Hot Chestnuts

in a chilly square
by a market brazier
frozen fingers meet
over steaming chestnuts’ heat
breath mingling in icy air

© Kim M. Russell, 2016


My response to Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #6 chestnuts

In this episode, Chèvrefeuille explained how, in ancient Japan, it was a custom between two poets (writers) to exchange waka instead of letters in prose. In particular, it was a common practice between lovers, mostly in secret affairs.

The prompt for today is ‘chestnuts’.  Chèvrefeuille says that chestnuts have a deeper meaning that fits the idea of a tanka being a love poem, which is to do with fertility and desire: it is said that through a kind of ritual with chestnuts you can find the love of your life. Another meaning tells us that the prickly burrs are the male part of the chestnut, and the fruit inside are the female part, with the burrs defending the fruits. He also shared a haiku by Matsuo Basho:

yoru hisokani   mushi wa gekka no   kuri wo ugatsu

a night secret
a worm under the moon
bores in a chestnut

© Matsuo Basho

2 thoughts on “Hot Chestnuts

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