Haiku Riddle Technique – March 13, 2016

early morning walk
can these be visions of spring –
apricot blooms

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #935 Cicada

This episode of CDHK is dedicated to the technique of writing a riddle … or perhaps more precisely – koan.  I didn’t write a koan – but I did ask, why do we think of spring in haiku writing when the cherry blossoms bloom and rarely use any other fruit tree blossom?  Actually, I recently came across an article about spring kigo which stated that the Emperor during the Basho’s period changed the spring kigo from apricot to cherry blossoms, because he preferred them.  It seems that apricot blooms actually blossom before cherry blossoms.  Of course, there are many many kigo for spring, probably almond blossoms, apple blossoms and any blossom one can think of would make us think of spring.  🙂

My son told me yesterday that when I arrive in Padua next week-end I will be greeted by the blooming of the apricot tree in his garden.  Here too, though the snow has finally found its way onto the mountains in the past two weeks, the various fruit trees are beginning to bloom … something I’m off to photograph this morning!

Plum Blossom – Haiku – January 30, 2016

old plum-tree
flowering in the northern wind
snowflakes fall

the blackbird sings
among the blooming plum trees
cold winds blow

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #906 Ume-no-hana (ume flower)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Prunus mume is an Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. Itscommon names include Chinese plum[2][3][4] and Japanese apricot.[2] The flower is usually called plum blossom.[5] This distinct tree species is related to both the plum and apricot trees.[6] Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot.[7] The fruit of the tree is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking in juices, as a flavouring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine.

The tree’s flowering in late winter and early spring is highly regarded as a seasonal symbol.”

Snowflake – Haiku – January 26, 2016

for a moment
a crystal snowflake rests
on her woollen glove

children laugh and shout
catching snowflakes in their mouths
the taste of winter

in the wind – dancing
white dervishes fill the sky
whirling snowflakes

G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #904 Kazahana (snowflakes)

little straw mat–
the cat comes with a coat
of snowflakes

snowflakes flitting down–
a winter solstice

© Kobayashi Issa

cover the red roses
on a new grave

© Chèvrefeuille

falling gently
fragile beauty

© Chèvrefeuille

Petriolo – Haiku – January 25, 2016

just laying back
in this heart throbbing heat
Petriolo springs

under this cold moon
lying nude in the Tuscan hills
caressing hot springs

G.s.k. ‘16

The following are haiku I wrote in 2014 for the prompt “hot springs”:

under the hot springs
dashing to the cool river

summer moonshadows
nude in the hot springs
Tuscan hills

sulfur scented air
heart throbbing heat
hot springs

G.s.k. ‘14

Carpe Diem #903 hot springs

“In Basho’s time there were several wonderful hot springs which were frequently visited by the Japanese people and by Basho himself. One of the hot springs Basho visited was in Yamanaka. In his wonderful haibun “Oku no Hosomichi” Basho says the following about this well-known hot spring in Yamanaka:
“I enjoyed a bath in the hot spring whose marvelous properties had a reputation of being second to none, except the hot spring of Ariake.

at Yamanaka
it’s not necessary to pluck chrysanthemums
hot spring fragrance

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

yuno nagori kayoi wa hada no samukara n

tonight my skin
will miss the hot spring
it seems colder

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

But today’s  prompt is based on Jane Reichhold’s “A Dictionary of Haiku”, in which she gathered modern kigo for all  the seasons.

crystal waters
warmed with the scent
of earth

ancient earth
tiredness of my old body
in hot springs

from hot mineral baths
a bright lava flow

winter night
joining us in the bath
foggy stars

© Jane Reichhold

And Chèvrefeuille’s efforts with the kigo:

hot springs hidden
deep inside the holy mountain
giving new life

© Chèvrefeuille (April 2014)

hidden in the forest
I ran into a secret hot spring –
Ah! that sweet scent

falling in love
while enjoying the warm water –
secret hot spring 

© Chèvrefeuille

The Cold Moon – Waka – January 24, 2016


the cold moon
through the window panes
in crystal patterns

walking under the cold moon
slipping on ice

last persimmons
fall from the barren tree
under the cold moon

fond farewells
parting friends on Arco’s bridge
under the cold moon

© G.s.k. ‘16



Carpe Diem #902 Kangetsu (cold moon)

Today’s kigo is from the classical collection called  Saijiki, on the World Kigo Database, we are advised that kangetsu should not be mistakenly translated as “cold moonlight” which is something else but as “moon in the cold”, moon on a cold night.  Here are a few examples furnished by Chèvrefeuille for our inspiration:

kangetsu ya kaisandoo no ki no ma yori

this cold moon –
among the trees
of the founder’s hall

kangetsu ya kareki no naka no take sankan

this cold moon –
among the bare trees
three stalks of bamboo

kangetsu ya koishi no sawaru kutsu no soko

this cold moon –
the soles of my shoes
touch small pebbles

kangetsu ya matsu no ochiba no ishi o iru

this cold moon –
fallen needles of pines
shoot into stones

kangetsu ya mon o tatakeba kutsu no oto

this cold moon –
after knocking at the (temple) door
the sound of wooden clogs

kangetsu ya zoo ni yuki-au hashi no ue

this cold moon –
I meet a monk
on the bridge

© Yosa Buson

Here are Chèvrefeuille’s great contributions:

silent winter night
the full moon of January –

howling wolves

howling wolves
giving me the shivers –
praying for strength

 praying for strength
as I see the bright Wolf Moon –
silent winter night

© Chèvrefeuille

Fields – Haiku Haitaishi- January 22, 2016

windy afternoon
a lark caught in the current
o’er fields of grain

in a field of wheat
cicadas serenade
[a  farmer sleeps]

fresh turned soil
crows fly o’er the empty fields
searching out seeds

a field of snow
perfect white canvas
tales, yet untold

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #901 fields

Here are a few examples about this modern kigo by Jane herself:

a field of snow
fenced in by fields
of snow

the winter moon
diminishing into snowflakes
open fields

dark fences
encircling the snowy field
eyelashes blink

stitching together
now-covered fields
blackbird wings

© Jane Reichhold

And here is Chèvrefeuille’s lovely haiku:

virgin field
disgracing it would be a sin
the first bare step

© Chèvrefeuille

Blackbirds and Great Cold – Haiku – January 21, 2016


January morn
under the persimmon tree
blackbirds seek out seeds

© G.s.k. ‘16

Legend would have it that once upon a time the blackbirds were white.  One day a blackbird to cheat January, because it always treated the blackbird badly with bad weather, decided to hide all of his family until January was over, because in those days January was 28 days long thumbing his nose at January for avoiding the bad weather, and this infuriated January.  So he asked February to lend him three days
and then filled these days with a freezing blizzard causing the blackbird to have to save himself by hiding in a chimney causing him to become black from that time onward the blackbird has black feathers and is much more cautious as for January, he never bothered to give February back those three days.

in the great cold
blackbirds seek out their fortune
or seeds in the snow

© G.s.k. ‘16

 Carpe Diem #900 Daikan (Great cold) And happy 900th post to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai!

After the Snow Fall – Haiku – January 18, 2016

clear morning
new fallen snow in the park
begging sparrows cheep

© G.s.k. ‘16

Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on one’s point of view, it hasn’t snowed in Arco/Riva yet, so I can only rely on my memory for a clear sky after a snowfall.  But I’d like to thanks Chèvrefeuille for all the efforts he took to illustrate this episode!

Carpe Diem #898 Yukibare (clear sky between (after) snowfall)

after the snow
Mt. Fuji soars
into the clear skies    

© Shinya Ogata

yukibare no ushi no chibusa no man no toki

blue sky after snow
a time when milk cow’s breast
is full

© Shikyo Tomooka

yukibare ni nodumi no toudo nioikeri

fine after snow,
a smell of the kaolin* laid
in the open air

© Takako Yana

* Kaolin, also called china clay,  soft white clay that is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of china and porcelain and is widely used in the making of paper, rubber, paint, and many other products. Kaolin is named after the hill in China (Kao-ling) from which it was mined for centuries. Samples of kaolin were first sent to Europe by a French Jesuit missionary around 1700 as examples of the materials used by the Chinese in the manufacture of porcelain.

yukibare ya hashira o yameru hitobashira

after the snow
spending the day watching
the clear blue sky

Takano Mutsuo (1947 – ) (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

Mountain Snow – haiku – January 16, 2016

snow capped moutains

see the mountain
there’s a cold blanket of white
– freshly laid

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #897 snow viewing

iza saraba  yukimi ni korobu  tokoro made

well then,
let’s go snow-viewing
till we all fall down

© Matsuo Basho

uma sôna yuki ya fûwari fûwari to

looking delicious
the snow falling softly

yuki-guni no yuki iwau hi ya asagi-zora

a day to celebrate
snow country’s snow!
a pale blue sky

© Kobayashi Issa

going snow viewing
one by one the walkers vanish
whitely falling veils

© Katsura Nobuko