A Christmas Day in Djibouti – Day One Seven Days Before Christmas – December 19, 2015

Somehow, when it’s 42° C Christmas doesn’t feel quite right. We read the Christmas Carol to the kids and watched Christmas specials on French TV as we decorated the living-room with plastic holly and baubles trying to recreate that special atmosphere.

Packages from America had arrived far in advance and it had been difficult to hide them from the children, but we managed it!  On Christmas eve, me mounted the tiny tree putting the gifts under it on the dining room table and hung two beautifully decorated stockings on the window sill filled with candy canes and other goodies.

The next morning the kids were starry-eyed with awe.  Gift wrapping flew around the room as they ripped open their packages with laughter.  We had our traditional Christmas breakfast and I put a couple of chickens in the oven with dressing for our dinner which we would be sharing with our friends, a French couple with their children and a scholarly gentleman and his wife from Iran. My mincedfruit and pumpkin pies would be a great end to our meal.

There was a moment of silence in all the bustle and I heard that beautiful lilting chant that accompanied us throughout each day we lived in Djibouti.  The muezzin reciting the ahdan or call to prayer … Allah’u’akbar floated into the room. Suddenly it felt very much like Christmas to me as I remembered that He who was born that day, was born in a warm desert land, not in a snow drifted winter wonder land.

God is great
there is only one God
hasten to pray

© G.s.k. ‘15

 It’s probably not “politically correct” to remember that Islam derives from Judaism and Christianity.  Each of the great monotheisms has taken a different path and has its own bright and dark history.  The God of Abraham is also the God of Christ and the God of Mohammed.  I came across an article on CBS Minnesota .. the school choir master has included in the Holiday Concert repertoire a song about Ramadan to be performed in Arabic.  A brave symbol of pluralism in these trouble times.  My first Christmas wish for us is that we will be so brave as to embrace the spirit of peace and love which we profess.



Carpe Diem Seven Days Before Christmas 2015 #1 fresh snow

The Procession – Troiku – October 19, 2015


along narrow streets
held high the Madonna rides
as autumn leaves fall

along the narrow streets
old ladies twirl their rosaries
in a procession

upon her shrine
held high the Madonna rides
priest swings the censer

Madonna finally home
celebrators dance and feast
as autumn leaves fall

 © G.s.k. ‘15

Up and down Italy and in both the islands somewhere every day you can find a procession.  Each town has its own patron saint (or as in Bolognano, the Madonna is honoured – in the big cities each quarter has their own saint’s day) whose effigy is taken in procession through the streets on the saint’s day.  After the Mass and the procession everyone gets together to party in the streets.

As you can see in the video below (just one of hundreds you can probably find on YouTube if you write “processioni Italia”, I chose the 2014 procession of St. Anthony of Padua – though it is rather long, it has the advantage of showing you some of the city of Padua), times have changed and my troiku has little to do with many of these modern processions – though in some smaller towns you’ll still find the more traditional processions – now the processions are accompanied by bands and no one swings the censer nor twirl rosaries reciting endless rounds of the “Ave Maria”.

Carpe Diem #840 Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Morning Haiku and Waka – Joy – April 30, 2015


 among the flowers
a whirligig whistles
playing with the wind

joy in the rain
the warm sun shines in my mind
flights of fancy

an instant’s joy
the mountains green in springtime
the bird’s song at dawn

this rugged road
leads both ways to joy and sorrow
there  – a cuckoo calls
looking up as the rain falls
tears wash away with the rain

what is this joy
an inner song and vision
gone in a second
but the memory remains
delighting my sad moments

music plays
just sitting in a dark room
watching the notes fly

© G.s.k. ‘15

In the month we’ve been doing the reading and prompts from the Bhagavad Gita we’ve also been asking ourselves, are the world’s religions perhaps united among themselves … have they perhaps all grown from one source?  If one is a monotheist and sees the similarities in the Gita to their own religion, they might consider that even then, the Deity in His/Her unity, led His/Her people in their needs for their age giving them teachings they could understand. The atheist will think, that humanity has always loved to try to understand the origin and meaning of life and thus, created religion.  For me the roads to peace and unity are many but in the end, isn’t the goal one?  This is the answer that suits me.

in the here and now
rain falls and sun shines

Linked to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Joy

Realization of God – Morning Haiku and Waka – April 19, 2015

wind of time

wind of time

Today at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, we have a particularly difficult, for me, prompt.  We are to write about the ‘realization of god’. Our host today – Hamish – wrote a very interestingly profound post and I especially enjoyed this consideration:

“… The same can be said of haiku overtly declaring one’s faith. I have read many haiku showing, not declaring faith through wonderful imagery, and without stating the presence of a deity. That is the way to go. And sometimes, beautiful nature is enough…”

and here are some haiku examples from the same post, by haiku poets I’d never heard of, and so very interesting to me!


green many a trees
colourful, beautiful flowers
God’s own country

Risha Ahmed (12 yrs)

I will finish by two haiku originally in Malayalam, the language in Kerala, where all travellers should visit.In 2012, haiku poets who write in Malayalam, organised themselves into a forum called Haiku Association of India (HAI) and published a collection of Malayalam (and English) haiku, named “Kaikkudannayile Kadal” (”sea in the cupped palm”). The 2 haiku that appear here have been selected from this book:

choru pothinja
ila thorannappol
ammayude mannam

I open the leaf
that holds my meal
mother’s fragrance

Abhay Jayapalan

ellum poovum
oru urullachorum
achante ormakal

sesame seeds, flowers,
and a ball of rice,
memories of father

Manoj Attingal


now my efforts – 

wind on the sand
where once great mountains stood
once a bird flew high
fishermen lost their net
but the sun still shines at dawn

both crows and larks
brightly sing their song at dawn
this is creation
to each his own song
to each his own story

and Bastet ponders
the ways of the Universe
first seeds of life
like the infinite stars or sand
are found in a frog

© G.s.k. ‘15

This post is linked to: Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – God Realization and Walking With Sekhmet