Archive for November, 2012

Crimson Tallow Leaves

Posted in Event report, Renga with tags on November 17, 2012 by Tito

A shisan renku, consisting of twelve verses that follow, through the process of shift-and-link, the progress of the seasons: 秋冬春夏.

The linked verse was composed on 4 Nov. in an 8-mat tea-room at Yasui Kompira Jinja Kaikan on a fine, still autumn day, which included a lunchtime stroll to the Kamo River in eastern Kyoto. Eleven poets took part and most had at least one of their offered verses chosen. The ‘tallow leaves’ are those of the  ナンキンハゼ nankinhaze tree (candleberry). Subhadassi, a visiting British artist with a passion for renga, had visited Mt. Ogura the previous day.

Crimson tallow leaves
light up the paths
towards smoke blue Ogura

from somewhere
the smell of mackerel

singing children
disperse for home
with the temple bell

a stone thrown far
into the moat

after washing my face
at a service station
winter full moon

she cycles through
each season

cherry blossoms
have fallen
into the maiko’s kimono

the newborn arrives
ahead of schedule

on the riverbank
somebody touched my shoulder
weeping willow

echoing down the phone line
his loneliness

they punch back
sturdy sunflowers
holding their ground

the elevator goes up
but doesn’t come down.

participants (not in order of their contributions): Subhadassi (sabaki), Tito (shuhitsu), Mayumi Kawaharada (host), Jiko, Mari Kawaguchi, Hisashi Miyazaki, Ursula Maierl, Gerald Staggers, Kittredge Stephenson, Masako Fujie and Peter MacIntosh.

Mt. Daisen Autumn Haike

Posted in Autumn, Event report, Haiku with tags on November 11, 2012 by Tito

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Hailstone Haiku Circle’s 11th annual autumn haike (haiku hike) took place on the weekend of Oct. 20-21 in fine, still weather. 17 people, aged between 7 and 60-something, took part. All but two reached the summit of the Chugoku region’s highest peak (1,700m plus), Mt. Daisen in Tottori, but that was hardly the point of the hike. Rather, it was to tune into the mountain autumn and its layers of happy austerity. Two cars came from Kyoto, and one each from Osaka, Okayama and Kurayoshi. Once together, our first afternoon was spent strolling leisurely around the remains of Daisenji Temple and praying at the Ogamiyama Shrine.

the tilted top / of this stone lantern, / moss at Buddha’s feet  (Michael Lambe)

first snow on Mt Daisen? / no – the scarred white slopes  (Richard Donovan)

We climbed Jakujō Hill to watch the sun setting over the Shimane Peninsular, bedding down that night in the Sanrakusō, the only remaining pilgrim shukubō on the mountain.

Transparent autumn – / the Bow Bay of Yumigahama / lens-like, far away  (Miki Kotera)

Our host, a monk himself, provided the most attentive service. The evening meal appeared – a tray of small, delicate dishes combining wild autumn mushrooms with local vegetables and seaweed, delicately prepared. After dinner, we shared some of our haiku from the first day … in the usual convivial mode.

climbing a mountain / deeper & deeper / into autumn  (Jiko)

The following morning, we left early for our climb, dragging our feet up the unremittingly steep, stepped path that zigzags an ancient beech forest resplendent in shafts of sun and autumn tints.

Mountain mist / moving to reveal / one golden tree  (Sean O’Connor)

in my ears / a pounding heart, / and all through the beech forest, / woodpeckers  (David McCullough)

Fall leaves – /brighter still / the hiker’s gear  (Kittredge Stephenson)

The jagged edge of the summit ridge finally came into view over reddening shrubs.

mountain climbers gone, /leaving autumn silence – / wind rustles the wood  (Akira Kibi)

We had finally to trudge on a raised plank path, ever upwards, across acres of withered flowers and grasses, in burning sun but with a cold breeze blowing. At the top, slowly we collected to sit down and eat our packed lunches amid a throng of other hikers. The youngest companion, the Kibis’ granddaughter, Nanami, had made it all the way entirely under her own steam – and still, fortunately, with some energy in reserve!

Summit view – / eight wind turbines / in the direction of / the Land of Susano-o  (Tito)

For some the descent proved cruel on knees and thighs, but the charitable lent a hand and we all made it back to the temple that had seemed at lunchtime so far, far below. Those early to arrive even managed another bath before our departure. How many snoozed in the various cars as the drivers propped open their eyelids, ticking off the homeward miles? Sleep must have come to all that night through the yellow of beech and the ruby-red of rowan.

Sunlit beechwoods, / twilit waves of silvergrass – / my Daisen souvenirs  (Kyoko Nozaki)

Autumn glory

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Travel on November 6, 2012 by John Dougill

I recently made a trip to Shirakawa-go in the Gifu mountains, which is a World Heritage Site for the ‘gassho-zukuri’ (prayer-hands) housing and the traditional way of life carried out in them, fostered by long months of isolation during the heavy snowfalls of winter. Yet even more impressive than the human heritage was the natural display put on by the thickly forested hills surrounding the settlements. I had the feeling that culture was here trumped by nature….

Mountain folds
Like patterned kimono
In yellows, reds and browns

Carpet of deeply dappled hues:
First snow glistening

On autumn slopes
White wisps dissolving –
Our journey’s end

The Last Twelve Hours

Posted in Autumn, Haibun with tags on November 1, 2012 by David Stormer Chigusa

I cycled home last night at about 7pm, a taxi was parked in front of our building, driver beside it. What is he doing? He said he couldn’t wait.

his cock half out
my stoppit comes out imsorry

Before bed I wander out to have another look at the crystal dark autumn sky – then again after breakfast this morning.

That pearl in black
that diamond
this bleached morning

7am. Pesky sparrows that will only shit on the verandah. Wait a minute—they’re in heat!

Sparrow pair
back on the porch—
I no longer notice