Thursday, March 30, 2017

Carpe Diem Namasté, The Spiritual Way #6 Haiku's State of Mind - Zen

!! Open for your submissions Sunday April 2nd 7.00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome  at our "weekend-meditation" episode of this week. This week I have a nice episode of Carpe Diem Namasté The Spiritual Way for you to mediate and contemplate on. As you all know you can respond on this "weekend-meditation" on Sunday after publishing. This gives you the time to think it over and meditate on it ...

This week I had some trouble to getting an idea for this Namasté episode, but after a while I thought maybe I can do something on Zen Buddhism, because that's one of the pillars for a classical haiku. Maybe this will episode will give you an idea how to bring spirituality into you haiku. As you all know (maybe) next month, April, I will have all classical (maybe sometimes modern) kigo (seasonwords) for spring, also a pillar of haiku. April will be in total classical, because I hope to challenge you to create haiku and tanka based on the classical rules. (These classical rules you can find in our exclusive e-book "In The Way of Basho" above in the menu).

Let me take you "by the hand", let's go find out what haiku and spirituality have to do with each other.

Maybe you remember that we have had a series here at CDHK about "Zen in haiku", based on the "bible" of  haiku, the four volumes "Haiku" by R.H.Blyth.

cover of Volume 4 of the series by R.H. Blyth
To start with I have a haiku in which one of the most important issues of Zen Buddhism, Emptiness, is mentioned and with that haiku I hope to start this episode of Namasté and bring it to a great end.

an empty bowl
but in it is the spirit of emptiness -
the spring breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

This is the "heart" of haiku .... emptiness .... based on the ideas and thoughts of Zen Buddhism, but in haiku it's not only "emptiness" it is also "selflessness", "loneliness", "wordlessness", "simplicity" and "grateful acceptance". And of course there will be more to say, but that is not possible in the shallowness of this episode ...

Last week I brought the idea of "emptiness" already towards you all, so I think this is a clear thought already. So let us take a look at the other things mentioned here. First "selflessness" ... What is selflessness? It is a condition in which things are seen without reference to profit or loss, even of some remote, spiritual kind.
If you start writing haiku the first thing that will be said to you is "don't personalize your haiku, the poet has no place in your haiku, it's only nature". Maybe you have heard that when you started to create haiku. But in my opinion the haiku I create are me, in my haiku I am always present, because I am the poet who has crafted it. Haiku is a nice way to say things as you feel them and sometimes you need to bring yourself into the haiku (or tanka).

the butterfly having disappeared,
my spirit
came back to me

© Wafu 

woodblock print "butterfly" (image found on Pinterest)
And than "loneliness". What is loneliness? I think you all know that, but as Zen explains it: Loneliness is the underlying rhythm of thought rather than the thought itself. Loneliness we can bring into our haiku, an example:

through the city park near by
just the wind and me

© Chèvrefeuille

Or this one crafted by Buson, one of the "big five":

an autumn eve;
there is joy too,
in loneliness

© Buson

There is need to use words for haiku and tanka, for all kinds of poetry and other writing skills. Without words we don't create, but "wordlessness" is also one of the pillars of the classical haiku, but how can that be?
What does "wordlessness" mean in Zen Buddhism? Zen is essentially a wordless state, in which words are used, not to express anything, but rather to clear away something that seems to stand between us and the real things which are then perceived by self-knowledge.

Or as Thoreau says at the end of Walden:

"The volatile truth of our words should continually betray the inadequacy of the residual statement. Their truth is instantly translated; its literal monument alone remains."

this evening, ... the happiness,
while I washed my feet, ...
those two or three words

© Kaito

There are times when words lose their own power and serve us in humility and truth, when our thoughts peacefully arrange themselves in conformity with the order of things.

a gleam in the mirror
of colored leaves falling -
the sound of rain

© Chèvrefeuille

Zen has an extreme simplicity, and the  volubility of the Japanese language has been completely overcome in haiku. When we say "Eastern Thought", meaning the manner of apprehending the world by Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Indians, we refer to a unity of Chinese practicality, Japanese simplicity and plainness, Korean independence, and Indian non-ego-ness. That's simplicity. Isn't that what we are trying to do in our haiku and tanka? Trying to say, describe, a scene in its most naked form, in its most simple way .... isn't that what we do?

For example this haiku by Basho, my master:

the Rose of Sharon
by the roadside,
was eaten by the horse

© Basho

That simple it is. Basho describes just what happened ... that horse eating. Or this one ... also just a description of the scene as it is:

what a joy
the song of birds
a new day rises

© Chèvrefeuille

That is what it is, every day again ... that is simplicity. We are all wonderful haiku and tanka poets, let us be grateful for all what nature gives us ... the Earth herself and all that is on, in and above it provides us with the scenery to use in our haiku or tanka ... just that simple ...

cherry blossom petals
fall one by one in the puddle
hugged by the moon

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... enough to mediate and contemplate I think. Have a great weekend.

This Namasté episode is open for your submissions on Sunday April 2nd at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 7th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, the first prompt of April, a classical kigo, also on Sunday April 2nd around 7.00 PM (CET). For now ... have a great weekend and I hope I have inspired you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry forms.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Carpe Diem #1182 drop of rain

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Here it is the last regular episode of CDHK's exploration of Persian poetry "praise to the emptiness" in which we explored wonderful poems by three very renown Persian poets, Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi. In this last episode I have a nice poem by Saadi for you, maybe it's not a poem more a kind of parable (as Jesus Christ for example told), but I think it's a nice way to conclude this beautiful spiritual month full of poems ...

Well ... I will again make it myself easy and give you only the poem without my thoughts on it. Just enjoy the read and become inspired.

The Pearl and the Ocean

A drop of rain trickled from a cloud into the ocean. When it beheld the breadth of its waters it was utterly confounded:

"What a place is this Sea, and what am I? If it is existent, verily I am non-existent."

Whilst it was thus regarding itself with the eye of contempt, an oyster received and cherished it in its bosom.

Fortune preferred it to a place of honor; for it became a renowned royal Pearl.

Because it was humble, it found exaltation: it knocked at the door of Nonentity that it might arise into Being.

© Saadi (c. 1213-1291) (From The Bustan; translated by Samuel Robinson)

I hope you all did like this month of CDHK in its new "environment". As I look back on this month I know that you did like it and I also know that the way I have "re-done" CDHK has become awesome. I like my weekends off and that gave me more peace, a better health and for sure more energy.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 3rd at noon (CET). I will publish our "weekend meditation", a new Namasté episode, later on. For now ... have fun!

PS. I hope to publish our new promptlist before the weekend.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Carpe Diem #1181 broken heart

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another day in haiku and tanka paradise ... Today I have a beautiful poem by Hafiz, the most loved poet of Persia. Every Persian (Iranian), old and young, can at least recite one poem written by him. Hafiz is renown all around the world and that makes him the most important and renown Persian poet ever.

I hvae chosen to make it myself easy today. So I will give you only the poem by Hafiz and than you can go ... create your own haiku or tanka inspired on the poem by Hafiz, or maybe a ghazal or Sijo.

This poem is titled: I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again and is extracted from: Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved in a translation by Thomas Rain Crowe.

Broken Heart
And here is the poem by Hafiz to inspire you:

I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
It's not my fault that with a broken heart, I've gone this way.

In front of a mirror they have put me like a parrot,
And behind the mirror the Teacher tells me what to say.

Whether I am perceived as a thorn or a rose, it's
The Gardener who has fed and nourished me day to day.

O friends, don't blame me for this broken heart;
Inside me there is a great jewel and it's to the Jeweler's shop I go.

Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,
Don't judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away.

All that laughing and weeping of lovers must be coming from some other place;
Here, all night I sing with my winecup and then moan for You all day.

If someone were to ask Hafiz, "Why do you spend all your time sitting in
The Winehouse door?," to this man I would say, "From there, standing,
I can see both the Path and the Way.

© Hafiz (Tr. Thomas Rain Crowe)

And this is my attempt to create a tanka based on this poem:

broken in the bud
trembled love
you left me alone
and broke my heart

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 2nd at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, drop of rain, later on. For now .... have fun!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Carpe Diem #1180 departure

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Recently I read a wonderful weblog on spiritual growth and I hope that is a little bit the task of CDHK too. Maybe you are familiar with the idea of spiritual growth and if not .... well no problem at all. We are now living in what is called "the time of Aquarius" this is the time in which (according to astrology) humankind is ascending to another state of spiritual life. This is the time of spiritual growth. As we look around us than we can see that in so many things. For example we can see this in nature, global warming, makes us aware that we have to do something, we have to care for nature. Without nature we as humans cannot live. We need nature, not just for our food, but also for our spiritual health and physical health. Nature ... the major theme for us as haiku and tanka poets. We are the keepers of nature or as I stated earlier this month we are the keepers of Earth. We need her ...

This month I choose for the beauty of Persian poetry and themed this month "praise to the emptiness" and I think that theme was in almost all the poems we have read this month.  What is "emptiness"? Well it's one of the pillars of Zen Buddhism and for haiku (and tanka). Every haiku (or tanka) needs that emptiness, not only in its words, but also in its lay-out. In one of my first haiku anthologies I published (back in 1998) I had only one haiku a page ... That emptiness places the haiku at the most important spot ... in the center.

Today I have a wonderful poem by Rumi. This poem titled "departure" is extracted from 'Persian Poems', an Anthology of verse translations edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman's Library, 1972 and translated by R.A. Nicholson. As I read this poem I saw dervishes swirl and maybe that makes this poem that awesome. Dervishes swirl, a Sufi way of meditating, to make contact with the Higher Power, with God or Allah or what ever name you will give it.

As I wrote earlier in this post emptiness is very important, but of course there is also need for a nice post to read I think, so I didn't choose for a lay-out with emptiness, but maybe you can use that idea of emptiness in the lay out for your response.


Up, O ye lovers, and away! 'Tis time to leave the world for aye.
Hark, loud and clear from heaven the form of parting calls-let none delay!
The cameleer hat risen amain, made ready all the camel-train,
And quittance now desires to gain: why sleep ye, travellers, I pray?
Behind us and before there swells the din of parting and of bells;
To shoreless space each moment sails a disembodied spirit away.
From yonder starry lights, and through those curtain-awnings darkly blue,
Mysterious figures float in view, all strange and secret things display.
From this orb, wheeling round its pole, a wondrous slumber o'er thee stole:
O weary life that weighest naught, O sleep that on my soul dost weigh!
O heart, toward they heart's love wend, and O friend, fly toward the Friend,
Be wakeful, watchman, to the end: drowse seemingly no watchman may.

© Rumi (Tr. R. A. Nicholson)

What can this poem mean? Reading it and re-reading it It brings me the idea of leaving this world, or in other words ... death. Is this what is meant here? I think it is, but maybe it is also a way of telling that you have to leave your common path and take another route ... or even more in other words ... it is time for changing your path ... to grow spiritual.

Departure (Image found on Pinterest)

Here at CDHK we have had "departure" earlier as prompt. As I was preparing this post I ran into the history of CDHK and found a few nice posts about "departure".

farewell verse
as I depart from the train station -
forget me not

© Chèvrefeuille 

Or what do you think of this haiku by Basho which he wrote at the beginning of "Narrow Road", his most famous haibun?

the passing spring
birds mourn, fishes weep
with tearful eyes

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Or this one by myself which I wrote (and published) earlier this month:

reborn again
leaving all behind
first spring day

© Chèvrefeuille

Departure ... is something we see very often in our daily life, not only real departure, but also spiritual departure (as it is meant in the poem by Rumi). Departure is part of our lives. Its included in our life.

autumn departure (Japan)

Maybe this tanka fits the poem by Rumi more than I first thought, so let's give it a try as a response on this poem by Rumi:

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

© Chèvrefeuille

Departure ... it's part of our life ... 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 1st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, broken heart, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carpe Diem #1179 Arise

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

The weekend is almost gone and as I am publishing this new episode the submissions also start for our "weekend meditation". I must admit that I am grateful that I have chosen to be free in the weekends. It gives me time to relax and the opportunity to do the private things I need. For example: visiting relatives or just sit back and read that novel that I started to read but never brought to its end. So these weekends off are a blessing.

This month we are exploring the beauty of Persian poetry and today I have a well known poetess for you. Her name is Tahirih and she was a Baha' i believer. Her being Baha'i was the reason that she was executed, because she had left Islam and became Baha'i. After her death her poetry became almost holy for the Baha'i. Let me tell you a little bit more about her.

Tahirih (photo found on Pinterest)
Táhirih ("The Pure One"), also called Qurratu l-ʿAyn ("Solace/Consolation of the Eyes") are both titles of Fatimah Baraghani (1814 or 1817 – August 16–27, 1852), an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion. The daughter of Muhammad Salih Baraghani, she was born into one of the most prominent Azeri families of her time. Táhirih led a radical interpretation that, though it split the Babi community, wedded messianism with Bábism.

As a young girl she was educated privately by her father and showed herself a proficient writer. Whilst in her teens she married the son of her uncle, with whom she had a difficult marriage. In the early 1840s she became familiar with the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and began a secret correspondence with his successor Kazim Rashti. Táhirih travelled to the Shi'i holy city of Karbala to meet Kazim Rashti, but he died a number of days before her arrival. In 1844 aged about 27, she became acquainted with the teachings of the Báb and accepted his religious claims. She soon won renown and infamy for her zealous teachings of his faith and "fearless devotion". Subsequently exiled back to Iran, Táhirih taught her faith at almost every opportunity. The Persian clergy grew resentful of her and endeavoured to have her imprisoned and stopped. She battled with her family throughout her life who wanted her to return to the traditional beliefs of her family.

Táhirih was probably best remembered for unveiling herself in an assemblage of men during the Conference of Badasht. The unveiling caused a great deal of controversy and the Báb named her "the Pure One" to show his support for her. She was soon arrested and placed under house arrest in Tehran. A few years later in mid-1852 she was executed in secret on account of her Bábí faith. Since her death Bábí and Bahá’í literature venerated her to the level of martyr, being described as "the first woman suffrage martyr". As a prominent Bábí (she was the seventeenth disciple or "Letter of the Living" of the Báb) she is highly regarded by Bahá'ís and Azalis and often mentioned in Bahá'í literature as an example of courage in the struggle for women's rights. Her date of birth is uncertain as birth records were destroyed at her execution.

Shrine of the Bab in Haifa
The poem I have chosen is in my opinion one of her best.


O slumbering one, the beloved has arrived, arise!
Brush off the dust of sleep and self, arise!
Behold the good will has arrived,
Come not before him with tears, arise!
The mender of concerns has come to you,
O heavy-hearted one, arise!
O one afflicted by separation,
Behold the good tidings of the beloved’s union, arise!
O you withered by autumn,
Now spring has come, arise!
Behold the New Year brings a fresh life,
O withered corps of yesteryear, up from your tomb, arise!

© Tahirih (Tr. Farzaneh Milani)

Well ... I think I didn't say to much ... a real beauty. It inspired me to create the following poem:

the darkness has gone
cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, daffodils
awake and praise the Creator

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you liked this post and of course I hope it will inspire you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form. 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, departure, later on. For now ... have fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Carpe Diem Universal Jane #13 Sijo the Korean poem

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new weekend meditation this week I love to introduce through the work of Jane Reichhold the beauty of Sijo, the Korean poem. I found a wonderful article on Jane and Werner Reichhold's website AHA Poetry which I love to share here with you. As you all know I am still a big fan of Jane Reichhold and still miss her every day. That's the reason why I have created this special feature for CDHK. Jane has done a lot for us and for me. So in honor of this great poetess, the queen of haiku and tanka, and as it turns out also a big creator of Sijo.


The spring breeze melted snow on the hills then quickly disappeared.
I wish I could borrow it briefly to blow over my hair
And melt away the aging frost forming now about my ears.

© U T'ak (1262-1342, author of this oldest surviving sijo)

More ancient than haiku, the Korean SIJO shares a common ancestry with haiku, tanka and similar Japanese genres. All evolved from more ancient Chinese patterns.

Sijo is traditionally composed in three lines of 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle; it resembles a caesura but is not based on metrics.

My body, in its withering, may become a lovely swallow.
Under the eaves of my loved one's home I'll build my nest of twigs.
After dusk I'll fly aloft and glide gently to his side.

© Anonymous

Mind, I have a question for you - How is it you stay so young?
As the years pile up on my body, you too should grow old.
Oh, if I followed your lead, Mind, I would be run out of town.

© Anonymous

Each half-line contains 6-9 syllables; the last half of the final line is often shorter than the rest, but should contain no fewer than 5.

A drum beats in the far temple; I think it's in the clouds.
Is it above the meadow and hill, perhaps below the sky?
Something sends a veil of mist, I cannot heed the drum.

© Anonymous

Oh that I might capture the essence of this deep midwinter night
And fold it softly into the waft of a spring-moon quilt
Then fondly uncoil it the night my beloved returns.

© Hwang Chin-i (1522-1565) most revered female Korean classical poet

The sijo may be narrative or thematic, introducing a situation or problem in line 1, development or "turn" in line 2, and resolution in line 3. The first half of the final line employs a "twist": a surprise of meaning, sound, tone or other device. The sijo is often more lyrical, subjective and personal than haiku, and the final line can take a profound, witty, humorous or proverbial turn. Like haiku, sijo has a strong basis in nature, but, unlike that genre, it frequently employs metaphors, symbols, puns, allusions and similar word play.

You ask how many friends I have? Water and stone, bamboo and pine.
The moon rising over the eastern hill is a joyful comrade.
Besides these five companions, what other pleasure should I ask?

© Yon Son-do (1587-1671)

Printing restrictions often cause Western sijo to be divided at the natural break and printed in 6 lines. Some translators and poets have adopted this technique, so modern sijo may appear in either 3 or 6 lines;

Under our oak the grass withers,
so we plant petunias;
We water them, we coddle them,
burn their youth with chemicals.
Digesting their timely death,
the oak renews our summer shade.

Because it was meant to be sung, and because of the nature Hangul (the Korean script), the structure of sijo often resembles biblical phrases. In English, it may resemble Hopkins' sprung rhythm. To achieve this phrasal quality, each long line, once divided, is divided again, into quarters averaging 3 - 5 syllables, as indicated by the slashes:

Without the pines / the wind is silent;
without wind / the pines are still;
Without you / my heart is voiceless,
without that voice / my heart is dead.
What potent power / of yang and yin
pairs us / before we sleep?

Though quarter lines are seldom divided so obviously, a discernible (even if slight) pause is usually evident. Sijo may be highly repetitive. Phrases may be repeated or echoed, a trait revealing the sijo's heritage to be sung or chanted. Meter is not vital, but that musical link should not be overlooked.

The 6-line form was preferred by William Kim (Unsong) in his translation of 100 classical sijo (Poet, An International Monthly, March, 1986). Kim experimentally employed end rhyme and broke the verse into three separate couplets, two conventions not usually used by other translators. Take care in using such devices. They can result in a poem that looks, sounds and acts so Western that it obscures its unique heritage. I have written both 3-line and 6-line patterns, but usually prefer the former when format allows. Poets are always free to make choices, but Elizabeth St Jacques, a leader in the sijo movement, offers good advice: never lose sight of the three characteristics that make sijo unique: basic structure, musical/rhythmic elements, and the twist.

Let me ask you, butterfly, do you remember your cocoon?
Perhaps you recall spinning thread, a caterpillar's ungainly crawl?
If we can jog your memory, maybe there is hope for me.

© Jane Reichhold

Well this is a wonderful kind of poetry and I hope I have inspired you to try it yourself. Here is an attempt I once made to create Sijo:

Cherry trees blossoming for the very first time
spreading their branches, reaching for the sun
thunderstorms raging, fragile blossoms scattered

© Chèvrefeuille

As you all know this "weekend-meditation" is open for your submissions next Sunday, March 26th at 7.00 PM (CET) and will be open until March 31st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new post, arise, around 7.00 PM (CET) next Sunday Match 26th.

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Carpe Diem #1178 Theme Week Hafiz (4) knowledge

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is the last post for the Theme Week about Hafiz, the most beloved poet from the Persian (Iranian) people. Almost every one, young and old, can recite the poems of Hafiz. His poems are really beautiful and full of wisdom. The Persian people know that, they are using his poetry to get answers on their questions and today's poem is one of the most wonderful in my opinion with a great message.

The poem is titled: "The School of Truth" and is extracted from "Drunk On the Wind of the Beloved" in a translation by Thomas Rain Crowe.

School of Truth

O fool, do something, so you won't just stand there looking dumb.
If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?
In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.
So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!
All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;
By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.
Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,
I promise you'll shine brighter than a dozen suns.
And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love's alchemist, you should be working with gold.
Don't sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God's sea.
Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.
For those who see only God, their vision
Is pure, and not a doubt remains.
Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,
If you are doubtless, you won't lose a thing.
O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,
Be the dust at the Wise One's door, and speak!

© Hafiz 

In this poem I read something interesting which brought me the idea to dive into the ancient secretive knowledge of the Alchemists.

Alchemist's Laboratory
Maybe you know Paulo Coelho's novel "The Alchemist", it was his first novel and one of the best he wrote in my opinion. In this novel Paulo describes the story of a young man on a quest to find a treasure on which he had a dream. His quest brings him finally to Egypt and its pyramids. During his quest he encounters an Alchemist who is on a quest to find the fountain of life or the elixer of life. The young man is caught immediately by that idea, but he also is caught by the search for the stone of wisdom to turn everything into gold (like the story of that Greek king Midas).

As I was reading "The Alchemist" I was caught by the secretive knowledge of the Alchemists. So let me tell you a little bit more about that. By the way ... while diving into this matter I ran into a muslim Alchemist, so maybe that fits our theme too.

Alchemy is a philosophical and proto-scientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Egypt and Asia. It aimed to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble" ones (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent. The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and western tradition, the achievement of gnosis. In Europe, the creation of a philosopher's stone was variously connected with all of these projects.
Jabir ibn Hayyan, the father of Chemistry
As I mentioned above I ran into an alchemist from Persia. Let me tell you a little about him. His name was Jabir ibn Hayyan and he lived from 712 until 815, so he lived for over 100 years. He is nowadays known as "the father of chemistry".
Jabir was a natural philosopher who lived mostly in the 8th century; he was born in Tus, Khorasan, in Persia, well known as Iran then ruled by the Umayyad Caliphate. Jabir in the classical sources has been entitled differently as al-Azdi al-Barigi or al-Kufi or al-Tusi or al-Sufi.
In total, nearly 3,000 treatises and articles are credited to him. The scope of the corpus is vast: cosmology, music, medicine, magic, biology, chemical technology, geometry, grammar, metaphysics, logic, artificial generation of living beings, along with astrological predictions, and symbolic Imâmî myths.
The 112 Books dedicated to the Barmakids, viziers of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. This group includes the Arabic version of the Emerald Tablet, an ancient work that proved a recurring foundation of and source for alchemical operations. In the Middle Ages it was translated into Latin (Tabula Smaragdina) and widely diffused among European alchemists.
The Seventy Books, most of which were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages. This group includes the Kitab al-Zuhra ("Book of Venus") and the Kitab Al-Ahjar ("Book of Stones").
The Ten Books on Rectification, containing descriptions of alchemists such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
The Books on Balance; this group includes his most famous 'Theory of the balance in Nature'.
Jabir states in his Book of Stones (4:12) that "The purpose is to baffle and lead into error everyone except those whom God loves and provides for". His works seem to have been deliberately written in highly esoteric code, so that only those who had been initiated into his alchemical school could understand them. It is therefore difficult at best for the modern reader to discern which aspects of Jabir's work are to be read as ambiguous symbols, and what is to be taken literally. Because his works rarely made overt sense, the term gibberish is believed to have originally referred to his writings .

It is said that Jabir ibn Hayyah has influenced the Weestern world is a great way. And that makes this little "circle" complete, because with this sentence I am back at the poem by Hafiz. Hafiz's works are renown around the globe and I think his poems have influenced the Western world as much as did Jabir ibn Hayyan.

Alchemy (phot found on Pinterest)

I think the poem by Hafiz describes the alchemy between God, Allah, Higher Self, Great Spirit or what ever name you will give it. Without an open mind and a heart full of love you cannot have a relation with that Higher Power. I think that we, haiku poets, are also a kind of alchemists, because we can tell a lot in just a few words, with those few words we describe the beauty of the Creation and through that we are the alchemists ... through that we know that our love for nature can be a "trigger" to find the Philosopher's Stone to help the world to appreciate nature and its beauty to the max.

strong medicine for love
nature smiles

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode, it wasn't an easy task to create it, because I love this Alchemy and all that has to do with it, so ... if this episode was to long than my excuses for that.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, a new weekend-meditation with Universal Jane, later on. For now .... have fun!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Carpe Diem #1177 Theme Week Hafiz (3) morning breeze


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I like to create these posts here at CDHK. It is always a joy to make them and to see how everyone is responding. I am truly proud to be your host here at CDHK and I am glad to see how you all are responding this month and especially this week.
In this Theme Week I introduce beautiful poems by Hafiz to you and today I have another beauty to share, but first I love to share a few "morning breeze" haiku and tanka here:

A haiku by Yosa Buson:

see the morning breeze
ruffling his so silky hair -
cool Caterpillar

© Buson
And a tanka by Chenou Liu:

the morning breeze
turns maple leaves to song...
alone at my desk
I hear how Mother's words
'come home' have aged

© Chenou Liu (source: poemhunter)
And here are two haiku I once wrote in which I used "breeze":

young cherry trees -
morning breeze caresses
fragile blossoms

cherry blossoms bloom
such a fragile beauty -
morning breeze
© Chèvrefeuille

Cherry blossoms
Well ... let us take a look at the poem by Hafiz for today's inspiration. Another beauty I would say. This poem is titled "Like The Morning Breeze" and is taken from "Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved" in a translation by Thomas Rain Crowe.

Like The Morning Breeze

Like the morning breeze, if you bring to the morning good deeds,
The rose of our desire will open and bloom.
Go forward, and make advances down this road of love;
In forward motion, the pain is great.
To beg at the door of the Winehouse is a wonderful alchemy.
If you practice this, soon you will be converting dust into gold.
O heart, if only once you experience the light of purity,
Like a laughing candle, you can abandon the life you live in your head.
But if you are still yearning for cheap wine and a beautiful face,
Don't go out looking for an enlightened job.
Hafiz, if you are listening to this good advice,
The road of Love and its enrichment are right around the curve.

© Hafiz
A wonderful poem and I hope it will inspire you to create haiku, tanka or another Japanese poetry form. Have fun!
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 26th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, knowledge, later on.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Carpe Diem #1176 Theme Week Hafiz (2) lover


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today is the second day of the Theme Week for this month in which we are exploring the beauty of Persian (Iranian) poetry especially through the poems by Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi. In this Theme Week Hafiz plays the "leading role" because of the fact that he is one of the most loved Persian poets nowadays. His poetry is used by a lot of Persian (Iranian) people to get answers on "burning" questions.
As we saw yesterday in our first Theme Week episode ... the poems by Hafiz can give certain answers on deeper questions ... and today I think that's also true.

The title of this episode "lover" is extracted from a wonderful poem title "Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover" (part of "The Gift"). In this poem Hafiz describes the meaning of prayer through the idea of a beautiful woman. And if you read this poem again (and again) than it's almost a prayer. A prayer in praise of the Creator. Hafiz describes praying as a kind of love.

Persian Lovers (painting)

Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover

Let thought become the beautiful Woman.
Cultivate your mind and heart to that depth

That it can give you everything
A warm body can.
Why just keep making love with God's child--

When the Friend Himself is standing
Before us
So open-armed?
My dear,
Let prayer become your beautiful Lover

And become free,
Become free of this whole world
Like Hafiz.

© Hafiz taken from “The Gift” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
A wonderful poem don't you think so too? In this poem I read Hafiz's strong love for all and everything and through his love for God ... he has become free ... Is this what he means in this poem? Praying can set you free ... I think that is possible, but I think not everyone will "learn" that from this poem ... it's maybe not the answer on your question ...

I dived in to my archives and found a few haiku and a tanka in which the "answer" from the poem by Hafiz can be found. I realised while I was searching through my archives that I had written a lot of haiku (and tanka) about praying and prayer.

praying hands
stronger than weapons
I believe
praying to a Higher Power
gives me strength

© Chèvrefeuille

in deep prayer
eyes closed in devotion -
Lotus starts to bloom
deep silence
only whispered prayers -
the scent of incense

Praying Eagle

praying hands
seeking the wisdom of the Lord -
cry of an eagle
scent of Jasmine
the sound of a gurgling brook
my mind in peace

praying to the gods
offering them the gifts of nature
peace of mind

© Chèvrefeuille
Another beautiful poem by Hafiz we have explored in this episode. Hafiz is really one of the greatest Persian poets I think. I hope you did like this episode and that I have inspired you.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 25th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, morning breeze, later on. For now have fun!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Carpe Diem #1175 Theme Week Hafiz (1) potted plant


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first episode of the Theme Week (new style) in which I bring a week of specific prompts. This Theme Week I love to share only poems by Hafiz and maybe tell you something more about his background, but that's not certain as I am creating this episode.

This Carpe Diem month we have read already beautiful poems by Hafiz and I hope this week will bring you all a little bit more beauty by Hafiz. As you could have read in the earlier posts this month the Persian people often seek answers for their questions in the poems of Hafiz ... so maybe the poems in this Theme Week will give you answers on questions or thoughts you have. If that's what is going to happen than I am glad ... I think the spirit of Hafiz moves around here at CDHK and maybe he will give you the answers you need, but mostly this week is meant to bring the beauty of Hafiz's poems closer to you.

potted plants to decorate the fench
The first poem for this Theme Week is titled "potted plant" and it is taken from "The Subject Tonight Is Love", translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

In this poem we can read how Hafiz is honoring and praising God by taking care of a the earth. In this poem that "potted plant" is synonymous with caring for and cherishing the Earth. He praises the beauty of the moon ... she ... my love too.

A Potted Plant
I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.

And at night I let my pet the moon
Run freely into the sky meadow.

If I whistled,
She would turn her head and look at me.

If I then waved my arms,
She would come back wagging a marvelous
Of stars.

There are always a few men like me
In this world
Who are house-sitting for God.
We share His royal duties:
I water each day a favorite potted plant
Of His--
This earth.
Ask the Friend for love.
Ask Him again.
For I have learned that every heart will get
What it prays for

© Hafiz (or Hafez) taken from:  'The Subject Tonight Is Love' Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Persian nature (photo found on Pinterest)
What can this poem mean, is there an answer for your questions? Let me take a closer look at this poem. As I read and re-read this poem than I read a song of praise for our Creator. In a way in this poem Hafiz shows us the beauty of the creation, and that we have to care for it.
In this poem I also read that our Creator loves us and cherishes us and that He will give us what we need. The earth provides us with all we need, we have to take care of her ... That's a very important issue by the way nowadays.

I could ask the following question: "What can we do to take care of our surroundings, our neighborhood? And ... read this poem again and it gives me the right answer. So ... this is maybe what the Persian (Iranian) people experience as the ask their questions ...

Well ... a poem with a message I would say, a message to us all ... "take care of Mother Nature" and I think that we, haiku poets, can bring that message too. Haiku is ... the poetry of nature.

I dived into my archives and made a little "gathering" of haiku and tanka that fits this poem by Hafiz I think.

wandering through the woods
no paved paths to walk on
bare footed I feel
in the arms of nature
resting like a little child -
scent of fallen leaves

as far as I can see
the blue sea surrounded by mountains
black like the night
 © Chèvrefeuille
Aurora Borealis (photo found on Pinterest)
sign of the gods
the night painted in thousand colors -
cracking snow
reflects the 'dance of the spirits'
aurora borealis
rustling bamboo -
song of a Nightingale fades away
a new day rises
in the mystery of the dawn
the sound of rain

© Chèvrefeuille
I hope I have inspired you with this post.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 24th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, lover, later on.