Carpe Diem Haiku, Greed (Mongolian Mythology)


The grasslands lose their magic when the wolves are hunted in view of reducing their numbers or even removing them. Without wolves the marmots, rabbits and other small animals create burrows which weaken the natural firm surface, and create situations where horses can easily break their legs.

The wolf is a formidable opponent, and a hunter, but no animal is more caring of its babies than the female wolf. The bite of a wolf is much more powerful than that of a dog though, and the wolf knows where to bite. Still, man must learn to live in the grasslands and not be greedy, wanting it for himself. He must remember what his father and grandfather told him about the years when nearly all the wolves were killed, and how the grasslands suffered. The wolves keep the grasslands clean.

if the wolf is gone
from the grasslands
the moon cannot rise





Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Kerouac’s “two big bumblebees”

The goal is to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one given. This week its Jack Kerouac with:

early morning gentle rain,
two big bumblebees
humming at their work

Are there elements of Zen Buddhism in this haiku? Without a doubt, both in the peacefulness, the focus on detail and the ‘doing for the sake of doing,’ as well as the clear meditative aspect It is therefore important not to look for or seek ‘purpose,’ and it thus does not portray an ideal of hard labour as a moral duty. If anything, one of the Nicaraguan Sandinista slogans might complement this, specifically that: “under the Sandinistas, working is a right, not a burden.” Of course that remains a slogan, nothing else.

One does notice the sense of balance in taiku. Nature is balanced, and the flowers are naturally watered as the bumblebees hum away, with both raindrops and bees moving, suspended in the air. But why two bumblebees and not one? Perhaps visually two bees work best, weaving intricate moves between them.

Following is my haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit:

late summer drizzle,
a couple of grasshoppers
still chirping

Carpe Diem Haiku – Pieces (Chakekenapok)

“Who has heard of the legends of the mountains? Who knows of the struggle to create such formidable beauty?” the shaman asks us. “Every mountain is alive. Every mountain deserves respect. Every mountain is formed by the rain, by the wind, by the stories told around campfires of our heritage, and the wind, rain and stories can change the stone, reshape it Remember, the mountain is only strong if you are strong. If you are humble the mountain will not stand high for you.”


without mountains no echoes
without echoes no soul
without soul no music


Carpe Diem Haiku, Photographing

Ye gods, what a difficult prompt, that others will as usual take in their stride! I saw some beautiful haiku in yesterday’s prompt, here (Maniparna), here (Gillena) and here (Celestine). But also here (Ese) and many more…

‘Photographing’ seems tough. What clever imagery could we evoke? Striking the right balance in a haiku is difficult, and I think I’m going to find a vintage Japanese photograph to sprinkle with words.


a dream makes me

Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Soen Nakagawa’s “boundless autumn”

All the haiku by Soen Nakagawa have a strong, deeper, Zen layer and in this one Zen is also clearly in there. The goal of this CD Special is to write a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one by the featured haiku-poet, seen just below.

endless is my vow
under the azure sky
boundless autumn

Here is my effort.

under a great blue sky
Mongolian grasslands promise freedom
the wolf howls

Magpie Tales: Graduation Day

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

they let the balloons go
colourful stories
to flow
almost endlessly
on jagged branches
lie defeated
in the tumbling snow
on the jagged edges
of jagged stone

the balloons
were let loose
from the palms of our hands
from the psalms
of our defunct books
so much was left unsaid
on lips
already poisoned
by too much innocence
too numbed by cold

and anyway
with nothing
nothing to say
before we passed
the real tests
and regressed
moved to our caves
let our balloons take our stories
far from us
in sunset skies
and jagged branches
where even the snow had dried
and we wonder
if we ever really tried?

Carpe Diem Haibun – Beach

Beaches don’t come much colder than Aberdeen beach, in the northwest of Scotland. But before people bustled onto planes to get drunk abroad, Aberdeen beach was a popular holiday destinations for hardy Aberdonians. They don’t make folk like that anymore. Nowadays, of course, none venture in such cold waters when their are holidays further south to be had.

Advances in technology have brought a fair amount of improvements to our lives, but for every action there is a reaction. Isn’t that the first law of Physics?

Our food is worse now, not better. Our health and fitness worse. The food is less nutritious, and there is much less variety of it, a little known fact. There are many less varieties of apples around than there used to be 50, or a 100 years ago, for example, as industrial production seeks the cheapest to produce, the farthest away. One day we will learn more by looking back, except that many of these varieties have disappeared, forever. In fact there are storage centres desperately being arranged and built in an effort to preserve seeds of disappearing varieties of foodstock. It is that bad.

Our ancestors never got to see and experience what we do, but not everything they believed and lived by was wrong. Our social fabric is torn. Today we have what has become the propagandist aggressive negativity of Feminism, for example, while before we had gentlemen, and decency towards women. Even, maybe, in Aberdeen!

Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly gives an account of Aberdeen beach in his particular style which gives a fair idea of Aberdeen beach – start at 4.40 mins for his account of swimming in Aberdeen.

And the emptiness of Aberdeen beach today…


loneliness by the sea
what is found over horizons
is found here too

Carpe Diem Haibun – Bjorn’s Lingering Cold

Sometimes it feels like that’s all there is left. Two old warrior’s we felt ourselves to be, at the kitchen table this morning, my painter and I. Both about the same age. In his youth he’d been a UN blue beret – attached to the UN through the Finnish army. In my youth, with my beret green, I’d been in exactly the same area, with the French military, Lebanon, Syria, Israel. We’d perhaps even been only yards apart at times.

And both of us knew that rare thing. We both knew and felt the lies so often told about the Middle East by our western governments and press, this ex-UN soldier, attached with his Finnish regiment, and I. He’d witnessed a Norwegian UN soldier, a woman, beaten up by Israelis when she had a flat tyre and was trying to flag a car down for help, though it was true she was in uniform and Israelis revile the UN – but her thumb up gesture was also a dire insult in Israel. I’d heard about it. We both saw or heard about many incidents.

We drunk our coffee, and we knew the lies.

“But still the dates grew in the trees, all year round,” he said, “and the olives too, until those crazy extremist  Jewish  settlers burnt all the olive groves.”

“That was, and still is terrible,” I said, “and never talked about.”

The cold crept in trough the open kitchen window. I shivered.

“When I was a child, all our winters were cold, full of snow,” he said, looking out the window with me, at the trees just starting to bud. “This year winter did not come properly but still the cold lingers.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Maybe that is how it is now,” he said, “never really starting, or ever finished.”

lingering cold
flowering spring won’t be today
I miss absent palm trees




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


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.


Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Soen Nakagawa’s “illumined by the moon”

As Chèvrefeuille says, the goal of this CD-Special is to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the given one of our featured haiku-poet. Here is the haiku, written by Soen Nakagawa, for inspiration:

how solemn
each patch of grass
illuminated by the moon


There is the visual aspect to this haiku, but the clear emotional attachment is also there, with the use of moonlight as a melancholic influence on each and every blade. My turn now:

a lantern dispatches shadows
where none existed before
-it takes light to see dark