Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #69 An Essay About Real Love

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know this month it's all about "the senses". Hamish takes us by the hand with his wonderful essays about the diversity of senses to shake our senses a little bit or "anata no kankakuwo migaku". Today I love to share an essay about "real love", with you.
Next Sunday it's Valentine's Day, the day of year to celebrate real love. Last Sunday I was reading The Zahir by Paulo Coelho. Part of his novel "triggered" me to write this essay for you. I love to share that part here with you all.

[...] “All men and all women are connected by an energy which many people call love, but which is, in fact, the raw material from which the universe was built. This energy cannot be manipulated, it leads us gently forward, it contains all we have to learn in this life. If we try to make it go in the direction we want, we end up desperate, frustrated, disillusioned, because that energy is free and wild.
We could spend the rest of our life saying that we love such a person or thing, when the truth is that we are merely suffering because, instead of accepting love’s strength, we are trying to diminish it so that it fits the world in which we imagine we live”. [...]
 (Source: The Zahir by Paulo Coelho).

lotus flowers
rising from the depths of the pond
everlasting love

everlasting love
like a river flows onwards
uncertain of its goal

uncertain of its goal
rising from the depths of the pond
lotus flowers

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: rising from the depths of the pond

Paulo Coelho has written a lot of novels and in almost every novel of him one of the themes is love or real love. What does love mean?

I think love is a strong sense, but each of us will respond on love in a different way. Love is not only something you have for a person, but it can also be for art, literature, nature and as I speak for myself ... haiku, maybe my love for haiku is even more stronger than the love for my wife, children and grandchildren. For sure my love for haiku is very strong, but my love for my wife (and I have a lot of love to give) is everlasting and unconditional.
It's true that haiku and my wife are competing for my attention. My wife has nothing, really nothing with haiku and she says that often, but I love her with whole my heart. She is my "real love".

Maybe you know "Manuscript found in Accra" another wonderful novel by Paulo Coelho. In that novel he says the following:

[...] "Love changes, love heals. Love is just a word until we decide that she can take possession of us.
Love is just a word until someone gives meaning to it". [...]
 (Source: Manuscript found in Accra - Paulo Coelho)

Haiku is love, a love that grabs you by the throat and takes you into an adventure to discover the beauty of our world in all her beautiful details and bring that into the tine form of haiku that shows us a scene, a moment that lasts only one heart beat.

Credits: Shepherd's Purse (nazuna)

For example the beauty of nature in detail this haiku by Basho:

yoku mireba nazuna hana saku kakine kana

looking closely:
a shepherd's purse blossoming
beneath the hedge

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Barnhill)

And this one inspired on the above beauty by Basho:

shepherd’s purse
trembles in the summer breeze -
bees seek for honey

© Chèvrefeuille

I discovered haiku in the late Eighties and I was caught immediately by its beauty. I fell in love with haiku, addicted to the beauty of nature, addicted to love. Haiku, however, wasn't my first love ... my first love was classical music especially the music by J.S.Bach. I played the organ and studied all the works of Bach. Through his music I learned to appreciate beauty.
Later I discovered painting and photographing. While I was busy learning to become a better painter and photographer I ran into haiku ... Haiku at that time gave me the opportunity to train my writing skills, to say more with less words.

What has "real love" to do with haiku? Let me tell you something about love in haiku.
As you all know tanka is more the poetry for love, but in my opinion, haiku is also about love. Love in haiku is universal and that means "haiku transcends everything even the love between people. Haiku is love and we can find that idea in the wonderful spiritual roots of haiku, Zen Buddhism.

Zen is love (real love) of the universe. Without this love, joy is uncertain, pain is inevitable, all is meaningless. Othello says:

[...] "When I love thee not, chaos is come again". [...]

The love must be complete, - not that it aims at the universe as a whole, but that the personality as a whole is to be concentrated on the thing; the thing is to be suffused with the personality. Then we have the state, described abstractly by Dr. Suzuki in the following words:

[...] "When an object is picked up, everything else, One and All, comes along with it, not in the way of suggestion, but all-inclusively, in the sense that the object is complete in itself". [...]

The relation of love to poetry may be easy to make out, but that to Zen is much more difficult. Look at it like this ... If we are without self-love, greediness, without desire of gain, of happiness, of life itself, all this energy must overflow somewhere. It overflows into all things, including oneself, so that now no actions are selfish or unselfish, good or bad, but are like the sunshine or the rain, but with mind instead of mindlessness.
We say that we see the beauty of the fine drops of rain, the glittering of the leaves in the sun, the stars in their calm, - but what we really see is the mind of man, our own mind, in all these things. Through our activity and cooperation, these inanimate things acquire mind and affection. The waves drown the shipwrecked sailor regretfully, the sun scorches the weary traveler with remorse.

This kind of love, then, is not the means, the first step, but the end and aim and consummation of our pilgrimage here (on this world). It is expressed in quite other ways than altruism and self-denial. It is effortless and continuous, unconscious and nameless, but we feel it and know it ourselves and others as the health of the soul.

Mountain Persimmons
mountain persimmons;
the mother is eating
the astringent parts

© Issa (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

Zen cannot change a man's inborn character. Nothing can do this. It cannot turn a cold, selfish heart into a warm loving one. What it does do is to change the direction of the inner energy, to bring out all the latent power, to show things to be interesting that were not noticed at all (as in the above haiku by Basho), or thought to be meaningless or repulsive.

shutting the great temple gate,
creak! it goes:
an autumn evening

© Shiki (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

it walked with me
as I walked,
the scarecrow in the distance

© San-in (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

Just as Zen is love, haiku may be called love poems. Haiku are an expression of the joy of our reunion with things from we have been parted by self-consciousness, so strong and tender in the sexual act, more diffused, yet equally powerful and delicate in our poetic moments.

Credits: Joy

As you all (maybe) know I have written (and published) two novels. Both were successful and in both novels I used my ideas about love. In my second novel ("Never to Return" or "Nooit meer Terug".) I used my ideas about love for the spiritual teachings of the main character. I love to share a quote from that novel here.

[...] "Unconditional love is neverending. Unconditional love is bound together with the Collective Consciousness which binds together every living creature with the Universe. Unconditional love makes us one." [...]

We are all haiku poets and the love for haiku makes us one.

"Real Love" is in my opinion the only base for haiku. Without real love, for all and everything, creating haiku is not possible.
As I discovered haiku I fell in love ... in love with that universal beauty that binds all artists (poets, musicians, painters, sculptors and more) together.

a little verse
lighted a fire in my heart

addicted to love

© Chèvrefeuille

Have a wonderful loving Valentine's Day !

The goal of this Tokubetsudesu epsiode is to sit back, meditate and contemplate on love and let your muse inspire you to create a haiku full of love and passion.

This Tokubetsudesu episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 12th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Melody, later on.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Carpe Diem Special #196 Hamish Gunn's 2nd "on the street corner"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to bring you an all new CD Special with haiku written by Hamish Managua Gunn, the winner of our "winter"- kukai. Hamish emailed me a series of haiku to choose from and the haiku which I love to share here did remind me at our "Narrow Road"-month last December and it brought a haiku in mind by Basho. This haiku is very known, because of a certain controversy in it.

The haiku by Basho is from his haibun "Narrow Road", so I will also share the prose around it here with you:

The voices of two young women whispering in the next room, however, came creeping into my ears. They were talking to an elderly man, and I gathered from their whispers that they were concubines from Niigata in the province of Echigo, and that the old man, having accompanied them on their way to the Ise Shrine, was going home the next day with their messages to their relatives and friends.  

Ise Shrine

I sympathized with them, for as they said themselves among their whispers, their life was such that they had to drift along even as the white froth of waters that beat on the shore, and having been forced to find a new companion each night, they had to renew their pledge of love at every turn, thus proving each time the fatal sinfulness of their nature. I listened to their whispers till fatigue lulled me to sleep. When, on the following morning, I stepped into the road, I met these women again. They approached me and said with some tears in their eyes, 'We are forlorn travelers, complete strangers on this road. Will you be kind enough at least to let us follow you? If you are a priest as your black robe tells us, have mercy on us and help us to learn the great love of our Savior.' 'I am greatly touched by your words,' I said in reply after a moment's thought, 'but we have so many places to stop at on the way that we cannot help you. Go as other travelers go. If you have trust in the Savior, you will never lack His divine protection.' As I stepped away from them, however, my heart was filled with persisting pity.

in the same house
prostitutes, too, slept:
bush clover and moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

Courtesan and her maid

Hamish emailed me a few haiku in which the theme (or leading character) is a prostitute and his haiku are very nice and real beauties.

the prostitute
on the street corner
never looks at the stars

the lonely prostitute
makes dolls
for the street children

for a while
the prostitute blows bubbles
a little girl again

© Hamish Managua Gunn

These haiku describe the prostitute in three very different scenes.  

As I was preparing this episode I ran into another translation of the haiku by Basho ...

hitotsuya ni yuujo mo netari hagi to tsuki

courtesan and monk,
sleeping  under one roof together,
moon in a field of clover

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

Red Light District
Here is another haiku created by me some time ago and maybe you know this one from our weekly haiku meme Haiku Shuukan.

the day has gone
the night belongs to them -
red light district

© Chèvrefeuille

Well .... enough inspiration I would say.

This CD-Special is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 11th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, a new Tokubetsudesu episode, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Carpe Diem #914 Time

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I say it often "lack of time", "time is not at my side" and more likely. In this episode we will look at "time" as part of the senses.


Maybe you can remember that we had a month with quotes from Khalil Gibran's "Sand and Foam". In one of the episodes I spoke about "time". As I was preparing this episode another nice piece of poetry came in mind, also by Khalil Gibran. I love to share that poem here with you all.

And an astronomer said, "Master, what of Time?"
And he answered:
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds? And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?
But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

© Khalil Gibran


changing tides
my restlessness has gone
time is at my side

© Chèvrefeuille

Hamish on time

Sense of time is said to be the most cultural of all senses. A Brazilian's sense of time is completely different from say, a Swiss's sense of time, and in fact closer to the culture of the Qatari, for example. Some of us always arrive early, and have an innate sense of what time it is. Others do not have a good sense of time, and anyway come from a culture where the notion of time is not given the same values.

Maybe say it is never too late, for example, while the saying in Switzerland is it is never too early. If you invite a Finnish person to your house at say 6:00 pm, he or she is likely to turn up at 5:30 pm, a dire insult for the French, who make a point of being half an hour late, which is altogether too optimistic for a Brazilian or Gulf Arab.

While the Swiss or Finnish may have a well-developed notion or sense of time, other nations place emphasis on developing other senses in society, like the tactile sense among people of the Mediterranean. In fact most Europeans like to arrive on time, even if not all their trains do. The Japanese are also innate time-keepers, though Thai people are much more approximate, and do not have the same sense  of time as their Asian counterparts.

The goal is to bring "time" as a sense into your haiku or try to create a haiku (tanka or other Japanese poetry form) in which you try to catch "time".

Credits: Strings of Time

My response

Time ... to me isn't that important. I live with the day and (of course) I am on time at work, but that's all to say about me according to time. Time isn't always at my side, but that's my problem and not that of others.
I often feel ashamed as I am not on time with publishing the episodes here at CDHK, but ... well that's me.

I am a wanderer, a vagabond, a nomad ... time is not important to me ... when the first sunbeams caress the earth I rise from my bed ... the day goes by ... and as the sky becomes dark and the stars are visible in their deep blue background of the universe ... it's time to go to sleep. That's my day.

I have tried to catch that in a haiku, not a new one, but I think it fits the idea of time very well.

wandering along the sea
in the footprints left an oyster
shimmering of a pearl

© Chèvrefeuille

And ... I just had to write an all new one:

first sunlight
the whole day birds praise
'til the night falls

© Chèvrefeuille

strings of time
pulling every day again
becoming grey

© Chèvrefeuille

(inspired on the above image)

Take your time ... meditate on time ... feel time, see time, hear time, taste time and ... touch time in your haiku.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 10th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, a new CD Special by Hamish, our featured haiku poet, later on.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Carpe Diem Extra February 6th 2016 our renga party.

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know we are busy with our 2nd renga party. There has gone something wrong, but I will try to correct it as the renga is completed. For the next link / stanza I have sought contact with Celestine of Reading Pleasure. She has to write the new link. Christy wrote the last link until now, so you, Celestine, have to write the next link by associating on the link by Christy.
Please follow the line up given in the post about this 2nd renga. You can find that post higlighted at the left of our Kai.

When the renga is completed I will repair the 'missing link' or 'correct it'.


Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Carpe Diem #913 spirituality

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First this: Our 6th Carpe Diem Haiku Kai kukai "time" is already on, but there are not enough submissions yet. You can submit your haiku (a maximum of three unpublished haiku) inspired on the theme "time" until February 14th 10.00 PM (CET) to our email-address: carpediemhaikukai@gmail.com please write kukai time in the subject line. I am looking forward to all of your beautiful haiku.

Secondly: As you all know I am already busy with creating the first real issue of our own e-zine "Souchou". This issue will be published around March 21st, spring. However it is not necessary to submit haiku, tanka,other Japanese poetry forms or an essay themed "spring". If you want to be published in this new issue of Souchou than you can email your submissions to our special "souchou" email-address: carpediemhaikukaisouchou@gmail.com please write "spring issue Souchou" in the subject line.

Third: Our second renga-party is on a roll and I have read wonderful links/stanza already. It looks like we are doing it again with each other. So be alert if it is your turn to write a stanza. Our renga-party is still highlighted in the left of our Kai.

Fourth: I hope to publish a new CDHK e-book soon in which I have gathered all the episodes of our second series of Haiku Wruiting Techniques. I will keep you all posted.

Okay ... that were the "household communications" for today, sorry for being prolixed. Back to our CDHK episode of today.

Credits: spirituality


This month we are sharpening our senses together with Hamish and I love to tell you first why I did choose for a nice photo of a Japanese Garden for our CDHK logo of February. We are talking about senses this month and in every Japanese garden you will find "triggers" for all of your senses. That's why I choose for this logo.

Today's episode is about "spirituality". Spirituality is one of the pillars on which I built Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, because it's my belief that haiku (and all other Japanese poetry) are based on spirituality. As we all know haiku is partly built on Zen Buddhism and (every) haiku can be seen as a koan.

Let me tell you all something more about this idea of "koan":

The popular western understanding sees kōan as referring to an unanswerable question or a meaningless statement. However, in Zen practice, a kōan is not meaningless, and not a riddle or a puzzle. Teachers do expect students to present an appropriate response when asked about a kōan.

Koans are also understood as pointers to an unmediated "Pure Consciousness", devoid of cognitive activity. Victor Hori*, Associate Professor, Japanese Religion at McGill University Montreal Quebec, criticizes this understanding:

[A] pure consciousness without concepts, if there could be such a thing, would be a booming, buzzing confusion, a sensory field of flashes of light, unidentifiable sounds, ambiguous shapes, color patches without significance. This is not the consciousness of the enlightened Zen master.

According to Hori, a central theme of many koans is the 'identity of opposites':

[K]oan after koan explores the theme of nonduality. Hakuin's well-known koan, "Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?" is clearly about two and one. The koan asks, you know what duality is, now what is nonduality? In "What is your original face before your mother and father were born?" the phrase "father and mother" alludes to duality. This is obvious to someone versed in the Chinese tradition, where so much philosophical thought is presented in the imagery of paired opposites. The phrase "your original face" alludes to the original nonduality.

Comparable statements are: "Look at the flower and the flower also looks"; "Guest and host interchange".

* Victor Sōgen Hori received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Stanford University in 1976 and that same year was ordained a Zen monk. After devoting the next thirteen years to training the Rinzai Zen headquarters temple of Daitoku-ji in Kyoto, he returned to Canada to begin academic life. He has taught in the Faculty of Religious Studies since 1993 and is a member of the Centre for East Asian Research and the Centre for Medicine Ethics and Law. Professor Hori’s research topics include Asian religion and culture, the teaching of Buddhist philosophy, and the kōans of the Zen masters.

As I look back into the history of CDHK than I see and read a lot of spirituality, not only in the posts, but also in the responses on the posts. I think spirituality was strong present in our "Tarot Month" back in May 2013. In that month we explored the divine in the Tarot, which is seen as an occult practice. We discovered that month that the Tarot is more than occult .... it's divine and full of spirituality.

We also had several posts about, for example: pilgrimages and shamanism, in which we discovered the spiritual layers in haiku and we learnt to bring that spirituality into our haiku and that's also the goal of this episode.

universal experience
walking on the path of wisdom
finding the truth

© Chèvrefeuille (2013)

Credits: spirituality

Hamish on Spirituality:

Spirituality means something different to everyone. Often quite a few of us get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.

Research shows that even skeptics can't stifle the sense that there is something greater than the concrete world we see. As the brain processes sensory experiences, we naturally look for patterns, and then seek out meaning in those patterns.

Spirituality says that even if you think you're limited and small, it simply isn't so. You are greater and more powerful than you have ever imagined. A great and divine light exists inside of you. This same light is also in everyone you know and in everyone you will ever know in the future. You may think you're limited to just your physical body and state of affairs — including your gender, race, family, job, and status in life — but spirituality comes in and says "there is more than this."

When you're filled with spiritual energy, you feel great inspiration. Allowing yourself to be filled with inspiration translates into love, joy, wisdom, peacefulness, and service. The study of spirituality goes deeply into the heart of every matter. Perhaps the best way to think about a spiritual approach to the world is to contrast it with the more common materialistic world — what can be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelled.

Shaman (Altai Mountains)

In contrast, the spiritual way is to see beyond mere outer appearances and the five senses to an intuitive perception of the causes behind outer conditions. Someone with a spiritual approach may change and uplift their world by first transforming and improving his or her own vision. Accordingly, one of the main teachings of spirituality is to look within and find what you seek within yourself. As one becomes more spiritual, animalistic aggressions of fighting and trying to control the beliefs of other people can be cast off like an old set of clothes that no longer fits. Loving and respecting all doesn't mean agreeing with all doctrines. This goes for any teachings encountered along one's path.

A spiritual haiku is seen also in shaman haiku. Today though, show spirituality with your haiku through your description (of nature).

Here are a few shaman-haiku which Hamish published earlier here at CDHK:

scent of falling leaves
-sense of fading dreams
suddenly, a ladybug!

the liquid sunset
touches the sea
I touch the sea, too

© Hamish Managua Gunn

My response

As you all know, you could have read it above, but certainly all over Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, I am a very spiritual being and that's why I started creating haiku, because haiku is in my belief the poetry of spirituality. 

lying down on my back
watching the deep blue night sky -
feeling my spirit

feeling my spirit
wishing to be free forever
like an eagle

like an eagle
free and high in the blue sky
my Inner Path

© Chèvrefeuille

Honeysuckle (or Chèvrefeuille)

And another haiku which I found in my (rich) archive:

scent of Honeysuckle
the smell of dew on her flowers
Holy incense

© Chèvrefeuille (2012)

I was on a roll with this episode, sorry ... it became "to long". This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 9th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Time, later on. For now ... have fun!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Carpe Diem #912 Movement/Propriocept​ion

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday Hamish brought back "baransu" (balance) and today he brings again one of the new Haiku Writing Techniques which I dared to create back to CDHK. In today's post he refers to the Haiku Writing Technique Undou (movement) ... a wonderful, but controversial, Haiku Writing Technique which we have explored in several CDHK episodes. Why controversial? Well ... haiku is just the impression of a moment (a moment in time) and movement in haiku was "not done" until Basho came up with his "frogpond" haiku. In which he talks about the movement of the frogs and not their croaking.


In that famous haiku by Basho lays the birth of "undou" (movement). "Undou" (movement) however is more than only the movement of a frog. It's the movement of nature, of our world, movement that is everlasting like a "perpetuum mobile" and that, my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, is why I created "undou" (movement) as a new haiku writing technique.
 I know that Jane Reichhold follows this discussion and maybe, just maybe ... I can convince her that "movement" can be part of haiku.
apple blossom falls
scattered by the late spring breeze
apple blossom falls
© Chèvrefeuille
This is "undou", this is movement. 
Credits: Undou (movement)

Hamish on Movement/Propriocept​ion

Close your eyes and touch your nose. If everything is working properly, this should be easy because your brain can sense your body, as well as its position and movement through space. This is called proprioception. But how does this "sixth sense" work — and what happens when it clashes with other senses?
We're all familiar with the five standard senses, which include vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The idea that there are only five of them has been rooted in our minds since the time of Aristotle, who explicitly rejected the idea of a sixth sense. But for centuries scientists have seriously entertained the idea of a sixth sense that allows us to perceive our bodies. There remains a lot of debate about whether this sense, which later became known as proprioception, can be considered an additional sense alongside the five standard ones. After all, the five senses all allow us to experience the outside world, whereas proprioception allows us to understand our physical place within that world.
Sixth sense or not, proprioception is recognized as being vital to our daily experiences and something that contributes to our overall body ownership. As Nature's Allison Abbot says: "Without it, our brains are lost." Proprioception is the master controller of our balance and spatial orientation, involving the senses movement and placing an emphasis on the body's motions, as well as incorporates routine or habitual behaviors to improve movements. Both hand-eye coordination and muscle memory involve kinesthesia — the more you perform certain actions, such as during sports, the better at them you will become.
We introduced the wonderful concept of 'Undou' motion or movement in haiku, sometime ago on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. It is such an innovative concept that we should bring it back for today's post on Movement. Please compose a haiku with 'Undou' therefore, for today's haiku. 
 My response

"Movement" (or "undou") is something new in haiku, but not that new as we could read above. However ... movement is still not part of haiku, because of the idea that every haiku is an impression of just one moment as short as an eye-blink ... a static scene.
I ran through my archives and found a nice series of haiku on movement.

seasons come and go
she ... the moon always the same
plays with the waves
dew drops shimmer
on colorful leaves
rainbows sparkle
waterfall of colors
leaves whirl through the street -
departing summer
ankle chimes
listen to the movement
of the young dancer
ballet dancers
ghostly images covered in smoke
modern swan lake
© Chèvrefeuille
A nice series of haiku I think in which "movement" (or "undou") is shown in several ways. I hope you did like this episode and that it will inspire you all to write haiku, tanka or an other Japanese poetry form. Have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 8th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, Spirituality, later on.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Carpe Diem Vernacular, with a twist #1 the old pond

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know not so long ago (last month) I introduced "Carpe Diem Vernacular" to you all. In that special feature I asked you to share haiku in your own language (vernacular). You all embraced that new feature and that made me confident to create another kind of "Carpe Diem Vernacular" ... Today this is the first episode of this idea.
I have called this "new" special feature "Carpe Diem Vernacular ... with a twist" and the goal is to (try to) translate a classical haiku from it's "classic" language to a haiku in your own language. This means that I will challenge you to "translate" a Japanese classical haiku, in Japanese, into your own language.

Let me give you an example:

For this example I have chosen that famous "frogpond" haiku by (my master) Matsuo Basho. Let me first give you the original classical version:

furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

the old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water

© Basho (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

I have to give the English translation, because I don't think you all can read Japanese (Romaji). Translation can be literal, but it can also be done figuratively. Maybe you have  a certain feeling as you read this haiku. Let that feeling be part of your translation, or just translate it literal. That choice is up to you.

Credits: frog / kikker (Dutch website)

I have given it a try myself ... I have tried to translate it figuratively, with feeling so to say:

falling water
resonates through the mountains
frog's shadow

© Chèvrefeuille

In Dutch:

vallend water
echoot door de bergen
kikker schaduw 

© Chèvrefeuille

Why did I choose for this figuratively translation? I imagined that old pond in my mind. And the first image which came in mind was a "waterfall" somewhere in the mountains. Mountains can make the sound of the falling water stronger and than I saw in hte corner of my eye a frog jump away, just a shadow. This "path" brought me to that version of the famous "frogpond" haiku.

For this first episode of "Carpe Diem Vernacular with a twist" I love to challenge you to "translate" this famous "frogpond" haiku. I am looking forward to your "translation".

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Thursday February 11th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem #911 Equilibrium/Balance

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

A new episode is starting ... and it is a joy to read in the notes of Hamish that he refers to one of the Haiku Writing Techniques which I dare to create myself, baransu (or balance in your haiku). I hope this episode of today will bring baransu again to your attention. Let me give a short explanation of this Haiku Writing Technique.


Baransu or bringing balance into your haiku has to do with association. If you write your first line of a haiku, than you have to associate on images in that line to write your second. The same counts for that second line. To write your third line you have to associate on images in your second line. I will give you an example.

"snowflakes fall", on which "image" I can associate? This can be on "snow", "snowflakes", "white" (because of the color of snow) or on "fall", this can be "autumn" of on "falling". Let me give it a thought. I will use "white". The second line can be "a white blanket covers the earth". A nice second line I would say.
Okay let me take a look at the possibilities to associate on for the third line: "white", "blanket", "covers" (maybe the cover of a magazine?) or "earth", earth in winter is mostly dark or black or deep brown. Let me give these ideas a thought. Maybe I will go for the idea of the cover of a magazine. Than that third line would be something like "Christmas edition".

This is the "way" to a "baransu"-haiku. I will bring the three lines together now:

snowflakes fall
a white blanket covers the earth
Christmas edition

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a very strong example of this "baransu" haiku writing technique, but it has brought me a nice haiku I think.

Hamish on Equilibrium/Balance

Like many senses, the sense of balance or equilibrioception has both mental and physical sides. Physically, the act of keeping balance is both a subconscious as well as conscious sense, and it is therefore one of our physiological  senses. The ability to always maintain balance is part of the function of our ears, though we keep balance visually, and astronauts have problems with sense of balance when returning to earth and excess motion, for example on a merry go round can result in loss of balance, as well as vertigo, and indeed too much alcohol.
The broken escalator phenomenon, also known as the Walker Effect, is the sensation of losing balance or dizziness reported by some people when stepping onto an escalator which is not working. It is said that there is a brief, odd sensation of imbalance, despite full awareness that the escalator is not going to move. It has been shown that this effect causes people to step inappropriately fast onto a moving platform that is no longer moving, even when this is obvious to the participant.
Some animals have better equilibrioception than humans, for example a cat uses its inner ear and tail to walk on a thin fence. Equilibrioception in many marine animals is done with an entirely different organ, the statocyst, which detects the position of tiny calcareous stones to determine which way is "up."
Plants could be said to exhibit a form of equilibrioception, in that when rotated from their normal attitude the stems grow in the direction that is upward (away from gravity) while their roots grow downward (in the direction of gravity) this phenomenon is known as Gravitropism and it has been shown that for instance Poplar stems can detect reorientation and inclination.
Here on Carpe Diem Haiku we previously explored the notion of 'balance' ( or baransu) as a haiku technique. Let's bring that technique back for your haiku today. Let's see how you show that sense of balance in your haiku, using techniques previously learnt.

Credits: Sunflower Field

My response

Balance ... it has not only to do with movement, but I think it also has to do with "inner balance". You have to be "in balance" mentally to stay focused on the things you have to do in your life. As I look at myself than I need "inner-balance" to do my work as an oncology nurse. I have very ill patients who need my care and attention and my love, so I can only give that to them if I am in balance myself.
To stay in balance myself I use to write. First novels and later I wrote more and more haiku to keep myself in balance. In my poetry I can find that balance through the scenes in my haiku, but also through being your host here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I wonder ... what if I had not the opportunity to write or being your host? Than I think I would be less successfull in my job as an oncology nurse.

in the light of dawn
sunflowers reach to the blue sky
praising their Creator

© Chèvrefeuille

A nice haiku in which I see "balance" in the strenght of the Sunflowers reaching to the blue sky. As I "analyze" this than I associated on "light of dawn" to come to "sunflowers". And on "blue sky" to come to "Creator" in the third line. A nice "baransu"-haiku I would say.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 7th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, movement, later on. For now ... have fun!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Carpe Diem #910 Bitterness/Sour

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you did like our Tokubetsudesu episode and our first CD-Special. I have read wonderful responses on both episodes and it is promising for the rest of this month. I think the quality of the poetry shared here at CDHK becomes better and better ...
Today we are going further with sharpening our senses in collaboration with Hamish Managua Gunn who created our prompt-list.


Today we are looking to bitterness/sour and I must say, both are my favorite tastes. I love the bitterness of (for example) radish and the sour of lemon. As I look at my grandkids, for example, they don't like bitterness, but their favorite candy is what we call here in The Netherlands, zure matten, (in English sour mats. It's a kind of candy with first the sweetness of Sugar, but as this thin layer of Sugar has melted, the sourness of the candy is very strong. I Always must laugh as I see their little faces change when they are tasting the sourness, but they love it.

after sweetness
the sourness of children's candy
their sour faces

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Sour Mats (Zure Matten), a sour kind of candy

Hamish on Bitterness/Sour

Without taste, of any kind, we forgo the pleasure of life. Taste means the joy of life, even the bitter taste of sour cabbage or a very dry wine or an English bitter beer. However, bitterness is a sign of toxicity, and the term is used often in daily language, such as ''a bitter pill to swallow,'' or '' sour grapes.''
Descriptions of taste are very often associated with strong emotions. As mentioned in a previous post on Sweetness, the strong link connecting taste with emotion and drive has to do with our evolution: Taste was a sense that aided us in testing the food we were consuming. It was therefore a matter of survival. A bitter or sour taste was an indication of poisonous inedible plants or of rotting protein-rich food. The sweet and salty tastes, on the other hand, are often a sign of food rich in nutrients. Yet the sour lemon is one of the world's most ubiquitous tastes and smells.
Savory dishes can sometimes be sour. Or they can be of the fifth basic taste, an addition to the four better known tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty, which is umami, a Japanese word used for “savory.”
Your haiku today should bring alive one of your favorite tastes, or a memory of a strong taste.

My response

Taste ... we all (mostly) have good taste, but in my work as an oncologynurse I see a lot of patients who have lost their taste through the chemo they are given. Must be an awfull idea to loose your taste. I cannot imagine how it would be if I would loose my taste. I like to taste new vegetables, new fruits and so on ... just to find the deeper source of it and the place where it is coming from ...

Hamish asks us to write a haiku which brings alive one of our favorite tastes and that brought me the following haiku:

the taste of cherries
helping me through the cold winter
Sakura blooms again

© Chèvrefeuille
Credits: covered in chocolate

And here is another one. A little bit naughty I think, but it fits the theme for today's episode:

my sweet love
covered in chocolate
arouses my senses
© Chèvrefeuille
Well ... I hope you did like this episode. I am looking forward to all of your beautiful responses on this nice post.
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 6th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Equilibrium/Balance, later on.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carpe Diem Special #195 Hamish Managua Gunn's first "full snow moon"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first CD Special of February. As you all know Hamish Managua Gunn (a.k.a. Pirate) won our "winter-kukai". Winning the kukai means that you are the featured haiku poet for a month at CDHK. Today is the first CD Special in which I will tell you a little bit more about Hamish and his poetry.

This is what Hamish says about himself (I found this at Smashwords):

"I am a hermit here in Lappland, a tinker by origin from the Orkney Isles, with simple messages: a view from a peak must be earned by a climb, a night in the desert gives the best sleep, and stories are found deep in forests.
For me, hospitality is sacrosanct – high up on a mountainside when the winds gather, or in the desert when the mirage is no longer real, and especially just after dawn among pine needles, sheltered by mighty branches.
And those who shared their bread with me shared more. What I share in writing is always a tale from one of the four corners of the world, a street corner, souk, ship or café; somewhere I went to in purchase of pure copper for my small copper shoppe. Then the scenes come with me on walks in my forest far in Lappland; there the story forms among trees in storms and soft breeze.
But I travel because I write: if you want to climb a mountain, you must start at the top".

And this is what Hamish says about his writing process: "I visit my forest every morning - and blog only about that also. Words are found in trees. I collect them, a bit like a crossword puzzle".

Hamish Managua Gunn

I think that Hamish, as he says it himself, is really a great thinker and gifted with a great talent to write novels and haiku. Hamish is a steady visitor of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and he even has been several times my co-host. As you all know ... Hamish is the creator of our prompt-list for this month and has an important role in the episodes of this month.

I am very proud that I can say that Hamish is a very good friend and a very gifted haiku poet as we already saw in our CDHK kukai "Winter" which he won with the following haiku:

a dark sky's lights dance
in the wolf's eyes

© Hamish

This is really a beautiful haiku and I think it was the only choice to be the winner, but that's just my opinion.

I came in contact with Hamish through CDHK and I appreciate what he is doing for CDHK, but more than that I appreciate him for his honesty and clearness in all his writings. He is a poet who stands very close to nature, as we all know he finds his inspiration in his forest and on all his travels. He also is a spiritual guy, as we could read in his essay about shaman-haiku and in his winning haiku.
Hamish is a haiku poet 100%

I have a few haiku to share here for your inspiration. He emailed his own choice of haiku and gave me the opportunity to choose from them. Here is a nice one:

one snowflake and I
share the end of autumn
in silence

© Hamish

This haiku fits also the theme of today's Tokubetsudesu episode and could be easily written for that episode too. In this haiku I sense the devotee of nature ... oneness with nature ... awesome.

Photo provided by Hamish (© DVS Williamson)
With this beautiful full moon image came a wonderful haiku which Hamish emailed earlier ... Another nice haiku written by a gifted haiku poet:

full snow moon
stirs the ladybug
on cold bare branches

© Hamish

Awesome ... in this one the silence is prominent and strong present ... thank you Hamish, ny friend, that you have given me the opportunity to choose from your oeuvre of haiku ... I am honored to host these CD Specials with all your wonderful poetry.

As you all know the goal of the CD-Specials is to try to create an all new haiku or tanka in the same spirit as the one given ... so try to catch the spirit of Hamish's haiku ...

Here is my response, and I can only hope that it is in the same spirit:

bare branches
against the deep blue night sky
moving shadows

© Chèvrefeuille

Not as strong as I had hoped, but I like this one.

This CD-Special is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 5th at noon (CET). Have fun!