Basho’s “where the hototogisu is singing” – April 19, 2015

no wo yoko ni uma hikimuke yo hototogisu

riding over the summer moor, –
“ah! lead the horse that way!”
where the hototogisu is singing

© Basho (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

The goal of the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Sparkling Stars feature is to try to compose another haiku in the same spirit as the one given following the classical rules:

Mori (TN), Italy

driving past spring fields
“stop by the road and listen!”
larks sing in the mist

© G.s.k. ‘15

Little Creatures – Violets – March, 7, 2015

tiny violets
in soon passing forget me no –
cold winter mornings


sweet violets
ah – forget me not
in winter

© G.s.k. ‘15

In Italy violets are more often than not called “non ti scordar di me” or “forget me not” (as I think they may be called in English as well) and are a symbol of remembrance and specifically remembered love …  when they begin to bloom in early spring, because they grow so close to the ground, they are called “love grass (erba d’amore)”.  In the Victorian era, in the “language of flowers” the violet was associated with fidelity and true eternal love and it is said that this was one of the reasons that many were scandalized when in  D.H. Lawrence’s book (Lady Chatterley’s Lover)  he writes about an erotic exchange of violets between Lady Chatterley and her lover.

If you’ve got the patience to read a translation of an Italian page … this page is very interesting and it’s the source of the information I’ve related to you above, but there’s much, much more – like for example that The violet is the flower dedicated to “International Missing Children’s Day” (May 25th). (Non Ti Scordar Di Me).

tiny May flower
for all the world’s lost children
forget me not

© G.s.k. ‘15

 – The photograph I borrowed comes from a delightful blog all about violets that you called: Violet Dreams at Whispering Earth )   🙂

Here is some lovely violet haiku from various haiku masters:

yamaji kite naniyara yukashi sumire-gusa

coming along the mountain path,
there is something touching
about these violets

© Basho (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

suwaritaru fune wo agareba sumire kana

getting off the boat
that had grounded, –
the violets!

© Buson (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

Basho’s verse is extended and “explained” by Gyodai:

sumire tsumeba chiisaki haru no kokoro kana

picking a violet, –
the slender
heart of spring!

© Gyodai

tsumu mo ashi tsumanu mo ashiki sumire kana

to pluck it is a pity,
to leave it is a pity,
Ah, this violet!

© Naojo

fragile and a beauty,
the purple leaves like velvet,
cherished in the rain

© Chèvrefeuille

fragile beauty,
these purple leaves like velvet,
cherished in the rain

© Chèvrefeuille

(Chèvrefeuille added this note to his last haiku … By the way … I think you have noticed it. In these two haiku by myself I have used punctuation and that’s new for my haiku … I never use punctuation, because without punctuation the reader, you, can decide the tone by yourself. With punctuation I take your freedom of mind away … and that’s certainly not my way of being a haiku poet.

The above haiku can be found along with the whole original (and interesting) post at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Morning Haiku and Waka – January 24, 2015

Shepherd’s Purse

lost in the tall grass
rows of tiny white flowers

summer delight
found a little treasure trove
white shepherd’s-purse

© G.s.k. ‘15


furu hata ya nazuna hana saku kakine kana

if you look closely
a Shepherd’s Purse flowering
underneath the hedge

© Matsuo Basho (1686)

“look granddad”
my granddaughter shows me Shepherd’s Purse
“a money-purse”.

© Chèvrefeuille



pretty white daisy’s
dusting the summer fields
among the grapes

poppies and daisy’s
fields covered in red and white
hazy summer dreams

the girls dreams
he loves me he loves me not
a headless daisy

© G.s.k. ‘15**

(** I didn’t realize that there was a variation for the daisy prompt … to create an 8 stanza renga (or three tanka), so I wrote and posted it on the Bastet’s Waka Library.)

And here is a series of haiku written about daisies!

sitting silent still
low to earth, resting old bones
the daisies still grow.

© Caroline Brown

A misty light fog
hiding spring daisies in bloom
lifts with dawns sunrise

© Travis Morgan

poppies and Daisies
among the swaying wheat sheaves
a field mouse nibbles

© marycec

around the mansion
daisies standing strong together
after the storm

miracles happen
in the tiniest things
daisies blooming

thousand daisies
around the farmer’s house –
lowing of a cow

© Chèvrefeuille

Today’s post is a combination of two prompts … The first one is dedicated to the shepherds purse … a tiny white flower which is considered one of the seven sacred herbs among the Japanese.  Here is the Link.

The second series is dedicated to the daisy in the Little Creatures weekly series at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Here’s an extract from the post, which I found very interesting:

Victorian Interpretation:  Daisies have many different meanings attached to them.  In the Victorian age, it meant innocence, purity, and loyal love.  It also means that you’ll keep someone’s secret.  You’re saying that “I vow never to tell anyone” – when you give someone a daisy.

Superstitions:  Based on Scottish lore, daisies were referred to as gools.  For every farmer who owns a wheat field, they have an employee called the gool rider.  They had the task of removing the daisies from the fields.  For these farmers, if a big crop of daisies was found in your field, you had to pay a fine in the form of a castrated ram.

For the Celts, daisies were thought to be the spirits of children who died when they were born.  It’s God’s way of cheering them up when He created the daisies and sprinkled them on the earth.  This has a big connection to daisies symbolizing innocence.

What’s the meaning of Daisies:

Daisies are flowers that mean different things to different people.  It can mean cheerfulness particularly for the yellow colored blossoms and it can mean youthful beauty and gentleness.  Some people look at the daisy to be a symbol of good luck.  However, the most popular meanings attached to the daisy are – loyal love, innocence and purity.  It’s also a taken to convey the message – “I’ll never tell”.Apart from the Celtic legend that daisies were the spirits of children, the symbol of innocence also comes from the story about a dryad who oversaw meadows, forests and pastures.  One of the nymphs, Belides danced around with her nymph sister when the god of the orchards, Vertumnus saw her.  To make sure that she escapes his attentions, she turned herself into a daisy thus preserving her innocence.In terms of loyal love, daisies are used by women particularly in the Victorian age to see which suitor loves them the most.  By picking on the flower’s petals, a woman would know who loves her and who does not.

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Little Creatures

Morning Haiku and Waka – January 11, 2015

spring rains
slugging along the sidewalks
mud snails

in the dusk
mud snails crawl into the road
broken shells

in the garden
the cat jumps, bats and runs
hunting mud snails

farmer’s delight
mud snails and frog’s legs
in spring time


When I first came to Italy, way back in 1970, we stayed with my first husband’s Aunt in Liguria for a short time.  Liguria was once a part of France and one of the things that remained with them is the love of escargot, or snails.  After a particularly heavy rain, some friends of Aunt Chicca brought a plate of snails for me that they’d gathered from the fields.  I couldn’t refuse to eat at least one, as it would have been bad manners, so I pulled the mayonnaise covered beast from his shell popped him into my mouth washing it down with a glass of white wine. My opinion is that snails should be left to live in the fields … they’re totally disgusting as food.

unwelcome gift
escargot in mayonnaise
for a visitor

© G.s.k. ‘15


Here are some inspiring haiku about mud snails:

hiroinokosu tanishi ni tsuki no yûbe kana

a few remain uncaught
under the evening moon

© Yosa Buson

sode yogosuran tanishi no ama no hima o nami

with dirty sleeves
farmers-turned-fishermen pick up mud snails
ever so busy

© Matsuo Basho

nuritate no aze wo yurideru tanishi kana

the mud-snail
in the newly-made rice-field bank,
joggles its way out

© Jûjô

nisanjaku hôte tanishi no higurekeri

the mud-snail
crawls two or three feet, –
and the day is over

© Gomei

and a lovely series by our host Chèvrefeuille:

watching a snail
in the light of the full moon
just a silver trail

just a silver trail
points me to the right place
mountain monastery

mountain monastery
finally becoming one
I bow to my master

I bow to my master
Matsuo Basho told me the way
to watch a snail

© Chèvrefeuille

Carpe Diem haiku Kai

Morning Haiku and Waka – haiku – November 14, 2014


hidden in clouds
intimacy protected
the Veiled Mount

in the misty dawn
somewhere near the Veiled Mount
a cuckoo calls

moonlit night
skiers descent the Veiled Mount
– iridescent chain

(c) G.s.k. ’14

I’m linking this to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (click the link for the full post) … the prompt is Mount Fuji , which I’ve only seen in photographs so, with all the mountains I have around me, I thought I’d choose one of ours. The Veiled Mount is the mount (we can’t call it a hill, but I’m informed it’s not quite a proper mountain – Trentini are very particular about these details) got its name because it is often veiled in clouds.  This photo is from a different angle than you usually see from my photos.

Here are some great haiku about Mount Fuji:

katatsuburi soro-soro nobore fuji no yama

little snail
inch by inch, climb
Mount Fuji!
© Issa

hatsu-gatsuo tsuide nagara mo fuji (no) yama

right after
summer’s first bonito –
Mount Fuji

© Issa

mannaka ni fuji sobietari kuni no haru

in the centre,
mount Fuji towers up:
spring in our country
© Sho-u

fuji hitotsu uzumi nokoshite wakaba kana

only Mount Fuji
is not covered with them –
fresh new leaves

© Buson


And here’s the great Basho:

fuji no kaze ya ogi ni nosete edo miyage

wind from Mount Fuji –
carrying it in my fan,
a souvenir for those in Edo

© Basho

Credits: Mount Fuji Woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)


Alone – Tanka – October 24, 2014

red ripe persimmons
under raging stormy winds
– smash to the ground
in silent loneliness
contemplating the damage
© G.s.k. ’14
“Shiba Sonome, our featured haiku poetess. She has not a lot of haiku left behind, but the haiku are all beauties. Here is her haiku for your inspiration (and mine):”
longing for someone
I sit by the gate and draw
eyebrows on a melon

© Shiba Sonome

The object of the haiku special is ot read, understand and then write a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit.  Here are two other haiku to help guide the way:
after the storm
only the melons
don’t remember

© Basho

feeling alone
lost in the woods around Edo –
just the autumn wind

© Yozakura

and finally a haiku from our host:
in front of the fireplace
an empty bottle and broken wine glasses
after the quarrel

© Chėvrefeuille

Summer Sunshine – Haibun – October 14, 2014

Summer Sunshine (Haibun)

Walking through Rovereto, with its high walls and cold wind, I was going to the train station. Passing the children off to school, to was going to meet my son who was coming home and would be with us for a week – I couldn’t help smiling.  Happy, a song filled my mind and soul – I felt like the world was a better, happier, place to live in.  No marching band was there to greet him, at least not one you could see, just the music in my mind.  The train rolled in.

cold autumn wind
the train pulls into the station
– summer sunshine


From: Hub Pages – Haibun

Here’s an example of a classic haibun written by the famous haiku master, Basho which I found on Hub Pages with a fine article on what haibun is, classically:

I left my rundown hut beside the river during the eighth month of 1684, placing my trust in my walking stick and in the words of the Chinese sage who said: “I pack no provisions for my long journey — entering emptiness under the midnight moon.” The voice of the wind was oddly cold.

Weather-beaten bones,
I’ll leave your heart exposed
to cold, piercing winds

(c) Basho

Written for Lego Haibun using a video prompt.

014d1-octpowrimobadge2I’m submitting this second poem today at OctPoWriMo for the prompt: “Inspiration from the Poets Who Went Before…”

Spiders Weaving Webs – August 9, 2014

For this week’s Carpe Diem Haiku Family

The goal of this new episode is to write/compose a haiku, in the classical way, about someone who is famous and who you, maybe, admire.
As a haiku-poet Basho is my role-model and I am admiring his haiku. So I have chosen to write a haiku about him.


There are lots of famous people … so it’s a tall order to write this haiku … but let’s see what Chèvrefeulle wrote:

famous frogpond-poet
brought his passion into my mind –
the sound of water

© Chèvrefeuille

Of course!  He’s written about Basho one of the most famous haiku poets of history:

old pond
frog jumps in
sound of water

© Basho

Dew on a spider's web in the morning.  Luc Viatour

Dew on a spider’s web in the morning. Luc Viatour

walking down the trail
the buddhist monk stops to look
spiders weaving webs

© G.s.k. ’14

I’ve chosen Kobayashi Issa to inspire me:

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
© Kobayashi Issa

Translated by Robert Hass


Haiku – Basho and Chiyo-Ni – July 3, 2014

LOGO CD JULY 2014 (2)

This is a particulary interesting prompt posted on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.  Here Chèvrefuelle tells us about the various meanings behind the words used in the haiku written by Basho in his conclusion of the haibun ‘Oku no Hosomichi’ ‘The Narrow Road to the Far North’.and how the varous single Japanese words used can be interpreted in so many ways!

Credits: Woodblock-print Futamigaura (”The Wedded Rocks”)

hamaguri no   futami ni wakare   yuku aki zo

a clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn

© Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)


peach skies of summer
following a flash of lightning
a thunder-clap
© G.s.k. ’14

I had problems with my computer and was late submitting the homage to Basho … So I’m adding a second Carpe Diem prompt … dedicated to Chiyo-Ni:

“The Rouge flower (a kind of daylily) is a reddish-yellow flower it is cup-shaped and holds rain or dew in the same way as the Camellia. There is great ”virtue” in the expression tada no. If we translate it ”only” water, we got the feeling of disillusionment without the insight into the nature of things.
This haiku by Chiyo-Ni is one of my favorite haiku written by her and I think it will inspire you all to write new haiku. Maybe … in the same spirit as Chiyo-Ni … we will see. ” Chèvrefeulle

koborete wa tada no mizunari  beni no tsuyu

the dew of the rouge-flower,
when it is spilled
is simply water

© Chiyo-Ni


honeysuckle flower
child sucking sweet nectar
like a bee

calla lily
perfumed golden goblet
empty of wine

©G.s.k. ’14


Written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai dedicated to Chiyo-Ni


Haiku – June 17, 2014



summer evening
warm saké and history
reading haiku

fleas jumping
on the sofa merrily
a feast waiting

rain drumming
at midnight
summer concert

buzzing mosquito
singing of feasts
in my ear

the flowers grow
and wither

the cat streches
his nap completed
he eats dinner

whispering wind
in a field of corn
inviting autumn

This post is dedicated to two of the great haiku masters of history and is a little tribute I wanted to make for them … Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa I wonder if I’ve been able to capture the two different voices of these great masters!