Friday, May 22, 2015

On The Trail With Basho Encore (2) fragile twigs

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Last week I introduced a new feature here at Carpe Diem to honor "my haiku master" Basho and his haiku. I realized myself that I had forgotten to write an all new episode of "Encore" yesterday (Thursday May 21st) so here it is a new episode of our new feature "On The Trail With Basho Encore" and I think I have a nice haiku for you all.

The given haiku Basho wrote when he was 33 years old, a mature man, and he had contributed it, together with 19 other verses,to a colossal poetry contest arranged by Fûko (a rich daimyo patron). The contest was entered by over 60 poets. Kigin and Saiganji Ninko were the referee-judges.

After the contest father and son Ninko created an Anthology of the results called Roppya kuban Haikai Hokku awase (The Hokku contest in Six Hundred Rounds). It was shown that of the twenty verses Basho entered nine were published, placing him as one of the best of the participants and that made him an established master.

That's for the background ... now back to the given haiku for this week's “On The Trail With Basho Encore” episode. First I will give the Japanese verse in Romanji followed by the English translation.

eda moroshi   hi toshi yaburu    aki no kaze

fragile twigs
breaking off the scarlet papers
autumn winds

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

'Toshi' refers to a very fragile paper made in China. The idea of the poem was that even a fragile twig could tear the paper or the twigs were too fragile to hold on to the Autumn leaves.

autumn colors

I can picture this scene in front of my eyes. A stormy Autumn day, the fragile twigs, elastic as they are, ruining the scarlet papers or the soft skin of the tree, but can't stand to hold up their leaves. Fragile as the twigs are they finally break taking with them in their fall the fragile paper or skin of the tree.

To write a haiku inspired on the one by Basho, in his Spirit so to say, isn't easy, but I have to try it of course ...

autumn winds -
colorful leaves struggling
their end is near

© Chèvrefeuille

I think this one is a wonderful one (how immodest). It's for sure in the Spirit of Chèvrefeuille, but is it also in the Spirit of Basho? I don't know ..., but I think ... yes it is.
!! I am behind with commenting I hope to catch up a.s.a.p.

This episode of "Encore" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Thursday May 28th at noon (CET). Have fun!


  1. I hope I stayed close to the spirit of the original and your very nice one, despite changing season and weather. I really enjoy these 3 prompt evenings! A busy time..though waiting for others is a pain, always keen to see other ones. Some excellent, others disappointing. I always know who is going to visit, and shame on those who never look at other haiku - you know who you are.

    1. Unfortunately, those who don't make the rounds will probably never see your comment here either.

    2. A shame not to have seen your haiku/renga and the one which was to follow. I can understand the impatience of waiting for other writers to post ... though that is rarely my problem as I post at dawn the day after the CDHK episodes go up.

  2. Gorgeous haiku, Chevrefeuille -- definitely in the spirit of the original.

  3. Beautiful haiku with a suggested ominous tinge .I like yours better than Basho's !

  4. Thank you so much Chevrefeuille for the gems of wisdom you so carefully craft for us everyday! Your Haiku's are are truly inspirational!
    Thank you so much Hamish for making me pull up my socks. My heartfelt apologies to all. I've been reading all of your inspiring work but am way behind in returning the love showered! I'll make sure to catch up. I'm pretty sure I top your list of disappointing, but I hope to get better by learning from all of your collective wisdom. :-) :-) :-) Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!!!