Soliloquy No Renga – Santoka Taneda – May 5, 2016

Aki noyo ya inu kara morattari neko ni ataetari
Autumn night–
I received it from the dog
And gave it to the cat.
© Santoka Taneda
the cat worried it then left it
looking for some mice
an owl hooted loudly
the mice lay silent waiting
afraid in their nests

the cat looked for its rivals
the dog and now the owl
 first drops of rain
fell on the new-mown hay
I crawled under the sheets
my lover stretched out for me
and held me in his embrace
landing on the bed
the cat and dog tumbled
that autumn night

© G.s.k. ‘16

“Santoka Taneda (1882-1940). Santoka Taneda is known for his ‘free-styled’ haiku, no syllables-count, no kigo. He was really a free-thinker in haiku-land.”

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #78 Soliloquy no Renga “autumn night” by Santoka Taneda

Morning Haiku and Waka – Using Karumi (Haiga) – April 27, 2016

Tourists and Locals Haiga

morning promenade
waddling off their breakfast
locals and tourists

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #77 pickles (in the way of Basho) lost episode of March

Today Chèvrefeuille re-introduced the “karumi” writing technique.  Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Bashô developed this concept during his final travels in 1693. Karumi is perhaps one of the most important and least understood principles of haiku poetry. Karumi can best be described as “lightness,” or a sensation of spontaneity. In many ways, karumi is a principle rooted in the “spirit” of haiku, rather than a specific technique. Bashô taught his students to think of karumi as “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. When karumi is incorporated into haiku, there is often a sense of light humour or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world. Many haiku using karumi are not fixed on external rules, but rather an unhindered expression of the poet’s thoughts or emotions. This does not mean that the poet forgets good structure; just that the rules of structure are used in a natural manner. In my opinion, karumi is “beyond” technique and comes when a poet has learned to internalize and use the principles of the art interchangeably.

In a way it brought me another idea. Traditionally, and especially in Edo Japan, women did not have the male privilege of expanding their horizons, so their truth or spirituality was often found in the mundane. Women tend to validate daily life and recognize that miracles exist within the mundane, which is the core of haiku.There were females who did compose haiku, which were called “kitchen-haiku” by literati, but these “kitchen-haiku” had all the simplicity and lightness of karumi … In a way Basho taught males to write like females, with more elegance and beauty, based on the mundane (simple) life of that time.

Shiba Sonome, a female haiku poet, learned about karumi from Basho: “Learn about a pine tree from a pine tree, and about a bamboo plant from a bamboo plant.”

The poet should detach the mind from his own self. Nevertheless, some people interpret the word ‘learn’ in their own ways and never really ‘learn’. ‘Learn’ means to enter into the object, perceive its delicate life, and feel its feeling, whereupon a poem forms itself. Even a poem that lucidly describes an object could not attain a true poetic sentiment unless it contains the feelings that spontaneously emerged out of the object. In such a poem the object and the poet’s self would remain forever separate, for it was composed by the poet’s personal self.

Basho also said, “In my view a good poem is one in which the form of the verse, and the joining of its two parts, seem light as a shallow river flowing over its sandy bed”.

That, then, is karumi: becoming as one with the object of your poem … experiencing what it means to be that object … feeling the life of the object … allowing the poem to flow from that feeling and that experience.”

A poem beyond Pi-Ku – March 16, 2016

Meditation in Pi

that twilight
echoed in sleep:
crashed upon the shoals
vibrating into the infinite

vibrantly reflecting
the myriad shades
were refracted
in winter sunset

**of such things miracles are made
these vibrations of infinite waves
that seem very common place
but are intangible as is life –
as is death.

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #73 pi-ku another nice poetry form (reprise)

Let us try to make a Pi-ku poem with the following digits(3,14159) the lines of the Pi-ku and the syllables-count would become the following:

1st line 3 syllables; 2nd line 1 syllable; 3rd line 4 syllables; 4th line 1 syllable; 5th line 5 syllables and the 6th line would be 9 syllables. To me this sounds great and will be for sure a challenge. So let me try to make my Pi-ku longer with those new lines and their syllables-count:

the sun rises
the heat
already tangible
spirals above the stream
another day starts in mysterious ways

© Chèvrefeuille

*I went beyond the pi-ku to reflect upon the further values of pi itself (*26535) (**89793) – Bastet 😉

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

Tanka Prose for Chèvrefeuille – Moonlight – March 3, 2016


When I was a child, I lived in the Philippines with my parents.  One day my father came home with painting for my mother.  It  was a scene of a full moon over the ocean painted on black velvet.

The painting itself was composed of just a few well place strokes of white and brown oil paint giving the impression of a white river flowing from a hovering moon over the ocean, shimmering towards a high abandoned cliff.    I loved to look at the picture imagining the sound of the wind and the adventures that took place in that magical dark world perhaps inhabited by pirates or explorers.

Even now though many years have come and gone, I’m still fascinated by the memory of that painting … and I realize that from time to time I try to recreate it.

a glowing river
flowing on the night-time ocean
in a child’s dreams
silent winds blow up the stream
the smell of salt air abounds

© G.s.k. ‘16

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille and Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu 


In the Spirit of Mgur – Tanka – February 17, 2016

Misleading yogi sat-nav #yoga #funny:

the dharma road
runs through shadows and sunshine
it’s stony and smooth
(but distinguish your finger
when searching for the moon)

© G.s.k. ‘16

Here is Milaraspa’s Mgur on his Faith

Faith is the firm foundation of my house,
Diligence forms the high walls,
Meditation makes the huge bricks,
And Wisdom is the great corner-stone.
With these four things I build my castle,
And it will last as long as the Truth eternal!
Your worldly houses are delusions,
Mere prisons for the demons,
And so I would abandon and desert them.

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #70 Tibetan’s Mgur, a religious form of poetry: “For this episode I love to challenge you to write a haiku, tanka, choka or another Japanese poetry form in which you try to catch your religious or spiritual ideas as did  in his poems. Of course you may also share “Mgur” (song). “

I guess times change and visions differ:  faith, diligence and meditation are a part of the discipline of not only the Dharma but most beliefs … I don’t know anything about demons unless we’re talking about people who pretend to be enlightened and beautiful but are actually only seducers with their own agenda and of course delusions and sadness result from having to do with these people.  On the other hand delusions and sadness have been a constant part of all times,this  usually occurs when one let’s oneself live with “expectations”,  though our houses may not be castles the metaphor is not far distant from our own … but basically my concept of the Dharma is not a concept of war against the world – which is the sensation I get from the Mgur.

Dharma the Cat sample Pdf

Morning Haiku and Waka – Blog Hopping – January 11, 2016

Ducks in love

Love, what is love?  That potent attraction that pulls two people together?  No perhaps that’s hormones and little else.  Well, might it be then, the fascinating encounter with a great thinker who can mesmerize one into ecstasy with words? I think not, intellectually fulfilling perhaps, at least for a time but love, no, not love.  What about that perfect body, those lovely eyes and that suave voice.  Aesthetically pleasing perhaps, but no, not love.  We in the west, raised and nurtured on fairy tales and romantic novels, have a vague idealistic vision of love and I suspect that that vision is just an illusion.  If we search for love guided by all the nonsense that we watch on television and read in books our love affairs will be quickly over because they’re based on “fried air” as the Italians like to say.

So what is love – are there different kinds of love, or is there just Love with a capital letter?  Is that feeling you have for your dog or cat any less important to you than  the feelings you have for your child. (I can hear the scandalized voices now .. but Let’s be honest.) Don’t you get all torn up and feel miserable when your dear four-legged friend dies.  I know I still mourn my old friend Maao to the point that I never want to own another cat.

If we’re talking about sentiments and emotions, I suppose we could call a summer encounter or a meeting of minds on the internet a love affair, but if we’re looking for something deeper that involves something more universal maybe we should look within.

a quick flash
star-crossed summer loves
autumn cinders

© G.s.k. ‘16


sun and moon
lovers always separated
forever linked

this heart
one with the universe

a warm touch
the cherry tree blossoms
in love with life

attraction and repulsion
love’s paradox

© G.s.k. ‘16

This post is linked to:  Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #69 An Essay About Real LoveHeeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille February 10th 2016 and

Writing with: dt.haase “inviting silence” – Haiga – February 3, 2016

Masts - Haiga


Chèvrefeuille writes:

“It is my pleasure to bring to you an all new episode of our special feature Tokubetsudesu. This week I will tell you a little bit more about our “runner-up” of our “winter-kukai”, dt.haase. dt.haase is the pseudonym of Dan Haase. Dan is an educator and consultant in Wheaton, Illinois.  dt.haase is not a regular visitor of our Kai, but he sometimes shares his wonderful haiku and haiga here.”

This is the  haiku (submitted as a haiga for the “winter-kukai”):

© dt.haase. “runner-up” of the “winter-kukai”

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #68 dt.haase’s “inviting silence”

dt.haase’s blog is: Wanderer With Words

Tokubetsudesu #67 – Haiku – January 27, 2016



from the dust heap
he rescues an old straw hat
the woman shivers

walking alone
sporting an old straw hat
[sea gulls squawk]

© G.s.k. ‘16

wearing a fancy straw hat
mature rice

in dosso ‘na paglietta
riso maturo

© G.s.k. ‘16

(The above Italian haiku is actually a good deal different from its original and it couldn’t be any other way and here’s my explanation:   for convenience sake (well, mostly a problem of syllables) I used spauracchio (five syllables) which  is something that is used to scare and it can be a story or a physical object .. a spaventapasseri (scarecrow) is a spauracchio  but a spauracchio is not necessarily a spaventapasseri.  I wrote the second line in Neapolitan (Napolitano) which permitted me to hyphenate the article “una” (two syllables and in English “a” or “an”) and I used the word paglietta (three syllables) which was a particular sort of fancy straw hat used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century .. I think it might be called a “boater” in English but I’m not sure (the hat in the illustration is simply  “un cappello di paglia”  or straw hat but at seven syllables far too long to use in a haiku) ( the line is seven syllables long) and finally  the a-ha line in Italian has a double meaning – riso in Italian is both rice and smile or laughter (so the haiku becomes mildly humorous).  Writing this I remembered how many times over the past couple of years I’ve read a Japanese haiku  referred to as “humorous” and I found nothing humorous at all in it.  I think maybe sometimes the humour gets lost in translation.  😉 )

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #67 Van Gogh’s Shoes: Thingness in Haiku by Jim Kacian (an article about commodity)

But the consignment today is:

“In the above (see below) article Jim shares a haiku by Basho, which Basho wrote as a response on a challenge which he was asked for, a kind of bet so to say.

shichikei wa kiri ni kakurete mii no kane

seven views
hidden in the mist –
the (temple) bell of Mii

© Basho (Tr. Jim Kacian)

A nice one I would say, especially the idea of the challenge behind it, And that brings me to your challenge for this episode of Tokubetsudesu. In the haiku by Basho he describes the 8 views of Omi in just a few lines, and the painting by Van Gogh shows you how simplicity can work. That brings me to the following challenge:

Try to tell a story, like the haiku by Basho and using the simplicity of the description of the painting by Van Gogh, for a haiku … only a haiku!

I have given it a try too, but I don’t know for sure if I succeeded.

snowflakes fall gently
slowly the black earth becomes white
even the scarecrow

© Chèvrefeuille

The article written by Jim Kacian for:

Valley Voices: A Literary Review 8:1
Mississippi Valley State University
Spring 2008, pp. 60-61.

Reading this article is without a doubt a very interesting experience that can help the reader understand and interpret the philosophical/intellectual meaning of haiku.  The article is an interesting academic discussion on the philosophy behind the reading of haiku. In the first lines, after establishing haiku is not narrative he goes on to write:

“Haiku are not so much opposed to narrative as beyond it not telling tales, but encompassing them. Haiku have neither past nor future, and are not strictly narratable. As narrative fails, description takes over, bits and pieces obtrude. A description of bits and pieces is concerned with neither memory nor desire. It insists on the presence of that presented.

Of course bits and pieces may stir memory for an instant: they are signs. But they are never inclusive, and though selected, cannot aspire to conjuring the world whole in any individual poem. They are, instead, the meaningfully random, and only taken as a whole that is, the entirety of all haiku ever written does anything like comprehensiveness arise. The bits and pieces are not more than bits and pieces they will remain for the duration of the poem exactly what they already are. But in accumulation they approach fractally the sum of reality, of mind. As I’ve written elsewhere, haiku, the world’s shortest poetry, agglomerates to haiku, the world’s longest poem. Read enough haiku, then, and the world will work in that special sense that literature permits. …”

Lovely .. there’s much more to this article which you can find clicking the link above – it’s an article I’ll read again and think about, but which probably won’t be of any immediate help in writing haiku … I do like the idea though that understanding art is achieved by looking at art in its totality .. a short haiku is just a splinter in the wood carving of the complete production of haiku – a pair of painted work shoes just a brush-stroke on the canvas of life’s paintings and the sum total is the literary/artistic understanding of life’s narrative.


Ten Styles of Tanka – Post 5 – January 24, 2016


as the sun sets
the north star shines brightly
in the gloaming
awing the voyager
a grain of sand on the beach

© G.s.k. ‘16


5. Lofty style – taketakaki tei, a method of achieving grandeur and elevation

One of the traditional examples of this style is the poem by Fujiwara Yoshitsune (1169-1206) composed on the given theme of “the moon at dawn” in the Shinkokinshū #16:1545:

ana no to o / oshiakegata no / kumonma yori / kamiyo no tsuki / kage zo nokoreru

the coming dawn
pushes open the Gates of Heaven
from the clouds
the moon from the Age of Gods
is an image left behind

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #66 Teika’s Ten Tanka Techniques by Jane Reichhold