Protest – Choka – May 28, 2015

cloying smell of death
destruction of mankind’s past
ah – bedraggled times
truculent avid blindness
our “enlightenment”
destroyed Nimrod and Hattra
in the name of peace
soon to follow Palmyra
the list grows and grows
what men are these I wonder
who negate their past –

fanatical peace lovers
true – blind Narcissists
ah but you say (and ’tis true)
destroying cultures
are conquerors favoured plans
down-trod people’s past –
from Mayans to stone Buddhas
nay even before
fell Jericho
salt Carthage – no – nothing new

Ah – but here’s the rub
we pretend we’re far above
our cruel heritage …
enlightened destroyers we rage
still – like locusts in the grain

© G.s.k. ‘15

Whether the destruction is by a missile or dynamite, whether the destruction is perpetrated by fanatical religious groups, ideological movements or wanton greed … the fact remains, that in the bright world of technological wonders, we have a caveman’s brain … we’re territorial, violent and very short-sighted – we let ourselves be driven by these instincts and never stop to think what we may be doing, except to cry alligator tears later.

No sugar on the pill … let’s not pretend that everyone isn’t somehow involved in the same hot-wired impulses.  One of the reasons we keep on doing what we do, is because we don’t take the responsibility of our deeper emotional instincts … we point our finger to the “other” … always and forever.  Just open any newspaper, any information site and read carefully … it doesn’t matter if it’s right or left …  Christian or Muslim … we’re all in the same boat and we all want that boat for ourselves.


Carpe Diem – from all directions – May 28, 2015

Week three

from all directions
a golden temple of light
thoughts of peace

Lake Garda
shimmering light on waves
a golden temple

© G.s.k. ‘15

shiho yori hana fuki rete nio no nami

from all directions
blossoms blow into
waves of Lake Lute

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

open the lock
let the moon shine in –
Floating Temple

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

Mii Temple,
I’d love to knock on it’s gate:
tonight’s moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

Our Host’s Haiku:

full moon
reflecting her beauty in the water
of Lake Biwa

© Chèvrefeuille

moonlight reflects
spring breeze scatters her beauty
I bow and pray

© Chèvrefeuille

Inspired by Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Episode # 743

Behind the gate – May 28, 2015

Behind this gate

behind this gate
bright sun streams gaily
sparrows twitter

© G.s.k. ‘15


this wooden gate
shuts me out for the night
winter moon

© Kikaku (Tr. Michael K. Bourdaghs)

finally home
I shut the gate of my garden
ah! the Honeysuckle

© Chèvrefeuille

Today’s episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Special featured Kikaku … inspired by the haiku “this wooden gate” our host wrote the above haiku …

Carpe Diem Special – above the sea – May 28, 2015

above the sea

above the sea
under brooding clouds
the sunset

© G.s.k. ‘15

this wooden gate
shuts me out for the night
winter moon

above the sea
a rainbow, erased by
a flock of swallows

© Kikaku (Tr. Michael K. Bourdaghs)

Today’s Carpe Diem Special is dedicated to Kikaku(1661-1707 , one of Basho’s most well-loved disciple:

“Kikaku has almost the same attraction to the beauty of nature as Basho had and he (Kikaku) has written wonderful haiku. Later in his life Kikaku fell in love with the city and his haiku changed dramatically, but were all beauties.”  Chèvrefeuille

Carpe Diem – looking at Basho’s karumi – “under the trees” – May 27, 2015

Pencil Oil Sketch

Pencil Oil Sketch

clouds and cold wind
near Murano’s main canal
hot cappuccino

along the docks
gondolas and motorboats
ancient and modern

© G.s.k. ‘15


Today’s episode on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is dedicated to the haiku style invented and promoted by Basho known as karumi.  He began using this style in his later life, trying to reach a certain lightness which the word karumi alludes to.  He travelled far and wide to promote this style and lost some of his followers who didn’t feel comfortable writing in the style:

“One of Basho’s major objectives was to find new and apt associations that made the reader rethink reality and the connectedness within. Association is very important in Basho’s work, he used it very often.

….it seems Basho was trying to write poetry that was less emotional. Basho seems to have believed that it is the verb that carries the emotional baggage of a poem. The poems he considered to exemplify the concept of karumi best are the ones with few or no verbs.
In our times this technique of writing haiku without a verb produces what is pejoratively called “grocery list”-haiku.”


The following are examples of karumi used by Basho:

ki no moto ni shiru mo namasu mo sakura kana

under the trees
soup and pickles
cherry blossoms

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

wakaba shite om me no shizuku nuguwa baya

young leaves
I would like to wipe away
tears in your eyes

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

was it a bush warbler
poop on the rice cake
on the veranda’s edge

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

glass noodles
few slices of fish
plum blossoms

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

a bush is the little garden
of a detached room

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

And here is an example of the style illustrated by Chèvrefeuille’s inspired haiku:

slowly a snail seeks
his path between Cherry blossoms
reaches for the sky

© Chèvrefeuille

Murano’s statue – riddle haiga – May 26, 2015

Murano haiga

Murano haiga


I was in a quandary trying to figure out how to approach today’s Carpe Diem Haiku Kai about using the riddle technique, illustrated with two great classical haiku,  when I discovered I could actually write two riddles!

This one was the second and I decided to turn it into a haiga.  Below is the haiku our host Chèvrefeuille, composed for today’s episode which you can find following the above link:

winter garden
colorless and ugly –
spring flowers

© Chèvrefeuille

Carp Diem – Basho’s wrapped in a straw mat – May 26, 2015


walking down an empty street
lamp light in Venice

© G.s.k. ‘15


komo wo ki te tare bito imasu hana no haru

wrapped in a straw mat
who can this great one be?
flowers of spring

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

The above haiku is an example of a technique much-loved by the Japanese haiku poets, the riddle technique.  Here’s what our host, Chèvrefeuille tells us about the technique:

The riddle is probably one of the very oldest poetical techniques. It has been guessed that early spiritual knowledge was secretly preserved and passed along through riddles. Because poetry, as it is today, is the commercialization of religious prayers, incantations, and knowledge, it is no surprise that riddles still form a serious part of poetry’s transmission of ideas.The ‘trick’ is to state the riddle in as puzzling terms as possible. What can one say that the reader cannot figure out the answer? The more intriguing the ‘set-up’ and the bigger surprise the answer is, the better the haiku seems to work. As in anything, you can overextend the joke and lose the reader completely. The answer has to make sense to work and it should be realistic. Here is a case against desk haiku. If one has seen plastic bags caught on cacti, it is simple and safe to come to the conclusion I did. If I had never seen such an incident, it could be it only happened in my imagination and in that scary territory one can lose a reader. So keep it true, keep it simple and keep it accurate and make it weird.

Oh, the old masters favorite trick with riddles was the one of: is that a flower falling or is it a butterfly? or is that snow on the plum or blossoms and the all-time favorite – am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man or a man dreaming I am a butterfly. Again, if you wish to experiment (the ku may or may not be a keeper) you can ask yourself the question: if I saw snow on a branch, what else could it be? Or seeing a butterfly going by you ask yourself what else besides a butterfly could that be?
One famous haiku with this “riddle technique” I had to share here with you all. I think you all will know this haiku by Arakida Moritake (1473-1549):

A fallen blossom
Returning to the bough, I thought —
But no, a butterfly.

© Moritake

Haiku Horizons prompt “song” – May 26, 2015

cuckoo haiga_smallThe morning concert has a new beat this morning, as sparrows and swallows squawk and the blackbirds and the finches warble, a single cuckoo sent up a call, very different from the normal cuckoo-cuckoo I’m used to hearing, more like cucooku-ku cuckooku-ku.  It added a note of originality to an already gloriously beautiful morning with dappled mountains and a return of a warm southern wind.  I don’t think even Vivaldi could have competed this morning with the birds … what an ode to spring!

late spring morning
festivities in the air
happy bird song

© G.s.k. ‘15

Haiku Horizons

Haiku Horizons – Song (click the icon for the link)