#Haikai Challenge #76 (3/9/19): whitebait (shirauo) #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga

Elisa Prato from Firenze, Italy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D

Dug out of the light snow yet, haijin? I know I have! Congratulations to last week’s contributors:

Haikai Challenge Participants
1. Tessa
2. Revived Writer
3. Dwight L. Roth
4. Pat R
5. Reena Saxena
6. Jules @ Strands
7. lynn__
8. Jane Dougherty
9. Ken Gierke / rivrvlogr
10. Janice
11. Susan Zutautas
12. Merril D. Smith
13. Helene Vaillant
14. ennle madresan

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


March proceeds. A deep freeze continues next week across the New York Metropolitan area. Both Saint Patrick’s day and Selection Sunday of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament arrive a week from tomorrow. Things are happening! Seasons are in flux! Oh, how easy it is to get lost in it all!

Fortunately, as I mentioned last week, Ash Wednesday also happened last week. That means the liturgical season of Lent is underway:

Lent (LatinQuadragesima, ‘Fortieth’) is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penancerepentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. This event is observed in the AnglicanEastern OrthodoxOriental OrthodoxLutheranMethodist, and Catholic Churches.[1][2][3] Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season.[4][5]

The last week of Lent is Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday. Following the New Testament story, Jesus’ crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, and at the beginning of the next week the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday recalls the accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days.[6][7][8] Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.[9][10] The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ’s carrying the Cross and of his execution, are often observed. Many Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches remove flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols are often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event. Throughout Christendom, some adherents mark the season with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat, most notably among Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.[11][12][13]


Why is this a good thing? Isn’t Lent just a “downer” fest of giving things up and looking dour? While it certainly has earned that reputation–often thanks to the misguided practioners and clergy that promote it as such–Lent is not a time for wallowing in shame or obsessing about imperfection. It is about reflection, and changing direction as needed, so that one is truly living!

Who are we? What do we want? Where are we going, and how are we getting there? If Love is the way, then how loving are we? These are the big questions that lent offers any of us the opportunity to consider, if we choose to.

When so much in our society vies for our attention with empty promises and sheer noise, a time dedicated to reflection and consciousness-raising change may be the welcome respite we need.

But what traditional Kigo could possible relate to Lent? Well, fish is one of the symbols of Lent. And whitebait (shirauo) happens to be an early spring Kigo. As for what whitebait is:

Whitebait is a collective term for the immature fry of fish, typically between 1 and 2 inches (25 and 50 mm) long. Such young fish often travel together in schools along the coast, and move into estuaries and sometimes up rivers where they can be easily caught with fine meshed fishing netsWhitebaiting is the activity of catching whitebait.


There you have it: Lent encapsulated in the image of an immature fish. So this week, write the haikai poem of your choice that alludes to whitebait (shirauo).

As always:

Here’s how the challenge works:

1. write the haikai poem of your choice.
2. post the link of your post to Mister Linky.
3. pingback by posting the link to the challenge on your site.
4. read and comment on other contributors’ posts.

Don’t let the madness of March get you down, haijin! Keep calm and carry on!

8 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s