Little Creatures with Chiyo-ni (spiders) – haiku – April 26, 2015

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draped across the door
a single spider’s web
floats on the wind

walking in the woods
a spider’s web caress
crosses my cheek

storm winds blow
– skittering across the plant
tiny red spiders

summer evening
hiding in the bathtub

© G.s.k. ‘15

One of my favourite haiku poets is Chiyo-ni (1703-1775).  She lived and wrote in the same period of Basho and was very influenced by his vision of haiku, though she has her own distinctive voice, as we can see in the haiku chosen by Chèvrefeuille for this morning’s Little Creature’s episode:

a single spider’s thread
ties the duckweed
to the shore
© Chiyo-ni

Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)

... she stood not only in nature, but was part of nature and that makes her haiku so strong in their images.

“Oneness with nature” seems especially resonant in Chiyo-ni’s haiku. Basho’s theory of oneness with nature was that the poet should make a faithful or honest sketch of nature. In the Sanzohi (1702), Basho’s disciple, Doho, explains his teacher’s theory: “Learn about the pine from the pine and the bamboo from the bamboo–the poet should detach his mind from self . . . and enter into the object . . . so the poem forms itself when poet and object become one.” This experience is analogous to the Buddhist idea of satori, or enlightenment, what Kenneth Yasuda called the “haiku moment.” When writing haiku, Chiyo-ni immersed herself in nature, honestly observing what she saw …”

“Chiyo-ni’s style is pure, like white jade, without ornament, without carving, natural. Both her life and writing style are clear/pure. She lives simply, as if with a stone for a pillow, and spring water to brush her teeth. She is like a small pine, embodying a female style that is subtle, fresh, and beautiful. Chiyo-ni knows the Way, is in harmony with Nature. One can better know the universe, through each thing in the Phenomena, as in Chiyo-ni’s haiku, than through her books.”

                      Quote by Shoin

here are  the essential points of Basho’s haiku theory:

“Basho’s style of haiku was formulated by others over the years. His well-known fundamentals usually include: sabi (detached loneliness), wabi (poverty of spirit), hosomi (slenderness, sparseness), shiori (tenderness), sokkyo (spontaneity), makoto (sincerity), fuga (elegance), karumi (simplicity), kyakkan byosha (objectivity), and shiZen to hitotsu ni naru (oneness with nature).”

Written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Spiders please drop by and take a look at the full post!

Morning Haiku and Waka – April 12, 2015

cri-cri cri-cri*
April cricket at dawn!
just an alarm clock

among the song birds
April morning concert –
even a wren

listening to birds
in the early spring morn
chirruping madly
from Africa comes swallows
the wrens leave for the hills

winter passes
the wren migrates
into the mountains

dove vai ora
– addio freddo**

where will you go now
– goodbye cold)

© G.s.k. ‘15

*the Italian sound of the cricket pronounced cree-cree.

**In Italian words like cold, freeze, haze etc. are used as nouns as well as adjectives and pack a lot of meaning inside them.  In the haiku above saying addio freddo I saying: goodbye winter – goodbye cold weather etc.  The word ‘freddo’ covers all the instances of cold – in this case everything that has to do with the winter season, including the wren.

Linked to the Little Creatures feature of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

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 – Summer with Rice Blossoms – February 22, 2015

Today is a rainy dark grey cold day … really sad and gloomy, so I was very happy to see that today’s prompts at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai had to do with Summer hosted by Paloma and our Little Creatures Prompt with our beloved Issa who writes of “rice blossoms” 🙂

Sonce, 1905 by Rihard Jakopič

summer morning
washing down the mountains
a golden creek

dragonflies and bees
playing tag in the rice fields
at sunrise

cherries not blossoms
red on the trees hang sweetly
kissed by sunrise

over the sea of rice
dragonfly helicopters
flitting in the sun

summer sunrise
spilling over the mountains
golden waterfalls
and this old woman walks
like a child once again

summer sunrise
fireflies say their goodbyes
dragonflies greet us

© G.s.k. ‘15

And now for some lovely haiku by the masters:

it seems to wash
the summer mountains…

© Issa

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!

© Buson

rising sun
paints her shoulders golden –
summer morning –

golden morning
after a night of thunder –
how silent it is

© Paloma

And for Little creatures:

tombô mo ogamu te tsuki ya ine no hana

the dragonfly too
folds hands in prayer…
rice blossoms

© Kobayashi Issa

cherry blossoms bloom
first bees come to gather honey –
cherries in autumn

© Chèvrefeuille

cherry blossoms
bees gather honey
cherries in fall

© Chèvrefeuille

Have a great Sunday!!  Bastet