Monday, October 31, 2016

Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #1 Teika's first of Ten Tanka Writing Techniques "Mystery and Depth"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first episode of our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai month, November 2016, in which we will look at the "Ten Tanka Writing Techniques" by Teika and will celebrate the Splendor of Tanka. I hope this month will help us to improve our Tanka Writing skills.
By the way, every episode about one of the Tanka Writing Techniques has a prompt to, maybe you can use that prompt in your response, but that's not an obligation. Feel free to use the prompt. For this first Tanka Writing Technique I have chosen colored leaves

According to tanka tradition Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241) is said to have been written a letter in 1219 to an unnamed student in which he mentions the ten tanka styles or techniques.
It was a common practice for students of poetry to write sets of ten tanka on ten sets of subjects as practice and challenge. It was a good plan. The various topics, such as snow, fog, blossoms, moon, grief, or travel, allowed the poet to explore and practice with subjects and situations not immediate or emotionally loaded. These poems were then copied and sent off, with a sum of money, to the local tanka expert for correction and appraisement.
Sometimes the poems were returned with only marks of circles or lines in the margins indicating the teacher's opinion, but occasionally the expert was sufficiently interested in the student or his work (the majority were male) to write up comments or expound more on current theories.
Robert H. Bower, who did so much great work with Earl Miner for Japanese poetry, translated in the winter, 1985, in Monumenta Nipponica the teaching letter now known as Maigetsushō, along with copious notes of explanation. Bower's translation is well worth deeper study because the Japanese author, Fujiwara Teika, was the most revered tanka teacher of his time and for centuries afterwards his opinions were read and adopted with a religious fervor.

Fujiwara no Teika

As one of the compilers of the Shinkokinshū (1204) - the eighth and considered the greatest of the imperial anthologies of Japanese poetry - Teika had 46 of his poems included which was a great honour as he was among the younger and more innovative poets of his day. So esteemed were Teika's opinions that after his death, sons and their mothers started a fight over their rights to various documents that is evident today in the schools of tanka named for the family lines - Nijo and Reizei.
The result is that today there are several versions, with and without forgeries, of the Maigetsushō - Monthly Notes. But for scholars it is worth wading through them all because this document is considered the most extensive and comprehensive of Teika's surviving critical writings. There is a great deal of information to be gleaned from this letter that could be valuable for tanka writers at any age, even today. Any serious student of the form would do well to explore it.
However, my attention was caught by Teika's mention of the ten tanka styles or techniques. He does not elaborate on all of them in this document because as he states, he had already discussed them in previous lessons. For us, the mere listing of the ten styles or techniques is one of the reasons this treatise is so famous. In Robert Bower's way of exploring every facet of any work, he includes a footnote that the idea of ten tanka styles had been given in an essay supposedly written by Mibu no Tadamine in the early 900s titled as Tadamine Jittei - Tadamine's Ten Styles. However, none of these styles bear the same name as Teika's, yet similarities are clear in several cases.

1. Mystery and depth - yūgentei, the image evoking ineffable loneliness

This category is associated mostly with Fujiwara Shunzei (1114-1204) Teika's renowned father and tanka expert. Teika mentions this in some of his other teachings and uses as examples poem #3:254 Kin'yōshū by Toshiyori:

uzura naku / mano no irie no / hamakaze ni / obananami yoru / aki no yūgure

cries of quail
from the shore of Mano cove
winds blow
waves of plume grass
ripple in autumn dusk

#5:533 Shinkokinshū:

furusato wa / chiru momijiba ni / uzumorete /noki no shinobu ni / akikaze zo fuku

my birthplace
buried under crimson leaves
fallen in the garden
sedge grass from the eaves
melancholy autumn wind

These Tanka are really beautiful, but at that time, these were first mentioned "waka", as we have seen earlier here at CDHK.

With this Tanka Writing Technique, Mystery and Depth, we see already the "link" between haiku and tanka. Both poetry forms are mostly associated to nature and with a deeper meaning. In this Tanka Writing Technique we have to try to bring mystery and depth (spiritual layer) into our tanka. So that's our goal for today's episode.

Credits: Kuuya-taka Waterfall, Kyoto, Japan

Here is my attempt to create a Tanka with this technique Mystery and Depth:

hidden waterfall the sound of falling water resonates against the rough mountain in a distance a temple bell moves with the sound of water

© Chèvrefeuille

Awesome to create tanka with this technique, but it certainly wasn't easy, maybe that's because I am not that kind of Tanka poet like Teika or his father. However I like this form and this month will be a challenge not only for you, my dear Haijin, but also for me.

This first Tanka Splendor episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 5th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, mist, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Carpe Diem Special (2nd guest) Kala Ramesh's 5th "with all the stars"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is our last episode of our festive 4th anniversary month October 2016. With this last episode we enter the first month towards our 5th anniversary next year. Five years of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai ... awesome. I hope to create a smashing anniversary month next year because that will be our first lustrum (a period of five years), so I am already starting with the preparations of that lustrum month, October 2017.

Today it's not only our last episode of this month, but also the last Carpe Diem Special by Kala Ramesh, an Indian haiku poetess, who is renown all over the globe and who also was befriended with Jane Reichhold. Kala has written gorgeous haiku and tanka so for this last CD Special about her work I have tried to find a few beauties, haiku and tanka.

Kala Ramesh
the darkening sky splits
into liquid night

temple bells
the isolated raindrops
on my umbrella

spring breeze —
I catch the tune
she leaves behind

* With this haiku Kala Ramesh won the Heron's Nest Award Summer 2006

Blossoms of the Cordia Sebestena, a beautiful tree found in India
seeing the whole
blossom contained
in a seed
I look up to the sky
with all the stars

illusions ride
on a fast fading rainbow
somewhere there
I let go of my childhood...
I must have

© Kala Ramesh

It was really a joy to have Kala Ramesh as our guest here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. She has written wonderful haiku and tanka and I am glad that she could inspire us through her haiku and tanka.

orange chrysanthemums decorating the backyard of the old mansion

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 4th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new and first episode of our "Tanka Splendor" month later on. In that first episode we will discover the first Tanka Writing Technique by Teika Mystery and Depth.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Carpe Diem #1081 Feather pen (or Quill pen)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the penultimate episode of our 4th anniversary month in which we celebrated Carpe Diem Haiku Kai as a warmhearted family of haiku poets and haiku poetesses. This month we had several guests to inspire you and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to use the beautiful photos of Paul Militaru, the beautiful haiku and tanka by Kala ramesh and the beautiful haiku by Herman van Rompuy. And of course there was the presence of Jane Reichhold in that new special feature "Universal Jane". And last but not least I tried to inspire you through tools for art and creativity. Today we have our last regular prompt of this festive month and it has to do with our art ... writing ... today's prompt is feather pen or quill pen.

Ages ago there was no PC, tablet of smartphone to write your notes or haiku on, they had only a sharp pin and clay or later the use of ink and feather came in vogue. In the Middle Ages the most people couldn't write or read. In our regions the monks were one of the only groups who could write and they did that with a great precision ... they copied books with only the use of ink and a feather. A lot of work and of course very tough to do ... but they did a great job. Look at the beneath image, look at the beauty of that "monkish work":

"Monkish Work"
Isn't it awesome? Look at the beauty. It's a shame that "Monkish Work" was seen as "useless work", but ... what to say ... it's in a way true, because why did monks copy books in this way? And for whom?

What can I say about this placed in Japan? I think the "Monkish Work" we can compare with the work of the Japanese monks in for example their Zen Garden or with Bonsai or with that beautiful calligraphy ... also "useless", but extraordinary I would say.

What has this to do with our prompt for today? Well ... it takes time, a lot of time, to write with a "feather pen" or "quill pen". I think we can easily compare this with the fountain pen used for calligraphy. Many years ago I had another beautiful hobby next to writing haiku ... I calligraphed my haiku into watercolor paintings ... in one of my first haiku anthologies, written by hand at the end of the last century, I had calligraphed all the used haiku, of course I brought them to be printed ... I hadn't the urge to copy all the copies by hand ... no "Monkish Work" for me.

Quill Pen
back in time again I write
with a quill pen

screeching paper
the poet writes his poems

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope I have inspired you with this post.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 3rd at noon (CET). I will post our last episode of our 4th anniversary month, the last CD Special by Kala Ramesh, later on. For now .... have fun!

By the way: I have published our new prompt-list for November 2016 in which we will dive into the matter of Tanka through the "Ten Tanka Writing Techniques" by Teika (1162-1241). You can find our new prompt-list above in the menu or by clicking HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Carpe Diem Imagination With Paul Militaru #5 autumn willow

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at our last "Imagination With Paul Militaru" episode. This month I had the privilege to use the beautiful photos by Paul Militaru to inspire you. Paul is a brilliant photographer and his photos are really awesomeMore of his beautiful photos you can find at: Paul Militaru, Photograph Portfolio His website is really worth visiting.

For this last "Imagination With ..." episode I have found a wonderful photo in which autumn, the season running on the Northern hemisphere, is beautifully portrait. And this beauty brought a nice waka in mind by Saigyo, and I think you know this waka ...

alongside the path
fresh water flows, and
in the willow’s shade
just for a little while
would I take my ease..

© Saigyo (1118-1190)

This waka we have seen very often here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and I cannot go on with this episode without the haiku Basho once wrote in response on this waka:

one patch of a rice field when it was planted I left the willow tree © Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Here is the photo by Paul Militaru to inspire you:

Autumn Willow (photo © Paul Militaru)
Isn't it a beauty? I hope this autumn willow will inspire you to create haiku or tanka.

Here are a few poems from my archives: weeping willow
in the autumn sunlight
a golden tree

© Chèvrefeuille

autumn departs
in deep silence willow leaves fall -
tears on this grave
as the willow is green again
another year has gone

© Chèvrefeuille

tears of a geisha
her virginity lost to a soldier -
pussy willow blooms

© Chèvrefeuille

And of course I had to try to create a new haiku (or tanka):

bright blue sky a natural frame work autumn willow

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 2nd at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, feather pen (Or quill pen), later on. For now ... have fun!

PS I am busy with creating our new CDHK prompt-list for next month. November will be our first Tanka month here. I hope to improve your and mine tanka writing technique through the Ten Tanka Writing Techniques by Teika.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Carpe Diem #1080 fountain pen

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This wonderful 4th anniversary month is running towards its end. We seen wonderful photos by Paul Militaru and have read wonderful haiku and tanka by Kala Ramesh, Jane Reichhold and Herman van Rompuy. They all inspired you and I am so happy that we could celebrate our 4th anniversary. I am looking forward to another year of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
This month all our regular prompts were tools for art and creativity and the last two regulars are both for writing and that's what we all do here. We all write, not only letters or novels, but also haiku and tanka. Haiku and tanka are creative ways of writing and today's prompt fits that like a glove. Today I love to challenge you with fountain pen. "Fountain pen" is the English translation of the Dutch word "vulpen", a kind of pen in which you have to use ink refills, you have to fill the pen with them. As I read the translation of "vulpen" "fountain pen" I was amazed and thought "Why is it called a fountain pen". I couldn't retrieve the origin of this word, but I like its name. It sounds awesome and I immediately thought "this is a pen from which the inspiration flows like a fountain". I hope this prompt, fountain pen, will let your inspiration flow.

Fountain Pen
Several of you have already written a haiku inspired on this prompt, but one had my attention immediately as I read it. That one was by Ese (a.k.a. Noor on Twitter), she wrote the following haiku inspired on " fountain pen":

was it fountain pen splashing the black stains on butterfly' s wings

© Ese (a.k.a. Noor)

Of course this means not that you don't have to visit her, its just to give you an idea what to do with this regular prompt "fountain pen". I had some difficulties with this prompt, but difficulties are to be overcome ... isn't that also what life asks from us? So here is my attempt to create a haiku with this prompt:

hand moves slowly a fountain of letters appears on a blank leave

© Chèvrefeuille

Japanese Brush fountain pen

Another one, a tanka:

meditating monk 
releases his realization 
characters appear  
one by one they form 
a koan of love

© Chèvrefeuille

With this tanka I conclude this episode. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 1st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the last Imagination With Paul Militaru episode, later on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Carpe Diem Special (3rd guest) Herman van Rompuy's 4th a clap of wings

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's it with something of sadness and sorrow that I present to you the last CD Special by our third guest, Herman van Rompuy, former president of Belgium and the first President of the EU. Herman van Rompuy, a politician who writes haiku ... unbelievable, but true. I had of course heard about him as a politician, but hadn't heard that he also is a very gifted haiku poet. A lot of his haiku have a political statement hidden in it, so maybe his haiku are more senryu, but that's not a problem.

Today I have a nice haiku for your inspiration and I think it's one of the best haiku by Van Rompuy that I shared here this month.

 Doves are very common in the low lands and so it wasn't a strange idea to find this birds in a haiku by Van Rompuy. In this haiku he combines also that other common thing here in the low lands bicycles.

a cyclist approaches
doves scatter from the corn
a clap of wings

© Herman van Rompuy

As I read this haiku another time there came a koan in mind, a very famous koan I think. Here is that koan ...

The Sound of One Hand

The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw the older disciples visit the master's room each morning and evening to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.
Toyo wished to do sanzen also.
"Wait a while," said Mokurai. "You are too young."
But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

In the evening little Toyo went at the proper time to the threshold of Mokurai's sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his presence, bowed respectfully three times outside the door, and went to sit before the master in respectful silence.
"You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together," said Mokurai. "Now show me the sound of one hand."
Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window he could hear the music of the geishas. "Ah, I have it!" he proclaimed.

One Hand Clapping
The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
"No, no," said Mokurai. "That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You've not got it at all."
Thinking that such music might interrupt, Toyo moved his abode to a quiet place. He meditated again. "What can the sound of one hand be?" He happened to hear some water dripping. "I have it,"imagined Toyo.

When he next appeared before his teacher, Toyo imitated dripping water.
"What is that?" asked Mokurai. "That is the sound of dripping water, but not the sound of one hand. Try again."
In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected.
He heard the cry of an owl. This also was refused.
The sound of one hand was not the locusts.
For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds. All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one hand might be.
At last little Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. "I could collect no more," he explained later, "so I reached the soundless sound."
Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.

A beautiful koan, just to share, because it came in mind as I was reading the haiku by Herman Van Rompuy.

sound of water the silence deepens
birds sing

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope I have inspired you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form. This was our last CD Special by Herman Van Rompuy. I loved sharing his haiku here and I hope he will read it himself also. He hasn't responded yet, so I haven't yet permission to use his haiku. So if there is a problem, please let me know. I am grateful that I could share his haiku here with you all in our 4th anniversary month. Thank you Herman van Rompuy, you are a wonderful haiku poet.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until October 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, fountain pen, later on. For now .... have fun!

Wandering Spirit --- za faasuto iyaazu (the first years)

There I was ... I was born in the Midsummer night of 1640 at Kyoto as the son of a high ranked samurai and a geisha named Fujiko, Child of the Wisteria. I can't remember her, she died as she was giving birth to me. My father told me that she was as beautiful as the Wisteria. He gave me the name ... Yozakura, Blossoms in the Moonlight. Several years later he showed me the beauty of blossoms in the moonlight especially the blossoms of the Wisteria.

My father was not an easy man, certainly not the first years of my life. I think he was angry with me, because I was alive and the woman he loved so much had died as I was born. I didn't understand that of course.
Sometimes my dad brought me to his mother, my grandmother, Emiko, Beautiful Child. She, my grandmother, was a beautiful woman. In my eyes she was very old, but she always smiled and gave me all the love and comfort I needed. Through her love I learned to accept that my dad was sometimes angry and why ...

Wisteria Garden
One day my father took me by the hand, I had just turned four, and said: "Yozakura, it is time. Come I will show you your mother's grave". We walked to a beautiful garden and every were I looked I saw Wisteria blossoms in wonderful  colors. In the middle of this garden I saw a marble grave on which the name of my mother was calligraphed.
"This is your mother's grave my son. Here I was almost all those days you were at your grandmother's place. I couldn't stand you, because I thought you were guilty of the dead of your mother, but recently I got to know a priest, a Shinto priest named Daisuke, Great Helper. He was for sure a great helper my son. He taught me how to cope with the loss of your mother. Daisuke was the one who said that I had to create a garden for your mother in which I could mourn and talk with her. Daisuke once asked me if I had children. I told him about you Yozakura".
I looked at him with tears in my eyes and took his hand. "Dad", I whispered. "Yes my son". I wiped away my tears. "I love you dad. Grandmother told me why you abandoned me in a way. I understand that. Thank you for showing me this wonderful garden in honor of my mother". He knelt next to me and kissed me on my forehead. I felt his tears on my face. "I am sorry my son ... I am sorry. Can you forgive me?" I hugged him. We had no need for words ... only the silence and the beauty of the wonderful Wisteria garden for my mother.

only silence
the summer breeze caresses
Wisteria blossom

© Kiyoshi (my father, his name means "pure")

Yozakura (1640-1716)
to be continued

Carpe Diem Universal Jane #4 abalone shells and lovers

a time of beaches
abalone shells and lovers
without memories
© Jane Reichhold

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of Universal Jane. This week I love to dive into the matter of sensuality, erotics and love in haiku. Jane was a great poetess and in many of her haiku you can easily find sensuality, erotics and love. This week however I love to share a few haiku in which she used it in full daylight so to say.
Recently I tried to bring sensuality, sexuality, erotics and love into my own haiku, but I have to say that's a bit outside my comfort zone, but I like the challenge to bring those pure human feelings of love and sexuality into my haiku. In the past I wrote several haiku with hidden sexuality in it. Maybe you can remember this one:
Morning Glory
at sunrise
Morning Glory greets
a new day
© Chèvrefeuille
In this one the Morning Glory is of course that wonderful flower, but it also refers to a certain male part in the early morning. Another one, not as specific as the above one, but with some imgination you can see in this haiku also sexuality:
pink flowers bloom
between green dewy leaves
a double peony
© Chèvrefeuille

And this one, as published in our "folding paper" episode hides also sexuality in it:
first sunlight
caresses our bodies
we unfold
© Chèvrefeuille
Well ... this episode of Jane is not about my haiku, but for the haiku by Jane to honor her and give her tribute. Jane is still missed, but her spirit lingers here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I feel a bit lost without my dear friend and mentor Jane Reichhold, but she would have me to go on that's for sure. I can not stop of course. To create Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is also a tribute for her and in honor of her, because of what she once said about CDHK "you have the best website on haiku on the world".  
Here are the haiku by Jane Reichhold to inspire you and maybe to let you look at real human life and real human feelings like sexuality, sensuality and love and use it in your haiku (or tanka).
making love
the jack-o-lantern also
grins in the dark
shadows moving
on the bedroom wall
a pumpkin’s eyes
in and out
of the river’s mouth
a tongue of sea
© Jane Reichhold
These haiku are extracted from AHA-Poetry, Jane's own website, certainly worth a visit.

This Universal Jane episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until October 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, our last CD Special by our 3rd guest Herman van Rompuy, later on. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Carpe Diem #1079 folding paper

a paper boat
on drift in a puddle
strands on a pebble

© Chèvrefeuille

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

A new episode has started. This time I started with a haiku and I must say I like that way of starting. Today our prompt is another tool for art and creativity, folding paper, as in origami that beautiful Japanese way of folding paper.

origami ni yama to tani ari tsuru kaeru

in folding paper
there are mountains and valleys . . .
cranes flying home

© Kawaguchi Hitoshi

I found this haiku about folding paper on the Internet and had to share it here because of its beauty. The oldest unequivocal document of origami is a short poem composed by Ihara Saikaku in 1680. It reads: Rosei-ga yume-no cho-wa orisue (The butterflies in Rosei's dream would be origami.) Here he referred to an origami model called Ocho Mecho (Male and Female Butterflies) as "orisue." The Japanese use it to wrap sake bottles mainly at the wedding ceremony.

Ocho Mecho
It is obvious what this origami model means, the both parts fit each other like a glove. Ocho Mecho is often used in weddings, but also in coming of age ceremonies.

first sunlight
caresses our bodies
we unfold

© Chèvrefeuille

Origami is a nice art and very aesthetic ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until October 29th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, a new Universal Jane, later on. For now .... have fun!