Posts Tagged With: History

Carpe Diem 2nd Ghost-Writer Week, Jen’s Tanaga

Jen at Blog It Or Lose It has introduced us to a new form, the Tanaga. Jen says that:

“Some sources call the Tanaga a “Filipino Haiku”, but that isn’t quite accurate.  Like an English haiku, the Tanaga counts syllables.  Unlike the haiku, the pattern is four lines of 7 syllables each (7-7-7-7).

The biggest difference is that the Tanaga rhymes; it has a pattern of AABB.  In addition, ancient Tanagas were handed down through oral history and contain advice.”

In addition to Tanaga, she provided a thought-inspiring tale. I shall have to do the same, and provide you here a retold, by me, tale of the Diving Woman of Oiso Bay, Japan!

A certain knight by the name of Takadai Jiro became ill in the town of Kamakura, where he had been on duty, and was advised to spend the hot month of August at Oiso, to give himself perfect rest, peace, and quietness.

Having obtained permission to do this, Takadai Jiro lost settled himself down in a small inn which faced the sea. As soon as he had secured his room he threw off his clothes and went down to bathe. Takadai was a good swimmer, and plunged into the sea without fear, going out for nearly half-a-mile. There, however, misfortune overtook him. He was seized with a violent cramp and began to sink. A fishing-boat sculled by a man with his diving-girl daughter happened to see him and went to the rescue.

The girl jumped overboard and swam to the spot where he had disappeared, and, having dived deep, brought him to the surface, holding him there until the boat came up, when by the united efforts of herself and her father Takadai was hauled on board.

Before they had reached the shore, Takadai saw that his saviour was a beautiful ama (diving-girl). Such beauty he had never seen. Takadai was in love with his brave saviour before the boat had grounded on the pebbly beach. Determined in some way to repay the kindness he had received, Takadai helped to haul their boat up the steep beach and then to carry their fish and nets to their little thatched cottage, where he thanked the girl for her noble and gallant act in saving him, and congratulated her father on the possession of such a daughter. Having done this, he returned to his inn.

From that time on the soul of Takadai knew no peace. Love of the maddest kind was on him. There was no sleep for him at night, for he saw nothing but the face of the beautiful diving-girl, whose name (he had ascertained) was Kinu. Try as he might, he could not for a moment put her out of his mind. In the daytime it was worse, for O Kinu was not to be seen, being out at sea with her father, diving for the haliotis shell and others; and it was generally the dusk of evening before she returned, and then, in the dim light, he could not see her.

At last his love grew so great that he could endure it no longer. He felt that at all events it would be a relief to declare it. So he took his most confidential servant into the secret, and despatched him with a letter to the fisherman’s cottage. O Kinu San did not even write an answer, but told the old servant to thank his master in her behalf for his letter and his proposal of marriage. ‘Tell him also,’ said she, ‘that no good could come of a union between one of so high a birth as he and one so lowly as I.

 ‘I will wait a day or two,’ thought Takadai. ‘Now that Kinu knows of my love, she may think of me, and so become anxious to see me. I will keep out of the way. Perhaps then she will be as anxious to see me as I am to see her.’

Takadai kept to his own room for the next three days, believing in his heart that O Kinu must be pining for him. On the evening of the fourth day he wrote another letter to O Kinu, more full of love than the first, despatched his old servant, and waited patiently for the answer.

When O Kinu was handed the letter she laughed and said: ‘Truly, old man, you appear to me very funny, bringing me letters. This is the second in four days, and never until four days ago have I had a letter addressed to me in my life. It is difficult for me to understand. If you gave my message to your master correctly he could not fail to know that I could not marry him. His position in life is far too high. Is your master quite right in his head?’

‘Yes: except for the love of you, my young master is quite right in his head; but since he has seen you he talks and thinks of nothing but you, until even I have got quite tired of it, and earnestly pray to Kwannon daily that the weather may get cool, so that we may return to our duties at Kamakura. For three full days have I had to sit in the inn listening to my young master’s poems about your beauty and his love. Oh, do marry him, so that we shall all be happy and go out fishing every day and waste no more of this unusual holiday.’

‘You are a selfish old man,’ answered O Kinu. ‘Would you that I married to satisfy your master’s love and your desire for fishing? I have told you to tell your master that I will not marry him, because we could not, in our different ranks of life, become happy. Go and repeat that answer.’

Poor Takadai! This time he was distressed, for the girl had even refused to meet him. What was he to do? He wrote one more imploring letter, and also spoke to O Kinu’s father; but the father said, ‘Sir, my daughter is all I have to love in the world: I cannot influence her in such a thing as her love. Moreover, all our diving-girls are strong in mind as well as in body, for constant danger strengthens their nerves: they are not like the weak farmers’ girls.

Takadai’s heart was broken. There was nothing more that he could say and nothing more that he could do. Bowing low, he left the fisherman and retired forthwith to his room in the inn, much to the consternation of his servant. Takadai that evening wrote a last note to Kinu, and as soon as the villagers of Oiso were asleep he arose and went to the cottage, slipping the note under the door. Then he went to the beach, and, after tying a large stone to a rope and to his neck, he got into a boat and rowed himself about a hundred yards from shore, where he took the stone in his arms and jumped overboard.

Next morning O Kinu was shocked to read in the note that Jiro Takadai was to kill himself for love of her. She rushed down to the beach, but could see only an empty fishing-boat some three or four hundred yards from shore, to which she swam. There she found Takadai’s tobacco box and his juro (medicine box).  She began to dive, and was not long before she found the body, which she brought to the surface, after some trouble on account of the weight of the stone which the arms rigidly grasped. O Kinu took the body back to shore, where she found Takadai’s old servant wringing his hands in grief.

The body was taken back to Kamakura, where it was buried. O Kinu was sufficiently touched to vow that she would never marry any one. True, she had not loved Takadai; but he had loved, and had died for her. If she married, his spirit would not rest in peace.

No sooner had O Kinu mentally undertaken this generous course than a strange thing came to pass.

Sea-gulls, which were especially uncommon in Oiso Bay, began to swarm into it; they settled over the exact spot where Takadai had drowned himself. Fishermen thought it extraordinary; but Kinu knew well enough that the spirit of Takadai must have passed into the gulls, and for it she prayed regularly at the temple, and out of her small savings built a little tomb sacred to the memory of Takadai Jiro.

Kinu died by drowning in a severe typhoon some nine years later than Takadai; and from that day the sea-gulls disappeared.

the way to a woman’s heart
is not the flight of a dart
but more of a labyrinth
of completely unknown length

Categories: Carpe Diem Haiku | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Līgo Haībun Challenge – Polkadotted Memories

 
Belinda-Broughton2

Aye well, there I was, in Nagyatad, early 1990s, trying to do something for the Bosnian refugees. Nagytad, a town in southern Hungary, bordering Croatia and near Bosnia, and where busloads of Bosnian refugees were sent. Anti-tourists, staring from bus windows, not in shock, not in boredom, not in anything actually. War survivors are just like you and me, and are not a special breed of kittens needing petting, or incapables needing shouted at to stand in line. But one of the penchants of our western world is organisation and efficiency, so they do get shouted at, and organised. But what is almost worse is the sentimentality that afflicts many. And refugees make ideal people to coo at.

In Nagyatad new arrivals were locked in a cage for a week or two. The UN supplied finances to pay doctors to check for illnesses and disease, but the greedy Hungarians pocketed the cash and put new refugees in cages to see if any disease developed. If not they were chucked into the dorms or sent to the dark corridors of the psychiatric wing, in this ex-Soviet military camp with radioactive grounds and tiled paintings of tanks firing emblazoned on walls.

I befriended a young blond woman who lived in one of the cages, a few days before I left. It was a strange friendship, her, bubbly, glad to be alive, in fetching red polkadotted dress, about to suffer her breakdown, and me, absurdly and stoically upset, knowing more details about her family in Bosnia than her.

when I think of her
I hope she is free now
in all ways

Līgo Haībun Challenge here. Drawing by belindabroughton 

Categories: Haibun | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Carpe Diem Haiku – Gypsies

Before I post my haiku, or you read it, I’d be honoured if you just took a few minutes to watch this video of the guys – gypsy dancers I know from far back. If anyone thinks this is easy stuff, well, I think you might want to try it.  know exactly how hard it is, and remember one night with guitars, milk jugs, my bongo drum and an Australian with didgeridoo. A beautiful night but some of the toughest dancing ever to learn. But its the synchronicity also – just watch how it builds up, and you’ll go some way to understanding my love for the roma people, the gypsies. Worth every minute, this short video.

barefoot gypsy
dances her path before me
-a romany blessing

russian_gypsy_girl_20_by_dg2001-d2zvdjn

To finish off see how the music reaches deep in this gypsy home. These roma are quite light-skinned, and in my experience more so than the lovely bronze tone some friends had. Makes no difference of course, once a gypsy always a gypsy for many of the European population, who discriminate against roma people, the largest minority in Europe, in the crudest of ways.

 

Categories: Carpe Diem Haiku | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

But If You’re Talking About Destruction You Can Count Me Out/In

”The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”

(Che Guevara)

‘Revolutionary’, in the image of the brutal if sincere Che, has a positive, romantic flair much in the same way as to ‘nurse’ something along is positive, and to ‘doctor’ it isn’t, inexplicably.

But nursing things along is not what revolutionising is all about, according to Che, and I dare say he knew. It is about short, sharp shocks. However, the problem with revolution’s revolutionaries is the penchant for reinstalling a ”past”, instead of wanting to take society a step forward. Granted, the laws of physics apply fully to politics: every action demands an equal reaction. How else could we explain Hitler, Pol Pot, Ayatollah Khomeini and Pinochet? How else could we explain the swing the Republicans took  in USA, that sees them now seeking to ‘moralise’ while calling for ‘less government’?

Revolutions can work long-term.  1776 is the classic, as was the French revolution, kind of, and the Haitian revolution against slavery in 1791 (though massive repayments to previous slave owners after the successful revolution permanently damaged the nascent Haiti’s prospects).

Maybe Che Guevera was an exception, but his masters, or minders in Moscow – whether he liked them around or not – were among the most conservative of all, and the Soviet revolution had long lost its way. But Che’s early writings show a doctor horrified by poverty in latin America and its blatant causes, for which the North American and European continent heartedly contributed to.

Tonight 409 years ago, a revolutionary at the other end of the evolutionary scale called Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the houses of parliament, in order to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The 5th November has now accordingly become Guy Fawkes night in much of England, when British boys and girls blow their fingers off with fireworks instead. Hopefully not too many this year.

An effigy of Guy Fawkes, wheelbarrowed around streets by children mysteriously asking for ”a penny for the Guy” is followed by the tossing of the straw-filled figue onto a large bonfire in towns and villages nationwide.

The real Guy Fawkes fared little better, and was duly hung, drawn and quartered in the best tradition.

Guy Fawkes night needs to be expanded, to symbolically include all the fanatics and fundamentalists who have found their way through the woodwork, as worms do when the foundations are rattled. The trouble is that the foundations do need rattling. Strongly. Catch-22.

Categories: Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Ese’s Quote & Shoot – Vibrations

114

Ah the buzzing butterflies, the shudder as the plane takes off, the tingle of anticipation to be travelling again…the sudden vibrations and smooth landing in an exotic land. How I enjoy to travel, and dream of Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Iran…

‘In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.’
Christopher Morley

Mmm…true…

ese’s challenge

Categories: Images | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Five Sentence Fiction – Edge

“Hola Christopher, where you been these days; it’s been a long, long time.”

“Ciao my friend, well, I been to the East Indies!”

“Oh don’ be crazy my friend, you know if you try to go there you’ll sail straight off the edge of the world!”

“Yeah, like you’d know; instead of sitting here in this taverno drinking vino, why don’t you try some tobacco!?”

“Tobacco, what’s that, some kind of new craze?”

f i v e s e n t e n c e f i c t i o n

Categories: Flash Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Friday Fictioneers ~ The Code

copyright-renee-homan-heath

Step by step.

A grand last view, if not grand last words: “Keep movin’ ye rat!” A shove in the back.

As if I’d stumble so easily!

And even shady palm trees. .

Step by step. T’wards my necklace of rope, and my ocean, looking suspiciously calm today.

No more maraudin’ when swingin’ from the gallows. No more saucy wenches, teasin’ me of my gains as I hang…

Ah, but I imagine by now you’ll be thinkin'; “what’s a dead man doing writing?”

Did you forget the pirate’s code, and really think the bushes were free of my crew?

…Tut tut…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

100 Words

Friday Fictioneers – welcome aboard!

Picture Renee Homan Heath

Categories: Flash Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | 64 Comments

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