A Cirku for Fujiwara Teika

Click on the photo to better read the poem!

This small wooden statue of the C13th compiler of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, ‘One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each’, Japan’s best-known collection of classical tanka, is housed in a tiny wooden pavilion, the Kasenshi, within the precincts of Jojakkoji Temple in Saga, Kyoto. It is seldom unlocked. See poem no. 3 in our new collection, ‘One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each’ for a haiku about its unlocking!

Praying for no clouds, I look forward to the Hailstone kukai + moon-viewing this Thursday…

What’s a cirku?

A cirku is a haiku presented in a circular form, with gaps indicating lineation. You read the poem clockwise, usually beginning at about the one o’clock position. The reader is free, however, to start on any ‘line’. A true cirku will work, irrespective of which gap you begin reading it from. It is not easy to compose a good one! The example below was written in 2006 at Grassington, not far from where I was born. The Yorkshire Dales are the rolling grassy remnants of glaciated valleys. The town is in Upper Wharfedale and has a pretty, cobbled market square at its heart. That day, a Caribbean steel band was playing there. ‘cowpats’ are 牛のふん
Presenting a haiku with a complementary photo has been called both shahai and haisha (from shashin, the Japanese for ‘photo’), but I prefer the term haipho.
Click on the photo to read the cirku and enlarge!
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