Monthly Archives: March 2016


Carpe Diem #942 Thorn

In this episode, Thorn, it’s about the haiku writing technique used by Basho in the following haiku:

folly in darkness
grasping a thorn
instead of a firefly

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In the words of Kristjaan ,our host,
“This not a wellknown haiku by the master, but it’s a nice one to look closer at. In this haiku Basho used a writing technique which was very common in waka-poetry. It was also the basis for the maekuzuki or “capping verse”. This technique works by setting up a sitiuation and leading the reader to believe the author is going to relate a certain situation. In the middle of the verse the writer’s thinking makes a turn or, as this haiku writing technique is called, a twist and force the reader’s mind into a completely different situation. Basho had studied the old waka anthologies and was therefore very familiar with this technique.

In the above haiku the “twist” is in the attention  for “grasping a thorn”. The reader’s mind thinks “the following line will be about the wound”, but than there is the “twist” “a firefly”.

Because fireflies appear in the time of the evening when lovers meet, they have the connotation of helping lovers find each other. Thus, the reader is led to think “thorn” is a euphemism, but the addition of the third line swings the poem back around into another situation.’
following the path of the master, Basho ; here is my attempt for this ” a twist in the tale ” technique –

when I wake up
near the lake shore
bedroom poster


photo ( my pic )

the blogpond

Carpe Diem #941 Heart

The haiku writing technique of today is Creating New Words

tanabata no awanu kokero ya uchuten

for the Star Festival*
even when hearts cannot meet

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In the above haiku by Basho we find a “new created word” by him. This “new word” is ‘uchuten’. It’s a compound word made by Basho incorporating “rain in the middle of heaven” and ecstasy.

In the words of Kristjaan , ” …one finds out, even in a language as rich as English, that there are not enough words to explain or name everything. The writer / poet must either find images for these unnamed states of being or make up a new word.”

Following the path of the master , Basho ;  here is my attempt to create a few new words .

blogpond’s poekuists
stanga after stanga read
byeku’s of winter .

© milan rajkumar


Carpe Diem #940 blossom

this time we have to use para -rhyme in our Haiku Writing Technique . Kristjaan our host is going to introduce “kasuri” or “frame rhyme”.

In the words of Kristjaan , ” this technique, used by the two haikai schools in vogue in Basho’s time (Teimon School and Danrin School), was also utilized in English poetry, where it was also known as the “para-rhyme”. An example would be back – buck. This rhyming device had almost completely fallen out of practice in poetry but was recently revived in rap-music. ‘

Its a challenging one , but nevertheless we have to use our skill along with our poetic mind for this prompt .
Hence , following the path of the master, Basho  , here is my attempt :

with butterflies
the small rivulet flows
sea with dear fellows

( third line has a flaw )


photo ( my pic )



Carpe Diem Special #202 Basho’s Disciples: Shiba Sonome’s “nobody sees”

For this Haiku Writing Technique ,
today’s poetess was also a disciple of Basho and being that she also was part of Basho’s Shoomon School.
when I do some digging , I found this from the World Kigo Database ;
‘ While Matsuo Basho visited her estate in 1694,
he wrote about her

shiragiku no me ni tatete miru chiri mo nashi

gazing intently
at the white chrysanthemums —
not a speck of dust

Here Basho is complementing the host (Sonome), represented by the white chrysanthemums, by stressing the flower’s and, by implication, Sonome’s purity.

Haruo Shiranein

as a tribute to Sonome and following the path of the master, Basho

on her pink gown
she looks like a lotus
pure and fragrant



taste and smell

Carpe Diem #939 Old Pond

In this Haiku Writing Technique  we have to switch between senses . And it is not an easy task
In the words of Christjaan ,
” this is a favorite of the Japanese poetry masters, but one they used with a great deal of discretion. It is simply to speak of the sensory aspect of a thing and then change in another sensory organ. Usually it involves hearing something one sees, or switching between seeing and tasting. ”
Since yesterday , I was pondering about sounds , visions , smell and taste . And the end result attempt , following the path of the master, Basho is this :

burning  pea leaves smell
if I make lye from the ashes
ah ! the taste of ramen


photo ( web )


temple’s gong

Carpe Diem #938 Iris leaves

In the words of Kristjaan “The “pseudo-science” technique is very close to the paradox but has a slight difference. This technique demonstrates a distorted view of science – one we think is not true, but has the possibility of being true, ……
Again, this is an old Japanese tool that was used to make the poet sound simple and childlike but also to confound the reader.”
I live near the most sacred temple (at imphal,Manipur) of ‘Govindaji ‘ ( Krishna ) , the 8th Avatar of Hinduism .
and every morning we can hear the sound of the big gong of the temple .  the sound and its vibration suddenly strikes my mind and that is how i attempt ‘The pseudo science technique of writing a haiku ‘ using this idea .
Here is my attempt following the path of the master, Basho .

temple’s gong
resonates the spring blossoms
ripples on my water bowl .

rudaali / a humour

Carpe Diem #937 Robe

This is a tough challenge to me . natural elements could not help me . in the words of Kristjaan ,  “… even though the hai of haiku means “joke, or fun, or unusual”, there are still writers who frown when they encounter a pun in three lines “.  nevertheless , here is my attempt following the path of the master, Basho .

professional mourners *
their looks at the pockets
bereaved family


photo ( web )


washerwoman , a paradox

Carpe Diem #936 Forest

In the words of Kristjaan , our host,  One of the aims of haiku is to confuse the reader just enough to attract interest and engage the mind. Using this HWT, paradox, will give the reader something to ponder after the last word has been read. Again, the author cannot espouse nonsense but has to construct a truthful paradox connected to reality or even a higher reality. It is not easy to come up with a new subject, but when an author discovers one, the haiku’s briefness adds to the excitement of deciphering the paradox.
What I learnt in my economics degree is Giffen paradox and Russell’s paradox . but to use a paradox in haiku writing technique is mind boggling . I have to retreat in the lap of mother nature for an answer .
and here is my attempt following the path of the master, Basho .

o washerwoman
why you wash other’s dresses
wearing dirty clothes


a ‘ koan ‘ moment

Carpe Diem #935 Cicada

In the words of Chev., ( Kristjaan )
Koan after koan explores the theme of nonduality. Hakuin’s well-known koan, “Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?” is clearly about two and one. The koan asks, you know what duality is, now what is nonduality? In “What is your original face before your mother and father were born?” the phrase “father and mother” alludes to duality. This is obvious to someone versed in the Chinese tradition, where so much philosophical thought is presented in the imagery of paired opposites. The phrase “your original face” alludes to the original nonduality.
Comparable statements are: “Look at the flower and the flower also looks”; “Guest and host interchange”.
Analyzing the koan for its literal meaning won’t lead to insight, though understanding the context from which koans emerged can make them more intelligible. For example, when a monk asked Zhaozhou (Joshu) “does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?”, the monk was referring to the understanding of the teachings on Buddha-nature, which were understood in the Chinese context of absolute and relative reality.
The aim of the break-through koan is to see the “nonduality of subject and object”:
The monk himself in his seeking is the koan. Realization of this is the insight; the response to the koan […] Subject and object – this is two hands clapping. When the monk realizes that the koan is not merely an object of consciousness but is also he himself as the activity of seeking an answer to the koan, then subject and object are no longer separate and distinct […] This is one hand clapping.

after groping in the realm of the ” koan ” , and the nondualty  (that the koan is not merely an object of consciousness but is also he himself as the activity of seeking an answer to the koan, then subject and object are no longer separate and distinct […] This is one hand clapping.) , I came to the conclusion that I have a koan ‘ moment ‘ some days back while I was roaming in a garden .
following the path of the master ,Basho , here is my attempt for a koan haiku

the chrysanthemum
honeybee sucks its nectar
am I satisfied ?


photo ( my pic )