Archive for December, 2009

From the Icebox inbox 10 – sand & water

Posted in Submissions with tags , on December 27, 2009 by Tito
last light–
i follow my shadow
into the kuwait desert
(tori inu)

…… warm sand
…… trickles through my fingers ~
…… two gulls drift apart
……  … (gerry bravi)

White masts stand against
the blue river: boats sailing
in the frozen yard.
(Tim Napier)

…… punting upstream
…… red leaves swirling behind –
…… boatman’s song echoes
……  … (ming)

A rag doll sinking –
waves of ocean wipe its eyes
painted in black ink
(Clelia Ifrim)

Encouraging/critical comments, welcome!

Seasonal greetings

Posted in Haiku, Winter with tags , on December 26, 2009 by John Dougill

Warm Christmas:
In amongst the pigeons
White seagulls

Like autumn leaves
The woman beneath the bridge

Mt. Mikami Haike

Posted in Autumn, Event report, Winter with tags , on December 24, 2009 by Hisashi Miyazaki

On the morning of Dec. 6th, five Hailstones, one guest poet, an MBS reporter and a TV cameraman gathered in front of Yasu Station. The guest was Judy Kendall, who had once lived in Kanazawa but was now on a visit from the UK. Yasu in Shiga Prefecture (Omi Country) is the birthplace of Kitamura Kigin (1624-1705), the teacher of Basho, and is famous for eye-catching Mt. Mikami (432 m). This name is an honorific for its god.  “I was pleased because  Mt. Mikami looked like  Mt. Fuji…”, Basho once wrote in his famous haibun, ‘Record of the Illusion-dwelling Hut’ (Genjuan no ki). The mountain is also known as Omi Fuji.

Omi Fuji’s base

red leaves under the green

centipede curling

(Judy Kendall)

The mountain has another name – ‘Mukade-yama’, Centipede Mountain! A tenth century folktale tells us that there once was a giant centipede inhabiting the mountain that harrassed people nearby. It wound itself round Omi Fuji seven-and-a-half times before being killed by the warrior Tawara-no-Hyota. The monster was presumed to have been the vengeful spirit of the deceased general, Taira-no-Masakado. Dreadful!

Before climbing, we visited Mikami Shrine to pray, as a courtesy, for a safe climb.  That morning, a wedding ceremony was being held.

priest’s invocation

for the bride and groom –

winter morning birdsong

(Hisashi Miyazaki)

The trail to the mountain-top was gated against the wild boar that might otherwise raid the village fields. Once past, our path climbed through dark cedar forest.

creaking trees

above, to left and right ―

beneath, a sapling sprout

(Sayoko Ozaki)

Under the coloured trees

poets discuss their poems –

birds singing high up

(Toshi Ida)

We came across a flat place where a temple called Myokendo had once stood. The only remaining wooden structure had completely collapsed.

In amongst the tiles

of the ruined temple,


and Ribobitan D


The trail become steeper and steeper as a view gradually spread out.

how many climbers

have grasped this root for aid

shining still like teak

(John McAteer)

top to bottom: a British Basho, a Japanese Wordsworth and an American Zeami?

At the top was a large sacred rock where Amenomikage (grandson of Amaterasu and diety of Mikami Shrine), had descended to earth. To have lunch on the rock would have been truly ‘awesome’ (but we refrained)! Instead, we rested on an outcrop just outside the consecrated zone. Wonderful was the view from the mountain out across the plain of Goshu (another name for Omi): withered winter paddies in sunshine, a hazy Hiei and Hira (mountains) across Biwa Lake.

right to left: SO, JK, HM, TI, Ms Nakao ( MBS reporter), SG, JM

Descending the mountain…

The steepened rock, pressed

so kindly into foot-shaped steps

by past travellers’ feet

(Judy Kendal)

At Wareiwa Rock, someone made a detour…

Caught in a giant rock –

the moment of fear before

kissing it


Hailstone Poets’ Work Featured on BBC Radio & Mainichi TV

Posted in News on December 11, 2009 by Tito

You may like to note that Stephen’s latest BBC Radio programme featuring haiku, entitled The Great Bell, will be broadcast as part of the series Between the Ears this coming Saturday evening (Dec. 12) 22:00-22:30 on Radio 3. It is on the subject of Buddhist temple bells and has some great sounds in it. For all who are not in Britain (or those who are and missed it on air), go to the Radio 3 page on the BBC Radio site
sometime after broadcast and click ‘programmes’, then ‘Between the Ears’; or ‘schedule’ and find it there. You should be able to listen to it for at least a week after broadcast, maybe more. The haiku are all (except one) by Japanese poets, several of them belonging to the Hailstone Haiku Circle! The programme is mostly in English.

Hailstones will also feature in a forthcoming Mainichi TV news programme (Kansai area only), entitled Voice. You will most probably see the Yomiuri Eigo de Haiku (Nov.) class, our Autumn Haike up Mt. Mikami in Shiga, as well as dressing a pine-tree with poems up on Mt. Ogura. The approx. 10-min. corner is called Kiwamon and is scheduled to go out on Friday 18 Dec. between 17:50 and 18:40 . 毎日放送の関西エリアで17:50~18:40の間(10分ほど?)12月18日(金)放送予定。「VOICEコーナー きわもん」Although the haiku will be shown in English, this programme is in Japanese. Hisashi is helping at present with translation of some of the haiku into Japanese. An article in Japanese will also be found for a while after broadcast at <; Let’s hope this brings more volunteers onto Mt. Ogura!

From a distance

Posted in Tanka with tags on December 8, 2009 by Nori

on the shallow blue sea
slide                                                                                                              with their white lines
stretching stretching


namigashira, touasa no umi o, suberi ori

shiroku sujidatsu, nobinobi toshite

The Ginkgo Tree

Posted in Autumn, Event report, Ginko-no-renga with tags on December 7, 2009 by Tito

Blessed with halcyon autumn weather, eleven of us assembled in Okayama for the weekend of Nov. 7 and 8. Haiku composition (ginko) began in the gardens of Korakuen, continuing  in the older Kibiji district at Kibitsu Jinja, a short train ride and a walk away.

The renga was edited by Nobuyuki and Sean, and just the opening sequence is given below. In all, there are 18 stanzas. Publication is currently being sought in a British journal.

Three of us were invited by our hosts, Sean and Junko, to stay overnight in the village of Yuzuri. The renga compilation continued there (as well as later in an email exchange between the two editors). Our thanks to them both for their efforts, and to Junko, too, for convivial hospitality.

The ginkgo tree

At the end of the long corridor –

Its golden leaves

….. Sosui

Into the oracle chapel

A beam of autumn sun

….. Tito

On rock mountain

Spirit of Kibi kings –

Bulbul shrieking

….. John

Suddenly a broom sends forth

A bouncing pebble

….. Sean

The water-mill

Wheeling golden drips

Again and again

….. Akira

A stray cat stalks

This forgotten railroad

….. Miki