e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Carpe Diem”

Departure

Today Chèvrefeuille has given the topic of departure as a prompt for haiku. For examples he’s roamed to haiku and to the Persian poetry of Rumi.

Departure is a huge topic – every time we go to work or shopping or wherever, we depart from where we are. Sometimes we depart further afield on holiday, to visit or to escape. We may be tourists or refugees; we have departed willingly or fearfully. Some kind of departure is inevitable.

Blackbird on roof

 

Everything departs: spring or rainy season, animals or plants, days of celebration or grief.

Since haiku are usually about nature I have chosen to look at departures in the natural world.

Each season to its
own time. Each bird to its own
song. Then both have flown.

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Tanka for a foggy autumn

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Carpe Diem has started a series of posts on tanka techniques. Even for non-writers, it’s worth reading the post to enhance understanding and appreciation.

The first technique is to add mystery and depth. Autumn is a good time for mystery I think; not only do we have Hallowe’en and the supernatural, but we are in a sort of between-ness – assessing summer just gone and looking forward to/dreading winter to come.

But autumn is a time of its own, as the old Japanese writers knew so well and wrote about so movingly, as in this tanka written by Toshiyuri and quoted on Carpe Diem:

Cries of quail
from the shore of Mano cove
winds blow
waves of plume grass
ripple in autumn dusk.

My response is:

A dense, white fog fills
the garden; among yellowed
grasses no blade stirs.
A crow, hidden in whiteness,
croaks three times, then falls silent.

 

 

Picture from Photo Pin.

Carpe Diem special 184: in the spirit of Ese

At this end of November, damp and windy where I am, Carpe Diem has given us a glimpse of spring in some of the haiku he’s chosen for today’s inspiration. His model is a lady called Ese who has written many simple haiku that say a great deal in a few words.

The examples are mainly about nature and its ephemeral beauty.

Here’s what the spirit of Ese has inspired me to write:

A leafless forest.
The wind howls. From far away
someone’s dog answers.

Haiku, monks and pharaohs

As usual Chèvrefeuille has set an interesting poetic challenge on Carpe Diem. It’s well worth reading the article about Lake Tana and its rich spiritual history.

Some of the poems inspired by this challenge are truly lovely.

I’ve followed in my fellow poets’ footprints with a tanka:

The Blue Nile flowing
from Tana, once heard the songs
of monks and pharaohs.
Now the cloisters are ruins;
the songs but faded legends.

 

Mountains haiku

Once again an inspiring post on Carpe Diem. Basho is the model this time.

Today ideas came to me quickly, though, as usual, they needed time to work into the haiku form.

The mountain path
travels down as well as up.
You must follow both.

Juxtaposition – a new haiku challenge

Carpe Diem has started a series on haiku writing techniques. The first one is on ‘juxtaposition’. Reading the explanation, I realise that I’ve done this often in the past without naming it.

Having a name for something makes it easier to detect and to use properly, so I’m very grateful to Chèvrefeuille for his tutorial and the name.

The following is a haiku I wrote last year.

Soft rain, cloud-barred sun,
rainbow spanning the sky. Below,
the sandcastle crumbles.

A new Carpe Diem challenge.

In a recent post the Carpe Diem site introduced a new-to-me poet, Tomas Tranströmer. We are given a Tranströmer haiku as an inspiration. The season word is ‘frigid’ which makes it definitely winter.

I’m not sure how close I’ve come to the model. but mine is winter too.

Willow trees lean over
the moonlit river, where ice
glitters like starlight.

A new haiku challenge – ‘The rays of the setting sun’.

Once again the Carpe Diem site has come up with an interesting prompt. Its inspiration is a classic haiku by Kikaku, a contemporary of Basho.

This is a translation of the poem:

in the rays of the setting sun
there flutters along the city street
a butterfly

I think it is a lovely image. Mine however leaves the butterflies and concentrates on the sky:

Red-rimmed clouds gather
in the west. Behind them,
today’s sun sets.

As I roamed around the house and garden mulling the haiku and trying different versions in my head, I felt it should be expanded into a tanka.

Red-rimmed clouds gather
in the west. Behind, today’s
sun sets. My neighbour
passes me in the street.
‘Nice day tomorrow,’ he says.

Poems for a perfumed world

Carpe Diem has an interesting article on using all our senses to describe the world and not just sight and sound. How often are we treesconscious of the smell of a scene? Do we reach out and touch something to find out its texture? I love to touch the petals of flowers and their leaves – the variety of texture in the natural world is amazing.

Out of this comes a challenge to write about smell, and I’ve tried to do it justice.

The van, driven past
the wood’s edge, stirs up scents
of damp earth and rich green.

Reading the poems already posted suggests that most people concentrate on the perfume side of this sense, as I’ve done. One day, maybe, I’ll write about the stink of sewage – would that be in the spirit of haiku?

Sunflowers and the sun

Carpe Diem has set us a lovely challenge this time. The prompt is ‘sunflowers’ – very evocative and open to many interpretations.

Fields of sunflowers;
each tracks the sun, east to west.
Nightfall will stop them.

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