e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Carpe Diem blog”

Life: the only game there is

The Three Fates

On the Carpe Diem site we have been set an interesting challenge – to write a haiku or tanka on the theme of ‘life is a game’.

This isn’t exactly a new theme for poetry, many poets in different countries, writing in different languages, have done the same, but it seems to me a bit unusual for haiku. However, us haiku writers can rise to any challenge, and I suspect that, in the ‘old days’ when Basho and his friends were holding (drunken) haiku parties, many way-out subjects were used.

Chèvrefeuille himself has given us a beautiful haiku as a model, tying the game to the seasons:

life is but a game
nature rolls the dices
seasons change

I haven’t managed to use the seasons, but I found the theme fits the haiku form well:

life is an endgame
only the Fates are certain
when the game will end.

 

Picture of The Three Fates from wikimedia.
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Autumn birds

Carpe Diem has given us an interesting prompt of music entitled The Last of His Name by BrunuhVille.

Using music made me think of birds; the time of year is about migrating birds.

Lone swallow

The last of his name
“Swallow” will follow the flock
but not just yet.

Photo from Photopin.

Carpe Diem and Pedro Calderon de la Barca

P1030724

Carpe Diem has several haiku challenges going at present. I like the one (number 1033) using a prompt by the Spanish poet Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

This is the prompt:

These flowers, which were splendid and sprightly, waking in the dawn of the morning, in the evening will be a pitiful frivolity, sleeping in the cold night’s arms.

There are several ideas here around day/night, the fleeting nature of flowers, the effect of time on perception of splendour/frivolity/pitifulness, whether flowers sleep or wake, and I’m sure there are others I haven’t noticed.

I decided to put the sleep first and look forward to the wakening:

As night falls, so do
the petals of the daylily.
In the summer moonlight,
buds of tomorrow’s lilies
prepare to open at dawn.

Reading a mystery

Another Carpe Diem challenge and this time one open to an even wider range of responses than usual. To check out some of the ways others have interpreted the prompt go to the website and follow the links – an exploration well worth taking.

The prompt comes from a haiku by Cor van den Heuve, a well-known American haiku writer.

This is his:

reading a mystery
a cool breeze comes through
the beach roses

One could speculate for hours on the exact meaning – what mystery? a book, or something more profound? I wondered, too, what beach roses are, but a quick google answered that question.

This theme is so rich I wrote several haiku using it, but finally settled on the following as being truest to the original.

Reading a mystery
in the garden; a blackbird sings;
mystery resolved.

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