December 31, 2015

Poetry Friday--Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

Happy New Year!


It's the first of the year which means it's time for the Nengajo--New Year's haiku postcard exchange. (To learn more about the Nengajo, click on the label on the right hand side of the page.) We're entering the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey, as Wikipedia states,

...possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Even though their intentions are always good, this desire to be a prankster has a tendency to create ill will and hurt feelings.

Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused. But nothing could be further from the truth as Monkeys thrive on being challenged. Monkeys prefer urban life to rural, and their favorite pastime is people-watching.

It took me a long time before starting on this year's postcard because I had no idea what I would write for a haiku. I had no direct experience with monkeys to draw from. However, the minute I found the illustration of the painter monkey I knew I had found my inspiration. The illustration is from a French picture book published in 1740 by Christophe Huet, Singeries, ou differentes actions de la vie humaine representées par des singes. Translation: Antics, or various human activities represented by monkeys.


I manipulated the illustration by adding a hint of color in the background and bright colors to the palette. (Have you seen the film Mr. Turner? This illustration reminds me of it. Turner painted and his father mixed colors for him. It was an interesting film--how's that for a wishy-washy assessment?)

The word "first" is symbolic of the new year. These symbolic words that stand in for a season are known as kigo. I imagined this little artist up at the crack of dawn on New Year's Day ready to paint his dreams for the coming year.

Participation in the Nengajo has fallen off in the past few years. This year only 16 signed up. In past years there have been dozens. So, if you would like one of my postcards, I'd be happy to send you one while supplies last. Email your name and address to me.

Mary Lee, keeper of the master Poetry Friday Round-Up schedule, is hosting the first Round-Up of 2016 at A Year of Reading!

I wish you peace, happiness, and a year of creativity!

21 comments:

  1. "ready to paint his dreams"...what a spirit-filled, new year/new beginnings evocative invitation-image! Thank you for starting off the year with a selective splash of color on the palette and an immense amount of back-story detail. I love "seeing" how your creativity worked on this holiday haiku! Thank you, too, for your New Year well wishes. God bless you!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and wishes!

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  2. I love that YOUR monkey has NO trouble exhibiting his intellectual and creative side! Quite apt!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Well, Mary Lee, we haven't actually seen the painting! ;-)

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  3. This monkey looks ready but also a bit mischievous in his expression. I hope we are all ready to paint our dreams this year. Happy New Year!

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    1. All we have to do is overcome our resistance to starting. Start! (That should be my one little word in 2016!)

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    1. Many thanks, Ruth, and the same to you!

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  5. That is one clever, crafty looking monkey! Happy New Year, Diane!

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    1. He does give that appearance, doesn't he. However, if he's like Mr. Turner, he may have talent, but he may not be always likeable! Have you seen that movie? I can't stop thinking about it.

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this rich post along with the lovely haiku. I'm so intrigued by how you manipulated the image to enhance your message. Love all the enriching details you included in your text as well. Happy New Year!

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    1. I use PicMonkey to "edit" images. There are a million things you can do with effects. The edits I made were subtle. Try it out, the basic service is free.

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  7. Happy New Year, Diane! I'm interested in the tension between what we can see with our eyes, and the visual images we can hold in our minds -- dreams, imaginings. Your poem captures that (and that monkey is definitely poem-worthy).

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    1. That tension is never more pronounced than when you think about being kind since "you never know what burdens people are carrying." Imagination sure comes in handy. If some idiot is on the road, I try to say, "well, maybe she's rushing to get home to a sick child," or, "maybe he's got a splitting headache." It doesn't excuse boorish behavior, but it makes it easier to understand. Of course, the person could simply be an a**hole, but then I start to think, "maybe he was picked on as a child." Imagination can be a burden sometime... ;-)

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  8. Diane, your creative side is really shown in this post. The clever monkey paints dreams for the coming year. Perhaps, he will "start" you on your journey of creativity unlimited...Happy New Year, Diane.

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    1. I've been on that journey for a while now! I'm looking to branch off into art with actual materials (not photo editing and word processing programs)!

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  9. I loved your haiku on Robyn's blog post - but I love it more now, for hearing the process behind it. I'm so glad you shared it, Diane. Happy New Year!

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    1. Sharing processes is what we should all do!

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  10. Thanks so much for the postcard! I will put it on my fridge. Happy New Year! :-)

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  11. gorgeous!!! if a haiga can be that

    HAPPY NEW YEAR DIANE

    much love...

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  12. Love this... and that creative, prankster monkey we'll just call "Diane's muse." Your postcard reminds me of when I visited a wildlife refuge a few years ago. The tour guide gave the monkey's oreos, but didn't expect that they would eat the cream filling and then pelt the outer cookies at all of us! Thanks for sending me my own copy, which I discovered on my return from PA. It's hanging next to my desk for year-round inspiration. :)

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