

© Chèvrefeuille

It was again a joy to create this episode for you all and I am glad that you all are such gifted poets that every prompt can inspire you.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until December 23rd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, the scent of early rice; the tomb also shakes, later on.


  1. Greatly appreciate the time you take to create these wonderful prompts. Hope your dad recovers quickly.

  2. What a full post - have not read it yet, just saw about your father's heart attack. I hope things go well. Tense news. Will read the post now and hoping for a good recovery.

  3. My thoughts are with you in this difficult moment ... and I would like to add my appreciation to Thotpurge's for all the efforts you put forth for us. Namaste, Bastet

  4. You dedicated efforts are so very much appreciated by your followers. May healing be in the hands of all who minister to the needs of your dad. And strength for you during this time of concern.

  5. So sorry about your dad, hope it all turns out well. My prayers are with you.

  6. So sorry to hear about your father. You all will be in my prayers. Thank you for keeping this up but please don't stress yourself.