Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #23, "Honor the Little Creatures"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

After a week not having a GW-post, I have today a new GW-post for you all. For your inspiration and to get more to know about Issa. I have a real GW-post for you this time, because Issa is visiting us here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I am honored that he would write a GW-post. He responded on our CD "Little Creatures" feature, because he liked the little creatures of Mother Nature.
So here he is ... Kobayashi Issa ... our Ghost Writer for this week. I hope you all do like his GW-post in which he will tell a little bit more about himself and his life.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

Kobayashi Issa

As Basho was the poet of life, and Buson the poet of the studio, I (Issa) am the poet of destiny. Basho, though his mind was tender and compassionate, had something resigned, something divine in him. Buson saw the world as a spectator. I move with the movement of fate. Life goes along joyfully and painfully, with ecstasy and anguish, and I go with it. I do not praise or condemn, but I am not withdrawn from anything which exists. More than this, I have that Shakespearean quality of not telling things what they ought to be, of not knowing better than God himself how the universe should be run, of not opposing the predestined accidents of life, or its strange course to an unknown goal. In the following passage from my Shichiban Nikki you can read that:

"I made a pilgrimage to the temple of Tokaiji in Fuse. Feeling sorry for the chickens that followed after me longingly, I bought some rice from a house in front of the temple gate and scattered it among the violets and dandelions. Soon they began to fight among themselves here and there. Meanwhile, pigeons and sparrows came flying down from the boughs and were quietly eating up the rice. The chickens coming back, they flew off to the branches again, sooner than they wanted, no doubt wishing that the kicking match had lasted longer. Samurai, farmers, artizans, merchants and all the rest are just like this in the way they live".

scattering rice, -
this also is a sin,
the fowls kicking one another!

Credits: Tokaiji Temple at Fuse

My life is a tragedy. I am one of those men who attract failure and misfortune, just as some men succeed in all they attempt. Christ, by its own nature, was destined for violent death, and I am marked for poverty and suffering, but in both cases the distant result is indeed different from what might have been expected. And there is another parallel between Christ and me. Christ is an ideal of what a human being should be, yet how Jewish he is in his loves and hates, his rising above the particular into the general. I also am the most Japanese of all haiku-poets, or it may be of all Japanese poets, yet in spite of this or because of it, my work has universal appeal.
They say I have a somewhat warped view of life, but that's a mistaken idea. I say, unlike most others, what I think. I tell not only the truth, but the whole truth. Ikkyu, a famous Zen eccentric of the 15th century, suffers from the same cause. Even in sexual matters he (Ikkyu) was perfectly frank to anyone and everyone, and his reputation has suffered according to that. I am, as like Basho, an exceedingly moral man, but not quite so 'stuffy' perhaps. Basho was born and educated as a samurai, but I have a broader view of life, one that can hardly be put into any rules of maxims. Her is another passage from one of my writings:

"Instead of the artistic pleasure of flowery gardens, bend yourself to the cultivation of the rice field at the back of the house. Take a hoe in your hand and use it; be exceedingly careful of the lives of your parents and what you have received from your ancestors. Be happy in your work rather than in the cherry blossoms of Yoshino or the moon of Sarashina.
More than the mountain roses of Ide, love the flowers of rape, and look after them sedulously. The green ears of the barley are more moving than the peonies."

Credits: Cherry Blossoms of Yoshino

In other words, life is more important than art; your art and poetry are to be put into our living. Beauty is to be found in our daily life; it is then created naturally and spontaneously. I have the power of saying lightly and humorously what others have only been able to say in the grand matter.

for your fleas too,
the night must be long,
it must be lonely

It's an awesome idea to see how you all, my dear Haijin, through that Carpe Diem Haiku Kai feature "Little Creatures" are looking to nature and intwine that beauty into your daily life. Look around you carefully, see those little creatures and honor them, because in all those little creatures you can see God, the Creator.

To conclude this Ghost Writer post ... I have a task for you all ... write a haibun in which you honor those little creatures. 



What a nice Ghost Writer post Issa has provided us with. I think it is very inspirational to read this GW-post and re-read it again. What a guy ... I must say "I am falling in love with Issa's way of life, with his way of writing haiku. Honoring those little creatures".

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 5th at noon (CET). I will post our next episode, our first CD Special of this month, a quote by Francis of Assisi, later on. For now ... have fun!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Carpe Diem #552, Decay

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Autumn is coming in sight, we are waving goodbye to the summer and nature will start to renew, but before she can renew she have to decay. Decay is our prompt for today and I think it's a prompt especially for autumn. Mother Nature changes her clothes and in a few months she will wear all kinds of colors until the last leaves fall and the first snow will fall.

I remember a haiku which I once wrote in response on the photo challenge of Magpie Tales and I love to share that haiku here again:

decomposed flowers
silent witness of a relative
red tear-stained eyes

© Chèvrefeuille (2012)

Decomposing and decay are synonymous to each other and therefore I think this haiku fits this post very well. Of course this haiku isn't written for autumn, so I have to write another haiku, but first I will share the haiku by Jane Reichhold which she used as an example for decay:

recycling old glass
the rocky beach
jewel-covered coves

windless surf
how easily the old folks
are entertained
worn-down hills
folding into earth
an old dog sits

© Jane Reichhold 

I don't really see the 'decay' in these examples, but maybe that has to do with the fact that I am not that familiar with English. But I like these haiku a lot. Jane is in my opinion one of the best haiku-poets of our time ...

the scent of autumn
that sweet smell of decaying leaves -
after the rain - stronger

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 4th at noon (CET). I will post our next episode, a new Ghost Writer post, later on. For now, have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.

Carpe Diem's Romancing the Haiku #1, a new feature ...

Dear Haijin, visitors, travelers,

I hear you say "another feature?" Yes ... and I love to introduce it to you all. This new feature wasn't my idea by the way. It is initiated by Hamish Gunn who mentioned 'romantic haiku' in one of his comments at our weekly haiku-meme Haiku Shuukan were the prompt was 'rose' last week. In my haiku in that post I trod upon the path of romance.

In haiku romance is always present, but it is not a common emotion in haiku. Why? Most haiku are about nature and our role, as humans, in it. Haiku is just a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water. Romance can be that short, but that's mostly not. Poets (not only of haiku) are writing love-poems full of romance, mostly long poems, like choka for example or Waka. Haiku is to short for romance, so if we write about romance in haiku it's mostly not a short moment, it's more artificial ... of course, in my opinion, that's no problem, but maybe we make it a problem.
Basho once said "now you know the rules forget them immediatly and write from your heart". That's what we are going to do in this new feature ... writing straight from the heart ... without the classical rules ... just one theme "romance".

Credits: Golden Heart
And here is my first "romancing the haiku" - haiku ...:

lying on the beach
with the one I love -
full moon of summer

© Chèvrefeuille

And a few more ... romancing the haiku ... inspired me ...

midsummer night
walking along the seashore
with the one I love

arousing my senses
the sweet coolness of silk blankets
shared with my love
© Chèvrefeuille
Ok ... a last one ... fresh from the pencil

from behind the fence
whispering lovers, laughing children,
and sweet perfume
© Chèvrefeuille
Well ... I hope you do like this new feature and I hope this new feature will be a success ... You can submit your "romancing the haiku"- haiku until September 14th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Carpe Diem #551, abandoned

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit late with posting this new post, because I am in the nightshift. Welcome at a new month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a daily haiku-meme. This month all our prompts are modern kigo (seasonwords) for autumn based on Jane Reichhold's "A Dictionary of Haiku". Today our prompt is abandoned and I think it's a nice kigo for autumn, however I also think it's not only specific for autumn, but ... well that's not the case today.
In "A Dictionary of Haiku", a saijiki (list of kigo), Jane gives examples for every kigo she uses, so here are her examples for abandoned:

still standing
where others lived
abandoned cabin

a photo of someone's eyes
moving in the wind

I like that second haiku the most, although that other haiku also is a beauty. Both could have been situated in another season I think, but (as I already stated) that's not the case here.

Credits: leaves dancing in the wind
torn apart, thrown away -
the Holy Scripture in pieces
dancing on the wind

© Chèvrefeuille

And now it's up to you my friends ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 3rd at noon (CET). I will post our next episode, decay, later on.

Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" #3 "when the peonies bloomed" by Kiitau

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to publish an all new episode of our special feature "Sparkling Stars" in which I introduce haiku, masterpieces, by classic and non-classic haiku-poets. The goal is to compose a new haiku inspired on the given haiku, similar with our regular CD-Specials, but with the classical haiku-rules:
  • 5-7-5 syllables
  • a kigo (seasonword)
  • a kireji (cuttingword or punctuation)
  • a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water
  • a deeper, spiritual, meaning
  • the first and third line are interchangeable
For this episode I have chosen a haiku by Kiitau, a not so well-known haiku-poet, who has written just one haiku as far as I know.

botan saite atari ni hana no naki gotoshi

when the peonies bloomed,
it seemed as though there were
no flowers around them

© Kiitau

Credits: Peonies
An occidental poet will have this experience in regard to a woman with whom he is in love. When she enters the room, all other women cease to exist for him, become soulless automata. An oriental poet personalizes the flowers in the sense that their life is as vivid and meaningful to him as that of human beings. It may be thought that per se the interest in flowers must be of a lower order, an inferior content poetically compared with that in human beings. But the distinction is not in the standpoint, in the world view; not in the treatment; whether it is classical or romantic; not in the culture, occidental or oriental; neither is it in the object, the material that is assimilated and spiritualized. It is depth alone which matters, depth alone which admits of comparison. (Source: R.H.Blyth, Haiku Vol. 3, summer - autumn).

In the haiku by Kiitau I see the beauty of peonies, those awesome rose-like flowers. Several years ago I had a wonderful bush of peonies in my backyard. I can still see their pinkish-white colors in front of my eyes. When they were still in their buds they were visited (frequently) by thousands of ants, and than ... they bloomed ... an explosion of flowers ... all the other plants, trees and flowers became "over-shadowed" by the beauty of "my" peonies ... awesome.
Credits: Book-cover "Memoires of a Geisha" by XMarr
As I was writing this post the movie "Memoires of a Geisha" came in mind. In front of my eyes a peony appeared with the face of a geisha. It hit me ... what a beauty. I have tried to catch that image in my haiku in response on the one by Kiitau. I hope I succeeded. I love to share here my way of composing haiku ... I call that process "giving birth".
As I am starting to write our posts, I also start to compose the haiku in my mind. During the writing of the posts images start to flow in front of my eyes. Images, or flashes of images, appear and flow, emerging in and out, like breathing. The images are constantly changing as I write the posts. During writing a lot of images come and go. There are always images that stay. As I am almost ready writing the post, a few images remain in my mind, I know I have to use them in my haiku.
Than the 'sculpting' begins. I write my haiku and re-write them until I know, don't ask me how, that I have the right haiku. Sometimes, and I know that the classical haiku-poets (e.g. Basho or Shiki) did that also, I have to re-do the final haiku a few times again.

the beauty of nature (4 syllables)
a geisha with peonies in her hair (9 syllables)
the sweet sound of a bamboo flute (7 syllables)

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Woodblock print "geisha"

The above haiku, for example, is one of the "pre-haiku" of the haiku to share here. This "pre-haiku" I have to re-do, because of the classical rules we have to use here in this "Sparkling Stars"-feature. And ... as you maybe know, I am not a haiku-poet of the classical way of writing. Here another kind of 'sculpting' starts, to got 5-7-5 syllables. As you all know I am not that familiar with the syllables-rules of English, so I use a syllable-counter on the Internet.

This is my "composing-path" to make the (above) haiku, a classical one (after every line between () you can read the syllables-count). This is the first 're-make':

nature's beauty (3)
a geisha with peonies in her hair (9)
the sound of a flute (4)

In this second version I have not enough syllables, so I have to try other words, without losing my image as I have planned; "nature's beauty" (3), not enough syllables, what to do? I will add  astonishment  to the beginning of this line.

Ah! the beauty of nature (5)

The first line is ok, so up to the second line.

"a geisha with peonies in her hair" (9), to much syllables. How to re-do this line without losing the scene? I have to get a few words out of this line, and than ... the "aha-erlebnis":

geisha, peonies in her hair (7)

To make the image complete I have to come up with a wonderful third, closing, line. So I seek for other words for example instead of "a flute" I use "Shakuhachi" (a Japanese end-blown flute. During the medieval period, shakuhachi were most notable for their role in the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhist monks, known as komusō ("priests of nothingness," or "emptiness monks"), who used the shakuhachi as a spiritual tool. Their songs (called "honkyoku") were paced according to the players' breathing and were considered meditation (suizen) as much as music). And so I have found my third line too.

playing the shakuhachi (5)

Credits: Komuso Buddhist monk beggar playing the Shakuhachi

Finally I have caught the image, which came in mind as I was writing this post. And now I can share the haiku which I distilled from the images in my mind inspired on the haiku by Kiitau:

Ah! the beauty of nature -
geisha, peonies in her hair,
playing the Shakuhachi

© Chèvrefeuille

Not completely according to the rules of this feature, because the first and third line aren't interchangeable. You can try to interchange it, but than the haiku loses it's beauty. So ... I am sorry that I didn't succeeded, forgive me ... (smiles)

I love to share a nice piece of Shakuhachi music. Enjoy the music. (This piece of Shakuhachi-music is called 'kyuden no kurayami' and is performed by Rodrigo Rodriguez )

This episode of "Sparkling Stars" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday September 6th at noon (CET). Have fun! I hope you enjoyed this post and the insight story about 'giving birth' to a haiku.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Carpe Diem #550, beggar

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is it ... the last episode of August. We have read a wonderful little book by Khalil Gibran and it was a joy to make this month for you all. I have read wonderful haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka and haibun inspired on "Sand and Foam" written by Khalil Gibran. This month started with the first 'verse' of "Sand and Foam".

I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain 

And I will end with it too. We all have left our footprints in our haiku on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, those footprints we will be there forever, they will not be erased ... not by the high-tide, not by the wind, not by the rain and not by the hands of people. They will be here forever. We can look back at them and we can read them again. Those footprints will be there forever .... and I thank you all for that.

Credits: Arigato (Thank You) calligraphy by Nao
Ok ... back to our prompt for today, beggar, which is based on the following 'verse' by Khalil: 

[...] "We are all beggars at the gate of the temple, and each one of us receives his share of the bounty of the King when he enters the temple, and when he goes out. But we are all jealous of one another, which is another way of belittling the King". [...]

As I was preparing this last episode for August a episode of Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" came in mind in which I used a haiku by Kikaku "the beggar":

the beggar!
he has Heaven and Earth,
for his summer clothes

© Kikaku

And to share a few other haiku on 'beggar' I have chosen for a few haiku by Issa.

kimi ga yo wa kojiki no ie mo nobori kana

Great Japan!
even a beggar's house
has a summer banner

kiji naite ume ni kojiki no yo nari keri

pheasant crying--
it's a plum blossom-filled
beggar's world now!

hatsu yuki ya asaebisu suru kado kojiki

first snowfall--
early morning at my gate
a beggar

Issa has written quit a lot of haiku about beggars, maybe he felt in the same way he is a beggar and it fits his way of life. Issa was a devoted monk of Amida Buddha and he was strong in his belief and saw only the good in people. Of course in ancient Japan (and maybe in modern Japan too) every-one had a kind of compassion with other people and they honored all religious people, like priests and monks, and they shared with them to keep the spirits happy. Hoping to once enter Nirvana.

at the temple gate
I bow in front of beggars
honoring their spirit

© Chèvrefeuille

beggar's bowl,
chased by the autumn wind,
enters the temple

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... this is it ... the last episode of August. I hope you did like this Carpe Diem Haiku Kai month and I hope you all are looking forward to our next month. At least I am looking forward to it. September will be a month with modern kigo (seasonwords) for Autumn based on Jane Reichhold's "Dictionary of Haiku" and we will visit the mind of Francis of Assisi by seeking inspiration in his words ... I hope you all will come along with me to enter this new month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 2nd at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, our first modern kigo for autumn, abandoned, later on.
!! I will publish our new "Sparkling Stars"- episode tomorrow !!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Carpe Diem Haiga Festival #3, "autumn"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

An all new episode of Carpe Diem's "Haiga Festival" (maybe you know it from our CDHK Special weblog) is here. Not so long ago today I posted a new post on my Wordpress weblog "Chèvrefeuille's Haiku" and that post (a haibun-like post) brought me this idea to bring the "Haiga Festival" of CDHK Special weblog to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I think I will do this sometimes more, exchanging Special features from CDHK Special weblog to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. That will make us stronger as a family of haiku-poets. And our special features can be challenging ...

The goal of this special feature is to compose a haiga (picture + haiku) inspired on a given prompt in this episode that will be "autumn" and here is my haiga on "autumn".

This Planetree stands in the middle of my street and is in a way the heart of our street. As you look closer to the haiga you can spot the first yellow leaves between the green ones.

This episode of CD's "Haiga Festival" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until Friday September 12th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #48, Suzanne's "autumn's last show"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

After one week without a Tan Renga Challenge it's time for a new Tan Renga Challenge. The goal of this Tan Renga Challenge is to write a second stanza of two lines (7-7 syllables) towards a given haiku (the first stanza of three lines) by one of our participants or another wellknown haiku-poet (classic and non-classic). For this week I have chosen a haiku written by Suzanne of Cutting to the Chase. She wrote this haiku in response on our first Basho haiku last July.

Here is her haiku, the first stanza of our Tan Renga:

in the pond
reflected trees and drifting leaves
- autumn’s last show

© Suzanne

A gorgeous haiku I think and a great starting-point for this Tan Renga Challenge. To write the second stanza you need to associate on a theme from Suzanne's haiku e.g. 'drifting leaves'. By the way, the classical syllables count for the second stanza is 7-7, but you don't have to use that. 

Credits: Autumn leaves meet snow
Here is my attempt to write a second stanza:

in the pond
reflected trees and drifting leaves
- autumn's last show                              (Suzanne)

colorful leaves dancing
accompanied by the first snow                (Chèvrefeuille)

A nice continuation ... in which I associated on the drifting leaves and on autumn's last show. Well ... it's up to you now ... have fun. Share your completed/continued Tan Renga with us all here at our Haiku Kai.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday September 5th at noon (CET).

Carpe Diem #549, Dreams

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We all have dreams, our prompt for today. Once I had a dream to become an Oncology-nurse as I am now. Once I had a dream to write and publish a novel. Well ... I did. I wrote two novels and the first novel I wrote is now being translated in to English and will be set on the market in the USA. Once I had a dream to become wellknown with my poetry, my passion, haiku and that also became true. In 2012 I started this daily haiku-meme and it's still there and I think Carpe Diem Haiku Kai has become a great opportunity for haiku-poets around the globe to write and share their haiku with the world.
You also will have dreams. Tell us something about it in your post for today's prompt. Do you have dreams which haven't come true? I have another dream. I hope to be your host at Carpe Diem for a long time, at least for the next three years so that I can celebrate our first lustrum in October 2017 .... we will see if Carpe Diem will become five years ...

Khalil Gibran had for sure dreams too, did he fullfill his dreams ... I don't know, but I think he did. In his "Sand and Foam" we can read several 'verses' about dreams and I love to share a few of them here for your inspiration.

[...] "How can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?" [...]

[...] "The flowers of spring are winter’s dreams related at the breakfast table of the angels". [...]

[...] "I would not be the least among men with dreams and the desire to fulfill them, rather than the greatest with no dreams and no desires".[...]

Sakura in full bloom
Wonderful 'verses', that second is one of my favorites and I think close to our beloved haiku. Isn't it wonderful to have dreams? And isn't it wonderful to see them become true?

breakfast with angels
as spring is starting after the cold -
flowering trees

© Chèvrefeuille

Wouldn't that be awesome? To have breakfast with angels while we look down on Earth seeing how nature is starting to become green again and see the flowers bloom in all colors? Imagine it ...

after the dark winter
cherry trees are blooming again
Ah! what a joy!

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope this post inspires you to write new haiku. This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until September 1st at noon (CET). I will post our next episode, the last of this wonderful month, beggar, later on. By the way I have published our new prompt-list for September you can find it HERE. For now ... have fun!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Carpe Diem's Little Creatures #3, Seri

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Time flies as we all will agree I think, so it's already time for a new episode of our "Little Creatures"-feature and after two episodes about little insects, this episode is about little plants and flowers e.g. Sheperd's Purse as we can read in this haiku by Basho (1644-1694):

furu hata ya nazuna hana saku kakine kana

if you look closely
a sheperd's purse flowering
underneath the hedge

(c) Matsuo Basho (Tr. Tim Chilcott)

Credits: Sheperd's Purse

Isn't it gorgeous this little Sheperd's Purse? That also is a "Little Creature", a creation of God. This above haiku by Basho is almost as famous as his "frog-pond" haiku is. It shows the mastership of Basho in looking closely to the world around him even the smallest creatures (insects and flowers/plants) on Earth.

As I was preparing this new episode of "Little Creatures" I ran into a wonderful haiku by Yosa Buson (1716-1784):

furudera ya hôroku suteru seri no naka

ncient temple
clay pot tossed around
in the seri (*)  field

© Buson (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)
(*) Seri = Oenanthe javanica = water dropwort

Seri (source not found)
Seri is one of the seven sacred herbs of spring which are used in the spring festival "Nanakusa no Sekku" or "The Festival of Herbs". It happens to be that the Sheperd's Purse, in the haiku by Basho, also is one of the Seven Sacred Herbs of Spring. What a coincedence that I have used both in the same post.

Well enough ... time for haiku-ing and so here is my haiku for this episode of Little Creatures:

in the meadow
peeling the leaves of daisies,
does she loves me?

© Chèvrefeuille

What a cute haiku, I saw this right in front of me and I just had to compose a haiku ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 4th at noon (CET). For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your "Little Creatures"-haiku with us all.