Sunday, November 23, 2014

Carpe Diem #611, Sylph, spirit of the wind

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you did like our little Vission Quest of the last three days. I liked it a lot and I have seen, read and re-read wonderful haiku, however ... I am behind with commenting on all of your nice posts, so be patient, because I will comment a.s.a.p.

Today we are going to explore the realm of spirits and the one I like the most, because of my country I think, we have here a lot of windy days, I have chosen for Sylph, spirit of the wind. I am a big fan of Celtic culture, spirituality and religion (I even have written a novel in which I have used a lot of this wonderful culture) ... so I have "dived into" the Celtic culture of spirits and Sylph, the spirit of wind, I have found the following about:

Sylphs are the spiritual beings that inhabit the spirit realm of the element Air. Their activities are manifest in the gatherings of clouds, in the blowing of the wind, the downpour of rain and the formation of snow. They are also responsible for the growth and maturity of all the plant life we see around us. In folklore, Sylphs appeared in many myths and legends. Some tales tell us that if you listened carefully, they would talk to you on the wind as it passed through caves and caverns.
It’s been suggested that the Muses of Greek mythology were Sylphs who had assumed human form in order to guide humans on a spiritual path. They are associated with the activity of the mind and can influence and inspire human actions. It is generally though that they are attracted to poets and artists and instills them with visions of spiritual beauty. Sylphs are ruled by a King being (known as Paralda), and in form they appear to humans as in the classic image of the fairies.

Credits: Sylph, the spirit of the wind
The name Sylph comes from the Greek word "silphe", meaning "butterfly" or "moth". They were first named by the Rosicrucian's and Cabalists in their folklore. The sylph is a female spirit of the element, air. Sylphs are like invisible angels, whose voices could be heard in the wind. Sylphs defend the high mountain peaks and wilderness mountains that are home to them. Sylphs look like tall, lithe humans with huge, feathered wings sprouting from their backs. These wings are almost two times it’s body length, but they fold up behind the sylph. They have large, hawk-like eyes and sharp, angular faces. A sylph can live to be hundreds of years old, often reaching one thousand, but never seeming to grow old. The smaller sylph are sometimes called cherubs or fairies. Sylphs are loners, and are content to fly with the birds.
Air is traditionally assigned to the East, the direction of dawn. The Goddesses Danu, Arianrhod, Athena and the God’s Mercury and Buddha, among others, are associated with Air.
Air represents intelligence, inspiration, freshness and freedom.

What an awesome creatures they are, Sylphs ....

whispering through leaves
the sweet sound of the spirits of the wind -
butterflies dance

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode about Sylph, the spirit of the wind. Sylphs stand also for inspiration .... so let the Sylphs inspire you to write/compose an all new haiku ...

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 26th at noon (CET). Have fun!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Carpe Diem #610, Transformation (2nd Vision Quest, 3rd day)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we have our final day of our three days Vision Quest and today I think our prompt is very much in tune with what a Vision Quest can do ... transformation (or spiritual changes). This prompt is so of this era of Aquarius, in which our spiritual growth will become stronger and stronger.

Our final day ...
in search of our inner beauty

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... it is not a very strong haiku, but I think it is a nice way of speaking about transformation. I don't think it's useful to tell you more about transformation ... just go with the flow and dive deep inside your own mind to see if you are changed, if you are transformed ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 23rd at noon. So you have just 24 hours to respond. I will try to post our next episode, Sylph, Spirit of the Wind.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" #13, "to the dolls" by Ransetsu

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a day to late with this episode (now bi-weekly on Thursday) of "Sparkling Stars", the feature in which we look at "masterpieces" (sparkling stars) written by classical and non-classical haiku poets. And this week's "Sparkling Stars" episode is a beautiful haiku written by Ransetsu.

Ransetsu was a disciple of Basho, and his allegiance was so strong that when he died Ransetsu is said to have shaved his head and embraced Buddhism. Basho is said to have remarked 'I cannot equal Ransetsu in poetical austerity.'" Just like Basho, Ransetsu also spent time travelling and recorded this in his dairies with haiku. Ransetsu was counted by Master Yosa Buson as one of four great haiku poets to be visited by aspiring poets.
The Haiku of Ransetsu are marked by the presence of compassion, and the most famous haiku of Ransetsu is probably this one about the childless woman:

the childless woman,
how tender she is
to the dolls!

© Ransetsu (Tr. Blyth)

It’s a gorgeous haiku full of compassion for this woman without children. He sees her taking care for the dolls as were they real children. How much pain and sadness this woman will have had as she couldn’t have children or maybe she had children, but they died ... it’s not clear.
Use your  imagination to see this scene in front of your eyes and try to write/compose an all new haiku following the classical rules:

+ 5-7-5 syllables
+ a seasonword (kigo)
+ a cuttingword (kireji, in western mostly interpunction)
+ a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water
+ interchangable first and third line
+ a deeper meaning

Not an easy task I think, but I know you will succeed.

This episode will be open for your submissions NOW and will remain open until next Thursday November 27th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Carpe Diem Special #118, Tomas Tranströmer's fourth "in time with the moon" (Vision Quest day 2)

!! I had forgotten to give the linking widget, so this 2nd day of our Vision Quest starts at 22.00 PM (CET) and will close tomorrow at 22.00 PM (CET) Sorry for this trouble ... !!!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to bring our second Vision Quest Day (and our CD-Special #118) with a haiku by our featured haiku poet Tomas Tranströmer. As you all know we are busy with our second Vision Quest in which you have to respond on the given prompt within 24 hours trying to look at the deeper layers of haiku, or in other words the spirituality in haiku. I think that the haiku by Tranströmer is a great start for this second Vision Quest day.

and the night streams in
from east to west, traveling
in time with the moon

© Tomas Tranströmer

Can I write/compose a haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Tranströmer? With looking deeper into the hidden layers, the spirituality in the haiku? I don't know, but I have to try of course. So here I go ...

As I look at the scene in the above haiku than the first thing which came in mind is the eastern philosophy coming with the wind to the western world. We are (as you maybe know) now in the Age of Aquarius, the time in which humanity will grow in it's spirituality ... And than I see the moon in all her beauty and stages in front of my eyes ... she is the embodiment of time, so I have to use her image in my haiku ... Reading this haiku again and again ... I get the picture finally and than I see my Alter Ego, the Unknown haiku poet Yozakura ... he smiles at me and nods ... he whispers "you can do it" ... than the revelation, the scene, the Aha-moment ...

rustling bamboo leaves
whispering my deeper thoughts -
the bright moonlight

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open for just 24 hours until November 22nd at 7.00 PM (CET). I will publish our third day of our Vision Quest later on. Than we have transformation for prompt ... For now ... have fun! 

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #60, Yozakura

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new Tan Renga Challenge, our 60th Tan Renga Challenge ... a new milestone will be reached this month. I think this month we will have 400.000 hits. That's a lot as I look at our two years of appearance on the Internet ... I am excited ...

This week i have a nice haiku to start this Tan Renga with ... a haiku by our unknown haiku poet Yozakura. He was a disciple of Basho and the 'touch' of Basho we can see in his haiku. In this haiku I think we can see that also.

bright autumn moon
bare branches moving like arms -
the first snow

© Yozakura

A great haiku ...  that mysterious scene of a late autumn night ... bare branches ... snow ... How magical that must have been ...

Credits: bright autumn moon

The goal of this Tan Renga Challenge is to write a second stanza of two lines following the classical 7-7 syllables count (not an obligation) ... to make the Tan Renga complete.

Here is my second stanza:

together with the one I love
drinking red wine in front of the fireplace   (© Chėvrefeuille)

This makes the following Tan Renga:

bright autumn moon
bare branches moving like arms -
the first snow  (Y)

together with the one I love
drinking red wine in front of the fireplace  (Ch)

And now it's up to you to complete this Tan Renga ... by writing a second stanza. Have fun ... be inspired ... and share. This Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday Nivember 28th at noon (CET).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Carpe Diem #609, Escape (2nd Vision Quest, day 1)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another day has gone by. This week I haven't a lot of time, because it's a busy week at work. So this episode will not be that long I think.
Maybe you can remember that I had planned a "Vision Quest" for this week (November 18,19 and 20), but I had forgotten about that. So this new episode will be part of our 2nd "Vision Quest" which will last until November 23nd. I hope you remember that the goal of the "Vision Quest" was to look in a spiritual, deeper way to haiku and to respond within 24 hours.(More on "Vision Quest" you can find HERE)

Today is the first day of this new "Vision Quest" and I will use the upcoming prompts for this "Vision Quest". Today that will be escape, tomorrow that will be a haiku by our featured haiku-poet and the last day of our "Vision Quest" that will be transformation.

So let us start with our first day of our second "Vision Quest". Today we start with escape and I think escape can be very much the feeling of a Vision Quest. As I remember one of my own Vision Quests than it felt really as an escape from all days worries and lack of time. It felt as a relief, finally alone in the middle of nowhere, just searching for peace of mind, heart and body. I remember that the first time I did such a Vision Quest I went into the forest with my back-pack filled with food and water, my disc-man and nothing else. I found myself a nice place, between pine-trees, birches and oaks, and far away from the world. The only sounds I heard were all natural, the song of birds, rustling of leaves and so on. I unclothed and felt the soft warm summer breeze on my skin. There I was completely naked one with nature. Just me myself and my mind, the beat of my heart and the Earth. It felt really as an escape. It was really soothing for my mind, heart and body to be there ...

one with nature
becoming nature again

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong one, but I think it's a real deep spiritual one ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open FOR JUST 24 HOURS until November 21st at 7.00 PM (CET). I will publish our new episode, our 2nd Vision Quest day, a haiku by Tomas Tranströmer, our featured haiku-poet, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku on escape with us all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Carpe Diem #608, dusk

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a wonderful discussion about Kanshicho-styled haiku we have had. I am waiting for the response of Henri Kerlen to get his view on Kanshicho-styled haiku.

Today we have a nice prompt I think and I have chosen to use a piece of "inspirational music" to bring this prompt to you. So this episode will be a kind of "Carpe Diem's "Remember this music", a special feature, which I have just used once. The goal is to write a haiku inspired on the music and the prompt. And maybe you have your own memories about a piece of music with dusk, our prompt for today, to share with us. The submitted haiku can be classical or non-classical ... the choice is yours.

This piece of music is from Emancipator and is called "from dusk to dawn". So this piece of music is about the night and I think this can inspire you in a lot of ways.

I love to share a little "story" about "dusk" on a haiku composed by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):

"In the late autumn of 1694 (...), at the end of his life, Basho wrote the following hokku, which appears in Backpack Diary (Oi nikki; 1695).

this road--
no one goes down it
autumn's end

kono / michi / ya / yuku / hito / nashi / ni / aki / no / kure
this / road / : /go / person / none / as / autumn / 's / end

This hokku, which was composed at a large haikai gathering, can be read as a straightforward description of the scene before the poet, as an expression of disappointment that, at the end of his life, in the autumn of his career - "aki no kure" can mean either "autumn's end" or "autumn evening" - he is alone, or that life is lonely, and as an expression of disappointment at the lack of sympathetic poetic partners (renju), that is, as an expression of desire for those who can engage in the poetic dialogue necessary to continue on this difficult journey.

Significantly, on Basho's last journey in the summer of 1694, from Edo to Iga, he deliberately stopped at Nagoya, to try to heal the breach with his former poetry companions, those surrounding Kakei, and then he departed for Osaka, where he would die, in attempt to mediate a territorial dispute between two disciples, Shado and Shido."

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
And I found a few other haiku on "dusk", especially "autumn dusk" (which is a classical kigo or seasonword) composed by e.g. Kobayashi Issa.

hitotsu naku wa oya nashi tori yo aki no kure

alone he cries
the motherless bird...
autumn dusk

mata hito ni kakenukare keri aki no kure

yet another traveler
overtakes me...
autumn dusk

© Issa (Tr. David Lanoue)

And I found a nice haiku by one of Basho's disciples/students, Ransetsu:

At dusk the harvest moon
paints a pine-tree
against the blue

© Ransetsu

I think that you have enough inspiration for today's prompt, dusk. So ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.

Credits: Forest pond at dusk

in the light of dusk
the backyard becomes a spooky place -
I light the garden

© Chèvrefeuille

hiding in dreams
scared for the spooky shadows on the wall
the little boy sleeps

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 22nd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, escape, later on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #34, Kanshicho-style, a try to explain ...

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's GW-post isn't really a GW-post, because I write it myself. And I have chosen to look a bit deeper into the matter of the "hoax" or "so-called" Kanshicho-style of writing haiku. Let me first explain what Kanshicho means. To explain the word "kanshicho" I have split it into three parts: "kan", "shi" , "cho" and  "Kanshi". The first three parts are the so called "onji" or sounds of the word, the last "kanshi" part is the both first "onji" together and I have tried to find their meaning, not to state my meaning, but to try to explain why Henri Kerlen (the Dutch Sinologist and Japan expert who used this Kanshicho in the preface of his "Sound of Water", haiku by Basho-Anthology) has chosen for this "Kanshicho".

Let me first reproduce here the quotes which I used in the "Ask Jane ..." episode a few days ago:

[...] "Basho himself was several years a disciple/student of Teitoku's disciple, Kitamura Kigin (1624-1705), but after a while he (Basho) became a student of Soin in 1675. Soin has different ideas about renga and one of his ideas is to write the chains by association of meaning, kokorozuke. His (Soin) poetry style means for haiku more simplification and letting go of the 5-7-5 rule. The theme's and language of Soin's poetry is of the people. [...]

[...[ "In response of this change in haiku-poetry Basho and others introduce the Kanshicho: in the tone of the Chinese verse. In Kanshicho the breaking of the 5-7-5 rule is no exception. Basho uses this Kanshicho-style during the years 1683-1685 as he lives as a recluse in Fukagawa. Basho's Kanshicho-style is prominent in an anthology compiled by Kikaku "An Empty Chestnut" (1683). The Kanshicho-style disappears after three years (1685) and Basho re-writes several Kanshicho-styled haiku into the classical way. [...]

I will look at the separate "onji" of "Kanshicho" now and than I will try to explain what Kanshicho was meant to be.

Kan -> means: perception, expression

Shi -> means extravagance, pride, poetry

Cho -> means frivolity, number, butterfly

Kanshi -> means Chinese poetry

As I place those meanings together than Kanshicho means:

A poem in the Chinese way that expresses the extravagance and pride of the poet with the frivolity of the flight of a butterfly. And than Kanshicho starts to come to life. It's an expression of something which is seen by the poet, a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in to water, in which he/she sees the extravagant beauty  and pride of nature. That extravagance beauty is caught in a three lined verse with the frivolity, (in my opinion frivolity means "not strings attached, free") of the flight of a butterfly.

This explanation could have been used by Basho and his companions to bring the essence and beauty of haiku to the ordinary people (as mentioned in the first quote). Frivolity like the flight of a butterfly can not be caught in a 5-7-5 strict rule, so to bring that frivolity into the haiku, Basho, Soin and others broke the rule of 5-7-5 ...

Back to the idea of Kanshicho being a "hoax" or "Internet legend" ... that could be, but I like the style because it gives me the freedom to write my haiku as I do. I have succeeded to find Henri Kerlen and I have asked him about the Kanshicho-style haiku ... I am waiting on his response. As I have got his response I will bring it up here ...

With this GW-post I hope that I have explained the Kanshicho-style and that we all just see it as a chance to experiment with our beloved haiku ... because that's the most important of haiku ... enjoying it and feel free to give form to your feelings whether that is in the classical or in the non-classical way of haiku.

For this GW-post I have the following "challenge" ... try to write a haiku in which the meaning of Kanshicho as mentioned above can be seen or found. Just try to write a haiku that expresses the extravagance and pride of the poet with the frivolity of the flight of a butterfly.

This GW-post is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 21st at noon (CET). For now .... just have fun!

PS.: After this GW-post I will "close" the discussion about Kanshicho, because ... haiku has nothing to do with discussing, but just with the fun of enjoying nature and our part in it and the joy to express our feelings. This "Kanshicho-style" discussion was fun too and very challenging, but now ... back to writing and sharing our beloved haiku with the world and each other.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Carpe Diem #607, Road Side Beggar (a haiku by Nana Fredua-Agyeman)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This day is a special day I think, because I am going to introduce to you a haiku-poet from Ghana, Nana Fredu-Agyeman. He tells us the following about himself:

I have been writing poems since 1998 and Haiku since 2005. Some of my Haiku have been published in Frogpond Haiku Journal,, Shamrock Journal and in many other journals and ezines. I am interested in meeting anybody of sound mind, irrespective of their background. Presently, I have completed my manuscript BLACK PATHOLOGY. I keep two blogs: HAIKU, for only my Haiku postings and IMAGENATIONS for all other literary postings including Mainstream Poetry and Book Reviews.

looking at the sun
for a silver coin -
roadside beggar

© Nana Fredua-Agyeman

On his weblog Haiku you can find even more wonderful haiku written by him. This prompt, Roadside Beggar, you can see as a "Sparkling Stars" episode ... so I challenge you to write another all new haiku inspired on Nana's haiku.
Here is my attempt to write a haiku in touch with the one by Nana:

in front of the church
a beggar sleeps in his paper-box -
empty bottle of wine

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you all did like this episode and I hope it will inspire you all to write an all new haiku. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 20th at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, an all new GW-post, later on. For now ... have fun!

!! I haven't time to publish a Time Glass episode, so this week no time challenging episode of Time Glass ... next week I hope to have a Time Glass episode again !!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Carpe Diem #606, Guardian Angel

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you did like the new episode of "Ask Jane ..." in which we discussed the Kanshicho-style. As you maybe know I walk away with that style of haiku-writing, but ... as you could have read in the mentioned "Ask Jane ..." episode, it turned out to be just a hoax, an Internet-legend ... does that change my way of haiku-ing? No ... certainly not. I love haiku and I couldn't live with it ...

Today our prompt is Guardian Angel and I think it needs no further explanation. I have written several haiku about angels and guardian angels and I love to share a few of them with you all here.

This one I wrote (and published at my wordpress-weblog) recently, it's part of a haibun:

did I see an angel
or was it just the wind
moving clouds

© Chèvrefeuille

Once I wrote a cascading haiku for Theme Thursday about my guardian angel, my brother who passed away in 1995 at the age of 35.:

a being of light
guides every step I take
my dear brother

my dear brother
he has become my guardian angel
after his dead

after his dead
I knew he would be always with me
a being of light

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Guardian Angel
To conclude this episode I love to share a haibun, which I wrote last August for mindlovemisery's menagerie in response on a photo shared by Georgia (Bastet & Sekhmet's Library).

My Angels

I remember him very well, how could I ever forget him? He was the most precious what I had. We were always together and we shared almost everything. He is still around me after almost 20 years. I miss him every day ... sometimes I look at his photo on the wall just right of the TV-set ... framed in a silver frame together with my grandma and our Yorkshire terrier. All are missed ... and they all watch over me and my family.

No Cardboard Angel, but real angels ... I know for sure that he, my brother, my grandma and our Yorkshire are watching over me ... I can sense their presence in so many things ... I can feel them trying to cherish and comfort me as I am sad ... they are my angels ...

no cardboard angels
cherish and comfort me when I am sad,
... real angels do

© Chèvrefeuille

Maybe you have a guardian angel too ... let him/her inspire you to write an all new haiku .... This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 19th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Roadside Beggar (based on a haiku by:Nana Fredua-Agyeman), later on today. For now ... have fun!