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pink sakura3photo by and copyright by kanzensakura

Hello my poetic friends! Kanzen Sakura (Toni Spencer) behind the bar today. Spring is here and along with spring comes….hanami. In Japan, this is the time for viewing cherry blossoms. Hanami has come earlier than usual not only in Japan but also in Washington, DC. The DC Hanami, Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) is one of the largest and longest outside of Japan. Just like in Japan, crowds of people view the cherry blossoms at all times of the day. Parades, music, art exhibits; several years ago I was able to view a specially loaned exhibit of Hokusai’s Forty Views of Fuji which features the enduring Great Wave at Kanagawa. People picnic under the trees, get married, engaged, and a former professor of mine had his ashes scattered in the DC Tidal Basin during Sakura Matsuri. In Japan, hanami can become one long party and sometimes, festival goers can become rowdy!

The sakura represents to the Japanese, the fleeting brevity of life and beauty, the feeling of mono no aware (mild melancholy at the passing of things). The brief and glorious life of the Samurai is also associated with the blossoms. When the sakura bloom, they often fade and petals fall the same day. But hanami is also a time of food, fun, festival, family, and friends. I have happy memories of hanami in Japan and DC viewing lighted cherry trees at night, mingling with crowds during the day, dancing under the trees, food with friends and…sakura ice cream!

Today, I have chosen some haiku by Issa and Basho about cherry blossoms. Please choose one as the inspiration to write your haibun and to use as the haiku to introduce your haibun. This is an acceptable way to write haibun. Some writers will intersperse several haiku among paragraphs of longer haibun and in particular, travelogue haibun.  You will expand on your chosen haiku with your unique take on the haiku with one to three tight paragraphs. You will close with your own haiku that expands on your haibun. You can read my previous post here on dVerse, Ch-ch-changes, for more information on writing your haibun. The post can be viewed in the dVerse archives.

The Prompt:
1. Choose one of the haiku below to begin your haibun of one to three tight prose paragraphs. Please make note of the author.
2. Expand on the haiku with your perspective of beauty, spring, hanami, journey to view cherry blossoms or other spring blooms, when you notice spring’s beginnings, the renewal and hope in spring…fun times relating to spring.
3. End with your own cherry blossom/spring, nature based haiku – not senryu or micro-poem. Line syllable count can be short-long-short or, 5-7-5.  Please note:  The haiku for the prompt are English translations.  In Japanese the line count is 5-7-5.  For haiku written in English you can use the 5-7-5 or, short-long-short

Haiku by Issa:

“what a strange thing –
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms”

“Under the cherry blossoms,
there are
no strangers”

“When cherry blossoms
scatter –
no regrets”

“Without you –
how vast
the cherry blossom grove”

Haiku by Basho:

“Between our two lives
There is also the life
of the cherry blossom”

“If I had the knack
I’d sing like
cherry flakes (petals) falling”

“Come –
see real blossoms
of this painful world”

“A cloud of cherry blossoms
the temple bell –
is it Uneno – is it Asakusa”

“How many many things
they call to mind –
these cherry blossoms.”

If you’re new to dVerse, this is how to participate:

– Use Mr. Linky to link your haibun. You may do more than one.
– And as always, please be courteous and not just link your poem and run or take down your poem’s site.
– Visit, read, comment the other poems and especially, those who read and comment on your link.
– Please link your poem back to dVerse
– Have fun! During this time of cherry blossom festival, let’s have a Poetry Festival!

About Kanzen Sakura (Toni Spencer) I was born and currently live in the southern US.  I am a world traveller and haved lived in different places.  I fell in love with Japanese culture, food, and have studied and written Japanese poetic forms since I was a teenager.  I blog on World Press on my blog Kanzen Sakura where you will find a mashup of South meets East – poetry, haiku, tanka, haibun, recipes, musings.  I have never been published but that is fine with me.  I observe the changing of seasons with the Japanese view.