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Moon viewing poems

     Do excuse my less than erudite post here. Others such as the author/ringleader of the Haiku Bandit Society may very well know more of the moon viewing tradition than I. Indeed he regularly holds a highly successful 'online' moon viewing party where haiku poets submit their haiku upon viewing the most recent full moon. Do indeed check out his blog.

     Online one may find many pictures of Edo era moon viewing parties. Kangetsu is the Japanese word for these such parties. Ukiyo-e prints a plenty celebrating the moon and these such viewing parties may be found at the Japanese Woodblock Print Gallery. Two of the below were found there :

Title: A Hundred Views of Musashi: Moon Beyond Shinagawa

Title: Autumn Moon at Ishiyama Temple (Ishiyama shûgetsu), from an untitled series of Eight Views of Ômi (Ômi hakkei)

The O-Tsukimi Chakai (Moon Viewing Tea Ceremony) is a traditional Japanese festival which honors the full moon in autumn at the end of September. My wife and I are busy preparing to do one such tea ceremony this September for friends. This summer we shall purchase the proper candle holders.

     As of this night I have written a few moon viewing poems upon doing a brief tea ceremony and then mellowing out with a Korean decaffeinated magnolia tea from OSulloc. I've posted two of them below. Enjoy.
stressful office hours
long rivers of red tail lights
black sky only moon

in the sky above
night time tea ceremony
a white peach mochi

About the Author

Matthew William Thivierge has abandoned his PhD studies in Shakespeare and is now currently almost half-way through becoming a tea-master (Japanese,Korean & Chinese tea ceremony). He is a part time Ninjologist with some Jagaek studies (Korean 'ninja') and on occasion views the carrying on of pirates from his balcony mounted telescope.

About Tea Busan  *   Mr.T's Chanoyu てさん 茶の湯   *  East Sea Scrolls  *  East Orient Steampunk Society

Sijo West

On I ordered several issues of the English journal Sijo West from which these two sijo poems come. If you can get your hands on any of these old issues I highly recommend them. For 3-4 years poets from across North America (many of them haiku poets) were writing sijo poems and sending them in to the journal. There are quite a few gems. Here's just two I dug up:

Natural Selection

A well-bred bride for the prince
    is what the emporor seeks
As he studies hopefuls sipping tea;
    the one the prince loves
Chews gum with a snap, and slants glances
    that make promises.

--- name obscured, From Sijo West #3 Fall 1997 pg.21.

Sorry I couldn't make out the author of that one, it was blurry on the copy I had, although I distinctly remember reading it in one of my sijo books as well.....
Here's one on a very modern theme bringing the ancient form of shijo into our times:

Space Waste

Since blasting free from earth
to travel in reaches of space,

a gang of astronauts gaze
on a cloud-clad Blue Marble

dump their pots of pee to streak
as icy shards in our communal void.

--Ronan, Eugene, of Oregon a noted writer of haiku and related verse.
From Sijo West #2 Summer 1996 p.9

As we can see demonstrated in this sijo, traditionally, a sijo should have a surprize or twist in the narrative in the last couplet. This one definitely fits the bill.

These days my blogging shall be a little infrequent; I'm busy giving and marking exams these next three weeks. I'm also attempting to recreate one of the earliest instances of tea recorded from 350 A.D. Its more of a soup than a tea using onion ginger and oranges. I call it Kuo Po soup after the man who wrote the dictionary in which a discription of it is found. You can read about it on my other blog in a few weeks time. --MWT.

A Tale of 2 Wives: King Yuri of Goguryo's Dilemma.

In the year 17 BC, King Yuri of Goguryo had a problem. His two wives Hwahi and Chihi were not getting along prompting one of them to go back to her hometown in China. Feeling understandably torn King Yuri wrote a poem which became what is considered to be the earliest example of the Korean poetic tradition. Many parts of the poem are in Chinese and I'm currently just starting level 1 of chinese so I was lucky to find the poem translated into Korean from which I translated it into the English presented to you here :
the (bracketed) parts are the phonetic pronunciations for the Chinese. Some say the poem is titled Yellow bird's song. On close inspection it appears the poem almost has two titles: Yellow elegy or Oriole's Song. Perhaps King Yuri was caught between two titles along with being caught between two women...

黃鳥歌(황조가)-琉璃王(유리왕) Yellow elegy --King Yuri
꾀꼬리의 노래-琉璃王(유리왕) orioles song -- King Yuri
翩翩黃鳥(편편황조) : 펄펄 나니는 저 꾀꼬리 fluttering flying, that oriole.
雌雄相依(자웅상의) : 암수 서로 정답구나. Female and male birds look lovely together
念我之獨(염아지독) : 나의 외로움을 생각하니 I think on my loneliness
誰其與歸(수기여귀) : 그 누구와 함께 돌아가리.  With whom would I go back to?

Hence, King Yuri of Goguryo's dilemma. For those just learning Korean it's fun to sound out the bracketed parts to form the sounds of the original Chinese character poem. A fine first step to eventually reading Korean. Poems are also very rewarding practice. A few words with a dictionary and presto! You have a translation. --MWT.

Typhoon hits Tokyo

A typhoon recently passed over most of Japan dissapating over Tokyo.
Korea or The Weather Here
Tokyo typhoon
short walks
between clouds

Gisaeng Postcards near Seoul City Hall

Rose scented postcards featuring a Gisaeng on each! Each with a sijo poem in English and Korean and a short bio on each Gisaeng written by Brother Anthony of Taize a.k.a An Sonjae.

I found these right inside Deoksu Palace in Seoul. It's the palace near Seoul City Hall : Across the street from the Seoul library and Seoul Plaza. On the palace grounds they have a wonderful gift shop that sells many unique items that are rare and near impossible to find at other souvenir shops.

Brother Anthony's site may be found here and for those finding their way into the Korean way of tea / Korean tea Ceremony I highly recommend his book The Korean Way of Tea available via What The Book : (The Korean Way of Tea) or through Seoul Selection's The Korean Way of Tea

Here's a brief, but more detailed explanation that I wrote about Geisaeng here : Tales of a Gisaeng and all of my posts regarding Gisaeng.

Christmas and New Years

I've been busy studying over the last several months back here in Canada. I have also been writing brief zen poems in Chinese along with reading lots of haiku.  I do indeed enjoy the non-traditional haiku that are shorter than the standard 5-7-5. Often times those with the shortest closing lines are the ones that prove to be most striking in the impact of their imagery. I shall post some of my seasonal zen poems for autumn and winter later. Until then, here's a poem for the upcoming New Year :  

the great temple bell
sound surrounds the silent crowd
New Year. monk smiles

photo credit : J.Labrado

Geisha Basket with TeaSet For Sale Soon !

Well,  I've got an online Ebay store now : East Sea Scrolls Ebay Store .
In the next few days I shall be selling a Geisha Basket
with a nodate teaset inside also with a Ukiyo-E print that matches the basket. As pictured here in this post. Although the lighting may be a bit off in the picture you get everything as pictured minus the tatami mat and the fireplace in the background. If you have any questions regarding the product you can Email me :