Samara Ennui – Haibun – November 6, 2018

 

I’m writing, doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing, I’m enthusiastic, I feel revitalized.  People are reading my work, liking it and giving me great suggestions that help me better my work, I feel part of a community … and then I don’t.

Sure, I’d had some bad moments recently in my life, but I kept up my writing and my photography kept on going but at a certain point, for no apparent reason, I found I hadn’t turned on my computer for months.  What happened?  Why did I stop?

I’ve always been a pretty creative sort of person, although not a creative genius.  Since I can remember I’ve always passed hours enjoying my painting, drawing and writing.  I easily pick up skills, I’m a quick study as they say, so I had no problems learning how to sew, crochet, sculpt, cook or whatever else came my way including learning anatomy and acupuncture meridians and points.  But, and there’s a big but, since puberty, I periodically go into more or less long periods of ennui.

I slip into a sort of limbo, where nothing seems very important to me at all.  I pass hours (days at a time) reading or watching TV series.  I do get out of bed because I abhor an unmade bed. I eat whatever is at hand (usually nothing particularly healthy) just as long as it’s quick and fills me up.  I don’t live in chaos, my house though not spotlessly clean is fairly orderly, I make sure of that because I hate being in a messy dirty place.  I drift through life, doing the minimum necessary to get through the day. Fortunately, as I’ve grown older, self-preservation has guaranteed that I keep a life-line open to the outside world.  I do have a couple of friends with whom I never lose contact with completely.

Then one day, something changes … I take a look at myself and my life and a tiny spark glitters.  It may take weeks or months but I become constantly more dissatisfied with drifting.  I realize that I’ve become overweight, that I haven’t done much of anything interesting for a long time, that I’m bored with my books and the TV.  I start looking into diets and exercise (just looking). I get the urge to write or sew myself a new outfit or paint a picture (just the urge).  I become frustrated and panicky. Then the looking around becomes watching what I eat and going for walks, joining a dance class and bicycling.  The urge becomes turning on the computer, looking through models for a new outfit, and choosing a great piece of material.  Usually at this point  my life has started to move again.

I don’t really know why this happens to me.  I’ve gone through analysis, I’ve meditated, I’ve had great mentors throughout my life who’ve stimulated me giving my life a sense of meaning … for a while anyway.  But eventually, there it is, the chasm of ennui into which I slip (not fall) and the cycle begins again. The drifting isn’t painful and I don’t even feel bored.  It’s when I move on, when I become aware that maybe there can be more to my life than books and TV,  the awakening, which is the painful part, fraught with anxiety and impatience to move on.

Have you or anyone you’ve known gone through this sort of thing?  I’d like to read about it, so please leave comments below and let me know.

winter snowflakes
passion gives way to
spring dawn
a never-ending cycle
my Samsara ennui

 

 

Harbingers of Change – Haibun – September 4, 2016

 

A colourful leaf fell past my window this evening, bright harbinger of change, awakening me to other signs that I should have noticed.  The silence of the empty swallow’s nest, the chicks have long gone but when did they fly away? There, listen carefully, do you hear the honking of passing geese overhead?

Autumn is boldly approaching leaving behind it the suffocating heat of summer. The seasons tumble one into another, each day passing quickly, soon the blackbird will sing in spring again!

leaf and bird
in winter and summer
harbingers of change

© Gsk ’16

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille August 31 2016 colorful leaves – Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

Thoughts on Emptiness- Haibun – July 5, 2016

leaf in the water

I’ve been back home in Italy for a couple of weeks now and oddly enough I haven’t done much in the way of writing.  I’ve thousands of photos, lots of memories and ideas but oddly enough not much energy.  Could it be jet lag?  Could it be nostalgia?

This has been a period when many of my friends too have been having problems.  Some have had marriage break-ups, others have lost a parent or close relative, the children have grown and left home – financial problems are beginning to erode their serenity – they’ve gone into retirement or their retirement has been blocked – and I’m a listener, their listener.

One of my friends broke-up with her husband and then her Mom died just a couple of weeks before my Mom. She wanted the break-up and found her own apartment and works hard at her job to build her career – but that hasn’t saved her from melancholia.  The void of change, even change actively sought after, is disorientating.

So there it is. The void.  Wholes rent in ones life once filled with another person or situation. A father, husband, wife, child, job, project suddenly gone and with them, all the fantasies, illusions, expectations and familiarity of a rapport – of the status quo. It’s odd sometimes that emptiness would seem to be so welcome, like after a long stressful illness or an abusive rapport, but when the moment comes, one risks being sucked into the emptiness. That’s when it begins to seem easier to put things off, maybe go take a nap, read a book or drown in the TV or a video game.  Some people drown in drink or drugs, like another friend of mine.  The common denominator among all my friends is emptiness.  And if they happen to decide to go to a health worker, they may be diagnosed with depression and they’ll probably be prescribed a pill or two to get through the day.  So then they drift with pills when what they really wanted was something that would help them overcome the emptiness.

So I return to the first paragraph I wrote here as I realize that my problem right now is that void caused by all the repentine changes in the last nine months of my life.  They’ve been a roller-coaster ride in a way.  I’ve made many changes and haven’t made many others that I really would have liked to have made – it seems that my life is living me instead of me living my life.  I do know what the problem is but I don’t know where to find the energy to move on, especially as I don’t dwell on my problems consciously – perhaps that is what I have to do.

Zen has often been an aid to me throughout my life but I’ve given no thought to Zen in the past few months, except as an abstract idea.  What I have around me now is the roaring sound of one hand clapping … and I’m mistaking the moon in the puddle for the real moon. Where is the emptiness and more importantly where is the fullness – the reality and the illusion?

In Zazen one sits (or walks meditatively).  No books or films or distractions – one sits seeking nothing observing everything.  One listens to what is around one … thoughts are leaves blowing in the wind.

red autumn leaf
water splashes – a fountain
rain drops falling

© Gsk ’16

 

Magnolias – Haibun – April 27, 2016

Magnolia Blossoms - June 2, 2014

Magnolia Blossoms – June 2, 2014

For a month on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, we were often asked to write about magnolias in one form or another.  As often happens with prompts born either with Japanese season words or from a country that has nothing to do with Italian culture and climate, one can either invent or write about something else. With 210 types of magnolias (I’m presuming both bushes and trees) throughout the planet, there’s no surprise that the colours vary … but also the period of the year when they flower.  We must presume that the Hapsburgs had a form of magnolia planted in the 1800s in Arco’s lanes and parks which flowers later than those in Holland!

flower-less lane
Arco’s magnolias bloom
in May sunshine

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #963 Magnolia

Carpe Diem Special and a Note – Kikôbun – April 23, 2016

A late afternoon memory of when I was a child;  whilst playing with my best friend, we each plucked a flower and sucked the clear liquid that dripped from it.  We giggled enjoying the marvellous gift of the honeysuckle, pretending to be bees.

honeysuckle
even now this sweet nectar
brightens my evening

© G.s.k. ‘16

 

Carpe Diem Special #207 Sara McNulty’s third “taste of nature”

Taste Of Nature

A child in summer, carrying a tin pail, runs down a dirt hill where blackberries, fat and ripe, cluster together ready for picking. She places some in the pail, some on her tongue, where warm juices burst, and stain her mouth purple. Bzz! Bzz! Ouch! A jealous bee stings her on the leg.

taste of nature–
sweet blackberry bushes
sing to child and bees

© Sara McNulty

photo and haiku © Chèvrefeuille

(I’ve been off-line for most of the week because I’ve succumbed to intestinal influenza.  There are some days which are a little better than others, but it remains difficult to sit at the keyboard with cramps, which distracts me from  writing.  I hope to be completely recovered soon … Bastet)

 

Magnolia Blossoms – Haibun – April 18, 2016

Arco, the town I where I live in Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy was once, and not so long ago,  an Austrian health station.  The micro-climate, created by Lake Garda has made the area’s climate particularly mild and the “Ora” the daily wind that comes up off the lake in the summer clears away humidity and eventual pollutants.

Magnolia Lane runs between the back of the old Casino and the most important Sanatorium of the age (now converted into administrative buildings) leads to the centre of town and the central city park.  In spring when the magnolias bloom not only is it beautiful to walk down, with their large white flowers but the delicate perfume that fills the air is something close to divine.

in magnolia lane
the blossoms catch the rain
as blackbirds sing

© G.s.k. ‘16

 

Carpe Diem Theme Week 3: Magnolia Blossoms haiku by Soseki Natsume

(My haibun was written to honour Soseki Natsume, celebrated by Carpe Diem Haiku Kai yesterday.)

he sky I see
seems full of
magnolia blossoms

© Soseki Natsume

“Sōseki Natsume (February 9, 1867-December 9, 1916) was born Natsume Kinnosuke. He is widely known as the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji period. He was a scholar of British literature and a composer of haiku, Chinese-style poetry, and fairy tales. From 1984 to 2004, his portrait was featured on the Japanese 1000 yen note.
Natsume Kinnosuke was born in Babashita in the Edo region. He was adopted by a childless couple, but after their divorce, he was returned to his biological mother at age 9. However, his mother died only five years later.
While attending First Tokyo Middle School, he was enamored with Chinese literature. He went on to study architecture at Tokyo Imperial University.
In 1887, he met Masaoka Shiki who encouraged him to become a writer. From that point on, he chose the pen name Sōseki which means “stubborn” in Chinese. In 1893, he became a part-time teacher at the Tokyo Normal School while he studied as a graduate student.
Natsume began teaching at Matsuyama Middle School in 1895. During this time, he began publishing his haiku and Chinese poetry.
In 1900, he became the first Japanese English literary scholar and lived in poverty, loneliness, and mental problems while attempting to solidify his knowledge of English literature at the University College, London. After his return to Japan, he became a professor of English literature at Tokyo Imperial University.
He died of a stomach ulcer in 1916″

Puns – Haibun – March 15, 2016

I’ve been labouring over a prompt for days, trying to figure out what to write a pun in haiku form about.  Today, March 15, a fellow blogger Jules Paige, sent me an interesting bit of information about how the Romans read their calendar … which included the famous Ides of the year … which were supposed to be determined by the full moons at mid-month which usually fell around the thirteenth of the month except for March, May, July and October when they fell on the fifteenth.

the Ides of March
taunted the seer said:
remains to be seen

© G.s.k. ‘16

°°°°°°°°°

the year’s first snowfall
the cat bats at the window
to catch the snow birds.

each suburban lawn
a page in fall’s manuscript
burnished with gold leaves.

pierced by falcon claws
red feathers on the white snow
a cardinal sin.

 

Carpe Diem #937 Robe

“Japanese poets were master punsters. We have many of the same opposrtunities for puns in English, but contemporary haiku writers may not be as well versed as the Japanese are in using this technique because there have been periods of Western literary history when this skill has been reviled. And even though the hai of haiku means “joke, or fun, or unusual”, there are still writers who frown when they encounter a pun in three lines. Basho didn’t use the technique much because he was against the overuse of the method by the two other haikai schools of his time. Translators shy away from pun verses because they rarely work in the target language and long explanations can be tiresome to write and read. Fortunately the above haiku by Basho, works in both languages.” By Chèvrefeuille

Black and White – Haibun – March 12, 2016

 

Truth they say is black and white, Marco thought as he walked along the street, intrigued by the odd afternoon light caused by a pause in the storm. Thunder rumbled in the distance, the wind picked-up shaking a plastic bin bag drawing his attention to it. Someone had discarded an umbrella or maybe something else, he wasn’t sure. How odd; the light refraction caused by the weird preamble to the storm made everything a little mysterious. The world seemed black and white yet things were anything but clear. Hard to see any truth here.

bold contrasts
enlightening
his inner truths

© G.s.k. ‘16

(100 words)

Friday Fictioneers

B&P’s Shadorma and Beyond 

Haibun – “The purpose of our lives” – March 11, 2016

Water Drops

Water Drops

Walking in the rain, one can often be distracted from the bigger picture of what life is all about.  I was thinking about the living lesson which is the Dalai Lama one morning as the damp winter chill penetrated my old bones and specifically : “The purpose of our lives is to be happy”.

How odd to think that our purpose isn’t to save the world from hunger perhaps or injustice and how wise.  Living in the world, in our proper place, that of being one of the infinite bits of the whole, is so much better than the grandiose ideal of semi godhood we seem to want to impose upon ourselves. If our purpose is to be happy we should remember that being happy promotes happiness.  Have you ever seen the infectious reaction around a truly happy person.

inside a raindrop
infinite worlds evolve
in happiness

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #72 Use that quote

The three Sadhu – Haibun – February 12, 2016

3081836966_c3f0023e08_o

Sadhu by Sukanto Debnath CC BY 2.0

They are the backbone of faith, the mystics, wise men, the Sadhu. They sat with Gautama Siddhartha through his long months of fasting contemplating Brahman. They refused to cheapen their spirit by touching, thinking or breathing impurities and never fell to the temptations of those who dangled their promises of ease, wealth or fame. Yet, they fell, and failed to achieve mokṣa by refusing the middle way.  But they are still the backbone of faith, the mystics, the wise men, the Sadhu.

three sat with Him
reviled Him when He ate
they still – sit

© G.s.k. ’16

The photograph came from: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Photo Prompt #99 February 9, 2016 entitled: Sadhu by Sukanto Debnath CC BY 2.0

I’ve also used the three words furnished the week on 3 Word Wednesday:

Backbone, noun: spine, spinal column, vertebral column, vertebrae; back,

mainstay, cornerstone, foundation, chief support, buttress, pillar, tower of strength, strength of character, strength of will, firmness, resolution, resolve, determination, fortitude, pluck, pluckiness, nerve, courage, mettle, spirit, moral fiber, guts, spunk, grit, true grit.

Cheapen, verb: demean, debase, degrade, lower, humble, devalue, abase, discredit, disgrace, dishonour, shame, humiliate, mortify, prostitute, reduce, lower (in price), cut, mark down, discount, slash.

Dangle, verb: hang (down), droop, swing, sway, wave, trail, stream, wave, swing, jiggle, brandish, flourish, offer, hold out; entice someone with, tempt someone with.