Autumn glory

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

Spring promise

We’re into the sankan shion 三寒四温 time (three days cold, four days warm), and with Kitano’s Baikasai 梅花際 (plum blossom festival) at the end of the week spring is about to burst forth despite Kyoto’s recent covering of snow… Here’s a trio of haiku from the past cold spell which draw on the traditional notion of looking forward to the new season…

Sweet Valentine –
Plum blossom bud
Shyly emerging


Grey sky, grey stream
Black cormorants brooding:
Kingfisher flash of spring


Frisky ducks
Oblivious to snow –
Forgotten memories

The Spirituality of Haiku

I wonder if I could draw members’ attention to a piece on my blog… It includes a short account of the classical-style renku session at
Kitano Tenmangu last Saturday, put on as part of Kyoto City’s Bunka-sai, followed by a quotation about the spiritual nature of haiku which I think practitioners might find inspirational.
Please see here. Thank you, JD.