Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Carpe Diem #924 humour (reprise)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you can see above we are having a "reprise" episode of humour and Hamish has written this essay especially for this publication, because we both were not aware of the double prompt, so Hamish wrote an all new essay on humour which I will share beneath.


This month we are exploring and sharpening our senses together with Hamish Managua Gunn (a.k.a. Pirate). He provides us with all the posts this month together we Ese and me.
Today we are exploring humour and as I have told you in an earlier post ... I am not a haiku poet who uses humour in his haiku. Of course I have tried it and you could have read those haiku in earlier posts at CDHK. Today, however, I love to share (in tune with Hamish's essay) a tanka inspired on clowns or in this case ... a so called Merry Andrew:

painted face
hides his sad life -
every day again wearing his mask
making the world laugh

© Chèvrefeuille

Hamish on humour

A sense of humor, and the sense of the absurd . well, they are topics to vast to cover in just one post, and on this second one, we should look a little behind humor to see what it might be. In fact, that question can be answered in one sentence: humor is tragedy.

The best way to explore that concept is by exploring the clown. Let's see if we can write haiku about the clown to show the different ''sides'' of humor. To outline this post please play the music in the video below while you read, to perhaps put you in the mood. Funnily enough, while choosing a version of this song, I finally settled on one without singing, as I thought the piano conveyed the mood beautifully, as well as who was playing it.

There is so much we can identify with in a circus clown - and so much we can identify about our cultures, and about life. In many ways, the topic of ''clown'' begs for an extraordinary haiku. How can we capture that pathos, the jester, joker, who paints on his happy face, bounds out into the circus ring to laughter and applause and then after the show sits in his empty caravan wiping the paint off.

There is a certain male identity with being  clown, and female clowns have been very rare in history. That is nothing to be ashamed of - on the contrary, because the clown sometimes shows us characterizations of the male psyche.

For your haiku about humor today, focus on a clown, and see how you are able to portray him, or her. This is a difficult haiku, as a dose of too much sadness takes us too far down the road of sentimentalism, yet a haiku about only a laughing clown seems to lack depth.

Clown (Original Oil on Board Painting)
It is a difficult challenge, but I think a fascinating one for many reasons. 

I thought I would try a couple here, to see what I could come up with. When I think of all the famous portrayal of clowns, from Jack Nicholson in Batman, to an inexplicable Ronald McDonald, Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau, and so many in the circuses and TV shows of our youth, I can see a lot of material as reference.

the show is over
a clown stands in the night rain
make-up dripping off

I wanted to get autumn into that haiku, thus the rain, but found it hard to really get to grips with the pathos.

at her caravan
the clown offers a red rose
the acrobat laughs

Well I managed to get those syllables down - good thing, too, the first versions were a rambling tale. I kind of want to put ''just'' after ''acrobat'' in the last line, but it doesn't feel like a ''haiku word'' to me, and may just push the haiku too far. Your turn now. I look forward to reading what you come up with, in this theme.

Venice Carnival
My response

I love clowns, but I also feel the double-life in a clown. The most clowns are hiding their life behind their mask and that inspired me to write the following cascading haiku (with a twist at the end):

dark green eyes
hidden behind a mask -
she's mysterious

she's mysterious
breathtaking glamorous mask
attractive force

attractive force
mystical and magical
who is she?

who is she?
thrills of unmasking at midnight
exposed to the world

exposed to the world
she turns into a man with
dark green eyes

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this reprisal of humour and I hope it will inspire you too as it did Hamish and me. 

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 26th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, a new episode of our special feature Tokubetsudesu, later on.

PS. Something went wrong I think, because I am a day behind with creating the posts, must be due the nightshift. My excuses for this inconvenience.


  1. Woah-----that was a twist at the end.......you explored human psyche there in dark, rxotic ways - so interesting. Chev, one of your best, o, the best tumbling haiku, and not only because of the concept of a 'twist' or 'sting' in the tail - this makes me very interested in this form now.

  2. Your cascading haiku is quite haunting - the repeated lines make it quite chilling.
    I thought I should explain why I am at now at a new blogging URL. I had technical problems with the blog I set up last week and have now created a new one which will be my new online home. Suzanne