Winter Fantasia – Shadorma, Tanka and Haiku – January 2, 2016

cypress trees_sunset_small

wondrous pink magic …
five giants
watch the sun
sink into lake Garda – ah
cherry blossom skies

the sunset
bidding us goodbye
blushes pink
we enjoyed
this last day before the snowfall
in the olive groves

this morning
crows caw in the fog
harsh and loud
brash calls
they navigate with echos
like old black foghorns


even as I write
the fog shrouds Arco’s valley
the sky whispers – snow
inviting is the fireplace
and my mug of hot green tea

winter’s arrival
with each new snowflake
a fantasia

© G.s.k. ‘16

B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond – Shadorma – January 2, 2016

The Shadorma is a poetic form consisting of a six-line stanza (or sestet). The form is alleged to have originated in Spain. Each stanza has a syllable count of three syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line, three syllables in the third and fourth lines, seven syllables in the fifth line, and five syllables in the sixth line (3/5/3/3/7/5) for a total of 26 syllables. A poem may consist of one stanza, or an unlimited number of stanzas (a series of shadorma).

Shadows on the Wall – Haiku – December 17, 2015


flickering candles
shadows dancing on the wall
winter memories

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #23 finding the divine in the common

the one thing
that lights my world
a rice gourd

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

incense unrolls

© Jane Reichhold

the liquid sunset
touches the sea
I touch the sea, too

scent of falling leaves
– sense of fading dreams
suddenly, a ladybug!

© Hamish Gunn (a.k.a. Pirate)

a single tulip
my companion
for one night

© Chèvrefeuille (2005)

Morning Haiku and Waka – Winter Approaches – December 6, 2015

Christmas 2010_2

in the morning light
frost sparkles on the roof-tops
winter silence

a barking dog
sound drifting on the chilled wind
this frosted morn

frozen autumn leaves
there is a different sound
walking in the park

Christmas lights
line the streets and homes
carols on the wind
speak of good kings and shepherds
smell the chestnuts roasting

© G.s.k. ‘15

Someone recently asked me what I meant by “waka”.  Waka, historically was the word used to distinguish the classical poetry written in Japanese in place of kanshi or Classical Chinese.  It was swiftly extended to all Japanese poetry … later it was used more and more often to designate the tanka … which was a hokku with a two-line ending of 7-7 syllables (and also the five line ending of a choka).

I use it to mean any of the many classical poetic forms, now mostly forgotten, such as the choka, sedoka, katauta (etc.) and of course tanka – but I also think of kyoka and senryu as waka, though the Japanese do not consider these last two as proper poetry forms at all being considered spurious haiku or tanka as well as vulgar or too mundane.

Winter Fog – Choka – August 12, 2015

Basilica of San Antonio - Padua

Basilica of San Antonio – Padua

In Val Padana
out walking in cold winter
from the bogs arise
the misty fogs of evening
there, not far away,
mournful, a lonesome dog cries
in sad bitterness
the passing of summer life
and warm nights  –  now gone …
clinging cloying cold wet fog
falls in Padua
I, walk alone in the fog
in muffled silence –
swishing by a car passes
then in renewed calm
a caress of sodden hands
a cold emptiness
and yet that peaceful quiet
seems to me a balm

(envoy or hanka)

ah –  the winter fog
meditation comes with ease
in misty land clouds
the “here and now” stands close by
a step from eternity

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for: Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #56 Choka (or Nagauta), Japanese “long poem”

I was looking for a little quick history of the chronological appearances of the various poetic forms in Japanese … and I came across this lovely site: A Crash Course in Japanese Poetry  I won’t say it’s the most comprehensive or even the most academic … but it certainly is very fun and fundamental accurate.

In the beginning there was waka:, which was borrowed from the Chinese by Japanese writers as was katauta, one of the most popular forms was the choka , often sung and about epic subjects,  sedoka, tanka and an oddity called the bussokusekika – a tanka with 3 7 onji finishing lines,  which are called waka.

Only later poetry was called kanshi because it was written in Japanaese (with kanji) by Japanese… (the only one I haven’t tried is the bussokusekika)  😉

Juxtaposition – Cicadas and Snow – July 6, 2015

snow lamp

July afternoon
cicadas sing in the trees
I dream of snow
upon a mountain road
white patched trees and lamplight

summer heat
inviting thoughts of winter
as cicadas sing

This photograph was used yesterday for Silent Sunday … yesterday the thermometer hit 32° C. and for the first time this summer the cicadas began to sing.  Looking through my archives, I came across this photograph, with a lovely lamp-post in the snow.

cicada song burst
a hot summer afternoon
visions of snow

© G.s.k. ‘15

Please follow the LINK for the full episode of Carpe Diem Time Glass #34, “juxtaposition”.  Below are Chèvrefeuille’s example of juxtaposition illustrated in his great haiku and tanka:

at the nude beach
the heat is overwhelming –
longing for the coolness
high up in the mountains
perpetual snow

© Chèvrefeuille

perpetual snow
reflects the sunlight –
I dream of a nude beach

© Chèvrefeuille