Renga with Basho #5

Wren, courtesy of


In this Renga with three haiku of Matsuo Basho, translated by Jane Reichhold, the three line stanzas in bold italics are written by Basho and the regular typeface responses are mine.

what kind of tree

with the unknown flower

such a fragrance


is that a brown-headed crow

snapping air for flying fare?


with a fan

drinking wine in the shadow

of scattered blossoms


wren on the pedestal bath

sipping flower-flavoured tea


melting away

the brush draws up the water

of a spring


swift strokes over rice paper

unveiling a waterfall


blossoms at their peak

the mountain the same as always

at daybreak


floral scents infuse the dawn

bird songs trill to greet the day


©️2018 Ontheland

Carpe Diem Renga with Basho #5

Carpe Diem Renga Challenge #4

Another Renga Challenge of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai featuring six haiku by Matsuo Basho, shown in bold type. The challenge is to create a Renga by writing two-line responses, shown in italics.

sleep on a journey

then you will understand my poem

autumn winds

whisper delights and sorrows

rain spatters my reflection

into the sea

throwing my sandals

rain on my hat

playing hopscotch with bare feet

relishing schoolyard pastimes

village kids

don’t break all the plum branches

for cattle whips

compose haiku with carved nibs

pausing to inhale the dawn


a crane on the rice paddy

in a village in autumn

farmers rush out to the fields

winter chores haunting their thoughts

polished again

the mirror is as clear as

flower-like snowflakes

lace shawls drape the mountain peaks

pine branches dazzling white

falling to the ground

a flower closer to the root

bidding farewell

we’ll meet again in springtime

when verses are fresh like dew


©️All haiku in bold type are written by Basho (1644-1694) as translated by Jane Reichhold

©️Couplets in italics, 2018, Ontheland

summer breeze fusion haiku

Carpe Diem Crossroads #13 presents two wonderful haiku by Matsuo Basho, Japanese haiku poet (1644-1694) which we are to contemplate and then create a new ‘fusion’ haiku. There is a second part of the challenge that I will feature in my Sunday morning post.

BASHŌ’S HAIKU (translated by Jane Reichhold)

chilly coolness

my feet on the wall

for a midday nap


the colour of wind

planted artlessly

in a garden of reeds



a cool summer breeze

scent of an afternoon nap

in a Zen garden


©️2018 Ontheland

Photo is sourced from Pixabay

Renga #3 with Bashō

Why a video featuring pheasant sounds? Read on and it should make sense. This is my response to Carpe Diem’s third Renga Challenge featuring, once again, Japanese Haiku Master, Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694).

The three-line haiku in bold print are written by Bashō (as translated by Jane Reichhold). My couplet responses are in italics. Here goes:

passing through autumn

a butterfly seems to lick

chrysanthemum dew


a long pilgrimage begins

with sweet wine and sad farewells


five or six

sitting with tea and cakes

a fireplace


under Cold Moon, drumbeats sound

the caroller’s descant soars


a skylark sings

the pheasant’s voice is

the instrumental music


snow geese call in urgent tones

flying to their far North home


how glorious

young green leaves

flash in the sun


a child sage writes in the sand

an old poet lifts her pen


early summer rains

falling so heavily they cover up

the waterfall


chrysanthemum blooms live long

tending hopes and memories

©️2018 Ontheland (as noted, haiku are written by Bashō)

Chrysanthemum image is from Pixabay.

Renga with Bashō #2

still alive

under the slightness of my hat

enjoying the coolness

©️Bashō (1644-1694)

stones glisten with morning dew

birds awake as ghosts depart

©️2018 Ontheland

early summer rain

the green of a rock cypress

lasting how long


an artist under the ledge

mixes paint and prays for sun


rainy season

sea glow lights held up

by the night watchman


spirits of the mist wander

whiffs of woodsmoke call them home


the blue sea

in waves smelling of saké

tonight’s full moon


a rabbit sails in moonlight

are there answers in his pot?


logged tree

see the larger cut end is

a harvest moon


forests reaped like fields of corn

pockets fill with golden coin


on a bare branch

a crow settled down

autumn evening


still alive, planet quivers

spinning towards destiny



The challenge here was to create a Renga using six haiku written by Bashō. After each haiku of Bashō I have inserted two lines of seven syllables each. Many thanks to Chèvrefeuille , host of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, who created this Renga challenge.

Image Source: Rabbit in themoon

A renga with Bashō

Carpe Diem’s Renga Challenge #1 invites us to choose from a selection of Basho’s early haiku (as translated by Jane Reichhold) and to create a Renga of at least 6 stanzas by arranging Basho’s haiku and inserting two-line verses in between.

inside the temple

visitors cannot know

cherries are blooming.


robin calls from the treetops

blend in with the morning chants


the voice of reeds

sounds like the autumn wind

from another mouth

©️ Bashō

leaves fly like paper dreams

a season’s short-lived splendour


what a sprout

a dewdrop seeps down the nodes

of generations of bamboo


the moon paints fresh oak leaves

once barren branches shimmer


the old woman

a cherry tree blooming in old age

is something to remember


an ancient mountain stupa

stands watching the setting sun



First a haiku by Kikaku (1661-1707) followed by a revision by his teacher, Matsuo Bashō, followed by my revised version and some background information:

red dragonfly

break off its wings

sour cherry

© Kikaku (1661-1707)


sour cherry

add wings to it

red dragonfly

©️ Bashō


puckered lips

sour cherry with wings

red dragonfly

©️2018 Ontheland

What was all that about? My interpretation is that Kikaku was talking about eating dragonflies. Many insects, including dragonflies are edible and part of the Japanese diet. Typically legs and wings are not eaten. Whether red dragonflies are inedible or only for those who like tart flavours I don’t know. I prefer Basho’s version over Kikaku’s. He retains the humour and eliminates disregard for the life of the dragonfly…a hard act to follow.

In response to Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #34 Revise That Haiku … Kikaku’s Dragonfly

Also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Weekend mini Challenge: Insects and Bugs