Thursday, January 24, 2013

Carpe Diem #104, Silk

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another Carpe Diem day is on, today we share haiku on 'silk'. Silk is an expensive fabric, because there is a lot silk needed for creating for example 'silk blankets'. Silk is a 100% natural fabric produced by the silkworm.


Silk was a trading article along the so called 'Silk Route'. The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network.
The German terms "Seidenstraße" and "Seidenstraßen"- 'the Silk Road(s)' or 'Silk Route(s)' were coined by Ferdinand von Richthofen, who made seven expeditions to China from 1868 to 1872. Some scholars prefer the term "Silk Routes" because the road included an extensive network of routes, though few were more than rough caravan tracks.

The Silk Route, the red one over land and the blue one over sea.

The Silk Road or Silk Route is a modern term referring to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa. Extending 4,000 miles (6,500 km), the Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade along it, which began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BC by the Han dynasty, largely through the missions and explorations of Zhang Qian, but earlier trade routes across the continents already existed.
Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, India, Persia, Europe and Arabia. Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other goods were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies, as well as the bubonic plague (the "Black Death"), also traveled along the Silk Routes.
The main traders during Antiquity were the Indian and Bactrian traders, then from the 5th to the 8th century the Sogdian traders, then afterward the Arab and Persian traders. 

I found a wonderful haiku written by Issa with silkworms:

uchinaka ni kigen toraruru kaiko kana

the whole house
pays them court -

It is said that the families with silkworms in their attics were very careful of the silkworms' moods. They were careful not to make loud noises, display discord, etc. because they needed the silkworms to spin uninterrupted (a cocoon is made of one long strand of silk. If a silkworm stops spinning, it may not have enough silk left to make another cocoon)

And another haiku also by Issa about silkworms:

tamadana ya hata-hata mushi no cha wo tateru

ancestors' altar -
for gnawing silkworms, too
a tea offering

The ancestors' altar (tama-dana) is an altar for the spirits of the dead used during the O-Bon Festival. The O-Bon Festival of the Dead takes place in the Eighth Month in the old lunar calendar. At this time, people light lanterns to guide their ancestors' spirits back home.  

Credits: O-Bon Festival

Isn't it a wonderful haiku that last one? Even the silkworms are honored during the O-Bon Festival.

When I was searching for another haiku on silk I ran into a haiku written by Buson. In that haiku he uses the 'Silk tree'. I didn't know that kind of tree, so I sought for a photo and I found one. As I look at that picture ... I am in awe ... what a wonderful tree.

Credits: Silk-Tree

This was the haiku which I found:

amenohiya madakini kurete nemuno hana

a rainy day
quickly falls the night -
silk tree blossoms

Albizia commonly called "silk plant", "silk tree" or "sirise". Peculiarly, the obsolete form of spelling the generic name - with double 'z' - has stuck, so that another commonly used term is "albizzias" (though the form "albizias" is also found, particularly in species that are not widely known under a common name). The generic name refers to the Italian nobleman Filippo degli Albizzi, who in the mid-18th century introduced the plants to Europe.
They are usually small trees or shrubs with a short lifespan - though the famous Samán del Guère near Maracay in Venezuela is a huge Albizia saman specimen and several hundred years old. The leaves are pinnately or bipinnately compound. Their small flowers are in bundles, with stamens much longer than the petals. The stamens are usually showy, although in some species such as A. canescens the flowers are inconspicuous. 

Credits: Silk Tree Blossom

Awesome, just awesome ... I am on a role with this prompt, but it's a wonderful prompt and I hope to see wonderful haiku on 'silk'.
Have fun, be inspired, be creative and share your haiku with Carpe Diem.

These haiku are my contribution for your inspiration:

arousing my senses
the sweet coolness of silk blankets
shared with my love

silk tree blossoms
in a soothing summer rain
trembling in silence

trembling in silence
silk tree blossoms, so fragile,
in a summer breeze

This prompt will stay on 'till January 26th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will publish our new prompt 'eyes' later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).

By the way do you have prompt suggestions? Please share them in the 'prompt suggestion' section. And I have already published our new prompt list for February.


  1. The idea of silk blossoms in summer rain is so beautiful! I too have never heard of a silk tree! The flower looks a little like a mini version of the Australian bottlebrush!

  2. What an amazing page - really of a master. Wonderful explanation about silk, some haiku that are...exactly right.
    Thanks very much, really appreciated!

  3. Wonderful prompt, and your first haiku is so full of romantic :-)

  4. Fantastic post ~ so wonderfully informative and love your well penned haiku ~

    (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

  5. You stimulate the senses with your silken words. Thank you :)

  6. So much romance in your first one! Make me want to retire the winter flannel sheets!!

  7. I love the topic "silk"...I learned so much in the post that I was fascinated by...not upsetting the silk worms, the beautiful silk tree,
    so much to think about.
    The yard of blue silk I bought in the sixties has a fonder meaning now.☺

  8. When I check this link out to be sure it went to the went to the next one...
    the post for silk is there and I don't know how to correct it. Sorry.

  9. I love mimosa. Beautifully written