An evening walk – A Story in Waka – October 16, 2016

An evening walk – A Story in Waka

crossing Arco’s bridge
the gloaming paints the clouds
three broken street lamps
add to the skyline etching
how lovely shadows can be

cars whiz past
still the geraniums bloom
on the bridge railings

crossing the road
under shadowy clouds
through rushing traffic
how unlike the river Sarca
this modern flow of steel

under pools of gold
from lamplight to lamplight
this road leads home

the dark path

ahi – noisy dog
jumping and barking loudly
behind closed gates
whether challenge or welcome
it goes unheeded

old stone wall
silently guides lone footsteps
up this moonlit path

the stream is silent
under the wooden bridge
despite morning rains

Bolognano
the church bells strike eight
as I enter town
light spills from closed windows
bodiless voices drift by

I unlock my door
a cautious cat looks on
just beyond my reach

© 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

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″

Carpe Diem Haiga – Spring in Arco – April 10 2016

Riuso Haiga_small

I was rather busy yesterday and never got around to publishing a post.  What was I doing?  Participating in our bi-annual community “giornata de ri-uso”:

Listener

Basically at the changing of the seasons – from summer to winter and winter to spring, our city council organizes a campaign to gather those objects and clothing that would often end up tossed out.  In the United States one might have a garage sale a practice that’s never caught on here.

Everything is brought to a pick-up point then the volunteers go through the stuff, dividing the good stuff from the trash.  We then distribute the stuff free of charge.  There are also activities for children in a close by separate area.

Here are a few more scenes:

Spring is on the way in Arco!  Ciao, Bastet.

Morning Haiku and Waka – Basho’s Writing Techniques – March 6, 2016

swinging bridge
first one thinks of
meeting horses

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

“This haiku was written in autumn 1688 and is about a bridge in Kiso. The Kiso area was known for high quality horses raised there on August 15th it was the customary for the emperor to inspect his horses. All the horses from this district had to cross this bridge to go to Tokyo.

Due to his renga-writing skills. Basho was a master at making wild, wide leaps in the linking of the images in his poems. Today the haiku writing technique used by Basho is Leap Linkage.  In this haiku the linkage leap is so wide that a footnote of explanation for readers four centuries and thousands of miles away to follow it is needed. This is one of the problems of making an innovative or wide leap – how to get the reader’s mind to track it over the abyss without getting lost. The important point in creating with this technique is that the writer is Always totally aware of his or her truth. This is rare in haiku, because in haiku the poet needs the reader. Usually, if the reader thinks about the words long enough and deeply enough, he can find the author’s truth, or better still, a new one.” (CDHK)

§§§§

This is my attempt for the leap linkage technique:

coloured fenced city_small

On New Year’s day I was invited by a friend to go on a walk.  We climbed up a steep hill-side to a metal cross that over-looks the lower Sarca valley.  Being completely out of shape the only thing that kept me walking was the spectacular photographs that I’d have been able to take.  Unfortunately my camera’s batteries died after the third or fourth photo.  I admit to being terribly disappointed.  Later returning to her car at sunset I took a few photographs with my telephone. The above is one of them.

fenced in
a teasing purple sunset
New Year’s day

© G.s.k. ‘16

§§§§§§§§

(In Western haiku we learn that rhyme has no part of the form … which like many other rules of Western haiku has little to do with the reality of Japanese haiku. Let’s read what Chèvrefeuille tells you in this episode of CDHK dedicated to haiku writing techniques of Master Basho.)

nebu no ki no hagoshi mo itoe hoshi no kage

a silk tree
even through the leaves waery
of starlight

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In the way of Basho

“Rhyme is a major component of Western poetry. In Japan most of the sound units (onji) are built on only five vowels, and rhyming occurs naturally. Yet, haiku translated into rhymed lines often need so much padding to make the rhyme work that the simplicity of the poem gets lost. However, if the reader takes the time to read the romaji version of the above haiku by Basho. one can see how often the old master employed the linkage of sound in his work. The rhyme, in the above haiku, occurs here with hagoshi(“through leaves”), hoshi (“star”), and the seven “oh” sounds.” (CDHK)

(So we must conclude that the problem is not writing rhyming haiku, but translating Japanese haiku which is often rhymed but untranslatable as a rhyming poem in western languages if we wish to keep the haiku poetic/aesthetic form.)

My attempt at haiku rhyme:

bikes_2

inside city walls
without stalls metal horses
line Padua’s malls

© G.s.k. ‘16

(As Chèvrefeuille would say, not  very strong haiku today … perhaps I’ll try these techniques sometime again in the future 😉 )

 

Carpe Diem #931 Bridge and Carpe Diem #932 silk tree

Hello!

As many might have remarked, I’ve not been as assiduously writing as I usually do.  This is not due to any lack of enthusiasm, but shoddy Internet.  It takes forever for a single page to come up on my browser if there is a connection at all, which is becoming terribly frustrating.  So this post will be in fact a response to two prompted themes bridge and silk tree from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

Afternoon Haiku and Waka – January 7, 2015

under the snow-fall
empty sidewalk cafes
hungry sparrows

frozen leaves
we walk slipping and crunching
on the mountain trail

arctic morning
wool covered hands and face
we wait for the bus

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #892 Kan-no-uchi (mid-winter)

Christmas Fair – Choka – December 11, 2015

Christmas Market in Arco

Christmas Market in Arco

in the square candles
glow inside the wooden huts
lighting up bright gifts,
toys, candy and hand-made quilts,
could be Santa’s town
the smell of chestnuts roasting
cups of mulled wine too
and for the little children
camels for a ride …
all around play Christmas songs
smiling families browse
at Arco’s winter market

walking in the crowd
fond memories drift to me
other Christmases …
when we once walked hand in hand
drinking wine and browsing too

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Special #186 Georgia’s 2nd “days of Christmas” (choka)

The choka is one of the most ancient Japanese forms is the world of “waka” … they were rarely written out in the beginning, they were sung and usually were about warriors or kami or epic events.  Time passed and the form congealed until it became common to end the choka (which could be a long as one wanted but following a 5-7 onji pattern throughout) in two last 7 onji … thus creating a new form –  what often called “waka” which we now call tanka.  So, the tanka is the ending of a choka (as well as a completed “renga” line I suppose), only very few people write choka anymore. Here’s Chèvrefeuille’s great example of how to write a choka:

the cooing of pigeons
resonates through the gray streets –
ah! that summer rain
refreshes the dried out earth
filling its scars
the perfume of earth tickles
my nostrils
after the hot summer days
I dance in the rain
naked on the top of the hills
I feel free at last
nature around me comes to life
field flowers bloom
I see their beautiful colors
the perfume of Honeysuckle

ah! that summer rain
the perfume of the moist soil
tickles my senses
I lay down, naked in her arms
surrounded by Honeysuckle

© Chèvrefeuille