Friday, August 1, 2014

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #45, "Double Rainbow"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have found a little space to create this new Tan Renga Challenge, so the delay isn't very big. For this week's Tan Renga Challenge I have a nice first stanza composed by Ese of Ese's Voice. The goal of this Tan Renga Challenge is to compose a second stanza of two lines (7-7 syllables, no obligation by the way) to continue the scene/story of the first stanza ...

This is the haiku by Ese which I have chosen for starting the Tan Renga of this week:

double rainbow
arches across stormy sky
time to count blessings

© Ese of Ese’s Voice

Credits: Double Rainbow
A wonderful haiku to start with I think ... and now it's up to you to make this Tan Renga complete by composing the second stanza to it.

I love to compose my second stanza inspired on the last line of the haiku by Ese "time to count blessings" so here is my completed Tan Renga.

double rainbow
arches across stormy sky
time to count blessings

the joy and laughter of my kids
resonates at the family barbeque               (Chèvrefeuille)

Well ... what do you think? 

This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your continuation or completion of this Tan Renga with us all.

New Tan Renga Challenge delayed

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Our new Tan Renga Challenge is delayed. My nightshift was very busy, so i hadn't time enough to create our new TRC for this week. I hope to publish it later on today.


Chėvrefeuille, your host.

Carpe Diem #530, Mist

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy it was to read your responses on the first Gibran-episode of CDHK and that makes be happy and it gives me the strenght to go on and create our new episode based on Gibran's words as written in "Sand and Foam'.

Cover Sand & Foam by Kahlil Gibran (1926)

Khalil (there are different ways to write his name) Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer born in the town of Bsharri in the north of modern-day Lebanon (then part of Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, Ottoman Empire), as a young man he immigrated with his family to the United States, where he studied art and began his literary career, writing in both English and Arabic. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero.

Today I love to share a 'story' which brought a Bible-verse into my mind ... I think it's in the Book of Isaiah [...] I have engraved you on the palms of my hands [...]. And here is the 'story' (parable) written by Gibran:

[ ...] Once I filled my hand with mist. Then I opened it, and look, the mist was a worm. And I closed and opened my hand again, and behold there was a bird. And again I closed and opened my hand, and in its hollow stood a man with a sad face turned upward. And again I closed my hand, and when I opened it, there was nothing but mist. But I heard a song of exceeding sweetness.[...]

That last line "But I heard a song of exceeding sweetness", brought the verse from Isaiah into my mind. The Father, our Creator, is holding us in His Hand to protect and cherish us with unconditional love. That was my thought immediately after reading Gibran's words ... his words touched me deep and I hope it does the same to you ...

Credits: Nightingale (Dutch website)

nightingale's song
resonates through the summer night
peace of heart

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like this post and I hope it will inspire you to write new haiku and share them with us all ... your haiku-family-members ... at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until August 4th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, sweetness, later on ... for now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem's Little Ones #12, Shadorma

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I thought it was time to create a new episode of our Special feature "Little Ones" in which I will introduce this time a poetry-form, from Spain, Europe, called "Shadorma". I hadn't heard of this form earlier, but I ran into a beautiful weblog by Bastet in which the Shadorma was mentioned. Of course I had to look at this form and I realized that it also works with syllables as we know from haiku.

The Shadorma is a poetic form consisting of a six-line stanza (or sestet). The form is alleged to have originated in Spain. Each stanza has a syllable count of three syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line, three syllables in the third and fourth lines, seven syllables in the fifth line, and five syllables in the sixth line (3/5/3/3/7/5) for a total of 26 syllables. A poem may consist of one stanza, or an unlimited number of stanzas (a series of shadormas).

It has been suggested that the shadorma is not a historical poetic form as it is alleged to be by those who have recently revived and popularized it. There is no evidence of extant early Spanish poetry using this form. Further, the word shadorma does not appear in Spanish-language dictionaries, and no examples of the early usage of the form appear in poetry textbooks or anthologies. Further, there is no literary criticism regarding its history in Spanish literature. Considering this, the alleged history of the shadorma may be modern hoax (a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth) or the poetic equivalent of an urban legend (a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true). However, the shadorma has been used by many modern writers and is a popular writing exercise in creative writing programs and workshops.

I sought the internet and I ran into several examples of Shadorma, but this one by Richard Ankers is (in my opinion) a beauty:

Verdant grass of dreams;
Swaying free;
Living free;
Gathered together as one:
Most peaceful landscape.

And I found a wonderful Shadorma at Jen's weblog, I haven't ask her permission yet, so I hope she doesn't mind that I use her Shadorma (of course I link her Shadorma). Here is Jen's Shadorma:

with crocodile teeth
the phoenix –
plumes turn to ash in his mouth –
he singes his jaws

Credits: Red Roses
Well ... it's a poetry-form were I am not so familiar with so I will give it a try to write my first Shadorma ever and share it here with you all ...

red Roses
sharing their perfume,
morning mist
and the soft breeze
giving it to the whole wide world,
unknown love

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a great or strong one ... it's a kind of poetry that I have to study a little bit longer before I can relate to it ... but I think for a very first Shadorma not a very bad try ...

Well ... this Little Ones episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 15th at noon (CET).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Carpe Diem #529, Foot-prints

!! I am still in the nightshift, so I publish this episode a bit earlier than I normally do !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first episode of our new CDHK-month August in which we will explore and discover the beauty of the words of Khalil Gibran as shared in his "Sand and Foam" (1926), a book full of wonderful aphorisms. I think this will become a wonderful month in which we will take another path ... a path full of spirituality and joy.

"Sand and Foam" starts with the following poem, from which I distilled the first prompt of this month:

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

© Khalil Gibran

I think this is a wonderful poem and it sets the ''mood'' of this book. I am a fan of Khalil's writings and I have read all his books, "Sand and Foam'' is however the first of his books which I have read in English. I was caught immediately by his beautiful words ... and I hope you all will have (or get) the same feeling.

This month our Carpe Diem Specials will return and for those Specials I am given permission to use haiku by Jim Kacian, co-founder of the World Haiku Association and owner of Red Moon Press, the biggest publisher of haiku books in the world. I am glad that I may use his haiku this month.

Credits: Foot-prints in the sand
This first prompt of this new CDHK-month is almost a little episode of Carpe Diem "Distillation'' and of course you may use the goals of CD-distillation for this episode, that's all up to you, feel free ...

I love to share an older haiku, which I shared in February 2012 for the Haiku Challenge of SiS.

a little verse
to leave my footprint on the Internet
scent of Honeysuckle

scent of Honeysuckle
makes me slumberous
dreaming of passion

dreaming of passion
while walking along the seashore
with the one I love

with the one I love
I undertake a journey
into oblivion

into oblivion
with my pencil and paper
a little verse

a little verse
caught me years ago with it's beauty -
addicted forever

© Chèvrefeuille

I loved creating this new episode of our Haiku Kai and I hope you all will like it. I am looking forward to your inspired haiku and I hope to see and read new names ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until August 3rd at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, mist, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carpe Diem #528 Basho (6), "my dreams start to wander"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Well ... this is it ... our last episode of our Special CDHK-month with only haiku written by the 'big-five', Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Issa and Shiki. I think we have had a wonderful month and I also think the haiku by the big five have really inspired you all. To me it was a busy month, but ... well it's what I like to do ... being your host at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a haiku-family in which we can share our deepest thoughts and feelings ... and I hope you all feel that loving environment as we are a haiku family.

Today, as I already said, our last haiku by the 'big-five' and that's a haiku by (my master) Matsuo Basho. At the start of this month I shared the first haiku written by Basho when he was around 20 yrs old and to close this wonderful month I love to share his last haiku, his death-poem, with you all here at CDHK.
I have told you earlier that it was a common use for poets to write a last poem before they died and so did Basho. I think it's one of his masterpieces, but that's just my thought and maybe you, my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, have other ideas about that. Feel free to share them here at our CDHK haiku-family.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
Basho's own death poem is thought provoking and enlightening:

tabi ni yande  yume wa kareno wo  kake-meguru

ill on a journey
my dreams start to wander
across dessicated fields

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

Dessicated fields can be the time that has passed. The moment captured is true and original, an insight into the particular time of Matsuo Basho's last days. The journey is long and could represent life, as he is now ill. No longer having control of your destiny or your dreams as they go wandering back to better times. The haiku creates an image of finality of a great journey that is cut short due to an illness, which could perhaps represent death. The reader is left to ponder and figure out the meaning of these carefully chosen words.
Basho himself once said: "I will die on one of my journeys" and he did just that ... Basho, in my opinion, the greatest haiku-poet of all times ... I am grateful that I may say that he was my teacher, he learned me how to write haiku ...

dessicated fields (of corn)
With this haiku by Matsuo Basho ends our CDHK-month July and now we will go on with our journey into the philosophy of Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese philosopher, poet, painter and writer. With his "Sand and Foam" (an anthology of his aphorisms) in our hand we will go on a new path to discover new thoughts and ideas and of course we will find new gems, diamonds and masterpieces in our haiku.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 2nd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, our first of August,  foot prints, later on.
For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #19, Georgia on kyoka

!! I am posting this new GW-episode earlier, because I am in the nightshift. So you have to be a bit more patient, because it's open tonight for your submissions. !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another week has gone by and it's already time for a new Ghost Writer post. This week Georgia of Bastet's Waka Library is our Ghost Writer and she has a wonderful post written about the kyoka. Kyoka is similar with senryu, but it follows the rules of the Tanka. Kyoka is one of the lost forms of Japanese poetry. I think it''s a gorgeous post and it will learn us something new.
Georgia ... thank you for this wonderful post. have fun!


First of all I’d like to thank Chèvrefeuille for this opportunity to write about the kyoka genre of Japanese Poetry. Though far from an expert, the research has been interesting under many aspects.

Kyoka, though it had been around for a long time in the Japanese written poetry it had it’s heyday only in the last quarter of the 18th century.  Poetry had been reserved to the aristocratic samurai class and usually written in Chinese. Waka (Japanese Poetry) began to weave it’s way into the merchant class allowing them to create and enjoy poetry even if they didn’t have the extensive literary experience and training of the samurai, they could follow the metric rules and create acceptable verse.  Kyoka ("playful verses" 狂歌) became very popular at the time and was written by ukiyo-e ( "pictures of the floating world") (link: artists, commoners and of course samurai, though under pen-names.

The rules of kyoka are rather simple:

1.    The syllable structure is 5-7-5-7-7.

2. It divides in two, the 5-7-5 part is called kami-no-ku ("upper phrase"), and the 7-7 part is called shimo-no-ku ("lower phrase").
3. There is a subtle turn, often unexpected in the middle of the poem, usually after line two or three.
4. It has a syllable of thirty one (or fewer syllables).
5. It is humorous verse or a parody of a famous waka (tanka).
6. May contain internal rhyme but should avoid end rhyme.
7. Try to punctuate lightly, though some publishers prefer no punctuation.

There are three styles of kyoka:

1.    The Kokin style which tries to use all the rules of waka, but ends up being comical.
2.    The Tenmei style (born from a famous aristocratic poet, Ôta Nampo (1749-1823) who wrote under the pseudonym of  Yomo No Akira) which tries to impart an artistic flare to the poem whilst using colloquial language and writing about every day subjects and emotions.
3.    The third form is Honka-dori which takes an existing waka and parodies it. This latter form was more favored by the upper classes who could enjoy the subtleties of the parodies which the lower classes could not.

Yoshiwara no
Yomise o haru no
Yugure wa
iriai no kane ni
Hana ya sakuran

In Yoshiwara
the women are showing their wares
This evening –
Blossoms glowing in the echoes
of vesper bells

© Yomo No Akara (Translated by Steven Carter)

Here, Akira is talking about the ladies of the ukiyo-e plying their wares in the red light district.

It’s very difficult to find translations of the Japanese kyoka due to the ambiguity of the language, mundane language, puns and word associations. Let me try my hand:

in Busch Stadium
the pitcher smiled then let loose
smashing the batter's arm
he sure balled up that inning
two others’d been based on balls

© G.s.k. ‘14

*base on balls - if the pitcher throws four balls, the hitter is awarded a free "walk" to first base.

For the most part, senryu has supplanted kyoka although there are several kyoka writers in English.  The form has become practically extinct.


What a wonderful post ... maybe there is someone in our haiku-family who will be caught by kyoka. It's not really my ''cup of tea'', but it is great to read a post about this extinct poetry form. So I hope this GW-post will inspire you to write kyoka ... and maybe you are caught by it ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until August 1st at noon (CET). I will try to post our last episode of this wonderful CDHK month, the 6th haiku by Matsuo Basho, later on. For now ... have fun!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Carpe Diem #527 Shiki (5), "a departed soul"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Here it is our last haiku by Shiki and I have chosen to use his deathpoem, his Jisei. It's his very last haiku he wrote before he died as was a common use in classical Japan. I think in our time there will be also haiku-poets who write a last haiku before they die, but I don't know that for sure.

Shiki also wrote his death-poem and there is a nice story about that moment ... I love to share that here with you.
Shiki on his sick bed

Because of a debilitating disease (tuberculosis) Masaoka Shiki had to be confined to his bed for almost 7 years until he passed away. Despite the pain, he continued writing poems while lying on his back. When Shiki came near to death, one of his disciples, Hekigoto was at Shiki's bedside. Hekigoto wrote about how Shiki wrote his final three haiku as follows:
[…] "It was around 10 o'clock on the morning of September 18. I dipped his old writing brush ,whose stem and brush were both thin, full of ink and had him hold it in his right hand. Then quite abruptly in the center of the paper Shiki began to write readily "sponge gourd has bloomed " , and a little below that phrase, he again moved his brush in a breath "choked by phlegm" I was a little curious what he was going to write next and was watching the paper closely, then at last he wrote "a departed soul", which bit into my heart". [...]

Hekigoto was very touched when Shiki began to write the poem. Shiki was so weak, and desperately coughing, but he still had a determination to write these haiku.

sponge gourd has bloomed
choked by phlegm
a departed soul

© Masaoka Shiki

As I read the above story I thought that I also wish to share a haiku by Hekigoto (1873-1937), but I didn't know haiku written by him. So I had to sought out the Internet and I ran into the next haiku written by Hekigoto.
Hekigoto (1873-1937)
from a bathing tub
I throw water into the lake -
slight muddiness appears

© Hekigoto

Hekigoto was probably the most famous of Shiki's students. He was of the younger generation of haiku greats. His earlier poems followed the traditional haiku format. Later in his career he began to abandon the traditional form. He wanted his poems to come as close to reality as possible without the interference of man made rules. He started the New Trend Haiku Movement. He experimented with disregarding the seventeen syllable pattern.
far fireworks
sounding, otherwise
not a thing
© Hekigoto
Are these haiku gorgeous or not gorgeous? That's up to you to say, but to me they are wonderful. It will not be an easy task to write/compose an all new haiku (or more) to come close to the spirit of these haiku, or this haiku by Shiki.

Credits: Dew (awesome websit with wallpapers)
Here is my attempt:

morning dew
evaporates in the early sunlight -
spirit climbs to the sky

© Chèvrefeuille

Hm ... I don't know ... but  I like it ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, a new Ghost Writer post, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Carpe Diem #526 Issa (5), "New Year's Writing"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Well ... I have said it already several times, but this month of all big five haiku-poets is almost over and I am looking forward to our next CDHK-month in which we will have all prompts based on Khalil Gibran's "Sand and Foam", that also will be a great month ... and of course in that month we will have the CD Specials back and this month that will be Jim Kacian co-founder of the World Haiku Association.
Oke back to our prompt for today. Today we have our last (the fifth) haiku by Kobayashi Issa and I think I have found a wonderful haiku written by him in which he mentions one of his children. As you maybe know Issa had several kids who died young.

wanpaku ya mazu tenohira ni fude hajime

in the naughty child's
palm first, a brush...
New Year's writing
© Kobayashi Issa

It is a Japanese custom to write with a writing brush on the second day of the year. This haiku was written in Twelfth Month, 1819, several months after the death of Issa's daughter, Sato, so it could be a haiku in loving memory of her. 

Credits: Pampas grass field
And than there is the following haiku also with the sadness of Issa who lost his children all at young ages. This haiku refers to a game children used to play in the pampas grass fields around the neighborhood.

kodomora ga kitsune no mane mo susuki kana

the children
pretend to be foxes...
pampas grass

© Kobayashi Issa

In the tall pampas grass, the children play at being foxes--a significant choice, since the fox in Japan is considered to be a powerful spirit and god of the harvest. This means the children are not only pretending to be an animal but a supernatural being, just as children in the West might put sheets over their heads to transform into ghosts. The haiku captures a moment of fun, but as always in Issa, it resonates with deeper significance. The children are foxes; they are spirits. They are divine beings happily losing themselves in the tall grasses of the present world.

Issa's life was a life of only sadness ... at least so it looks, but I think his life had also very joyful moments as e.g. the birth of his children and his love for his wife, but also his strong belief in Amida Buddha and the Western Paradise.

Well ... this was our last haiku by Issa for this month, there will of course be more haiku by Issa during CDHK's upcoming months ... so we don't have to miss him.

Credits: Japanese Fireworks
Here is my attempt to write a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one(s) by Issa:

New Year's Eve
children playing with the fresh fallen snow -
fireworks coloring the sky

© Chèvrefeuille

This is a haiku in the so called Kanshicho-style which doesn't use the classical syllables-count as Basho did for several years. Basho called "in the way of the Chinese poems". In which he wrote his haiku from 1683 until 1685, afterwards he did re-write several of his haiku into the classical way.
I am a big fan of this Kanshicho-style, because (in my opinion) it's more close to the Western way of writing haiku.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 30th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, the last haiku by Shiki, later on.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Carpe Diem #525 Buson (5), "a glimpse of dawn"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Slowly, slowly ... the end of this month is coming closer. It was a month full of haiku of the big five, Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Issa and Shiki. They all wrote wonderful haiku and you all did a great job every episode again with writing all new haiku inspired on the haiku by the big five. It makes me proud and humble to be your host here at CDHK.

Today we have our last haiku by Buson and I hope you all will be inspired by this haiku written/composed by Yosa Buson.

shira ume ni akuru yo bakari to nari ni keri

the night almost past
through the white plum blossoms
a glimpse of dawn

© Buson

Yosa Buson died on December 25th 1783 and the above haiku was, what we call, his Jisei or deathpoem. Even on his deathbed Buson wrote haiku as if he was painting ... what a gorgeous haiku he left behind as his soul travelled to Paradise.

Credits: White Plum Blossom (woodblock print by Kawarazaki Shodo)
It will not be easy to write an all new haiku inspired on the last one Buson wrote, but I have to try ...

white cranes
flying above the meadow -
church bells ring

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 29th at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode later on, that will be the last haiku by Issa for this month.