Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Carpe Diem #1182 drop of rain

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Here it is the last regular episode of CDHK's exploration of Persian poetry "praise to the emptiness" in which we explored wonderful poems by three very renown Persian poets, Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi. In this last episode I have a nice poem by Saadi for you, maybe it's not a poem more a kind of parable (as Jesus Christ for example told), but I think it's a nice way to conclude this beautiful spiritual month full of poems ...

Well ... I will again make it myself easy and give you only the poem without my thoughts on it. Just enjoy the read and become inspired.

The Pearl and the Ocean

A drop of rain trickled from a cloud into the ocean. When it beheld the breadth of its waters it was utterly confounded:

"What a place is this Sea, and what am I? If it is existent, verily I am non-existent."

Whilst it was thus regarding itself with the eye of contempt, an oyster received and cherished it in its bosom.

Fortune preferred it to a place of honor; for it became a renowned royal Pearl.

Because it was humble, it found exaltation: it knocked at the door of Nonentity that it might arise into Being.

© Saadi (c. 1213-1291) (From The Bustan; translated by Samuel Robinson)

I hope you all did like this month of CDHK in its new "environment". As I look back on this month I know that you did like it and I also know that the way I have "re-done" CDHK has become awesome. I like my weekends off and that gave me more peace, a better health and for sure more energy.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 3rd at noon (CET). I will publish our "weekend meditation", a new Namasté episode, later on. For now ... have fun!

PS. I hope to publish our new promptlist before the weekend.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Carpe Diem #1181 broken heart

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another day in haiku and tanka paradise ... Today I have a beautiful poem by Hafiz, the most loved poet of Persia. Every Persian (Iranian), old and young, can at least recite one poem written by him. Hafiz is renown all around the world and that makes him the most important and renown Persian poet ever.

I hvae chosen to make it myself easy today. So I will give you only the poem by Hafiz and than you can go ... create your own haiku or tanka inspired on the poem by Hafiz, or maybe a ghazal or Sijo.

This poem is titled: I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again and is extracted from: Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved in a translation by Thomas Rain Crowe.

Broken Heart
And here is the poem by Hafiz to inspire you:

I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
It's not my fault that with a broken heart, I've gone this way.

In front of a mirror they have put me like a parrot,
And behind the mirror the Teacher tells me what to say.

Whether I am perceived as a thorn or a rose, it's
The Gardener who has fed and nourished me day to day.

O friends, don't blame me for this broken heart;
Inside me there is a great jewel and it's to the Jeweler's shop I go.

Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,
Don't judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away.

All that laughing and weeping of lovers must be coming from some other place;
Here, all night I sing with my winecup and then moan for You all day.

If someone were to ask Hafiz, "Why do you spend all your time sitting in
The Winehouse door?," to this man I would say, "From there, standing,
I can see both the Path and the Way.

© Hafiz (Tr. Thomas Rain Crowe)

And this is my attempt to create a tanka based on this poem:

broken in the bud
trembled love
you left me alone
and broke my heart

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 2nd at noon (CET). I will publish our new episode, drop of rain, later on. For now .... have fun!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Carpe Diem #1180 departure

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Recently I read a wonderful weblog on spiritual growth and I hope that is a little bit the task of CDHK too. Maybe you are familiar with the idea of spiritual growth and if not .... well no problem at all. We are now living in what is called "the time of Aquarius" this is the time in which (according to astrology) humankind is ascending to another state of spiritual life. This is the time of spiritual growth. As we look around us than we can see that in so many things. For example we can see this in nature, global warming, makes us aware that we have to do something, we have to care for nature. Without nature we as humans cannot live. We need nature, not just for our food, but also for our spiritual health and physical health. Nature ... the major theme for us as haiku and tanka poets. We are the keepers of nature or as I stated earlier this month we are the keepers of Earth. We need her ...

This month I choose for the beauty of Persian poetry and themed this month "praise to the emptiness" and I think that theme was in almost all the poems we have read this month.  What is "emptiness"? Well it's one of the pillars of Zen Buddhism and for haiku (and tanka). Every haiku (or tanka) needs that emptiness, not only in its words, but also in its lay-out. In one of my first haiku anthologies I published (back in 1998) I had only one haiku a page ... That emptiness places the haiku at the most important spot ... in the center.

Today I have a wonderful poem by Rumi. This poem titled "departure" is extracted from 'Persian Poems', an Anthology of verse translations edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman's Library, 1972 and translated by R.A. Nicholson. As I read this poem I saw dervishes swirl and maybe that makes this poem that awesome. Dervishes swirl, a Sufi way of meditating, to make contact with the Higher Power, with God or Allah or what ever name you will give it.

As I wrote earlier in this post emptiness is very important, but of course there is also need for a nice post to read I think, so I didn't choose for a lay-out with emptiness, but maybe you can use that idea of emptiness in the lay out for your response.


Up, O ye lovers, and away! 'Tis time to leave the world for aye.
Hark, loud and clear from heaven the form of parting calls-let none delay!
The cameleer hat risen amain, made ready all the camel-train,
And quittance now desires to gain: why sleep ye, travellers, I pray?
Behind us and before there swells the din of parting and of bells;
To shoreless space each moment sails a disembodied spirit away.
From yonder starry lights, and through those curtain-awnings darkly blue,
Mysterious figures float in view, all strange and secret things display.
From this orb, wheeling round its pole, a wondrous slumber o'er thee stole:
O weary life that weighest naught, O sleep that on my soul dost weigh!
O heart, toward they heart's love wend, and O friend, fly toward the Friend,
Be wakeful, watchman, to the end: drowse seemingly no watchman may.

© Rumi (Tr. R. A. Nicholson)

What can this poem mean? Reading it and re-reading it It brings me the idea of leaving this world, or in other words ... death. Is this what is meant here? I think it is, but maybe it is also a way of telling that you have to leave your common path and take another route ... or even more in other words ... it is time for changing your path ... to grow spiritual.

Departure (Image found on Pinterest)

Here at CDHK we have had "departure" earlier as prompt. As I was preparing this post I ran into the history of CDHK and found a few nice posts about "departure".

farewell verse
as I depart from the train station -
forget me not

© Chèvrefeuille 

Or what do you think of this haiku by Basho which he wrote at the beginning of "Narrow Road", his most famous haibun?

the passing spring
birds mourn, fishes weep
with tearful eyes

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Or this one by myself which I wrote (and published) earlier this month:

reborn again
leaving all behind
first spring day

© Chèvrefeuille

Departure ... is something we see very often in our daily life, not only real departure, but also spiritual departure (as it is meant in the poem by Rumi). Departure is part of our lives. Its included in our life.

autumn departure (Japan)

Maybe this tanka fits the poem by Rumi more than I first thought, so let's give it a try as a response on this poem by Rumi:

autumn departs
in deep silence willow leaves fall -
tears on this grave
as the willow is green again
another year has gone

© Chèvrefeuille

Departure ... it's part of our life ... 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 1st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, broken heart, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carpe Diem #1179 Arise

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

The weekend is almost gone and as I am publishing this new episode the submissions also start for our "weekend meditation". I must admit that I am grateful that I have chosen to be free in the weekends. It gives me time to relax and the opportunity to do the private things I need. For example: visiting relatives or just sit back and read that novel that I started to read but never brought to its end. So these weekends off are a blessing.

This month we are exploring the beauty of Persian poetry and today I have a well known poetess for you. Her name is Tahirih and she was a Baha' i believer. Her being Baha'i was the reason that she was executed, because she had left Islam and became Baha'i. After her death her poetry became almost holy for the Baha'i. Let me tell you a little bit more about her.

Tahirih (photo found on Pinterest)
Táhirih ("The Pure One"), also called Qurratu l-ʿAyn ("Solace/Consolation of the Eyes") are both titles of Fatimah Baraghani (1814 or 1817 – August 16–27, 1852), an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion. The daughter of Muhammad Salih Baraghani, she was born into one of the most prominent Azeri families of her time. Táhirih led a radical interpretation that, though it split the Babi community, wedded messianism with Bábism.

As a young girl she was educated privately by her father and showed herself a proficient writer. Whilst in her teens she married the son of her uncle, with whom she had a difficult marriage. In the early 1840s she became familiar with the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and began a secret correspondence with his successor Kazim Rashti. Táhirih travelled to the Shi'i holy city of Karbala to meet Kazim Rashti, but he died a number of days before her arrival. In 1844 aged about 27, she became acquainted with the teachings of the Báb and accepted his religious claims. She soon won renown and infamy for her zealous teachings of his faith and "fearless devotion". Subsequently exiled back to Iran, Táhirih taught her faith at almost every opportunity. The Persian clergy grew resentful of her and endeavoured to have her imprisoned and stopped. She battled with her family throughout her life who wanted her to return to the traditional beliefs of her family.

Táhirih was probably best remembered for unveiling herself in an assemblage of men during the Conference of Badasht. The unveiling caused a great deal of controversy and the Báb named her "the Pure One" to show his support for her. She was soon arrested and placed under house arrest in Tehran. A few years later in mid-1852 she was executed in secret on account of her Bábí faith. Since her death Bábí and Bahá’í literature venerated her to the level of martyr, being described as "the first woman suffrage martyr". As a prominent Bábí (she was the seventeenth disciple or "Letter of the Living" of the Báb) she is highly regarded by Bahá'ís and Azalis and often mentioned in Bahá'í literature as an example of courage in the struggle for women's rights. Her date of birth is uncertain as birth records were destroyed at her execution.

Shrine of the Bab in Haifa
The poem I have chosen is in my opinion one of her best.


O slumbering one, the beloved has arrived, arise!
Brush off the dust of sleep and self, arise!
Behold the good will has arrived,
Come not before him with tears, arise!
The mender of concerns has come to you,
O heavy-hearted one, arise!
O one afflicted by separation,
Behold the good tidings of the beloved’s union, arise!
O you withered by autumn,
Now spring has come, arise!
Behold the New Year brings a fresh life,
O withered corps of yesteryear, up from your tomb, arise!

© Tahirih (Tr. Farzaneh Milani)

Well ... I think I didn't say to much ... a real beauty. It inspired me to create the following poem:

the darkness has gone
cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, daffodils
awake and praise the Creator

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you liked this post and of course I hope it will inspire you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form. 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, departure, later on. For now ... have fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Carpe Diem Universal Jane #13 Sijo the Korean poem

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new weekend meditation this week I love to introduce through the work of Jane Reichhold the beauty of Sijo, the Korean poem. I found a wonderful article on Jane and Werner Reichhold's website AHA Poetry which I love to share here with you. As you all know I am still a big fan of Jane Reichhold and still miss her every day. That's the reason why I have created this special feature for CDHK. Jane has done a lot for us and for me. So in honor of this great poetess, the queen of haiku and tanka, and as it turns out also a big creator of Sijo.


The spring breeze melted snow on the hills then quickly disappeared.
I wish I could borrow it briefly to blow over my hair
And melt away the aging frost forming now about my ears.

© U T'ak (1262-1342, author of this oldest surviving sijo)

More ancient than haiku, the Korean SIJO shares a common ancestry with haiku, tanka and similar Japanese genres. All evolved from more ancient Chinese patterns.

Sijo is traditionally composed in three lines of 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle; it resembles a caesura but is not based on metrics.

My body, in its withering, may become a lovely swallow.
Under the eaves of my loved one's home I'll build my nest of twigs.
After dusk I'll fly aloft and glide gently to his side.

© Anonymous

Mind, I have a question for you - How is it you stay so young?
As the years pile up on my body, you too should grow old.
Oh, if I followed your lead, Mind, I would be run out of town.

© Anonymous

Each half-line contains 6-9 syllables; the last half of the final line is often shorter than the rest, but should contain no fewer than 5.

A drum beats in the far temple; I think it's in the clouds.
Is it above the meadow and hill, perhaps below the sky?
Something sends a veil of mist, I cannot heed the drum.

© Anonymous

Oh that I might capture the essence of this deep midwinter night
And fold it softly into the waft of a spring-moon quilt
Then fondly uncoil it the night my beloved returns.

© Hwang Chin-i (1522-1565) most revered female Korean classical poet

The sijo may be narrative or thematic, introducing a situation or problem in line 1, development or "turn" in line 2, and resolution in line 3. The first half of the final line employs a "twist": a surprise of meaning, sound, tone or other device. The sijo is often more lyrical, subjective and personal than haiku, and the final line can take a profound, witty, humorous or proverbial turn. Like haiku, sijo has a strong basis in nature, but, unlike that genre, it frequently employs metaphors, symbols, puns, allusions and similar word play.

You ask how many friends I have? Water and stone, bamboo and pine.
The moon rising over the eastern hill is a joyful comrade.
Besides these five companions, what other pleasure should I ask?

© Yon Son-do (1587-1671)

Printing restrictions often cause Western sijo to be divided at the natural break and printed in 6 lines. Some translators and poets have adopted this technique, so modern sijo may appear in either 3 or 6 lines;

Under our oak the grass withers,
so we plant petunias;
We water them, we coddle them,
burn their youth with chemicals.
Digesting their timely death,
the oak renews our summer shade.

Because it was meant to be sung, and because of the nature Hangul (the Korean script), the structure of sijo often resembles biblical phrases. In English, it may resemble Hopkins' sprung rhythm. To achieve this phrasal quality, each long line, once divided, is divided again, into quarters averaging 3 - 5 syllables, as indicated by the slashes:

Without the pines / the wind is silent;
without wind / the pines are still;
Without you / my heart is voiceless,
without that voice / my heart is dead.
What potent power / of yang and yin
pairs us / before we sleep?

Though quarter lines are seldom divided so obviously, a discernible (even if slight) pause is usually evident. Sijo may be highly repetitive. Phrases may be repeated or echoed, a trait revealing the sijo's heritage to be sung or chanted. Meter is not vital, but that musical link should not be overlooked.

The 6-line form was preferred by William Kim (Unsong) in his translation of 100 classical sijo (Poet, An International Monthly, March, 1986). Kim experimentally employed end rhyme and broke the verse into three separate couplets, two conventions not usually used by other translators. Take care in using such devices. They can result in a poem that looks, sounds and acts so Western that it obscures its unique heritage. I have written both 3-line and 6-line patterns, but usually prefer the former when format allows. Poets are always free to make choices, but Elizabeth St Jacques, a leader in the sijo movement, offers good advice: never lose sight of the three characteristics that make sijo unique: basic structure, musical/rhythmic elements, and the twist.

Let me ask you, butterfly, do you remember your cocoon?
Perhaps you recall spinning thread, a caterpillar's ungainly crawl?
If we can jog your memory, maybe there is hope for me.

© Jane Reichhold

Well this is a wonderful kind of poetry and I hope I have inspired you to try it yourself. Here is an attempt I once made to create Sijo:

Cherry trees blossoming for the very first time
spreading their branches, reaching for the sun
thunderstorms raging, fragile blossoms scattered

© Chèvrefeuille

As you all know this "weekend-meditation" is open for your submissions next Sunday, March 26th at 7.00 PM (CET) and will be open until March 31st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new post, arise, around 7.00 PM (CET) next Sunday Match 26th.

Have fun!