Festoons of Flowers – Haibun – December 20, 2015

New York City Umbrella Scene

Waiting for the bus in a sea of umbrellas can be an interesting experience.  The streets become as colourful as a Christmas scene festooned with multi-coloured decorations.  Some people always carry an umbrella with them, so they’re the small telescopic variety, maybe made of bright plastic or a duller clothe-like material.  Some came out after the rain began to fall and have an umbrella that covers not only their head and shoulders, but maybe three or more phantasmagorical persons.

Imagine Rome on a rainy day where I used to work.  Romans, and indeed most Italians, aren’t used to the disciplined queuing up so common in an Anglo-Saxon world.  They see the bus coming and jostle their would be fellow passengers trying to be the first on the bus when it pulls up.

The people who would descend from the bus, can’t, until finally someone gives way, overcoming the impasse.  People begin to step off of the bus, with their umbrellas before them, which pop open like flowers on a documentary run at high-speed. Then finally the new passengers mount the bus walking like crabs, a sort of sideways back-step, their umbrellas behind them, so they won’t get wet.  I often wondered if all of this wasn’t some mysterious metaphor of Italian life.

festoons of flowers
blooming on a rainy day
catching a bus

© G.s.k. ‘15

This haibun was written for: Haibun Monday – 4 which appeared on dVerse presented by Mary, who also furnished the photo used in the post unfortunately for me, I’m very late writing and posting this … but I thought the prompt was lovely so participated anyway in the comments. To all of you who read this post, I’d really encourage you to click the link where you’ll find many more haibun and of course the prompt!  Ciao, Bastet.



Commuting – Tanka/Haiga – September 20, 2015


snow flakes
swirl outside commuter’s trains
in Val Padana
glazed abandoned crane nests
decorate whitening fields

© G.s.k. ‘15

For many years when I lived in Albano Laziale (Italy) which is in the Colli Albani just south of Rome, I used to commute to work every day.  My train left at 7:15 in the morning and of course it was dark when I left home and my return train pulled in at 6:35 in the evening.  The only time I would see Albano in day light was during the weekends.  Here in Italy there are millions of people who maybe because of school or work are forced to go to the city every day.  I did enjoy those daily trips though.  It was a time to read or write or maybe get to know one of your fellow commuters. I also travelled often in the winter when I lived in Mantova … which is in the Val Padana.  One of the most interesting sights are the huge abandoned nests one often sees along the railway tracks.

dark dawn and dust
at home it’s always dark
winter commuting

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Special #167 Autumn “first snow”

Fountain (Funsui) … Trevi Fountain – July 13, 2015

Trevi Fountain by night

Trevi Fountain by night

Trevi fountain
remembering Anitona
bathing at midnight

lights and water
in a midnight serenade
Roman plaza

Roman vacation
click click clicking day and night
tourists in buses

alone in the fountain
splashing in the hot night
two lovers

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Fountain

Morning Haiku and Waka – February 14, 2015

Tulips field by Vincent Van Gogh (?)

dreaming of Holland
miles of tulips and canals
Vincent Van Gogh

colourful bells
lined up in sunny fields
tulip farm

 happy bees buzzing
in and out of coloured bells
silent music

© G.s.k. ‘15

Writing about Tulips for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

This week we also have a lovely renga based on the poppy … the hokku in the form of a wonderful haiga was written by Suzanne of Art and Life


red poppies at Troy
– the blood of the fallen
bright on the grass

© Suzanne

echos of long lost battles
Helen and Cassandra lost

Troy’s refugees
sailed for far off Sicily
Rome’s ancestors

© G.s.k. ‘15

Virgil in his famous Aeneid tells of the founding of Rome … the link will take you to a site which has lots of material on the subject!

Tan Renga Challenge #73 – Carpe Diem Haiku Kai


For Tale Weavers – August 11, 2014

Foro RomanoThe Forum Cat

There it is … the sparrow.  It’s landed not far from where I am, the silly creature.  Slowly I get into position. Each paw moving ever so cautiously. I’ve got my eye fixed on the bird and my breath is silent.  I pounce … darn it got away.

To catch a bird, of course, means you must be particularly cautious when you move.  My mother was always a great huntress.  I remember when we were little, she’d leave us with Aunt Selma and go off for a few hours.  When she came back we always feasted on her prey.  Sometimes it might have been a rat at others a bird.  She and Aunt Selma took turns hunting and when we were old enough they taught us all we know.

Of course, we don’t always have to hunt. Here in our colony, in a place I’ve heard humans call the Roman Forum, there are the lovely ladies that bring us food and sometimes milk.  They’re called “cat women” though of course they have nothing of us in their veins.

I spy a rat lurking among the stones.  I crouch in position.  Moving very slowly keeping my eye on the creature, my tail shivers of its own accord, then I pounce.  Got it!  I’m finished hunting for the day, it’s time I return to our lair where the little ones are awaiting their dinner.


To find the prompt go to Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

Haibun – The Fountain of Trevi

Fountains in Rome … there are over 2000! Once upon a time people went to get their drinking water from one of these fountains, other larger fountains were used to wash clothes as well as for other domestic purposes but some were and are celebratory monuments.

The Fountain of Trevi is fairly recent renovation of an already existing monumental Roman fountain which marked the terminal point of three aqueducts.  But anyone who’s ever visited Rome won’t be surprised by that.  Many churches, monuments and plazas have been standing since the time of Rome only to have been “renovated”,  their use converted from their former purpose by later generations of potentates, usually a Pope.  In this case, Pope Urbano VIII (1629)  felt the fountain wasn’t dramatic enough and commissioned Bernini to present plans for the renovation of the fountain.  He died though before the project was completed and the project was taken up again only a century later by another Pope (1730 Pope Clement XII)  and architect (Nicola Salvi) who kept some of Bernini’s ideas in his own project.

When I first saw the Fountain of Trevi  I was a little surprised and disconcerted.  I’d seen it in a clip from a film many years before, Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita”.  There Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroiani play in the fountain one summer evening.  I’d gotten the impression that it must be in a large piazza … I mean look at that fountain!  But no, this isn’t the case.  It’s a very small plaza, completely dominated by the fountain which is surrounded by buildings on three sides, a street circling it separates it from the surrounding buildings.

The Fountain is totally out of proportion to the size of the plaza giving me a feeling of being closed in. Of course a photographer would have a hard time capturing the reality of the plaza … unless like Anita, he took his picture from inside the fountain itself!

overpowering …
majestic grandeur
in a shoe box

Written for Ligo Haibun – Bridge or Fountain


Roma – Free Verse May 25, 2014

Oh how I long,
To walk along the Tiber at dawn
Nostalgic and passionate,
Castel Sant’Angelo would beckon:
“Cross the bridge … come!”
A carriage awaits near the Spanish Steps
For a romantic evening ride,
Or I’d splash in the Trevi Fountain
At midnight …
Your call is like a siren’s song:
“Come … I miss you, and you me …”
Sighing I dream,
Of  walking down your streets,
Though I love my mountains dearly,
Seeing you would make my heart soar.
From the first hills of Sette Bagni
To Termini my heart would begin to sing:
“Here my love, I am again!”
Eternal city
My first love,

Italy…under water…again!

Italy…under water…again!

once again the rain has fallen
and once again the country succumbs

each year a new region
is drowned under the floods
and yet we’re surprised:
’cause the area changes.

disaster is always just ’round the bend
just a question of when the big rains begin

as parliamentarians fight to stay in their seats
the people sit and shout at the TV watching the deadbeats
politics has become another circensus
to distract us from the real problems that’re all around us

I look at the news from ’round the world
of war and famine and useless debate
prejudice and racism and national hate
I look at the world covered in water and snow
and ask myself where do we think we will go…
with all the talk, talk, talk
the useless chat
of pushing the blame to this group or that

though the rainfall was copious
that isn’t the problem
unlike in some places
here the issue’s neglect
rivers overgrown in trash and debris
buildings and roads encroaching the beds
greed and corruption
and procrastination
the land of…



Flood Lists 2013

River Floods in Italy

There is nothing new about floods in Italy.  It has to do with the terrain and how the cities have been built over the centuries…here in Trentino not so many years ago, we had the same problem…then around 25 years or so after one of the worst river disasters of the Region, something was decided to be done…and the Provincial Government began to clean up the rivers and free up the river beds.  Dams etc were also created to dole out the water.  It took quite a few years and a lot of money. A maintenance program, which is one of those things that usually gets forgotten when such projects are finally undertaken in Italy, was also created and most importantly, followed.  But there is something to be said here…Trentino and Alto Adige is an autonomous region.  When we too will be under central government rule, we might also have problems of getting the job done.  Hard telling. The other Autonomous Regions for the most part have not had the same success.

“Autonomous regions with special statute

Autonomous regions with special statute

Article 116 of the Italian Constitution grants to five regions (namely Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia) home rule, acknowledging their powers in relation to legislation, administration and finance. In return they have to finance the health-care system, the school system and most public infrastructures by themselves. (This is accomplished by a substantial tax return from the central government, which is being whittled down because of the present “economic crisis” g.s.k.)

These regions became autonomous in order to take into account cultural differences and protect linguistic minorities. Moreover the government wanted to prevent their secession from Italy after the Second World War.[6]

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol constitutes a special case. The region is nearly powerless, and the powers granted by the region’s statute are mostly exercised by the two autonomous provinces within the region, Trentino and South Tyrol. In this case, the regional institution plays a coordinating role.”  Wikipedia