Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Carpe Diem #1141 Japan, the journey begins

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize, because I haven't the prompt-list ready for February 2017, but I hope to bring the "list" later this week. As you all know we are starting with the discovery of the land of the rising sun, Japan, mother of haiku.

Haiku ... the tiniest poem around the world, a poem we all love dearly and maybe are addicted to. Japan ... the "motherland" of haiku is our adventure place this month. On the above logo you see the holy mountain of Japan in Spring, Fuji no Yama with its snow decked top behind that other wonderful piece of Japan ... the Sakura, the cherry blossom.

I hope to be your guide on a beautiful trip through this country ... a country I hope to visit for real once in my life, but until than I will visit this country together with you, my dear haijin, in the virtual world.

Mount Fuji no Yama
Let us take a look at a haiku created by Basho (1644-1694) in which he describes Mount Fuji:

Fuji no yama nomi ga chausu no ooi kana cha-usu

Mount Fuji
like the tea-grinding mill 
carried by the lice . . . 

© Basho (age 33)

To compare Mount Fuji to a cha-usu, a mill for grinding tea leaves, has been done since olden times.

This is complete fiction to show the greatness of Mount Fuji.

There was a popular song in Edo to which Basho is referring


The lice are carrying a tea-grinding mill
carrying it on their back
just trying to climb over Mount Fuji. 

It was also a popular game to cover a tea-grinding mill with strong washi paper to make it look like Mount Fuji.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

An other nicely written haiku by Basho ... in praise of Fuji no Yama:

hito one wa shigururu kumo ka Fuji no yuki

over one ridge
do I see winter rain clouds?
snow for Mt. Fuji 

© Basho (age 44)

The above haiku is a beautiful 'winter landscape painting' on a large scale, in which you are viewing Mt. Fuji in relation to its surrounding mountain families. In the centre, you see Mt. Fuji covered with snow in all its glories. And you also see other mountain-families were probably snow does not reach, as they are not high enough. Your eyes travel from right to left and from left to right, surveying many different things happening. Over one ridge (o-ne) are winter clouds unloading their cargo. However, of all the mountains how tall, superb and magnificent the snow-covered Mt. Fuji is! 
This haiku is famous for depicting the superiority of Mt. Fuji in relation to other mountain families.

A last one also about the Holy Mountain of Japan:

a day of quiet gladness,
Mount Fuji is veiled
In misty rain.

© Basho

I wonder will we see Japan through the eyes of Basho this month, because of the fact that I see him as my haiku master? I think that will be happening, but I hope to be aware of it, because Japan is not only Basho and his haiku. Japan is far more ...

Ancient mountain and the modern time ... there is no time ...

To end this episode I love to share a haiku by our unknown haiku poet, Yozakura. I hope to go on with his story this month, so her it is a haiku, a beauty, by Yozakura:

fujisan no yuki no hi no owari ni ha sakura

through cherry blossoms
at the end of the day -
snow on Mount Fuji

© Yozakura

I hope I have inspired you and I hope this first episode of our new CDHK month will give you the feeling, the idea ... that this month will be awesome.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 5th at noon (CET). I will post our next episode, history of Japan, later on.

PS. I haven't time to create a new episode of Universal Jane ... I hope you will forgive me.
PPS. I am hopelessly behind with commenting I hope to catch up a.s.a.p.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Carpe Diem #1140 arriving at the right moment

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Well ... here it is finally we have reached Santiago De Compostela. We have succeeded the Road, an equivalent of the Road Jesus had to take on His final days, but here it is not going to stop. Here at Santiago De Compostela it starts ... the final piece of life as we know it ... here at Santiago de Compostela we have seen the Lamb and we have seen our future ... Here at the end of the Road we finally can see the connection with the divine Tarot, which I mentioned in one of my earlier posts this month ... We have conquered life and we may enter into the Love our Creator, Higher Spirit or what ever name you choose for that Power.

Finally Paulo recovers his sword what was taken from him at the start of his Road to Santiago ... he finally gets it back from his Master.

I love to share a short piece of text from "The Pilgrimage" to celebrate that we have, together with Paulo, done it.

[...] "As the lamb looked at me, I could read all of this in his eyes; now he had become my guide along the Road to Santiago. For a moment everything went dark, and I began to see scenes that were reminiscent of those I had read about in the Apocalypse: the Great Lamb on his throne and people washing his vestments, cleansing them with his blood. This was the moment when the God was awakened in each of them. I also saw the wars and hard times and catastrophes that were going to shake the earth over the next few years. But everything ended with the victory of the Lamb and with every human being on earth awakening the sleeping God and all of God’s power.
I was worthy of my sword because I knew what to do with it." [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

The Lamb (part of a painting by Grunewald)
[...] "The Master held out the sword to me, and I grasped it. I looked about for the lamb, but he had disappeared. But that did not matter: the Water of Life fell from the sky and caused the blade of my sword to glisten.' [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

the sound of rain
on young leaves of Ivy
I bow my head

© Chèvrefeuille

[...] "I have so much to do now that I have recovered my sword. The secret of my sword is mine, and I will never reveal it to anyone. I wrote it down and left it under a stone, but with the rain, the paper has probably been destroyed. It’s better that way. Petrus didn't need to know.
I asked my Master whether he had known what day I was going to arrive or whether he had been waiting there for some time. He laughed and said that he had arrived there the morning before and was going to leave the next day, whether I appeared or not.
I asked how that was possible, and he did not answer me. But when we were saying good-bye and he was getting into the rental car that would take him back to Madrid, he gave me a small medal of the Order of San Tiago of the Sword. And he told me that I had already had a great revelation when I had looked into the eyes of the lamb.
And when I think about it, I guess it is true that people always arrive at the right moment at the place where someone awaits them." [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

How often we can say "I was on the right place at the right time"? I think we all will have such experiences. You walk somewhere and you see the most wonderful garden in full bloom. You were there at the right moment. You listen to the radio and than there it is that song that brought you and your loved one together. You were there at the right moment.

Isn't it wonderful? We can say this also for our haiku or tanka. We were on time at the right place to celebrate that beautiful moment, that spiritual moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. This is what the Road has taught us ...

Camino sign
** I couldn't retrieve the owner of this photo, so please let me know, if it's okay to use your photo. I have credited this photo to the website were I found it. **

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 4th at noon (CET). I hope to publish our first episode, the first stage of our new journey through the land of the Rising Sun, later on.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Carpe Diem #1139 listening

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday I promised you to publish the first prompts of February, but I have to say I am sorry I hadn't time to start creating the new prompt-list, but I have created our new logo for February already. I will share that new logo at the end of this episode.

We are on our way to Santiago De Compostela and we reached the end of this pilgrimage almost, but before we enter Santiago De Compostela there was another thing Paulo had to learn. About that is this new episode. First I thought to title this episode "silence", which also had fit the entire episode, but finally, just seconds ago, I decided to title this episode "listening".

Listening is a gift not everyone can listen, not everyone can be that listener that can and will help you to solve your problems or give answers on your questions. It is something like ... "sorry I didn't understand your problem". To help an other being in need you have to understand what the other asks you or from you, without understanding you cannot respond in the correct way. Let me try to re-form that response that used above. "I see what you mean, what can I do for you?" Isn't that incredible? Just rephrasing the response shows that you have listened, really listened, to what the other said.

Radiotelescope Dwingeloo (The Netherlands) (Dutch website)
The above picture shows you the Radiotelescope of Dwingeloo, a small village in my country. A radiotelescope is ... a big ear ... that listens to the sounds from the Cosmos, the stars, it's always on it always listens to the sounds of the stars and the cosmos ... that's what listening is. You have to be prepared to listen always to the sounds, the feelings, the emotions, the words and more from those around you. If you are a good listener than you are a blessed being, because it's not meant for every one to be a good listener.

I love to share a quote from "The Pilgrimage" about listening:

[...] ‘We are not smart enough to be able to listen to the silence! We are just human beings, and we don’t even know how to listen to our own ramblings. You have never asked me how I knew that Legion was about to arrive. Now I will tell you how: by listening. The sound began many days before, when we were still in Astorga. Starting then, I began to move along more quickly, because all the indications were that we were going to meet up with him in Foncebadon. You heard the same sound as I, but you were not listening.
‘Everything is contained in sounds – the past, the present, and the future. The person who does not know how to listen will never hear the advice that life offers us all the time. And only the person who listens to the sounds of the moment is able to make the right decisions.’ [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

Listen to the sound of the wind it will reveal you the sacred wisdom of the Road to Santiago
Petrus, Paulo's guide, asks him to sat down and than told him about the "Listening Exercise":

[...] 'Relax. Close your eyes. Try for several minutes to concentrate on all of the sounds you hear in your surroundings, as if you were hearing an orchestra playing its instruments. Little by little, try to separate each sound from the others. Concentrate on each one, as if it were the only instrument playing. Try to eliminate the other sounds from your awareness.
When you do this exercise every day, you will begin to hear voices. First, you will think that they
are imaginary. Later, you will discover that they are voices of people from your past, present, and future, all of them participating with you in the remembrance of time.
This exercise should be performed only when you already know the voice of your messenger.
Do this exercise for ten minutes at a time. " [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

You just have to try it to experience it, and I think it's not really necessary to know the voice of your messenger, your guardian angel. It's like listening to the wind, close your eyes, experience the spring breeze, you can feel it on your face, you can feel it playing with your hair ... the spring breeze (by the way all kind of wind) whispers his/her message in your ear. You can listen what the wind does tell you, it is the word of the Creator, Higher Self or what ever name you will give it.

Listening ... well I don't know if I am a good listener, but for sure I will try to be a good listener worth to have given that gift ... the gift of listening.

only the spring breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

Another one:

along the Road only the sound of nature to enjoy listen just listen
© Chèvrefeuille

Our new logo for February 2017
And a last one from my archives which I published in response on our Winter Retreat last winter:

rustling leaves telling stories from all over the world the silence deepens © Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope I have inspired you again with this post. This post is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 3rd at noon (CET). Have fun!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Carpe Diem #1138 hospitality

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We have only three days left this month so I hope we will succeed to enter Santiago De Compostela, but we will see. After these three days we will start with a new month full of beautiful prompts ... and as I told you in one of my earlier posts ... that will be another wonderful pilgrimage like month. Why? Well let me tell you ...

We are all haiku poets, and tanka poets and poets of all those beautiful Japanese poetry forms we know, but what do we know about that land in which the roots are to find of our poetry? Next month we will go on a kind of pilgrimage through the land of the Rising Sun, the land of haiku ... Japan. It is one of my dreams to visit Japan for real, but ... well I think it will stay a dream for a long time.
I hope to have the journey ready next Sunday, maybe it will not be complete, but fo sure I will publish our first seven (7) prompts next Sunday if of course nothing comes in my way ...

Paulo Coelho the author of The Pilgrimage
As you know we are walking the Road to Santiago together with Paulo Coelho the world famous author from Brasil. His "The Pilgrimage" is our guide along the Road. In 2006 Paulo invited the Norwegian TV to join him on the Road to Santiago.

To make this pilgrimage more real I have searched all over the Internet and found a wonderful movie about The Road to Santiago De Compostela, its for sure worth to watch, but I couldn't copy it to here, so I will give you the URL to watch this movie titled The Way (find the movie HERE)

Along The Road to Santiago you can always find shelter at old barns, small villages, hotels, homes and more that is one of the "laws" of the Road to Santiago, while you are on your Road to Santiago as a pilgrim, wearing the St. James Scallop, you always will find a place to stay, to rest, to eat and drink, but also to sleep. This is also the deeper meaning of walking the Road ... be grateful for everything you got. The people living along the Road will give you shelter because they know that giving you a place to rest will give them a good feeling and it gives them the love, the unconditional love of our Creator.

This episode is about "hospitality". What is it? What does it mean to be friendly and loving to another being? We see this already in the shortness of our poems ... haiku shows us in just a few lines how to be friendly for your surroundings, for nature and the people around you. Nature gives us its hospitality to be in the beauty of nature. We may walk through nature, we can make use of all that nature gives us ... but in return for her hospitality we have to respect her and that's what haiku means. That's what the Road means and that's what the Road teaches us.

Beautiful Nature Along The Road To Santiago
Look at the beauty of nature along the Road. She cherishes us, she gives us comfort, she gives us love, she gives us hospitality ... so let us respect her ... she is all we need.

a babbling brook
cherishes me

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until Fevruary 2nd at noon (CET).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Carpe Diem #1137 The Bridge

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Thank you all for your support according to my exam of today. By the way I passed the exam, so I may now prescribe medicines for my oncology patients. It was a though exam, and at first I was very nervous, but finally I became more calm and could do the exam with a good result.

January is almost over and we are entering the last stages of our Road to Santiago. It was (and still is) an adventure to make this pilgrimage in the virtual world together with Paulo and his guide Petrus. We have learned a lot I think and maybe there will be a time to walk this Road for real ...

This episode I have titled "The Bridge" and it refers to the following passage in "The Pilgrimage":

[...] One morning we arrived  at an immense bridge, totally out of proportion to the modest stream that coursed below it. It was early on a Sunday morning, and, since the bars and taverns nearby were all closed, we sat down there to eat our breakfast.
‘People and nature are equally capricious,’ I said, trying to start a conversation. ‘We build beautiful bridges, and then Mother Nature changes the course of the rivers they cross.’
‘It’s the drought,’ he said.

‘What do you know about this bridge?’ he asked me.
‘Nothing,’ I answered. ‘But even with the drought, it’s too big. I think the river must have changed its course.’
‘As far as that goes, I have no idea,’ he said. ‘But it is known along the Road to Santiago as the “honorable passage.” These fields around us were the site of some bloody battles between the Suevians and the Visigoths, and later between Alphonse III’s soldiers and the Moors.

Maybe the bridge is oversize to allow all that blood to run past without flooding the city.’
‘However, it wasn’t the Visigoth hordes or the triumphant cries of Alphonse III that gave this
bridge its name. It was another story of love and death.'

"The Honorable Passage", or Orbigo Bridge

‘During the first centuries of the Road to Santiago, pilgrims, priests, nobles, and even kings came from all over Europe to pay homage to the saint. Because of this, there was also an influx of assailants and robbers. History has recorded innumerable cases of robbery of entire caravans of pilgrims and of horrible crimes committed against lone travelers.’
‘Because of the crimes, some of the nobility decided to provide protection for the pilgrims, and each of the nobles involved took responsibility for protecting one segment of the Road. But just as rivers change their course, people’s ideals are subject to alteration. In addition to frightening the malefactors, the knights began to compete with each other to determine who was the strongest and most courageous on the Road. It wasn’t long before they began to do battle with each other, and the bandits returned to the Road with impunity.' [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

Bridges ... bring people from different sides together, in a way our Haiku Kai can be compared with a bridge. Here we come together, haiku poets from all over the globe ... we have build virtual bridges from a lot of countries to here ... and I am proud of it.

from all directions
bridges lead people together
to be together
creating and celebrating poetry
from the land of the Rising Sun

© Chèvrefeuille

Let us protect all those bridges that brought us together ... a warmhearted family of haiku poets. Thank you all for crossing that bridge in harmony with each other out of unconditional love.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 1st at noon (CET).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Carpe Diem #1136 Imagine this ...

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I told you all yesterday I am busy with preparing an exam I have to do tomorrow (January 27th) and it takes more time than I had thought so today I love to trigger your inspiration, your muses with another beautiful image along the Road to Santiago. So I have taken the easy way (again) to save time for my exam.

Along The Road to Santiago (© photo I don't know whom is the owner of the photo I found it at the website hidden in the link under the image)
This is a very beautiful overview somewhere along the Road. The "milestone" in the front is the usual marker for the Road, the scallop.

This episode, imagine this ..., is a kind of Carpe Diem Imagination. So let the image be your source of inspiration.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 31st at noon (CET). Have fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Carpe Diem #1135 that moment ...

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This will be another short episode, because I have to prepare an exam I have to do next Friday. It is not an easy exam so ... I need that time, but of course I cannot let you without inspiration. Therefore I have chosen to share a scene which Paulo encounters while on his road to Santiago.
As you all know haiku is only an impression of a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. I love to challenge you to use the given scene to create haiku or tanka ... life in that short moment ... feel the power of haiku.

A beautiful scene in the above image ... in this scene you can see a bit of the scene Paulo saw.

[...] "We arrived one afternoon at the ruins of an old castle of the Order of the Knights Templar. We sat down to rest, and while Petrus smoked his usual cigarette, I drank a bit of the wine leftover from lunch. I studied the view that surrounded us: a few peasant houses, the tower of the castle, the undulating fields ready for sowing. To my right appeared a shepherd, guiding his flock past the walls of the castle, bound for home. The sky was red, and the dust raised by the animals blurred the view, making it look like a dream or a magic vision. The shepherd waved to us, and we waved back. The sheep passed in front of us and continued down the road. .... It was an impressive scene … " [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

I think this will do it ... I hope I have inspired you to create haiku or tanka based on a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 30th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Carpe Diem #1134 beyond control

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Do you know the feeling that you are loosing control? That time (for example) is like grains of sand through your fingers? Or ... that technical problem I had earlier this month ... I couldn't control that, and it made me "mad and angry", because I couldn't do what I love to do ... keeping CDHK alive and running. Those few days when I couldn't use my PC were beyond my control ... Life is beyond control. No one can hold control on life or the world ... that battle we always will loose.
But ... maybe we have to let go control? And just accept the things we will encounter on our path? I think this is one of the lessons the Road to Santiago will teach us or has taught us.

We are on our way to Santiago De Compostela, walking that famous route, St. James Way or The Camino, the Road to Santiago. This month we were on route to Santiago together with Paulo Coelho and his guide Petrus. We are reading "The Pilgrimage" and there are only a few days left before this month will be over ... maybe we will succeed in our goal, maybe not .... well ... that's beyond control ... we will see let go of it .... we have had the precious experience to wander through the northern part of Spain we only can be happy ...

let go
the caged bird

© Chèvrefeuille

Along The Road to Santiago
Beyond control ... that's the title of this episode .... And it refers to something I read in "The Pilgrimage". During his journey, his pilgrimage, Paulo encounters several difficulties beyond control. One day he is attacked by a horrible dog and he remains with wounded hands. That same dog encounters him many times and one day he goes to a gypsy fortuneteller to ask her why this dog is so many times on his path. It turns out that this dog is his demon, his back-pack, he still has to carry. That dog will leave him alone only when he conquers his fears, his pride, his greed and more.

This scene looks familiar I think. Maybe not ... Maybe you know that classical novel by John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, a Christian allegory in which the leading character, Christian, has to carry a heavy burden until he reaches Calvary. Than he feels how the presence of the Holy Spirit reveals him the love and care of Jesus Christ. Right at that moment his burden comes loose, it's taken away by his saviour.

In this similarity we can see also that we aren't in control ... the Cosmos, Higher Spirit or what ever name you choose is in control. Again I sense that to go beyond control is letting go ...

Let us take a look at a quote from "The Pilgrimage":

[...] ‘In the life on the Road to Santiago, certain things happen that are beyond our control. When we first met, I told you that I had read in the gypsy’s eyes the name of the demon you would have to confront. I was surprised to learn that the demon was a dog, but I did not say anything to you about it at the time. Only after we arrived at that woman’s house – when for the first time, you showed the love that consumes – did I see your enemy.
‘When you chased away that woman’s dog, you did not place him anywhere. You didn’t hurl the spirits into a drove of pigs that was thrown over a precipice, as Jesus did. You simply chased the dog away. Now his force wanders along behind you, without a destination. Before finding your sword, you are going to have to decide whether you want to be enslaved by that force or
whether you will dominate it.’ [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

Along the Camino

[...] ‘A threat leads to nothing if it is not accepted. In fighting the good fight, you should never forget that. Just as you should never forget that both attacking and fleeing are part of the fight. What isn’t a part of the fight is becoming paralyzed by fear.’ [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

The above quotes show you what I mean I think. We can be in control, with letting go. Defeat your demons and become free .... go beyond control ... let go ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 29th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem honors Jane Reichhold (1937-2017) G.) whisper of rain

photo © Sandra Simpson

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the last episode of our special Theme Week in honor of Jane's 80th birthday. We have given her the attention she deserves and now we are going on with our lives. Jane decided to end her life last summer ... and if she would have been alive she would have become 80 on January 18th 2017. Because of that respectable age I decided to create this wonderful Theme Week to inspire you, but most of all to honor Jane. Jane has meant a lot for the haiku and tanka world, but also for several of us personally and I am proud that I can say that she was my friend, my mentor and my inspiration.

Today to close this Theme Week I have chosen a few of her haiku from her "A Dictionary of Haiku" (the online version), the following series of haiku are all extracted from the summer section of "A Dictionary of Haiku":

coming to sea cliffs
the off-shore breeze raises
a flower fragrance

curving with the land
a rainbow of clouds

moves out to sea

sunrise finds
fog in the valleys
fingers in sand

whisper of rain
on a sunny day the surf

wets my feet

sweeping the porch
bright prints of raindrops
followed by splashes

cloudy sunrise
all the bird song colors

on rounded raindrops

darkening beach
the warmth of a person's eyes
for the sinking sun

scattered in sand
embers of a saltwood fire
face to face with stars

shell beach
wind blowing through
a train whistle

© Jane Reichhold

A wonderful series of haiku themed "summer" and I hope that through this last episode of this special Theme Week to honor Jane Reichhold she will be in your heart forever ... for sure she will be in my heart forever ... and she will be here always at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai to inspire us.

a whisper of rain awakens me gently morning on the beach © Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 29th at noon (CET). Have fun !

Monday, January 23, 2017

Carpe Diem #1133 walking the Road

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month we are on our way to Santiago De Compostela together with Paulo Coelho and his guide Petrus. We have learned a lot and we have seen a lot. This Road to Santiago is really awesome and it turned out to be a spiritual adventure.

Today I love to challenge you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on a photo. I haven't enough time today to create a long episode, so what's easier ... just share an image to inspire you.

The Road to Santiago
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 28th at noon (CET).

Carpe Diem honors Jane Reichhold (1937-2017) F.) Sierra Mountains (tanka)

photo © Sandra Simpson

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the penultimate episode of our special Theme Week to celebrate Jane Reichhold's 80th birthday. Jane has meant a lot for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. She was co-host and she once said that Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is hte best website about haiku and other Japanese poetry forms around the globe. Of course that made me proud, but also humble. Who am I that I can and may do this ...

Yesterday I inspired you with haiku, so this day we will find ou inspiration in her tanka.

the dreamer
never dreaming
to live a dream
leaving everyone else
behind in the future

long meadow
is too short to hold
the emptiness
of leaving a family
longing for their faces

high in the mountains
suspended over the valley
even spirits
smoothing the paths
toe to heel, toe to heel

ocean breezes
a coolness blowing inland
my message
meets hers mid-air
the tie that binds

© Jane Reichhold (taken from: She Alone)

Sierra Mountains (image found on Pinterest)

In "She Alone" Jane describes a trip her daughter, Heidi, made into the Sierra Mountains. Between the stories Jane created tanka, so you can say that this is a tanka-haibun.

high up in the mountains
the air becomes thin and rich
taking my breath away
she ... the beauty of my life
brings me to a higher state

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 28th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem #1132 ‘The wrong answer will indicate the right one.’ (Petrus)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost at the goal of our pilgrimage of this month, Santiago De Compostela. We have walked the Road together with Paulo and his guide Petrus while we were reading "The Pilgrimage". During our walk we learned a few exercises, and maybe just as Paulo did, we don't see or know the purpose of these exercises, but than ... there is this situation, a problem to resolve or something and finally we see the purpose of these exercises.

While Paulo and Petrus are on their way they encounter a sacred cross that has broken and fallen. Paulo shakes his head, but doesn't do anything to resolve this. Petrus however commands him to repair the cross. And than Paulo experiences in a spiritual way what the Saviour has felt.

Wooden cross somewhere along the Road to Santiago

[...] ‘The wrong answer will indicate the right one.’ The impossible solution would be to try to drag the cross to a different place; I no longer had the strength to do that. It was also impossible to try digging deeper into the ground. So if the impossible answer was to go deeper into the earth, the possible answer was to raise the earth. But how?
And suddenly … I could raise the earth!
I began to collect all the stones nearby and placed them around the hole, mixing them with the earth I had removed. With great effort, I lifted the foot of the cross a little and supported it with stones to raise it higher off the ground. In half an hour, the ground was higher, and the hole was deep enough.  Now I just had to get the cross into the hole. It was the last step, and I had to make it work. One of my hands was numb, and the other was giving me a great deal of pain. My arms were wrapped in bandages. But my back was all right; it had just a few scratches. If I could lie down beneath the cross and raise it bit by bit, I would be able to slide it into the hole.
I stretched out on the ground, feeling the dust in my nose and eyes. With the hand that was numb, I raised the cross a fraction and slid underneath it. Carefully, I adjusted my position so that its trunk rested squarely on my back. I felt its weight and knew that it would be heavy to lift but not impossible. I thought about the Seed Exercise, and very slowly I squirmed into a fetal position, balancing the cross on my back. Several times I thought it was going to fall, but I was working slowly; I was able to sense the direction it might take and correct for it by repositioning my body. I finally achieved the position I wanted, with my knees in front of me and the cross balanced. For a moment, the foot of the cross shook on the pile of stones, but it did not fall out of place.

wooden cross somewhere along the Road to Santiago
‘It’s a good thing I don’t have to save the universe,’ I thought, oppressed by the weight of the cross and everything it represented. A profoundly religious feeling took possession of me. I remembered that another person had carried the cross on his shoulders and that his damaged hands had not been able to free themselves from the wood or the pain as mine could. This religious feeling was loaded down with pain, but I forgot about it immediately because the cross began to shake again.
Then, slowly raising myself up, I began a rebirth. I couldn’t look behind me, and sound was my only means of orientation. But just a while ago I had learned how to listen to the world, as if Petrus had guessed that I was going to need this kind of knowledge. I felt the weight of the cross and sensed that the stones were accommodating each other. The cross rose bit by bit, as if to help me in this test. It was as if the cross, itself, wanted to return to its position, framing that section of the Road to Santiago.
One final push was all that was needed. If I could get into a seated position, the trunk of the cross would slide down my back into the hole. One or two of the stones had been dislodged, but the cross was now helping me, since its foot remained in place where I had built up the wall. Finally, a pull on my back indicated that the base was free. It was the final moment, just as at the waterfall when I had had to fight my way through the current: the most difficult moment, because it is then that we fear failure and want to give up before it occurs. Once again I sensed how absurd the task was, trying to raise a cross when all I really wanted to do was find my sword. But none of these thoughts was important. With a sudden thrust, I raised my back, and  the cross slid into place. At that moment I recognized once again that fate had been directing the work I had done.
I stood there expecting the cross to fall in the other direction, scattering the stones I had placed. Then I thought that maybe my push had not been strong enough and that the cross was going to fall back on top of me. But what I heard was the muffled sound of something hitting against the bottom of the hole.
I turned carefully. The cross was upright, and it was still trembling from the impact. Some stones were rolling down their slope, but the cross was not going to fall. I quickly put the stones back in place and embraced  the cross so that it would stop wavering. I felt alive and hot, certain that the cross had been my friend throughout all of my work. I stepped away slowly, improving the placement of the stones with my feet. I stood there admiring my work for a long time, until my wounds began to hurt. Petrus was still asleep. I went over to him and nudged him with my foot. He awoke with a start and looked at the cross. ‘Very good,’ was all that he said." [...]
(Source: The Pilghrimage by Paulo Coelho)

In this piece from The Pilgrimage we read that Paulo uses the Seed Exercise to bring the cross in an upright position. Sometimes we need such an impossible situation to learn how to cope with it. Than we will remember that what we need to accomplish it.

In a way you can compare this with what is know as the impossible question, the koan, which we all will know, because of the fact that haiku (and tanka) can be such a koan, an impossible question that cannot be answered except through an "aha-erlebnis", a moment of clarity of mind.

The Road to Santiago ... it's a beautiful road to walk, but it certainly isn't an easy road ... It will "torture" you, but it also will "surprise" you. The nature along the Road is breathtaking and the hospitality of the people along the Road is legendary ... yes it is an once in your lifetime experience and I hope you have felt this during this month.

along the road
poppies start blooming again -
the scent of straw

© Chèvrefeuille

a whispered prayer -
pilgrims on their way to Santiago
walking the Path of God
reaching out to their deepest thoughts
seeking the Light

seeking the Light
while chanting psalms or mantras
pilgrims on their way
enjoying Mother Earth's beauty -
a whispered prayer
© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 27th at noon (CET).

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Carpe Diem honors Jane Reichhold (1937-2017) E.) Fuji No Yama

photo © Sandra Simpson

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to bring you a new episode of our special Theme Week "Carpe Diem honors Jane Reichhold'. As you all know the haiku and tanka world has a lot to be grateful of and I think we can be grateful for all that Jane has meant for the haiku and tanka world. Jane was one of the best modern haiku poetesses I know and she was part of our Haiku Kai family for a few years. If she would still be alive we had celebrated her 80th birthday, but as you all know Jane died last year. So this Theme Week is special because we are celebrating her 80th birthday with a lot of wonderful poems created by her.

Today I love to share a few of her haiku to inspire you. This time I have chosen you bring a few spring haiku written by her. These haiku I have extracted from her "A Dictionary of Haiku", a modern saijiki.

spring clouds above Fuji No Yama, the holy mountain of Japan
morning breeze
coming in the window
surf sounds

changing forms
all around the Buddha
clouds in a blue sky

flooding the river
with spring

spring cloud melt
flooding river willows
green leaves

© Jane Reichhold (A Dictionary of Haiku, spring part)

A lovely series of haiku of spring by Jane. And the image of Mount Fuji No Yama, the holy mountain of Japan, brings me also the possibility to tell you a little bit of our upcoming month. I remember that I had other plans for February, but recently I read a wonderful story, more a diary, about Japan, the land of the rising sun. That story triggered me and it brought me an idea for next month. Next month, February, we will travel through Japan. We will visit places which are important for us haiku poets, but we also will discover that wonderful country where our beloved haiku (and tanka) was born.

Image found on Pinterest
cherry blossoms bloom
in praise of the gods Fuji No Yama

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 27th at noon (CET). Have fun!