Kisame

The Japanese have over 50 – FIFTY – 50 words for rain. Today I am using one of my favorites: kisame 樹雨. This is the rain that drips from the tips of tree branches. I have used the traditional haiku for this.

summer passing – tree
branches weep rain tears
lost in pond below

shutterstock image

Haibun: Who and why

Today I am hosting at dVerse Poets writing about why I write poetry and who inspired me.

Who and Why
I wrote my first haiku when I was six. Our next door neighbor, the last of his line, was a professor of Asian Studies at Duke University. I came and went freely in his home, looking at the antiques, the momentos from his journeys to Japan, and sipping lemonade on his generous front porch. Jamie Pollard was prissy, opinionated, and not afraid to speak his mind. Although I was six and he was 40, we became fast friends. His factotum was a Japanese man who kept the house in order, the vehicles running, and his employer looking perfect. He was also Jamie’s live in lover. At a time when such things were “not spoken of”, Jamie lived his life large. Often in the summer, as I lay on my stomach coloring in my coloring book, he would read Basho and Issa to me and we both sipped lemonade. I suspect his had some liquor added.

When I was 11 and totally bored, my grandmother stopped her preparation of dinner and went to the house library. She came back with several books – T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, and H.D. Thoreau. She put them down in front of me and said, I think these will keep you busy for a couple of weeks. I was inspired by all three writers. Thus began my interest in writing about nature in the form of “snapshots”…haiku. The Viet Nam war was ramping up. I wrote of poems about peace, love, and later, about drugs. Once when I was practicing my cursive writing, my father took out a lovely fountain pen and gave it to me. He said to me, “write your heart”. And I did. I took it with me everywhere I traveled – from the Coast of North Carolina to the summit of Mt. Fuji. I loaded it up with peacock blue ink. I write my heart, my soul, my feelings, my questions about life. I write simply. Like spring rain or snow or the ancient trees in the forest. Inspired by poets and people I love, I write. I will always write about life and how I perceive it.

spring comes in slowly
scattering snow and cherry blossoms –
legacy of love in verse

Haibun: Snow like fire

Today is Quadrille Monday at dVerse. A quadrille is a poem in any form with exactly 44 words (excluding the title) and using the prompted word. Dee (Whimzy Gizmo) is the pubtender at dVerse Poets Pub. She has given us the world “fire” to use in the quadrille. I am actually doing non-traditional in the ending haiku with not keeping to the 5-7-5 syllable count.  I am publishing on dVerse Poets Pub

Snow like Fire
It started out as rain but quickly turned into heavy snow. Daffodils show like flames against the white. My flowering quince smolders like a slow fire in the falling snow.

snow falls like freezing fire–
flowers show against white –
burns slowly in the cold

copyright kanzensakura

 

 

Haibun: The Grey

Haibun Monday at dVerse.  Bjorn is our host and enjoins us to think of grey.

The Grey
I am a porch sitter from ‘way back. I sit on the steps of our back porch in all weathers and watch the night. The last full moon was bright. The light changed the world into shades from ash to argent – trees were blacker shapes against the black starry sky and the lawn was palest silver. An old photograph it looked to be. I walked around the yard clothed in grey – the dark grey shrubs, the light silver of dried grass, the middle tones of my skin. The whole world had been transformed into grey by the magic of the moonlight.

I went back to the steps and sat. The frost glittered in the moonlight like faceted hematite. Stretching out under the moon like a grey tabby cat, the lawn flexed and flowed down to the woods. As I watched this silent grey night, from the old potting shed came a small black and white cat followed by two young kittens. I held my breath and watched them go the plate where I had earlier placed food. They didn’t notice me at all, silent and still. I watched as they ate their fill and then returned to the potting shed. A bit later, a red fox crossed the yard at a trot, intent upon his own business looking neither to the right or left of him. The grey holds so many secrets. I get to watch them all unfold – like an old silent movie. When dawn began to come, the world was transformed into lighter grey – everything the same color. I stood up stiffly and went back into the house to awake my husband for work. The inside of the house was warm. The lace curtains in the bedroom changed into a solid sheet of grey, the patterns of the lace growing together. My husband’s face was still and calm, deep into sleep. I gently touched him to awaken him. In the grey pre-dawn, he pulled the quilt over his head and went back to sleep.
grey of winter night –
the moon changes all the dross
into purest silver

stock photo

Haiku: White Wisteria.

Today Frank hosts the dVerse Poets Pub. He is asking for brevity as in Japanese poetic forms of haiku and tanka. All haiku must have a seasonal reference (kigo) but not necessarily a syllable count of 5-7-5. Haiku and tanka are not given titles. If it does not have a seasonal reference, it is a senryu.

 

white wisteria –
ghosts in the trees weeping with
the misty spring rain

 

woodblock by Kono Bairei 1844-1895

Haibun: Snow Day


Haibun: Snow Day

Yesterday it snowed. Not a momentous occasion for you folks who live up North but it was for us who live down South. The last few winters have in fact been unusually snowy and cold for us. The past three weeks, the temperature hovered around 18F both day and night. Brutal cold. But…yesterday it snowed. The state department where my husband works was closed for the day due to the weather. After several weeks of extreme cold, frozen pipes, and a chore to go anywhere or do anything, my husband and I decided to play. We needed it.

We built a blanket fortress in the living room. This room is usually silent but today, it rang with laughter. We used heavy books to anchor the blankets. A quilt on the floor completed our fortress. Breakfast was oatmeal with fresh blueberries (on sale for some reason at the local Aldi’s). We ate sitting on the floor and looking at the snow outside our huge picture window. Board games was the order of the day. After beating him several times at Parcheesi and Dominoes, he switched us to Monopoly. Before we started, I fixed us a lunch of grilled cheese and bacon sammies and for dessert, a fruit cup. The fruit cup was divine made with grapes, blueberries, and sliced pear and drenched in a simple syrup to which I had added lime zest and juice. We took a nap. We plotted the downfall of Trump. We finished our game of Monopoly which I finally lost on purpose because to be honest, I was tired of it. I read him a story (The Three Bears) and we took another nap.

Outside it was snowing hard and cold. Inside, it was warm and laughter rang out. I had left the fort at one point to feed the birds and to put out food for the stray cats. A day without news, TV, or other stresses. We were kids again, best friends against the world and its woes. He went back to work today. I miss him.

fortress of blankets –
us against the world – snow falls –
we play at being kids

copyright kanzensakura

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

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