Matsuzawa Pond Ginko-no-renga

Posted in Event report, Ginko-no-renga, Spring on May 20, 2019 by Gerald

 

 

click on the picture to read the renga

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Matsuzawaike Ginko-no-renga was organized, and hosted by Teruko Yamamoto in Ibaraki, Osaka. 14 people attended, including two from distant Shikoku. The stroll took place on 3/31, a day of mixed weather, and featured a walk along the bank of the Pond, stops at local shrines, and a visit to Tadao Ando’s famous Church of the Light 光の教会 .

Gerald Staggers (Duro; sabaki), Mizuho Shibuya (shuhitsu)

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Round the Table

Posted in Haibun, Haiku with tags on May 17, 2019 by David Stormer Chigusa

How odd that we who aspire to or pride ourselves on our knowledge, wisdom, originality and insight find that simplest and most universal of phenomena, mortality, so difficult to come to terms with.

We deal with it like a sudden exorbitant bill that arrived in the mail – a bill, no less, for utilities we have made lavish use of. It is there on the table. We knew it would come some day. Yet it still doesn’t seem fair. We wish we had never even seen or touched it, let alone opened it.

Or is this simile trite? Isn’t death more like fire: another natural phenomenon, familiar, intrinsic and essential, that is nevertheless apart, ineffable, unpredictable and fearful? That leaps from where it was softly glowing – a little dinnertable flame. Knocked over, it is a writhing snake in your lap in the time it takes you to blink. Venom without antidote. Even the most levelheaded of us leap back with boomerang eyebrows.

Circumstances, both my own and others’, are such that death has been smoldering in my mind for the past few weeks, and appearing in warm conversations.

Things that could be
better we speak of as
things that just are

Things that may lead
to death we speak of as
part of our lives

Round the table
we share the good, the bad
as music plays

The Last of My Wandering Journeys: Part II – Minakami

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Travel with tags on May 10, 2019 by sosui

.. My train arrived at Minakami Station on time. I had two hours before the next train left, so I decided to look at the town. Minakami is a hot spring resort, and I saw many hotels around the station, but no people. I wanted to look at the River Toné, but there was no sign directing me to the riverside trail. So, I decided to walk to the bridge situated to the north of the station. The Toné, now the size of an ordinary river, was rushing past with sparkling waters.
.. When I got back to the station, I found a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the suspension bridge known for its Yosano Akiko poem monuments. On arrival there, I was surprised by the beauty of this place. Here, the River Toné makes a sudden bend, forming rapids as it flows on through a little gorge. From the suspension bridge, I was able to see Mt. Tanigawa and other mountains forming a range. For a moment, I thought I spied snow at the top, but soon realized it was white clouds covering the summits like a cap. I was disappointed by the monuments, though, disliking their childish designs, but one monument, standing below the bridge on a rock right by the river, did impress me. The poem inscribed on the black marble slab was so fine that I am tempted to quote it here.
………. Craggy rocks rear up,
………. Trying to block the river:
………. How useless they are!
………. The stream runs like an arrow,
………. The youthful Toné!
The poem proved a very accurate description of the scene before me.
.. I found one huge granite boulder beside the bridge and a single pine tree growing from it.
………. High, the autumn sky
………. Above a pine, whose trunk stands
………. Unshaken in the wind.

To be continued …

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2019 Results

Posted in Haibun, News with tags , on April 18, 2019 by Tito

The results of the 8th Genjuan Haibun Contest are as follows.  It was a good year for Canadian writers! We received 94 entries from a record 19 countries this year. Our gratitude goes to all entrants and congratulations to the awardees. We also wish to thank our new judge, Toru Kiuchi, for his hard work and insightful remarks. The five prize-winning 2019 entries have now been posted to the Icebox on a separate page (find orange link at top right). Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as the judges did.

Grand Prix

Memories of a Coal-Miner’s Grandson   Bryan D. Cook  (Canada)

An (Cottage) Prizes

Wigan Flash    Judy Kendall  (UK)
Come and See   Sean O’Connor  (Ireland)
White Out   Marcyn Del Clements  (USA)
Seeing in Darkness ..Branko Manojlovic . (Serbia/Japan)

Honourable  Mentions

House of the Sun   Jeff Doleman  (USA)
An Aura   Diana Webb  (UK)
Food for Thought    Ignatius Fay  (Canada)
The Beggar near the Palma Cathedral   Joan Prefontaine  (USA)
Cherries   Terry Ann Carter  (Canada)

Tokyo Meeting

Posted in Haiku, Travel with tags , on April 15, 2019 by David Stormer Chigusa

In spite of my Icebox truancy, Tito kindly invited me to take part in a meeting in Ueno, almost two weeks ago, of the Meguro International Haiku Circle. And then, in spite of my arriving late, the poets kindly asked me to contribute some of my haiku.

Here are the three I read out, composed last month on a trip to Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Gold pagoda
Roofs outreached by limbs of
A yellow tree

Not a Buddha
But a man, arms folded
At a bus stop

I played ball with
The children, and parting
Was no sorrow

Then, nearing home that evening, inspired by the poetry I’d heard and the acquaintances I’d made, the following came to me while walking by the river

Dark Sumida
From where these loud slaps on
The rolling hull?

The Last of My Wandering Journeys: Part I – The Toné River

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Travel on April 13, 2019 by sosui

.. We had a lot of rain this summer. When autumn came, I was seized with a burning desire to go on a wandering journey. Already eighty-six, with weakening legs, I knew it was going to be the last of my journeys. From the very outset, however, I fully enjoyed this journey, for I had to plan it rather carefully. Wanting to go to remote places I had not seen before, I chose Lake Okutadami in Niigata Prefecture, Ozemiike Pond in Fukushima Prefecture, and Ryuoukyo Gorge and Kinugawa Spa in Tochigi Prefecture. I found out that it would be possible to visit all these places in three days by using local trains and country buses. Timing would be a bit tricky, though, as two typhoons were in the offing! Once the first one had passed, I decided to leave immediately, for there would surely be at least two fine days, perhaps three, before the next typhoon arrived. I had to hurry, though, because one of the buses I wanted to use would stop its service in less than ten days.
………. The typhoon gone by,
………. I watched my dreams revolving
………. Round my little room.
.. So, at Takasaki Station, I got on a local train on the Joetsu Line. Unfortunately, it was one of those rather uncomfortable commuter trains. The main attraction of this line was a long tunnel that lies on the border of Gunma and Niigata Prefectures and I had been wanting to travel through this for the first time in my life. With Takasaki soon behind me, I enjoyed the changing views of Mt. Haruna from the train window. I live at the foot of this mountain, but what I saw from the train window was an entirely different shape. Mt. Haruna has multiple peaks, so that as we move in relation to it, we never see the same mountain form.
.. Soon after the train left Shibukawa Station, I had a spectacular view of the River Toné. As its nickname Bando Taro (First Son of the East Country) indicates, it is one of the largest rivers in Japan. When it came into view, it was near flood level after the typhoon and was collecting the water of a major branch, too, thus almost doubling its size. T. S. Eliot once called the Mississippi “a brown god”. The River Toné was an angry brown god that day.
………. Trees and grasses bow
………. As an angry god cavorts
………. Headlong through the vale.
.. I continued to feel anxious, as I knew the train service could well be suspended before I had finished my journey. My experience told me, though, that the headwaters of the river might already be abating in this fine weather. And, sure enough, the River Toné became less and less brown as I travelled north.

To be continued …

The Shimanto River Line

Posted in Haipho, Spring, Travel with tags on March 31, 2019 by Nori

a limpid stream runs
beside the unprofitable railway –
swelling of buds