Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

Korean Summer Poems for Rainy Season

With rainy season upon us these days I've been spending my leisure time back here in Thunder Bay Canada reading and drinking tea. Lapsang Souchong with milk is usually my rainy day tea, most especially when it's a bit on the cool side out.  

I have recently started a new venture doing tea ceremonies here in Thunder Bay a few times each month in various locations around town. Mostly outdoors in summer in local park where you can drop by and see and even sample some tea if you like. Details for which can be found at my Where Wisk Way Blog or better still on my FaceBook group page Travelling TeaTime also to be found in the sidebar on this page.  

Pondering the various parks in town and talking with my friends about their favorite park places and experiences I'm reminded of this poem below about this poem below written about a peach orchard high up in the mountains that a Korean poet had discovered :  

Only white gull and I
Know about the thirty-six peaks of Mount Chung-Ryang.
White gull will never tell anyone
But I am suspicious of you, peach blossom.

You might fall into the stream
And, floating by, tell the fishermen about our secret place.
--Yi Hwang  

Upon my moving back to Canada I had come across a Tea Ceremony water container online. I was window shopping :-) It reminded me of the poem below

When a shadow appeared on the water,
I looked up to see a monk crossing the bridge.
Stay, I said, so I could ask
Where he was going.

But, pointing at white clouds, he moved on,
Answering without words. 

(Both the above from Sunset in a Spider Web Sijo Poetry of Ancient Korea Virginia Olsen Baron, Minja Park Kim)

Here are two poems for a rainy day : 

Rainstorm at a Mountain Temple

The gale howling in the valleys
tears out the trees by their roots.
The downpour washes over every peak,
loosening rocks to tumble down the slopes.
The boom of a temple bell
opens the air, in waves.
-- Cho Eun 1900-196?

It is Raining

It is raining, incessantly falling
like tears streaming over sorrow,
Thinking you will be coming
soaked in the rain,
I push my window open
and hold a potted plant in my arms.

It is raining, incessantly falling
while I am expecting you.
I imagine seeing you
smiling in the misty woods 
before I am sent to sleep
by the sound of rain dripping from the eaves. 
--Yi U-Chul 1923-1984

(Both of the above taken from Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form by Jaihiun Kim)

Well now I'm off to sip more tea and read away until I drift off recalling the rain dripping from the eaves of the garage I'd seen earlier today.... Best wishes and until next time, stay youthfully minded : for that is where inspiration often comes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

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.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Korean Shijo Poems : Book Reviews

Much like the more famous Japanese Haiku Korean Shijo poems (also spelled Sijo) are syllable based but are a bit longer and a tad more challenging than haiku. Shijo poems are like higher level haiku poems if you will. If you're in South Korea now the English bookstore whatthebook.com (located online as well as brick and mortar physical form in Seoul) has two sijo books on offer one of which is a children's book entitled Tap Dancing On the Roof by Linda Sue Park.

As Tap Dancing on the Roof @ WhatTheBook Bookstore's site explains :

"Sijo is a traditional Korean form of poetry. Sijo is syllabic, like Japanese haiku, with three lines of 14 to 16 syllables each: the first two introduce the topic, the third and fourth lines develop it, and the fifth and sixth lines contain an unexpected humorous or ironic twist. This collection contains 26 sijo, half on "Inside" and half on "Outside" themes, many humorous, all appealing to a child reader. The simplicity and accessibility of these poems will encourage children to try their hand at writing sijo".

I have heard only good things about Linda Sue Park's book as it is a good book to introduce Shijo to children. Haiku is taught in the west as a way of developing pronunciation through syllable counting. Well, Shijo is a more advanced version of this.

 One Sijo book I highly recommend is Sunset in a Spider Web. It contains poems by Chosun Dynasty writers (mostly Gisaeng, Monks and Yangban of that age). The illustrations by Minja Park Kim are wonderfully sublime ! So too are the fine and sometimes rare selections chosen for this volume.

Here are some excerpts :

Only white gull and I 
Know about the thirty-six peaks of Mount Chung-Ryang.
White gull will never tell anyone
But I am suspiciou of you, peach blossom.

You might fall into the stream
And, floating by, tell the fishermen about our secret place.
  -- Yi Hwang. 

Ten Years it took
To build my little cottage.
Now the cool wind inhabits half of it
And the rest is filled with moonlight.

There is no place left for the mountains and the stream
So I guess they will have to stay outside. 
  -- Song Soon.

Amazon.com has several copies for it for rather cheap as they are connected to the rapidly multiplying thrift / goodwill stores across the United States. Here's amazon.com's page for it
Also it may be found at Abebooks.com an online small bookstore aggregate. The link for Abe Books page for Sunset in a Spider Web is, well, you got it. It is a wonderful book that I often turn to every few months for inspiration. The excerpts I have shown you are not exceptions to the others in the book as all the poems in the book are well chosen gems making this a book very well worth its purchase.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

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 : JackieTango@gmail.com