Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #80: Memory Lane: Utabukuro (or poem bag)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's Wednesday again and that means time for a new episode of Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu. This week I love to take you back on a trip along memory lane towards a special feature I love dearly and that was created in June 2015. Those were already participating in CDHK will know this feature still.

That feature was called Carpe Diem Utabukuro let us take a look at the introductory episode of this special feature again.

[...] This feature was based on a haiku by Basho which he wrote when he was around 22 years of age, it's one of his earliest known haiku according to Jane Reichhold. I have called this new feature "Carpe Diem Utabukuro, which means "poem bag".
Logo of Carpe Diem Utabukuro (with Romaji text of the base haiku by Basho)

The logo above is a bag with a wonderful print of a Japanese woodblock and in the logo you can read the romaji translation of the haiku on which this new feature is based. I will give that haiku here again:
hana ni akanu
nageki ya kochi no

© Basho

And this is the translation by 
Jane Reichhold:
flower buds
sadly spring winds cannot open
a poem bag

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In her compilation of all Basho's haiku "Basho, the complete haiku" she gives the following description of this haiku:

1667 - spring. Because Basho has used kochi instead of the conventional ware for "my", the verse has two distinct versions. The associative technique is the idea that the flowers are not yet opened and neither is Basho's bag of poems (Utabukuro). The unopened purse of poems is like the flower bud in its potential for beauty.

The goal of this CDHK feature was not difficult, because I just asked you to share a haiku or tanka which you admire. That haiku or tanka can be one of a classical or non-classical haiku poet or one by yourself. You can choose what ever you like, but it has to be a haiku or tanka. Maybe the haiku brings you sweet (or sad) memories or you just like it. Explain why you have chosen that haiku or tanka to share here "in" CDHK's Utabukuro, poem bag and ... that's the second task for this feature write/compose an all new haiku inspired on the one you have chosen. [...]

I think this special feature is worth to bring up again I even think of bringing it back here at CDHK. For this Tokubetsudesu episode along memory lane I have a wonderful tanka which I love to share again with you.
It's a tanka which was really proud of and which had a great review on Wonder Haiku Worlds, a website which brought me the international name I have. (I think I have used this tanka earlier in a Utabukuro episode, so I took the liberty to re-produce it here again.

Lilies of the valley
their sweet perfume makes me drowsy
hot summer night
between silken sheets her warmth
honeysuckle coolness

© Chèvrefeuille
Lilies of the Valley

And this is the reason why I have chosen (immodest maybe) this Tanka, because of the response of Narayanan Raghunathan (co-founder of Wonder Haiku Worlds) and the wonderful comment as I will reproduce here:
[...] "I take the personal liberty, say literary freedom and tentatively meta cultyuro-anachronistically call this Tanka a neo-wordsworthian version of Tanka ~ It is done with care and blessed freedom ~ Well, as we know Tanka was essentially originally a genre of Japanese poetry about "love" ~ Here, that too gets exemplified very elegantly in this modern tanka ~ People who care to know about Tanka as a genre may venture to procure the first Wonder Haiku Worlds Anthology the large beautifully designed "Spasms Of Light" ~ available at Amazon.com and check the elaborate introduction ~ Our next Anthology is possibly expected to be published by June ~ 2016 We will surely be honored to have this Tanka in its contents, of course if you permit Chèvrefeuille ~ ` [...] 

Narayanan Raghunathan  
As I read this comment I really was overwhelmed with feelings of pride and happiness. As you all know I have just recently started to write Tanka and than this kind of comments ... I am really proud.

And now I have to write an all new Tanka or Haiku inspired on this one ... I don't know if I can ... I have tried it, but I only could come up with a haiku:

midsummer night -
the scent of Honeysuckle
tickles the senses

© Chèvrefeuille

Well I hope you don't find me immodest, but I just had to share this with you all.

Try to choose a favorite haiku or tanka and tell us why you do like it and try to write/compose an all new haiku or tanka to share with us.

This episode of Utabukuro is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until May 22nd at noon (CET). Have fun! 


  1. I don't mind immodesty. When you're good, you know it! : )

  2. Tokubetsudesu # 80: Utabukuro

    I have chosen this haiku because it is a scene from the life I loved and my beloved cows.

    the frost holds:
    Friesians in the byre
    chew steam
    David Cobb

    My complimentary haiku:

    cold air through cracks
    calves bellies round
    with warm milk
    Joyce Lorenson