Haiku and Bussokusekika: New year’s Eve

We all know haiku – 5-7-5 (roughly) with seasonal word. The Bussokusekika is even more ancient Japanese form. It was supposedly found etched upon a stone at a ruined Buddhist temple. The name means “footprints of Buddha” and has a 5-7-5-7-7-7 (strict) syllable count. the weather is bitter – the temp for the days to come this week is to be in the mid-20’s. In spite of the cold, I wish you all warmth and joy in the New Year. This is written in response to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge: #Haikai Challenge #14 (12/30/17): New Year #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #renga #haiga

bitter New Year’s Eve –
stray cats come out of hiding
to eat their fill

the futility
of burning incense – prayers
unanswered ignored
seem to be my fate in this
time of freezing days –
the smoke cannot reach you and
sadness remains – ashes fall
dry tears upon the table

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Frank J. Tassone
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 16:15:38

    Absolutely lovely, Toni! Thank you! Happy New Year!


  2. Frank J. Tassone
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 16:17:52

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #15: Toni Spencer’s latest #Haikai–a #Bussokusekika–for my current Haikai challenge!


  3. qbit
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 16:44:26

    Wow. Great.


  4. SAN_jeet
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 17:52:39

    Happy New Year


  5. Victoria C. Slotto
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 19:31:42

    This hit home for me, Toni–the air of grieving, sadness. When I was about 5, my grandmother, with whom we lived, died suddenly. Every year, I joined my mother in her feelings of loss. Thank you for introducing me to the form and to Frank’s prompt. A new year–begging to have time and energy for more writing and diversification, as you mentioned in a previous haiku.


  6. Mary
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 21:31:32

    Your feelings in this poem are palpable, Toni. You have been through a difficult time. May 2018 bring you relief, joy, and real peace!


  7. Donna@LivingFromHappiness
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 21:32:50

    Hard to celebrate anything with this arctic cold….but I will celebrate in my heart!
    Wishing you a warm and peaceful New Year!


  8. thotpurge
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 21:49:12

    Poignant.. the grief is palpable.. Hope the new year brings new hope and strength Toni.


  9. Sherry Blue Sky
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 21:54:36

    So beautifully poignant, with those dry tears upon the table. Sigh.


  10. Sumana Roy
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 01:34:13

    The sadness is so overwhelming. The words touch the core. May light and warmth fill this New year, Toni.


  11. dsnake1
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 03:13:29

    over here, on New Year’s eve, it was raining very heavily the whole day, and late into New Year’s day. i hope the stray cats in my apartment block had found a dry corner to hide.
    the grief is so palpable in the verses.
    thank you for sharing the lovely poem. Let’s hope 2018 will be better.


  12. oldegg
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 04:27:10

    This is so beautifully sad Kansen. Often as a young man I felt I want to show my feelings with tears but foolishly stoic I held them back. It is easier to cry when you get much older.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 01, 2018 @ 09:01:58

      Yes it easier. I think by then we learn that being stoic isn’t the real way to go. I remember my father who freely wept. He was strong and brave but he also wept. My mother rarely wept. When she did, it was devastating. When I was 4, I learned that being “strong” wasn’t always strong – that it was hiding. Now at 66, I weep freely. Sad that it took me so long to learn to learn to cry.


  13. hypercryptical
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 10:29:47

    How sad your words Toni, and how raw the memories.
    Grief is a time for the strength of tears on the slow and oft unwilling journey toward acceptance, acceptance of a loss so hard to bear we can’t imagine how we ever can.
    I hope peace will embrace you this New Year Toni, and do know my thoughts are of you and with you.
    Loads of love and hugs,


  14. Magaly Guerrero
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 11:06:40

    Harsh weather is such a horror on the homeless–furry or otherwise. The first part squeezed at my heart…


  15. sanaarizvi
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 11:11:05

    Sigh.. the grief here is palpable. Hope the New Year brings glad tidings. Wishing you love and peace in 2018!


  16. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 11:20:05

    So much to love in this… the parallel between the grief and the weather… still there is so much to hope for if we just get closer to each other instead of burning incense for ourselves.


  17. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 07:57:09

    Haunting in both its sadness and beauty.


  18. Susan
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 14:10:12

    Futility so aptly painted ~ Following the cats, “the smoke cannot reach you and
    sadness remains.”


  19. Sarah Russell
    Jan 17, 2018 @ 17:21:15

    Late in getting my comments to you. Outstanding imagery, Toni. Dry tears upon the table. So nice! Wish I could hear you pronounce the name of the form. Brand new one to me.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 17, 2018 @ 18:22:34

      Hey it’s an easy word…lol… Bussokusekika boo-so-KOO say-KAY-ka See? Thank you for your comment. It is even more ancient than tanka. Because of it’s “holy” nature (footprint of Buddha) it is rarely used because the ubiquitous haiku or senryu has taken over. It is a reverent form. Most folks don’t do reverent nowadays. It is new to 99% of people. I’ve been studying Japanese forms for many years. Just stating a fact, not bragging. There are many forms which have become totally archaic.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



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