Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
What a wonderful month this is ... our 7th anniversary ... I like it. I am so glad to see that you all are celebrating with me that CDHK exist seven years ... I never could have dreamed that CDHK would be alive and kicking after 7 years ... but here we are ... celebrating our 7th birthday. We have seen participants from all over the world. The most participants from the start are still here, but we also seen participants leave to never come back, but those who left and returned ... thank you.
Thank you all for your rich poems, your active participation and the love you share with us in that small Japanese poem ... haiku. This month we are celebrating this beautiful small poem with a tribute to all small creatures on Earth and today I love to challenge you with another small, sometimes a real pain in the ass, bird ... the sparrow.
Sparrows ... those small little (pricks), but there are a lot of haiku written about them. One haiku master especially created a lot of haiku about the sparrows ... and I think you all know him, Kobayashi Issa. Issa is one of the "big five" haiku masters next to Basho, Buson, Chiyo-Ni and Shiki. He had a very tough life, he lost several of his kids to death and his wife too. He was a Buddhist-Shinto believer and honored nature in a great way. Issa honored even those mosqitos and other smal creatures like the sparrows.
For this episode I love to challenge you to create a Renga, or better said: a Junicho. The Junicho is a renga of 12 stanza, this is the renga format we always use in the Renga With specials ... so I will give you six (6) haiku written by Issa to work with. Your task is to add your two-lined stanza (approx. 7-7 syllables) and create a Junicho with him. (By the way, the name Junicho came in use in the 20th century, so it's a young form of renga).
I will give you the six haiku by Issa. You can create your own "line-up" and the first stanza (hokku) and the last stanza (ageku) have to be connected with each other, this is "to close the chain".
after rain, a gang war
don't let the plum blossom guard
cut your tongues...
(* note: Issa alludes to an old Japanese fairy tale in which a mean old woman cut a sparrow's tongue with scissors because the sparrow pecked at her starch. Here, Issa warns the chirping sparrows that their tongues might be in similar jeopardy, hinting that the guard is a mean old grouch.)
are the sparrows too
having a private party?
while I watch
he's off to make a living alone...
|Sparrows on Bamboo (woodblock print by Ohara Koson)
living in harmony--
the sparrow has
on the tip of the
newly sprouted bamboo...
a baby sparrow