Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Seven Days Before Christmas started 7 days ago so today I have the last episode of this traditional feature for this time of year. Time to look back maybe or time to look forward ... we will see. Today I have chosen the theme "Christmas stress" and I think you all can relate to that. To me Christmas stress isn't something I suffer from, because stress doesn't fit my character and life style, but ... today I had the chance to experience it.
My wife and I were doing our last Christmas shoppings and in one of the shops we were ... one could sense the stress. In front of every pay desk there were rows of curstomers. Shopping carts full of food, drink and presents and faces that were physical exhausted, sometimes even sad or angry. As I saw those faces the only thing I could do was shaking my head "what are you all doing to yourselves" I thought.
Christmas stress ... no way. Christmas preparations are the most wonderful time of the year. We are preparing our homes for the most beautiful holiday I know. Of course I have to do my Christmas shoppings, but always with a smile on my face. Every year again we try to create an awesome brunch for our family. I enjoy that a lot. I love having all my kids and grandchildren around me and they love to be at our family-home.
This year wasn't our most wonderful year by the way. Two of our kids divorced or broke up with their partners and one of my kids had a tough year financial seen, but we succeeded to help them not only financial, but mostly through our unconditional love for our kids and grandchildren. 2017 is a year we would love to forget immediately, privately seen of course. As I look at myself ... than I had a wonderful year. I concluded a tough course on medicins and I became chairman of the board for nurses in the hospital where I work as an oncology nurse.
Than there were other wonderful things to celebrate. This year Carpe Diem Haiku Kai celebrated its fifth anniversary with a wonderful month in which we looked back into our wonderful history. I am glad and proud that Carpe Diem Haiku Kai has become one of the most loved places on the Internet for haiku-, tanka- and other Japanese poetry poets. We had a wonderful year I think. Again we explored the beauty of our world. Let us take a short trip along memory-lane back to the start of 2017.
In January we read "The Pilgrimage" by Paulo Coelho and we walked the "Road to Santiago" together with him.
along the Road
only the sound of nature to enjoy
listen just listen
And there was that tribute Theme Week for Jane Reichhold to celebrate her 80th birthday.
Than February came and we went on a journey through the homeland of haiku, Japan the Land of the Rising Sun.
hidden in the forest
I ran into a secret hot spring -
Ah! that sweet scent
2017 was a year in which we discovered the beauty of Persian poetry starting with that beautiful month about several Persian poets. March was a real joy to create. I discovered the beauty of Persian poetry and that beauty I loved to share with you.
piece of straw
blown off into emptiness
a new beginning
Through this month I fell in love with the beautiful poetry by Hafiz and Rumi. I only can hope you did fall in love too with Persian poetry.
This year was also about some classical rules we know for writing haiku (or tanka) and in April that was our goal to create haiku (or tanka) with the use of classical and non-classical kigo (seasonwords).
while the music is playing
cherry blossoms fall
In May we had our second edition of our Tan Renga month, a month full of the beauty of that short chained renga written by two poets. By the way I will create an exclusive CDHK E-book about this month, because I think it's worth to gather all the beautiful Tan Renga we created with each other.
Than ... almost halfway 2017 we visited another beautiful and spiritual country. In June we visited Tibet.
against the rough mountains -
Om Mani Padme Hum
In July we stayed at home, but not because of run out of options to visit countries, but because in that month we explored the beauty of classical and non-classical kigo for summer.
the scent of autumn
that sweet smell of decaying leaves -
after the rain - stronger
makes me think of days past
and my first real love ...
In August we had a slightly different month, because I tried to inspire you through all kinds of Modern Art. We saw wonderful paintings, sculptures and architure and it was an amazing month just because I saw how Modern Art inspired you all to create haiku and tanka.
black and white together
(Written inspired on a sculpture titled "Yin and Yang".)
In this month of Modern Art I also gave you a small insight in the Modern Art of my home town Lelystad (The Netherlands). For example this wonderful piece of Modern Art titled "Exposure".
"Exposure" is guarding our harbor and it has become the business card of my home town. It inspired me to create the following tanka:
looks out over the harbor
a shitting man
constructed out of steel
exposed to the weather
In September I tried to inspire your muses through images. September was a month of Imagination Without Boundaries. I shared awesome images and this month we visited several places through these images. For example the last episode was titled "neighborhood of colors" and it showed you a wonderful and colorful village somewhere in Italy (Europe).
And than there was our anniversary month October. We went on a trip along memory lane and looked back at several episodes from our rich history. I am really proud that Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is still alive and kicking. I would say "To the future ... to our 10th anniversary".
With our festive anniversary month we entered the last quarter of 2017 and in November we went back to ancient Persia. We explored the beauty of "The Rubaiyat" by Omar Khayyam. This month was an eye-opener, because I presented to you the most wonderful quatrains a poetry form I wasn't familiar with.
your heart beats
Now the last month is running towards its end. It's December and at the moment we are counting down to Christmas. This month we explore the beauty of the novels by Paulo Coelho through several quotes from his novels. I like this month a lot, because Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors.
(Inspired on a quote from "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho).
Of course there were more highlights this year. There were the kukai, our feuilleton "Wandering Spirit" and the new feature "weekend-meditation". It was a wonderful year and I hope you all have that same feeling. And last but not least we had four wonderful season retreats. By the way our Winter Retreat 2018 will start on January 15th 10:00 PM (CET).
hiding in the depth of the soul
Well ... no Christmas stress for me. To conclude this last episode of Seven Days Before Christmas. I love to say a few things.
Christmas ... is a wonderful holiday in which peace, respect, love, beauty, presents and the birth of Jesus Christ are the main themes. Enjoy the holidays and let us pray for the world that the truth of Christmas ... a world living in peace, without stress, will become true.
Well ... this was the last episode of Seven Days Before Christmas 2017 I hope you did like this year's traditional feature.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018
and I hope to see you all again here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
New Year's Eve
the sound of fireworks resonates
against the snow
after the fireworks
the rustling of bare branches
nothing has changed
This episode of Seven Days Before Christmas 2017 is NOW OPEN for your submissions
and will remain open until December 30th at noon (CET). I am looking forward to all of your wonderful responses and maybe you want to share your most beautiful haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form of 2017 again with us too.