Carpe Diem Special – Richard Wright – July 4, 2016

The task for Carpe Diem Special is not only to read a poem by a haiku author, but to try “to write a new haiku (or tanka) in the same tone, sense and spirit as the given one”.  Today we revisit Richard Wright.
Whitecaps on the bay:
A broken signboard banging
In the April wind.
© Richard Wright
illinois sunrise
Illinois sunrise
rain and sunbeams fall
in late May

© Gsk ’16

NaHaiWriMo – Zig-Zag – February 13, 2016

Hill-side olive grove

up and down the hills
the waif staggers zigzagging
seeking shelter
only welcome if she paid
alone – she left the city

© G.s.k. ‘16

The tanka is inspired by a story Basho told in his Narrow Road:

The voices of two young women whispering in the next room, however, came creeping into my ears. They were talking to an elderly man, and I gathered from their whispers that they were concubines from Niigata in the province of Echigo, and that the old man, having accompanied them on their way to the Ise Shrine, was going home the next day with their messages to their relatives and friends.

I sympathized with them, for as they said themselves among their whispers, their life was such that they had to drift along even as the white froth of waters that beat on the shore, and having been forced to find a new companion each night, they had to renew their pledge of love at every turn, thus proving each time the fatal sinfulness of their nature. I listened to their whispers till fatigue lulled me to sleep. When, on the following morning, I stepped into the road, I met these women again. They approached me and said with some tears in their eyes, ‘We are forlorn travelers, complete strangers on this road. Will you be kind enough at least to let us follow you? If you are a priest as your black robe tells us, have mercy on us and help us to learn the great love of our Savior.’ ‘I am greatly touched by your words,’ I said in reply after a moment’s thought, ‘but we have so many places to stop at on the way that we cannot help you. Go as other travelers go. If you have trust in the Savior, you will never lack His divine protection.’ As I stepped away from them, however, my heart was filled with persisting pity.

in the same house
prostitutes, too, slept:
bush clover and moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

Like Shooting Stars – Tanka Experiment – January 4, 2016

Photo and caption by Alessandra Meniconzi

Photo and caption by Alessandra Meniconzi


along rocky trails
stumbling [grumbling] here I walk
rocks and shale skitters
under pines and spruce until
the sky opens – and stars fall

high over the Alps
like shooting stars in the clouds
the Alpine choughs fly
they swirl and caw their delight
as the veiled sun looks on

star-falling black choughs

© G.s.k. ‘16

This morning I saw this fantastic photograph thanks to the 55 plus special at  Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (linked below) and fell in love, I then read this linked episode below by Chèvrefeuille of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, where we were to paint with words our sensations of a photo we were to search out about “falling stars” – to me, these birds, the Alpine choughs which all hikers in the Alps see at one time or another reminded me of falling stars.

Carpe Diem Special #190 A trip along memory lane 1st CD Imagination

imaginary garden with real toads

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Golden Willow – Haiku – December 29, 2015

Golden Willow

Golden Willow

December morning
in splendid golden glory
the willow sways

now alone
she lost her companion
to a summer squall*

with each passing day
she loses her golden chiome
the willow ages **

*Fallen Willow Jisei

**Willow Weep

Today is the last episode dedicated to my haiku and waka on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.  I have just written a brief note to Chèvrefeuille thanking him for this opportunity, but above all, thanking him for showing my poetry to myself.

I rarely re-read my poetry or in fact anything I write.  I always promise myself that I will wade through my archives and perhaps put together a book or two but never quite find the time to do so.  I don’t know what holds me back except perhaps a lack of confidence in my writing.

This special month and my book which Chèvrefeuille published have been such a wonderful experience for me.  I wish to thank him and all of you who have read and enjoyed my work for your constant encouragement.

this hidden path
draped in honeysuckle
I hear nature sing
sweet is the blackbird’s song
as spring begins to bloom

 © G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Special #189 Georgia’s 5th strolling yesterday (tanka)

strolling yesterday
astonished by the pine trees.
they seemed to copy
the heavy rain laden skies
imitating it’s wet lay.

© Georgia (May 2013)

a new day rises –
the weeping willow on the piazza
a birds’ gathering

weeping willow
in the autumn sunlight
a golden tree

under the willow
on the city’s graveyard
weeping silhouette

© Chèvrefeuille

A Christmas Lai – Experimental Choka – December 25, 2015

Look, as this new day is born
Peaceful is this cold morn’
Bells ringing across the land
Say violence is banned!
Today, Christmas day
Hear now, listen to my lai:
Let’s cleanse our hearts of woe
Joyfully shall we now go
To celebrate our joy
‘Twas born Mary’s boy!
Then, the seed of peace was sown,
Something we’d never known,
Pray that it may now grow strong
And fill our hearts yearlong,
With love, hope and peace.

© G.s.k. ‘15

When I first discovered choka, I also discovered that this poetic form is all but extinct, though some modern Japanese poets have written a few and there is a small movement to try to revive it, it’s mostly in the West that the choka is finding new life.  Now it’s possible to find “classical” (either 5-7-7 or 5-7-5 syllable count) choka written by American or English haiku poets and very interestingly we also find some experimental choka – variations created by Western haiku poets.

In 2013, I tried my hand at creating an experimental choka a Rhyming Choka : 7-6-7-6-5 syllable lines  repeated 3 times … rhymes in couplets until the last line.

For a little more information you can click these links (there are many more, and these are not necessarily the best) Poet’s Garret, The Poet’s CollectiveKUJAKU POETRY & SHIPS

Carpe Diem Special #188 Georgia’s 4th, another choka

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

Morning Haiku and Waka – Autumn Reflections – December 5, 2015

foggy courtyard birch

the last days of fall
just a single yellow leaf 
in gathering fog

the last days of fall
coloured leaves cover the ground
grey foggy mornings

just a single yellow leaf
clings to the birch
in dawn’s early light

in gathering fog
harbingers of winter call
gathering silence

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Special #185 Georgia’s first “Autumn Reflections” (Troiku)

I’m honoured to be hosted this month on Carpe Diem Special with my haiku and waka, thanks to my haiku for the autumn kukai “Peace of Mind” which won first place in October.  First prize is the publication of an e-book of verse (and a weekly presentation of my work throughout the month of December).

I’ve spent many days this month composing poetry and reflections on inner peace for the book which will shortly be published and it has been a cathartic experience coming as it did upon a particularly difficult moment of my life.

When Chèvrefeuille asked me if I preferred any particular poem to be used this month I replied that I didn’t and would be pleased if he chose what to show, that way it would be a surprise for me.  I write many poems … and rarely re-read those poems.  Reading today’s post and Chèvrefeuille’s choice therefore, was like reading a troiku written by someone else.  I was surprised.

   autumn reflections
as I cross the sun warmed bridge
geese fly south

autumn reflections
old man contemplates winter
under the hot sun

as I cross the sun warmed bridge
ducks laugh downstream
– diving for trout

geese fly south
the noisy swallows have gone
but the blackbird sings

© Georgia

Inevitable – Morning Haiku and Waka – November 24, 2015

Early Snow_sharpened

in this silence
walking through a snow bound field
a frozen red rose

the long cold nights of winter
yield to spring

the last leaf
rains down from the ash tree
bleak is the sleeping forest
but for the eternal pines

barren branches dressed
in sparkling white winter robes
ash trees and palms

endless cycles
inevitable – changes
each sunrise is a new day
each sunset a passing

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Special #183 Ese’s fourth “inevitable”

the dance of a falling leaf
with a snowflake

© Ese

fresh fallen snow
sprinkled with the colors of autumn

© Chèvrefeuille

Sunday Scribblings 2 – inescapable