Sunday, February 1, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Glass #19, Lightness

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit late with this new Time Glass episode in which the goal is to respond within 24 hours on a given picture and prompt. This month I have a central theme for our Haiku Kai, Impressionism, all our prompts are in some way connected to this kind of art and so this special feature Time Glass has also that theme.

Japanese Woodblock prints are wonderful impressions of nature and so I think this woodblock print of a Butterfly with Plum blossoms can be of great value for your inspiration.

And here is the prompt Lightness .....
The goal of this Time Glass feature is to respond within 24 hours. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 2nd at 8.00 PM (CET) So you have just 24 hours to respond. Good luck, have fun!

Carpe Diem Special #130, Fuyuko Tomita's "shadow"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to introduce our new featured haiku poet for this month. This month we will have all haiku written/composed by Fuyuko Tomita, a well known haiku poetess and a fellow Dutchman. You can find more about her in our prompt-list for February or on her website: I have emailed her for permission to use her haiku. I haven't had that permission yet, but I love to share this haiku by her with you all to inspire you.

Wa ga kage yo ano kado kara wa omae hitori

when I turn the corner
you will be alone

(c) Fuyuko Tomita

Fuyuko Tomita
I think this is a nice haiku and I like the scene which she paints with her words. Really a great haiku in my opinion.
The goal of this CD-Special is to write/compose an all new haiku inspired on the given haiku and in the same sense, tone and spirit as the given haiku.
Here is my attempt to write an all new haiku inspired on this beauty by Fuyuko Tomita:

lost in the evening
my shadow has left me alone -
night without moon

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope this haiku will inspire you to write an all new one. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 4th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Carpe Diem #660, Impressions

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I don't have the new prompt-list ready for this month, so my apologies for that. This month I love to go further on the idea of Impressionism as I described in our last "Haiku Writing Techniques" episode "surprise". This month I will try to challenge you with all wonderful images, photos and other things e.g. music and ask you to write a haiku ... an impression ... of the scenes which I share here. (As you can see I haven't a proper logo for this month ...)

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists. Their independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s, in spite of harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France. The name of the style derives from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satirical review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.
Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media that became known as impressionist music and impressionist literature.

And today I have a wonderful Impressionistic painting by Claude Monet, Haystacks (sunset), for your inspiration.
Claude Monet, Haystacks (Sunset)
I would say .... "go for it" ... try to write/compose a haiku and share your "impression" with us, be one with the painting, try to step into the shoes of the Impressionists ...

in the faint light
of the departing sun -
a sedge warbler sings

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 3rd at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, ?????, later on. PS. I hope to publish our new prompt-list this weekend

Friday, January 30, 2015

Carpe Diem #659, Servant's Day (Yabu-iri)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is our last episode of January and I haven't published our new prompt-list, because it isn't ready to publish. I hope to publish the new prompt-list tomorrow. It will be another nice month I think and to tell you a little bit more about our new month ... it's all about Impressions.

As I am preparing this new episode I realize that I had to do a "Time Machine" episode ... well that new "Time Machine" episode I migrate to February 7th, the first Saturday of the next month. Ok ... back to our classical kigo for New Year of today. Today our prompt is Servant's Day (Yabu-iri). 

Yabu-iri, literally "thicket-entering," is an obscure season marker in haiku for spring (or late New Year). On about the sixteenth of the first month, servants and apprentices were allowed to go home for a short visit. This would have meant that the holiday started  with the full moon. In Issa’s haiku:

yabu-iri no waza to kureshi ya kusa no tsuki

Ending the Servant’s Holiday
on purpose ...
sliver moon

© Issa

the final slip of moon means the holiday is over, which tells us it lasted less than two weeks (Lanoue, 1991-2009: moon,1803). There also was a second servants’ holiday on the sixteenth of the sixth or seventh month, but yabu-iri in haiku was codified as an early spring kigo (or late New Year kigo).

And here is a haiku composed by Buson on the same kigo:

yabu- iri ya  mamori- bukuro o  wasure kusa

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

© Buson

This is really a classical kigo, because I think this kind of custom will not be in use anymore, but maybe I am wrong ....

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

© Chèvrefeuille

Pff ... that wasn't easy to compose ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 2nd at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, ??????, later on.

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #71, Basho's "borrowing sleep"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize for the delay of this new Tan Renga Challenge. And second I have to apologize for something else ... I have asked several of you if I may use their haiku for our Tan Renga Challenge, but I have forgotten to write them down. So my apologies for that too. Would you please be so kind as I have asked you for permission to use your haiku to write that in the comment field of this episode.

For this episode of our Tan Renga Challenge I have chosen a haiku by Matsuo Basho, one of the big five classical haiku-poets. I think this haiku by Basho can inspire you in a lot of ways to write a second stanza to the Tan Renga as id the goal of this feature. That second stanza (two lines; 7-7) makes the Tan Renga complete or will continue the scene depicted in it.

borrowing sleep
from the scarecrow's sleeves
midnight frost

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

And here is my second stanza:

borrowing sleep
from the scarecrow's sleeves
midnight frost  

the abandoned little girl
left alone without grief         (Chèvrefeuille)

A very sad continuation, but in those times girls weren't always welcome in a family and in a lot of countries nowadays that's still reality ....
This continuation is inspired on a Dutch special week "The Week of the Forgotten Kids" which is now. Even in a country like The Netherlands there are abandoned children left alone on strange places. For example several months ago in one of the major cities a little child was found in a waste-bin.

This episode of our Tan Renga Challenge is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Friday at noon (CET).

Carpe Diem Extra 4-2015

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I will publish our new Tan Renga Challenge and our new regular post later on today, but I cannot guarantee that. I have some other things that need my attention. Sorry for the delay.


Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Carpe Diem Ask Jane #9, translating haiku

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all maybe know ... sometimes I try to translate haiku into another language than the original, but one way or another those translations are always not strong enough or the "painted" scene with its deeper meaning is lost. So I have asked Jane a question about translating haiku.


Dear Jane,

How are you? I hope you are well and that your health has become better. I have a question for you about "translating haiku".

I started writing/composing haiku in Dutch at the end of the eighties. Somewhere in 2005 I wrote my first haiku in English:

a lonely flower
my companion
for one night

A strong haiku I think with a very deep meaning, but as I tried to translate it to Dutch the essence which I caught in the English version I couldn't catch. The scene stayed the same, but the deeper layer I couldn't find ... I think this has to do with the deeper meaning of English words and the differences in that meaning in Dutch. 

Is it possible to translate haiku into another language than its original and catch that same feeling or deeper meaning?


I have read a lot of haiku since I discovered this wonderful poetry form. And for example I ran into several translations of Basho's famous "frogpond haiku":

furu ike ya  kawazu tobikomu  mizu no oto (1686)

an ancient pond
a frog jumps in
the splash of water

I don't know who the translator was, but I found another translation of this famous haiku:

A lonely pond in age-old stillness sleeps . . .
Apart, unstirred by sound or motion . . . till
Suddenly into it a lithe frog leaps

Translated by Curtis Hidden Page

These translations are so different, but the essence of the haiku is lost in that second haiku in my opinion of course. I once tried to translate it myself and I came up with the following:

old pond -
the sound of water resonates
as a frog jumps in

© Kristjaan Panneman (a.k.a. Chèvrefeuille)

Why is it so difficult to translate haiku? In my opinion I think this has to do with the Japanese language. It's very clear that Japanese works with sound units (onji), but the characters can mean a lot too.

In short:

Why is it so difficult to translate haiku from the one language to the other language without loosing the essence of the original?

I hope you can give us at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai some insight in translating haiku and how to catch the essence ...

Warm greetings,


Dear Kristjaan,

Well you have jumped into a can of worms with translations! I think the biggest mistake translators make is adding words that are not in the original  text in an attempt to convey the levels of meaning the original has for them. This suavely cripples that translation. Do you have a copy of my book, Basho's Complete Haiku? In the notes at the end I give word-for-word translations of all of Basho's hokku. There you can see the word 'resonance' is not in the original.
(I am sorry! I tried to copy your version from your letter and my d--- computer lost the copy!) But you did add the word that spoils the translation (IMO).
I truly feel that as a translator, word-for-word translations are the kindest way to handle the work. If one wants to say more or show layers one finds in a haiku, then do that in a discussion of the poem and not in the translation.

A Lonely Flower
In your

a lonely flower
my companion
for one night

I would question the use of "lonely"  - that is a human feeling you are giving to a thing. You may feel lonely when there is only one of you (do you?) but the flower is not alone if you are there!

a single flower
my companion
for one night


a single tulip
my companion
for one night

has more connotations. . . even some sexual with single / unmarried and tulip / two lipped!  I hope this helps!

\o/ Jane
Jane Reichhold


Thank you Jane for this wonderful and clear explanation of my question. Thank you for your kind words and a special thank you for you for the "re-write" of my haiku  as you have done. With the explanation you have given I think my "lonely flower" has become now "a single flower". 

Dear Haijin I think you all have ideas about translating haiku. Please respond in the comments field with your ideas about translating haiku. Maybe I can create a nice feature around translating haiku.


Chèvrefeuille, your host

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carpe Diem #658, First Dream (Hatsuyume)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

For every new year there are first things (following the ancient ideas of Japan) there is a first meal, a first calligraphy and there is, as is our prompt for today, a first dream or Hatsuyume. The first dream of the New Year was, as the ancient Japanese thought, a dream in which you could see what the new year would bring you. So the Japanese people were sometimes anxious to have their first dream of the new yera, because of the fortunetelling idea behind it.

Dreams are sometimes telling you the future, but they are sometimes just a kind of lesson to show you what you have to deal with or have to change. Sometimes dreams can be very lively, that kind of dreams are called lucid dreams. Lucid dreaming was the first thing which came in mind as I was preparing this episode so I love to tell you a little bit more about this phenomena which is called "lucid dreaming".

Credits: Dreams are natural
A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. In relation to this phenomenon, Greek philosopher Aristotle observed: "often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream". One of the earliest references to personal experiences with lucid dreaming was by Marie-Jean-Léon, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys.
The person most widely acknowledged as having coined the term is Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860–1932). In a lucid dream, the dreamer has greater chances to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be realistic and vivid. It is shown that there are higher amounts of beta-1 frequency band (13–19 Hz) brain wave activity experienced by lucid dreamers, hence there is an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes making lucid dreaming a conscious process.
Skeptics of the phenomenon suggest that it is not a state of sleep, but of brief wakefulness. Others point out that there is no way to prove the truth of lucid dreaming other than to ask the dreamer. Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, with participants performing pre-determined physical responses while experiencing a lucid dream.

Did I experience this? I don't know it for sure. The only thing I know is that I am not aware of my dreams and I never can tell about the dreams I had simply because I forget them. Is there another way of dreaming? For sure there will be another kind of dreaming. I once experienced what I call an "astral trip" and I love to tell you something about that experience.
As you all know I am a big fan of Basho and once I thought "I would love to meet him in life". Of course that isn't possible, but in that "astral trip" I really met him and I could have a conversation with him. It brought me more insight in his life, but he also learned me more about how to write haiku. I recall a haiku which I wrote that time ... a strong one and in tune with his teaching

Ah! that fragrance
delicate cherry blossoms
in the spring rain

© Chèvrefeuille 

In this one really can feel the influence of Basho, my haiku master, and I am so proud that he is my haiku master.
Cherry Blossoms (woodblock) (couldn't retrieve the credits)

Was the above mentioned experience an "astral trip" or was it a kind of "lucid dream". I don't know, but it was an awesome experience.

Back to our prompt for today. Hatsuyume is the Japanese word for the first dream had in the new year. Traditionally, the contents of the dream would foretell the luck of the dreamer in the ensuing year. In Japan, the night of December 31 was often passed without sleeping, thus the hatsuyume was often the dream seen the night of January 1. This explains why January 2 (the day after the night of the "first dream") is known as Hatsuyume in the traditional Japanese calendar.
It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. This belief has been in place since the early Edo period but there are various theories regarding the origins as to why this particular combination was considered to be auspicious.
One theory suggests that this combination is lucky because Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain, the hawk is a clever and strong bird, and the word for eggplant (nasu or nasubi) suggests achieving something great (nasu). Another theory suggests that this combination arose because Mount Fuji, falconry, and early eggplants were favorites of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Although this superstition is well known in Japan, often memorized in the form Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (1. Fuji, 2. Hawk, 3. Eggplant), the continuation of the list is not as well known. The continuation is as follows: Yon-Sen, Go-Tabako, Roku-Zatō (4. Fan, 5. Tobacco, 6. Blind Musician). The origins of this trio are less well known and it is unclear whether they were added after the original three or whether the list of six originated at the same time.

I found a nice haiku written by my haiku master, Basho at the age of 34, which I love to share here with you:

Fuji no yuki Rosei ga yume o tsukasetari

snow on Mount Fuji -
Rosei creates the world
in his dream

© Basho (age 34)

He compares the fresh white snow of mount Fuji to the mountain of silver which the young Rosei saw in his dream.

Mount Fuji
And I found a nice one composed by Issa in which the positive first dream is scattered:

nanno sono jô hatsu yume mo naku karasu

you've wrecked
my year's first dream!
cawing crow

© Issa

Well .... a lot to think about ... dream your dream with Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and share your "first dreams" with us all. Here is my haiku inspired on this prompt:

fly like an eagle
as free as a bird in the sky
living my dream

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 1st at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, Servant's Day (Yabuiri), later on. For now, have fun!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Carpe Diem #657, Zooni

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

January is almost over and I am already busy with creating our new promptlist for February and I think February will (again) be an awesome month. As I told you in earlier posts the classical kigo for New Year (the classic fifth season) are sometimes a little bit strange and today our prompt is also a little bit strange. Today we have Zooni for prompt and there isn't really a good description for this classical kigo for New Year, but I have found an explanation of this kigo.

Zooni is a kind of mixed vegetable soup for the new year and is eaten on January first in the morning, usually after the first shrine visit and prepared with .. the first well water (wakamizu) of the year drawn at the double-hour of the tiger (tora no koku, from four to six in the morning) . This water was supposed to bring health and wellbeing to the people who drink it. It is also renown for bringing back youth to the people ("young water" waka mizu).

Zooni (picture taken from a Japanese website)

The water is drawn only by chosen "men of the year" (toshi otoko, but referring either to the "man of the house" or to men who are born in the animal sign of the coming year) which are thought of as having special heavenly power with them. This ceremony is the very first male activity of the New Year. Women had to stay away from the well. Is some parts of Shikoku island, however, it is the lady of the house who fetches the first water.
From simple farmers to temple priest to tea ceremony masters, all took this custom very seriously. The well where this water was drawn is usually decorated with New Year decorations.
In Western Japan, it is the custom to add a lot of yellowtail (buri) to the broth of vegetables. People greet each other on the first of January: What did you eat in your zooni? After that, no hot food was eaten until January 4, to give the housewife and the kitchen and hearth deities a short holiday.

I have found a nice haiku written by Issa with this kigo in it:

waga io ya ganjitsu mo kuru zooni uri

to my hut too
New Year's arrives...
the zooni vendor

© Issa (1817)

Note: In Japan it’s not usual to work three or four days around New Year, but the Zooni-vendors are busy like bees on those days.

Maybe you have a special kind of food around New Year. And that can be a nice item for your haiku inspired on Zooni.

fetching water
for my first ever home made soup -
New Year's Eve

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong haiku ... but I felt that I had to write/compose one.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 31st at noon (CET). I will (try to) post our next episode, First Dream (Hatsuyume), later on. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Carpe Diem's "Haiku Writing Techniques" #4, Surprise

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

autumn wind
trying to keep myself
under my hat

© John Stevenson

Why do I start this episode of our Haiku Writing Techniques with this haiku? I will try to explain that, but I don't know if I will succeed in that goal.
Maybe this episode had to be our first Haiku Writing Techniques episode, because this week it's all about one of the basic writing techniques of haiku, the surprise, that one moment as long as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. That moment we have to catch in three lines, three lines which have to tell the whole story of that one moment, that surprise. That one moment is the essence of haiku. It's an impression caught in three lines and (mostly) seventeen syllables.

Picture this (sorry The Golden Girls are here again :-) ): A walk through the forest on a summer day. Birds are praising their Creator with their fragile voices. A warm breeze caresses the leaves, bringing them to a higher level of consciousness. Their rustling makes you relaxed and one with nature. Far away sounds of traffic making your experience even better. Then you walk onto a bright sunny spot in the heart of the forest, a plain spot of grass mixed with all kinds of colorful (field) flowers and there in the middle of that spot, you find a crystal clear pool with the most beautiful colored water-lilies. As you walk closer to the crystal clear pool you see a pair of deer. "Wow", you think. "What a surprise". 

This episode is about "surprise" and that's what I felt as I read the haiku above. The surprise of "trying to keep myself under my hat" instead of "I lose my head" for example.
Ok ... back to our little story. What is the surprise? Is it that crystal clear pool, the blooming water-lilies, the song of the birds or is it that pair of deer?
I think that every one of us will have another surprisingly beautiful experience, but how to catch it? Haiku is not just a "snapshot", it has to be a sketch of the experience, an impression of the experience. The haiku is more a kind of resonance of the experience.

Credits: Claude Monet, Impression, soliel levant

As I discovered haiku in the late eighties I read "the bible" of haiku in The Netherlands "Haiku, a young moon" by J. van Tooren. In that book the author compares haiku with Impressionism. (Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists. Their independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s, in spite of harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France. The name of the style derives from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satirical review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.)

Our task for this CD Haiku Writing Techniques is to catch the "surprise" in the little story I told, try to sketch the impression, be the painter (with words) of the scene. Not an easy task I think, but I am looking forward to all of your wonderful haiku, all of the impressions ....

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 30th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Zooni, later on. For now ... have fun!