e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “haiku”

Burn for Spring

smoke rising to the clouds

Above the burning
hills: false clouds of smoke. The land
made ready for growth.

 

 

A recent prompt from Carpe Diem is a rare kigo, ‘burning the hills’.

On the surface this doesn’t seem very kigoish, but in Japan farmers burn the old grass off the hillsides in preparation for planting – thus it is a kigo of Spring.

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.

Memories of Summer

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A coneflower displayed
its green and brown. Serenity
in a summer garden.

Shrines to imagine

Chevrefeuille’s blog, Carpe Diem, has a fascinating article on the Ise Shrine, one of the most important sites for the Shinto religion.

The haiku challenge is to write about it, but I’ve never seen any Shinto shrine, so my poem is more about a shrine of the mind.

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A soft breeze whispers
in the eaves of the temple;
frost on the roof melts.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Photopin.

Carpe Diem and Pedro Calderon de la Barca

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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.

Evening song

Bird on roof

 

The blackbird’s song flows
through an evening garden; today
ends musically.

Carpe Diem #948 brush

The post #948 on Carpe Diem deals with the haiku principle of yugen. This word, first used by Chinese philosophers, generally means ‘mystery’ and ‘unknowable depth’.

It is up to the reader to decide if a poem has yugen or not, so interpreting the term is very subjective.

I have no problem with this. I think that all responses to all poems are subjective, and readers frequently find features the poet did not intend and miss others s/he worked hard to include.

Maybe most poems have an element of yugen – sometimes it’s obvious and other times obscure.

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

may be a rhyme for children, but does it differ much from

Tyger, tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night.

In my opinion Blake’s poetry includes yugen, even though he probably didn’t know the term.

But back to #948. The following is my contribution to the discussion:

Deer fly when no one
watches. In the snowy field
their flight leaves no prints.

Carpe Diem Special #201 Basho’s disciples

Carpe Diem has set yet another interesting haiku challenge: to write in the style of Morikawa Kyoroku who was one of Basho’s disciples.

The sample given is:

ah! morning glories
are at their best while I chant
my morning prayers

It’s a simple and straightforward word-picture, but the more I look at it the more ideas and depths I see in it.

My answer to this challenge is:

Early sun, but where
the pine tree casts a shadow
there’s grass white with frost.

Haiku in Spain

I’ve been away on and off for over a month, which is why there’s been no action on this blog. I plan to get back into posting and sharing from now on.

First, a belated Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope you’ve had a great winter so far.

Orange tree

While roaming around the sunny streets in southern Spain and looking for subjects for haiku, it occurred to me that the haiku I’m familiar with all come from further north; from autumn harvests and snowy winters. This isn’t a necessary feature of any poetry, so I looked again at where I was and what was around.

The year’s shortest day;
oranges ripen under
blue and cloudless skies.

 

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.

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