Monthly Archives: March 2016

under the jujube tree

Carpe Diem Special #204 Shida Yaba’s “morning frost”

In this episode of haiku writing technique , our host Kristjaan explains about Karumi .
with reference to Shida Yaba (1662 – 1740)
Yaba was 79 when he died. He was born in Echizen, Fukui. His name was Shida Yaba and his nickname Yasuke or Hanjiro.
Yaba was first mentioned in 1687.His style was that of karumi (lightness.) He also used the name of Chobokusha or Choshi. He studied haiku first with Kikaku, later with Basho himself.

Remembering Basho , Yaba wrote

asajimo ya shi no sune omou yuki no kure

morning frost –
I think of the shins of my master
on a night with snow

© Yaba

Yaba wrote the following haiku when he heard the news of Basho’s death

chikara na ya hiza o kakaete fuyugomori
no strenght left –

I wrap my arms around my knees
in winter solitude

© Yaba

It’s known that Yaba and Basho had a very warm and close contact. There is a letter from Basho to Yaba, written during his trip “Oku no Hosomichi”, which was found in 1997.

Basho wrote :

. uguisu ya mochi ni fun suru en no saki .
Ah! the uguisu
Pooped on the rice-cakes
On the verandah.

© Basho (Tr. Peipei-Qiu)

Bashô’s verse breaks drastically with the convention and discovers poetry in the natural and the low. The master’s new poetic ideal in this poem had a deep impact on his disciples, as Yaba wrote:

“I am utterly impressed by the exceptionally wonderful combination of the warbler and the rice cake. I don’t think one can find any other verse like this. The effect cannot be achieved without the words “excreting on a rice cake.” The juxtaposition is so magically marvellous that it can only be compared to the masterpiece of the Natural. There may be more combinations like the warbler and rice cake later, but we will never see a line like “excreting on a rice cake.” In these words lies the soul of the poem.” (source : Basho-and-the-Dao – Peipei-Qiu )

From my point of view , writing a haiku is an easy task if one tries , but writing it in the above technique is almost an impossible thing . I didn’t sleep almost the whole night trying to write ,but in vain . Then an idea struck me .

Some days back on a sunny morning , under a jujube tree beside my house I saw a pair of wild pigeons . One was badly hurt with a broken wing caked with blood . Its mate never moved back from near the dying one , though it picked jujube fruits lying here and there . I stood dumbfounded not knowing what to do .After a while , I picked up the almost dead pigeon under the shade of a nearby canna foliage . its mate followed me as if I was the saviour .

I turned back to my daily chores . But the scene kept flashing on my mind the whole day . I was moody and somewhat felt so lonely that day .

It must be a moment of ” karumi ” .

Following the path of the master ,Basho here is my humble approach of this technique .

unbearable lightness
a wild pigeon picks jujube
near its dying mate .



Shiva a “Yugen “

Carpe Diem #948 brush

Today’s Haiku Writing Technique is known as “Yugen ”  . In the words of Kristjaan

“Yugen is usually defined as “mystery” and “unknowable depth”. Somehow Yugen has avoided the controversy of Wabi and Sabi. But since deciding which haiku exemplifies this quality is a judgmental decision, there is rarely consent over which verse has it and which does not. One could say a woman’s face half-hidden behind a fan has Yugen. The same face half-covered with pink goo while getting a facial, however, does not. But still, haiku poets do use the atmosphere as defined by Yugen to make their words be a good haiku by forcing their readers to think and to delve into the everyday sacredness of common things.”
Here is an example of a “yugen-haiku” by Basho:

Souvenir paintings
what kind of brush first drew
the image of Buddha

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

its something challenging , and we have to dig deep down in our subconscious mind for our own Yugen .
as soon as I read the prompt , an idea of Yugen struck my mind . its like a déjà vu .
following the path of the master , Basho , here is my attempt for a Yugen moment ;


photo ( my pic )

on the gold plate
cannabis and vermilion
night of Shiva

of human follies

Carpe Diem Theme Week #2 Color Your Life: violet

Violet is the color of good judgement. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with violet you will have peace of mind. Violet is a good color to use in meditation.
my mind after reading the above hint of the prompt provokes me another sad , melancholic thought …a radical thought actually ; people seeking blessings from gods and demigods sometimes are so selfish . can you cut the stem of a flower just to get a fistful of blessings ?

beside the shrine
plucked violet coloured lilies
boon seeking devotees


photo ( my pic )
water lilies cut off for offerings; discarded after prayers


photo ( my pic )
a blooming water lilies

the bridal dress

Carpe Diem #947 grass pillow

Our host Kristjaan explain an introductory in this Haiku Writing Technique ,
“As Jane says about this haiku writing technique: “It is questionable whether this is actually a writing technique, but the concept is so vital to Asian poetry that it needs to be included”.

Sabi refers to the passing of time, which creates a feeling of sadness, longing and melancholy. It’s about transient imagery, how things convey how they’ve lived – their age, their knowledge. Sabi by itself refers to the natural progression of time, and carries with it an understanding that all things will grow old and become less conventionally beautiful. However, things described as “sabi” carry their age with dignity and grace. At the heart of being “sabi” is the idea of authenticity.”
Here is my attempt of sabi , following the path of the master , Basho .

weather beaten hands
repairs the bride’s wedding dress
such dexterity



photos ( web )


Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #74 music to inspire you

‘those who can express, simply express;
those who can’t, simply enjoy the expression ! ”

many artistes express their feelings through the medium in which they are comfortable at . this phenomenon since time immemorial holds true and still does .
and if we are capable of it , then we should do it . be it singing , painting or writing or dancing or whatever …. !
and our medium of expression is through writing , writing haiku’s .
I like the acknowledgement of haiku poets of the four seasons  (including new year) , the natural elements of earth and the mother nature itself .
so with due respect to our family members of Kristjaan’s , , here is my humble attempt to glorify spring


photo ( my pic )

chirping birds and bees
on lakes ,meadows and hills
eager flora of spring

milan rajkumar


wild flowers

Carpe Diem Theme Week #2 Color Your Life: Yellow

outside the garden fence
lucky yellow wild flowers
you won’t be plucked for prayers


photo ( my pic )


a sad song in spring

Carpe Diem #943 flute

pining for flowers
or a tune from Gichiku
Mount Yoshino

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In this haiku Basho uses the so called “honki-dori” or “literary references” technique. It’s one of the ways writers had of elevating their status by linking their verses to another famous person (or place).
In the above haiku Basho refers to Gichiku.
Gichiku, known as Tozaburo, was a popular flute player in Basho’s time whose hit song had the title of “Yoshino”, the mountain most famous for its cherry trees and deep snows. The idea was that when the flowers bloomed there would be parties, flute playing would be at its best.

well , following the path of the master , Basho , here is my attempt to heighten this technique

cold night of spring
with Celine on Titanic
my hear will go on