The benefit of rain
The path after days
of rain – a geometry
of mossy neatness.
I google ‘sea-slug’;
my screen fills with images;
all are beautiful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A soft breeze whispers
in the eaves of the temple;
frost on the roof melts.
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.
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 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.