Thursday, December 31, 2015

Carpe Diem #887 Returning home: between the waves, a clam

!! our new promptlist is ready you can find it in the menu !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Well ... this is it ... our last episode of 2015 and the last stage of our "Narrow Road". We have had a wonderful journey together with Basho and Sora, but now it is time to return home. We are returning home today ... we can look back on a joyful journey ... and we can look back on a wonderful 2015 in which we celebrated our third anniversary and discovered wonderful places, haiku writing techniques and a lot more. We have found each other in a warm embrace all with just one goal ... writing and sharing haiku, tanka and other Japanese poetry forms.

a little verse
brought together a family of love -
Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

© Chèvrefeuille

between the waves
small shells mingle with
bits of bush clover

 © Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

I asked Tosai to make a summary of the day's happenings and leave it at the temple as a souvenir.

As I returned to Tsuruga, Rotsu met me and accompanied me to the province of Mino. When we entered the city of Ogaki on horseback, Sora joined us again, having arrived from the province of Ise; Etsujin, too, came hurrying on horseback, and we all went to the house of Joko, where I enjoyed reunion with Zensen, Keiko, and his sons and many other old friends of mine who came to see me by day or by night. Everybody was overjoyed to see me as if I had returned unexpectedly from the dead. On September the sixth, however, I left for the Ise Shrine, though the fatigue of the long journey was still with me, for I wanted to see a dedication of a new shrine there. As I stepped into the boat, I wrote:

a clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn

©Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

With this haiku ends the journey into the deep north. In the first printed publication of “Narrow Road” the publisher wrote a postscript, which you can read hereafter:

In this little book of travel is included everything under the sky - not only that which is hoary and dry but also that which is young and colorful, not only that which is strong and imposing but also that which is feeble and ephemeral. As we turn every corner of the Narrow Road to the Deep North, we sometimes stand up unawares to applaud and we sometimes fall flat to resist the agonizing pains we feel in the depths of our hearts.* There are also times when we feel like taking to the road ourselves, seizing the raincoat lying nearby, or times when we feel like sitting down till our legs take root, enjoying the scene we picture before our eyes. Such is the beauty of this little book that it can be compared to the pearls which are said to be made by the weeping mermaids in the far off sea. What a travel it is indeed that is recorded in this book, and what a man he is who experienced it. The only thing to be regretted is that the author of this book, great man as he is, has in recent years grown old and infirm with hoary frost upon his eyebrows.

Early summer of the seventh year of Genroku (1694), Soryu.


Well ... I hope you all did like this gorgeous journey straight into the deep north of Honshu (the Southern Island of Japan) and that it has brought you what you hoped. I have tried to make it a journey full of joy and I think in a way I have succeeded, but that's not up to me to decide, but up to you.
I really enjoyed this journey and it has brought me even more closer to Basho than I already was. Did I grow? I don't know, but I feel that there as been a kind of transformation ... maybe next year this will be more clear ... I don't know.

To close this month and this year I wish you all a wonderful, healthy and inspirational New Year and I hope to see you all again here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 3rd at noon (CET). I hope to publish our first episode of 2016 later on. I have the promptlist ready you can find it HERE.


  1. Happy New Year all... what a fabulous journey we've had all December. Thanks for the great prompts Kristjaan.

  2. Thanks very much for an amazing month Chev, still don't know how you do it.

  3. Happy new year Chevrefeuille. I am sorry I didn't have time to journey on the long journey to the deep north this month. I was off on my own weird journeys in the deep south. Hopefully 2016 will see me getting more involved with your prompts. They are more meaningful than many haiku prompts on the internet and your scholarship is always worth reading. - Suzanne

  4. Happy New Year!! You have been an awesome tour guide on this journey North and within! Thank you!

  5. Happy New Year, Kristjaan, to you and your family. Thank you for selflessly guiding us each day throughout the year.

  6. Happy New Year, K. I cannot imagine all the work and love that goes into this blog, but I hope you keep it going.

  7. A little bit late with this haiku -

    also, with the best wishes for the new year and the many wonderful CDHK prompts to come :)