The Narrow Road (13) – Choka – December 20, 2015


in the willow world
praying, they sway, their tears fall
walking a narrow road
outcasts these orchids must go
travelling alone
drifting on the ancient sea
of rain and clouds
renewing their lifeless vows
with the setting sun
these wilted flowers are cast-off
at dawn with moon-set
as white froth beats on the shore

lonely travellers
go on as all travellers go
seeking redemption
in the warmth of the Saviour
follow then the middle road

© G.s.k. ‘15

* Wu-Wei – in Taoism (which Zen incorporates) this is cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly aligned with the flow of life. It is also often translated as “the middle road” by some.

Carpe Diem #883 journey through the rough north of Honshu: a rough sea; in one house

Exhausted by the labor of crossing many dangerous places by the sea with such horrible names as Children-desert-parents or Parents-desert-children, Dog-denying or Horse-repelling, I went to bed early when I reached the barrier-gate of Ichiburi. The voices of two young women whispering in the next room, however, came creeping into my ears. They were talking to an elderly man, and I gathered from their whispers that they were concubines from Niigata in the province of Echigo, and that the old man, having accompanied them on their way to the IseShrine, was going home the next day with their messages to their relatives and friends.

I sympathized with them, for as they said themselves among their whispers, their life was such that they had to drift along even as the white froth of waters that beat on the shore, and having been forced to find a new companion each night, they had to renew their pledge of love at every turn, thus proving each time the fatal sinfulness of their nature. I listened to their whispers till fatigue lulled me to sleep. When, on the following morning, I stepped into the road, I met these women again. They approached me and said with some tears in their eyes, ‘We are forlorn travelers, complete strangers on this road. Will you be kind enough at least to let us follow you? If you are a priest as your black robe tells us, have mercy on us and help us to learn the great love of our Savior.’ ‘I am greatly touched by your words,’ I said in reply after a moment’s thought, ‘but we have so many places to stop at on the way that we cannot help you. Go as other travelers go. If you have trust in the Savior, you will never lack His divine protection.’ As I stepped away from them, however, my heart was filled with persisting pity.

in the same house
prostitutes, too, slept:
bush clover and moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

Walking the Narrow Path (raindrops and snails) – Chained Haiku – December 3, 2015


empty shell

beside the path
under these raindrops
a snail-less shell

narrow country road
raindrops mark the hours
of an autumn morn

seeking wisdom
ancient masters teach the way
raindrops and snail shells

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem #871 The Narrow Road continues: for a while; a summer mountain; even woodpeckers – an interesting post … again offered are two haibun from Basho’s The Narrow Road and a lovely series of haiku to inspire those who write haiku:

for a while
secluded behind the waterfall
summer retreat begins

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

a summer mountain
I pray to the wooden clogs
at departure

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

even woodpeckers
do not damage this hut
a summer grove

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

the sound of water
soothing – like meditating
behind the waterfall

searching wisdom
I pray to Mother Earth
before leaving

summer mountains
I bow for high wooden clogs –
Nightingale’s song

on a journey
seeking for ancient knowledge
deep inside myself

© Chèvrefeuille

A Ripe Strawberry – Haibun – November 18, 2015

four seasons_small framed

Walking along the blossoming fields in a spring dawn, enjoying the singing forests of the masts in the port in summer, a carpet of coloured leaves on green in autumn and the stark beauty of sleeping trees and snow in winter, which season is my favourite?

Each has its beauty and each its detractor;  the clammy rains of spring, the sweltering heat of summer, the melancholy feeling of the end in autumn, the bone chilling cold of winter.  Which do I dislike the most?

Like the man hanging from a branch over a fatal fall with a tiger waiting above to eat him enjoys the beauty of a strawberry … so do I.

the passing seasons
each moment of life precious
a ripe strawberry

© G.s.k. ‘15

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille November 18th … Spring is Coming

A Single Tree – Haiku – November 11, 2015

a single tree

a single tree
alone on the mountain stands
misty sunset

© G.s.k. ‘15

This is an attempt to use the “yugen” haiku writing technique … for more information on the technique click HERE.  An example which I enjoyed very much was written by Chèvrefeuille:

from a treetop
emptiness dropped down
in a cicada shell
the soothing sound of spring rain
makes the silence stronger  

© Chèvrefeuille

Haiku Horizons: Forget – Haiku – November 5, 2015

autumn tree perspective _bw

forget rain and storms
here’s a moment of sunshine
November morning

the cicada sings
forget that winter has come
just listen

morning sunrise
shadows play in the park
among red leaves
forget dirges and laments
the day has just begun

© G.s.k. ‘15

Just a Note – November 2, 2015

Hello …

I would like to thank everyone for being close to me and my family in these difficult days.

We held my husband Luciano’s commemoration ceremony Saturday morning and then invited the participants over to the house so that they could toast him, celebrate his life and see his art work.  It was a by-invitation only commemoration.    He didn’t like funerals and always said he’d prefer not to have a funeral at all … but we felt a commemoration ceremony accompanied by Erik Satie’s music giving his family and friends the chance to say goodbye was an acceptable compromise.  We’re sure he would have enjoyed the at-home exhibition.

Life and death walk hand in hand with us on this earth. We often try to ignore death, thinking that it will just go away … but death is always with us and it would be better to make it our friend rather than our enemy. Death is a counsellor, a constant reminder that our days on earth are numbered and we don’t know when they will end.  Realizing this, we should also realize that so many things that we think are important are in fact just so much dust with all the weight and importance of chaff. Life is a one step at a time affair, our goal is to be doing what we’re doing here and now.

“…it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop–and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.

You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.

That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.

And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. what’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important, too… (28-29)”
― Michael Ende, Momo

 “Whatever the world dishes up, we take it on–not on our own terms, but on the world’s.”
― Steve Hagen

  “Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.
Oogway: Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”
― Kung Fu Panda  😉

@)->—> —-

a single morning
the sun rises over the mountains
a bird sings out
walk in this here and now
without was or will be – peace

© G.s.k. ‘15

OctPoWriMo 21(The Sea) – Free Quatrain – October 21, 2015

flotsam and jetsam

Echoing voices in the wind –
Rumbling waves call unto me …
In sombre black unhappiness,
Between yesterday and tomorrow.

“Come to me – I will keep you safe”
The sea speaks in her persuasive tones
“In me you may forget the past –
In me avoid your lost tomorrows.”

Walking down this sandy beach –
Broken shells and empty bottles
Lay in the sand forlorn … forgotten –
Flotsam thrown-up by the sea.

“Oh mighty mother you speak to me,
Of safety in your loving arms
But this flotsam that you’ve left behind
Sings to me another rhyme.”

Echoing voices in the wind –
Rumbling waves call unto me …
Yes,  I think I’ll stay yet for a while,
Between yesterday and tomorrow.

© G.s.k. ‘15

This is a scheduled post, since today I’m in Padua for my son’s graduation. Thanks for reading this post.  Georgia (Bastet)