Haiku Contest

[The context is closed but thread left for history.]

In another thread, one of our readers, JohnPawn, told us that he had some incense he’d like to give away and suggested a contest for the box. This incense is an ORS favorite and I’m always up for some fun so I was happy to indulge. Note that this contest, its winners and such, are all determined by John and his son, the judges, not by ORS, but I’m happy to make a place for it to happen. So here is the contest and rules…

Hey Everyone!

How about a little contest?

I have a box of last year’s coveted Dzogchen Monastery Lotus Ground incense (minus a few sticks) that I would like to give away.  I enjoy it, but it doesn’t move me.  I would rather this rare incense find a home where it will be treasured.  You can read about this wonderful prize here:


As you may know, a haiku is a traditional, three line, Japanese poem with 5, 7 and 5 syllables per line, respectively.  Contestants are kindly asked to reply to this post with their own original, incense related haiku.  The best one wins the prize.

Now you might say, “Hey JohnPawn, why are you offering a Tibetan prize for a Japanese poem?”  There are two reasons for this.  First, I don’t know of any short form Tibetan poetry and, second, I don’t have any Japanese incense that I want to give away.  Sometimes we just have to live with life’s little ironies.

The judges will announce the winner approximately one month from today on May 16th, which coincidentally happens to be the 365th anniversary of the founding of the Dzogchen Monastery.  Or maybe it isn’t.  Either way, that is the day that the judges will reveal the winner based on their own arbitrary and undisclosed criteria.  And, of course, the judges’ decision will be final.  The judges will be myself and my youngest son.  Even though my son is only 12 years old, he has a wicked nose and a keen ear for poetry…although I will admit that he has a tendency to favor art of the scatological nature.  We’re working on that.

The only other caveat for the winner is that they must have a U.S. address.  Obviously, this is due to shipping costs.  Mike made the suggestion that I could request a non-U.S. winner to pay for the additional shipping charge.  However, I would prefer not to have money involved.  I know that this will exclude many readers from the prize, but hopefully our international friends will understand and still want to participate.

All entries must be submitted as replies to this post and be time stamped as of May 14th, 2015.  It would also be appreciated if you also stated if you were a U.S. or non-U.S. resident.

To get you in the mood, here are two haiku that I whipped up this morning…

Haiku #1

Smoke soars thick and sweet

Was wonderful but now gone

So too was our love

Haiku #2

New to Tibetan

With one wiff the woman asks,

Who sent the poo scent?

Here’s hoping people will participate!

-JohnPawn, Co-Protector of the DSS


Kyarazen’s Artisinal Incense: Song of Rain and Sea of Clouds

Sea of Clouds

The unlit sticks of Sea of Clouds smell dry, bitter and woody with a hint of borneol that adds its customary energetic uplift. I think I smell a sprinkle of dry white pepper and a hefty amount of sandalwood. The burning stick initially smells vanillic sweet. Then creamy sandalwood waltzes in, smooth and wavy and very light on its feet, smelling of mellow woods and coconut. It’s so strange that I can’t smell the camphor at all. I imagine it’s the invisible charioteer, content to drive the gently drifting and weightless wood skyward without contributing a scent of its own.

When I smell sweet agarwood incense I’m always charmed and feel as though I’ve rediscovered something very wonderful, however the bitter sticks are the ones I come back to again and again and again. Sea of Cloud’s bitterness is tempered by age-earned ease and gossamer grace, a welcome, unburdened bitterness that makes me feel determined and secure as I enjoy it’s meditative flight.

Sea of Clouds is an agarwood kiss, a breath of wood spirit, a floating puff of sylvan stillness. It takes me away, not on a wild adventure or a child’s fanciful daydream, but on an intent, silent pilgrimage made in earnest joy.


Song of Rain

As soon as I removed Song of Rain from its plastic sleeve I was really surprised! I wasn’t expecting to smell such strong, thick, sweet spiciness! The unlit sticks smell very ambery- lots of caramel (is that benzoin?) – accompanied by cumin, turmeric and cassia. A bittersweet chocolate makes me wonder if patchouli is the source of the herbal element. Before it’s lit, Song of Rain reminds me of a gourmand-smelling zukoh, but while it’s burning the sweet and spicy notes recede and woody and subtly animalic notes become much more prominent.

This is not the song of a suburban Spring shower. I smell the rainforest after a stampeding downpour, the sweet loaminess of sodden earth, the sour bitterness of fungus-laden bark and the damp thickness of heavy air. It’s easy to imagine green crested lizards scurrying beneath sinking rocks, birds of paradise seeking shelter under the spreading canopy and the drenched gray coats of squirrel monkeys glistening silver with sun-warmed droplets. While many amber incenses are way too sweet for my personal taste, Song of Rain balances sweet spiciness with herbal, earthy and plum skin agarwood notes. It’s a rain I’d happily sing in and a song I’d happily sing!



Kyarazen Premium Handmade Incense now available on Etsy

[Incenses are long gone, thread kept for comments.]

Dear Readers,
I’m happy to let you know that two of Kyarazen’s Premium Handmade Incense can now be purchased here:

(See 3/8/15 ORS post for reviews)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!