The temple in the calm grove


a haiku most days
keeps senility at bay
twenty-four / seven

Zenrin-ji is the name of several Buddhist temples in Japan, most famously one in Kyoto, the 9th-century Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji. Variously translated as Temple of the Forest of Zen or Temple in the Calm Grove, Kyoto’s Zenrin-ji is best known for its gardens and especially its autumnal foliage.

This blog was originally dedicated to haiku poems in English. Haiku traditionally explores the relationship between nature or the seasons and the human condition, but increasingly has evolved into terse epigrams in various moods.

Strictly speaking, some of these should be known as senryū but won’t for the moment discriminate between the two. I shall be using the evolved versions of haiku while largely sticking to the Western convention of seventeen syllables:

The conceit is this: | five, seven, five syllables? | Summative poem!

The temple title has been borrowed for this blog for three simple reasons.

  • First, it will mainly feature epigrams based on a Japanese poetic form.
  • Second, the ‘calm grove’ represented by Zen + rin is also the title of my book review blog exploring the world of ideas through books.
  • And third, some of my earliest memories are of post-war Japan in 1952, when I was four, as blurry photos of me — with sika deer — in Nara Park south of Kyoto suggest.

In addition, Zenrinji will also feature limericks and other doggerel, forms of wit only a little above sarcasm in the pecking order but hopefully leavening any seriousness haiku engenders.

And, as of late 2016, I shall also be including flash fiction, quotations and other choice bons mots in the mix. Feel free to comment on any of these posts — I shall endeavour to respond to all observations, critical or not!


2 thoughts on “The temple in the calm grove

  1. Pingback: Hibernation ends – Calmgrove

  2. Pingback: Poetry matters – Calmgrove

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