Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Carpe Diem #1354 The Black Bowl (Japanese fairytale)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize because I am late with publishing our new episode. This episode will be a long one, because this fairytale from Japan is to beautiful to publish it in two parts. So embrace your self, because this will be a "long" read.
Today's episode is titled "The Black Bowl". This fairytale has a nice moral, because it's about inner beauty. And this fairytale is also a nice story about perseverance. Enjoy the read, but first I love to share a haiku from my archive.

thrown away bowl
once filled with rice 
dances on the wind

© Chèvrefeuille

Or this one:

an empty bowl
but in it is the spirit of emptiness -
the spring breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

This one fits the story more likely than the first, but both are in a way connected to this fairytale.

The Black Bowl:

Long ago, in a part of the country not very remote from Kyoto, the great gay city, there dwelt an honest couple. In a lonely place was their cottage, upon the outskirts of a deep wood of pine trees. Folks had it that the wood was haunted. They said it was full of deceiving foxes; they said that beneath the mossy ground the elves built their kitchens; they said that long-nosed Tengu had tea-parties in the forest thrice a month, and that the fairies’ children played at hide-and-seek there every morning before seven.

haunted forest
elves dance their morning salutation
a new day rises

© Chèvrefeuille

Over and above all this they didn’t mind saying that the honest couple were queer in their ways, that the woman was a wise woman, and that the man was a warlock—which was as may be. But sure it was that they did no harm to living soul, that they lived as poor as poor, and that they had one fair daughter. She was as neat and pretty as a princess, and her manners were very fine; but for all that she worked as hard as a boy in the rice-fields, and within doors she was the housewife indeed, for she washed and cooked and drew water. She went barefoot in a grey homespun gown, and tied her back hair with a tough wistaria tendril. Brown she was and thin, but the sweetest beggar-maid that ever made shift with a bed of dry moss and no supper.

Rice planting

roots of elegance
on this trip to the far north
rice-planting song

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

By-and-by the good man her father dies, and the wise woman her mother sickens within the year, and soon she lies in a corner of the cottage waiting for her end, with the maid near her crying bitter tears.
“Child,” says the mother, “do you know you are as pretty as a princess?”
“Am I that?” says the maid, and goes on with her crying.
“Do you know that your manners are fine?” says the mother.
“Are they, then?” says the maid, and goes on with her crying.
“My own baby,” says the mother, “could you stop your crying a minute and listen to me?”
So the maid stopped crying and put her head close by her mother’s on the poor pillow.
“Now listen,” says the mother, “and afterwards remember. It is a bad thing for a poor girl to be pretty. If she is pretty and lonely and innocent, none but the gods will help her. They will help you, my poor child, and I have thought of a way besides. Fetch me the great black rice-bowl from the shelf.”
The girl fetched it.
“See, now, I put it on your head and all your beauty is hidden away.”
“Alack, mother,” said the poor child, “it is heavy.”
“It will save you from what is heavier to bear,” said the mother. “If you love me, promise me that you will not move it till the time comes.”
“I promise! I promise! But how shall I know when the time comes?”
“That you shall know…. And now help me outside, for the sweet morning dawns and I’ve a fancy to see the fairies’ children once again, as they run in the forest.”

Komuso monk

So the child, having the black bowl upon her head, held her mother in her arms in a grassy place near the great trees, and presently they saw the fairies’ children threading their way between the dark trunks as they played at hide-and-seek. Their bright garments fluttered, and they laughed lightly as they went. The mother smiled to see them; before seven she died very sweetly as she smiled.
When her little store of rice was done, the maid with the wooden bowl knew well enough that she must starve or go and find more. So first she tended her father’s and mother’s graves and poured water for the dead, as is meet, and recited many a holy text. Then she bound on her sandals, kilted her grey skirts to show her scarlet petticoat, tied her household gods in a blue printed handkerchief, and set out all alone to seek her fortunes, the brave girl!
For all her slenderness and pretty feet she was a rarely odd sight, and soon she was to know it. The great black bowl covered her head and shadowed her face. As she went through a village two women looked up from washing in the stream, stared and laughed.
“It’s a boggart come alive,” says one.
“Out upon her,” cries the other, “for a shameless wench! Out upon her false modesty to roam the country thus with her head in a black bowl, as who should cry aloud to every passing man, ‘Come and see what is hidden!’ It is enough to make a wholesome body sick.”

black bowl
hides her pretty face
no distraction

© Chèvrefeuille

On went the poor maid, and sometimes the children pelted her with mud and pebbles for sport. Sometimes she was handled roughly by village louts, who scoffed and caught at her dress as she went; they even laid hands upon the bowl itself and sought to drag it from her head by force. But they only played at that game once, for the bowl stung them as fiercely as if it had been a nettle, and the bullies ran away howling.
The beggar-maiden might seek her fortune, but it was very hard to find. She might ask for work; but see, would she get it? None were wishful to employ a girl with a black bowl on her head.
At last, on a fine day when she was tired out, she sat her upon a stone and began to cry as if her heart would break. Down rolled her tears from under the black bowl. They rolled down her cheeks and reached her white chin.

Biwa player

A wandering ballad-singer passed that way, with his biwa slung across his back. He had a sharp eye and marked the tears upon the maid’s white chin. It was all he could see of her face, and, “Oh, girl with the black bowl on your head,” quoth he, “why do you sit weeping by the roadside?”
“I weep,” she answered, “because the world is hard. I am hungry and tired…. No one will give me work or pay me money.”
“Now that’s unfortunate,” said the ballad-singer, for he had a kind heart; “but I haven’t a rin of my own, or it would be yours. Indeed I am sorry for you. In the circumstances the best I can do for you is to make you a little song.” With that he whips his biwa round, thrums on it with his fingers and starts as easy as you please. “To the tears on your white chin,” he says, and sings:

“The white cherry blooms by the roadside,
How black is the canopy of cloud!
The wild cherry droops by the roadside,
Beware of the black canopy of cloud.
Hark, hear the rain, hear the rainfall
From the black canopy of cloud.
Alas, the wild cherry, its sweet flowers are marred,
Marred are the sweet flowers, forlorn on the spray!”

“Sir, I do not understand your song,” said the girl with the bowl on her head.
“Yet it is plain enough,” said the ballad-singer, and went his way. He came to the house of a passing rich farmer. In he went, and they asked him to sing before the master of the house.

The Black Bowl (Warwick Goble painting)

“With all the will in the world,” says the ballad-singer. “I will sing him a new song that I have just made.” So he sang of the wild cherry and the great black cloud.
When he had made an end, “Tell us the interpretation of your song,” says the master of the house.
“With all the will in the world,” quoth the ballad-singer. “The wild cherry is the face of a maiden whom I saw sitting by the wayside. She wore a great black wooden bowl upon her head, which is the great black cloud in my song, and from under it her tears flowed like rain, for I saw the drops upon her white chin. And she said that she wept for hunger, and because no one would give her work nor pay her money.”
“Now I would I might help the poor girl with the bowl on her head,” said the master of the house.
“That you may if you wish,” quoth the ballad-singer. “She sits but a stone’s throw from your gate.”

The long and short of it was that the maid was put to labour in the rich farmer’s harvest-fields. All the day long she worked in the waving rice, with her grey skirts kilted and her sleeves bound back with cords. All day long she plied the sickle, and the sun shone down upon the black bowl; but she had food to eat and good rest at night, and was well content.
She found favour in her master’s eyes, and he kept her in the fields till all the harvest was gathered in. Then he took her into his house, where there was plenty for her to do, for his wife was but sickly. Now the maiden lived well and happily as a bird, and went singing about her labours. And every night she thanked the august gods for her good fortune. Still she wore the black bowl upon her head.
At the New Year time, “Bustle, bustle,” says the farmer’s wife; “scrub and cook and sew; put your best foot foremost, my dear, for we must have the house look at its very neatest.”
“To be sure, and with all my heart,” says the girl, and she put her back into the work; “but, mistress,” she says, “if I may be so bold as to ask, are we having a party, or what?”
“Indeed we are, and many of them,” says the farmer’s wife. “My son that is in Kyoto, the great and gay, is coming home for a visit.”

Presently home he comes, the handsome young man. Then the neighbours were called in, and great was the merry-making. They feasted and they danced, they jested and they sang, many a bowl of good red rice they ate, and many a cup of good saké they drank. All this time the girl, with bowl on her head, plied her work modestly in the kitchen, and well out of the way she was—the farmer’s wife saw to that, good soul! All the same, one fine day the company called for more wine, and the wine was done, so the son of the house takes up the saké bottle and goes with it himself to the kitchen. What should he see there but the maiden sitting upon a pile of faggots, and fanning the kitchen fire with a split bamboo fan!
“My life, but I must see what is under that black bowl,” says the handsome young man to himself. And sure enough he made it his daily care, and peeped as much as he could, which was not very much; but seemingly it was enough for him, for he thought no more of Kyoto, the great and gay, but stayed at home to do his courting.
His father laughed and his mother fretted, the neighbours held up their hands, all to no purpose.
“Oh, dear, dear maiden with the wooden bowl, she shall be my bride and no other. I must and will have her,” cried the impetuous young man, and very soon he fixed the wedding-day himself.

Wild Cherry (© photo Angela Doelling)

When the time came, the young maidens of the village went to array the bride. They dressed her in a fair and costly robe of white brocade, and in trailing hakama of scarlet silk, and on her shoulders they hung a cloak of blue and purple and gold. They chattered, but as for the bride she said never a word. She was sad because she brought her bridegroom nothing, and because his parents were sore at his choice of a beggar-maid. She said nothing, but the tears glistened on her white chin.
“Now off with the ugly old bowl,” cried the maidens; “it is time to dress the bride’s hair and to do it with golden combs.” So they laid hands to the bowl and would have lifted it away, but they could not move it.
“Try again,” they said, and tugged at it with all their might. But it would not stir.
“There’s witchcraft in it,” they said; “try a third time.” They tried a third time, and still the bowl stuck fast, but it gave out fearsome moans and cries.
“Ah! Let be, let be for pity’s sake,” said the poor bride, “for you make my head ache.”
They were forced to lead her as she was to the bridegroom’s presence.
“My dear, I am not afraid of the wooden bowl,” said the young man.
So they poured the saké from the silver flagon, and from the silver cup the two of them drank the mystic “Three Times Three” that made them man and wife.

inner beauty revealed
after wearing a black bowl
everlasting love

© Chèvrefeuille

Then the black bowl burst asunder with a loud noise, and fell to the ground in a thousand pieces. With it fell a shower of silver and gold, and pearls and rubies and emeralds, and every jewel of price. Great was the astonishment of the company as they gazed upon a dowry that for a princess would have been rich and rare.
But the bridegroom looked into the bride’s face. “My dear,” he said, “there are no jewels that shine like your eyes.”


A wonderful fairytale and I hope you all have appreciated as much as I did. Sorry (again) for this long episode, but I think you will understand why I couldn't split this story.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 30th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, The Sea King and the Magic Jewels, later on. For now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem Extra January 23rd 2018 -- Celestine Nudanu (special feature)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you remember our exclusive cooperation with the FB-page My Haiku Pond Academy in which I challenged the visitors of that FB-page to create a Troiku. I was also the Judge and short before Christmas I congratulated Celestine Nudanu (Reading Pleasure) with her winning Troiku.

The Troiku Contest was to create a Troiku based on a beautiful haiku by Jane Reichhold (1937-2016):

golden shade
under the redwoods
evergreen violets

© Jane Reichhold

There were a lot of contestants and I have read really wonderful Troiku, but the Troiku by Celestine was really a beauty with a small reference to a haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) which I will give here also:

a night secret
a worm under the moon
bores in a chestnut

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Celestine Nudanu
Here is the winning troiku created by Celestine Nudanu (incl. the "base"-haiku by Jane Reichhold):

golden shade
under the redwoods
evergreen violets

© Jane Reichhold

golden shade
where my pillow rests
a slice of sunlight

under the redwoods
a worm burrows deeper
into itself

evergreen violets
a butterfly seeks rest
on the gravestone

© Celestine Nudanu

And these are the comments given by the judges (Michael Smeer and myself):

An amazing Troiku. Wonderfully crafted with love and honor for Jane Reichhold. Nice to read in the 2nd haiku an allusion to Basho's following haiku:

a night secret
a worm under the moon
bores in a chestnut

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Celestine is a long term participant in Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and she is a very gifted haiku poetess and family member of our haiku-loving family CDHK. Celestine writes wonderful haiku as you all could have read in the "time"-kukai:

midair waltz
first snowflakes and the leaves
frozen in time

© Celestine

In 2016 Celestine published her first anthology "Haiku Rhapsodies" written under, as a first idea, her pseudonym "Afua Peprah", but later on she decided to use her own name. It has become a wonderful and successful anthology. In the weeks before publishing I had the opportunity to read her concept (and later the final print) and I was in awe. Celestine writes really wonderful. A few examples:
bursting through the mist
silver rays kiss the leaves
ah, the dew, the dew
the stirring of leaves
heralding a new day

© Celestine 

Back in 2016 she has  asked me to write a review. I was honored, because I am just a guy who happens to have a haiku weblog to promote haiku as an art form. I will give you a highlight of my review:

[...] "With "Haiku Rhapsodies", Celestine has delivered a wonderful book full of gems. A few years ago I met Celestine online at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, my daily haiku meme. Than she was just a novice in haiku. During the years she improved her haiku writing skills and I have seen her grow ... and now ... with this haiku anthology she dives into the 'big world'.

With this anthology she has reached a milestone ... I am glad and a bit proud that she has made this anthology after several years of publishing and sharing her beautiful haiku at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

As I read "Haiku Rhapsodies" I was overwhelmed by the beauty of her haiku and I love to bring a few haiku in the spotlight:

empty calabash
reflecting the fading sun
a beggar sits in gloom

This haiku describes a scene, which is seen very often, but it's not the fading sun here but the beggar who has the lead. It's a haiku in which I easily can recognize the spirit of Basho (one of the four greatest haiku poets ever) ..." [...]

Celestine is a very talented woman which is shown in her "Haiku Rhapsodies" shows this very well.
Well ... I hope you all did enjoy this special about Celestine Nudanu. And to make this a challenge too for you all I think I challenge you to create a troiku with the following haiku by Celestine Nudanu:

empty calabash
reflecting the fading sun
a beggar sits in gloom

© Celestine

This extra special episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 30th at noon (CET). Have fun ...!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Carpe Diem #1353 The Star Lovers (A Japanese Fairytale)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to inspire you through the beautiful fairytales from the Motherland of Haiku, Japan. And today's fairytale I think you all know, because it's the story of "The Star Festival" or "Tanabata Festival", and Basho (1644-1694) created several haiku about "Tanabatal". Let me give you a few of his haiku about "Tanabata":

sazo na hoshi   hiji kimono ni wa   shika no kawa

surely star-lovers
using as a rug
a deer skin

In this haiku two lovers are looking at the stars during "Tanabata", but in this you can also find a deeper layer. It's commonly known that Basho was homosexual and in this haiku he describes himself and his lover during "Tanabata".

Tanabata Festival Japan (July 7th)

An other haiku by Basho about "Tanabata":

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet

Or what do you think about these haiku he composed for "Tanabata":

do not even peer
through the leaves of the silk tree
light falls from the stars

Tanabata -
autumn is truly here
as nights begin

All beautiful haiku and for sure he has written more haiku about Tanabata, but what is the story behind Tanabata? That's were this episode is about.

The Star-Lovers:

All you that are true lovers, I beseech you pray the gods for fair weather upon the seventh night of the seventh moon. For patience’ sake and for dear love’s sake, pray, and be pitiful that upon that night there may be neither rain, nor hail, nor cloud, nor thunder, nor creeping mist. Hear the sad tale of the Star Lovers and give them your prayers.

in the backyard
gazing at the Milky Way -
white chrysanthemums

© Chèvrefeuille

The Weaving Maiden was the daughter of a Deity of Light. Her dwelling was upon the shore of the Milky Way, which is the Bright River of Heaven. All the day long she sat at her loom and plied her shuttle, weaving the gay garments of the gods. Warp and woof, hour by hour the coloured web grew till it lay fold on fold piled at her feet. Still she never ceased her labour, for she was afraid. She had heard a saying:
“Sorrow, age-long sorrow, shall come upon the Weaving Maiden when she leaves her loom.”
So she laboured, and the gods had garments to spare. But she herself, poor maiden, was ill-clad; she recked nothing of her attire or of the jewels that her father gave her. She went barefoot, and let her hair hang down unconfined. Ever and anon a long lock fell upon the loom, and back she flung it over her shoulder. She did not play with the children of Heaven, or take her pleasure with celestial youths and maidens. She did not love or weep. She was neither glad nor sorry. She sat weaving, weaving … and wove her being into the many-coloured web.
Now her father, the Deity of Light, grew angry. He said, “Daughter, you weave too much.”
“It is my duty,” she said.
“At your age to talk of duty!” said her father. “Out upon you!”
“Wherefore are you displeased with me, my father?” she said, and her fingers plied the shuttle.
“Are you a stock or a stone, or a pale flower by the wayside?”
“Nay,” she said, “I am none of these.”
“Then leave your loom, my child, and live; take your pleasure, be as others are.”
“And wherefore should I be as others are?” she said.
“Never dare to question me. Come, will you leave your loom?”
She said, “Sorrow, age-long sorrow, shall come upon the Weaving Maiden when she leaves her loom.”
“A foolish saying,” cried her father, “not worthy of credence. What do we know of age-long sorrow? Are we not gods?” With that he took her shuttle from her hand gently, and covered the loom with a cloth. And he caused her to be very richly attired, and they put jewels upon her and garlanded her head with flowers of Paradise. And her father gave her for spouse the Herd Boy of Heaven, who tended his flocks upon the banks of the Bright River.

The Star Lovers (painting by Warwick Goble)

Now the Maiden was changed indeed. Her eyes were stars and her lips were ruddy. She went dancing and singing all the day. Long hours she played with the children of Heaven, and she took her pleasure with the celestial youths and maidens. Lightly she went; her feet were shod with silver. Her lover, the Herd Boy, held her by the hand. She laughed so that the very gods laughed with her, and High Heaven re-echoed with sounds of mirth. She was careless; little did she think of duty or of the garments of the gods. As for her loom, she never went near it from one moon’s end to another.
“I have my life to live,” she said; “I’ll weave it into a web no more.”
And the Herd Boy, her lover, clasped her in his arms. Her face was all tears and smiles, and she hid it on his breast. So she lived her life. But her father, the Deity of Light, was angry.
“It is too much,” he said. “Is the girl mad? She will become the laughing-stock of Heaven. Besides, who is to weave the new spring garments of the gods?”
Three times he warned his daughter.
Three times she laughed softly and shook her head.
“Your hand opened the door, my father,” she said, “but of a surety no hand either of god or of mortal can shut it.”
He said, “You shall find it otherwise to your cost.” And he banished the Herd Boy for ever and ever to the farther side of the Bright River. The magpies flew together, from far and near, and they spread their wings for a frail bridge across the river, and the Herd Boy went over by the frail bridge. And immediately the magpies flew away to the ends of the earth and the Weaving Maiden could not follow. She was the saddest thing in Heaven. Long, long she stood upon the shore, and held out her arms to the Herd Boy, who tended his oxen desolate and in tears. Long, long she lay and wept upon the sand. Long, long she brooded, looking on the ground.

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet
after a while the clouds move
finally the lovers can meet each other 

© Basho (line 1 to 3) & Chèvrefeuille (line 4 and 5)

She arose and went to her loom. She cast aside the cloth that covered it. She took her shuttle in her hand.
“Age-long sorrow,” she said, “age-long sorrow!” Presently she dropped the shuttle. “Ah,” she moaned, “the pain of it,” and she leaned her head against the loom.
But in a little while she said, “Yet I would not be as once I was. I did not love or weep, I was neither glad nor sorry. Now I love and I weep—I am glad, and I am sorry.”
Her tears fell like rain, but she took up the shuttle and laboured diligently, weaving the garments of the gods. Sometimes the web was grey with grief, sometimes it was rosy with dreams. The gods were fain to go strangely clad. The Maiden’s father, the Deity of Light, for once was well pleased.
“That is my good, diligent child,” he said. “Now you are quiet and happy.”
“The quiet of dark despair,” she said. “Happy! I am the saddest thing in Heaven.”
“I am sorry,” said the Deity of Light; “what shall I do?”
“Give me back my lover.”
“Nay, child, that I cannot do. He is banished for ever and ever by the decree of a Deity, that cannot be broken.”
“I knew it,” she said.
“Yet something I can do. Listen. On the seventh day of the seventh moon, I will summon the magpies together from the ends of the earth, and they shall be a bridge over the Bright River of Heaven, so that the Weaving Maiden shall lightly cross to the waiting Herd Boy on the farther shore.”
So it was. On the seventh day of the seventh moon came the magpies from far and near. And they spread their wings for a frail bridge. And the Weaving Maiden went over by the frail bridge. Her eyes were like stars, and her heart like a bird in her bosom. And the Herd Boy was there to meet her upon the farther shore.

The Star Lovers (painting by Warwick Goble) (found on Pinterest)

"On the seventh day of the seventh moon came the magpies from far and near. And they spread their wings for a frail bridge." Illustration by Warwick Goble. Published in Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales. 1910. MacMillan and Company.
And so it is still, oh, true lovers—upon the seventh day of the seventh moon these two keep their tryst. Only if the rain falls with thunder and cloud and hail, and the Bright River of Heaven is swollen and swift, the magpies cannot make a bridge for the Weaving Maiden. Alack, the dreary time!
Therefore, true lovers, pray the gods for fair weather.


Finally we now know the story behind Tanabata. I hope you have enjoyed the read and of course I hope it will inspire you.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 29th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, The Black Bowl, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Carpe Diem #1352 Horaizan (a Japanese Fairy-tale)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. This month it's all about fairytales. We already read several wonderful fairytales from 1001 Nights and today we will start reading fairytales from the Motherland of Haiku, Japan. Japan has a lot of wonderful fairytales and we will read several of those beauties.

To start this episode I dived into my archive and found a nice "fairytale"-like haiku written by Yozakura, the Unknown haiku poet:

hantoumei no koucha no kappu cha no fukai himitsu goosuto wo hi hyouji ni 

translucent tea cup
hides a deep secret
ghost of tea

© Yozakura

This haiku is based on a nice story about the image of a geisha appearing in a tea cup. The molded art is made, by very thin translucent porcelain also known as Lithophane.  This process can create a 3-D image.  You can see the image when light n' shadows are in play, when you tilt your cup of tea. 
For this part of January 2018 I have created a new logo with a painting I found on Pinterest. The painting is made by Warwick Goble
Special CDHK Logo for the 2nd part of January 2018
Okay ... here it goes again ... fairytales from the Motherland of Haiku. Today we start with Horaizan a fairytale about Horaizan the Island of Eternal Youth.

Horaizan (Japanese fairy-tale):

Jofuku was the Wise Man of China. Many books he read, and he never forgot what was in them. All the characters he knew as he knew the lines in the palm of his hand. He learned secrets from birds and beasts, and herbs and flowers and trees, and rocks and metals. He knew magic and poetry and philosophy. He grew full of years and wisdom. All the people honored him; but he was not happy, for he had a word written upon his heart.
The word was Mutability. It was with him day and night, and sorely it troubled him. Moreover, in the days of Jofuku a tyrant ruled over China, and he made the Wise Man’s life a burden.
“Jofuku,” he said, “teach the nightingales of my wood to sing me the songs of the Chinese poets.”
Jofuku could not do it for all his wisdom.
between flowering trees
a Nightingale is singing it's song
for the joy of the world

© Chèvrefeuille

“Alas, liege,” he said, “ask me another thing and I will give it you, though it cost me the blood of my heart.”
“Have a care,” said the Emperor, “look to your ways. Wise men are cheap in China; am I one to be dishonored?”
“Ask me another thing,” said the Wise Man.
“Well, then, scent me the peony with the scent of the jessamine. The peony is brilliant, imperial; the jessamine is small, pale, foolish. Nevertheless, its perfume is sweet. Scent me the peony with the scent of the jessamine.”

But Jofuku stood silent and downcast.
“By the gods,” cried the Emperor, “this wise man is a fool! Here, some of you, off with his head.”
“Liege,” said the Wise Man, “spare me my life and I will set sail for Horaizan where grows the herb Immortality. I will pluck this herb and bring it back to you again, that you may live and reign forever.”
The Emperor considered.
“Well, go,” he said, “and linger not, or it will be the worse for you.”

Jofuku went and found brave companions to go with him on the great adventure, and he manned a junk with the most famous mariners of China, and he took stores on board, and gold; and when he had made all things ready he set sail in the seventh month, about the time of the full moon.
The Emperor himself came down to the seashore.
“Speed, speed, Wise Man,” he said; “fetch me the herb Immortality, and see that you do it presently. If you return without it, you and your companions shall die the death.”
“Farewell, liege,” called Jofuku from the junk. So they went with a fair wind for their white sails. The boards creaked, the ropes quivered, the water splashed against the junk’s side, the sailors sang as they steered a course eastward, the brave companions were merry. But the Wise Man of China looked forward and looked back, and was sad because of the word written upon his heart—Mutability.

Chinese Junk (Image found on Pinterest)
The junk of Jofuku was for many days upon the wild sea, steering a course eastwards. He and the sailors and the brave companions suffered many things. The great heat burnt them, and the great cold froze them. Hungry and thirsty they were, and some of them fell sick and died. More were slain in a fight with pirates. Then came the dread typhoon, and mountain waves that swept the junk. The masts and the sails were washed away with the rich stores, and the gold was lost forever. Drowned were the famous mariners, and the brave companions every one. Jofuku was left alone.
 In the grey dawn he looked up. Far to the east he saw a mountain, very faint, the color of pearl, and on the mountain top there grew a tree, tall, with spreading branches. The Wise Man murmured:
“The Island of Horaizan is east of the east, and there is Fusan, the Wonder Mountain. On the heights of Fusan there grows a tree whose branches hide the Mysteries of Life.”
Jofuku lay weak and weary and could not lift a finger. Nevertheless, the junk glided nearer and nearer to the shore. Still and blue grew the waters of the sea, and Jofuku saw the bright green grass and the many-colored flowers of the island. Soon there came troops of young men and maidens bearing garlands and singing songs of welcome; and they waded out into the water and drew the junk to land. Jofuku was aware of the sweet and spicy odors that clung to their garments and their hair. At their invitation he left the junk, which drifted away and was no more seen.

in my backyard
all trees, bushes and flowers in bloom
my own Paradise
© Chèvrefeuille

He said, “I have come to Horaizan the Blest.” Looking up he saw that the trees were full of birds with blue and golden feathers. The birds filled the air with delightful melody. On all sides there hung the orange and the citron, the persimmon and the pomegranate, the peach and the plum and the loquat. The ground at his feet was as a rich brocade, embroidered with every flower that is. The happy dwellers in Horaizan took him by the hands and spoke lovingly to him.
“How strange it is,” said Jofuku, “I do not feel my old age anymore.”
“What is old age?” they said.
“Neither do I feel any pain.”
“Now what is pain?” they said.
“The word is no longer written on my heart.”
“What word do you speak of, beloved?”
“Mutability is the word.”
“And what may be its interpretation?”
“Tell me,” said the Wise Man, “is this death?”
“We have never heard of death,” said the inhabitants of Horaizan. 


It's a wonderful fairytale, but to long for including it in this episode. So you can find the last part of Horaizan on our "The Story Goes On" page above in the menu.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 28th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, The Star Lovers, later on. For now ... have fun!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Carpe Diem Extra January 20th 2018, The Results of the Departure kukai

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize because I am very late with publishing the results of our Departure kukai of last year 2017.

The Winner of this kukai, with 12 points, is Isabel Caves with the following beauty:

on the autumn breeze
one last leaf

© Isabel Caves

With this winning haiku Isabel has won the opportunity to create her own E-Book together with Chèvrefeuille's Publications.

And the "runner-up", with 6 points, is a beautiful haiku written by Laura Williams (a.k.a. Lolly):

the last butterfly 
hesitates before take-off --
Indian summer 
© Laura Williams

The "runner-up" will be featured in a special episode at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
Both haiku poets ... CONGRATULATIONS ...
Here are the results of all the haiku:
12 points: haiku 10
6 points: haiku 14
5 points: haiku 13 & 15
4 points: haiku 4
3 points: haiku 7, 11 & 16
1 point: haiku 6
All other haiku didn't get points
Chèvrefeuille, your host

Friday, January 19, 2018

Carpe Diem Weekend-Meditation #16 Only The First Line "steel blue night"

!! Open for your submissions next Sunday January 21st at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Another week has gone by ... time for a new episode of our Carpe Diem Weekend-Meditation, the feature for the weekend that gives you a few days to meditate and contemplate about a given challenge. To me this weekend-meditation is a kind of relief, because it gives me the possibility to taken some time for myself.

This weekend-meditation is about (as you have read in the title) "Only the First Line". It's one of the historical special features here at CDHK as I have created a lot. This feature it's all about completing a haiku (or tanka) that starts with only a given first line.

The Logo of this special feature
I remember that I was busy with our Tarot month (back in 2013) when I got the idea to create this special feature. In one of the Tarot-episodes I used the first line of the Bible "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (NIV) With that first line the Creation once started, with that first line life on earth unfolded ... and that gave me the idea to create "Only The First Line".

Let me give you an example. In one of the episodes of this special feature I used the following line:

"with bare feet"

And here is the haiku (from my archives), inspired on a quote by Khalil Gibran, from which I extracted this first line:

with bare feet
dancing on Mother Earth's grounds
wind plays with my hair

© Chèvrefeuille

I think the goal of this special feature is very clear and needs no further explanation. So let me give you a few "first lines" to work with this weekend:

"a walk through the city"
"hot summer day"
"the passing spring"
"steel blue night"

And here is a special "first line" to challenge you a little bit more. Create a haiku with the given first line and than create a Troiku with it (more on Troiku you can find in the menu).

"lost in the corn fields"

Well I think I have given you enough for this weekend. The goal is to create haiku (or tanka) starting with the given first lines except of course that last one ... it's clear what you have to do with that one. You may choose from the given lines or maybe your are inspired enough to do them all ... that's up to you my dear Haijin.

Enjoy your weekend!

This weekend-meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday January 21st at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 28th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Horaizan (Japanese fairy-tale), around that same time. Have a great weekend!

Carpe Diem #1351 Theme Week ep. 5: The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at this last (belated) episode of our CDHK Theme Week about the Voyages of Sindbad. Today we will read about Sindbad's Fifth Voyage and I hope it will inspire us to create Japanese poetry.
This is the last regular prompt about the Arabian Nights' fairytales as told by Scheherazade to save her life. Next Monday we will read Japanese fairytales, so we are going back to the Motherland of haiku ... Japan. I am looking forward to the upcoming days of January.

To relate already to the new series about Japanese fairytales I love to share a haiku by Yozakura:

fujisan no yuki no hi no owari ni ha sakura

through cherry blossoms
at the end of the day -
snow on Mount Fuji

© Yozakura

Well ... that's after the weekend, let us go on with the last episode of our CDHK Theme Week.

The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad:

Not even all that I had gone through could make me contented with a quiet life. I soon wearied of its pleasures, and longed for change and adventure. Therefore I set out once more, but this time in a ship of my own, which I built and fitted out at the nearest seaport. I wished to be able to call at whatever port I chose, taking my own time; but as I did not intend carrying enough goods for a full cargo, I invited several merchants of different nations to join me. We set sail with the first favorable wind, and after a long voyage upon the open seas we landed upon an unknown island which proved to be uninhabited. We determined, however, to explore it, but had not gone far when we found a roc’s egg, as large as the one I had seen before and evidently very nearly hatched, for the beak of the young bird had already pierced the shell. In spite of all I could say to deter them, the merchants who were with me fell upon it with their hatchets, breaking the shell, and killing the young roc. Then lighting a fire upon the ground they hacked morsels from the bird, and proceeded to roast them while I stood by aghast.

setting sail
towards unknown worlds
high heeled waves

© Chèvrefeuille

The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad
Scarcely had they finished their ill-omened meal, when the air above us was darkened by two mighty shadows. The captain of my ship, knowing by experience what this meant, cried out to us that the parent birds were coming, and urged us to get on board with all speed. This we did, and the sails were hoisted, but before we had made any way the rocs reached their despoiled nest and hovered about it, uttering frightful cries when they discovered the mangled remains of their young one. For a moment we lost sight of them, and were flattering ourselves that we had escaped, when they reappeared and soared into the air directly over our vessel, and we saw that each held in its claws an immense rock ready to crush us. There was a moment of breathless suspense, than one bird loses its hold and the huge block of stone hurtled through the air, but thanks to the presence of mind of the helmsman, who turned our ship violently in another direction, it fell into the sea close beside us, cleaving it asunder till we could nearly see the bottom. We had hardly time to draw a breath of relief before the other rock fell with a mighty crash right in the midst of our luckless vessel, smashing it into a thousand fragments, and crushing, or hurling into the sea, passengers and crew. I myself went down with the rest, but had the good fortune to rise unhurt, and by holding on to a piece of driftwood with one hand and swimming with the other I kept myself afloat and was presently washed up by the tide on to an island. Its shores were steep and rocky, but I scrambled up safely and threw myself down to rest upon the green turf.

garden of delights
trees laden with flowers and fruit
crystal stream babbles

© Chèvrefeuille

When I had somewhat recovered I began to examine the spot in which I found myself, and truly it seemed to me that I had reached a garden of delights. There were trees everywhere, and they were laden with flowers and fruit, while a crystal stream wandered in and out under their shadow. When night came I slept sweetly in a cozy nook, though the remembrance that I was alone in a strange land made me sometimes start up and look around me in alarm, and then I wished heartily that I had stayed at home at ease. However, the morning sunlight restored my courage, and I once more wandered among the trees, but always with some anxiety as to what I might see next. I had penetrated some distance into the island when I saw an old man bent and feeble sitting upon the river bank, and at first I took him to be some ship-wrecked mariner like myself. Going up to him I greeted him in a friendly way, but he only nodded his head at me in reply. I then asked what he did there, and he made signs to me that he wished to get across the river to gather some fruit, and seemed to beg me to carry him on my back. Pitying his age and feebleness, I took him up, and wading across the stream I bent down that he might more easily reach the bank, and bade him get down. But instead of allowing himself to be set upon his feet (even now it makes me laugh to think of it!), this creature who had seemed to me so decrepit leaped nimbly upon my shoulders, and hooking his legs round my neck gripped me so tightly that I was well-nigh choked, and so overcome with terror that I fell insensible to the ground. When I recovered my enemy was still in his place, though he had released his hold enough to allow me breathing space, and seeing me revive he prodded me adroitly first with one foot and then with the other, until I was forced to get up and stagger about with him under the trees while he gathered and ate the choicest fruits. This went on all day, and even at night, when I threw myself down half dead with weariness, the terrible old man held on tight to my neck, nor did he fail to greet the first glimmer of morning light by drumming upon me with his heels, until I perforce awoke and resumed my dreary march with rage and bitterness in my heart.

Garden of Delights

It happened one day that I passed a tree under which lay several dry gourds, and catching one up I amused myself with scooping out its contents and pressing into it the juice of several bunches of grapes which hung from every bush. When it was full I left it propped in the fork of a tree, and a few days later, carrying the hateful old man that way, I snatched at my gourd as I passed it and had the satisfaction of a draught of excellent wine so good and refreshing that I even forgot my detestable burden, and began to sing and caper.

sparkling wine
arouses the senses
again in love

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... this is another nice fairytale ... the story continues at our "The Story Goes On" page above in the menu.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 26th at noon (CET). I will publish our new weekend-meditation later on today.