thousands of footprints ~ fusion haiku

In the days of the samurai, two ancient roads linked Japan’s two great cities of Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo). Lords would travel these routes, accompanied by armies of samurai. Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #105 – Turn Back Time offers two haiku regarding the “Samurai’s Mountain Road,” one by Yosa Buson and the other by Matsuo Bashō, as inspiration for a tanka or haiku. My response is a fusion haiku, with elements of both.

changes happening
first yellow leaf on maple
autumn upon us

quiet forest path
dry leaves stirred up by my feet
centipede scurries
                    Bashō (tr. Chèvrefeuille)

yellow maple leaf
following path to winter
waiting for no one

Image source: – Kageishi in the Mountains of Hakone, by Kawanabe Kyosai

pheasant’s flight too short ~ fusion haiku

pheasant's flight too short_3

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #56 Crossroads offers four haiku,
from four different haijin, from which to write a fusion haiku.

a strange flower
for birds and butterflies
the autumn sky

the pheasant cries
as if it just noticed
the mountain

the winter river;
down it come floating
flowers offered to Buddha

just outside the gate
the road slopes downward
winter trees

My first haiku fuses Bashō and Issa:

pheasant’s flight too short
to keep up with butterfly
mountain looking down

pheasant's flight too short

My second haiku fuses Issa, Buson and Shiki:

path follows river
flowing down from high mountain
pheasant tracks in snow

path follows river_a

Harvard Art Museums – Butterflies, by Kubo Shanman
Museum of Fine Arts Boston Golden Pheasant and Snow Covered Pine, by Utagawa Hiroshige

semaphore at night – fusion haiku

The prompt for Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #44 Troiku Challenge: Against the Sky
starts with two haiku by Yosa Buson (translated by Robert Hass) to be used to create
a “fusion” haiku, which is then to be the base to create a troiku.

before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
a moment

calligraphy of geese
against the sky —
the moon seals it

               Yosa Buson

semaphore at night
calligraphy in the sky
moon waits behind clouds

semaphore at night_fusion

semaphore at night.jpgsemaphore at night
element of mystery
embracing pale light

calligraphy in the sky
secrets held in shifting shapes
crafted by wind’s breath

moon waits behind clouds
displaying quiet patience
secret deciphered

semaphore at night_troiku

A troiku is three haiku, with each of the three lines from a suggested haiku as the first line of each haiku in the troiku. It’s not always possible to have a 5-7-5 format in the second haiku, due to the limitations of the suggested haiku. The name of the form is derived from “troika,” a sled or carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side, an iconic symbol of Imperial Russia.


Image sources: (Flying Geese, by Kamisaka Sekka)
Wikimedia Commons (troika)


too many harvests


too many harvests.png

too many harvests
leaving less each passing year
cropped thin on the rise
the millstone has turned
thirty-three times in its course —
frost on the temple
                     Yosa Buson
branch weighed down by snow
shifting to expose pine cones
food for chickadees
a branch snaps under snow
waking me from a dream of the cherries
flowering on Yoshino
                     Yosa Buson

I have taken it one step further by writing a new haiku
inspired by the two haiku, “fusing” them
(as in Carpe Diem’s Crossroads mode):

millstone sits idle
waits for crops newly planted
scent of grain waiting

Image source: (edited here)

scent and color pale – after the storm

Carpe Diem Weekend-Meditation #24 Revise That Haiku
offers two classic haiku: 

in the moonlight,
the color and scent of the wisteria
seems far away
                         Yosa Buson (1716-1784)
a mountain village
under the piled-up snow
the sound of water
                         Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)

My revisions:

scent and color pale
(Clément Rosenthal)

scent and color pale
wisteria in moonlight
haunting in absence



after winter storm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Utagawa Hiroshige)

after winter storm
mountain village recovers
heavy snow melting