Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #79 Looking Back In Time ... "Sparkling Stars"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

In this new episode of Tokubetsudesu, a special one "looking back in time", I love to introduce (again) a classical haiku-poetess named Koyu-Ni, she was (as e.g. Chiyo-Ni) a Buddhistic nun (as can be seen at her name, "ni" stands for "female monk".) There aren't many haiku known by her. I ran into this one as I was preparing this episode and I decided to make it myself easy today. Why? This Tokubetsudesu episode is a “reprise” from our rich CDHK history, maybe you remember our special feature “Sparkling Stars”.
hana chirite shizuka ni narinu hito-gokoro
the blossoms have fallen:
our minds are now
© Koyu-Ni (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

[...] Koyu-Ni died in 1782, her family name was Matsumato. She is one of the more prominent woman poets of the Edo period. She learned haiku from Songi the First. [...]

Fallen Cherry Blossoms covers the water, looks like a pink river

I love to share a translation of my own for this haiku:
tranquility -
finally I have found peace,
blossoms have fallen
© Koyu-Ni (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

I think that in this translation the peace of mind is stronger present. With every gust of wind I am anxious that the fragile Cherry blossoms will be scattered and torn apart, but as all blossoms have fallen than my heart and mind are at peace, there is no anxiety anymore and that gives me that feeling of tranquility.
Not that this tranquility is superior to the excitement of our hearts while the Cherry blossoms were blooming. It is neither better nor worse. It is simply inevitable, like the blooming, like the falling of the Cherry blossoms themselves.

There is a Waka by  Narihira (825-880), which may well have been the original of this haiku:

were there
no cherry blossoms
in this world
our minds might know
serenity in spring

© Narihira

A humorous verse, by Basho (1644-1694), of the same import, is the following:
hana ni nenu kore mo tagui ka nezumi no su
is it not like a mouse's nest, -
this being unable to sleep
for the flowers?

© Basho (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

That is to say, the poet is unable to sleep at night because of the excitement of the Cherry blossoms, and compares his heart to the nest of the mice who are squeaking and scuffling all night long.

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom

One more, by Shado (died 1737), who was a student under Basho:
hana chitte take miru noki no yasusa kana

the flowers having fallen,
looking at the bamboos,
it is restful under the eaves
© Shado

All wonderful haiku I think, tributes to the beauty of the Cherry blossoms, and the anxiety to see them fall and be scattered.
Life and dead are living together just on a thin line of silk, so close to one another, but that's the circle of life, the beauty of Mother Nature. This is what haiku is ... writing about nature and mankind as being part of its beauty.
The goal of this Tokubetsudesu episode (in which I gave you a reprise episode of “Sparkling Stars” is to write a classical haiku, following the classical rules of haiku, about the circle of life of the fragile Cherry blossoms (or any other fragile blossom). Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, the place to be if you like composing haiku and sharing them with the world.

Sakura in my backyard

As you maybe know I am not a big fan of the classical rules. In a way I am more like Santoka Taneda, who also was a "free-styler" in haiku, but of course I had to try it myself to create a classical haiku. So here is my attempt to create a classical haiku on the fragility of blossoms.

fragile cherry blossoms
cover the backyard of the mansion
tears rolling down my cheeks

© Chèvrefeuille

Awesome ... I did it ... I created a classical haiku ... Now it is up to you my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers.

This "looking back in time" Tokubetsudesu episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until May 15th at noon (CET). I have already published our new Tan Renga Challenge "hokku" (starting verse) for May 12th, May 13th and May 14th at our twitter account.



  1. Kristjaan,
    What an exciting and well done first issue of Souchou! Excellent information, beautifully illustrated layout, couldn't ask for more.
    Thank you for the unexpected honor of including a feature on my work. It is very much appreciated.

    Now two for tokubetsudesu # 79:

    temple bell's timbre
    praying not to have seen
    my last cherry blossoms fall

    parting glance
    I memorize your face
    as the last blossom falls