Hailstone’s 16th Autumn Haike: Mt. Aoba

Posted in Autumn, Event report, Walking with tags on December 7, 2017 by Ursula Maierl

Takahama-Ōi 高浜町ー大飯郡 district of Wakasa Bay, Fukui Pref. We travelled there and back in three cars.
Nov. 11 (Sat.) – a clutch of nine poets congregated on a day of autumn showers: the six men scaling the heights of Aobayama (693m) for five rigorous hours, while the three women enjoyed the more sedate pleasures of the mountain-foot herb garden. The evening culminated, at Loghouse Akioya, in a rollicking poetry reading of the day’s experiences, that some haijin of earlier centuries might surely have related to.
Nov. 12 (Sun.) – the following morning, as the sun came out, we composed further haiku near the site of Takahama Castle and the eroded arch of Meikyodo beside the Japan Sea’s pounding surf. Two cars then drove over to Ōshima on the leeward side of the Ōi Peninsular, where a harbour stroll was had.
Here follows a selection of our poems, in rough sequential order, with each poet represented.

greeting five hundred
invisible bears
between Kyoto and the sea
……………………….. Ursula

empty forest —
one bird sings
to the steady rain
……………………….. David McC.

here
at the edge of the world
all things are covered in gold —
the sound of bamboo grass
rustling
……………………….. David

tangle of grasping roots —
frozen struggle
of a mountain-top tree
……………………….. William

a friendly hand
wet from rain
pulls me over
the abyss
……………………….. David

at our first proud summit,
the faded clipping:
“Old Man Climbs A Thousand Times”
……………………….. Richard D.

somewhere through
this mountain’s heart —
the sea, crashing
……………………….. Tito

slippery path:
our feet swallowed
by coloured leaves
……………………….. Branko

long legs
short legs
three legs
arse slide
……………………….. Tito

descending Mt Aoba,
light rain turns to hail:
a whispered goodbye
……………………….. Richard

two claps, two bows:
imparting to the god
my full name
and postal code
……………………….. Branko

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between this world and the next —
a gateway framing sky and sea
……………………….. Tomiko

by the slack silver harbour
a fisherman offers me his rod —
I catch his smile
……………………….. Tito

a globefish
dances around my float:
its tantalising orbit
……………………….. Tomo

acorns scattered
all over the herb garden —
immune from the nuclear plant?
……………………….. Kyoko

raucous poets —
hold the pickled mackerel,
pass the persimmon liqueur!
……………………….. Ursula

autumn mountain jaunt —
honouring my ursine name
with bear-like sleep
……………………….. Ursula

*slideshow photos by Tito, Branko, William, Richard & David

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‘Haiku Masters’ Photo Haiku Contest in Kyoto

Posted in Challenge!, Event report, Haipho with tags on November 28, 2017 by Tito

No easy challenge was this! Approached by NHK World TV, Tito was asked to create some photographer-poet teams to participate in a special photo haiku event to take place on Nov. 18 at Doshisha University, Kyoto. He asked for volunteers. They were to have a fortnight or so to make a new work on the theme of ‘Kyoto kawaii’, which perhaps translates best into English as ‘fetching Kyoto’. The producer explained that she was not after ‘cute’. Relief at that! 6 Hailstone poets answered Tito’s urgent call and first sent around by email a few each of their shots of Kyoto, hoping to inspire haiku out of one of the others in the haipho unit.

The most popular photo was one by Mayumi of snow, receiving haiku by 5 poets. Albie’s poem – Returning / after New Year’s bustle / the song of snow – was voted the best for the photo, so they became the Hailstone ‘Snow’ Team. Albie & Mayumi then anguished over the size, colour, position, etc. of the words (as we all did later on). There was an unfortunate repetition of the snow of the picture and the ‘snow’ in the haiku, which the judges picked up on. The programme emphasized the idea of 不即不離 (fusoku-furi), ‘not too close, not too far’. This was a visually beautiful work, but everyone soon realized how difficult it was going to be to make a work that is satisfying to all.

There was a Doshisha student team, which showed a photo of a fallen maple leaf and matched it with a haiku about a blushing girl. One judge commented that the leaf was too red for a young girl and wanted more green to symbolize her youth. I think he called the leaf ‘an old lady’. It was a good attempt nonetheless. Hailstone’s second team was the ‘Buddha’ team of Branko (photo) and William (haiku). Their work received the Audience’s Prize as measured on the applause meter. There were perhaps around 80 people present by the end and they certainly seemed to like the fetching little group of buddha statues huddled together on a tree stump matched with a slightly ironic poem evoking their business of caring for all humans.

The third Hailstone team was dubbed the ‘Maiko-haan’ team, of Peter (photo) and Tito (haiku), with a shot of a maiko peeping from behind a half-closed door matched with a haiku evoking the street outside. Both of the latter teams chose to reference spring in their haiku. The Hailstone Maiko-han Team was awarded the Judges’ Prize, which was a box of confectionery and a lacquerware dish.

There was a seventh member of the unit – Sydney, who contributed photos, haiku and votes to the production process, just like everyone else, but she had to be in Tokyo on the day.

In the first half of the programme, Tito was invited to give a 10-min. presentation on cirku-haipho (photos with circular haiku), something which has been shown over the years on this site. Here are the works he presented at Doshisha: 1) Kyoto 2) New Zealand and 3) Shikoku

The three Hailstone teams’ haipho entries will be shown on the Icebox, one by one, in other postings this winter. お楽しみに!For now, you can see them here at NHK World TV’s site.

Autumn Haze

Posted in Autumn, Haiga on November 14, 2017 by Gerald

click on the picture to read the poem

Persimmon – Hailstone’s new collection is launched

Posted in Book, Event report, News with tags , on November 3, 2017 by Tito
click on any photo to enlarge

Bringing to mind
both classical
and modern tales—
two persimmons ……………………. Mizuho Shibuya

29 Oct. 2017 – in the grip of yet another typhoon, 27 poets gathered at Rakushisha in Western Kyoto to celebrate the launch of our latest anthology, ‘Persimmon’, a collection of haiku by 60 poets, a haibun by Sosui and two rensaku featuring stanzas by multiple authors … and more besides. Rakushisha is known in English as ‘the House of Fallen Persimmons’, and its former owner, Basho’s disciple Mukai Kyorai, once ironically referred to himself as a kakinushi, a ‘Master of Persimmons’.

Having stacked our umbrellas and shed our waterproofs and soggy shoes, Richard Donovan welcomed us and proposed the kampai toast. Stephen Gill then explained how the book came about and thanked those who had assisted him with its production and with the happy launch itself. The persimmon is both homely and transporting (柿は心を和むと同時に別世界に連れて行ってくれる), he pointed out.

Later, we conducted a short kukai using a section of the book, entitled ‘Calendar Says’. It was won in absentia by Nobuyuki Yuasa for the following haiku:
…. Petals are all gone …
…. time for me now to enjoy
…. blossoms in my heart  …………………… Sosui

Runner-up was Branko Manojlovic with:
………………………………….. Hideyoshi’s tomb–
………………………………….. nobody sweeps here
.. but the April wind

The rain and the wind kindly abated to allow us a much drier journey home, albeit through puddles and under low, black, scudding, twilight clouds.

The book has 152 pages and costs ¥1,300 ($12). Details of how to order have been posted on our Publications page.

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2018: submissions and new judge

Posted in Haibun, News, Submissions with tags , on October 1, 2017 by Tito

The Genjuan Contest office is now open to receive your submissions for 2018. Closing deadline will be 31 Jan. (although a day or two beyond is usually OK). Last year, three of four judges were Hailstone poets, with Ellis Avery, at that time living in Melbourne, Australia, giving us her gifted support. Thank you! As Ellis is back in the US now (Boston) studying nursing, she has stepped down and her place as judge will be taken by Angelee Deodhar of Chandigarh, India. Some of you may know her wonderful series of ‘Journeys’ anthologies, each of which gathers more than 100 haibun works. Although she has not so far been associated with Hailstone, we look forward to benefiting from her expertise and to working with her. Nenten Tsubo’uchi’s title has changed to emeritus judge, reflecting the special assistance he gives the final part of the judging process. The rules remain the same as last year. How about entering a piece or two? There are real prizes and certificates and it’s free. Address of our officer, Eiko Mori, and other details are given in the Genjuan 2018 Guidelines (reached via orange page link at top right of the Icebox top page).

from the Icebox inbox – 40

Posted in Haiku, Submissions, Summer on September 11, 2017 by Gerald

white butterfly
on a dandelion –
praying hands

Joanna M. Weston
****************

at the well
between letting the stone go
and splash

Diarmuid Fitzgerald
***************

summer ending
the quiet face of the moon
at sunset

Duro Jaiye
***************

Balloon at Cape Irago

Posted in Event report, Summer with tags , , , on August 6, 2017 by Tito

鷹一つ見つけてうれし伊良湖岬 (芭蕉)
To find a hawk
flying at Cape Irago —
my pleasure, deep
……………… (Basho)

On his 1687 Backpack Notes journey, 笈の小文, Basho had composed this haiku for his beloved disciple, Tokoku 杜国 (aka Mangikumaru 万菊丸), who was exiled in Hobi, near the tip of the Atsumi Peninsular (Aichi) for ‘cooking the books’ with his rice-dealing in Nagoya.

July 23: Tito plans to fly his birthday balloon (a personal ritual) from the ferry leaving Cape Irago after a day (with wife, Kazue, and Hailstone friends, David McCullough and Gerald Staggers – aka Duro Jaiye) visiting Tokoku’s grave at Cho’onji Temple (the “tide-listening” temple) in Hobi and then swimming in the Pacific at Koijigahama Beach.

 

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Leave Kyoto/Osaka early for Toba in Mie, from where we sail across the sea to that erstwhile place of exile.

The ferry departs
through a flotilla of jellyfish —
summer clouds
……………… (Tito)

Landing at Cape Irago, walk out to the lighthouse with its views back to the sacred isle of Kamishima.

all along the seafront
stone carved poems
visited by dragonflies
……………… (David)

midday heat …
in their wheelbarrow
the catch of the day
……………… (Duro)

Indulge, as Basho would have done, in huge clams and oysters at Tamagawa’s in Fukue. Then, at the temple itself, we meet the Zen priest, Miyamoto Rikan 利寛, tending his lotuses. Spend a quiet moment at the graveside, remembering how Basho had wept at the House of Fallen Persimmons after dreaming of Tokoku some months after his premature death. Their relationship had been a happy one, with Basho once brushing the ‘shape’ of Tokoku’s snore onto paper… and them having written pledges together on their travel hats on the way to Yoshino. “His good heart reached to the very core of my own. How could I ever forget him?” (from the Saga Nikki)

波音の墓のひそかにも
the sound of the waves
also heard in secret
from his grave
……………… (Santoka, visiting Cho’onji in 1939)

last patch of summer heat —
cat tails flicking
back and forth
……………… (David)

burning heat …
he waters the small plants
in the rock garden
……………… (Duro)

Rikan proves a genial host, showing us a huge rockery he has made himself; also, the “tide-listening” Kannon statue in the pond at the back of the temple; and, finally, driving us back to Koijigahama Beach near the Cape. Body-surfing and beach-combing before boarding the return ferry.

A pink balloon
leaves my hand …
the sun, too, dropping down
into Ise Bay
……………… (Tito)