Carpe Diem Special – Mandarin Duck by Buson – July 14

For today’s Carpe Diem Special a haiku by Yosa Buson:

mandarin duck –
rain falls silently
from an oak

© Yosa Buson (1716-1783)


Mallards on Lake Mattis – Champagne, Illinois

mallard ducks –
splashing water drops
in the grass

Gsk ’16

Narrowing The Focus – Haiku Writing Techniques – March 10, 2016

wet grass

wet grass

in the courtyard
under the persimmon tree
rain drops on grass

in Padua
the winter gardens glisten
icy rain drops

© G.s.k. ‘16


Carpe Diem #934 Onions

“a morning of snow
only the onions in the garden
blaze the trail

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold

This Haiku Writing Technique is called Narrowing The Focus and  was often  used by Yosa Buson (1716-1784)) because, he as an artist, a painter, was a very visual person. Basho and earlier poets were completely comfortable in using this haiku writing technique.
The above poem starts basically with a wide-angle lens on the world in the 1st line, then switches to a normal lens for the 2nd line and zooms in for a close up in the end. The technique sounds simple, and when done well it’s very effective in bringing the reader’s attention down to one basic element or fact of the haiku.

Other examples by Basho:

old village
not a house without
a persimmon tree

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

a grassy plain
the moon is a young sprout
from Pine Island seed

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)”

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

Snowdrop – Haiku Writing Techniques – December 30, 2015


in winter’s midst
standing on the empty pier
a snowdrop

long winter day
passes in a flash of light

© G.s.k. ‘15

This post is dedicated to my friend Elena of Elena ed Orlando

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #25 The Technique of Narrowing Focus

ake yasuki yo wo iso ni yoru kurage kana

the short night ending–
close to the water’s edge
a jellyfish

© Yosa Buson

amenohiya madakini kurete nemuno hana

A rainy day
Quickly falls the night–
Silk-tree blossoms

© Yosa Buson

the whole sky
in a wide field of flowers
one tulip

© Jane Reichhold

in the moonlight
Wisteria flowers look fragile –
a gust of wind

© Chèvrefeuille

Knight in White Satin – Haiku – September 25, 2015


 winter dreams
embracing her satin knight
the snow falls

© G.s.k. ’15

linked to Carpe Diem My Favorite Haiku By … #4 Buson’s sleep with “daki kago”

daki kago ya hitoyo fushimi no sasame goto

sleep with “daki kago”!
as with a one-night harlot at Fushimi
exchanging lovers’ talks.

© Yosa Buson

sleeping alone
the spring breeze
comforts me

© Chèvrefeuille

What is a daki kago: Daki kago = is a body pillow woven from thin strips of bamboo. It was used to sleep away the heat of summer night in the Edo period (1603-1868).  We in the west have the bolster … not for keeping cool but as a sleeping aid for pregnant women or for people who have back problems – the French use them under their normal pillows – I suppose as a neck support (which I find very uncomfortable).

Why the video? Nights in White Satin, one of my favourite pieces by Moody Blues came to mind when I wrote my haiku so I decided to link it here … I’ve been told that those nights in white satin, if I’m not mistaken were letters – but I’m not sure.

But what is my favourite haiku today … because that should have been what I was writing about … but I got distracted so go to the next post …

Buson’s “I came to the cherry blossoms” – April 5, 2015


the canal is closed
wind-blown cherry blossoms – fall
under leaden skies

I warned  the stragglers
“go back the canal is blocked”
I and they were one

© G.s.k. 15

Yesterday, although it was cold and cloudy we went to visit the Islands around Venice. We kept running into a group of kayakers, in Burano …  they went up a canal blocked by a low bridge and had to try to turn back in this crowded canal!

This is a beautiful haiku by Buson for our inspiration at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’s Sparkling Stars where we were to write a “classical haiku” in a similar vein:

hana ni kite hana ni ineburu itoma kana

I came to the cherry blossoms;
I slept beneath them;
this was my leisure

© Yosa Buson

1. 5-7-5 syllables
2. a kigo (in this particular haiku) cherry blossom (a spring kigo)
3. a kireji (a cutting word, in Western languages mostly interpunction)
4. interchangeable first and third line
5. if possible, a deeper spiritual meaning

Little Creatures – Violets – March, 7, 2015

tiny violets
in soon passing forget me no –
cold winter mornings


sweet violets
ah – forget me not
in winter

© G.s.k. ‘15

In Italy violets are more often than not called “non ti scordar di me” or “forget me not” (as I think they may be called in English as well) and are a symbol of remembrance and specifically remembered love …  when they begin to bloom in early spring, because they grow so close to the ground, they are called “love grass (erba d’amore)”.  In the Victorian era, in the “language of flowers” the violet was associated with fidelity and true eternal love and it is said that this was one of the reasons that many were scandalized when in  D.H. Lawrence’s book (Lady Chatterley’s Lover)  he writes about an erotic exchange of violets between Lady Chatterley and her lover.

If you’ve got the patience to read a translation of an Italian page … this page is very interesting and it’s the source of the information I’ve related to you above, but there’s much, much more – like for example that The violet is the flower dedicated to “International Missing Children’s Day” (May 25th). (Non Ti Scordar Di Me).

tiny May flower
for all the world’s lost children
forget me not

© G.s.k. ‘15

 – The photograph I borrowed comes from a delightful blog all about violets that you called: Violet Dreams at Whispering Earth )   🙂

Here is some lovely violet haiku from various haiku masters:

yamaji kite naniyara yukashi sumire-gusa

coming along the mountain path,
there is something touching
about these violets

© Basho (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

suwaritaru fune wo agareba sumire kana

getting off the boat
that had grounded, –
the violets!

© Buson (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

Basho’s verse is extended and “explained” by Gyodai:

sumire tsumeba chiisaki haru no kokoro kana

picking a violet, –
the slender
heart of spring!

© Gyodai

tsumu mo ashi tsumanu mo ashiki sumire kana

to pluck it is a pity,
to leave it is a pity,
Ah, this violet!

© Naojo

fragile and a beauty,
the purple leaves like velvet,
cherished in the rain

© Chèvrefeuille

fragile beauty,
these purple leaves like velvet,
cherished in the rain

© Chèvrefeuille

(Chèvrefeuille added this note to his last haiku … By the way … I think you have noticed it. In these two haiku by myself I have used punctuation and that’s new for my haiku … I never use punctuation, because without punctuation the reader, you, can decide the tone by yourself. With punctuation I take your freedom of mind away … and that’s certainly not my way of being a haiku poet.

The above haiku can be found along with the whole original (and interesting) post at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Morning Haiku and Waka – Summer with Rice Blossoms – February 22, 2015

Today is a rainy dark grey cold day … really sad and gloomy, so I was very happy to see that today’s prompts at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai had to do with Summer hosted by Paloma and our Little Creatures Prompt with our beloved Issa who writes of “rice blossoms” 🙂

Sonce, 1905 by Rihard Jakopič

summer morning
washing down the mountains
a golden creek

dragonflies and bees
playing tag in the rice fields
at sunrise

cherries not blossoms
red on the trees hang sweetly
kissed by sunrise

over the sea of rice
dragonfly helicopters
flitting in the sun

summer sunrise
spilling over the mountains
golden waterfalls
and this old woman walks
like a child once again

summer sunrise
fireflies say their goodbyes
dragonflies greet us

© G.s.k. ‘15

And now for some lovely haiku by the masters:

it seems to wash
the summer mountains…

© Issa

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!

© Buson

rising sun
paints her shoulders golden –
summer morning –

golden morning
after a night of thunder –
how silent it is

© Paloma

And for Little creatures:

tombô mo ogamu te tsuki ya ine no hana

the dragonfly too
folds hands in prayer…
rice blossoms

© Kobayashi Issa

cherry blossoms bloom
first bees come to gather honey –
cherries in autumn

© Chèvrefeuille

cherry blossoms
bees gather honey
cherries in fall

© Chèvrefeuille

Have a great Sunday!!  Bastet


Morning Haiku and Waka – January 31, 2015

enjoying a quiet supper

enjoying a quiet supper

near the thickets
the servant dreams of home
first spring blossoms

holidays over
the servant’s time to rest
in Sluderno

the apprentice
leaves his master’s house
winter holiday


guest finally leaves
lady of the house sits back
well-earned holiday


Modern Woman in Italy – Choka

she’s no servant
she cleans and shops and cooks
without a holiday
she goes to her daily job
returns home
then she cleans and irons
bathes the children
as her husband relaxes
watching the news

she’s no servant
she’s a modern housewife
she now works outside the home
without shirking her duties

© G.s.k. ‘15

Liberally inspired by Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’s Daily prompt – Servant’s Day.

yabu-iri no waza to kureshi ya kusa no tsuki

Ending the Servant’s Holiday
on purpose …
sliver moon

© Issa

yabu- iri ya mamori- bukuro o wasure kusa

Apprentice’s holiday:
a good-luck amulet
forgotten in the grass

© Buson

farewell cherry blossoms,
the servants have abandoned me,
will you bloom again?

© Chèvrefeuille

Morning Haiku and Waka – January 11, 2015

spring rains
slugging along the sidewalks
mud snails

in the dusk
mud snails crawl into the road
broken shells

in the garden
the cat jumps, bats and runs
hunting mud snails

farmer’s delight
mud snails and frog’s legs
in spring time


When I first came to Italy, way back in 1970, we stayed with my first husband’s Aunt in Liguria for a short time.  Liguria was once a part of France and one of the things that remained with them is the love of escargot, or snails.  After a particularly heavy rain, some friends of Aunt Chicca brought a plate of snails for me that they’d gathered from the fields.  I couldn’t refuse to eat at least one, as it would have been bad manners, so I pulled the mayonnaise covered beast from his shell popped him into my mouth washing it down with a glass of white wine. My opinion is that snails should be left to live in the fields … they’re totally disgusting as food.

unwelcome gift
escargot in mayonnaise
for a visitor

© G.s.k. ‘15


Here are some inspiring haiku about mud snails:

hiroinokosu tanishi ni tsuki no yûbe kana

a few remain uncaught
under the evening moon

© Yosa Buson

sode yogosuran tanishi no ama no hima o nami

with dirty sleeves
farmers-turned-fishermen pick up mud snails
ever so busy

© Matsuo Basho

nuritate no aze wo yurideru tanishi kana

the mud-snail
in the newly-made rice-field bank,
joggles its way out

© Jûjô

nisanjaku hôte tanishi no higurekeri

the mud-snail
crawls two or three feet, –
and the day is over

© Gomei

and a lovely series by our host Chèvrefeuille:

watching a snail
in the light of the full moon
just a silver trail

just a silver trail
points me to the right place
mountain monastery

mountain monastery
finally becoming one
I bow to my master

I bow to my master
Matsuo Basho told me the way
to watch a snail

© Chèvrefeuille

Carpe Diem haiku Kai