Rain – Haiku Writing Techniques – March 9, 2016

rain rooftops

last rains of winter
raindrops tip-tap on the roof
and on window panes

grey winter days
looking at the rain fall
cold wet memories

students and workers
riding through the town on bikes
under cold rainfall


watching the rain fall
counting the days until spring
discarding winter
and yet the mountains are white
with late snowfall

endless rainfall
smell of mould and cabbages
waft through the air
greeting the weary visitors
in the ancient farm-house

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #933 Rain

First a look at Shiki:

You’ll often read that haiku shouldn’t  be describing a scene – one is to look for that “a-ha!” quality that will have our reader touch upon a sort of surprised moment creating a sensation of some inner meaning.  However, in modern haiku, Masoaoka Shiki  felt that haiku had become trite, dusty and “contrived” with all its artificial rules and puns accumulated  from the old renga schools.   Shiki, like other Meiji Period writers truly enjoyed the realism of Western literature, and this is evident in his approach and recommended composition form based on Shasei (“realistic observation of nature”) or sketch from life which he interjected into his prose writing, haiku and tanka  as his principal style.

A lightning flash:
between the forest trees
I have seen water.

But this month we walk with Basho … so here is a quote from today’s episode at CDHK:

“In the way of Basho:

a rainy day
the autumn world
of a border town

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold

In this haiku Basho uses the so-called “sketch” or “shasei” technique. Though this technique is often given Shiki’s term “shasei” or “shajitsu” it’s not really a technique which is invented by Shiki. This technique has been in use since the beginning of poetry in Asia. The poetic principle is “to depict the thing just as it is”. There are some inspirations for haiku that are best said as simply as possible. Shiki wrote his haiku almost all with this “shasei”, but Shiki realized himself in 1893 that the overuse of this technique could produce many lackluster haiku, so it should never be the only method employed in a haiku.

early autumn
the sea and rice fields
one green

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold

(There are many more examples of Basho’s poetry on today’s post so click the link)

The Great Buddha – Haiku – January 22, 2016

new fallen snow
whitens the head
of the Great Buddha

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Special #193 Revise That Haiku … a trip along memory lane

Daibutsu no katahada no yuki toki ni keri

the snow has melted
on one shoulder
of the Great Buddha

© Shiki


As you all (maybe) know in this special feature the goal was to revise the given haiku and write/compose a new one. Not an easy task and it needs some courage to revise a haiku by one of the greatest five haiku-poets ever (Basho, Chiyo-Ni, Buson, Issa and Shiki), but … well it challenges you to look in a different way to the classical haiku.


Sparkling Stars – Writing with Shiki – January 17, 2015


kaerimireba yuki-aishi hito kasumi keri

when I looked back,
the man who passed
was lost in the mist

© Masaoka Shiki

“The goal is to write an all new classical haiku (following the rules of the classics, you can find those rules in Carpe Diem Lecture 1 in the menu) inspired on the one given.”

in the misty morning
the old woman wabbles past
a lonely echo

foggy evening
their muffled conversations
bodiless come near

where I once was
walking in a hazy mist
a road now lost

© G.s.k. 15

Visit Carpe Diem Haiku Kai for the full prompt

v. wob·bled, wob·bling, wob·bles also wab·bled or wab·bling or wab·bles I know I should use the proper most used spelling of words … depending on wherever I am of course .. in this case, I didn’t really intend to choose the odd spelling … my editor tells me when I’ve misspelled a word and tells me before I post what the eventual words are.  Remember, I’m the one who at a certain point in my life was convinced that of should be spelt (spelled) “ov”.  Wabbles passed the W.P. test … so I went to look it up later and found that wabbles is an alternative spelling, who knew!

Haiku – Shiki (1) – July 6, 2014

LOGO CD JULY 2014 (2)

If today we know the 5 – 7 – 5 syllable katauta, which was usually a part of a tanka or a hokku for a renga as a stand alone poem known  as haiku, we can thank Shiki and his ‘Haiku Reform’.

Masaoka Shiki’s biography is fascinating and rather sad too.  He was born in 1867 and died at the age of only 35 in 1902 of tuberculosis of the spine.  He began writing poetry when he was very young and he had a natural talent for drawing.  He found the two to have something in common and the discipline for observation that drawing required helped his creation of haiku in his portraits. But here is a link to a fascinating biography dedicated to Shiki in order to understand the poet better. I’d also invite you to visit Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’s prompt for today … Chèvrefeuille has created a great post about Shiki.

Here’s the introduction to today’s haiku:

Shiki was the haiku-poet which brought haiku into the 20th century. He had been there in the 19th century when steam engines (trains) started to come into the life of humans. He wrote a few nice haiku on this ”wonder”.

the wild geese take flight

low along the railroad tracks
in the moonlit night

© Masaoka Shiki


And there is another haiku in the same vain:

smoke whirls

after the passage of a train –
young foliage


© Masaoka Shiki


train tracksgreen shrubbery
during the train trip
soon left behind

from the train window
the world whizzes by

© G.s.k. ’14