25 May, 2008

A Contest of Sorts

One of my favourite parts of writing for this site are the community events, and I hadn't realised that it hasn't been since last year that I held one. So let's change that.

The proprietor of Skip4tea (Patrick) rather unexpectedly sent me a lovely piece of calligraphy, on the theme of tea, seemingly created by an artistic friend. He kindly consented to it being offered as a small prize here - thanks again, Patrick.

Skip4tea Calligraphy
(Click to enlarge, as with all photographs on this site.)

cha2 xiang2 pu1 bi2
ru4 kou3 chun2 gan1
hui2 wei4 wu2 qiong2
tea scent wafts nose
enter mouth mellow sweet
return-taste without end

(I favour the sparsity of pidgin English for translating the sense of oriental languages.
If you prefer more "complete" translations, you could have:
"The scent of the tea assails the nostrils/
entering the mouth, mellow and sweet/
the returning flavour is without end.")

So, then: two bijou prizes:

First prize:
This (rather quite large) piece of calligraphy, with a bunch of samples of teas that I've recently been drinking.

Second prize:
The above, without the calligraphy.

Your task:
e-mail me (hobbesoxon at gmail dot com) with a haiku of your own creation. The two that I subjectively enjoy the most will win the prizes. Please put the word "haiku" somewhere in the title, so that I can find it easily.

(I'm an easy man to please when it comes to haiku, by the way.)

my wife is right - we can't take these lovely haiku without something in return. So, all entrants will receive at least one sample of something enjoyable from recent weeks (probably some 12 Gentlemen tea).


1. The haiku can be either "fixed" format (5-7-5 syllables) or "freeform" format.

The fixed-format approach is taught in many schools, to correspond with the 5-7-5 syllables that appear in the original Japanese haiku. However, Japanese sound-syllables (onji) carry less semantic weight than Western equivalents, and so a similar poem might use a smaller number of syllables if written in English, which motivates the more terse "freeform" format. Most of the haiku that you may have seen scattered through this web-site are freeform.
2. You can be as formal or as informal as you wish.

There are a bunch of "rules" for creating haiku, which can get complicated (cutting words, seasonal words, etc.). Use these if you like, but you won't be penalised for not using them.
3. The subject can relate to tea, or not to tea, as you see fit.

Don't feel obliged to stick to the theme of tea.
4. You can make a haiga, senryu, tanka, or renga if you wish.

(If you're familiar with them.)
5. All entries could be used to adorn later tea articles on the Half-Dipper!

This way, we can all enjoy the fruits of your labour. I'll try and match them to a photograph of my own that suits them (example below). If you don't want your initials appearing next to a haiku in a later article, let me know.
6. The closing date will be in around one week's time.

...but I'm never very good at keeping to time.

Good luck! I close with a pseudo-haiga courtesy of the photographic genius of VL - please visit his site to enjoy the full range of his talents.

VL's Train

sunshine on green fields
it is the mind that moves
outside train windows


Jamus said...

On a side note (and by no means my submission) I saw a gentleman the other day wearing a t-shirt that read:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Hobbes said...

Hah, nice... It reminds me of

haiku are tricky -
saying all your words within
seventeen sylla

(Stephen Fry or Hugh Laurie, I think.)



MarshalN said...

I just noticed... the translation for the second line should be "enter mouth mellow sweet" rather than thick.... "chun" is what you use to describe, say, a fine aged wine.

Hobbes said...

Dear MarshalN,

Superb, many thanks. Update made!



Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm sorry I've found your blog of note only now. I will look forward to your next contest.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Anonymous said...

What a lovely blog! blogger dot com brought it up as one to take note of - worth the time...

Elizabeth @


Hobbes said...

Thanks both :)