Friday, October 24, 2014

Carpe Diem #589, Zentsu-ji (February & March 2014) reprise

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday I told you about our journey straight through the former USSR and at the end of that journey we took the airplane to Japan, to finally arrive at Shikoku Island were we took part in the pilgrimage along the 88 temples. 
Today we are re-visiting the Zentsu-ji temple in Zentsu-ji Kagawa Prefecture. This temple is built in the early 9th century and is built in the birth place of Kobo Daishi. This temple was built by his father, Zentsu Saeki.

Zentsu-ji (temple 75)

The Shikoku trail is based on the life and actions by Kobo Daishi (or Kukai) and is established in honor of him. This Shikoku Pilgrimage is for Buddhists, what the Hajj is for the muslim. It's a once in a life-time to do pilgrimage for the Buddhists.

We followed this trail of Kobe Daishi for two months (February and March 2014) and it was a very uplifting and inspirational pilgrimage. We met other O-Henro (the name for the Shikoku pilgrims) and learned at lot about Buddhism and ourselves.

in deep silence
monks cleaning up their garden -
willow leaves fall

(c) Chèvrefeuille

It was really a joy to do this Shikoku Pilgrimage together with you and I recall that we also followed the Road to Santiago de Compostela by following Paulo Coelho in is novel "The Pilgrimage". As I look back to the last two years I only can say "we have seen and learned a lot". (By the way ... I am behind with commenting. I hope to catch up a.s.a.p.)

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until October 27th at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, Kite (April 2014), later on. For now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #55, Magical Mystical Teacher's "River Stones"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

in a desert land
stones from rivers far away
muttering dark tales

© Magical Mystical Teacher

This is our new Tan Renga Challenge. The 'hokku' (opening stanza) is written by Magical Mystical Teacher (MMT) in response on our reprise episode 'River Stones' and our task is to write the second two line stanza of 7-7 syllables (you don't have to use that 7-7 rule). I have written the next two lines to complete this Tan Renga:

pebbles shimmer between leaves
white fades away in a rainbow

© Chėvrefeuille

River Stones

As i put them together it makes the Tan Renga complete and in my opinion it has become a very strong Tan Renga with multiple layers ...

in a desert land
stones from rivers far away
muttering dark tales

pebbles shimmer between leaves
white fades away in a rainbow

Now it's up to you to make this Tan Renga complete by writing the second stanza. Have fun, be inspired and share. This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions until next Friday October 31st at noon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Carpe Diem #588, Vladivostok (January 2014) reprise

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you have already read the CD-Extra earlier today, but if not ... than I have an announcement to make. As I told your earlier this month, Jane reichhold has granted me the exclusive rights for two of her E-Books, and I succeeded today to make them available here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. You can find the E-Books by Jane on the left and right side of the posts. I also have made an E-Book by myself available. The E-Book by myself is a compilation of all the episodes of our Tarot-month May 2013. I hope you like these E-Books and I hope it will give you pleasure to read them.

Ok ... back to today's episode. Today we are going further on our memory lane along the first two years of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. We have now arrived in January 2014. In that month we started with our pilgrimage to the Isle of Shikoku to visit all 88 temples there. To get there we took the Trans Siberian Railroad (TSR) straight through the former USSR in January 2014. While we were on our way to Vladivostok, the end station of the TSR, we read "Aleph" a novel written by Paulo Coelho in which he describes his search to his former lives. "Aleph" is situated on the TSR and so we went on reading "Aleph" following the story-line and traveling straight through the former USSR.
I remember that it was a wonderful month and that I have read wonderful haiku, tanka and haibun. In that month Alexey Andreyev (a Russian haiku poet who lives in the USA) was our featured haiku poet. I love to share the last CD-Special haiku of January 2014, here again.

morning awakenings:
among window curtains' flowers
a blade of gray sky

© Alexey Andreyev

Our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Logo for January 2014, a picture of the TSR along Lake Baikal
As I told you above, the TSR drives straight through the former USSR from Moscow to Vladivostok. So this reprise-episode is about the end station of the TSR Vladivostok. Vladivostok was closed for foreigners until the end of the "Cold War" and in 2012, after a major International Event, it became one of the bigger cities of Russia.

I ended that episode, back in January 2014, with the following quote from Paulo Coelho's "Aleph":

As they arrive almost in Vladivostok, Paulo decides to make a walk through the Trans Siberian Express, which he sees as a city. He walks through that city,which stretched out like an ever-flowing river of steel, a city were he doesn't speak the local language. He heard all kinds of languages and sounds and notices that, as happens in all large cities, most people weren't talking to anyone, each passenger absorbed in his or her own problems and dreams, forced to share the smae compartment with three strangers, people they never will meet again. The Trans Siberian Express, is really a city ... and as in a normal city we live together with our neighbors, but ... do you know your neighbors really? 

After his walk through the train he writes a note, which I love to share here with you.

[...]I am not a foreigner because I haven't been praying to return safely home, I haven't wasted my time imagining my house, my desk, my side of the bed, I am not a foreigner because we are all travelling, we are all full of the same questions, the same tiredness, the same fears, the same

selfishness and the same generosity. I am not a foreigner because, when I asked, I received. When I knocked, the door opened. When I looked, I found. [...] (Source:'Aleph' by Paulo Coelho)

And I wrote to conclude that episode::

With this quote by Paulo Coelho I will conclude our Trans Siberian Railroad journey. Dreams you have ... you have to fullfill, they are not negotiable. So ... go for your dream and let that dream come true.

another day ends
reaching for the stars and the moon
into the dreamworld

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Credits: The Future Is Full Of Dreams

As I started with Carpe Diem I had a dream ... to be here after a half year. Now we are celebrating our second anniversary and we have become a great family of haiku poets ... Thank you all for making my dream come true ... 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until October 26th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, Zentsu-ji (February and March 2014),later on. For now have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.

Carpe Diem Extra - E-Books Jane Reichhold

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's now possible to get access to three E-Books, two by Jane Reichhold and one by myself. You can find them at the left and right side of our weblog.


Chèvrefeuille, your host

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #10, "Yellow Valerian", one of the Seven Autumn Flowers

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's "Little Creatures" episode is about the Yellow Valerian, it's one of the Seven Autumn Flowers (Nanahana no Sekku) according to classical Japanese culture. In Japanese culture there are seven autumn flowers. Those are, next to the Yellow Valerian, bush clover, miscantus, kudzu, large pink, boneset and Chinese bellflower. These flowers are also classical kigo for autumn.

A haiku example on Yellow Valerian by Matsuo Basho:

hyorohyoro to nao tsuyukeshi ya ominaeshi 

a yellow valerian
with its slender stalk stands bedecked
in droplets of dew. 

© Basho

Credits: American Yellow Valerian (Orchid family)
The Yellow Valerian is a 'member' of the Orchid family ... and as you can see above ... it's a wonderful flower.

Another example:

yellow valerian flowers--
rather not bloom
in tough spring

© Chiyo-Ni

Credits: Japanese Yellow Valerian
The Yellow Valerian was once very common as a wild flower in Japan, it's already mentioned in the Manyoshu (9th century), nowadays the Yellow Valerian is decreasing.

Another nice flower is the Marigold. Why do I bring this flower up in this post? Well ... today it's the first day of Diwali, the Hindu Light-festival. During Diwali the Marigold is one of the most seen flowers to decorate homes and streets. Marigold is also known as "thousand leaves flower".

Credits: Marigold

Deepawali or Diwali is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness.  The word “Deepawali” refers to rows of diyas, or clay lamps. This is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika, according to the Hindu calendar. This festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. The myths around Rama and Ravana are told during another holiday, known as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
The Goddess Lakshmi was Vishnu’s consort and she symbolizes wealth and prosperity. She is also worshipped on Diwali. This festival is celebrated in West Bengal as "Kali Puja", and Kali, Shiva's consort, is worshipped during Diwali. The Diwali festival in southern India often commemorates the conquering of the Asura Naraka, a king of Assam who imprisoned many people. It is believed that Krishna freed the prisoners.

Credits: Diwali decorations

Diwali celebrations may last for up to five days. Many people decorate their home and workplaces with tiny electric lights or small clay oil lamps. Bowls of water with candles and flowers floating on the surface are also popular decorations.
Many people make a special effort to clean their homes and yards before Diwali. They may also wash themselves with water and fragrant oils, wear new clothes and give gifts of sweets to family members, close friends and business associates. Fireworks are set off in the evening in some areas. Melas (fairs) are held in many towns and villages.

So .... happy Diwali!

thousand orange leaves
counting my blessings every day -
I light a candle

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this "Little Creatures" episode and I hope it will inspire you to write haiku and share them with us all.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Thursday October 30th at noon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Just Read" #3, Jim Kacian's "Skinning the fish: Interpenetration in haiku"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have another nice article written by Jim Kacian. This time it's about Interpenetration in haiku. He first published this article in Valley Voices: A Literary Review 8:1 Mississippi Valley State University Spring 2008, pp. 58-59.
I think it's a great article and it will give you maybe new insights in writing haiku. I publish this article with permission of Jim Kacian.
By the way: the included photos are chosen by your host and weren't included in the original article.


Skinning the Fish: Interpenetration in Haiku

Jim Kacian

For many, perhaps most, practitioners of haiku, it's the process that matters, the growth of spirit and realization of our lives, moment by moment. But the actual products of this process, the haiku themselves, can help us gauge our progress, at least in literary terms. I offer this string of fish by way of illustration.

In the infancy of my encounter with haiku, I wrote

the silver carp leaps
for its dragonfly supper,
disturbing the moon 
Credits: Koi Carp Tattoo

I was delighted with it at the time. It met all my criteria of the time for excellence: it was 5-7-5 without seeming to strain; it was a single moment in time and yet time seemed to stand still, despite the seeming action, within that moment; it interrelated two disparate objects with some cohesion; and it was a pretty picture to boot. Since then I have come to realize some of its flaws, offering as it does a rather polished and pictorial surface, but not a particularly great depth of insight, but admit to an affection for it nonetheless. There is the fish; there is the moon; they are both portrayed simply as themselves. There is a connection that unites them. So far, so good, but there is a problem, and the problem is not in this connection, nor in the objects themselves, but in the writer: he has not enough insight into the being of these objects. That's just it, the objects remain objects. The poet witnesses, and that is all. It is not too much to say that the majority of haiku written and published in the west have been of this type: we might call them objective; Shiki called them shasei. They present a picture, sometimes a charming or arresting one. They are occasionally finely crafted. And, very rarely, they are original in subject matter or approach (as the example above is not). As an editor I have published some of these (especially those of originality) willingly. But they are not, for me, haiku of the highest standard.

After a little practice and growth, I wrote the following:

autumn twilight,
the shadow of a fish
stops at the weir 
Credits: Autumn Twil

Following the first flush of infatuation, I found this poem to be similar to the previous example, but with this difference: it possesses the beginnings of what we might call sympathy, a cognition of the circumstances of the other regarded in the poem. There is kinship here, in the poet's mind and being, between the failing of the light and the staying of the fish's course; and the even deeper resonance that as the remaining light attenuates, so, too, will the fish's shadow diminish. Moreover, there is an integration of the emotion of the circumstances, a constriction binding the fish, the day, the poet, the reader. The poet witnesses, and shares.

But there can be more, of course, yet a little later:

hooked trout
feeling the life
on the line 
This is, in many ways, much the same, but again in an important way it is quite different. Once again, the level of connection with the subject has deepened, beyond sympathy this time to empathy. The difference as stated seems slight, but makes a world of difference in the experiencing: empathy is more than the recognition of circumstances, and a commiseration in kind, empathy is identification with the other, and an actual taking on of the intellectual and emotional reality of the situation.

How like a fish can a human be? and how human a fish? Here the poet explores this question, imaginatively (how else?) partaking in the struggle, conjuring the feeling of the life” of the fish, and its play, through the connecting medium of the fishing line. He knows the trout's contortions and thrashings, and thus comes to embrace a conjectured version of fish-fear and fish-rage, comparing them to how they are like our own fear and rage. We are directly linked, by the monofilament, yes, but also by our capacity to empathize: the poet witnesses, shares, identifies.

But there is yet a ways to go. In all of the examples above, the poet is manifest, he is observing, approaching, identifying with the other, but there is yet a chasm between them, the chasm of self. As long as self is present, we can get only so near to the other. We are approaching interpenetration. Interpenetration goes as far beyond empathy as empathy moves beyond sympathy. Interpenetration is total identification with the other, outside of one's sense of self. One so totally identifies with the other that one loses one's self, and in so doing takes on a oneness with all else. Consider the following:

some of the sun
glinting off the sea
is dolphins 
Credits: Dolphin

Here there is an absolute identification: sun and dolphin and poet (though he is nowhere to be found) are of the same stuff, intertwined and indistinguishable. We are all children of the sun, but only occasionally do we acknowledge it. But here no barrier distorts the oneness, sun and dolphin and poet interpenetrate, identification super cedes witness. Of course, it's not simply a matter of using a transitive verb, or describing one thing in terms of another, to realize such identification. Interpenetration is rarely expressed, even in a medium such as haiku that seeks and honors such states, because it's neither easily stated nor easily achieved. There are many ways to skin a fish, but only at the right angle, in the proper light, will it shine, and then again, only by a refinement of that angle and a focusing of that light will the scales glow from within. It is not enough to look, one must see, and identify, and then recluse the self in the identification.

It's the process, it's worth repeating, that matters most, but specific haiku can illustrate how successful the fishing has been. And, as the Chinese proverb has it, give us a fish and we eat today, teach us to fish and we will be nourished for a lifetime.

Jim Kacian

     Winchester, VA


I hope you did like this article.


Chèvrefeuille, your host

Carpe Diem Special # 113, Shiba Sonome's 4th "longing for someone"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to present to you the 4th haiku by Shiba Sonome, our featured haiku poetess. She has not a lot of haiku left behind, but the haiku are all beauties. Here is her haiku for your inspiration (and mine):

longing for someone
I sit by the gate and draw
eyebrows on a melon

© Shiba Sonome

A beauty I think suits the time of the year well i think, as i read this haiku i felt loneliness and longing, but i also thought of Halloween ... Could have been written for Halloween, but instead of pumpkin she uses melon ...
As i read this haiku at first i thought of a haiku by Basho, Sonome's master and her friend.

after the storm
only the melons
don't remember

© Basho

Credits: Watermelon and Melon

And one by Yozakura:

feeling alone
lost in the woods around Edo -
just the autumn wind

© Yozakura

In both these haiku, by Basho and Yozakura, i sense loneliness and longing. Both sound also desparate ... The sadness is very strong in these haiku ... all three have lost loved ones and are longing for them.
Will not be easy to compose a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one by Sonome, but (of course) i have to try.

in front of the fireplace
an empty bottle and broken wine glasses
after the quarrel

© Chėvrefeuille

Credits: Broken Wine Glass

Well .... now it's up to you my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, to write an all new haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Sonome. Have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until October 25th at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, Vladivostok (January 2014), later on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #30, Garry Gay on "thinking out of the box or misdirection"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at our 1000th post on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I never had dreamed that I would publish that much in two years time. From the beginning of CDHK until today we have had already 1000 posts. Awesome, a new milestone.

As I told you earlier this week's Ghost Writer post is written by Garry Gay, who last year was one of our featured haiku poets. Garry Gay was born in Glendale, California in 1951. He received a BPA degree from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1974 and has been a professional photographer since his graduation. He is skilled in all formats and has been creating digital images since 1993. His award winning Polaroid Transfers have hung in numerous juried art shows. He is a proud member of Advertising Photographers of America, Film Arts Foundation, Friends of Photography, Artrails, and the Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County.
Greatly influenced by Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North, he has steadily been writing haiku from 1975 to the present. He is one of the co-founders of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, serving as their first president from 1989-1990. In 1991 he was elected president of the Haiku Society of America.
Garry is also the inventor of the Rengay, a modern version of the Renga. I am glad that he will be our one time Ghost Writer and I am honored that he will do that for us.

new snow--
the path you made last night
has gone with you

(c) Garry Gay
Garry is a photographer and the above photo and haiku are © by him. I hope you all like the Ghost Writer post by Garry.


October Inspiration

October is the first full month of autumn. It evokes iconic words that are very useful for inspiration in haiku writing.  It is also called Indian Summer where I live in California.  The days are starting to get shorter, they are very warm, almost warmer then summer, and are bathed in a golden glow.

Credits: Indian Summer Québec Canada
I love October, the leaves are starting to turn, the nights are a little bit cooler, the time for candlelight and crackling fires is drawing near. The abundance of summer’s bounty is dying, the colors of earth and foliage are changing, and nature is preparing for the coming winter. There is much that inspires poetic instincts in autumn.

You begin to see everyone putting pumpkins on their porches. Halloween is a big holiday here in the US. Decorations begin to appear everywhere. Skulls and skeletons are in people’s windows or hanging on their doors. There are so many poems to be written with the Halloween theme. I have always liked anything to do with skeletons, maybe its dark and macabre, but it fascinates me. Try to think outside of the box when you use Halloween topics. It’s a good source of humor as well. Everyone likes to dress up in costume and scare each other. This leads to good fun. There are haunted houses, lots of candy to be given out and spooky places to visit, like the cemetery late at night.

Here is an example of thinking out side of the box or misdirection.

My skeleton
going for a walk
in the cemetery

This poem has both a subject of death, yet a dash of humor. A misdirection if you will as my skeleton is still living yet visiting the graveyard. Enjoy the environment of the rich colors and creepy Halloween decorations of October and create your on haunting  misdirection’s.

Garry Gay

Garry Gay


Well I hope you did like this GW-post by Garry Gay. Thank you Garry for providing us with this "October Inspiration" for Carpe Diem's Ghost Writer feature.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until October 24th at noon. I will publish our next episode, the fourth haiku by our featured haiku poetess Shiba Sonome, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Ask Jane ..." #5, a question by Carol

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Jane asked me to publish this new article for Ask Jane. Jane is responding spontaneous on a comment by Carol, which Carol shared in our last Ask Jane episode. Here is our new episode of Carpe Diem's "Ask Jane ..."


In reading the comments to the last Ask Jane question I found this by Carol and felt she needed some help. So here is another letter. Use it if you wish.  

\o/ Jane

Question: I am trying to do some haiku without the 17 syllable rule. I assume you just “follow your heart” and forget the counting. Carol in Creative Harbor.

Dear Carol,
I get a wisp of indecision about counting syllables in haiku in your comment on Carpe Diem and wanted to try to put your mind at rest.

If you were Japanese and writing your haiku in Japanese it would be proper for you to use 17 kana (not syllables!). These are the sound units in spoken Japanese. Since your haiku are written in English you cannot use this Japanese rule because our syllables are about 1/3 longer than the Japanese sound units.
The Japanese who brought the knowledge of haiku to English-readers made this mistake of calling a sound unit a syllable and saying we should use 17 of them. The mistake persisted until English scholars figured out the error. And the error persists.

So if you are writing your English haiku with 17 syllables they contain about 1/3 too much information / words / ideas. The newest English rule to keep the haiku shape is to suggest the author use “short, long, short” lines in a relationship that suggests the Japanese haiku form. Many are using this rule and I find it results in haiku that can be accurately translated into Japanese sound units or kana. The 17-syllable haiku come out too long.
So we have more freedom in shaping our haiku than we thought.

You ask if I ignore counting syllables. No. If one of my lines looks too long I will count the syllables to find a way to shorten it. Sometimes a haiku will use up 17 syllables, but my rule is to NEVER PAD OUT THE LINE to make it fit. If it happens naturally, without padding or adding extra words, I occasionally will leave it as I received it. At some time then, I may rewrite it to shorten the haiku.
I hope this helps you and gives you the freedom to more easily accept your own ideas!

\o/ Jane


I hope you did like this new episode of "Ask Jane ...". Do you have a question for Jane? Email them to our special emailaddress:

Carpe Diem "Time Glass" #7, "Valley Stream"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Time flies when you have fun or have been very busy. It's time again for our time challenge "Time Glass" in which we have to respond within 12 hours after publishing.
This week I have a Time Glass episode with a twist.
This week I have a photo and a haiku for your inspiration. You have to use both of them to write an all new haiku, with a second stanza !! So the goal is to write a "Solo"- Tan Renga.

Here is the photo:
Maui Hawaii
And here is the haiku to use next to the photo for your inspiration to write an all new `solo` Tan Renga.

gurggling valley stream
brings joy to the heart of Mother Nature -
Il Silenzio

© Chèvrefeuille

Well I hope this photo and haiku will inspire you enough to respond within 12 hours. Good luck and have fun!

This `Time Glass` episode starts NOW and will be open until Tuesday 21st October at 7.00 AM (CET), so you have just 12 hours !!