Dueling Renku 1 (Willie)

Sign up here folks:

Willie (sabaki)
Bill
Mel
Sandra

322 Responses to Dueling Renku 1 (Willie)

  1. sandra says:

    Signing on. Aye, aye Cap’n Willie

  2. ashleycapes says:

    And Bill’s in too, taking my place as he was in the original list waiting on the Schedule page
    I’ll be a spare for either renku if required!

  3. I could barely resist exclaiming, “Aa’rr!”

  4. Bill Dennis says:

    Well, Ashley, it’s sporting of you. You know I’d love to participate You need not budge out, if you’d rather stay in. I came late and don’t mind waiting for the next dance.

    • ashleycapes says:

      No, please stay – the next dance could be a while away, the snail sometimes hibernates 🙂

      and I’ll still be around, watching and learning

  5. Bill Dennis says:

    Well, then, thanks. I’m in. btw, does “aa’rr” have one exclamation mark or two?

  6. Welcome all! I’m a bit tardy, but now I’m here. And thanks to our very gracious host, good ol’ Ash, for his unselfish work behind the scenes.

    I’ve mentioned before my personal handicap -umm – preference for verses that resound musically to the ear, sometimes to the point of aggravating the sensibilities of the poor victims of my leadership. That aside for the moment, I ask, “but what of content”?

    Aside from juxtaposition in hokku, ideology and method of linkage, kigo – regional or traditional, emotional tenor, and the dynamics of ebb and flow of each occuring verse, what of the topicality of subject matter in a composition’s makeup? I’ve had the occasion to read a fair number of renku of late, and what often strikes me is that so many attempt to proceed on such a grandiose, metaphysical scale, yet often, only manage to fail miserably. To me, rather, the personal relevence in a verse to each and every one of our lives is critical. For those poems I myself personally can’t connect with it comes down to the feeling that maybe the author’s , good intentioned as they may be, are just trying too hard.

    At this juncture, I’d like to alleviate any fears any might have of writing “the perfect verse”, each and every time. The collaboration’s the thing, the za of the communal composition, and the considered compassion in discussion and critique we might share to make our sittings enjoyable and successful. I’m surely confident that those assembled here are capable of great things, and great writing, as we work together. As for topic choice, the blend and choices for subject matter will be revealed, from the noble to the mundane, natural to man-made, extracting the essence of Haikai to a fair representation of “all things”, great and small.

    So then, off my high horse and on to specifics. Length (or style) of our composition is still in the air, though little matter. Whatever we choose, the clues should readily occur as we proceed to our submissions for hokku. Let’s begin degachi, competitively, aiming for our preferred three choices each. Seasonal choice is up to each of you, based on your region or preference.

    And we’re off!

  7. Bill Dennis says:

    Hopeful hokku

    too small to house worms
    almost just ornamental–
    lots of crab-apples

    meeting again
    after raising families–
    snow geese form their V

    against the white lawn
    autumn’s sudden arrival–
    frost-blackened figs

    I’m being brave, even presumptuous, and throwing three hokku possibilities to join my hat in the ring. As to the form we eventually select, I’m game for anything. I did take part in one New Renku. However, I have to say that I just do not grasp the distinctions of the New Renku, which John and Ashley have created. It’s surely me, not them or their explanations. I’ll go with the crowd in any case. If you can’t tell, it’s fall here. I just came home from the Austrian alps and it’s even more autumnal there.

  8. sandra says:

    Hello all,

    Some hokku candidates – guess what the weather/season is like here?

    squally sky –
    the sound of a lawnmower
    comes and goes

    squally sky –
    the maple’s new leaves
    green & greener

    gentle rain –
    the sudden need
    for delphiniums

    As to the final form, well, I’ve done a few junicho but not much else so would be willing to follow my leader.

    Cheers,
    Sandra

  9. And to remind (more clearly) again, three verses is good to shoot for, for variety, yet not limited to.
    The more choices, the merrier. We’ve time; others may respond to join from their respective timezones or schedules.

  10. Bill Dennis says:

    I like the sonorous quality of “a plague of grackles” and I appreciate that both of Willie’s entries suggest gathering or meeting, as for the opening of a renku session. Isn’t it a shame we have to go by sattelite half-way around the world to meet? Gook hokku entries.

  11. sandra says:

    Had to look “grackle” up, what a neat word. Hope I’m not out of line suggesting a small tinker:

    darkening skies –
    grackles scatter,
    then gather again

    • Bill Dennis says:

      “Grackle,” is the sort of word which led G.M. Hopkins to assert that the onomatopoeic (sp?) theory of language had never been given a fair hearing. That’s a fair tinkum, Sandra, but I still feel un certain je ne sais quois flowing in Will’s original taking.

  12. Late evening here in the midwest. I think I’ll turn in and return in the morning. That should allow Melissa to chime in; She’s an early-bird with a full schedule.

    Asta Manana!

    • Lorin says:

      well, I liked the EL conversation lesson in the Terminator:

      John Connor: No, no, no, no. You gotta listen to the way people talk. You don’t say “affirmative,” or some shit like that. You say “no problemo.” And if someone comes on to you with an attitude you say “eat me.” And if you want to shine them on it’s “hasta la vista, baby.”
      The Terminator: Hasta la vista, baby.
      John Connor: Yeah but later, dickwad. And if someone gets upset you say, “chill out”! Or you can do combinations.
      The Terminator: Chill out, dickwad.
      John Connor: Great! See, you’re getting it!
      The Terminator: No problemo.

      One can learn a lot from fillums 😉

      – Lorin

  13. Early bird indeed. It’s about 5:30 a.m. here in Wisconsin. If I were less scatterbrained I would have checked this site yesterday and then I wouldn’t be trying to compose hokku in a rush before my first cup of tea.

    I too like the grackles a lot. Best word ever. I think I prefer Sandra’s revision.

    shorter days
    from next door the glow
    of light therapy

    northern wind
    every day the river
    rushing away faster

    twilight
    the white flesh
    of broken apples

  14. 5:30 – I awoke at five, but only for “rest stop” and to adjust the terrier keeping my feet warm. No, the terrier in question does not have a thermostatic control . . .

    Fine offers all. I do appreciate your admiration for the word ‘grackle’, one I shared when I first observed their number in a neighboring state. Couched in the terms surrounding it though could be a problem, and with my other submission as well.

    what passes for snow
    two trains hurry by
    in opposite directions

    This image may hold some interest for some but could be construed to indicate travel, a topic deleted from classical renga and later compositional style due to the often placid nature of Jo, since travel in the days before trains, planes and automobiles was often a harrowing experience, and I don’t just mean driving off across a state line when the money card is declined at the petrol station for lack of funds. Trying to rationalize, I had considered freight train’s carrying cargo, although the reference was drawn from the image before me as I rode the Amtrak passenger train going West while the freight cars hurtled East, inches, it seemed, from my observation window.

    The descriptive phrase ‘ a plague of grackles’ holds the conundrum of being evocative of disease, another no-no in Ushin Renga preface. despite the ‘plague’ descriptive deriving from the propensity of the birds to attack farmer’s grainfields en masse, not sickness, per se, though their numbers have dwindled in the last century by 30 million or so. With that in mind, I ask you to bear with me a moment.

    The high plains colloquilism “plague’, in lieu of flocks, mobs, flights, scads, clouds, or throngs, is superior to any of the latter for the long vowel sound and the assonance it reinforces with ‘scatter, gather, and grackles’ itself, as well as the accent it places on the beginning of the line, which I find irresistible. As James Brown in all his wisdom would have said, “Hit it on the One!”

    Allowing for your suggestions to delete the noun, I should point out the increased line length helps to ascertain contrast with the following verse, heightening the dramatic ebb and flow of maeku and tsekeku, an essential point in renku comp, a discussion of which precedes this post at the current renku in progress next door; I suggest you take a look.

    There is a certain tension in the verse, also, the ‘plague’ dispersing, then rising again, tickling the reader’s interest, as well as how Bill pointed out the analogy to a gathering of renju. Finally, the kicker for me was drawn from one of our submissions, edited here:

    Against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    This well-crafted descriptive phrase makes for a wonderful link. Amazing how such simple objects can touch off such dramatic allusion, JP aware, if I recall. The linkage is tight, figs, now common to the continents of our origin, and continues a certain mystery in my eye.

    darkening skies-
    plagues of grackles scatter,
    then gather again

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    Both may hint at wintry scene, but our first hand observations tell us they proceed from early fall to the time just before Indian Summer, or Old Woman’s Summer in some Eastern bloc Euro locations.

    The contrasts here, excite with a marvelous tension, and could lead us anywhere – the only caveat being the next verse, daisan, should should be light in tone, karumi, we might say, to avoid the spectre of an ominous feel. But, I’m sure Melissa and Sandra are up to the task.

    One last note – in keeping with our comrades at our twin composition, our format should be in the eighteen stanza Imachi form, a choice I heartily agree with!

    • Wakiku

      Oh, I do ramble on – almost forgot to mention, a moon verse is called for here, which the black and white visual of it’s maeku sets up nicely.

    • sandra says:

      Hi Willie,

      Given that there’s already an em dash in the hokku, might we do away with the comma at the end of L2. After all, a pause is created by the line break itself. ??

      I also much prefer the non-American way of using an em dash, that is
      skies –
      (word, space, dash, space)

      It seems to give the punctuation its full import.

      Anyway, that can be stored for the review process.

      • Lorin says:

        …it’s not non-American & it’s not the em dash 😉 …it’s the en dash (house style for AHG … I prefer it to the em dash, too)

        Clever of you to make one here…I can’t! All I get when I try is a double hyphen —

        – L

      • Lorin says:

        …how did that happen? The double hyphen changed to an en dash all by itself after I posted!

        – L

    • Lorin says:

      original:

      darkening skies-
      a plague of grackles scatters,
      then gathers again

      revised:

      darkening skies-
      plagues of grackles scatter,
      then gather again

      You’re right, Willie:’plague’ does not exclusively refer to disease, eg ‘a plague of locusts’ and the various biblical plagues.

      The verse is a good one, but imo your original, with the one particular ‘plague of grackles’, is the better version because it shows one particular instance whereas the revised version could be a general statement. Also, plural plagues seems to take away from the magnitude & the sense of the ominous, as if there were a lot of little plagues of grackles.

      Picky, I know 😉 … that’s me haiku background. For the same reason, how about considering the singular ‘sky’… for the focus.

      darkening sky –
      a plague of grackles scatters,
      then gathers again

      against the white lawn
      frost-blackened figs

      – L

      • Bill Dennis says:

        I agree that the singular is more effective than the plural. There is suffiient “s” siblance in any event. I recall seeing very few punctuation marks in haiku. I’ll come down on the side of saying we don’t need it in the grackles case.

  15. sandra says:

    Here’s a couple of thoughts …

    darkening skies –
    plagues of grackles scatter,
    then gather again

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    tonight’s moon
    hidden behind cloud …
    I peel an apple

    swirling moonlight
    in his glass,
    a taste of white flowers

    Maybe another one, we’ll see.

  16. I like the taste of white flowers.

    darkening skies –
    plagues of grackles scatter,
    then gather again

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    locked
    in the museum at night
    the moon goddess smiles

    rewinding
    to watch him walk again
    on the moon

  17. Lorin says:

    swirling moonlight
    in his glass,
    a taste of white flowers

    – Sandra

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    – Melissa

    I like both of these a lot as renku verses or as haiku. Wondering though, Sandra, about having ‘white’ again right after ‘white lawn’, and wondering, Melissa, whether the moon appearing in a song title shows the presence of an autumn moon sufficiently for renku?

    The sabakis will, I hope, be able to clear these things up for me.

    (I’m not sure how to do italics. I’m having a go, but if it doesn’t work, excuse the funny marks )

    – Lorin

  18. Lorin says:

    o, bugger… I tried to put italics only around the line in each verse that has italics in the original posts, not the whole thing. Well, I know that doesn’t work now.

    – L

  19. sandra says:

    Actually, I was more concerned about putting “flowers” into a moon verse! Will try another:

    darkening skies –
    plagues of grackles scatter,
    then gather again

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    the way her hands
    move as she tells the story
    of the woman in the moon

    http://www2.careers.govt.nz/educators-practitioners/tools-and-activities/the-magic-of-myths/rona-and-the-moonko-rona-me-te-marama/

    moon-gazing …
    the glass chill
    on my forehead

  20. sandra says:

    do we dare to dance
    under a blue moon
    this long night?

    Aargh, I’m giving up and going to bed!

  21. Bill Dennis says:

    I’m most taken with Melissa’s offering, but I suggest leaving out a word to make the effect less rococo, thusly–

    someone playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au claire de lune

    (darned if I can figure out the italics)

    I don’t know what white flowers taste like–mums? roses? It does not evoke anything for me, and of course, the matter of blossom in a moon link is valid.

    • Lorin says:

      Bill, ‘flowers’ in context of Sandra’s ku, is clearly a wine-tasting term… no actual flowers present at all. And no, I don’t think that they make wine out of mothers in NZ (nor chryssies if that’s what you mean) just the usual grapes. 🙂 They do produce some superb white wines though.

      Hmmm 😉 possibly a Chenin Blanc :
      Chenin Blanc – straw, flowers, honey, can be dry or sweet
      or
      Viognier – flowery, peachy, delicate, fresh

      Just google any wine appreciation course or the like and you’ll find lots of these terms.

      and – “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has been described by some as “alive with flavors of cut grass and fresh fruits”, and others as “cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush” (but not necessarily as a criticism).”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine

      – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        Ah Lorin, you must have been listening to the same radio broadcast I was – Monday, I think. The resident wine wa**er (not waiter) was extolling a wine and I think he said it tasted of white flowers, may have been wild flowers, but either way it was too good to pass up! A viognier from the Spade Oak vineyard in Gisborne.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viognier

      • Lorin says:

        Ha, Sandra…no I wasn’t listening to any radio program 🙂 But I’m a little bit familiar with those terms (they often have them on the label as a description, even) I’ve also spent time, now & then, on perfume websites, and if you think the wine terms are OTT, check out those for perfumes (especially the ones with threads where people disagree with the maker’s descriptions 😉

        I just quickly googled for a couple of the terms for demo purposes here. I mean, it had to be a white wine, didn’t it? 😉

        ‘a taste of white flowers’ in the context you have it is clearly a wine tasting term, to me, and I love the way you’ve transferred the taste description, by association, to moonlight. It’s a superb ku, imo.

        – Lorin

      • Bill Dennis says:

        Lorin, it would make me seem churlish to remain silent here, so for the record let me note that I had posted a response to your white flowers/vino comment. I saw it posted on the screen, but now it’s gone, by the magic of modern technology. I would not ignore you. But really, all I had to say was to the effect of, “Um, I guess you’re right.” That’s my conclusion and I’m sticking to it.

  22. Hi everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying the wonderful offers on hand. And always a treat to have everyone’s involvement in suggestions for editing our final choices – the advantage, and essence, of communal composition.

    That in mind, I may have given an unintentional clue in the creation of our daisan verse. I noticed a propensity for alluding to the moon where it was not the main focus in every offer. In a major season, and the season most associated with moon, I thought it best to more directly address the celestial phenomenon. Lorin raises this very point:

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    This verse, to me, addresses our concerns, though in a subtle fashion. No problemo with combining diverse languages; aren’t modern renku unhindered by language, continent and ocean, stanzas literally hurtling across at near the speed of light only to arrive, unscathed, in our cozy little inboxes?

    And yes, the preface of this piece is strong, enforcing the juxtaposed imagery while drawing on the night and day aspects of it’s linkage, though I feel the punctuation sets up nicely a pause to heighten the musical reference to the moon. A bit cheeky, too; have you read the lyrics to this song? Me like-ee.

    A moment to address our other editorial notes, not to make excuses, but more a peek into the workings of my mind ( a maze of wires and odd lengths of rusty pipe running off at odd angles, dust and grime, puffs of steam emanating from leaky structures . . .)

    I strongly considered the accentual role of the word ‘plague’, and the additional role the plural forms of ‘scatters’ and ‘gathers’ would play combined with the sibilance of ‘skies’. Lorin has helped to put the matter to rest with the more definitive replacement of the singular ‘sky’. Helps to tone down the reading, too, alleviating fears of allusion to “disease” in Jo, with the assonant indefinite article ‘a’ lending to the calming effect.

    As for dashes, it appears to be a slip of the fingers on my part. i threw one in, not certain it was necessary or not. I’ll leave it to the punchlist for later.

    I’ll continue now in another post to use as marker for navigating this thread.

  23. Verse 4

    darkening sky –
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    Sandra, if you would prefer, how ’bout a go at our next verse? Not to demand or put you on the spot, of course. You can decline without any fear of retribution. Non season. Human interaction would be fine; we’ve two nice “landscapes” preceding.

    I see our other renku next door is struggling mightily, as usual. This is in the bag!

  24. sandra says:

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    (or it could be “left” hand)

    leering at me
    the face of a Russian clown

    dusting the chandelier
    I forget the where and when

    (or “I recall the who and why”)

    a parquet floor, a glass lamp,
    have I been here before?

    etc … 🙂

    Happy to do more if none of these suit.

  25. Wow! What an amazing array of offers!

    The melancholy photograph, a disturbing vision of a leering clown (what’s the allusion, I immediately wonder) lost in Liberace’s lyrical embrace, an overwhelming moment of deja-vu; which do we choose?

    I have an idea already, though I’d like to hear the other’s impressions of these verses. Too good to pass up the chance . . .

  26. I agree that these are all strong offerings. I like “a parquet floor,” both for its songlike nature that links it rhythmically with the daisan and the variation of a question. The only problem I have with “with my good hand” is that I keep trying and failing to imagine someone working the crease out of a photograph with one hand. I suppose if you only had one good hand to work with…

    • Lorin says:

      Hi Bill…one could say that the ku ‘has body’ ? 😉

      You probably forgot to click ‘post’, just like I did here with this comment…came back after writing an email and found it still unsent. 🙂

      – Lorin

    • Lorin says:

      …and now it’s posted in the wrong place! ah, one of those days, I suspect.

      Melissa…
      “I suppose if you only had one good hand to work with…”

      …which surely is the only reason that people refer to it as their ‘good’ hand? The other doesn’t work well or at all, is crippled by arthritis or injury (in most cases)

      – Lorin

      • Oh, I know, Lorin…I suppose I was thinking out loud a bit. It’s still hard for me to imagine that maneuver but I think that’s my problem rather than the verse’s.

  27. Thanks for your responses people. i find our tastes generally concur – yet diverse enough to enhance the other. Hmm – a few thoughts tumbling around – let’s see if I can relate them briefly.

    All of Sandra’s offers are in the first-person, a wish that had crossed my mind for the advantage of focus to draw the reader in. And, for the fact we sometimes risk the possibility of too abrupt a leap into a prosody too dynamic to sustain. My strategy has been to treat our “introduction” as though it were a formal preface, despite the Imachi consisting of a single sheet.

    In that light, it’s easiest to address the Russian clown to his face, if you will. I love dark verse, as this rendering strikes me to be, yet ignorant of the linking allusion here the image is startling enough to distract as it leaps boldly away from maeku.

    ‘Chandelier’ brings a plebian existence into play, a sympathetic, narrative scene crafted in only two lines familiar to us all. My reluctance to include it stems from the manner of linkage, closely akin to the former verse, as well as the echo of contrasts in line two that has persisted throughout until now.

    The still life of ‘floor and lamp’ is very appealing, juxtaposed with its existential self examination, yet it repeats a visual presentation, although that may go unnoticed due to its quality. Here, however, we have thirteen syllables, less contrast to maeku as we refine our rhythms and, speaking without meaning any offense, I’d prefer an introspective question to set up a sequence a little less early in our development. Which brings us to –

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    What strikes me about this verse is it’s succinct portrayal of a pleasingly nostalgic melancholy. This is a successful verse, bar none. Initially I held the cautionary awareness that it might be *too* sad, as in our discussion of ‘plague’, yet I recall we are working with a single sheet, regardless.

    Sorry i didn’t respond to your comment on daisan earlier, Bill. We were cross posting. I might have said the ‘rhythms the thing” in response, a laid back, Memphis beat at the mo’, and the roccoco you mention was just quirky enough to catch my eye, a,mongst other reasons.

    Which reminds me – I’ve mis-labeled Wakiku above. Ash, could you change that to Daisan?

    Ash

  28. Verse 5

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    non – season. a choice of lesser seasons after is possible. all team members welcome to make offers.

  29. One off the top:

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    taking a break
    that shiny new zippo
    reliable in the wind

  30. sandra says:

    Just for practise, you understand …

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    grandmother’s niece
    slurring her words
    at lunchtime

    her eyes alive
    now that speaking
    is a burden

    the grin of the boy
    with a star on his chest
    six-shooters a-twirl

  31. Bill Dennis says:

    Well, lessee…

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    three possibilities:

    leaning forward
    to rake in a pile of chips
    with a laugh

    neither speaks though
    when his mouth drops open
    she smooths her brow

    grand-kids
    four thousand digital shots
    of gulls at the shore

  32. Sorry for my laggardly ways. For some reason I couldn’t get my brain out of sludge mode for this verse.

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    she asks me
    to explain
    Cinderella

    worried,
    she looks her name up
    in the dictionary

    in slow motion
    the scene where he learns
    everything

  33. Been experiencing some similar writer’s block myself, as well as working a few nights on some neighborhood security issues. Rewriting my initial offer and trying to polish another. Say, Bill, any other ideas from you? We could use your help, pal.

  34. Bill Dennis says:

    Sure, Will, but I’m wondering if some of my posts are not registering. Tell me, do you see my entry of 3 possible links, dated Oct. 18th, just after Sandra’s and before Melissa’s? Raise your hand if you do not get this message, sort of thing. But I’ll be glad to contribute some other suggestions if you like.

  35. Have those, ‘pard. Rewrites, newbies, and especially raves and faves always inspire. Thanks for the quick response.

  36. Alright then, two from me:

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    *****

    back to the wind,
    her careworn old Zippo
    reliable as ever

    the old blind dog
    waiting so patiently
    beside her knee

  37. Bill Dennis says:

    How’s about:

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s
    ***

    an old dollar bill
    that won’t feed through the machine
    pokes from his wallet

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    the Brailled version
    of his haiku collection
    sits thick as a tome

  38. Oh… I love that separately falling Devil…

  39. sandra says:

    I like Melissa’s “in slow motion” and I like Bill’s “in a church fresco” …

    If it’s too soon to be too strong with our imagery, would this help sneak it past the sabaki, I wonder?

    in a church fresco
    one angel falls separate
    from all the others

    Just a thought. This is getting interesting.

  40. I was hoping to transfer the ambiance of ‘my good hand’ in some subtle manner prior to a major development stage, but then along comes Bill to sound the charge. Casting aside any doubt, we will proceed from here:

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    Wonderful execution, phrasing and a perfect linking sense.

    So then . . .

  41. verse 6

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    one Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    a choice of non-season or ?? summer. (I’m considering ending on the winter scene, yet *anything* can happen)

    • Bill Dennis says:

      I’m glad you liked the link. Had the devil of a time with it. I just returned from Venice, where devils tumble down cathedral walls at every turn. The contrast between “good” in the previous link and the embodiment of bad was the thought behind my choices. If you prefer “one” devil to “the Devil,” maybe we ought to use the lower case for “devil.” The same as when referencing God rather than the gods.

      Query: since we seem to have started off in the autumnal mode, can we move on to summer next?

      I’ll sit the next link out and nurse my bum leg. Leaping about after images makes it hurt.

  42. sandra says:

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    in a church fresco
    one Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    leaving behind a whiff of diesel
    the loaded sheep truck

    oh, that haughty peacock
    do you see the way he struts?
    (loose reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melek_Taus)

    forgetting our names
    under the peacock’s stare

    Perhaps trying too hard, will sleep on it…

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Wow, Sandra, that is what I admiringly call breadth of knowledge! My own familiarity with the Kurdish is limited to Miss Muffet, I’m afraid. The top of my head is off to you.

      • sandra says:

        As with most of my knowledge Bill, second-hand. “From the Holy Mountain” by William Dalrymple, a marvellous book if you’re at all interested in the Middle East. Ostensibly about Christianity and its varied forms and its history, but also touches on other religions, such as the Yazidi and Druze, as well as being something of a travelogue. A good read.

  43. An uniintentional typo, Bill. We need to call out the repairman – *the* Devil, you say?

    Just had some interesting news. I need to have a cuppa – back in a while.

  44. darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    one Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    clumsy fool!
    … gone and broke the Cosmic Egg

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / (bill – mid summer)

    Just these at the mo’. (Mulling over a foreman’s job offer in South Dakota, in my trade no less, five hours from home) I’ve included one of several of your verses I’ve been keeping up my sleeve. It’s a summer theme, though we could have another verse distant after our autumn sequence. Put the italics back to Melissa’s Daisan so we might size up the visual impact.

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Will, try to get someone to crochet you a nose-warmer before you take off for South Dakota in the winter. Otherwise, I believe they’ll sell you bottles of nose-warmer when you get there. You also surprised me by remembering that un-used crab-apple link of mine. Full of surprises, you are tonight. Whatever you decide on either front will work out well.

    • ashleycapes says:

      Exciting news about the job offer, Willie!
      I really like Bill’s green apples, great

      • Thanks, Ash. A bit surprised, really, although my contrarian outlook on economic issues (we have political elections pending here, with all the attendant fanfare), i.e., from the bottom up opposed to the “major” economic seers and all their trumpeted Mojo might be coinciding for once . . . Dude said, “I’ll keep you working ’til you retire.”

        “Yeah, right” was my first thought. Where have I heard that one before. But my own survey sees an uptick in construction in the five state region. What the Hell? On the cusp of winter, no less. Is this a response to a backed up need in the market?

        Continuing, hoping this might be fodder relevant to our composition’s content, there is a concurrent surge in welfare applications and other State provided social services. So, who to believe, and furthermore, how to proceed with our lives? It’s no easy task picking the reality out of the puffery, especially in an election year. There has grown to be a marked skepticism in major media’s reportage in America, as well as the world in general. It might come down to a Darwinist point of view – only the strong will survive. Also, the 1% versus the 99 comes to mind. Caution should prevail, I suppose. Take heed of the confidence in your own abilities, but maybe don’t go and quit yer day job just yet.

    • Yes, congrats on the job offer, Will! I do think the economy is looking up a bit in general. (Side note: My workplace is now rumored to be the largest construction site in the Midwest. Ten or twelve cranes rising over the prairie. It’s a soul-stirring sight, I tell you. But then, we’re the indirect beneficiaries of boatloads of stimulus money…)

      All right, back to trying to twist my brain into renku shape. Hope to have something for you shortly.

  45. Dang-it! Made the same typo. Sorry…
    ‘… the Devil falls separate …’

  46. Lorin says:

    in a church fresco
    one Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    “look for it in the detail”
    the lawyer says

    Ha! Saturday morning, twiddling my thumbs, so I couldn’t resist. (just for fun)

    – Lorin

  47. with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    *****

    clumsy fool!
    … gone and broke the Cosmic Egg

    (much) too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / (bill – mid summer)

    relief come to the cloistered garden;
    a balmy breeze

  48. Bill Dennis says:

    The Better Late Than Never Department:
    Flash announcement from the left side of my brain–crab apples ripen in the autumn. That may affect things.

  49. sandra says:

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    the sounds we make
    as our fire fizzles out

    🙂

    Commentators here seem to be thinking we’ve seen the worst of the recession – but the Govt was a little early with its “green shoots recovery” a year or more ago. The company I work for is still laying people off (my dept has not been affected by the cuts, thank goodness, and should not be). So many “old faces” have gone it’s sad.

    So, a job offer is good news indeed. Would you move or do a weekly commute?

    • Accomodations and a stipend for daily expenses provided on this initial project, to last through the end of the year. For the time being, It leaves my options open . It’s a bit out of the way of the company headquarters, so a four day work schedule allows the workers time for returning home for a long weekend, in my case, a leisurely, five hour drive through the rural midwest. This is still conjecture, however, since I have to pass a final vetting process.

      I did a little research on the real estate market in the region. Small town America mostly, with housing prices amazingly unaffected by the bubble that skyrocketed out of reach for so many.

  50. with my good hand

    uncreasing the photograph

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    tomatoes reddening
    too fast in the heat

    her red umbrella
    coming closer and closer

    at the end of a hot day
    his gun goes off

    Well…it’s something.

  51. darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    ******

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    the sounds we make
    as our fire fizzles out / s

    her red umbrella
    coming closer and closer / m

    Interesting to note the rhythm inherent in these tsukeku and our previous short verses. And, how this choice might direct our poem’s advancement; the biblical pun of “worms” and the summer “apples”, (not the crab variety, but immature, as we would expect in this season) the ominous dread of a warm fire’s security lost to encroaching cold in winter (my take on it) and the mystery behind that red umbrella.

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    I’m enjoying the irreverent, haikai tone of this verse. It may serve to enhance our impending love verses, also, if we so choose to introduce them. Please note it is a mid-summer scene, so we should write chronological offers accordingly. Shall we continue degachi then?

    Oh, dear – we seem to have lost the enormous lead on our neighboring renju next door. What is it they’re doing over there?

  52. Verse 7

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    Three lines, summer. If the topic of love is your fancy, proceed with a sequence in mind of the first infatuous encounter to, possibly, disillusionment of a love that has waned.

  53. in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    ******

    a prideful display
    his hot pants and spandex
    leading the parade

  54. sandra says:

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples

    chopping rhubarb
    each chunk oozes a little juice
    into the pile of sugar

    an extra roll
    of deodorant before heading
    on the prowl

    so this is how it starts …
    heat lightning in the space
    between our eyes

    heat lightning in the space
    between our eyes …
    and so it begins again

  55. Verse 8

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    that raffish display!
    his hot pants and spandex,
    leading the parade / w

    A mid summer verse, northern hemisphere at least, commemorating the annual Gay Pride Day. Allusions to homo-erotic love were not uncommon to the Basho school. Jaunty and uplifting, this verse shows a little bit of cheek; I hope I haven’t been brash in presenting it here, in its current form with the first line serving as a sort of pivot, but the cavalierly rakish mannerism of the character endears, and, might be just the thing.

    Melissa, would you care to take the next non-season love verse. You may decline if you wish.

    Non-season/love to follow . . .

  56. Ash! I’ve done it again.

  57. I’m working on it… give me a few…

  58. Okay, let’s give these a whirl.

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    that raffish display!
    his hot pants and spandex,
    leading the parade / w

    caught on the spiked fence
    trying to get in – or out?

    one more time hand-in-hand
    around the roller rink

    she shoots a rubber band at me
    and misses again

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Even though the 1st line is hyper-syllabic, I really like the “rubber band” link for the mischievous subtlety with which it brings forth love interest. There is yet a 2nd connection to the previous link in the spandex/rubber band affinity. And does love itself count as a third, linking factor? Is that too much connection to the previous link? There’s a lot to be said in favor of Melissa’s “roller rink,” as well, though, as it is more impersonal, its tendency to evoke emotional response in the reader is less. I guess that this is why Will is pulling down the big bucks for being our conductor.

  59. Verse 9

    Sorry, Sandra,

    Going with my gut, I felt a need to up the ante a bit. I don’t think Melissa’s verse carries the joke too far.

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    Melissa, would it be alright if I alter your lead slightly – some further emphasis on the outcome. I think I’ll drop the exclamation mark from the previous, too.

    We stand at the cusp of the halfway mark. Anyone have comments to add on the text so far?

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    that raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    leading the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    Non-season, competitive all (for real this time).

  60. I don’t really mind if it does (although I hadn’t noticed). Apparently, enough separation exists to mask my oversight, if we would call it that. I like the odd dingus here and there in a renku; it almost is assymetry – asymmetry.

    More likely repeating articles is noticeable. And a challenge ahead may lie in striking a balance between the topics of people vs “things”.

    So far we have sky, birds, plants, lawns, music, art, religion, fruit, clothing, school . . . oh, where’s that old list of renga/renku topics? At Higginson’s Renku Home, for sure.

    We’ve seen, heard, felt, but not tasted or smelled. There’s been no rain, wind, Buddha, but lots of folks doing things. Animals? Lots of birds, and some metaphorical worms. No pines or mountains, but two colors included out of the spectrum. If anyone pulls up an aerie I’m afraid I’ll have to execute them on the spot.

    Ten verses to include the rest of the Universe. I don’t see a problem.

  61. (a) raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    leading the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    ********

    ducking the wind
    (that) tarnished Zippo
    reliable as ever

    (want to have a possesive pro-noun here, but two already precede)

    • Lorin says:

      hmmm…

      (a) raffish display
      his hot pants and spandex
      leading the parade / w

      launching a rubber band at me
      she misses again / m

      ********

      ducking the wind
      (that) tarnished Zippo
      reliable as ever

      leading, launching, ducking …. 3 (count ’em) verbs in continuous or progressive tense in 3 consecutive verses? Like tin ducks on a moving belt in a fairground shooting booth, one following the next? 🙂

      Might this verse be the time to vary the speech pattern a tad, Willie?

      (…wish I knew how to do the ‘tongue sticking out’ smiley 😉 )

      – Lorin

  62. Good’n! My focus on reversing “(back) to the wind, the tarnished Zippo reliable as ever”. Did the Zippo turn its back? Needs a pro-noun to identify whose back it is. Trying to retain the cadence. Or . . . line 1 could take another beat. Or, we could have “lead the parade” in the last but one. Or … exposed to the wind? Wait!

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    exposed to the wind
    that tarnished Zippo
    reliable as ever

    I’ll offer this. Thanks, dear.

  63. Bill Dennis says:

    I’ve borrowed Will’s wind to get started and ended up where needs must, for where there’s a Will there’s a ways.

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again /m
    **
    huffing and puffing
    all but one birthday candle
    flutter out

    not spades or diamonds
    last time it was diamonds
    spades the time before

    champagne wets the bows
    as she slides down the ways
    already well greased

    • Bill says:

      Under the heading of “Oops!

      I just noticed that my “spades and diamonds” offering links back to Sandra’s “with my good hand” segment. It’s what happens when working on a tablet with a cat on one’s lap. Sorry!

    • Bill says:

      Here’s a substitute offering on the notion of “again.”

      in their old canoe
      two boys discover
      America

      I was tempted to revert to Basho-mode, but I think it is too like a parody…, still…

      old canoe
      a boy leaps out
      America

  64. sandra says:

    that raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    leading the parade

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    inside the locket
    a snip of hair
    refuses to age

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and poems
    /and this poem

    (thanks to Omar Khayyam)

    No, I don’t think I have anything else. Have been staring at the screen for a good 10 minutes – all that seems good in my head doesn’t look quite so written down.

  65. Sorry, I know I really oughtn’t to link to myself but I couldn’t resist…

    that raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    leading the parade

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    they stare up
    at the cobwebs
    over the bed

    Oh…too close to aerie, Will? 😉

  66. sandra says:

    oh, that gypsy earring …
    when did 1975
    become ancient history?

  67. Verse 10

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    that raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    – and this poem / s

    As for myself, I was trying for a scent link (we have more than a few based on content), taking an object to convey the acceptance of love lost and finding solace in the simplicity of a seemingly unrelated action. Better to have lost love than to never have loved at all – or something of the sort. Yet I was a bit confounded as to the motivation behind some of the other offers. Then after some study, I thought to choose Sandra’s ‘tarte’ – it’s as though an actor is breaking character and directly addressing the audience. I admit to having to search Omar Kayyam’s poetry – ‘ a loaf of bread’, etc., wasn’t it Sandra? Reading with a deeper analysis, it may contain the same implications as I had attempted. And that’s the fun of writing Haikai – so many meanings may be interpreted according to one’s mood or point of view.

    To say the least, the prosody is in keeping with our long verses come before. and to me that’s important, in light of the slightly obssessive-compulsive that I am. We also might link to this verse in multiple fashions. So then, a choice of beginning a Spring sequence or non-season. With a two verse buffer between seasonal topics as with our Autumn to Summer before, Spring might leave us with non-season ageku, though a landscape might be approriate here as long as it doesn’t contain a saccharin flavor.

    Let’s all have another go, shall we?

    • sandra says:

      Thanks for choosing the verse Willie, and yes, it’s a reworking of that well-known haiku by the Persian master Omar Khayyam

      a loaf of bread
      a jug of wine
      and thou

      The slash before the 4th line was to indicate that I was offering alternate third lines. I didn’t mean it as punctuation. I see you’ve added a dash, might an ellipses be more gentle if you wanted something there? (I’ve always thought the internal verses shouldn’t be cut but, as with so much in renku, that may not be an absolute.)

    • that raffish display
      his hot pants and spandex
      lead the parade / w

      launching a rubber band at me

      she misses again / m

      a tarte au chocolat,

      a steaming pot of tea
-
      and this poem / s

      the lake that was left behind
      when it all melted

      the ashes of the prairie
      still smoldering

      the turned soil blacker
      under the stars

  68. Bill Dennis says:

    It’s spring!

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    –and this poem /s

    a strip of Persian carpet
    sprouts to border the walk

    on a corner of carpet
    where spring never fades

    lifting her gaze from the page
    she escapes through the window

    through newly opened windows
    the sweet sound of mowing lawn

    rising scents of fresh-cut grass
    rolling a joint with a sigh

  69. sandra says:

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    – and this poem

    beyond the rain-streaked window
    a Persian lilac in full bloom

    carried here by the wind
    wedding bells and spent blossoms

    (too soon for flowers?)

    from gust to gust the changing
    geometry of the garden

    so suddenly green!
    the garden gets on with it

  70. launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem

    entering the Magic City
    a freight car’s rhythm

    a robotic arm draws
    the perfect circle

    wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

  71. Joseph Mueller says:

    Sorry to be absent so long. Here are some attempts for this two liner.

    lost crown
    to midnight’s kingdom

    the lioness prowls
    a desert’s sands

    one dead spruce
    threatens parked cars

    Love reading the unfolding of this renku. So many incisive comments! Great job, Willie, at leading.
    Vermont is unseasonably warm right now, so many of us continue to ride our bikes many miles. Soon, Joe

  72. If you’re in Joe, then Ash needs to join with Team 2! Nice to hear from you, btw. Were you out of contact range? I noticed you were on the waiting list.

  73. Joseph Mueller says:

    If it’s easier, I can join Team 2, Willie. I thought I was on the list originally, but then lost contact with you. Nice to be thinking in hokku again.

    BTW…what’s your new job offer? I am applying for new jobs as well!

  74. A road paved with broken dreams running straight to Hell . . . naw, man, stick around. We’ve been trying to entice Ash in a side but he’s too damn polite. So, you voting second party in the elections?

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem

    **********

    beyond the rain-streaked window
    a Persian lilac in full bloom

    carried here by the wind
    wedding bells and spent blossoms

    from gust to gust the changing
    geometry of the garden

    so suddenly green!
    the garden gets on with it

    a strip of Persian carpet
    sprouts to border the walk

    on a corner of carpet
    where spring never fades

    lifting her gaze from the page
    she escapes through the window

    through newly opened windows
    the sweet sound of mowing lawn

    rising scents of fresh-cut grass
    rolling a joint with a sigh

    entering the Magic City
    a freight car’s rhythm

    a robotic arm draws
    the perfect circle

    wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    the lake that was left behind
    when it all melted

    the ashes of the prairie
    still smoldering

    the turned soil blacker
    under the stars

    lost crown
    to midnight’s kingdom

    the lioness prowls
    a desert’s sands

    one dead spruce
    threatens parked cars

    Whew! Hope I haven’t left anyone out. Thoughts or theories, anyone?

  75. Bill says:

    Do we do or do we don’t want a flower verse here? If so, there’s plenty from which to choose.

  76. Joseph Mueller says:

    serving waxed fruits
    with red plastic roses

    Okay, I don’t know where that came from, Bill, but when you said flowers….

    • Bill says:

      Hi, Joe, nice t’meecha! It’s the thing about flowers and love only being mentioned in caertin places. I dunno, I just work here. You write good links. Glad you joined us.

  77. Verse 11

    Does we? Want flowers, that is? I doubt there’s any definite restriction although my feeling is some flower verses might interfere with a blossom in close proximity. A matter of quality, is my guess. Frankly, I haven’t heard of a particular restriction, but, there’s a lot I don’t know!

    These muti-national, internet compositions offer one a pause between communications to do some research, however. What I mean is, I imagine we are a far cry in topic material from those who once wrote classical renku, or rather renga, which I understand was restrictive, full of reference to the classical literary traditions of old. Haikai-no-renga changed that, impelling a more diverse source of topics, and thus, furthering choices of emotional response and compelling variety.

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    Reading some at my leisure (code for “between jobs”) I followed a path beginning with Kayyam, the inspiration for our previous verse. winding a circuitous route to the daughter of Ghenghis Khan, Taghachar, who in a fit of vengence for the death of her husband, ordered the death of all in the ancient city of Nishapur—”1.7 million were killed, and the skulls of men, women, and children were piled in pyramids by the Mongols.” This is the location of the tomb of Omar Kayyam. Neat, huh?

    Rebirth, resurgence – Spring! Let’s take all comers, including those timid souls reading this thread from deep in the shadows.

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

  78. Note: Omar Kayyam passed away approx. one hundred years earlier than the Mongol “purge”. A mausolem in his honor exists there today.

  79. Bill Dennis says:

    Omar Kayyam, what, is he still dead?

    I like the wild plums. It’s good as it stands, and if it ain’t broke, a wise man ought not fix, but then who’s wise? What would you think of trimming the first line to, “wild plum blossom”? A humble suggestion, in modesty made.

  80. sandra says:

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    and yet here we still are
    throwing confetti
    and finding joy in new leaves

    all legs and tails
    tumbling out of the sack
    three newborn lambs

    reserving the right to come back … 🙂

  81. Joseph Mueller says:

    Working on some offerings to the altar of renga now

  82. a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem

    (a) wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    )I enjoy the repetition of ‘a’ here and to define the active verb ‘blossoms’ as well as to indicate only one tree)

    soaking up rain
    the darkest delphiniums
    ward off the lightning

    (with credit to Sandra for her “sudden need for delphiniums”)

    • a variation:

      a tarte au chocolat,
      a steaming pot of tea
      and this poem

      a wild plum blossoms
      in the garden gone to ruin

      ***

      gentle rain . . .
      the darkest delphiniums
      ward off the lightning

      • sandra says:

        I finally got my two delphiniums in the ground this evening. Both are in bud. Haven’t grown them before but my husband’s grandfather (or possibly his great-uncle, the story wasn’t too clear) had lots of them and won prizes for his blooms.

    • sandra says:

      or it could be

      the wild plum blossoms
      in a garden gone to ruin

  83. sandra says:

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    beyond the fence
    a mare and her foal
    back and forth

    carried here on a wind
    from the south
    the nicker of a new-born foal

  84. Bill says:

    La!

    Wild plum blossoms
    In the garden gone to ruin /w
    *

    knowing fingers
    squeeze the brown envelope
    of seeds

    a young man
    with a sharp eye
    and a knife

    old perennials
    almost archaeology
    in among their crowns

  85. Joseph Mueller says:

    I need a bit more time between work. Tonight?

  86. Verse 12

    Apologies to our collective renju, but I think this is our verse;

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem

    (a) wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sac (provisional)

    The somewhat graphic shasei image presented here I find irresistible. The auspicious rarity of lamb triplets, as well as the relation to a human newborn’s caul representing good fortune (thanks to Lorin for inspiring that research), lifts us up from the ruined garden and that author’s intent. The only question that remains is if Sandra is willing to accept this rearrangement of her lines, its purpose to continue the proportional give and take, and musicality, between consecutive stanzas.

    Tinkering further, I’m showing the one-before-last without its ellipsis and am yet undecided on the article for maeku. Hopeful that we receive an affirmative, I’ll post the entire poem to date below. Still an interesting question about flowers in proximity to blossoms, though chronologically we should continue mindful of something appropriate to late spring:

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sac (provisional)

    • sandra says:

      Hi Willie,

      I’m fine with what you’re suggesting. Funny how the mind works though – my “sack” was deliberate as I was recalling when my father would bring newborn lambs home that needed feeding and caring for – sometimes their mothers had rejected them, sometimes he’d bring one from a set of triplets as the ewe could feed only two, sometimes the mother had died. He carried them in a hessian sack … and out they’d come.

      I have no problem with that “sack” being adjusted to the birth “sac” but, having given the above explanation, wonder if you might like “sack” with its visual full stop?

      Cheers,
      Sandra

      • Hi Sandra,

        I ran with the implication upon questioning how many lambs a sheep might carry through gestation. (I’m more a “shit-kicker”, a US dysphemism, than a sheepherder). Generally speaking, the verse as edited becomes “scent” linking with the previous through associative action of juxtapositions of scene. Also, I’m trying to achieve a more dramatic impact at this point in our composition. Grittier, perhaps, yet true to life, a realistic, hokku-like representation without additional poetic flare added. The question is does the raw, visual imagery of birth provide the stop you suggest? Perhaps our cohorts could provide the answer.

        Cheers back atcha, pard’,

        willie

      • Two more cents thrown in – Oh, I don’t know if it’s totally a hemispherical divide – I noticed crossing the Continental Divide a marked difference in values, though. I think its a rural vs urban experience, in my “subjective” view. That includes Summit Ave/Crocus Hill vs Frogtown/Lower East Side pov’\s. Wait, that’s still urban, more of a class/society topic … who can afford the viggerish for a trip to the Minnesota Zoo, lest it’s a school sponsored field trip to their petting zoo. Then you got over North (Mpls.), or six blocks over for that matter. Gritty existence, fer damn sure! Not too many folks writing haikai in those ‘hoods. Ain’t too many innocent lambs, neither …

        I think Melissa’s point was that most writing haikai for a pleasant pastime are not exposed to many natural processes – we get most of our food pre-packaged from shining supermarket aisles, Well, here in the West, the declining, “first world” Empire.

        Of course, Sandra presents this scene without that subjectivity – its real life experience, one that obviously left a marked impression. Good writing.

        One more Spring verse, Joe. Let’s see what comes of it …

  87. Lorin says:

    To to this once-country girl, ‘sack’ is grittier, more down to the realistic nitty-gritty than ‘sac’, which seems somewhat artificial and imposed, and clinical to boot. Also, the previous verse with the wild beginning to reclaim, take over the (human made) garden seems to me to gain by the contrasting scene with human intervention, rough as it might seem, works for the survival of lambs.

    Maybe I’m having a contrarian morning. 🙂

    – Lorin

    • Thanks, Lorin,

      In my eye, either variation works well. And, I had the same nagging reservation about “sac” that I couldn’t put my finger on, though to change anything else in the actual wording of the original other than some transposition of line would be detrimental. I wonder if others see the implication of an amniotic membrane as I did? Perhaps, the best course is to let the reader draw their own conclusions since the effect of dropping the “k” may indeed be minimal. I like your interpretation of the roughness of the ‘sack’. Sandra’s story helped me to understand that, as well as viewing some livestock people and their handling of their stock. It ain’t all a petting zoo!

    • Oh…in contrast, I think “sac” creates a far grittier, more interesting picture than “sack” does! Sandra’s story about her father is really interesting but before she told it, with no background in sheep farming, I wasn’t even sure what was going on with the lambs spilling out of the sack. 🙂 It just kind of seemed like a very sweet, sentimental picture, whereas all the blood and fluid conjured up by the image of the sac made it seem much less sanitized and more ambiguous. That substitution makes the verse really riveting to me.

      • Lorin says:

        What, do you think that there are sheep midwives roving around out in the paddocks waiting to observe lambs being born, Melissa? Or perhaps a maternity hospital for ewes? 🙂

        …and of course there was a shortage of sheep manure here a couple of years ago because the farmers didn’t have time to go around attaching little nappies over sheep backsides to collect the poo in. 😉

        ‘Sweet & sentimental’ is, in my experience, less likely in ku from Aust or NZ than it is from the USA, unless written those who’re attempting to imitate that style.

        But I’m not surprised. What we have here is the hemispherical divide, which I’ve found has often been fraught with misunderstandings on both sides.

        – Lorin

      • Lorin says:

        …yet, you also have James Dickey, the USA poet who wrote possibly the most edgy and interesting poem about sheep & rural culture over there that I’ve ever read:

        http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171427

        – Lorin

      • Two more cents thrown in – Oh, I don’t know if it’s totally a hemispherical divide – I noticed crossing the Continental Divide a marked difference in values, though. I think its a rural vs urban experience, in my “subjective” view. That includes Summit Ave/Crocus Hill vs Frogtown/Lower East Side pov’\s. Wait, that’s still urban, more of a class/society topic … who can afford the viggerish for a trip to the Minnesota Zoo, lest it’s a school sponsored field trip to their petting zoo. Then you got over North (Mpls.), or six blocks over for that matter. Gritty existence, fer damn sure! Not too many folks writing haikai in those ‘hoods. Ain’t too many innocent lambs, neither …

        I think Melissa’s point was that most writing haikai for a pleasant pastime are not exposed to many natural processes – we get most of our food pre-packaged from shining supermarket aisles, Well, here in the West, the declining, “first world” Empire.

        Of course, Sandra presents this scene without that subjectivity – its real life experience, one that obviously left a marked impression. Good writing.

        One more Spring verse, Joe. Let’s see what comes of it …

  88. sandra says:

    In reply to your question about how many lambs a ewe can carry – the answer is, I suppose, about four. Triplets are more common than they used to be and there is an occasional quads delivery. Live-birth percentages through lambing should be heading towards 200% – twins are optimal for a farmer as a ewe can easily feed two lambs and so he doubles his flock. Triplets generally sees one lamb removed, but as not all births will be live births these can be “mothered” on to another ewe (a delicate process, though, for both lamb and ewe), generally one who has had a lamb die.

    And then there are the ewes that just aren’t the maternal types and refuse to feed their lambs …

    Whoa, I know more about lambs and ewes than I’d care to have genrally known!

  89. Joseph Mueller says:

    What I like about the use of “sac” is that it leads the reader’s reference imagination to “sack” already. Make ’em work for it! As I read the line, both sac(k)s come to mind.

    What are we looking for in the next to lines?

  90. Joseph Mueller says:

    two

  91. Joseph Mueller says:

    Ah, Lorin. Many of our hemispherical misunderstandings may stem from the “Down Under” crew’s attempts at making the contraction “who’re” really work the way it is supposed to.

    • Lorin says:

      ” … written by those who’re attempting to imitate that style.”

      I accidentally omitted the preposition, Joseph.

      I’ve figured out your sexist little joke…har har. Nevertheless, I have to say that I’m not attempting to do anything with the contraction. If you make a double intendre of it, I’d say that’s your problem.

      Which finger am I holding up?

      – Lorin

      • Joseph Mueller says:

        Ah Lorin, no sexism involved…mere philology. Entendres are usually inherent in structure. And I suppose you’re not extending your ring finger?

  92. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the comments, they make interesting reading.

    Melissa is right, the story is what it is to each reader. I offered the “back story” to the poem simply to show where the conscious part of my brain was coming from (who knows where the other part ever is?).

    Yep, “sac” is fine, as is the subtle change of scene (a change in my mind anyway; anyone who reads the poem after us won’t know the difference). It fits the spring theme nicely and offers some interesting possibilities, more so than the original “sack”, I feel.

    Onward …

  93. Bill says:

    …then I’ll suggest…

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack. /S
    *
    popping from pup-tents
    for blueberry pancakes

    he hikes past an old land-slip
    and thinks how it must have been

    additive damages and
    fat-tailed climate dynamics

  94. A response above – and two-lines, Spring, in this position.

  95. Still messing about:

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sac(k) / s

    ****

    the darkest delphiniums
    to stave off the rain

  96. Bill says:

    Dark and Delphic, aarr’!

  97. Joseph Mueller says:

    For Spring verse:

    lion-shaped clouds
    crowd the early sun

    peeper’s decry
    the pond’s remnant ice

    one more sake,
    the mattress comes to me

  98. Joseph Mueller says:

    no apsotrophe in “peepers”. Just bad typing skills on my part.

  99. Joseph Mueller says:

    see? apostrophe is how I mean it!

  100. A little more time to allow Melissa to respond.

  101. Please don’t wait for me. Something has come up unexpectedly and I am unable to participate right now. I’m sorry, I’ve been enjoying this immensely but I am just not available at present. Thanks for your understanding.

  102. Bill Dennis says:

    …or apostrophize one another.

  103. Verse 13

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been

    A touch of Spring melancholy, Bill? This shortened version fits well in our progression, if you would agree.

    one more sake,
    the mattress comes to me

    And in relation to Bill’s wistful contemplation, Joseph’s verse provides a fine rejoinder if we could somehow expand the length to accommodate our established meter. Perhaps too difficult to accomplish without compromising its simple directness. A poor attempt from me, more for its cadence than anything:

    at the end of the day
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me

    As always, I’m open to all suggestions (even in my dictator mode). Alternative verses might apply also as anyone sees fit.

    For the record:

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sac / s

    (provisional)

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    (****************)
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me

  104. sandra says:

    I’s like to suggest this:

    passing the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been

    (I think the change of past to passing makes the whole verse more active_

    Basho’s biography … / Basho’s birthday … / Basho’s party game …
    one more sake
    and the mattress comes to me

    (party game being renku … geddit??) 🙂

  105. Bill Dennis says:

    I like Sandra’s version of my link: “passing the old land-slip/he thinks how it must have been” and for the reasons she gave. But I will accept any changes that are finally settled on. It is, after all, a party game. Which brings to mind the use of Basho’s name. I know that is permissible to use proper nouns, but rarely done, and it seems somehow nearly too…, something…, familiar? Yet the sense and implications are excellent, drinking having been a part of renga in former days. (Yo, dudes, drink every time someone says “furuike ya!”) and arriving in bed like an avalanche is good disjunctive linking and good poetry. I’m uncomfortable with the use of Basho’s name in particular. But Sandra makes me think of the old man, so…

    one more sake
    and the mattress comes to me
    a frog tumbles in

    • sandra says:

      Perhaps you could see Basho as a balance to “the Devil” earlier??!! 🙂

      Not sure why you’d feel uncomfortable with the use of “Basho”, it’s meant as a homage. Where would we be without him? His influence on renku and haiku has been so profound and positive. From what I’ve read haikai was dying on its feet before Basho shook it up and opened it up beyond the “party games” of the elite.

      In his new book “The Art of Haiku”, Stephen Addiss writes of Basho:

      “… it was his depth and his seriousness rather than his wit that transformed haiku [the term hokku has previously been acknowledged] into a much richer poetic form than before.”

      basho nowaki shite tarai ni ame wo kiku yo kana

      basho leaves in the storm –
      at night I can hear the rain
      dripping in the tub

      – Basho, 1681

      And here we are in 2012 still writing haiku and renku. All hail the Master!

      • Bill Dennis says:

        Madonnn’, he left in a storm? But really, the closest I feel it proper for the likes of me to approach Basho in renku would be “banana tree.” The Devil deserves no courtesy or respect, being not real but a projection, while Basho was real and remains grand. It feels like swearing in church…to me. I can see that this is not true universally, and I’ll leave it as an observation, trusting I have not purveyed the sense that it is an argument.

    • sandra says:

      Oh, no argument Bill, just curiosity on my side.

      I’m intending no disrespect with my suggested line, just the opposite. It’s meant as homage. But, perhaps it’s just the way things are down here, I don’t see why we shouldn’t speak his name … a cat may look at a king, etc.

      BTW I know some people who maintain that giving the Devil a capital letter is giving him too much credit and who do, indeed, see him as real. It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up shook-up world … 🙂

      • Bill Dennis says:

        At the pointy corner of Grammar and Orthographics, the Devil takes personal form, distinguished from commodity devils, junk jinn, tin demons and indistinguishable incubi that think they’re on the make, but are really just repeating original sin. Mankind’s shifty wish to shed blame required Someone to bear it and Satan was separated out from between Cupid and Psyche to be driven into the wilderness with all the fault of the world cried after him in naive hopes that everything would be alright. “The Devil made me do it,” sounding somehow better than, “I’m afraid I did that,” a crying need existed for Someone to be fooled, as Mother and Dad were having none of it. Did I mention that I’m allergic to angel dander, even the fallen sort? Well, I am. T’choo! Pardon.

  106. We’ll allow Joseph time to respond . . .

  107. Joseph Mueller says:

    Fascinating comments. Here are a coupe of submissions from me:

    always more words
    but another sake,
    the mattress comes to me

    one more sake
    converts my sleeping mat
    to a welcome friend

    something too big
    to be a frog, splashes
    as I piss by the pond

  108. Verse 14

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me

    A contrarian point of view to Joseph’s ‘always more words’ perhaps, though it may allude to shutting one’s mind off from the weighty matters as presented in Bill’s verse. Maybe both motivations to bend one’ s elbow are the same. In any case, the subtle implications carried on of world weariness, and a need for Bengay and aspirins required on the following morning, are marvelous.

    More importantly, the investiture of skill and judgement to integrate the diverse elements and topics throughout the poem is crucial to a harmonious balance achieved in the reading of the final composition. This is why I emphasize such strong attention to line length and syllable counts. My job is fairly easy though; we are all blessed by the company of such creative writing talent. It’s that, or put up chicken wire in front of the band!

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    non-season; I should be able to return in less twenty-four hours.

  109. Joseph Mueller says:

    You found just the words that eluded me! Nicely done, William. I like it.
    We here in the northeast of the US are being pounded by Hurricane Sandy from the east, while snow looms and postures from the west. Preparing for widespread power outages. Still, I’ll find you all tomorrow. Joe

  110. sandra says:

    Aaah Bill, I love it when you talk erudite (wish I knew how to make a winky face!) …

  111. Bill Dennis says:

    Just to keep the desk-clerk awake:

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been /b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me /j

    after the old house burned down
    they never got more parrots

    clinking glasses and bottles
    the cabinet crosses the floor

    cotton-quilt Mongol armor
    said to stop an arrow

    Comments: I still prefer “passing” to “past” in the land-slip link, as I meant to suggest thinking of the land as in the process of slipping, how it must have been, glad he wasn’t there, poor ferns and flowers who were, and general pity for the sufferings of the world and counting blessings. I don’t think we really need the semicolon in Joe’s link. Joyce in Finnegan had a word for the sound of glass rattling in a cabinet: schabattycreppycrottygraddaghpkonpkot, but I’d need a couple of links together to work it in. “Thud,” the sound of one glass toasting.

    It’s raining foxes and terriers here.

  112. sandra says:

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me

    tens of thousands of voices
    raised in … jubilation?

    trying to explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care

    in Japan she photographs
    every manhole cover

    a jumble of colours & sounds
    but no, the image flees again

  113. Joseph Mueller says:

    I have some entries, but am in the midst of a hurricane of epic proportions. I’ll try to get on a bit later. Joe

  114. trying to explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care

    This image made me smile due to the ludicrous nature of the scene, serving as an effective foil to the seriousness of the latter sequence, though I detect it may call back to the one before last rhthmically,

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been

    and in content as well, in form of a question, almost, the former trying to imagine how something was and the latter trying to convey how something is. To avoid this aggravating “echo”, could the frustration present in maeku be linked as follows?

    explaining kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care

    I think this provides adequate shift away from uchikoshi, the last but one, also shortening the verse to fit our mold of of long/short that we’ve managed to carry thus far, an essential aspect peculiar to haikai-no-renga, though the question remains of whether it is conducive to Sandra’s intent or taste. I actually prefer the verse as first presented, that is, if it were standing on its own, free of the spectre of falling back on its topical suggestion.

    While we’re on the subject of intention I should address Bill’s question of ‘past’ vs ‘passing’. The single syllable ‘past’ carries an accentual emphasis that I believe has a superior phonetic quality while avoiding overuse of the progressive verb, which I myself have abused in the pa … in previous composition, and especially so in light of the current verse being discussed. But, that was not my only cause to prefer the form as it was first presented:

    (as I stroll) past the old land-slip, Champs Elysees, e.g.,

    well, as you can see, I always envisioned it as an active word. On reading your explanation, Bill, isn’t that what you had in mind when you first wrote it? And we have already an active verb in place with ‘thinks’.

    In any case, we’re in danger of writing a free form style of Western poetry if we don’t adhere to tried and true concepts. This ain’t no parlor game – Ye Gods, people, this is Art!!

    Let us know what you think about these choices, please, Sandra.

    Hard to believe I spelled Champs Elysees correctedly …

  115. sandra says:

    Yep, no, all good.

    explaining kapok (or anything from my ancient past)
    to a kid who doesn’t care … is often what my life seems to be all about!

    I hadn’t considered hark-back in terms of rhythm, only content and style … my God there’s so much to remember! 😉

    I don’t know that I buy your sales pitch on “past” vs “passing” though. “Past” is too easily read as a redundancy with “he thinks how it must have been” which = the past. I think you would need to have “going past”/ or your “as I stroll past” to get an = with “passing”.

    I also don’t get the sense of the ku from that first line and it’s the word “past” that’s making me stumble. Is it mispunctuated? … past, the old land slip … Is it misspelled? … passed the old land slip

    What’s wrong with two active verbs in one ku? Bet there’s no law against it! 😉 (Ashley’s gonna wish he hadn’t told me how to do that!) And there are three verses cushioning this from the last -ing

    passing the old land slip
    he thinks how it must have been

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me

    the kid doesn’t get kapok
    so what’s new?

    • Lorin says:

      yes, the discussion re past and passing in relation to:

      past the old land-slip
      he thinks how it must have been

      is an interesting one. I understand Willie’s concern re “The single syllable ‘past’ carries an accentual emphasis that I believe has a superior phonetic quality while avoiding …blah blah” . John & Willie are more or less in tune here, and if “phonology trumps meaning” as John indicated recently, then there’s not a lot of comeback possible.

      But if meaning is of importance also, then ‘what is past, or passing, or to come’ are three different things. (Ask W.B. Yeats) I read ‘past’, as given above in context, as ” Once he is past the old land-slip he thinks how it must’ve been.” Which rather raises the question. “How come he didn’t think of how it must’ve been until he was past/ had passed the place?and “Wouldn’t it be more likely that he had such a thought whilst he was in the process of passing by the place?” It’d be clearer, if ‘once past’ were used, not just ‘past’, but that’s ok. It still means the same thing, unless a comma is introduced:

      past, the old land-slip (the old land-slip is in the past)

      But if the land-slip is in the past, Sandra has it: either L1 or L 2 is redundant, or at least schizoid and would be better put in two voices, that of the thinker and that of the commentator :

      “Past, the old land-slip.”
      He thinks how it must have been.

      …which Bill wouldn’t have intended, since he had “passing” in the original draft. Meaning changes, but not always in a fruitful way.

      Ok, so now I’ve gone back and found the original:

      he hikes past an old land-slip
      and thinks how it must have been

      which is a tad long for the shorter, two-line verse, and that Sandra suggested passing whilst editing it down to a more likely length. Which works, but Willie’s consideration of sounds needs to be considered.

      So ‘past’ is not it, ‘passing’ is too long or Willie wants to avoid the continuous/ progressive here, what to do? All that springs to my mind is:

      at the old land-slip
      he thinks how it must have been

      – Lorin

      • Lorin says:

        …but I dunno, that’s so bland. I’d prefer ‘passing…’ or ‘pausing at…’
        – Lorin

      • Bill Dennis says:

        I had been thinking that “by the old land-slip…” might answer, but “at” is a good take on the matter. I’m all ears to Will’s concern for rhythm and euphony, as factors for consideration along with meaning. What I originally intended may not be of great consequence, I’ll concede; the point is how the flow from link to link progresses. And it’s up to Will to make decisions in his role of group leader (can’t think of the Japanese for it.) But about line-length, will someone bring me up to speed? I have been going forward under the assumption that 7 syllables or less was the goal. Do we want shorter lines? I could do that, but I didn’t think it was called for. I like Sandra’s “kapok” link, in its various versions, appreciating that &how “kapok” links to “mattress.”

  116. Joseph Mueller says:

    Okay, we’ve a lull in the winds up here in Wilmington, VT, but expect them to blow full-sail again starting around 2 a.m. A huge leader off my neighbor’s spruce landed on his porch roof.
    I love the “kapok” line as Sandra presents it. So much to retrieve from my dimming memory.

    Humble offerings:

    sweet juice of nectarine
    draws smiles as well as bees

    a lost child
    humming through the dress aisle

    the clack of coconuts
    as he plans the next move

    Hope you all are well. I must abed, as I fear a tree may come down during my sleep and crush my nice bookcases. Joe

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Who’d’ve thought Vermont would come to be hurricane alley? Hang tough, Joe. The storm doesn’t seem to be too bad where I live, at the PA/MD/DE junction. It should be centered over us about now, but it isn’t blowing too hard and the rain is just rain. We even have electrics. When the light grows, I may see more damage, but it looks good now. So much for the weather report.;)

      • Lorin says:

        Bill & Willie,

        I’ve just read through. There are quite a few progressive tense ku . This hiking/ passing/ past/ passing ku is one of two of them that could be easily fixed, so here’s a thought. Going back to hiking, just change the thought of hiking to driving a motor vehicle:

        stalled at the old land-slip
        he thinks how it must have been / b

        or.fiddling with structure:

        stalled at the old land-slip :
        how sudden it must have been / b

        They both would seem to fit ok between the surrounding verses.

        – Lorin

  117. Verse 15

    5:35 am in the Midwest US and the wind is still as a sleeping baby. I dread the blowing snow and mountainous drifts of our winters, (though the challenge *can* be invigorating) and the accompanying sub-zero temps that will suck the life right out of you, but we only have 100 years rains … every ten years or so, according to the weatherman. Watch out for those widow makers, Joe.

    “abed” – first used in the 13th century. I wonder where/when my perception of “past” emanates from? Suddenly, I have this picture of gentlemen in top hats and ladies in Victorian garb riding in carriages along a promenade – this, before the Occupiers, mind you.

    Ah, Lorin, you found the original! My eyes were going batty. And I foundcorrectedly, too. *That* was unintentional, believe me! ‘passing’ trumps ‘he hikes past’ in this position, that is for certain. Since everyone is adamant on using the progressive verb, and with good reasoning, then let’s leave it in. Some great discussion and feedback.

    the kid doesn’t get kapok
    so what’s new?

    Now that made me chuckle out loud. Lifts us out right of a possible doldrum, advancing the ebb and flow of the renku wave.

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    passing the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    the kid doesn’t get kapok
    so what’s new? / s

    non-season coming up next.

    And anyone interested in submitting to our moon haiku party please apply here: http://haikubanditsociety.blogspot.com/
    A little fresh blood needed.

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Would it be helpful to italicize “kapok” in order to make clear that it is the meaning of the word which the kid does not apprehend, rather than the notion that the kid ain’t got no kapok?

  118. Bill says:

    I believe I shall call this my hyphenated period.
    ***
    the kid doesn’t get kapok
    so what’s new? /s

    he took off
    like an electric
    Chevrolet

    a ball-point needle
    draws mono-filament
    through double-knits

    kaput
    cracked-up
    khattam-shud

  119. In response to Lorin’s most recent comment above:

    Now that you brought it up again, yes, to the attuned ear, and in light of attempting control of the metrics of a pleasing progression of sound and cadence using carefully considered variation of syllable counts and phrasing, the alternatives to ‘past’ are annoyingly disruptive to the piece as a whole.
    So, I looked in the dictionary:

    adverb
    so as to pass by or beyond; by: The troops marched past.
    preposition
    in a direction so as to pass by or go beyond: We went past the house by mistake.
    Origin:
    1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of passed; past participle of pass

    Should have done my homework. But, hey, I’m just a recent college drop-out!

    • That’s odd. Lost some of the text:

      This definition is certainly not an end all to the point being made, of course. I’m trying to indicate the verb tense of being in the present which I know the use of I’ve heard before in some literature, somewhere, in poetry or otherwise. Which, actually, is supported after by the use of the verb ‘thinks’. I was trying to get that across earlier, but I think I was, or am, intimidated by all you English majors out there. Chalk it up to inflated tuition prices instilled by the Gov’t’s easy loan money schemes. Without pulling alleged rank – Ha! – in the courtesy of collaboration I brought it up again because the question still hung in the air. Bill brought it up, actually, though he later graciously relented while he and I cross posted this morning.

      Yesterday morning. It’s after 1 am, and I need to leave in five hours to go to a job I’ve picked up in the interim as I wait for some serious dough to kick in 250 miles from here later this month. You can see, I feel pretty seriously about this. I’ll tell you straight, all the nit-picking is getting to be a pain in the ass.

      Hoping I haven’t broken decorum, and that we’re all still pals, or without the hard sell and blah-blah verbage, I don’t know what else I can do to convince people the suggested form of ‘past the old land-slip’ works in this context.

      I have to get some sleep. Have a good night all.

      • sandra says:

        Willie, you are sabaki and what you say goes. I have clearly misunderstood your discursive tone as one of “discussion”. The banter has foxed me.

        But, I am a bit upset by the term “nit-picking”. Anything I raise, I raise with the best of intentions, a good heart and a clear conscience aiming at what, presumably, we all want … the best poem that we can produce. I have not been, nor will I be, picking of nits.

        If you want the poem to proceed without comment, that’s fine. Say so and it shall be. After all, we have the chance to “discuss” at the end.

        Now, I also have paid employment to get to, even though it’s past 8pm. So, yes indeed, a good night to all.

  120. Bill Dennis says:

    If Will likes “past the old land-slip,” then that’s that. It’s the protocol and I’m satisfied. I do enjoy reading the discussions, tho–contributing to them as well. “Sabaki,” that’s the word!

    parchment pages ya
    sabaki jumps in
    units of sound

  121. My deepest apologies to Sandra and all if I’ve offended you with my outburst last night. I was totally out of line. Earlier in the evening my son confronted a gang of thieves and I was lucky to arrive in time to assist and equalize the “odds”. Police assistance did not arrive for twenty five minutes afterward. Although their comments were amusing as to our “actions”, I am still non-plussed by their slow response time. I was still adrenalized – bad time to be writing. Could be it’s time for a move.

    Batting around some ideas for verse offers now . . .

    • sandra says:

      No probs Willie, sorry to hear about the hassle, not the first time you’ve had something like this, eh?

      Work commitments will see me absent for the next 2 days. Back Sunday evening (my time) at the earliest.

  122. William Sorlien says:

    I’m movin’ to Montana, raise me up some of that lonely kapok floss . . .

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    just explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care / s (provisional)

    inked above his heart
    a tattoo’s depiction
    of this floating world

    A mighty struggle with this selection. It had me stumped for a time. Might still . . . listening to Blind Faith’s “Can’t find My Way Home” and stoked with the researched attributes of the kapok tree and the dispersal of its seeds led me to this.

    Some questions remain, foremost among them does this arrangement recall that pesky “past the old land-slip” ? Will the US idiomatic rendition of Sandra’s original submission work? And will this offering segue to two winter verses, one of which to include the moon? I’m ignoring the regional JP tradition of tattoos association with summer, too, though I’d prefer to break free of the yoke confining modern renku compositional standards to only one part of the world.

    My previous complaint dealt primarily with my own frustration with my inadequecies as a renju – we need to hear discussion if there are any doubts. If this is acceptable, then I would ask Joe to take the next turn, if he hasn’t been rendered catatonic by a diet of Oreos and tins of sardines due to the logistical problems incurred by Hurricane Sandy. It’s times like these I fall back to canned chili . . .

    • sandra says:

      Umm, why should my verse be rendered in US idiom? It’s not what I’d write, it’s not what I write …

      • Lorin says:

        They both work, but I’d be interested in your considerations behind the change to the US idiom, too, Willie. (I have a feeling that it’s not to do with whose idiom it’s in, but something to do with the rhythm/ pacing at this stage of the poem, but that’s only a guess)

        just explain kapok
        to a kid who doesn’t care / s (provisional)

        the kid doesn’t get kapok:
        so what’s new?

        What I see/hear is that the US version smoothes out the tone, is more ‘social worker’ lingo and it also explains why ‘the kid doesn’t get it’ (because he ‘doesn’t care’) Do we (readers) really need to know that or is it editorializing? The Kiwi version is blunter, the tone is more challenging, that of a frustrated adult.

        …I added a colon to Sandra’s version to see if that might make any difference.

        … another possibility, re rhythm, using the full expression, for consideration:

        the kid doesn’t get kapok:
        what’s new in the world?

        – Lorin

    • Bill says:

      Will, I have a suggestion:

      inked on his heart
      in tattooed depiction
      the world

      Yesterday I had a long exegesis to accompany this, but it seems to have failed to post. To borrow Lorin’s term, bugger! Use your own judgement.

      • Lorin says:

        hmmm … a message from the Haikuza 🙂
        imo this ku is a bit wordy…it’s not ‘floating world’. It’s that ‘inked on’ (L1) and ‘tattooed depiction’ (L2) give the same information. And is it just me or is ‘depiction’ a tad academic in register?

        The idea is good, linking to the kid.

        Ukiyo-e (浮世絵 literally “pictures of the floating world”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukiyo-e

        – Lorin

      • Lorin says:

        inked above his heart
        a tattoo artist’s view
        of this floating world

        ?

        -Lorin

      • William Sorlien says:

        I don’t care for “depiction” either! A ruse to avoid another progressive verb, really. More below.

  123. Lorin says:

    ah, after all that, I think I’ve got it…duh. .. old/ new, ya? Ye olde return to last-but-one?

    past the old>/b> land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    the kid doesn’t get kapok:
    so what’s
    new?

    just explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care / s (provisional)

    – Lorin

    • Lorin says:

      oh, bugger… it wa only ‘old ‘ & ‘new’ that were supposed to come out bolded.

      – L

      • Bill says:

        If I follow your concern, Lorin, you are worried that the old/new antithesis constitutes back-linking to the penultimate ku. In that case, we could change my suggestion to:

        past the over-grown land-slip
        he thinks how it must have been

        I actually like this better than the version extant.

        I have NO idea how one makes typographical changes. There ought to be instructions somewhere.

  124. William Sorlien says:

    Okey-dokey. A few questions. I’ll begin with the most recent.

    Bill. You’ve suggested a fourteen syllable version of a twelve verse version “extant”. This, flanked by two verses of fourteen and sixteen respectively. What I’ve been trying to create is an ebb and flow between long and short, brief and contemplative, a rhythm, if you will, consistent throughout the whole composition. this is key to classic renga and renku composition, and not just a matter of falling within a parameter of 5-7-5 then 7-7. You surely have noticed most English language haiku do not hold up well within this outline of JP language “sound units”, more often than not sounding “clunky’, or un-natural if they do attempt to do so.

    You may also have noticed I often use musical analogies, sure, sometimes half in jest because I enjoy the company of other talented renju as is our company here, but it’s music we are creating also, not just a kind of “comic verse”. It contains allusion, aphorism, insight, strong emotion and profound observations of the world we all live in, yet our emphasis is to attempt to make true poetry that is compelling as well as pleasing to the ear. This is why I become so insistent on careful attention to phonology, annoyingly so sometimes, yet the goal is to further our best efforts to use language for the most aesthetically pleasing outcome possible. My edits are not meant to belittle anyone but to heighten the effect of a renku that excels beyond stanzas merely thrown together as a sort of game. I’m sure you would all agree with these goals in mind.

    A poor choice of words to call ‘just explain kapok’ a US idiom! Again, an attempt at prosaic balance, and to take advantage of that delicious second line, ‘ to a kid who doesn’t care’! It’s so damn good, but a hellfire job to follow with something significant that just isn’t word linking. That’s the basis of how the allusion to ‘this floating world’ came to be. That, and not to recall the wonderfully emotive mindful contemplation of the verse before last! I had to tot off this verse in a hurry, not allowing enough thought behind it, and i admit it’s lacking, weighted as it is with its pedantic tone. Depiction? Aagh! The meter is *very* close, yet the words aren’t quite right. That’s why I asked for your help with it. I’ll have to retreat for a moment, give it some time.

    • sandra says:

      Thanks Willie, that’s a really good explanation – clarity abounds! Unfortunately, I’m not going to be much help for the rest of this week. Believe it or not touring gardens every day is pretty tiring, especially when I have hundreds of photos to download and caption at the end of each day. Thursday back in the office for half a day then off to have a tooth pulled – and kowing the bad genes I have inherited vis a vis teeth and jaw shape it won’t go smoothly. Friday’s a sick day to recover, then two more days of gardens! Plus deadlines to meet in the meantime. I’ve been working non-stop since last Thursday so my head’s not in a good place for poetry anyway …

      Which is a long-winded way of saying, sorry, count me out for the next little while.

      someone explain kapok
      to this kid who doesn’t care

      what’s kapok? from the kid
      who couldn’t care less

  125. William Sorlien says:

    Gardens! Haven’t had a decent garden for nigh onto three years. Total immersion as assignment could be a drag though, without time to linger. Suffered a little tooth prob’ myself this week past, and a nice shiner, too. You should see the other guy!

    Well, we’ll not rush anything. Look in if you have time. I have a deadline to finish a construction project, s’why I was missing in action for a couple of days, and will ardently be seeking Dao – the flat plain of a perfect wall, for the remainder of this week. I think Joe must have his hands full, or empty as the case may be, what with the after effects of Frankenstorm through the Nor’East. Let’s see if he’s able to respond. All our best wishes for those who suffered from this tragic event.

    In the meantime, attempt # 6 or 7 – I’ve lost track;

    inked above his heart
    a tattoo depicting
    this floating world

  126. William Sorlien says:

    Oops!

    inked above his heart
    a tattoo depicts
    this floating world

  127. William Sorlien says:

    Verse 16

    Putting this up to illustrate our poem so far; final edits pending.

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to some kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above the heart
    his tattoo reveals
    a floating world / w

    I’ll try ‘reveals’ for its sustained vowel sound in 15, somewhat emulating JP syllabic structure, and for emphasis of connection to the “explaining’ of Sandra’s verse. (It might be of interest to research a little on the ‘floating world’) I’m tinkering further with Sandra’s verse for sound duration and length, removing the article, replacing it with the softer ‘s’ of ‘some’, though it still carries a tone of reprimand, dismissively so of some errant, slacker youth. The arrangement does come back round to closely resemble the original version, though alleviating that progressive verb that was remindful of its uchikoshi wherein the speaker was ”trying” to ‘think(s) how it must have been’. The reasoning for my return to the ‘kid who doesn’t care’ was to enable allusion to the Edo period wherein Basho “cut his teeth” and subsequently created a new way of linking verse that we still practice today. Oh, and kapok seeds float in that fibrous material from its seed pods!

    Let’s see how it looks after a period of rest. I look at these progressions sometimes so earnestly and often that I lose touch with where I’ve been and lose the initial impact of a “cold” reading. Best perhaps to forget it for awhile and come back with a fresh outlook. More important now to not lose our interest and momentum.

    We have two winter verses to follow if we so desire, which would leave our final verse, ageku, non-season. Mayhaps the penultimate verse could carry our second moon reference, although quality would win out in whatever position we find it. If possible, please be considerate of differing meter between corresponding verses.

    Whatever choices we submit in the final three verses would best be direct and unambiguous so our readers would not be confused or need to halt and linger over questionable obscurata, overly elaborate references or “cleverness”. But, if it feels good, do it!

    I’d still like to give Joseph a chance to respond if he’s able. I wonder if Ash would have his email?

  128. Joseph Mueller says:

    Sorry to be absent, but I’ve been helping with hurricane damages. I will be back tomorrow. Miss you. Joseph

  129. William Sorlien says:

    Good for you, Joseph. Hope all is well.

    I found this in the interim: http://academic.mu.edu/meissnerd/tattoo.html

  130. John Carley says:

    Why, Democracy won young man!
    😉 J

    • William Sorlien says:

      I’m gonna be a cowboy – South Dakota, here I come!!!

    • William Sorlien says:

      Oh, give me a home
      where da buffalo roam
      and the deer and the antelope don’t pay no gol’dang state income tax

      • Lorin says:

        well, you’ll have to invent a time machine, then. Go back a century or three 😉 Have private contractors build your roads for your horse and buggy.

        – L

      • William Sorlien says:

        ‘ain’t no state income tax in SD or ND. Eisenhower already built them thar highways, missie’ 😉
        Minnesota just went to predominately DFL legislature again … not that it matters, actually;
        it already *is* the ‘Land Of 10,000 Laws’! Second highest state income taxes in the country. The entire five state region has been fiecely Democratic Farmer Labor for ages, much of those efforts to weaken the power and influence of out-of-state mega-banking interests. Only more recently has much of the territory ‘progressed’ to Nanny statehood. To be fair, neither of the two-party political systems still hold their original ‘core’ beliefs. S’why recent Minnesota delegates went strongly in favor of a non-interventionist Ron Paul presidential bid, the culmination of a well organized grassroots effort. Interesting …

        I’m back in the saddle agin …

  131. William Sorlien says:

    I imagine we should continue forward. Hope you’re not in a bind, Joe. I heard the weather finally let up there. A belated Indian Summer in fact. All comers for a winter verse.

  132. Bill Dennis says:

    With a tip of the hat to Joe, here goes, then–

    dirty snow
    on the snowman’s sit-me-down

    stretched from the bridge toward
    car-keys on an ice floe

    curtains of snow
    blow across the drifts

    baiting-up for cod
    with frozen squid

  133. sandra says:

    try and explain kapok
    to some kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above the heart
    his tattoo reveals
    a floating world / w

    on this fine, frosty morning
    papery seedheads against the sun

    even as we talk a narrative
    in sparks climbs the chimney

    in the night something unhuman
    strolls across my snowy lawn

  134. Hello all,

    As we “speak” thousands in New York/New Jersey are literally left out in the cold. Musn’t forget the folks in the Carribean who were nearly washed away either, yet it seems telling we would would arrive at winter in our progression at this time. It makes me recall Ms Eiko commenting on renku as a prognosticator of the human condition.

    That in mind, I’m reading Sandra’s submission – I’ll call it ‘narrative’ in shorthand – with interest. My dual concern is of course my evil penchant for variation in length and play between verses long and short, but more importantly a relation to previous verses wherein the human interplay of ‘ … another word’ and “explaining” nearly become thematic; best to be avoided in classic linking style. It’s easy to see how one could carry the idea forward in a verse that so well relates to the visual design of its maeku preceding, as well as as being an exemplar of that imperceptable feeling of ‘a floating world’, while at the same time describing, by allusion perhaps, the process of renku composition itself. Would it be better to delete the human presence entirely to allow the poetic impact of ‘sparks’ as metaphor the significance it deserves?

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs (up) the chimney

    Despite the metaphysical aspects of the core of this verse, it has an appealing directness suitable to “wrapping up” our Imachi with its intention of traditional and ‘nuvoh’ technique and ably leads us to the sky and moon.

    Therein lies the question for your consideration.

  135. Bill says:

    They do say, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Women, too, I’m sure. Metaphysicalisticish enough for this observer.

  136. sandra says:

    Hi Willie,

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs the chimney

    is fine.

    I’m sorry I’m being dense but I took to heart your remarks about the “kapok” verse being too abrupt and so deliberately made these 2-line offerings longer! But then took my eye off other considerations. I’ll get the hang of it one day … maybe.

  137. Bill Dennis says:

    Sandra, if you do, you will have left me behind.

  138. Verse 17

    No, I thought about that later and realized I was unclear – that line ‘to a kid who doesn’t care’ was so concise I realized I couldn’t pass it up! Glad you mentioned it.

    May we add the extra beat of ‘climbs *up* the chimney’? It’s funny that Bill should bring up that quote in relation. Speaking of which, Bill, could you take the penultimate moon verse? Or rather, have a go with Joseph if he’s available? Sorry to sound as though I’m in a rush – leaving for the Dakota territories in the morning, about 14 hours from now. I haven’t paid the mobile Wi-Fi bill so I sure hope that hotel has access! Trying to *not* think about the journey – maybe an interesting technique for composing!

    I’l post the rough draft below so we have something to work off of:

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to some kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above the heart
    his tattoo reveals
    this floating world / w

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs up the chimney / s

  139. Bill Dennis says:

    Joe, if you can get a minute free, jump in here. I’ll contribute some filler just to buff at the tarnished lapses of time.

    an empty house
    winter moonlight strikes down
    through the flue

    midnight
    the moon’s reflection frozen
    in the pond

    and her misty breath
    drawn
    toward the waining moon

    in bitter air
    her words can be seen rising
    toward the dark moon

    this same moon
    shined on singing crickets
    now dead with cold

  140. sandra says:

    Hi Bill,

    It’s probably a difference in the English we use … but I wonder about the use of “shined”:

    this same moon
    shined on singing crickets
    now dead with cold

    which sounds odd to my ears.

    this same moon
    that shone on singing crickets
    now dead with cold

    this same moon
    that shined on singing crickets
    now dead with cold

    ????

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Sandra and all interested parties,

      I have to admit, I was not certain of the usage myself. English is such a confused language that I learn something new every day. My first language is gibberish. I get this from The Motivated Dictionary.

      “Shine is one of those ‘strong verbs’ that had an irregular past tense and past participle (shone) but later acquired a regular form ending in -ed as well. Some people use the forms interchangeably, but there is a pattern that most people follow to keep them distinct. Shined takes a personal subject and an object: I shined the flashlight at the bear. Shone is used of light sources and does not take an object: The moon shone over the harbor.”

      And so, I think I should opt for “shone.” I don’t think any other additions are helpful, so how’s this for an alternative?

      this same moon
      shone on singing crickets
      now dead with cold

      • Lorin says:

        Bill,
        For US English, I’d be going by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but out of curiosity I checked the online version and though it gives ‘shone’ & not ‘shined’ it isn’t clear about details. Thank goodness for B. Lynne Zika, of Alabama:

        “B. Lynne Zika · Springville, Alabama
        A Netflix reviewer wrote: “Her talent shined through the emotional complexities of her character…” I believe when used as an intransitive verb, the past tense is “shone” (“The sun shone/Her talent shone…”), while the transitive form is “shined” (“I shined my shoes”). Can any grammarians out there corroborate?`”

        She has it right. If you hear a kid say, “Daddy, I shined the cat’s fur”, something is probably wrong, but it’s not the kid’s grammar. 🙂

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shine

        – Lorin
        .

  141. Hi all,

    I’m writing from Mitchell, South Dakota at the 8 Days Inn. Mitchell is the home of the only Corn Palace in the world! http://www.cornpalace.org The vibe here is definitely . . . different. Working at Dakota Wesleyan University – Dee-Dub, for those of us in the know.

    Blew a head gasket (or cracked the block) in the pick-up, so who knows? I may be in for the long haul. We’ll know more in the morning.

    In the meantime, however . . . Bill, I think you’re on to something with “tarnished” . I really, really do. Run with it, pal. I’ll check back in the morning. (’bout 8 hours) Gotta see a man about a horse!

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Sounds like you’ve blown your head gasket, Willie, but at this distance, it’s just a guess. So that’s where the Corn Palace is! I read about it in Nat’l Geog. Mag. years ago. I’ll admit it, I had to Google to know that it’s right west of Sioux City. I gotta say, that’s a lot of corn. My cousin was stationed in SD once and he said that if you spit (spat) in the winter, it froze (freezed, would be frozen, freezen) before it hit the ground.

      Too much brass always risks tarnish, but I am onto something with “tarnished,” by golly. How did you know?

      an empty house
      winter moonlight tarnishes
      the hearth

      midnight moon
      tarnishes
      the frozen pond

      and her misty breath
      drawn
      toward the tarnished moon

      in bitter air
      her words can be seen rising
      toward the tarnished moon

      this same moon
      shone on singing crickets
      tarnished now with cold

      This would be a good time for Mueller ex machina, I think.

      • Bill Dennis says:

        I should credit John Keats’ sonnet beginning, “How many bards guild the lapses of time!” Here I am, at my age, still in awe of what he accomplished before his death in what appears to be only late childhood. Dylan Thomas expressed anxiety that he might not have anything more to say in verse, before he died, also young. Keats, at least, I think would have matured wonderfully, making all the more solemn his loss.

        I’m backing and filling a bit, in the luxury of time we have with Willie stuccoing snow men in South Dakota and Joe probably up to his hips in tropical maltempo. I hope no one minds my use of the blackboard.

    • Lorin says:

      “Gotta see a man about a horse!”

      : -) Literally, perhaps, even! What a bugger, whether it’s either/or re the head gasket and block or not.

      Willie, they’re going to make a film about your life story one day. “On the Road with Bandit” or something. It’ll be an action-comedy-thriller. 😉

      – Lorin

      • Bill Dennis says:

        “I got a horse right here
        his name is Paul Revere
        and he’s a winner sure
        unless the weather’s clear.”

        Guys and Dolls, dudes

  142. Tinkering while standing on the tub’s edge while blowing smoke from a fag at the exhaust fan:

    through an empty house
    to the tarnished hearth
    this moonlight so cold

    Hmmm – some more tinkering required. Tinker away, team, fall back and tinker away . . .

    I’m off to create “art” with plaster and mud. Back in ten or twelve. Have a nice day! 🙂

  143. sandra says:

    toward the tarnished moon
    her bitter words
    thin and evaporate

    toward the tarnished moon
    her words swirl and thin
    in this bitter air

    Apologies to Bill, that’s rejigging another of yours – I wonder if hearth and chimney are just a bit close/obvious in terms of a link (which is why I’m also staying away from “rising”)?

    tarnished now, the brass tray/bowl/vase/etc
    from a foreign land
    and this moonlight so cold

  144. Con’t from last night (I fell fast asleep!)

    Hey Ya’ll,

    My only suggestion might be not to directly name the season.

    Some ramblings:

    “cold” – should we imply that tactile/emotional sense here? And if so, then how? It probably beats “winter” for originality. If so, then on to

    ‘hearth’ carries connotations of family, warmth, security; dare we dash it’s hopeful comfort here, or “suggest” something less dramatic in relation to the kigo of ‘cold’? A damn fine word, hearth, yet mighty close to the chimney that we’ve just mentioned.

    “Tarnished moon” may carry the day of it own accord, I love the ingenious invention of the phrase, though the “dead crickets” may be over the top a little, in my view. How would we recover? I think you would agree we not go out (ageku) on a dreary note. I *am* reminded of this line by our renju friend GovindaJohn:

    a gecko’s chirp loud
    in an empty house

    Tarnished moon; empty house; songs of old; echo from; moonlight; tarnished moonlight – what caused the moonlight to be tarnished?

    This morning:

    “Words” again? better to replay them in ageku, with the luxury of its summarizing function?

    As always I’m looking for the music – a dull throb in my shoulder right now ;).

    I’ll read back some . . . arranging for a mechanic at the mo’!

  145. Bill Dennis says:

    A variant suggestion:

    foreclosed
    Christmas moonlight
    tarnishes the hearth

    I had started with:

    a foreclosed house
    Christmas moonlight tarnishes
    the hearth-stone

    But I prefer the top version, simplicity carrying the most force, I think. To me the link between “chimney” and “hearth” is not inappropriate. How does the moonlight tarnish? Well, being Xmiss, it would be cold in an abandoned house and create a layer of condensation which would serve as tarnish. The irony of a hearth being cold at Christmas rather than warmed by Santa’s foot, seems worth including. The only objection to it, that I see, is that it appears to want a cutting word, or dash, after “foreclosed,” making it too much like haiku. But I’d like to hear what you have to suggest. Everyone likes his own work.

    • I like the immediacy of Christmas juxtaposed with our current state of affairs, Bill. Good on yer. It’s not dripping with sentiment . . .
      Would you be adverse to filling it out to 15 syllables? The other alternative might be a one-liner – tough to do, since it would have to be short, I guess. Or, highlight the ‘Christmas moonlight’, a semi-cut, if you’ll bear with me, thus;

      a foreclosed house
      Christmas moonlight
      tarnishes the hearthstone

      Let’s see what Sandra thinks of it. I’m off for din-din and will return.

      • sandra says:

        My first impression is that this one is only missing the kitchen sink! 🙂

      • Lorin says:

        I agree with Sandra about this one

        a foreclosed house
        Christmas moonlight
        tarnishes the hearthstone

        What we call, when we’re being polite, ‘laying it on with a trowel’. 🙂 Little Nell, a Dickensian orphan or two and the Ghost of Christmases Past are waiting in the wings for the cue.

        …and, on the literal level, stone doesn’t tarnish.

        – Lorin

  146. Lorin says:

    ” Tarnished moon; empty house; songs of old; echo from; moonlight; tarnished moonlight – what caused the moonlight to be tarnished?”

    I like ‘tarnished moon’, too.

    One possible ’cause’ of ‘tarnished moon’ or tarnished moonlight is a total lunar eclipse… the colour becomes reddish/coppery, the dark parts of the moon look like tarnish on copper, the light takes on that coppery tone.

    That’s the image that occurs to me, anyway. Does that fit with the renku?

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/melbourne-sees-red-in-lunar-eclipse-20110616-1g4jb.html

    – Lorin

    • Bill Dennis says:

      Hi, Lorin–
      In my mind, originally, what caused the moon to grow tarnished was the woman’s corroding breath, perhaps bitter words spoken in winter air, drifting up with their heat to blur the sight of or corrode the much abused face of the moon. That the moon is tarnished by her breath fits better with this previously suggested link:

      her misty breath
      drawn
      toward the tarnished moon

      That moonlight has a tarnishing effect has to do with it’s quasi-illumination, revealing frost or other imperfection created by the situation in this suggested link:

      foreclosed
      Christmas moonlight
      tarnishes the hearth

      Lunar eclipse is a fascinating notion, one which had not occurred to me, but it would require another link altogether, I believe.

      Here Willie’s request for fuller lines is best answered by the version he suggested, or at least, I was not able to come up with anything better. The idea of a single-line version seems un-productive to my imagination. Still, the pared down version here given suits my taste more, but this is meant to be a collaborative effort, so I’ll take advice willingly.

      • Bill Dennis says:

        Sudden a thought, like a full-blown balloon!

        in a foreclosed home Christmas moonlight tarnishes the hearth

        tarnishes/ burnishes=suggestive echo

  147. sandra says:

    How about polishing the moon, thereby implying the tarnish? Does that help?

    the colour of the wooden floor moonlight

    one Christmas bauble
    left in a corner
    catching the moonlight

    fake snow
    on the peeling sills
    tonight’s moon

    foreclosed yet tonight
    for the first time
    appreciating moonlight

    one old silver coin
    trapped between the floorboards
    tonight’s moon

    by moonlight
    we find the good luck coin
    of the family who moved

    etc

  148. sandra says:

    by moonlight
    we find the good luck coin
    of the family who left

  149. tarnished moon the colour of the wooden floor

    ????

    • sandra says:

      Sounds good to me … what say you, Bill?

      • Joseph Mueller says:

        So sorry to be missing, All. Dealing with Sandy damage in New Jersey and NYC and often without power. Returning to Vermont tomorrow. Joe

        On Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 4:01 PM, Issa’s Snail – A Renku Group wrote:

        > ** > sandra commented: “Sounds good to me … what say you, Bill?” >

    • Bill says:

      That would be an autumn moon, there being nothing indicating otherwise. You had said we were going into winter. And I’m not clued in as to the link with the previous ku. Set me straight, someone.

  150. I had to laugh at myself today. Just finishing a building on the Dakota Wesleyan U. campus today and all of us were anxious to leave – end of the work week, , a promise of other projects beginning, the foreman on this project revealed to be a wanker (co-workers assertions, and my own secretly), we just wanted to *get out* in a hurry. But it so happens we need to return Monday to “make things right” – aggravating details kept cropping up hourly that needed our attention. Our vocation is a *craft* after all.

    Rushed as I have been, I only now looked back on Lorin and Sandra’s comments about kitchen sinks and trowels and I cracked up. Dead on, really. And not meant to be offensive, either. Outside observations and critique make for quality – if only we were secure enough to seek them out daily the world might run more smoothly. I *must* remember to take heed of such things in my personal life.

    Bill asks some pertinant questions. I think I can offer a few answers.

    We have already set the scene subtly with winter. Experienced readers will note that. As we are somewhat modern in technique, new codifications are in order, including descriptions of season and moon. Somewhere in the Snail’s archives is just such an example; ‘the iron moon’ to represent a winter scene. I forget the exact phrasing, but the tone and content fit the progression exactly, as judged by our good friend John E. Carley. A bit of an eccentric, but I trust his judgement implicitly in matters of linked verse. “Purists” may disagree, but sometimes strict attention to rules unduly restrains art.

    Reading Shirane’s “Traces of Dreams” shows just such an example of Basho and a new company of renju eschewing rules of seasonal order to create the best progression possible. Elsewhere in the renku literature are examples of verse lengths totally at odds with tradition. Some exist in this site’s archives.

    As for linkage of the ‘tarnished moon’ to maeku, it is one of “scent” I believe. No wordplay or similarity of content involved, but more an emotional response finely tuned without being overbearing. The association is left mainly to the discerning reader.

    But my fancy turns to the addage, “learn the rules, then break them”! I think we have achieved quality combining Bill’s unconscious submission via commentary with Sandra’s smooth rejoinder. Quite pleasing to my ear, to say the least. Delicious!

    I propose we move immediately to ageku. And since unselfish collaboration created our penultimate verse I would ask any and all participants and readers to submit for our final stanza.

  151. sandra says:

    Figuring Willie is either in transit or working out which piece of his truck goes where …

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to some kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above the heart
    his tattoo reveals
    this floating world / w

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs up the chimney / s

    tarnished moon the colour of the wooden floor /w & s

  152. Bill says:

    tarnished moon the color of wooden floor /w&s as emended
    bowl polished pop the crust

  153. Hi all,

    I let the experts figure out the truck parts. I just made it home.

    While looking for a repair person I made an intuitive judgement and quickly met an honest mechanic/shopowner in Mitchell who repaired my vehicle. We had time to talk about young people entering a craft – he had a young fellow working for him who was “meticulous” yet still “not up to speed”. I watched the young man for a minute or so and I could recognize confidence in his movements, in his hands and attitude. The shopkeeper and I agreed the speed would come with experience while inherent quality was the thing to nurture and value. I was glad to meet a like-minded individual so far from home. I think I made a new friend. Just thought I’d share the anecdote.

    Obviously, I haven’t had much time, admittedly only now reading back on some comments with full recognition, but I’ve been thinking about dreams and memory. I think Bill’s comment about ‘tarnished lapses of time’ came in an intuitive fashion, not just rubbish as he claims about his use of language before! It’s really Bill’s credit for the last verse if he would still accept it.

    I’m takiong Barb’s advice and reading out loud . . .

  154. Bill says:

    Dog-gone, lost another post! I’ll just have to reproduce it. I don’t know why this is happening.

    As I said, I would, of course, be honored to have my suggestion accepted as the last link, but we have not heard from Joe (make the sign to ward off evil eye on his behalf), Sandra or Willie, himself. Any of you might well have great things on offer and I’d be delighted to see them–it’s half the fun. But, yes, I’d be delighted to end in this fashion.

  155. sandra says:

    As you wish, sabaki.

    • Oops! Co-credit, as in change that W to a B!

      Wells Fargo had me running in circles all day – and I don’t mean the stagecoach company!

      Glad you’re still with us, Joseph!!!

      • sandra says:

        yes, sorry, my mistake when I was reposting the whole poem – will, bill, willie, billie … all got a bit much for me! I *meant* Bill…

      • When I was in grade school there were four other boys who were called Billy, so, I think it was my father who insisted I be called William. A little formal for semi-rural North Kansas City, MO maybe, up there in Clay County as it was. And Mrs. Lottie Trude, formally of Southwest Texas, who took care of me when my Dad was at work, would holler out “Wheel-yum!” when she wanted me to come home.

        It used to be Missouri and that area had a definite “twang” to the spoken language, while deepest, darkest Texas was definitely a pronounced drawl. To this day I still fall back on those inflections when I’m feeling fatigued or in the company of folks from the south or west. Although, up in the North on the edges of the prairie, there’s a Scandinavian lilt that comes through in the accent of the ancestors of the people who originally worked the land. There’s only a thousand miles separating the two “cultures”.

        The two Dakotas share some of the attributes of both regions, from a wheat farmer on the high North Plains to some ol’ cowboy from Rapid City. In the Bakken oilfields I would work all day with Mexican and Honduran crews, speaking halting Spanish with a fair to middlin’ mimicry of sound, or, sharing food, beer and tobacco with indigenious people from the Navajo or Lakota reservations in the tenuous shelter of an RV park, our speech slow and considered, rich with nuance, observations of contemporary America, surrounded as we were with people from all across the US and the world.

        Shoot, I gotta mount up again in six hours from now.

  156. Bill says:

    LOL–too many Williams, but ain’t that the way, just getting to know each other and the trails divide.

    • Bill says:

      But getting back to the “tarnished” link…, I think the “the” the wooden floor sports is one too many. What think you both of these possible alternatives?

      tarnished moon the color of wooden floor

      tarnished-moon color of the wooden floor

      • Musing . . .

        tarnished moon colours in/of the wooden floor

        At least, retain the ‘o’ sound with the preposition ‘of’. Will the plural ‘colours’ make more sense of the verse if indeed we withhold the “excess” article? For consideration:

        tarnished moon the colour of the wooden floor
        tarnished moon colours of the wooden floor

        the ‘s’ spoils the phrasing, doesn’t it?

        any less would lessen the metrical impact:

        tarnished moon colours the wooden floor (Tontoism?)
        the tarnished moon colours the wooden floor

        back to where we were . . .

        or:

        tarnished moon
        the colour of the wooden floor

        tarnished moon,
        colour of the wooden floor

        tarnished moon colour of the wooden floor
        tarnished moon, colour of the wooden floor

        Maybe the latter with addition of a comma?

        Chime in, anybody.

    • Bill says:

      Or even:

      the tarnished-moon color(s) of wooden floor

  157. sandra says:

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs up the chimney

    tarnished moon the colour of the wooden floor

    breathing out in unison
    on the last note of the hymn

    amid all the back-slapping
    a universe of snowflakes

    the owl’s hunting cry
    music to the poet’s ear

    another glass of grog
    and we all begin to sing

  158. Bill says:

    Hey, Sandra, you have a great collection of links there, and by a slight adjustment, one that is simply perfect. What would you think of this?

    the owl’s hunting-cry
    on the last note of the hymn

    It has the “owl” to link to the “moon” in the previous; “the hymn” suggests the lyrical activity we have been engaged in here; and the “last note” is an appropriate sense of ending for our renku. And it has a lyrical quality, very attractive in its own right. What do you think?

  159. Bill says:

    Will, to me the connection of both moon and owl being night phenomena is sufficient. Some owls are migratory–take the Saw Whet, some not–the Great Horned, for example, so their connection to winter would vary. Perhaps this is a difference from Japan. I dunno. I’d think we could proceed as we choose.

    Your link to the N.Dakota piece is sterling. I’ll have to sit down hereafter and read it. Wouldn’t it look good with a massive herd of buffalo grazing along? Keep on truckin’!

  160. sandra says:

    Well done, that man! I rather like that conflation of the two ku. I also see “owl” as a winter keyword (hence my use of it), not sure why though. I hardly ever check sajiki, tend to go with my gut and personal observation (this one is gut).

    Have just now found Jane Reichhold has owl under winter on her sajiki:
    http://www.ahapoetry.com/aadoh/winani.htm

    Bill Higginson doesn’t (or didn’t); the winter word list at Yuki Teikei does; the University of Vriginia list has two kinds of owl under winter:
    http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/haiku/saijiki/brief.html

    If you want to bookmark this excellent (ahem, I made it) resource for future reference, please do:
    http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/haikunews/worthalook
    Go down to “Season Words”

    But don’t feel disinclined to offer yourselves guys.

    • Bill says:

      My goodness, Sandra, I’ve been scoping out the links to renku/haiku sites you provide. I really had no idea that so much attention had been given to what is really an obscure branch of oriental literature. I’ve bookmarked all the sites and I’ll gradually familiarize myself with them to a greater degree. I don’t know anyone in person who even knows what either haiku or renku might be, so perhaps I’m simply a suburban version of the hayseed. I had been a member of the Am. Haiku Soc., years ago, but I gave up on it–too deadly earnest and preoccupied with formal considerations. Thanks for the research.

  161. Haven’t figured out how to navigate UV quickly, but I’m not especially concerned. I’m “game” for a NZ observation anyday.

    I was tinkering again – yikes! – with the metrics, and thus noted the outcome of the idea of the owl’s cry *as* the last note of the hymn, rather than simultaneous –

    an owl’s hunting cry
    the last note of the hymn

    picturing that empty church with the wind blowing through years after it was abandoned. My own observations while wandering the high prairie. You should see some of the cemetary headstones. Lots of deaths in childbirth and as infants. Sorry, don’t mean to be sound so macabre, although you would feel a strong presence of the congregation if you walked through the place.

    Bill also has a suggestion above for ‘tarnished moon’, too, which I responded to with some alternate takes for your consideration.

    I’m about to hit the road, so may not have any offers this go ’round. I’ll check back when I hit Sioux Falls.

  162. sandra says:

    tarnished moon the color of a wooden floor

    This one sounds good to me – it has a break in it, if you want it to, very clever. I’ve added an “a” – but does this make the wooden floor a bit abstract? Rather than the immediate, this one right here wooden floor?

    tarnished moon the colours in a wooden floor

  163. Bill says:

    We’ve got a lot of very good, not too different versions up on the board. I think any one of several would do very well.

  164. sandra says:

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters,
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    … and this poem / s

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old land-slip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to some kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above the heart
    his tattoo reveals
    this floating world / w

    a narrative in sparks
    climbs up the chimney / s

    tarnished moon the colour of a wooden floor /b

    an owl’s hunting cry
    the last note of the hymn /s

  165. Hi all,

    I’m barely cuherent at the moment, ingrsting caffeine in a large quantity this am; Ithink we is very close . . .

    Gulp!

    I will only croak out a few abbreviated notes:

    verse 3 – italicize au claire de la lune?
    verse 9 – keep or delete the ellipsis?
    verse 12 – landslip sans the hyphen?
    verse 15 – line 1 – edit to something more inspiring/surreal/metaphorical ?? ‘ink’ is a good word, but have at it . . .
    verse 16 – suggesting drop we the article: narratives in sparks/climb up the chimney – ??
    verse 17 – does the indefinite article ‘(a) wooden floor still’ bug you Sandra? I agree the floor would be better definitely named – ‘the’ floor – one of those irritating things that comes from close analysis

    I’m off! Jitteringly yours,

    willllie

  166. Bill says:

    Be back to you on the whole list, but before I forget–verse 15 could run:

    glimpsed ink
    a floating-world tatto
    above her heart

  167. Bill says:

    Sticking my jittery oar back in the water…

    verse 3 – italicize au claire de la lune? No, I think the italics are not needed. Let people stretch their associative muscles a bit.

    verse 9 – keep or delete the ellipsis? No, drop the elipsis. Not needed, even distracting. The line break provides enough pause, which I think the dots were meant to achieve.

    verse 12 – landslip sans the hyphen? Sure, no hyphen needed. Go with “landslip.”

    verse 16 – suggesting drop we the article: narratives in sparks/climb up the chimney – ?? Could go either way, but since Sandra had chosen the singular, I think we might as well stick with it and keep the article.

  168. sandra says:

    v1: delete the comma at end of L2? Or delete “then” at start of L3?

    v10: I prefer a swap of the articles (and only partly because of the two “a”s above it):

    the wild plum blossoms
    in a garden gone to ruin

    v14: I prefer (same syllable count):

    try and explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care

    v15: A suggestion:

    inked above his heart
    the tattoo reveals
    a floating world

    leaving the reader to interpret “floating world” (someone without the author’s knowledge may think of Kevin Costner’s career-ending film!). I like “inked” as it’s so close to the “link” between the skin and the organ beneath.

    If you like this then, yes, drop the article from the succeeding verse

    v16:

    narratives in sparks
    climb up the chimney

    v17, just a thought:

    tarnished moon the colour of this wooden floor

    hmm, maybe not, dunno … which means I should leave well alone.

  169. Bill says:

    Let me gang up with Sandra against the comma after the grackles. I’m against all(most) all punctuation in renku. As the only specimen, it stands out in distracting fashion, spoiling the unity of style for the whole…, or so I’d say.

  170. Sounds good to me! I’ll just post the changes here, rather than singly. I keep copying the entire page!

    darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    the wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old landslip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above his heart
    the tattoo reveals
    a floating world / w

    narratives in sparks
    climb up the chimney / s

    tarnished moon the colour of this wooden floor / b

    an owl’s hunting cry
    the last note of the hymn / s

    Do I have it right?

  171. sandra says:

    What did you think about the “this wooden floor”? Okay?

    Oh, v10:

    a wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin

    the wild plum blossoms
    in a garden gone to ruin

    ??? but not two “the”s as it is …

  172. Sorry, was fatigued. I have ‘this wooden floor’ but missed ‘wild plum blossoms in the garden gone to ruin’. One article is enough after realizing all that exist throughout the piece! There is a wild plum in the ruins of Swede Hollow, what made me think of it. Also, my favorite tree is there, with its ikebana appearance, though it recently lost a limb. The soil in the hollow eroded after 80 years of squatter’s homes there, all evicted in the late 60’s. It will take decades more for soil to return, if at all, to support long lived trees. It used to be part of the Big Woods.

    One more day in Sioux Falls and back home tonight. Might be a full day ’til I check back in.

  173. darkening sky
    a plague of grackles scatters
    then gathers again / w

    against the white lawn
    frost-blackened figs / b

    someone else playing
    someone else’s piano…
    au clair de la lune / m

    with my good hand
    uncreasing the photograph / s

    in a church fresco
    the Devil falls separate
    from all the others / b

    too small to house worms;
    lots of green apples / b

    a raffish display
    his hot pants and spandex
    lead the parade / w

    launching a rubber band at me
    she misses again / m

    a tarte au chocolat,
    a steaming pot of tea
    and this poem / s

    wild plum blossoms
    in the garden gone to ruin / w

    all legs and tails
    three newborn lambs
    tumble out of the sack / s

    past the old landslip
    he thinks how it must have been / b

    without another word
    one more sake;
    the mattress comes to me / j

    try and explain kapok
    to a kid who doesn’t care / s

    inked above his heart
    the tattoo reveals
    a floating world / w

    narratives in sparks
    climb up the chimney / s

    tarnished moon the colour of this wooden floor / b

    an owl’s hunting cry
    the last note of the hymn / s

    I hope to have caught all our edits here this time. If so, I reckon we’ll need to choose a title then. I’ll propose Frost Blackened Figs and/or Tarnished Moon. I don’t feel either gives away the farm too soon prior to reading. Please post any other suggestions you can think of.

    And, would anyone be adverse to publishing our result in tandem with our duelist’s product, Poet’s Picnic, if they decide to submit? An interesting story behind the compositions, fun to compare the pace and structure of both in a pliable type of “vehicle” the Imachi describes. I’ll be reading both again with pleasure.

    Looking forward to your answers.

  174. Bill says:

    Looks good, Willie. Why not “A Plague of Grackles,” for the title? It comes from the beginning and has a nice ring to it. Just a suggestion.

  175. sandra says:

    Any of the above for a title … or Darkening Sky … ???

    Your idea re submitting it to the AHG editor (ahem) to run alongside the other team’s poem sounds good. What are the chances do you think? 😉

    Will you also prepare a tomegaki?

    Sandra Simpson, Tauranga, New Zealand

  176. Chances, Sandra? I think we’ll hear the affirmative. And yes, there would be a tomegaki. Dueling with hemispheres and hurricanes some topic choices I’ll bet.

    And thanks in advance for your names and addresses (city and country) everyone.

    Title Suggestions:

    Frost Blackened Figs
    Tarnished Moon
    A Plague of Grackles
    Darkening Sky

    Melissa Allen, Madison, Wisconsin
    Bill Dennis, ?
    Joseph Mueller, Wilmington, Vermont ?
    Sandra Simpson, Tauranga, New Zealand
    William Sorlien, St. Paul, Minnesota

    • Lorin says:

      “And thanks in advance for your names and addresses (city and country) everyone.” – W

      Since when were Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin countries? 🙂 (…lacking that tongue-poking-out smiley again.) Bill has country, below, I see. 😉

      Good poem, everyone!

      – Lorin

  177. Bill says:

    I may be found in Landenberg, PA, USA
    It’s been fun and I wish opportunity cropped up more often.
    Sandra, I really enjoyed your insight and lyrical style.
    I’d say thanks with appreciation to Joe, if possible.
    Willie, you are a definite rock. In spite of all, you showed skill, taste and determination. Thanks for all that.
    Whenever there is need for another hand to make a round-up of renku, I hope someone will remember my name…and email address.

    • sandra says:

      Likewise, nice to meet you again Bill. And, in spite of natural disasters and work commitments, it *was* fun … and we got a decent poem out of it too.!

  178. sandra says:

    Vote on a title …

    Tarnished Moon

    A stroke of genius there, Bill.

  179. Bill says:

    How could I have neglected to express my appreciation for Melissa’s input?
    Whatever, if any, genius went into “tarnished moon” was definitely a collaborative effort, not mine–a certain amount of luck, the fielding ability of a good team and imitations of Keats, recollected in tranquility explain everything. I still like “A Plague…,” especially since it gives a bit of recognition to our much put-upon secretary, who deserves more for good work under difficult conditions.
    Ciao!

  180. Got your addie, Bill.

    I’ve mailed Melissa for her input on naming and such. Afraid I don’t have Joseph’s contact.
    I’ll watch the mail . . .

  181. Thanks, Ash, and thanks for your patience everyone. My mobile Wi-Fi service has been out.

    Back in Minnesota, a “country” unto itself, if you factor in the allusion to “Minnesota Nice”, an overt display of political correctness perhaps not found anywhere else. Thoughts of ‘Stepford Wives’ and mass quantities of Prozac come to mind, Lorin. Just gimme that highway – 250 miles in 3 hours, 33 minutes!

    But, I digress . . . as for our title, we now have two votes for “A Plague Of Grackles” and two for “Tarnished Moon”. This is exciting. Who shall be the tiebreaker? Joseph is happily re-ensconced in his role as an English instructor after volunteering his time and effort to help others affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and perhaps did not understand the question. Who could blame him? i can barely make myself understood half the time, what with regional dialects and meanings, as well as cross continental cultural differences and varying perceptions of the written (English) word. To have pulled off a finished renku is quite a feat in light of these facts!

    So, is there any further discussion or argument for our title choices? Both have an element of drama, the first somewhat dark in nature according to one’s individual perception, the latter unique for a description of the winter moon. Or an eclipse. In winter. Maybe. Please chime in with your opinions!

  182. Bill says:

    Well, Willie, Sandra…, Joe if he’s out there, most of what I pretend to know about renku comes from reading Hiroake Sato’s “A Hundred Frogs,” and that long ago. But what sticks with me is the thought that a title ought to come from the first link, or at most the second…, usually from the first two lines, in practice. I can’t dredge up any irresistible reasoning for this usage, other than the ease of recognition it provides, much like the custom of identifying un-titled poems by their first line, or a portion thereof.

    I said before how much I am drawn to the dramatic chiaroscuro of “a plague of grackles.” It suggests arrival and a growing bustle of activity, not altogether welcome, but irresistible, with which I identify as a half-ignorant enthusiast about to ransack Japanese tradition and English language in pursuit of personal gratification–like an unwelcome grackle about to despoil a valuable field of sprouting grain. So the phrase has qualities which promote it with no reference to its place in the sequence and whatever value that may have.

    But I’m easy.

    The fragmentary glimpses of you belting back and forth across the western plains, standing off gangs of thugs in cavalry arrivals (veritable Willie ex machina, by Jove) and resettling the west in your Conestoga pick-up has been an ongoing delight, while I have sat about recovering from a slipped disk and sciatica and mournfully contemplating my 68th birthday, just past. But I’m nearly better and able to do things in the yard like I used to, need to and ought to, but I’ll miss the whole thing. After all, people who link together are linked together, aren’t they?

    That’s my say.

  183. sandra says:

    Okay, A Plague of Grackles it is, for the reasons Bill gave. Very convincing and I should have remembered the naming convention of the first 1-2 verses … but, like so many before me, I was seduced by the thought of the moon!

    Glad things are back on track for Willie, Bill and Joe. Personally I’m having physio for a wonky ankle. The doctor says one thing, the physio another and I suppose the truth is somewhere in between. But, as Bill is, I’m mending and that’s the main thing. LImping, having to pause because I simply couldn’t take another step – heck, I’ve felt like an old person! Not yet, not yet …

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