Thursday, February 28, 2019

Carpe Diem #1617 The start of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, the first day of spring

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first episode of a new and exciting month at our wonderful Haiku Kai, the place to be if you like to write and share Japanese poetry. Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (CDHK) is a loving family of haiku poets and I am grateful for your love and participation. I never could have imagined that CDHK is alive and kicking after almost seven years.
It makes me humble and proud, but without you, my dear Haijin, I couldn't have done it. Thank You!

Every day again I love to create CDHK and ... ofcourse it isn't always easy to come up with a new theme every month, but this month ... well we will see what the Kumano Kodo will bring us. Ofcourse I will try to tell you about the background of the Kumano Kodo, but the most important thing this month is to enjoy the journey.

For this first episode I have chosen to tell you some background on the first day of spring, because in meteorology spring starts on the first day of March as is today.
Spring the season of new life, the start of the light part of the year according to Paganism and other nature religions. Autumn and winter are in those religions the dark part of the year and spring and summer the light part of the year.
It is a common use in Paganism to not marry in the dark part of the year, but in the light part of the year. We can see that in several rituals in spring and festivities. For example: Dancing around the May pole is such a ritual.

According to the classical Shiki Saijiki, an anthology of classical kigo, the first day of spring is a classical kigo for spring. So today as we start our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, we will start with "the first day of spring". I think we have had this classical kigo earlier here at CDHK, but I also think you all are wonderful haiku poets and I know that you can come up with a new haiku (or tanka) about the first day of spring.

I found a nice haiku by Den Sutejo (1633-1698) a contemporary of Basho, about the first day of spring. I don't know if they knew each other, but in a way I saw a touch of Basho in the following haiku by Sutejo:

natsu matade baika no yuki ya shiroi harugi butsu

not waiting on summer
the plum blossoms in snow -
white spring kimono

© Den Sutejo

Den Sutejo (1633-1698)

Let me tell you a little bit more about this female haiku poet, she isn't as renown as Chiyo-Ni, but she has written wonderful haiku (as you can read above). Born in the province of Tanba as daughter of the samurai Den Rishige. She married and had five sons and one daughter. When she was 42, her husband died. Very soon after, she became a nun.
She became a student of Bankei Eitaku, a Zen master (1622 - 1693). She built her temple Futai An beside his temple Ryuumon, where she lived with about 30 other ladies. Her grave is at the temple Ryuumon-Ji.

I am looking forward to this month and I hope you all will enjoy our pilgrimage along the Kumano Kodo (the "ancient road"). Let's go on a new pilgrimage ... and start with our new month here at CDHK. Our goal for this first episode of March is to create a haiku (or tanka) following the classical rules (see our CD Lecture One, above in the menu) of haiku with the kigo "first day of spring".

fragile plum blossoms open

I have tried to follow the classical rules and I even tried to translate it into romaji:

koware yasui umeno hanawo yoake no hikarino nakade hikaku haruno saisho no hi

the first day of springtime
fragile plum blossoms open
in the light of daybreak

© Chèvrefeuille

With this "first day of spring" haiku our journey, our pilgrimage, along the Kumano Kodo has started. I hope you all will like this pilgrimage, one of the most holiest of Shinto.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 7th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on. For now ... have fun!

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