Tan Renga with Basho “this autumn” – May 23, 2015

spring buds

spring buds

this autumn
why getting older is like
a bird into clouds

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Well … I’m just going to look at this hokku I don’t want to have any background info, since I want to pretend I’m actually doing a renga in the old sense of the word, I scratch my head and wonder but in relation to my own here and now, the answering closing lines and new hokku come fairly easily:

this autumn
why getting older is like
a bird into the clouds

© Basho

wings long to find the airways
that lead to gentle spring

let red leaves fall
these grey wings stretch towards
pink cherry blossoms

© G.s.k. ‘15

My idea is that autumn brings on the cold but autumn is also a metaphor of old age, looking at the flocks of birds flying south is like imagining a return to a warmer place avoiding cold winter but it’s also like contemplating a return  to ones youth. This particular concept isn’t at all difficult for me to imagine being 63 years old!  😉

This renga was written thanks to CDHK – “this autumn”

Carpe Diem’s Tan Renga – “the ancient woman” – Mary 16, 2015

uba-zakura saku ya rogo no omoi ide

the ancient woman
cherry tree blooms in old age
an event to remember

© Basho (at the age of 21)

wizened blossoms softly fall
sitting in the spring rain

remembering love
she watches the young man
walking down the lane

© G.s.k. ‘15

This is written for the Tan Renga episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Tan Renga – Lost – April 18, 2015

feeling alone
lost in the woods around Edo –
just the autumn wind
© Yozakura
winter coldness presaged
the golden leaves keep falling
stumbling along
lost in the woods in the rain
mist my companion

© G.s.k. ‘15

Our hokku host today is Yozakura … a little  unknown haiku-poet who was a disciple of Basho.  This post is linked to: Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Renga – March 28, 2015

wet grass

at the wagon’s approach,
out from the grass
flies the butterfly

© Shoha (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

Our haiku master today is Shoha (1727-1772) of whom I could find no information but … here is an interesting bit about the translator who’s name we’ve read many times beside the great master’s names:

Reginald Horace Blyth was born near London in 1898, the only child of working-class parents. By the start of World War I, he was eighteen and already an eccentric in his contemporaries’ eyes: he ate no meat, loved George Bernard Shaw, and became a conscientious objector to the war, for which he was jailed. After serving a three-year sentence of hard labour and fed up with the rigidity of Britain’s class system, he left his homeland for what he thought would be a life of wandering.

But after just a year of traveling, Blyth was smitten by Asia. He settled in Korea in the mid-1920s, and began teaching English at Seoul University. He returned to England briefly to complete a B.A. in English literature in order to further his Korean teaching career. Back in Seoul, Blyth met a monk from Kyoto’s Myoshin-ji temple, the traditional headquarters of the Rinzai Zen sect in Japan. The meeting was auspicious, inspiring Blyth to take up the study of Japanese and to begin Zen practice at the Seoul branch temple; within weeks, he had moved into the temple to become the disciple of the resident Zen master, Kayama Taigi.

In 1940, Blyth moved to Japan and remained there for the rest of his life, despite being interned as an enemy alien during World War II. He married a Japanese woman and supported their two daughters working as a teacher (he even tutored the Crown Prince of Japan) and began a prolific writing and translating career. For Blyth, almost anything could be interpreted as an example of Zen, including the Western literary canon. He expounded his theories in Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics (1942), Japanese Humour (1957), and the four-volume Haiku (1949-52), and through those books, spurring a generation of Westerners to investigate Zen and Japanese culture. Blyth died in 1964 of a brain tumour.

LINK to Biography of Blyth

Out of the Grass ….

at the wagon’s approach,
out from the grass
flies the butterfly

© Shoha

beads of water on the grass
now an abandoned palace

diamond brightness
the empress hid feasting
in the spring fields

© G.s.k. ‘15

Linked to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Tan Renga

What is Renga?

“One poet wrote a first verse of three lines in a five syllable-seven syllable-five syllable pattern [called a HOKKU], and the second poet completed the tanka with two seven-syllable lines…

A third poet writes another three lines, which, together with the previous couplet, make an entirely new poem. Then the next poet adds another couplet to make a third poem, which is completely independent of the first two. And so on. The seasons change, the subject changes, and, in the classical renga, the poem proceeds through a hundred verses.

Rules developed. The renga had to be written in a certain way. No story could be developed, the seasons had to keep changing, a traditional image of the autumn moon had to be introduced at least twice, images of spring flowers three times, and so on. The form became immensely popular among educated people at court and in the monasteries. Treatises were written on appropriate ways of making links, and anthologies of examples were published… And it began to spread, as a social activity, to cities and towns, and was taken up by merchants and farmers, some of whom were imitating the refinements of the court, some of whom were drawn to it from the learned traditions of the monastery.

These renga often used a more informal language, treated their subjects playfully, and were shorter, often thirty-six verses long. The 36-verse form was called a KASEN, and the style of the poetry was called HAIKAI NO RENGA.”

Source: The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa. Edited by Robert Hass. (c) 1994, Ecco Press.

A flash of lightening – Tan Renga – March 15, 2015

Today’s haiku master for our weekly hokku is Ese of Ese’s Voice


stroked by the lightning
delicate peaks of sand dunes
– silence before the storm

© Ese

impetuous winds whisper
passionate encounters

spring’s inconstancy
sunshine smiles then anger storms
ah – March afternoon

© G.s.k. ‘15

Tan Renga and Haiga Festival – only emptiness – March 7, 2015


in the space between the trees
only emptiness
without emptiness no forest

© Hamish Gunn

the forest is not the trees
the full moon is not the pond

after the rain falls
the sky and woods come to earth
empty reflections

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Tan Renga – our hokku master today is Hamish Gunn

Friday’s Tan Renga – Yellow Blossom – February 28, 2015

first yellow blossom
sprouting from a slender branch—
Buddha bows his head

© Magical Mystical Teacher

miracle of the seasons
in the Sonora desert

the blooming sprouts
sing the beauty of life
in the here and now

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for Tan Renga – Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Tan Renga – February 21, 2015


Bare branches touch
Over the lane where we walk,
Fingers entwined.

© Jackie Le Poidevin

young lovers meet in winter
under bare skeleton trees

each gust of wind
down the sunlit naked lane
invites cuddling

© G.s.k. ‘15

Our hokku master at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Tan Renga this week is Jackie Le Poidevin of HaikuBlog UK please drop by and read the lovely haiku she writes!

Morning Haiku and Waka – February 14, 2015

Tulips field by Vincent Van Gogh (?)

dreaming of Holland
miles of tulips and canals
Vincent Van Gogh

colourful bells
lined up in sunny fields
tulip farm

 happy bees buzzing
in and out of coloured bells
silent music

© G.s.k. ‘15

Writing about Tulips for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

This week we also have a lovely renga based on the poppy … the hokku in the form of a wonderful haiga was written by Suzanne of Art and Life


red poppies at Troy
– the blood of the fallen
bright on the grass

© Suzanne

echos of long lost battles
Helen and Cassandra lost

Troy’s refugees
sailed for far off Sicily
Rome’s ancestors

© G.s.k. ‘15

Virgil in his famous Aeneid tells of the founding of Rome … the link will take you to a site which has lots of material on the subject!

Tan Renga Challenge #73 – Carpe Diem Haiku Kai


Tan Renga – Cherry Blossoms – February 7, 2015

cherry blossom rain
young girls with pink parasols
watched by eager boys

© JazzBumpa

walk under the pink raindrops
enjoying the warm spring breeze

sweet blossoms in bloom
new love in the April air
blackbirds carolling

© G.s.k. ‘15

This was written for the Tan Renga prompt at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai … and don’t forget to click on JazzBumpa’s link to see what he did originally on his blog .. a great job well done!