Utabukuro – Murakami, Kijo’s (1865-1938) “First day of Autumn” – September 21, 2015

Georgia with her Aunt Geogia Mae

First autumn morning:
the mirror I stare into
shows my father’s face.

© Murakami, Kijo (1865-1938)

Today is the first day of autumn.

Autumn unlike the other seasons is the passage from youthful delight to the contemplation of decay, in a certain sense.

Winter is a symbol of all things dead … or in hibernation at the very least, but that first day of winter is also the beginning of new life. Spring is the great renewal of the earth as the cherry blossoms bloom along with just about every plant in creation.  Summer is the fruition of the earth as the blossoms turn into fruit and the grain grows ripe. Autumn is the culmination of the year and the beginning of decadence, the fruit is now ripe and ready to be harvested, but the days decline, the leaves turn red or orange and begin to fall – the first signs of winter become evident.

In the autumn of our years we reach our maturity, we begin to see the signs of our own decadence, we gather our fruits and contemplate our approaching winter … and begin to see our parents or grandparents in the mirror.

first autumn dawn –
this unfamiliar body
crept up on me

© G.s.k. ‘15


in full costume

On a happier note I also love Kijo’s:

The moment two bubbles
are united, they both vanish.
A lotus blooms.

© Murakami, Kijo

as well as this haiku which I feel is very deep indeed:

冬蜂の死にどころなく歩きけり  村上鬼城

fuyu-bachi no shini-dokoro naku arukikeri

a winter bee
continues to walk
without a place to die

© Murakami, Kijo

Murakami Kijo was destined to follow a military or administrative career, the fate of most young men born in his class, but he lost his hearing in infancy precluding both roads for him. So he grew up in Takasaki with his family and no clear path before him.  He became a friend and follower early in life  of Masaoka Shiki and Takahama Kyoshi and began to write haiku and was published both locally as well as nationally.  He became very popular as an esteemed poet that he became a member of the Hototogisu Group.

Carpe Diem Utabukuro #10 Wim Lofvers’ “a maple seed”

Carpe Diem Utabukuro – Jen Rosenberry (Paloma) – September 7, 2015

12 3 2014 bird bath leaves birch tree reflection 4c with birds

There are many haiku poets whom I read every day and I enjoy their work immensely,  Oliana Kim, Mark Redfearn, Dolores, the incomparable Lolly, Dolores, Rall, Ese, Managua … and really so many more … one of the first haiku poets I read through Carpe Diem Haiku Kai was Jen Rosenberry or Paloma as we know her.  I came across her work from quite another direction … western poetry, because Jen doesn’t write only waka and ku, but she is a fantastic short story writer and poet, using some the most obscure forms she’s fished out through her research in international poetry.

Now for the haiku that accompanies the photo, also created by Paloma:

my first sun is an old sun
to the sparrow

© Paloma (January 4, 2015)

This particular haiku reminds me a lot of the classical haiku poet, Issa, one of my absolute classical favourites.  I like the dry humour in his ku, which I found in Paloma’s evaluation of the situation on that particular day … the first sun, which made its timid appearance that New Year’s Day only to hide behind clouds almost immediately… HERE‘s the link to her post … and I wonder how her jail-ku would have been … 😉

autumn sun
sparrows chattering at dawn
outside prison bars

© G.s.k. 15

Summer Haze – Haiku – August 9, 2015

prurple mountainsummer haze
purpling the mountain tops
a flash of lightning

thunder storm
five minutes respite at dawn
day in a sauna

this fantasy
unfolds under the willows
summer afternoon

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for:

Carpe Diem Utabukuro #7 a drop of water by Cor van den Heuvel where our host introduces us to a new haiku poet:

reading a mystery
a cool breeze comes through
the beach roses

a drop of water
floats by the canoe
on a curled leaf

© Cor van den Heuvel

A tribute to Gary Maxwell – Utabukuro – August 2, 2015

One of my favourite poets is Gary Maxwell known in the blogging world as Ye Olde Foole … he is witty and sharp, and his haiku are delicate and very profound.  But I’ll let you judge for yourself –  this small selection of this work:

now night is over,
ancient anthems sing anew:
sirens and sparrows.
pines and lamp posts standing guard
where daybreak paints his shadows.

© Gary Maxwell
(Tanka (now night is over)18 May 2013)

(And now, here are a few of his haiku, taken from his blog site)

Some Summer mornings,
you can’t grasp a single word –
so sit in wonder.

moon still a sliver.
heart too small to hold these tears.
not enough sake.

(and remembering Basho’s haiku about a bee

a bee
staggers out
of the peony

© Basho

I couldn’t resist putting this one up)

underneath her skirts
a bee

Besides writing haiku, senryu and tanka, Gary also writes classical poetry like ghazal, villanelle and sonnets. You can visit his blog site – Ye Olde Foole – by clicking the link and he can also be read on Books Cover 2 Cover.

And now I will try to write in the same tone and spirit as Gary, inspiring myself from this haiku which is one of my favourites … and very Zen to me :

There are no questions
save the ones you brought, yourself,
into this stillness.

© Gary Maxwell


in this silence
nothing to meditate on
just life
rolling past infinitely
from wonder to wonder

© G.s.k. ‘15

This post was written for:

Carpe Diem Utabukuro

 where we write about a favourite haiku … in my case I wanted to write about my favourite haiku poet, so I didn’t choose just one of his many poems ….

“Carpe Diem Utabukuro” – Issa – July 19, 2015


For today’s “Carpe Diem Utabukuro” I’m going to reflect upon one of the most wonderful haiku poets – Issa.

Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶) was a Japanese poet and lay Buddhist priest of the Jodo Shin… but we don’t need an introduction is Kobayashi Issa who we have seen often at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

These are some of my favourite haiku by Issa:

The moon tonight —
I even miss
her grumbling.

In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain.

Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.

© Kobayashi Issa


the swallows
chattering at sunrise
– terrible gossips

this hot summer
welcoming rain drops
at midnight

thinking it’s in the ocean
swims freely

swatting at mosquitoes
conveniently forgetting
thou shalt not kill

© G.s.k. ‘15

For more haiku by Issa please click this LINK

Utabukuro – Rain – July 10, 2015

When I write haiku, I try to write about what’s happening around me, even if I’m writing for a prompt … that’s not always easy of course.

One of the subjects that I’ve written extensively about is rain.  Last year we had a very very rainy summer so of course it was easy to write about rain!  The haiku I’m going to show you though came from a period when I wasn’t yet writing for CDHK. In 2013 I wrote a haiku a day (more or less) beginning around March – most of them are now private)  inspiring myself from the world around me .. and lo!  I discovered that I’d written quite a few about rain – often using the rain as a metaphor for what I was feeling at the time – so using the rain to express sadness.

July 5, 2013

from hard night’s rain
dawn watery puddled clouds
serene illusions

April 28, 2013

yesterday’s sadness
tear drops in the rain
carefully hidden

July 13, 2103

muddy yellow sky
like dried-up African clay
contemplating rain

July 25, 2013

sunset and golden sky
glowing rays rain from the clouds
mountains wet with sun

October 1,2013

puzzle swirling change
inside a vision of life
outside falling rain

But perhaps my favourite of all my rain haiku it the following – based on one of my first photographs for this blog:

Rain Lights

Rain Lights

sunshine rain fall
crystals drop before my eyes
noon-tide fairy lights

( originally – for I’ve since edited this haiku:

July 22, 2013

rain falls in sunshine
crystal drops eye’s delight
fairy lights at noon)


Haiku for July eighth’s rain:

kettledrum concert
booming in the mountains
then silent rain drops

standing in the rain
ah – this wilted flower sighs
with each cooling drop

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for: Carpe Diem Utabukuro #4 tears falling

Utabukuro – how it all started – June 29, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUtabuku:  Use a favorite haiku or tanka and explain why it’s so special for you and to write an all new haiku (or tanka) inspired on your favorite. No prompt or something, but this time a theme “how it all started”.

In my youth I discovered impressionism and fell in love with it, as I grew up I discovered Zen and fell in love with it … now in my autumn the two have come together in the form of Japanese poetry.  I love the essential quality of haiku and tanka – the brief outlines that create images and sensations in the reader (and indeed in the writer as well).  It’s hard to choose one haiku and describe to you why it’s particularly special for me, basically because each haiku takes on a different meaning each time I read them.  Among my first haiku then, you’ll find many about birds.  I also love to write about the rain, the lake, sunsets and of course dawn.

The haiku I’ve written that I enjoy the most are usually those about birds …

in a laurel tree
noisy chittering sparrows
awaken me

G.s.k. ’15

fancy head-dress
the fashion king shows off
before heading north

© G.s.k. ‘15

morning concert
bright finch and blackbird duet
sparrows in counterpoint
then in the distance ravens
caw syncopated laments

first gift of spring
beauty wrapped in a sunrise
morning birdsong fest

spring morning sunrise
fills the world with gifts of light
gone empty darkness
sad thoughts of impermanence
melt with the warmth of birdsong

© G.s.k. ‘15

I’m fascinated by the birds … I hear them each morning before the sun is fully up, they chatter and sing – taking the place of the cars and other human sounds that usually fill a day.  I like to observe them as I walk in the woods or near the lake.  They’re love games in spring outside my window fill each morning with wonder.  The second haiku was about a grebe I observed on Lake Garda last spring.  I’d never seen one on our lake before and his presence and that of members of his group was fascinating .. I loved watching he bobbed and dived into the water fishing.

This morning the sound that greeted me was that of a tiny sparrow like bird (here they call them robins, but I’m sure they’re not what we’d call robins) making a desperate peeping call followed by chattering and then he’d peep again.  I say he, because he’d fly out of the trees in the courtyard in front of my house and sit for a second on the roof then fly back into the trees and I recognized his distinctive white cap on his red head.  Close by I heard the peeping of another of the same species.  It seemed almost consolatory.  After a while he seemed to calm down.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on …  had a cat attacked their nest – later I discovered that like with the swallows, here two the babies were taking their first flight out into the world.  This haiku comes to mind:

early dawn
the robin peeps and chatters
from roof to trees

frantic calls at dawn
a lone robin

baby robin
with brown ruffled feathers
trapped in the loggia

© G.s.k. ‘15


Carpe Diem Utabukuro #3 how it all started

Utabukuro #2 theme: summertime – June 24, 2015

perfume greets me
awakening up this morning
jasmine  blooming

© G.s.k. ‘15

Edited version of haiku posted on May 20, 2013

little bird

little bird singing:
did you think the antenna
would broadcast your song?

© G.s.k. ‘15

Posted on May 15, 2013


moonlit nights
cool breeze whispers
Riva refreshed

summer storm
late night shivering
pull out the duvet

moonlit concert
melodies vibrate
through the evening

evening on the terrace
friends enjoying pizzas
mosquitoes dine

© G.s.k. ‘15

Posted on June 17, 2014

Carpe Diem Utabukuro #2 theme: summertime

“Last Saturday I started a new feature here at our Haiku Kai. In this new feature you have no prompts or something it’s just for sharing your favorite haiku or tanka with us all here at our Haiku Kai and put them into the “poem bag” or Utabukuro.

For this episode however I have a theme. That theme has to be found in the shared haiku or tanka and this week I love to ask you to share your favorite haiku or tanka about “summertime”. This favorite haiku can be from a modern haiku poet or a classical haiku poet.
As you have found your favorite haiku or tanka than please tell us why you have chosen that specific haiku or tanka and then write an all new haiku or tanka inspired on the haiku or tanka of your choice.”