Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Little Creatures" #2, "I dreamed I was a butterfly" (Soshi)

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a relief it was as I saw all of your wonderful responses on our first "Little Creatures" episode. It was a gamble as I created this new feature. I didn't know how you would respond, because I asked you, in the spirit of Basho and Issa, to look more closely to your surroundings and to point your attention to the little creatures, like bugs and small flowers, of our nature, that wonderful Creation, but I was stunned as I read your haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka and haibun on Little Creatures.
This episode of Little Creatures could be easily also be an episode of Carpe Diem's "Sparkling Stars", because as far as I know, the haiku by Wafu, a not so wellknown haiku-poet, is just the only one Wafu ever wrote. At least, this haiku is the only one I know by Wafu.
In this haiku Wafu was inspired by a piece of poetry by Soshi (Chuangtse) who says the following:

[...] "Long ago I, Chuangtse, dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting about lightly on if I were really one, happily following my fancies. Suddenly awakening, again I was in the form of Chuangtse. Was it a case of Chuangtse dreaming he was a butterfly, or is it now that a butterfly is dreaming that it is Chuangtse? I do not know". [...]

Soshi's experience of the fact that he and the butterfly were one, has been shared by countless human beings to some degree; for example, Kotomichi (1798-1868):

my heart
that was rapt away
by the wild cherry-blossoms, -
will it return to my body
when they scatter?

Credits: Chuangtse's butterfly (woodblock-print)
What Soshi did was to name it by expressing it. Before it was named, it was formless, like a new-born child, inchoate, a day-dream in the mind of God. But when it had been enunciated, it had a soundless tone that still echoes faintly in the recesses of our soul, a life which still moves to be born again in the womb of our spirit. So Wafu's experience was not only of the butterfly before his eyes, but also of Soshi's, though not of two things. The coming back to himself was a feeling of loss and discomfort, typical of what the soul suffers upon alienation from God.

cho kiete tamashii ware ni kaeri keri

the butterfly having disappeared,
my spirit
came back to me

© Wafu

Isn't it wonderful? Wafu has a feeling of loss, he feels lonely, could be even a 'near death experience', but than, suddenly his spirit returns to him!
Or was it lack of inspiration? And after a while or a long time, his inspiration came back to him. Don't we all have those periods in which we have no inspiration? Don't worry than ... the butterfly will return to you!

wandering through the meadow
following the path of butterflies -
I find my spirit

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode and I hope that it will inspire you to write an all new haiku on a little creature. For now ... have fun!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 28th at noon (CET).


  1. Thank you for another outstanding prompt! Your haiku is beautiful - and I am really touched by the poems by Kotomichi and Wafu -- wow :)

  2. Kristjaan, I had just come in from my garden when I read this prompt. Whimsical - I have no problem dreaming

  3. Beautiful post - and your haiku really is so good. Great concept as well, and wonderful way to look at interaction with nature.