Dueling Renku 2 (John)

Sign up here folks:

John (sabaki)
Mary
Lorin
Barbara

210 Responses to Dueling Renku 2 (John)

  1. Lorin says:

    ok, I see that Willie has four already, so I’ll sign up here with John.

    – Lorin

  2. Barbara says:

    I’ll join in too, please.

  3. John Carley says:

    Right folks. Four is ideal for – well just about anything longer than a Yotsumono!

    Let’s go. It’s autumn here with Mary and I, and spring with Lorin and Barbara so that gives us plenty of scope in terms of hokku possibilites. I cordially invite as many candidates as you might care to throw into the ring.

    As to sequence type – the basic choices are probably around Shisan or Junicho (both at 12 verses) or Imachi at 18. There is also the very live option of a New Junicho as opposed to a more conventional one. Please do express any particular preferences.

    But as I say – it shouldn’t make any difference to the hokku (even if we go down the New Junicho route I’m sure we can work stuff in).

    Below I paste the last four of the kasen The Hawker’s Goose between Basho, Yaba, Ko’oku and Rigyuu (in that order below). Rhetorical question: do the metrics of this passage (of the English translation) effect the ‘compaction’ or otherwise of how it reads? And – do such considerations have any bearing on how we might approach our own original renku writing?

    Best wishes, John

    scattered individuals
    make their way
    back to the rice wharf

    coming to Meguro
    the company blabs on

    in every place
    high season for the
    third month’s blossom

    the spring winds cleanse
    a round of charcoal dust

  4. Rhetorical? Blithely ignoring the ramifications, I parry the question and ask, “what do you mean by ‘compaction’? The last four of six verses of kyu, speeding along to a conclusive end, unambiguious, pared down, if you will, yet, all-encompassing . . .?

    I wonder what led to the ‘scattered individuals’ reference. A faint recall (for me) of Jack Webb’s “Dragnet” character offering a terse police report; or, New York’s finest explaining away, in double-speak, a mass arrest of Occupiers on a bridge. The preceding verse would probably clear up the matter. English language is a funny, and ambiguous, thing. What one Curry Mile git might hear could be totally different to an East Side (scofflaw) cruiser. Tough to replace – what of the (ironical) “personages”? ‘Individual’ works, in any case, preferable to ‘persons”.

    As for the third from last, might an extra syllable enhance L2? . . . (“blathers, babbles, chatters”, etc.) You know, for me, lacking an education outside of US public schools – shudder! -, it often comes down to pace, phonics and meter (metre). As for the entire sequence, I think it works very well.

  5. Lorin says:

    “Rhetorical question: do the metrics of this passage (of the English translation) effect the ‘compaction’ or otherwise of how it reads?” – John

    Hi John,
    Morning, the sun is out for a change, I’m waiting for my first coffee to kick in and it’s back to school. Day 1, comprehension test 1. The masters are displaying their erudition already. I forgot to take my smart pill. Metrics and ‘compaction’ or otherwise. It’s Sunday, so the waste collection machine-monsters designed after the Soylent Green model are unlikely to show up. Renku, the little I’ve been involved in, seem something faintly recalled from a past incarnation. Fear of failure. To get around going completely blank, I try the old ‘rephrase the question’ trick. How would it look if it was written for an imagined ‘Renku For Idiots’, and hope I’m somewhere in the vicinity of the ballpark.
    Do the verses, taken together, seem a compact, related whole whole or are they sprawling all over the shop? I note that it’s a rhetorical question. The answer must be yes, the verses seem related and have the effect of a continuing movement from v1 to the last.
    (I sneak out of using the word ‘metrics’ and make a note to re-familiarise myself with the term sometime later)

    The my own response kicks in a bit. The 4 verses are the end verses of a renku, yah.The first verse is my favourite of the 4. I like the interplay of ‘individuals’ and ‘rice wharf’. Grains of rice. Rice, like love and money, an uncountable noun, but the grains are individual. The comparison seems implicit, and rich. Scattered seems to imply wind. Old Hiroshage’s prints kick in for wind and scattered individuals going somewhere in a landscape. They have been somewhere and that cycle has finished as they return from whence they came. It feels like the poem might end with this verse. But it’s a renku, so it can’t.

    scattered individuals
    make their way
    back to the rice wharf

    The journey continues. (Is that from Star Wars?)

    coming to Meguro
    the company blabs on

    Hmmm… the scattered individuals must’ve regathered, become a ‘company’ again. The tone certainly changes with that ‘blabs on’ (Why, some sub-personality in my head interrupts, is it ‘blabs’ rather than the more familiar-to-it, ‘blabbers’ ?) I consider its point & decide that I like the rhythm that ‘blabber’ makes. Yup. I like the extra beat and I like the way that small extension supports the content. Also interesting that Meguro gains in majesty by juxtaposition with a ‘company’ that blabbers. Sort of like Michelangelo does in Eliot’s Prufrock

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.

    Suddenly, I notice that the verse is good because it slyly undercuts the density and profundity of the previous verse. I like this pair.

    in every place
    high season for the
    third month’s blossom

    Well, the declarative. An individual voice tries to restore some decorum, after ‘blabs/ blabbers’, The conventional ‘positive thinker’ of the motley crew, emphasising unity and celebration. It seems a squeaky voice.

    the spring winds cleanse
    a round of charcoal dust

    I haven’t a clue as to what ‘a *round * of charcoal dust’ might be, in a literal sense. What does ‘cleanse’ mean in context? Blow away? Get rid of? Again, that undercutting of the previous verse… charcoal dust as well as blossoms blown away.

    What’s interesting is that the implied wind in the first verse of the set is out in the open here.

    That’s it. End of rambling speculations. Brain stopped. More coffee needed.

    – Lorin

    – Lorin

  6. Lorin says:

    ps… I’ve not had a go at an Imachi yet and would welcome the opportunity and challenge, John. But am happy with whatever you decide or the group might prefer.
    – Lorin

  7. Lorin makes a point that I recently failed to elucidate- caffeinated drinks all day! – pointing out the majesty of Maguro heightened by the prescence of an unruly crowd (assuming a gentried samurai’s entourage to Edo). This calls us to heed the origin/development of haikai-no-renga; the tempering of the staid and stale poetics of high society and culture with the familiar, common voice of the people, elevating haikai to a highly regarded literary genre.

  8. John Carley says:

    Hi all, here’s a couple of hokku candidates I woke up with.

    Many thanks for the ruminations – it’s a miraculously sunny day so I’ll read and respond after dusk.

    another room
    another clock to change —
    autumn leaves

    I rake the lawn
    and light my little bonfire —
    autumn leaves

    Best wishes, John

  9. Lorin says:

    .. bedtime for me. 🙂 I was a sunny day here, too, for a change, but I barely got out in it.

    the same path
    up the same hillside …
    lambs follow the ewes

    via dolorosa
    a spring lamb springs
    into pop art

    puddles // on the pollen path
    a tadpole // wriggles free

    chrysalis –
    what to make
    with the pop beads

    equinox
    a bee cluster
    hangs from the eaves

    butterfly
    after butterfly
    the recurring dream

    poets’ picnic
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    well, the Australians participating or lurking will get that last one, anyway. I know it’s not a contender, but couldn’t resist. 😉

    – Lorin

  10. Mary White says:

    Will offer a hokku –

    three rugs
    the long evening draws in
    hugging the old man

    I haven’t much to say about the verses except that blabs jars with me. Brain foggy after a great night out at a gig. A much needed bop and so good to let my hair down.

  11. John Carley says:

    Thanks everybody for the offers so far. I’ll leave the kite up in the air for Barbara for a while.

    Metrics (Lorin): I make the distinction between ‘rhythm’ (the totality of the pacing effects of the language) and ‘metre’ (a more simple quality). I construe ‘metre’ as being the coarse quantity that our language is measured in or dosed out at. That passage of translation I posted uses an accentual metre. The question I’m trying to bully around in my own head is whether or not the fact that the metrical structres present are proportional and repetitive is important to the way the reader experiences the text. It is certainly true that, in the source text i.e. Basho and Co’s original. the moraic metre of alternating 5/7/5 – 7/7 is a significant presence.

    Put another way – is free verse adequate to the writing of renku? J

    • Metrics may also mean “parameters”, i.e., as I interpreted it – I guess that fits in light of the implications you suggest.

      Total freedom may be chaotic; on the other hand, reasonable and diligent attention to “cohesion” in a text can be successful, at least in a rhythmical sense, I believe. Can “strict” attention be limiting to creative utterance (as in most EL haiku being increasingly of the free-form variety)? Yes, possibly, though obviously the opposite has been proven true by skilled, experienced poet’s in JP language as well as renku in others.

      Should renku composition always “demand” adherence to a strict, metrical form? I don’t believe that to be necessarily so; at least not for “all” renku written or attempted.The caveat may lie in overindulgence or carelessness in the manner of composition.

      Thoughtful points you make in your musings. You make us more aware of how we present our ideas.

  12. Lorin says:

    hmm… ‘free verse’.
    … or as Merlin’s owl in ‘The Once and Future King’ kept insisting: “What boy? There is no boy.”

    I do think that metrical structures are important to the way readers experience a text, but I don’t have any other language but English, so I’m not attuned to Japanese prosody. I can understand that there are tough decisions to make each time for a translator, though.

    Channeling old Tom:
    “… the most interesting verse which has yet been written in our language has been done either by taking a very simple form, like the iambic pentameter, and constantly withdrawing from it, or taking no form at all, and constantly approximating to a very simple one. *It is this contrast between fixity and flux, this unperceived evasion of monotony, which is the very life of verse*.

    … the decay of intricate formal patterns has nothing to do with the advent of vers libre. It had set in long before. Only in a closely-knit and homogeneous society, where many men are at work on the same problems, such a society as those which produced the Greek chorus, the Elizabethan lyric, and the Troubadour canzone, will the development of such forms ever be carried to perfection. And as for vers libre, we conclude that it is not defined by absence of pattern or absence of rhyme, for other verse is without these; that it is not defined by non-existence of metre, since even the worst verse can be scanned; and we conclude that the division between Conservative Verse and vers libre does not exist, for there is only good verse, bad verse, and chaos. ”

    “Reflections on Vers Libre” :
    http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/tseliot/works/essays/reflections_on_vers_libre.html

    Renku has many voices
    Many gods and may voices.
    The salt is on the briar rose,
    The fog is in the fir trees

    🙂

    – Lorin

  13. Lorin says:

    “Put another way – is free verse adequate to the writing of renku?” J

    Here’s my old favourite haiku, known first to me only in English, though I later found that Dhugal writes his haiku in Japanese first, then translates them into English. I give his own translation and a recent one:

    sukuu te-no kurage ya seimeisen fukaku

    picking up a jellyfish –
    my lifeline
    clear and deep

    – Dhugal J. Lindsay (translator Dhugal Lindsay)

    掬ふ掌のくらげや生命線ふかく   ドゥーグル・J・リンズィー

    sukuu te no kurage ya seimeisen fukaku

    scoop up a jellyfish
    with my hands—
    a deep life line

    – Dhugal J. Lyndsay (translator Faye Aoyagi)

    Both translations seem to be ‘free verse. Neither translation seems to try to follow a syllabic pattern, but the author’s own translation makes use of EL stress patterns (to good effect, imo), whilst Faye Aoyagi’s does not, so that in “with my hands” each word is stressed (surely putting far too much emphasis on those hands?) One of these translations comes across as trivial to my ear and that is partly because of misplaced stresses.

    “”Put another way – is free verse adequate to the writing of renku?” J”

    Carrying this through to renku, John, the only way I can attempt to answer your question is: yes, ‘free verse’ is adequate to writing EL haiku, but it depends on who’s writing the ‘free verse’. Or more to the point for renku, who’s sabaki-ing , who’s directing the players and composing the various verses into a whole.

    I have complete faith in both you and Willie.

    – Lorin

  14. Barbara says:

    G’day all, here are some hokku offers?

    late Spring snow
    in the timber chest I find
    moth-eaten woollies

    morning freshness
    dancing prisms on
    a splay of pink orchids

    overnight rain
    seedlings sprout
    with much gusto

  15. Lorin says:

    just about level
    on the teeter-totter
    your spring, my autumn

    green leaf, yellow leaf
    the teeter-totter level
    until the sparrow

    – Lorin

    • sandra says:

      do Australians use the Americanism, or do you say

      see-saw

      ?? Just curious.

      • Lorin says:

        Yes, Australians do use some Americanisms, Sandra. ‘Kangaroo court’, believe it or not, is one. And there were Americans up on the goldfields where my great-great grandparents (on one side) were, and married. But I didn’t know that teeter-totter was one of them. Doesn’t surprise me though.

        I use see-saw for the bigger, school age thingos and teeter-totter for the toddler’s ones… smaller, lower, often plastic and found in little kids’ playgrounds and creches cum-kindergartens. Blame it on Sesame Street and my son, decades ago, probably. But I think I used it here this morning because I liked the sound of it 😉

        – Lorin

      • Lorin says:

        ps, ‘The Americans, Baby’ (Frank Moorhouse) was essential reading here in the early 70s. I reread it a few years ago and understood it better, with hindsight into the late 60s.

        – Lorin

      • Lorin says:

        …and come to think of it, are you certain that ‘teeter-totter’ is an Americanism, Sandra?
        In the back of my mind, I’m hearing it with an Irish accent now, so I must’ve heard somebody Irish using it along the way…. long, long ago.
        – L

  16. Both, here. A regional preference in America, I’ve observed.

    • Lorin says:

      see-saw and teeter-totter (& titter-totter)… a little research, a little enlightenment:

      “The device certainly predates the word see-saw, which is the successor to another reduplicated term — the one you mentioned that some Americans have retained — the splendid teeter-totter. Various spellings of it are recorded, one being the East Anglian teeter-cum-tauter and another titter-totter. The latter is the oldest known version, which is first recorded in John Palsgrave’s Lesclarcissement de la Langue Françoyse of 1530. In that, it’s given as the English equivalent of the old French balenchoeres (now balançoire), from balancer, to balance. ”

      Full discussion here:
      http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-see2.htm

      – L

      • sandra says:

        Well, there you go. I’ve only ever heard my mate from Illinois refer to a “tee-ter-tott-er” (try and imagine the accent 🙂 ) and it’s not a word that’s made it into New Zild English. Good research skills!

  17. John Carley says:

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    ————-

    Hi everyone, I’d like to adopt this as our hokku.

    From Lorin’s note I realise there is a sub-text here that I simply don’t get, but there is a lot that I do get. Not least my own surprise at so strongly liking a verse which talks directly about poets and poetics!

    I propose we write an Imachi – the balance between modernity and tradition present in our hokku seems to tend in that direction.

    What season are we in. And does it matter? In British English I’d argue that ‘picnic’ is ‘summer’ and ‘cygnet’ is ‘late spring/early summer’ cusp. To construe this verse as ‘late spring’ would make it very difficult indeed to follow with a further two ‘even later spring’ so I’d like to suggest we take it as ‘very early summer’. Of course we should notionally be starting our poem in ‘spring’ or ‘autumn’ – but what the hell – let’s meet in the middle!

    The important thing to me is that a strong sense of the natural world and season (kisetsu) is present in our poem – but not that it dictates our poetry. As long as our 18 verses end up embracing the full ‘man + environment’ I’m happy.

    Wakiku – our wakiku is therefore nominally ‘summer’. Let’s stay ‘competitive’ for this verse position -perhaps go by turns for a bit thereafter.

    The Imachi is a bit more ‘trad’ than the Junicho (the same husband and wife pair came up with both types of sequence) so ‘blossom’ or ‘moon’ would not normally appear in our wakiku. Because the Imachi is a bit more conservative, and the sequence is mid length, the wakiku arguably is more likely to be supportive of, rather than juxtaposed to, the hokku.

    Best wishes, John

    oops – Lorin – I’ve dropped in an em dash to see the effect. Any strong feelings either way? Others?

    • Lorin says:

      Hi John and All… I’ve got a comment below ‘awaiting moderation’. I should’ve remembered…if one includes more than one link in a post, that’s what happens. I can’t get back into it to delete one of them. I would if I could.

      – L

  18. Lorin says:

    Golly, John. Now *that* was unexpected ! I’m thrilled, of course 🙂 , for a couple of reasons, but I think I’d better show you the subtext in case it makes it unsuitable …give you a chance to change your mind.

    The phrase ‘black swan of trespass’ is from one of the ‘Ern Malley’ poems, Australia’s infamous and now iconic literary hoax, perpetrated by fraudsters James McAuley and Harold Stewart, two conservative poets. Their intention was to rubbish Modern poetry and especially an editor who advocated it and published it, Max Harris of the Angry Penguins group, and they were successful. It was a nasty business. Nevertheless, in the long run their ‘Ern Malley’ poems have survived whilst their poems written seriously and published under their own names have not.There is even an Ern Malley website now, with the whole fascinating dirt, including the poem I lifted the phrase from:

    http://www.ernmalley.com/index.html

    The poem is the first one on this page:

    http://www.ernmalley.com/malley_poetry.html

    (The Harold Stewart half of the pair, btw, is the same Harold Stewart who later went and lived in Japan, became a priest of some sort, and had a few glamorous books of his translations of Japanese haiku published)

    If , after all that, you still think that the allusion to the Ern Malley poems and affair is ok, then the ‘poets’ picnic’ … the ‘street name’ for the annual Montsalvat Poetry and Song Festival, now defunct , was always held in late Spring or early Summer…late Nov. to early Dec. …(the 35th and last was on Dec.10th, 2006,) so late Spring — early Summer, as you say, since Australian seasons begin on the 1st of the relevant months. And ‘cygnet’ is anywhere from early Spring to halfway through Summer, in Southern Australia.

    http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Cygnus-atratus

    I guess one thing the ku has going for it is that it’s culturally rich…

    No strong feelings either way about the dash…it’s not essential but it emphasises the cut. I do use a dash sometimes (not always) in haiku , even if the syntax makes it clear that there’s a dash, for that reason. I’m not of the “I don’t like punctuation in haiku” school.

    – Lorin

  19. Barbara says:

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    a good ladybird lands
    on the Waldorf salad

    sweet, juicy strawberries
    the colour of her lips

    gold dust circles
    afloat between the rushes

    here, real men
    enjoy a simple quiche

    a squadron of ants attack
    organic breadcrumbs

    the final verse flies off
    with a balmy breeze

    and then, enlightenment
    and a blazing sky

  20. John Carley says:

    Ye Gods, I’ve just been over on strand #1 and see that they’re ahead of us – in quantity of course, not in quality.

    Thanks for the context Lorin. I did get the schizoid bathos of ‘black sawn of trespass’. I think that phrase is the secret of success here – its register *is* innately ridiculous, but the rest of the stanza balances it so well that the we are left trying to navigate a passage between the profound and the absurd. This to me is emblematic of the haikai spirit (ha’i). I note also that the detached first phrase sustains a multiple reading, both as a figurative reference to ‘intellectual bun fight’ or ‘making a hash of words’ and to the Edo period practice of poets actually going on a picnic to write renku. So no, I have no qualms whatever. Let’s leave that punctuation in for the moment. If it begins to rankle later we can remove it.

    The excellent set of responses from Barbara are further proof of suitability. Here are two of my own.

    poets’ picnic –
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    —-

    poets’ picnic –
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    cool things going on
    behind my Ray-Bans

    Best wishes, John

  21. Lorin says:

    I like these :

    here, real men
    enjoy a simple quiche
    – Barbara

    I recall the American book ‘Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche’ ,,, and yes, here they do 🙂 Never had one knock back a slice or two of mine yet.. Whether or not you need the ‘here’… though I know what you mean.

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear
    – John
    🙂

    – Lorin

  22. Lorin says:

    I imagine that John is waiting for offers from all for the wakiku? I’ll be refraining from linking to my own verses.

    – Lorin

  23. John Carley says:

    poets’ picnic –
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    Hi all, let’s press on with this pair. I’ve hesitated since yesterday over the intriguing ‘good ladybird’. In the end, because there’s a lot going on in the hokku, and because this is a mid-length sequence, I’ve opted for the upbeat but intellectually more anodyne bonhommie of the wide mouth grins.

    Let’s go straight to turns for a verse or two. Barbara – I’d be grateful if you were able to take #3, and Mary #4. Just recently I’ve experienced writing a kasen, mostly by turns, in which those submitting often offer a single option – take it or leave it (well,in truth there is the ‘edit it’ option). But I honestly think the better approach is for people to try and put in two, preferably three, candidates. It vastly increases the scope of movement for the piece in question, and it does tone up those ‘quick response’ muscles.

    Theoretically by the way, according to a typical breakdown for a poem begun in ‘summer’ on Renku Reckoner, we ‘should’ have had a moon verse at #2. But we’ll go for broke and have both moon and blossom in our ‘spring’ run in a while – hell, we could even have them in the same verse!

    For the moment we go to non-season. Verse #3, according to the theory books, is the ‘break away’ verse. One way of looking at this is that there is generally more of a tangent between #3 and #2 than there is between the opening pair. My gut feeling though tells me that we don’t want to get too challenging yet. Other than that…

    Over to you. 🙂 J

  24. Barbara says:

    G’day all,

    some daisan offers:

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    into the records

    found, another portrait
    a younger version
    of the same

    slowly, slowly
    the long queue shuffles
    through curious throngs

    • Lorin says:

      from the edge
      his sonic freefall
      into the records

      That jump was amazing, wasn’t it, Barbara? And that we live in an age where technology makes it possible and also possible for us all to see, and at the same time!

      I’ll be very interested to see which John chooses and his comments. But on first impressions, this one grabs me. I like the way you’ve linked it to the edge of the ‘grin’ in the previous (reading it in one way) yet taken the scenario away from ‘picnic ground’ and all earth-bound associations way up into the stratosphere. This is the sort of thing Richard Gilbert means when he writes about “misreading for meaning” in haiku. Two locations (at least) co-exist for that ‘edge’, the ‘grin’ of the previous verse (a surrealist reading) and the location in the stratosphere we ‘get’ after reading L2.

      Which leads me to remark that there are many possibilities for what he might fall into. ‘Records’ is good and there’s no doubt he broke all previous records. Something else suggests itself (whether or not too iffy for this part of the renku, I don’t know) and that’s ‘into the future’. Partly because I’m certain that this now-demonstrated freefall will be the norm for getting humans onto planets with sufficient gravity economically in the future, and partly because of Bany’s Natsuishi’s ku

      Mirai yori taki o fukiwaru kaze kitaru

      From the future

      a wind arrives

      that blows the waterfall apart

      http://www.iyume.com/review/future.html

      – Lorin

  25. John Carley says:

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [straight] into the records

    The problem with actuality verses is that they tend not to stand the test of time (who remembers last month’s headlines?). But there’s no doubt that this one will. It’s like Icarus, except that his time it came out right!

    Perhaps because I’ve been overly exposed to the ‘regularity’ of the typcial Japanese opening sequence recently I do hear a long syllable (or maybe two short) either at the end of line one, or at the head of line three. The word ‘straight’ appeared unbidden, so I’ve put it in for your consideration.

    Mary, just as we consolidate #3 please could you turn to #4. The formal status of the verse is ‘non-season’ (which therefore precludes fixed topics such as moon or blossom) and it is probably a little early to go towards ‘love’.

    And what of the tenor? Well the carefree joviality of #2 has become genuine triumph in #3. So anything overly felicitous is probably going to feel like just an extension of where we’ve already been. Perhaps one approach is to subvert the epic scale of #3 without ‘challenging’ or ‘contrasting’ it directly… ‘she puts the cat out’ that kind of thing.

    But those are musings as much as for my benefit as anyone else. And of course we mustn’t forget the black swan of trespass! J

  26. Lorin says:

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [straight] into the records

    yes, I like the slightly longer L3 here… an alternative to ‘straight’ for your consideration:

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [right] into the records

    – Lorin

  27. John Carley says:

    #4 open – degachi

    Hi everybody, Mary is clearly inavailable for the moment so I’m opening this verse position up to all – including any person who may have been simply observing to date.

    Our text is below. The bracket at the head of line #3 of #3 contains a single word of one accented syllable. Suggestions to date have been ‘straigh’t and ‘right’; essentially we’re looking at adding a metrical make-weight – the depth of the verse is already nicely judged.

    Verse #4 is a further non season verse. I add a candidate for #4 of my own to get the ball rolling.

    Many thanks folks, John

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [ – – – – ] into the records

    —-

    she puts the cat out,
    fetches in the milk

  28. ashleycapes says:

    Would love to try later on if I get the time 🙂

  29. Mary White says:

    Sorry for my absence and not communicating. I got a bit of a shock when my ENT doc asked me to go for another test after I got an all clear. Knocked me sideways. I have been using Homeopathy so I feel pretty confident. I will get the result on Monday. This poem is so good…

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [ – – – – ] into the records

    a plutonic heaviness
    deep in her bones

    gazing at the Lionfish
    through the bubbles

    No foods!

  30. John Carley says:

    Verse #5 – degachi

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [ – – – – ] into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    J, L, B, M
    ———-

    Many thanks to Mary for this absolutely perfect response to the epic scale of #3. The exoticness of ‘lionfish’ and the background layers of ‘space/ocean’ add a richness that my own deliberately mundane candiate lacked.

    Having said which – where to with verse #5? Does the speed and intensity with which verses in very short sequences often oppose and subvert each other necessarily translate into the most effective approach for longer sequences?

    I’d like to suggest that we stay non-season for #5. And having invited one and all to contribute to #4 (only to close it immediately) I cordially invite ‘competitive’ contributions from all and sundry for #5 instead – inlcuding ‘guests’.

    ———-

    I’m sorry to hear of the potential reverse at the hands of the medics Mary. Or rather – that they have now proven less sure than before. I experienced something similar on Thursday when the consultant told me that, yes, I was still rather ill, but unfortunatley they had no more medicines they could try to treat me with. Ah….. well…. I’d better get writing then! J

  31. Lorin says:

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    [ – – – – ] into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    the second round
    of the waiting room yawn
    interminable

    the tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    variation:

    the road winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    – Lorin

  32. Barbara says:

    an MGM celebration
    of fifty years
    of 007

    just like his pa,
    a chip of the old block
    and mean to boot

    at the march
    waving gay pride banners
    say “I do”

  33. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the offer to try my hand …

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    my eight-year-old
    self transfixed by the beauty
    of her woolworth’s jewels

    my grown-up girl
    in tears
    still asking me ‘why’

    whispering the secret
    I have no wish to hear
    she tap-taps a red nail

  34. Lorin says:

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    clove scented smokes
    and Garuda tattoos:
    they’ve been to Bali, too

    – Lorin

  35. John Carley says:

    #6 degachi (‘competitive’) – spring moon

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    [our] tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    J, L, B, M, L

    Now here’s a challenge: that ‘sky’ is both a set-up and a foil to ‘moon’. At one level it makes the potential linkage more straightforward, but it also means that simple ‘word linkage’ into a moon verse will risk appearing crass.

    Verse #6 is spring moon. I’d like to open it up on the same basis as #5: all are welcome, and please don’t be offended if, as in the case of #4 and #5, I see a verse submitted that nails the situation and go with it even before everyone has got some candidates in.

    Lorin, I’ve gone with ‘tape’ over ‘road’ on the very vague instinct that ‘road’ seemed to have some minor but tangible conflict with the headlong progress of Mr Baumgarten in #3. And also it maybe that, as an erstwhile sound engineer, ‘tape winds back’ has that umistakeable sound associated with it: the improbable reverse babble. Above I’m also suggesting that ‘our’ might substitute for ‘the’ with the advantage that it lessens the repeats of the definite article (twice in each of the preceeding pair) and perhaps also ties the reader into the text a little more directly.

    So here we go folks. Spring Moon. Please read the whole passage of verse to date. What should the tenor of #6 be? Strident? Soft? Classic? Startlingly original?

    😉 J

    • Lorin says:

      Hi John, thanks for accepting my LSD ku… and that acronym was definitely intended by the authors & producers. 😉 Who knows whether they indulged in doctoring the ‘reverse babble’ as well. There were theories, of course, from the same general world area as ‘communists spiking our Coca-Cola machines’.
      (The ABC tv channel programmed a re-run ‘Dr. Strangelove’ yesterday right after news of the American election… sheer coincidence? I watched it again. Brilliant film.)

      ‘Our’; is fine, better in fact, for the reason you give. The ‘road’ version was an afterthought, referring to that other Beatles song which (unlike LSD) I still enjoy listening to: ‘The Long and Winding Road’.

      – Lorin

  36. John Carley says:

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    [our] tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    the April moon
    the nightingale, and I

    ———-

    This is probably a lousy candidate. April is only ‘spring’ in the northern hemisphere, and we’ve got swan+cygnets in the hokku. But, having arrived unbidden, I couldn’t get it out of my head and it was interfering with the gardening (whisper it – the sun is shining in Lancashire). J

  37. John Carley says:

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

  38. Barbara says:

    moonshine swallows spades
    in the fragrant soil

    moonshine gobbles spades
    in the fragrant soil

    hay fever persists
    as a bad moon rises

    forward looking …
    thank you, thank you, Spring moon!

  39. Lorin says:

    … wouldn’t usually have a go in this situation, but something just popped into my head (despite emergency run to dentist, antibiotics and pain killers)

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds –

    lucky! tonight’s moon
    born with a caul

    …well, it could be ‘the spring moon’ or the like.
    To me it’s not a really big stretch from the trad spring ‘hazy moon’. .. once it’s visualised, it’s an early to mid spring moon. 😉

    – Lorin

  40. Lorin says:

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds –

    pale wattle pom-poms
    repeat the hazy moon

    *Black Wattle blooming across the road from here now…very sweet scented… the ‘mimosa’ fragrance that makes a (non-Australian) species of wattle the flower of choice for men in the Eastern European countries give women on their Women’s Day, 8th March. (…or so I’ve been told, much to my surprise. There’s certainly no tradition of men giving flowers to women here on our Women’s Day.)

    http://www.elster-creek.org.au/acacia-mearnsii-black-wattle.htm

    …other wattles eg silver wattle and the national emblem flower, golden wattle, are earlier:… September, sometimes August, which is about right, given a rough 6 months difference for Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, for the ‘mimosa’ on Women’s Day in Eastern Europe.

    …just musing on possibilities, NH & SH.

    – Lorin

  41. Lorin says:

    … and along those lines (imaginiing I’m in Slovenia or the like)

    sweet mimosa
    repeats the hazy moon

    – Lorin

    • Lorin says:

      ..yeah, well, 😉 whilst a rather late bolognaise sauce simmers, since antibiotics & painkillers knocked me out & I slept all afternoon. One has to eat, whatever the hour!

      – Lorin

  42. John Carley says:

    #7 Barbara – spring blossom (+ love?)

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    Highi everybody, as they used to say in Pennine Lancashire: ‘Cart on’ (we don’t do ploughing round here, the land is too wet, high and acidic for crops).

    I’ve gone with this verse because it doesn’t break too much ground (or better: doesn’t cover too much distance). I think we’ve been in danger of getting a headlong momentum so staying within the ‘our’ of Lorin’s lead verse (maeku) and putting Stravinsky alongside the Beatles seemed to be more of a ‘modulation’ that a strong forward impluse.

    What I have probably done though is introduce ‘love’ – a topic which might be expected to run for three verses in a sequnce such as ours (a single passage of 18 verses without formal ‘movement’ divisions). Dunno, that’s Barbara’s call really. And, perhpas not to unexpectedly, there are precendent from Basho’s time when ‘love’ runs alongside ‘spring’ – not least perhaps because the word for ‘bride’ is flower+young woman/consort/

    What is more or less definite is that our next verse at #7 should be spring+blossom. The Imachi is a more trad style sequence than the (radical) 12 verse Junicho (which the same husband and wife team also dreamed up). So more often than not spring-blossom is a long verse, and would, in the case of Japanese people, be expected to be cherry or plum blossom.

    We have cherry and plum blossom where I live, and the blackthorn (a primitive non domesticated plum) particularly attracts me. But I don’t know about round yours Barbara – and/or whether there is other knowledge and iconography that you would wish to dray on. But I do think it is important to try and get real sentiment into these otherwise potentially very formulaic circumstances. So other spring blossoms are also welcome – having said which: we must ask ourselves if the fact that cherry is a long enduring woody tree, whose blossoms presage fruit, is important. Personally I think there’s a kind of animist element here. One which daffodil (for instance) does not have quite so strongly/

    Let’s go with a couple of reserved positions to keep the mix of styles moving. Barbara please would you take this next verse, always remembering that (a) you may of course decline and (b) blossom in *not* an absolute obligation. And Mary, please could you stand ready to take #8 which will be the last of our spring trio, may also have a ‘love’ element, and will definitely, if Barbara goes down a different route, be our last chance to get the sainted blossom int!

    Best wishes, John

  43. John Carley says:

    ps – sorry folks, I’ve reread my post and even I can see that my spelling is execrable. I seem to be having dyspepsialexis in spades. Or is that clubs – I can’t tell my trefles from my implements at the moment. J

  44. Barbara says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak romance

    a secret kiss
    beneath the swollen
    wisteria buds

    plum blossoms drift
    through the air
    like confetti

  45. Joseph Mueller says:

    Wow! You all have been busy! I am ready!

    • Lorin says:

      Too late, mate. By about 10 days. But I’ve gone & read the intro thread under ‘renku in progress’ now & seen your post and Willie’s response. It seems that Willie has invited you to ‘duelling renku 1’. You’ll have to sort it out with him I guess. We have Ashley lined up for this one, I think, in the case that someone drops out.

      – Lorin

      • ashleycapes says:

        Love to Lorin but I’m struggling (as usual) with a multitude of stuff (thesis due soon) and have found Gen who expressed her interest so things will be even again soon 🙂

  46. John Carley says:

    #8 Mary – last of spring (+ love outcome?)

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance

    That is *so* good – the word ‘blemished’ is unsurpassable in this context: what an excellent balance between deflation (of our hitherto headlong impetus) and furtherance.

    This sets Mary up with a wealth of opportunity for our late/later/last spring verse – which *may* also address ‘love’ directly in some way, or (and more likely?) permit a symbolic reading in that context.

    I say ‘more likely’ becacuse I think there are two indications which *may* be relevant to the shape of #8 – one is that I feel simplicity is probably most effective, and the second that it may very well be that (on the surface at least) a pure ‘place’ verse will work to best efffect i.e. one which doesn’t have any people in it, or stronly figured human activity. Put another way: a ‘landscape’ verse.

    Barabara – I’ve put ‘of’ in brackets purely because it suggested itself to me. But I’m not sure if this is a Britishism either in terms of scansion or usage. It’s early in the morning here and I haven’t had my rice krispies yet so lack my habitual insufferable certainty!

    Good work team. Right, where’s that cereal bowl? J

  47. Mary White says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    on the brush

    together naked – into
    the flooding river

  48. John Carley says:

    verse #9 – open to all, ‘competitive’, probably non-season, just possibly v.late spring, and possibly end-of-love

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush

    L,J, B, M, L,J, B, M,

    Hi all, one of the attractions of renku for me is getting the balance right between when to meet and when to defeat expectations. There’s a synergy here between magnolia blooms and crimson that seems to strengthen both whilst somehow not entirely obscuring the traditional Japanese take on spring blossom. I’m also strongly reminded of a pair by Basho (unusual for him to follow himself) from the sequence Uma Karite (Borrowing a Horse):

    細ながき仙女の姿たをやかに

    茜をしぼる水のしら波

    slender as ever
    the immortal maiden’s
    delicate grace

    a blush of madder
    squeezed into white water

    This is strong stuff from the old chap (not least because he seems to have been more of a man’s man) particularly as they are verses #31 and #32.

    Anyway I’m completely happy with this verse and have only signalled (as with the previous verse) a very marginal scansion issue. In this case – would line two benefit from a slightly more accented and longer syllable as the first word? At the moment everything that comes to my mind is an adjectival verb such as ‘stains the brush’. What do you think folks?

    Looking at the verse attributions shows that we might ideally shake up the rotation at this point. I’d like to open the verse up therefore to all and sundry, including people like Joe, not from the official ‘core’ writing team. One way or another that should do the trick, unless of course Lorin sends in another which self-selects!

    As the header says we’re probably looking at a non-season verse, though a v.late spring might also hack it. There is also the possibility, regardless of seasonality, of writing a riff on the classic renga tradition of finishing a love sequence with a ‘goodness me we’re all miserable now’ verse.

    Altough as someone who has been happily married for 37 years I couldn’t possibly write such from my own experience. :)) J

  49. Lorin says:

    .I was very interested to see your response to this one, John 😉 Yes, we know that Basho wasn’t squeamish about ‘women’s affairs’ … as well as what you quote above, I recall that instructive thread began on THF by David Lanoue, when there were still interesting things happening there, where we compared a ku with ‘the midwifes red hand’ with a wussy one, and Basho;s comments were subsequently given (“withdraw your wooden sword…”)…and I don’t find that kind of familiarity/ empathy unusual for a bloke who ‘kicks with the left foot’, btw, even in our times)

    But I dunno about ‘first dip’

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush

    Given the ‘symbolism’ , it’s very close to the smutty “dipping the wick” to me (& I don’t read the Basho you quote above or the one David quoted re “the midwife’s red hand” as smutty.) Given “first dip”, what we have here doesn’t seem to me to be from the ‘deflowered virgin’s’ pov, but that of a sniggering bloke.

    The verse does fit well with the early Spring ‘tulip magnolias’ of Barbara’s verse, it’s just that “first dip” and what that does to the subsequent “brush” that’s coming across to me with a sleazy wink.

    I honestly can’t think of a way to respond apart from an equally bawdy reference to Tasmania.

    Sooo… I leave responses to this one to others.

    – Lorin

  50. Barbara says:

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    tickles the brush

    alone at dawn
    gray mountains laugh
    at my indiscretions

    or

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    tickles the brush

    alone at dawn
    the Mourne mountains laugh
    at my indiscretions

    or

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    tickles the brush

    embracing battle
    the red-faced young prince
    on a mission

  51. Lorin says:

    ah, well another morning, another thought:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance – B

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush – M

    his fear of water
    the orphan boy born
    in the caul

    (variation)

    born in the caul
    the orphan boy’s fear
    of water

    when the dust settles
    rabbits on both sides
    of the rabbit proof fence

    – Lorin

  52. Lorin says:

    (variation)

    when the dust settles
    foxes on both sides
    of the rabbit proof fence

    – Lorin

  53. Lorin says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance – B

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush – M

    one by one
    Queenie moves her kittens
    upstairs

    spring thunder
    Queenie moves her kittens
    upstairs

    – Lorin

  54. genevieve osborne says:

    Hello Everyone – Ash has asked me to join in – so I’m reading, reading and hope to get back tonight. Genevieve.

  55. Lorin says:

    ..o, duh. Realising that one probably can’t have Queenie & her kittens as well as a swan & her cygnets, I’ve written this ” ‘goodness me we’re all miserable now’ verse” instead:

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush – M

    as night follows day
    the post-mortem portrait
    the jet cameo

    – Lorin

  56. John Carley says:

    Hi all, sorry to be tardy – I wanted to post some quick responses to Lorin’s points on the tenor of Mary’s ‘first dip’ verse yesterday but ran out of time. Herewith, please excuse the jumble.

    Firstly – there can be no mistaking the deliberately dubious edge to the verse. One route that occured to me was to suggest an elision of Mary’s offers along the lines of:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    stains the river

    As you’ll see if you refer back to the Basho verses I posted above (blush of madder) this version of Mary’s text now becomes much more of a ‘honkadori’ verse (a term which means something like ‘tributary echo’). In terms of the tenor the word ‘river’ recasts ‘first dip’ – or rather it limits its immediate reading to a less ‘coarse’ one.

    But the question of smut, overt, implied, etc – in Basho’s work is interesting, and perhaps informative. This is from ‘The Lye Tub’ (trans: Yachimoto and Carley) The ordedr is Boncho, Basho, Yasui

    for supper
    kamasugo fry,
    a fragrant breeze gets up

    that leech-sucked spot
    scratched just as you please

    all weighty thoughts
    are set aside for now
    the day of rest

    Eating kamasugo was renowned to induce flatulence. So Basho’s leech-sucked spot is surely envisaged on the backside, and the subtext – ‘easing the itch’ – clearly embraces the relief of more than one sort of corporeal demand.

    This is pretty Rabellaisian stuff. But most important of all, to my reading, is Yasui’s sardonic deadpan with ‘weighty thoughts’. To me this illustrates a fundamental truth about renku: for all that the content and/or tone of a verse may be markedly high or low register, it is the transiton *between* verses that carries the greater weight – or rather, it is when the writing is skillful enough.

    And that chain of though fed back into my decision to suggest ‘stains the brush’ as the second line of Mary’s candidate: I do think the strength and length of the syllable ‘stain’ is an asset, but it also ‘hardens’ up the ‘smutt’ to a degree which can in fact be viewed as a potential strength for the scope of the linking style.

    Another angle on Basho and ‘vulgarity’. This is the closing pair between Etsujin and Basho (in that order) from The Night of the Deep River – and incredibly taut and tense two voice piece which (as I once politely opnied) is characterised by “the particular intensity of the rapport between the poets.” (trans: Yachimoto and Carley)

    at blossom time
    they attend the sermon
    to my chagrin

    having eaten mud snails
    this sinful mouth

    The ‘they’ in Etsujin’s alleged blossom verse are a rival and his (younger) companion (hence the ‘chagrin’). Buddhis clerics are supposed to be vegetarian and this is Basho’s overt text at ageku – jealousy, like breaking one’s vow of abstainence, is a sin my son. But what the books don’t tell you (because the Japanese are too polite to want to shock their interlocutors) is that fact that ‘to eat mud snails’ was a very low register euphamism for a particular form of homosexual encounter.

    All of which makes the following ‘love’ sequence by Chora, Kito and Ranzan of the ‘back to Basho’ school look rather tame. Entertaining though: (trans: Carley)

    my beloved lotus:
    withered without trace

    come, little lark
    yes nightingale
    oh so dearly missed

    pour a cup of sake
    she flees, country girl!

    ———–

    And that’s me done rambling. I’ll leave this verse open for a few more hours yet to get any reaction people might want to give in respect of that secondline of Mary’s verse, as well of course as linking candidates.Der… and now of course I realise why I’ve been doing all this cogitationg and prognosticating – it’s so much easier than trying to write my own candidates! J

  57. Lorin says:

    Thanks for all that, John. I begin to understand.

    “for supper
    kamasugo fry,
    a fragrant breeze gets up

    that leech-sucked spot
    scratched just as you please

    all weighty thoughts
    are set aside for now
    the day of rest ”

    Yes, that’s a sly one that Basho got in there. Over the three verses there is comedy. The first of the three verses sets up the tone with the farting allusion, Basho takes up the thread with the arse reference/ riposte and the third verse is your typical campy mock rebuke. (I can almost see the stagey, exaggerated raised eyebrows of the one playing ‘mother’ 🙂 ) So I take your point that modulations of tone need to occur over a few verses.

    Somehow I feel that this sort of thing might come more easily with people who actually knew each other quite well and shared past experience of writing together. Also, they probably wrote these in each others’ physical company, perhaps even sharing a bottle of red (or the equivalent) and they’d be getting cues from facial expression. From your translation, anyway, I get the sense of relaxed bantering between the three, and a good time seems to be having had by all.

    But you’ve given me a hint …whether you know it or not 🙂 Hamlet’s ghost is whispering, along with a couple of the Metaphysicals. I’m going to try to get another verse together.

    – Lorin

  58. Lorin says:

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    [on] the brush – M

    digging for pipi
    the mind naturally turns
    to country matters

    – Lorin

  59. Lorin says:

    …and yeah, imo

    first dip – a blush of crimson
    stains the river

    …is a tad more subtle than (goodness me ! 😉 ) the brush. Or maybe ‘brush’ & ‘bush’ & ‘Tassie’ are only blokey, slang synonyms for a part of the female anatomy in Australia? And only in the more redneck country areas, at that. (Unfortunately, in some ways, I come from one of them) I know we don’t all share the same slanguage.

    -Lorin

  60. John Carley says:

    Yeah true – but that’s quite a substantial edit, so it has to be Mary’s call really. It’s also certainly true that Australian English has direct connotations that are absent from Britsh English in this regard.

    Anyway I’m going to leave this open for a few hours more. And then I’ll move us on. Meanwhile an offer of my own (which does need that ‘stain’ in line two). The dash has such a strong connotation with haiku/hokku cutting words (kireji) that I’ll also drop in an alternative glyph to see how that works:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

  61. Lorin says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    I didn’t know you’d been to Christchurch, John. 😉 It’s true that some of those Kiwis can party pretty hard.

    Yes, this verse fits well here.

    Interesting to note that the ‘short’ verse and the ‘long’ verse here both use the cut. (No matter how it’s punctuated or whether any ‘kireji substitute’ punctuation is used at all, there’s still a cut/ caesura in each) I also note that both verses qualify as your usual, common-or-garden EL haiku, despite that the first is written over 2 lines.

    How does this affect the form of verses which potentially follow these two, and for the rest of the poem? I think we’re going to need your scholarly take on this and a few hints. Or (excuse the royal pronoun) at least I’m going to need such or else I’ll feel that if I’m not playing with a full deck. I’ve taken pains to avoid the haiku-like structure in my proffered verses (after the hokku) then I find two in a row! Please enlighten me.

    – Lorin

  62. Lorin says:

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    …also, if you didn’t want to directly echo the form of Mary’s verse but still retain the cut, your verse would work well with the first line shifted to L3. The ‘voice’ gains, imo, by that hint of world-weariness that ‘le petit mort’ gives when it comes after the rest rather than at the start. It’s sort of like ending on a minor key:

    we punt our party
    down the river Styx
    le petit mort

    … and punctuate as you please, or not at all.

    we punt our party
    down the river Styx …
    le petit mort

    😉 …use, lose or tell me to go to hell.

    – Lorin

  63. John Carley says:

    verse #10 – open to all, ‘competitive’, non-season, a bit of reserve needed?

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds
    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    L,J, B, M, L,J, B, M, J
    Hi everybody, in the post immediately above Lorin raises absolutely central issues about the nature of renku verses, especially when compared to haiku. I’ll address these in a further post below. Herewith on the immediate considerations of our poem-in-progress.
    I’ve bitten the sabaki’s bullet and chosen my own verse. This verse draws on the intuition of colleagues particularly in using a reference to ‘river’ to read back to ‘first dip’ in the maeku. And in question of how to deal with the sexual innuendo of that verse – which has been hardened slightly by the introduction of the word ‘stained’. It is I think informative that the ultimate solution to so many such conundrums lies not the overt content of a given verse but in the transition between verses. IMHO it is in this ‘white space’ that the major part of the poem resides.
    The tsukeku (my added verse) uses deliberate syntactic parallelism as a linking device (something which is very common in Japanese and which, I believe, is ultimately drawn on Chinese poetics). For this reason I’ve kept the caesura at the head of the verse (after the French). As a general principle I think it is accurate to say that this and other such syntactic echo techniques can be used to good effect in linking *adjacent* verses, but are best avoided in the last-but-one relationship as, if the echo is indeed tangible, such an occurence can tend to direct the reader backwards – cause a ‘judder’. In fact a really powerful direct echo probably needs avoiding for a couple of verses more – as we’re in Froggish mode think ‘deja-vu’. This isn’t a question of ‘rules’, simply of the idea that renku abhors stuff which (continually anyway) halts its flow.
    Right – to #10. After ‘Styx’ and ‘death’ we could go straight into ‘winter’. But I’d like to try and get a fairly neutral buffer verse in first, which might also aid by avoiding the invitation to come up with somewhat obvious content. The writing of such ‘quiet’ verses is an art in itself and I cordially invite the core writing team and any person following to try their hand. The position is non-season or ‘miscellaneous’. The tone is key. Please read back over the sequence to date, with particular emphasis on the last three verses taken together, in order to judge where to go next.
    Right – off to enjoy a bit of what looks very much like *winter* sunshine, then I’ll get something up here about those crucial issues of ‘cut’ and ‘non-cut’ verses.
    Eat your heart out Sorlien. This is what *real* renku looks like! 😉 🙂 J

  64. John Carley says:

    Arggh, sorry about the formatting problems – I’m posting from a public access computer (Babbage era) since my ISP (the wonderful Virgin Media) has gone down. Again. Let’s put it this way: if this is their internet standard I wouldn’t want to fly in one of their aeroplanes.

    In the context of our verses #9 and #10 Lorin comments in part above: “Interesting to note that the ‘short’ verse and the ‘long’ verse here both use the cut. (No matter how it’s punctuated or whether any ‘kireji substitute’ punctuation is used at all, there’s still a cut/ caesura in each) I also note that both verses qualify as your usual, common-or-garden EL haiku, despite that the first is written over 2 lines […] How does this affect the form of verses which potentially follow these two, and for the rest of the poem? […] I’ve taken pains to avoid the haiku-like structure in my proffered verses (after the hokku) then I find two in a row!”

    Yeah – this is crucial. The problem is routed in (a) the lack of serious discussion of English language haiku prosody in recent years, and (b) the advancement of the consequent nebulous and schizoid cocktail of notions of form as ‘rules’ to renku by persons who (a) consider themselves to be ‘gate keepers’, of God alone knows what, and (b) will, to a man, be voting for Barak Obama next week. On Renku Reckoner there’s an article called ‘Cut or Uncut’ – it deals at length with this issue. I wrote it in anger in response to the comments of a particular pair of judges for one of the HSA Einbond competitions a while back. If I was an American I’d shoot them. And then myself.

    The whole issue condenses down to a single maxim: it’s not the cut, it’s the turn.

    Japanese renku verses use all sorts of parataxis, caesurae, and punctuation devices (which, in that language, appear as utterances which are vocalised/subvocalised, and consequently count as ‘words’ in terms of scansion etc). The vast majority of the ‘rules’ which apply to such usage are those of any poetry in any language: grace, balance, variety. In sum, deliberate, conscious and and considered application in order to deliver precise phonic and/or semantic effects.

    The nature of renku does impose two particular sets of considerations though – which are not ‘rules’ but simply an aspect of techinique consequent on the aesthetics of the art form. One is the fact that renku abhors impediments to its forward momentum. Not only can it not tolerate refrains and themes, it can’t really cope with being strongly referred back to anything beyond the verse immediately preceeding. So in the sequence A:B;C it’s not a problem if A&B use verses which pause markedly, or if B&C use some other form of mirror syntax. The problem arises when A&C employ identical devices: the reader doesn’t just move on from B to C, on arrival at C they experience the ‘wait a minute, haven’t I just seen that a bit back’ experience which fractures the reading and breaks the spell.

    That’s one issue then: in so far as the use of paratixis or pauses is a feature of syntax, we need to be careful about how and when we use repeats of particular syntax patterns.

    The second renku specific issue is that of juxtaposition / toriawase / conceptual movment / white space / coming&going (c.f) Doho. Wherein lies the principal artspace? In fact Basho and his pals had this bottomed more than three hundred years ago (which is why the HSA haven’t found out yet). They realised that, with the advancement of theories such as nioizuke, they were essentially using the same types of creative tension between verses as would otherwise exist within a typical bi-partite hokku (haiku). As a consequence, if one’s renku verses continually contain a stong *internal* turn this is going to shatter the dynamic of having the principal creative tension *between* the verses.

    Hence the maxim: it is not the pause which makes the cut, it is the turn.

    All sorts of things flow from these considerations. One is that renku verses may certainly pause in terms of syntax. Another is that renku verses can tolerate a degree of turn. In fact the occassional one can tolerate a lot of turn, a haiku-like degree of turn, if you are really good and know what you are trying to achieve (for instance how you intend to pick up the deliberately interupped momentum).
    The truth is that the problem here lies with haiku technique, not with renku at all. There is any amount of writing out there which mistakes a pause in syntax for some sort magic creational device. Again Basho had it in one. He remarked: “just because a poem uses a kireji (cutting word) doesn’t mean that it is cut. And a poem may very well be cut even if no cutting word is present”. He extended this second point with the further observation that turn could be present even in what appeared to be a unified piece of syntax with words to the effect that: “the two part hokku is for the learner, the single image poem is for the master”.

    So yeah, renku verses can certainly pause, and they can also use turn – to a degree, sometimes. It is all about artistic judgement – the lack of which forces the gatekeepers to fall back on ‘rules’. And as any rule lover knows: the arbritary ones are the best.

    I hope it is clear Lorin that my evident frustration is not directed at you, the questioner, for raising such a fudamental issue, but rather at the lazy and downright mendacious claims to knowledge that have characterised the pronoucements of too many ‘experts’.

    arggghhhh J

  65. Lorin says:

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    insomnia,
    the roof a tin drum

    – Lorin

  66. John Carley says:

    We’ll let you live Willie – perhaps put you in a travelling circus to entertain the unwashed in Paris and London! J

  67. Quite familiar with the unwashed of late, thank you veddy much, Guv’ner!

  68. Barbara says:

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    stormy waves lash craggy rocks
    near the watchtower

    I’ve noticed there is an undercurrent theme of water thus far.

    year in, year out
    transcending the family

    or

    toujours full of confidence
    with a bob each way

  69. genevieve osborne says:

    Hi Everyone, here are a few tries:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    still water,
    the insects’ lazy droning

    quiet water,
    trying out the paper boat

    a sheltered spot
    trying out the paper boat

  70. sandra says:

    If I may be so bold as to offer to the “opposition” 🙂

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    crossing the bridge
    shadows companionable

    clattering across the cobbles
    a delivery of real ale

    what’s it to you?
    the clown’s anger

  71. genevieve osborne says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party down the river Styx

    carefully cutting
    a chain of paper dolls

  72. Lorin says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance – B

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush – M

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx – J

    the same dog
    barking before dawn

    at the crossroads
    philosophical ravens

    someone comes with a mop,
    does the dishes

    alone in the attic
    two King George pennies

    hollow men
    on the city bound tram

    (variations)

    vacant faces
    board the city bound tram

    foreign accents
    fill the city bound tram

    – Lorin

  73. genevieve osborne says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    this old story book,
    a breeze turns the page

    this old book of stories
    pages ruffle in the breeze

  74. Lorin says:

    Between copy editing this & that, with much of my brain “not found”, :

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak [of] romance – B

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush – M

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx – J

    all through the night
    a door slamming

    – Lorin

  75. genevieve osborne says:

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    the timbers in the shack shift
    as we sleep

    the timbers in the jetty creak
    as we sleep

  76. John Carley says:

    #11 – first of winter – open to all

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    L,J, B, M, L,J, B, M, J, B

    Well that’s what’s meant by an embarassment of riches. And it is perhaps indicative of my character that even with so many truly excellent options I’m suggesting a tweak to the ideal candidate – taking the whole of the first line in French.

    But this verse of Barbara’s is exceptional in any language – its associations with the preceeding verse keep flipping back and forth between the throw-away and the subtle. One of the good things about dyslexia is that words are very fluid. ‘Toujours se fier’ is what I first read and only realised on returning to the full list of candidates that the draft as posted in fact mixed English and French in that first line.

    ‘Toujours se fier’ means ‘full of self assurance’ but can also read as ‘always back yourself’. ‘Too joors suf fee ai’ also spreads the cheese on that bit more thickly as it adds a perfect ryhme to the mnemonic metre. In fact next time some pedant is boring you with maxims like “It’s not the cut it’s the turn” it seems highly appropriate to respond with “Toujours se fier with a bob each way”. I am reminded of my mate Dave who went to stay in France having perfectly memorised a single phrase which he intended to use whenever addressed: “Oui, mais le sange est dans l’arbre” – “Yes, but the monkey is in the tree”.

    Barbara, of you find this suggested change inimical please do say and we can revert to a draft which takes the whole of that first line in English. This is an excellent pivot verse and it will work in either language. There was me thinking that a very muted tone might be the best way slide out of the spell of spring/sex/death – and it turns out to be hilarity instead.

    In fact it is proof of how good this verse is that it may well be very hard to follow. Perhaps not – perhaps that’s just me. Anyway, I am very grateful indeed for all the creative effort that went into this verse position and I think the solution is to keep the next verse position ‘degachi’ (‘competitive’) too.

    I think we probably need to go to ‘winter’ now – always remembering that such criteria are best viewed not as a theme, just a context. I therefore cordially invite the core team and any person following to submit candidates for positon #11.

    Right – the sun is over the yard arm, over the yard wall, and in fact over the horizon. So it’s off to the Griffin for a pint of Sunshine.

    here at the bottom
    of a pint of Sunshine
    surely it’s the moon!

    glug glug J

  77. Mary says:

    Sorry I am absent. No coverage. Got good news about my health so will be back in 2 days full of vim and vigour

  78. genevieve osborne says:

    Barbara, congratulations.

  79. Lorin says:

    I’m been caught up in work issues today as I suspected I might be, and tomorrow is Dentist Day. Please go on without me. I’ll do my best to catch up and offer verses for future spots when I can.

    – Lorin

  80. sandra says:

    Any person following says:

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    with the races cancelled
    the public bar
    becomes a hotbed of rumour

    running through
    the hail storm he claims
    to have felt nothing

    pulling your chair
    closer to the open fire
    I exhale loudly

  81. Barbara says:

    g’day John, all,
    so pleased, even surprised that you like that French verse and I do like that you have made the whole line French. The rhyming is luverly.

    Thank you Genevieve, and good to see you here. Positive news Mary:) Good luck at the dentist, Lorin.

    Here are some winter offers although I’m not sure if I am permitted to do so.

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    first past the post
    over a hard frosted course
    at the cup

    or

    a sleigh ride
    to the poll for elephants
    or donkeys

    or

    ’ello, ’ello, ’ello —
    scraping frozen snow
    what ’av we ’ere then?

  82. genevieve osborne says:

    some offers: (just for a touch of Australian racing history)

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    Fine Cotton’s ring-in
    wins by a nose –
    the crowd is frosty

    white paint is running
    on Fine Cotton’s ring-in,
    the scam’s gone cold

    race inquiry –
    paint as white as snow
    on Bold Personality’s legs

    Bold Personality’s legs
    painted white as snow –
    race inquiry

  83. genevieve osborne says:

    and perhaps some offers without names:

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    ___

    warm velvet of the nostrils
    in my icy hand,
    sharp clip clop on the cobbles

    hooves thundering
    on the icy turf at dawn,
    does he have what it takes?

  84. Lorin says:

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    single-minded,
    a tree on which there hangs
    one last apple

    clicking back
    to the weather channel …
    more snow

    with white breath
    on the bathroom mirror
    the message writes itself

    a cold equation
    creeps up through the holes
    in my ugg boots

    – Lorin

  85. Mary says:

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush – M

    First dip – spring kigo. I was painting magnolia’s in my Art class. ( see my Facebook header) that’s so funny! It was the first colour that I used that morning so I thought I’d use it.

    • Lorin says:

      LOL Mary. Then it must be that the man is right, it’s what happens between>/> two verses. Mind you, I doubt I’ll ever be able to dip a paintbrush in red again in my life without recalling of this verse 😉

      – Lorin

  86. Lorin says:

    hum… perhaps the ‘up’ in the last one somehow does the kannonbiraki thingo thing re ‘down’ in the last -but-one verse? Not sure when or if I’ll ever get the hang of this.

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    a cold equation
    creeps [up] through the holes
    in my ugg boots

    well, ugg boots are Winter, anyway. I’ve been most unpatriotic & got mine from across the ditch in recent years.

    – Lorin

  87. John Carley says:

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours, se fier
    with a bob each way!

    —–

    that cold equation
    creeps across the holes
    in my (ugg) boots

    that cold equation
    creeping through
    the holes in my boots

    ….

    —–

    Hi everybody, thanks again for so much creative input. It’s intriguing how strongly all things equine informed the thinking. And yet I’m not sure we could really get away with it – one part of the many layered linkage between Barbara’s optimist and my preceeding Styx verse is the word play on ‘punt’ so betting/racing becomes a potentially fraught subject area: there’s always a danger of generating a loop via ‘we take a punt’.

    One of the characteristics of Barbara’s verse is that it brims with energy and optimism,it’s hardly unreasonable therefore to be drawn to extending the vibe in the linking verse. But. although I might have got the timing wrong, I don’t think I was entirely on the wrong track in observing that, for the wider sequence to work, out some stage soon we would need to take the steam out of our headlong progress.

    Lorin’s verse does this. What in God’s name *is* a ‘cold equation’? I don’t know. But it feels like someone has just put the damper on more that just our joie de vivre. There’s a ‘cold and growing colder’ here which is ideal. So why the fiddling? Well because Topol has got nothing on me!

    Nah, not just that though. Lorin raises the question about potential phrasing issues via ‘up/down’ in the last-but-one relationshop. It *is* very marginal. But probably best avoided if a natural alternative surrounds itself. There’s arguably a similar miniscule query about whether the indefinite article (a cold equay) sits a little uneasily with ditto in (a bob each way) – alied to the phonic mirroring does it seem a bit clunky. Well the demonstrative adjective ‘that’ varies the cadence sufficiently, and adds to the mysterious force of the ‘cold equation’ itself.

    In working around ways to lose that ‘up’ it’s interesting to consider what the effect may be of changing the tense of the verb to a progressive. And lastly ‘Ugg’. Is this added information which deflects?

    Certainly I believe the overarching solution to how any of these considerations impact the final draft is that phonology takes prioritiy over meaning. Anyway, before I start spouting more maxims let me throw is back, principally to Lorin, but also of course to any person who would like to comment.

    Mary – trully excellent to hear your news on the medical front. If you are able to take it on at the moment you will next up with a second, probably quite simple, ‘winter’ verse. If that’s impractical for whatever reason at the moment please just notify a ‘pass’ and we’ll tackle the next verse in a different manner.

    Best wishes, John

  88. Lorin says:

    Thanks, John.

    “Certainly I believe the overarching solution to how any of these considerations impact the final draft is that phonology takes priority over meaning. Anyway, before I start spouting more maxims let me throw is back, principally to Lorin, but also of course to any person who would like to comment.” – J

    Of course I’ll leave it to you to decide on the variation which suits best overall.and I’d also welcome comments and variations from anyone and everyone. I take your point that “phonology takes priority over meaning”, still, with ‘ that cold equation’ , as a reader I find myself looking around and especially to the previous verse, “What cold equation? Which…? ” and come up with a blank. Without the emphasis that the indication of a specific ‘cold equation’ gives, I can accept ‘cold equation’ as a given (if a tad strange) fact and go on to feel it via the other lines. (I might not be making any sense whatsoever. A week on strong antibiotics does strange things to my head, but I’m just trying to say that different readers read differently) What that cold equation’ does for me as a reader, in this case, is interrupt the flow, but I can’t speak for others, or even for myself in a different state of body & mind.

    The main thing about specifying ‘ugg boots’ rather than generic ‘boots’ is that physical sensation is ( I hope) what lends ‘equation’ substance, allows it to be a felt thing, so the more specific the footwear (within reason) the better. It ain’t a case of just throwing in an adjective for the hell of it. The footwear could also be gumboots, even slippers, possibly (though slippers would likely place the verse inside) We haven’t had a verse before this with a strong basis in sensation, though Barbara’s ‘sonic freefall from the edge’ comes close. In my view, ‘ugg’ isn’t added information that deflects fro the essence. It supports the sensation by being more specific. Ugg boots are warm and comfortable, but this is compromised when there are holes in the soles.

    “Lorin raises the question about potential phrasing issues via ‘up/down’ in the last-but-one relationshop. It *is* very marginal. But probably best avoided if a natural alternative surrounds itself.” – J

    I wish I could come up with a natural alternative to ‘up through’! But I haven’t been able to. The alternatives seem to be ‘through’ or ‘into’ (but I’m not keen on ‘into the holes in my…’) If it really is only a marginal transgression re last-verse-but -one, perhaps ‘up through’ could stay? Your call, of course, John.

    Variations and comments below:

    toujours, se fier
    with a bob each way!

    that cold equation
    creeps across the holes
    in my (ugg) boots

    (I’m not keen on ‘across’, can’t feel it)

    that cold equation
    creeping through
    the holes in my boots

    This variation is interesting, in that it’s an ambiguous read…. this ambiguity is created by the line break after ‘through’. To me, this also interrupts the flow of reading onwards, as I toss the two alternative readings around in my tiny brain. It’s interesting to note that with such seemingly minor changes (adding ‘that’ and the L2 line break) this verse becomes a more challenging read. (to me) If I understand your point in relation to phonology correctly, and if phonology always trumps meaning, then I’d say this one would be your choice. Naturally I prefer the ideal, where each supports the other, but I guess we can’t have everything.

    the plural possibilities, for your consideration:

    cold equations
    creep up through the hole /s
    in my ugg boot / s [gumboot?]

    cold equations
    creeping up through holes
    in my ugg boots [gumboots] [boots]

    cold equations
    creeping through holes
    in my ugg boots [gumboots] [boots]

    cold equations
    creeping through
    [the] holes in my boots [ugg boots / gumboots]

    [these] cold equations
    creeping through [the] holes
    in my boots [ugg boots / gumboots]

    – Lorin

  89. Barbara says:

    that cold equation
    exemplifies
    the holes in my boots

  90. sandra says:

    the heart’s cold equation
    seeps through the holes
    in my ugg boots

  91. Lorin says:

    Thanks, Barbara and Sandra for the variations. Gotta laugh… you two make John look like the most light-handed editor in the world 😉 They’re both interesting, though.

    Barbara, yours emphasises an intellectual content …it’s quite funny really, since it almost takes the form of an equation, but deadpan funny 🙂

    Sandra, funny thing, I did consider ‘seeps’ in a draft, but figured that any indication of water / liquid would hark back to that river in Christchurch …or wherever the hell it is 😉 I never considered ‘heart’ though…fleeing from ‘heart’ , romance etc. So in this one, are one’s boots (& feet?) in contact with the heart’s equation and where is the heart located? I swear, ugg-booted foot over my heart, that I get is a sense of being topsy-turvey out of love here. 🙂 That might well fit me, but does it fit the poem?

    Serves me right for asking for ‘variations’, which now that I think of it, is wide open to interpretation 🙂
    – Lorin

  92. John Carley says:

    #12 – second of winter – Mary, all things being equal

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    L,J, B, M, L,J, B, M, J, B, L

    How very intriguing. The simple ruse of inverting the plurals makes a massive difference to the physicality and the moment of the verse (which *was* weakened by the suggestion of the demonstrative adjective). Pluarlising ‘cold equations’ entirely resolves that marginally uncomfortable phonic riff on ‘a bob each way’. In the singular ‘Ugg boot’ now makes perfect sense to me too – boots are plural, and generic, but if we are considering a single foot then the precise footwear is very much in the frame. Given this tightening of the sensory field I believe we can shift the verb into the progressive without weakening the ‘erch’ factor – and in so doing remove any lingering potential for the analytical reader to make a backwards loop to ‘down the Styx’.

    Thanks everybody. I hope you’ll forgive the dither (eagle-eyed dither spotters will notice that I’ve had a comma fandangoing around ‘se fier’ in the last 48 hours too). But I feel like the piece has been at the point where the whole poem hinges on getting these transitions just so.

    So, we’ve traversed the minefield, and things get a bit more simple for a couple of verses at least. Mary is next up with the second winter verse. It may be that this is quite simply a winter scene of some sort. It could be pure landscape (i.e. no appreciable human presence). It could use sound. The only thing I feel pretty certain about is that this is not the time to introduce a wild tangent. But then I could very easily be wrong!

    Mary – if it is impractical for you to take this verse at the moment please just post a ‘pass’ and we’ll treat this immediate one differently.

    Best wishes, John

    • Lorin says:

      Thanks very much for considering those variations, John. This works well, I reckon.
      And … speaking as a survivor of botched bunion ops who has an ingrown toenail and is working out where to find the wherewithal to face the butchers again, it makes perfect sense, too , as a bonus 😉

      cold equations
      creeping through the holes
      in my Ugg boot

      – Lorin

  93. Mary White says:

    a couple of quiet ones!

    deep in the bog reeds
    pockets of snow

    a hushed breath
    floats white (on/in) the air

    can offer more if needed…

  94. John Carley says:

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    [bright] pockets of snow

    Superb image Mary – intriguingly this is the first ‘true’ or ‘pure’ landscape verse of the sequence. I’ll spare everybody the homily, but I’m ever more convinced that renku sequences need them.

    Barbara’s snappy bob each way verse is a kind of mid point pivot for what will be our unbroken run of 18 verses and is in every way ‘prominent’ (to use a term Earl Miner dined out on). A part of the easing away from this ‘high point’ is the presence of a couple of metrically smooth transitons between verses and for this reason alone I wonder if the second line might not feed best into our following verse by having a further single accented syllable.

    Above I’ve indicated ‘bright’. This is there as a metrical make-weight. In fact though it may be that, looking at the sequence as a whole, and Lorin’s chill factor in particular, a further visual element is not the best solution. Perhaps tactile is better. But if so what might that word be?

    Certainly where I live those pockets of snow will have been there for a long time, and have melted only to refreeze over and over. So they are ‘hard pockets of snow’ or ‘old pockets of snow’ or…

    Ha! I’m reminded of my mate Antoine from Burkina Faso. We lived in the same small town in the Italian Alps. As a child his school teacher had once read the class a (European) fairy story in which it snowed. All the other children took this impossibility as being an element of the story’s fantasy – but Antoine was not so sure and resolved to find out for himself one day. Why am I saying this? Because I invite any person who has actually seen snow, preferably in pockets in bog reeds, to suggest a (non-visual?) adjective which characterises that snow.

    And somewhere at the back of this is that bug-bear about how and why renku addresses the seasons, and whose seasons they are anyway. 😉 J

  95. Lorin says:

    John, I barely qualify to respond to your invitation, having seen snow four times in my whole life and certainly not in bog reeds. So these are sheer fantastical possibilities, but offered in the spirit of hoping they might jog your mind or others’ towards either what might be suitable or what’s definitely ruled out.

    stiff, crisp, thin, odd, still, rough, smooth, packed, patched, pricked, spiked, sharp…

    – Lorin

  96. ashleycapes says:

    Hi team, unfortunately Gen has to pull out of the renku due to some worrying health news in her family, and she asked that I let everyone know so as not to hold things up

  97. Mary White says:

    Nearly 2 years ago I went to a singing workshop at the Boghill Centre in Co Clare in the west of Ireland. The window in my bedroom had frosted over and when I wiped it with my hand I saw a light snowfall which lay in clumps between the reeds. I wrote a Haiku. The first song we learnt was a composition by Sianad Jones and Basho!

    chrysanthemum’s scent
    in the garden a worn-out sandal
    just the sole

    It was so beautiful. At my acapella group the following week we put my Haiku to music, It was wonderful to do so. Seven of us composed it. Collaborative composing.

    • Lorin says:

      Hi Mary,
      I’ve read that Basho haiku in a few translations. I’d love to see John’s translation of it. I know that chrysanthemums are symbolic to the Japanese, the national flower too, I think, so I was amused by (what I take to be) the implied comparison between the exalted flower’s scent and an old shoe. Not least because I, too, have noticed that sometimes chrysanthemums have a scent like that of a smelly old sneaker/ sandshoe. I wonder if it’s just me, or whether Basho really intended such a comparison? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit, if he had.

      – Lorin

  98. Barbara says:

    some thoughts for pockets of snow:
    rigid
    solid
    hardened
    knife-edged

  99. John Carley says:

    #13 – miscellaneous – John

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    L,J, B, M, L,J, B, M, J, B, L, M

    Hi everyone, firstly best wishes to Genevieve for a good and speedy outcome.

    Further to Mary’s post on the snow in the reed bed I think that word can only be ‘soft’: a nice contrast to the hard edges of the verticals too.

    I’m off to Bristol for a couple of days tomorrow but hope to be able to stay in touch via my mobile. But it is probably wise to put myself up next for the first of what will be (all things being equal 🙂 ) three non-season or ‘miscellaneous’ verses. I’ll try and get some candidates written quietly in the Griffin later. Glug glug.

    Great poem on the chrysanthemums, ditto commentary. But isn’t that Mary’s? Certainly I don’t remember it from my reading of Basho’s hokku. But then I don’t have any sort of comprehensive knowledge thereof. What I *do* have are a couple of Nara + chrysanth translations I from the other year. I love the second poem:

    菊の香や奈良には古き仏達

    chrysanthemum scent —
    Nara holds so many
    venerable Buddha’s

    菊の香や奈良は幾代の男ぶり

    chrysanthemum scent —
    the untold manner of men
    Nara has known

    Right, back in 8 or 9 hours with some #13 candidates. J

  100. Lorin says:

    Ha! and ‘soft’ is the first word that occurred to me and then I thought, no, he wouldn’t want that. Just goes to show…

    yeah, that 2nd one is a beaut.

    I’ve across that chrysanthemum haiku that Mary’s group made a song out of in at least a couple of versions over the years. Googling now I’ve found a couple of translations, one that’s new to me that spellsout the ‘smelly socks’ scent. Better left implied, imo. 😉

    Kiku no ka ya niwa ni kiretaru kutsu no soko
    菊の香や 庭に切れたる 履の底

    Chrysanthemums’ scent– in the garden, the worn-out shoe sole. (© Makoto Ueda)
    In the garden a sweaty shoe – scent of chrysanthemum. (© Lucien Stryk)
    Запах хризантем в саду, где красуется дырявый башмак.(© ДС)

    These are next to what I think is a Russian version:

    129.
    Каменщик в саду
    посадил среди камней
    хризантем цветы.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dmitrismirnov/BASHO_Haiku_K1.html

    I hope this is of interest. Should be enough info to follow it up, if you wanted to.

    – Lorin

  101. John Carley says:

    Hi all, quite some cogitation on this one – probably due to it being verse #13 and halloween or something. Anyway, some offers below. And all commets *very* welcome.

    Thanks to Lorin on the Basho poem. That Ueda take looks pretty good to me – something of a relief as I find myself making a lot of negative comments about his translation style just recently. Ha! Translation! It’s all very well slagging of other people’s translations, the trick is to be able to write a half way decent original verse in the first place…

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    did you know
    there were turtles lurking
    far beneath the tree?

    ——-

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    ——-

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    that friendly scratch
    beneath the floor boards
    turns into a smell

  102. Barbara says:

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    I like this one best. The turtles seemed to send us back to several watery themes.
    I wonder would be better to say three weeks later,
    or
    three weeks on… ?

  103. Lorin says:

    All good verses imo, John. Serendipity to some extent re the Basho, but even without that, my favourite would probably still have been:

    that friendly scratch
    beneath the floor boards
    turns into a smell

    We haven’t had a verse yet that references scent/smell and moving from ‘scratch to smell’ works superbly. Good, too, to bring the pov inside now, yet have the ‘under the floorboards’ layer where nature creeps in as well. We haven’t had a verse that’s clearly from indoors yet, either. I prefer the implied and unseen ‘dark thing’ in this ku than the overt ‘dark thing’ in ‘students’ fridge’,and what with ‘cold equations’ & ‘snow’ preceding, fridge sort of keeps me there (probably because the only time I see a snowy landscape is when I open the freezer part of my fridge, which I often do in Summer to imagine Canadian landscapes) So, in all ways, this ‘scratch & smell’ ku is the one for me.

    My 2nd favourite, ‘turtles’, is interesting, and in question form, but perhaps it could take some readers back to the last-but -one verse, if they’re the sort that associates equations with physics/cosmology lectures and the famous/infamous ‘turtles all the way down’ joke?

    (I suspect you do intend to reference ‘turtles all the way down’, though, sort of mixing it with ‘tree of life’ to meld mythologies)

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

    I’m probably overdoing the ‘return to last but one’ thing, but still… have to say something to support my vote, and that’s what’s occurred to me. 😉

    – Lorin

  104. John Carley says:

    #14 – miscellaneous – Lorin

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J

    Hi all, yes indeed I completely failed to take account of the fact that the turtle verse referenced watery oceans, and also, as a world creation myth/belief, referenced metaphysical places like the River Styx. So much for ‘expertise’ 😉

    One of the problems with not always moving a sequence forward through a series of relentlessly tangential moves is that one starts to feel as though themes or emblems are developing. At the juncture of our poem we have a number of takes on transitions/movements and below/up-from-below. But this congruence allows some left-field stuff to be slipped in too. So I think the odd ‘three weeks on’ (from what, we ask ourselves) tips the selection here. It also effectively sets up what could indeed be a strong ‘smell’ based rejoinder (as Lorin observes, we are certainly due one).

    In order to try and keep the rotation varied (and not have everyone take all short or all long verses) I invite Lorin to contribute a short verse next at #14.

    I’m just off to darkest Herefordshire but hope to be staying in a place with electricity so should be able to keep in touch. Talking of yokels: I realise that ‘three weeks on’ is a idiomatic, to a degree anyway. So let’s flag up an advisory against ‘on’ vs ‘later’ for the moment.

    Best wishes, John

  105. Lorin says:

    I’ve heard and read “three weeks on”, I don’t know its origin but it’s a familiar enough alternative to “three weeks later”, so it didn’t bother me. I tend to hear it with a sort of Texas drawl, mind you.:-)

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    this sudden longing
    for home-baked bread

    even the herbal tea// cat’s tray
    reeks of patchouli

    under the microscope
    this wonderful world

    Proust abandoned
    for Night of the Vampires

    and on the Sabbath
    the usual hangover

    – Lorin

  106. Lorin says:

    … two more tries:

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    the solar eclipse
    eclipsing birdsong

    – Lorin

  107. John Carley says:

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L,

    That’s excellent Lorin – I’m currently in Ross-on-Wye where half the population still seem to wear patchouli oi and chifon. It’s like a satanist take on 1971.

    Looking at the verse rotation I think it might be best of Mary takes the next long verse at #15 then Barbara the first of autumn at #16. Clearly if this is inconvenient for any reason one can simply post a ‘pass’.

    Mary – the next verse #15 is the last of the non-season or ‘miscellaneous’ positions. In terms of content and so on it is very open. Simillarly with how ‘tightly’ – how directly or otherwise – the linkage might be. In fact the only thing I would observe is that our principle ‘moon’ verse will be coming up next or nextish so astral phenomena, outer space, and strong visual light effects, might tend to interefer. Therefore best avoided at this point.

    Right – mercifully short this time as the battery on this laptop is blinking at me.

    Off to fight the zombie hippies! J

  108. Mary White says:

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

  109. Mary White says:

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    a long hour
    trapped in a traffic jam
    singing her heart out

  110. John Carley says:

    #16 – first of autumn– Barbara

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L, M

    Thanks Mary, we’ll have that straight away – it’s an ideal quotidian complement to the more spectacular space free-fall verse in terms of a renku sequence ideally containing moments of ‘acutuality’. And the introduction of ‘song’ opens up a wealth of movement forward without being of itself radically tangential.

    So, our sequence finishes with a run of three autumn verses, one of which will be the classic ‘autumn moon’. I use the word ‘classic’ advisedly as the originators of the Imachi Mr and Mrs Okamoto, both recognised renku masters, intended the sequence as being not as trad as the Kasen, but not as radically modern as the Junicho (their other notable invention). Personally I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the spring blossoms and autumn moons of this world. But, as with music, it takes a good deal of skill to nuance an old riff so as to make it both fresh but a recognisable homage to its origins. So I’d like to suggest that we play this section fairly straight. This would suggest Barbara taking #16 as an ‘intro to autumn’ kind of thing, which it turn would allow us then to go to all comers for a classicish ‘autumn moon’ as the long verse at #17, and so to close with ‘last of autumn’ as the context to our ‘sign off’ verse (ageku) at #18.

    If convenient therefore Barabara you are next up. The context is earlyish or ‘all’ autumn (i,e, not something that would place us immediately and identifiable at the end of autumn). Given that moon is up next the only real ‘restriction’ here is to avoid anything that would pre-empt the palette of associations that go with moon etc.

    Right – it’s snowing here in the Cotswolds so I’m off to play skidders in the hotel car park. Then its sideways down the hill into the Vale of Evesham. Wish me luck! ;( 🙂 J

  111. Lorin says:

    I love the way you linked this one to the budgie, Mary. 🙂
    – Lorin

  112. Barbara says:

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    a trail of destruction
    left by hurricane Sandy

    or

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    one last plaintive plea
    to the spacious sky

    I thought the above might indeed pre-empt a coming moon verse, but offering it nonetheless

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    a leprechaun-sized ghoul
    waits on the patio

    Was visited by such a being along with her smaller mate dressed as a witch on Halloween, the first time this has ever happened to me; and the ghoul did scare me!

    or

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets
    within every falling leaf

  113. John Carley says:

    #17 – autumn moon – all comers

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L, M, B

    Hi all, right at the outset of this composition we had a crucial discussion about verse structure in renku: how much could syntax be broken; how much cut; how much turn; how much juxtapostion; how frequently, and under what circumstances.

    This verse at #16 illustrates the argument very nicely. The cadence of the latter stages of a renku sequence, at least one acknowledging the classic dynamics of the ‘rapid close’ (kyu), is typically the most compact of the sequence. So on first reading I was a little concerned that we might have syllable over-run in the draft Barbara posted. The obvious solution was to consider the effect of dropping out the preposition ‘within’ which also serves as a conjunction. Personally I think this increases the quiet but powerful suggestion of the verse. And it also hightlights the originality of the take on what can too easily be a well worn image: the falling leaves. But what it certainly does is employ more or less direct honest to goodness apposition. In short a haiku-like juxtaposition. How can we get away with it?

    If you read back you’ll see that, perhaps counterintuitively, our short verses have used various types of syntax break rather than the long verses – interestingly this is also frequently the case in renku written in Japanese. But none of them truly ‘turn’ strongly – crucially none in the immediate proximity. So it is not that we have a succession of halting and juxtapositional verses one after the other.

    It is also worth considering the fact that one element of this juxtaposition is indeed the familar autumn icon of falling leaves. In terms of ‘throwing’ the reader is this the same as encountering the juxtapostion of two completely novel, and possibly challenging, image-sets?

    It seems to me that – as long as Barbara is happy with dropping out the word ‘within’ – the particular circumstances of this particluar poem allow this particular degree of juxtaposition at this particular juncture. I also think that its use makes it unlikely that the following moon verse *can* use a similar amount of syntactic and semantic turn, ditto the last verse. But I might be wrong.

    Barbara – if you think this feel like butchery of the initial intention, or quite simply doesn’t feel right on any other grounds, please do say and we can explore other possibilites. Meanwhile I cordially invite all comers to consider how a moon verse might follow pending a yay or nay. Please don’t post yet as the certain draft of #16 will be crucial to the structure and cadence of #17.

    Best wishes, John

  114. Lorin says:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    This works for me. The cadence fits the thought and L2, without the preposition, opens out. There is a pause at the end one could liken to ellipses, the ‘thought’ / observation is unfinished, left to the reader.

    (I think this is what some of the wankers 😉 mean by ‘wordless poem’.. an unnecessarily confusing designation. The ‘view’ opens out to something beyond the poem… or beyond the ‘pointing finger’, as those EL haiku masters of a Zenny persuasion have put it… whilst decrying metaphor in haiku, I might add)

    When the preposition is used, the ku becomes end -stopped. We know where the ‘undiscovered secrets’ are: in/ within every falling leaf. Interesting how taking out that one word and using a comma works, here.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin says:

      …and just in case: I do not mean that ellipses should be used at the end of this one. Not at all. It’s just my way of saying, coming to terms with the effect.

      -L

  115. Barbara says:

    Yes, I’m happy with the revision. Thank you.

  116. Lorin says:

    I hope I’m not jumping the gun too much. If I am, just consider it practice. I don’t think I’ve been in a renku where the moon verse was done degachi before. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve written one. Will be back tomorrow morning anyway, and offer (with a bit of luck) others, after further guidance.

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    was it a mouse
    scuttling for cover?
    tonight’s moon // the bright moon

    at moonset
    the elders tell us stories
    of all we have been

    at moonset
    the elders remind us
    of all we have been

    what vast lake
    could possibly contain it?
    tonight’s moon

    what well bucket etc

    whose mind
    could possibly contain it?
    tonight’s moon

    time enough, now
    to share it with grandchildren:
    tonight’s moon

    – Lorin

  117. Barbara says:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    power disruption,
    the last chapter
    by moonlight

    or

    there have been
    seven moons, and
    still…

    or

    ah, moon
    wherever I go
    there you are

    or

    the same moonshine
    this side
    of the border

  118. John Carley says:

    Many thanks Barbara. I should also have observed that one practice, a good one IMHO, is that a text is considered to be a work in progress until the entire piece is completed and signed off. Therefore all drafts of all verses to date might be considered provisional – or at least subject to potential revision.

    It is perhaps salutary that a large number of Basho’s most appreciated sequences – those which effectively established the Basho style of haikai-no-renga (renku) as a literary genre – were subject to substantial post-facto revision (sometimes by a ‘disciple’ other than Basho). i.e. the published text differed appreciably from that recorded on the night. This went as far as the substitution of entire verses.

    Coming as we do from a background of the supremacy of individual writing I dont’ think this latter level of intervention is acceptable. But ideas of ownership and copyright aside, it does point up the notion of a ‘whole poem’ gloss as being the final act: a reminder perhaps that the originators of the genre certainly did not view a renku sequence as being a succession of individual verses.

    Lorin – that’s an intriguing observation about ‘competitive’ moon verses. I don’t think I’ve encountered any recognised convention either way – in Edo period writing, in contemporary Japanese schools, or in early English language attempts at renku. It is certainly true that ‘autumn moon’ is a prestigious verse position (for want of a better description) as is ‘spring blossom’. So for instance there might be a bit of a sensitivity to the same person taking all the most prominent verse postions in a sequence: hokku, autumn moon, spring blossom, ageku – sounds like someone hogging the action. But the only consistent conventions I know of in verse allocation to specific individuals are those based around social courtesies, which predate the Edo period, and bascially have the ‘honoured guest’ contribute the hokku and the ‘host’ (often quite literally the head of household in which compostion is taking place) contribute the answering wakiku – the whole lot tied up with sometimes painful courtesies as figurative elements of the verse. Hmmn, and in some of the more old fashioned approaches where there was a formal scribe (shuhitsu) they quite often got to bung in the closing verse.

    Ok everybody – with four people as the core writing team of an 18 verse sequence we can’t anyway have an mathematically even split of verse contribution (which where possible I tend to prefer) so let’s treat these last two as competitive and see what our collective consciousness turns up!

    🙂 J

  119. Lorin says:

    That observation of mine only goes to show how few renku I’ve actually been involved in, I think.
    Here are a few more tries, anyway:

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    at the seashore
    the moon turning pages
    turning pages

    did it wink?
    the moon’s face
    at the window

    such a bright moon,
    yet this moth is drawn
    to the tilly lamp

    – Lorin

  120. John Carley says:

    Hi everybody, I’m going to leave this position open for a while yet. Not least because writing my own candidates below has brought my focus very tightly in, and I’m not sure if I’m able to get an overview.

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    ——

    the night sky
    sheds its shooting stars
    to make way for the moon

    ———-

    the bellied sail, the silent wave
    the phosphorescent moon

    (sic)

    ———-

    tip-tip-tapping
    at my keyboard
    fingers of the moon

  121. sandra says:

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it
    back and forth between us,
    a walnut moon

    using a hammer
    to crack the macadamia …
    tonight’s moon

    Thought I’d give it a go, but that’s all I’ve got (besides 2 stitches, numb lips and no memory of what happened this afternoon!)

  122. Lorin says:

    well, this is a ‘stand-out’ verse if I ever saw one. 🙂 Hilarious, Sandra, especially if one pronounces ‘macadamia’ with an American accent (the first three a’s short, rather than the 3nd long) so that it all rhymes with ‘hammer’.

    using a hammer
    to crack the macadamia …
    tonight’s moon

    I wish I’d written it!

    – Lorin

  123. John Carley says:

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    OR

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    the night sky
    sheds its shooting stars
    to make way for the moon

    ——————-

    Hi everybody, sorry for the delay – I’ve been learning how to cook beans on toast just by using the radiation in my finger tips 🙂 J

    But I’ve also been agonising about this verse position and have got my shortlist down to two. I need your advice/c omments/observations. Firstly the walnut moon draft above is an edit of the verse as submitted. I’ve adjusted the lineation so that it presents accentually as 3/1/3 – which involves the addition of the exclamatory ‘oops’. I’ve ridden my metrical hobby horse for way long enough for you to understand what I’m driving at here, for good or ill. But Sandra may find the suggestion rubbish and/or simply unacceptable.

    Then there’s mine which nice and smooth, and also has a degree of novelty. In theory it should be a snug enough fit. But one issue here is that Barbara’s Baumgartner verse may simply be so strong that, even a dozen verses down the line, it still occupies the territory of sky and stars.

    I’ve a suspicion that Sandra’s verse is the stronger. But I’d be very grateful for any and all feedback from anyperson reading – including the strand #1 team.

    And meanwhile folks why not considder how you would conclude with an ageku after either, or both. Please don’t post offers yet. But one solution may simply be to post both possibilities and let the ultimate+penultimate pairing decide which moon verse we actually go with. So comments first please. J

  124. Lorin says:

    I haven’t got a clue what factors, if any, you might considering apart from the rhythm and metre, John ,and it might be wiser if I didn’t comment at all. To me, it seems that the choice between these two would depend on how much you wanted to undercut / trivialise / leap from the mood of the previous verse at this point in the poem. Both seem ‘extreme’ verses to me, one slapstick comedy (read ‘silly’), one very quiet.

    So, my feeling is, if you want to arrest attention with a strong verse at this stage, ‘tossing’ would be the go. If you wanted to move on from the preceding verse more quietly, where the shift is more of a flow, then ‘the night sky’.

    The above, of course, comes with the caveat that I’m the least experienced and least knowledgeable in renku of those participating here. My background ,as both reader and writer, is ‘longer poems’ of the non-Japanese-derived sort and in more recent years, haiku.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin says:

      or, putting it another way (still searching for how to express this) in terms of film: one a comedy skit

      tossing it back and forth
      between us
      oops, a walnut moon!

      and the other the narrative ‘over-voice’ (or onscreen text, if it were a silent film)

      the night sky
      sheds its shooting stars
      to make way for the moon

      – Lorin

  125. Barbara says:

    I prefer the oops, walnut moon

  126. sandra says:

    Hello John,
    The version you have posted is fine with me. I generally lack whimsy in my verses as I do, truth be told, in my personality too! Adding “oops” makes it playful … and better.

    The playfulness, IMHO, suits the tone of your overall renku better. But, as you say, where would the ageku go … perhaps the link won’t be the walnut/ moon but the tossing of it back and forth.

    Or, if you really want to get complicated, how about asking for ageku based on both and choosing two verses in one hit. Glad I’m not sabaki!

    Cheers,
    Sandra

  127. Lorin says:

    “…perhaps the link won’t be the walnut/ moon but the tossing of it back and forth.”- Sandra

    Yes, ‘tossing it’ certainly has possibilities. 😉 I’ve heard poets referred to as a bunch of tossers. (Not female poets, of course)

    – Lorin

  128. John Carley says:

    #18 ageku – last of/ later autumn – all comers

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L, M, B, S

    Thanks everybody for the very helpful considered comments. For someone who is always banging on about ‘whole poem’ this that and the other I had completely failed to follow my own advice.

    The key to the verse selection here is not that Sandra’s verse is of itself excellent and stronger than mine (which I believe is the case) nor is it the immediate three/four verse context. The key is the hokku, particularly it’s play on bombastic poetics.

    One of the good things about the Yotsumono is that it places immediately recognisable pressures on the closing verse to act tangibly as a ‘determination’ to the whole four verse poem. This emphasises, but does not distort, the function of ageku in longer sequences. Ageku doesn’t just wrap up the closing movement (c.f. kyu) it wraps up the entire poem – often by direct return to, or at least consciousness of, the head verse: the hokku.

    In our poem we *could* have the joyful sentiments that Sandra offers with this moon verse at ageku instead – a final riposte to the ‘cynicism’ of the hokku, subtext: the dialogic playfulness of renku triumphs over the hubristic individuality of blah blah blah. And indeed I’ve seen the like in more than one sequence in which I’ve participated. But frankly I find such a self congratulatory sign-off rather crass.

    It is better by far to have the playfulness of meaning here, with its attendant subversion of the normally po-faced moon position, and leave the ageku ith the tonal or emotional space to close, rather than obliging/requiring a semanitc one. Our riposte to the hokku is therefore one which proposes the supremacy of ‘scent’ (c.f. nioi) over substance.

    So that’s the challenge. And one which I cordially open up to all comers. The context of our ageku is a later/late autumn scene. I say this latter (scene) advisedly as I really don’t think a strongly figured human activity verse will work here due to the context of our immediate text and the sainted hokku. But, as with at many other junctures in this poem, I could well be wrong.

    The word ‘ageku’ by the way carries strong connotations of ‘at last’ as in ‘thank God for that’. Curious. 😉 J

  129. Lorin says:

    I *love* ‘the po-faced moon’ 🙂

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, the po-faced moon!

    I don’t suppose that’d give the seasonal reference as autumn, necessarily, though. Pity.

    – Lorin

  130. John Carley says:

    Great – another excuse for a homily (I’ve been fixing electrical appliances this morning so just need to get out of blue collar mode for a moment)…

    Ahem. In the Japanese tradtion ‘moon’ is automatically understood to be ‘autumn’ saving the presence of a seasonal modifier which says otherwise. This is one reason why one encounters those endlessly tedious ‘summer moon’, ‘first spring moon’, ‘moon in winter’ type constructions.

    In fact it wasn’t until I’d finished glorifying in Sandra’s suggestion of ‘wizzened’ via ‘walnut’ that I realised it might have been the percieved need to include a seasonal modifier that had led her to identify one of such originality. That ‘oops’ automatically suggested itself to me because the vibe of the stanza felt so tangible: and the suggestion of dropping the damned moon felt exactly like what it’s like to be a sabaki!

    So anyway, there’s in fact no technical reason why we couldn’t go with ‘po-faced’. And that level of edit is a great illustration of the level of post-facto intervention that I think English language renku should alway be open to: a stressed syllable here or there, this adjective in place of that etc.

    In truth though Lorin I feel as though ‘po-faced’ is already present in the associative ramifications that this stanza generates. Whereas, were we to state ‘po-faced’ directly, I’m pretty clear that ‘walnut’ would not. This suggests to me that, unless we had identified a need to tighten down – to be less centripetal – at this juncture, we will profit from the fuller associative range through ‘walnut’ – one part of which is that, for many a general reader, this helps locate the verse as ‘autumn’, which in turn eases the flow from #16, through #17, to #18.

    Ulitmately though I think this has to be Sandra’s call.

    Homily over. And I’m just about to miss my bus!! J

  131. Lorin says:

    “In the Japanese tradtion ‘moon’ is automatically understood to be ‘autumn’ saving the presence of a seasonal modifier which says otherwise. This is one reason why one encounters those endlessly tedious ‘summer moon’, ‘first spring moon’, ‘moon in winter’ type constructions. ” – J

    True. Perhaps I was a little over-enthusiastic, late at night as it was, about ‘po-faced’, but I was delighted to read it within your wrap on the verse. Anyway, you’d previously indicated that we were aiming at a mid-course between contemporary and traditional for this, an Imachi. So no po-faced or po-mo moons.

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed reading and learning from these articulate posts of yours, John, so you’ve made my prodding worthwhile 🙂 Thanks!

    I’m going to pass on ageku attempts. Have been running out of steam and now my mind’s a vacuum. Looking forward to seeing the results.

    cheers,

    Lorin

  132. Barbara says:

    sublime peace
    after the insects’ last chorus

    the tired demon-child
    finds tranquility

    exquisite, that dragonfly
    on her bare shoulder

    hunters and gatherers
    celebrate with stronger sake

    nut-pickers, not nit
    celebrate with strong sake

    desolate now
    in this emptied parkland

  133. Lorin says:

    One occurred, so I’m throwing it in:

    the/an old fox’s footprints
    left/ found in the foggy dew

    the/an old fox’s footprints
    in the foggy, foggy dew

    – Lorin

  134. Lorin says:

    ..another take on the same thing, monomaniac that I seem to have become:

    an/the old fox leaves his footprints
    in the foggy, foggy dew

    …and so to bed. Goodnight 🙂

    – Lorin

  135. John Carley says:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    deep in the reeds
    a frog falls fast asleep

  136. John Carley says:

    Last call folks – it’s Saturday evening here and the Sunshine is splendid. Hic. I’ll leave this open until tomorrow daytime. Avanti tutti! J

  137. Lorin says:

    Is it ok to have reeds again, John? Or are you giving us a wake-up call 😉 ?

    v. 12
    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow (M)

    – Lorin

  138. sandra says:

    Just for the excerise, you know …

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    late to the harvest festival
    everyone shuffles along a bit

    arranging the cornucopia
    candlelight and shadow

  139. Lorin says:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    trick or treat, we
    invite the ghost writers in

    stragglers in the fog, we
    become ghost writers

    such abundant gleanings
    blessed by the gods of corn

    – Lorin

  140. Lorin says:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    a splash at the billabong;
    the bunyip’s laughter

    – Lorin

  141. John Carley says:

    Ooops – no, I was just being stupid with quoting reeds again – trying to compose in the pub without the text in front of me. I do have a pond in my garden, and it is full of frogs, and they have just begun to considere hibernating – but I was trying to get away from the most obvious references to Basho’s much over-rated hokku.

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    without a sound
    the frogs fall fast asleep

    Or suchlike. Not very good. But better! J

  142. John Carley says:

    ageku – final tweak reqd.

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    [some something something] dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    Hi everybody, if we can collectively arrive at a verse which synthesises a relationship between the Japanese classic autumn kigo ‘dew’ and the Australian folkloric ‘bunyip’ we’ve cracked this sequence.

    Above I include make weight words which indicate one potential cadence: weak strong-weak strong-weak strong – the final accented syllable being the word ‘dew’. At a push I’d offer:

    still sparkling in the dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    but I suspect we can do better – maybe a stronger and more synaesthetic verb like: ‘still fizzling through the dew’ etc. Not sure – I’ve got a bit of a head cold induced by the shock of reaching into the deepest parts of my wallet in order to buy gifts for someone other than me!!

    😉 J

  143. Lorin says:

    A hard one! Some offers, probably not what’s wanted but all I can come up with right now:

    gone with the morning dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    the bunyip’s laughter
    gone with the morning dew

    erased by morning dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    the bunyip’s laughter
    hidden in morning dew

    the bunyip’s laughter
    lingers in morning dew

    such is the life of dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    footprints in morning dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    – Lorin

  144. sandra says:

    rolling through the dew
    a bunyip’s laughter

    echoing across the dew
    a bunyip’s laughter

    ???

    I like Lorin’s

    footprints in morning dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    and wonder about this edit:

    footprints in the dew
    a bunyip’s laughter

    Rightio – will watch with interest.

  145. Barbara says:

    I like this,

    the bunyip’s laughter
    transmuted into dew

  146. Lorin says:

    Thanks, Barbara. I’m wondering now whether ‘transmuted’ might be the wrong register, though. It seems to call too much attention to itself. Ah, well,John will know.

    Another go, channeling Issa:

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us

    oops, a walnut moon!
    [some something something] dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    this world of dew and yet …
    the bunyip’s laughter

    * follows the pattern, but a tad sinister, though, and probably sacrilege in relation to the Issa ku. Not the sort of trespass I feel comfortable with.

    the bunyip’s laughter
    and yet this world of dew …

    * this version avoids the above.

    just like this world of dew
    the bunyip’s laughter

    * transgressive of the “thou shalt not use simile” EL haiku rule. 😉

    – Lorin

  147. John Carley says:

    # Poet’s Picnic – finalising

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    the my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    this world of dew and yet
    the bunyip’s laughter

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L, M, B, S, L

    Hi everybody, this last verse is just about as perfect as it gets. The surface reading does everything I was hoping for/suggesting in terms of presenting Japan/Australia as the jux of our poetics. But it does more than that. As it happens I’ve just been studying the following poem by Issa with a view to alternative translations. Wikipedia gives a translation by Lewis Mackenzie:

    露の世は露の世ながらさりながら
    Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

    The world of dew —
    A world of dew it is indeed,
    And yet, and yet . . .

    this realm of dew
    is just a realm of dew
    notwithstanding

    (Carley)

    Most translations give ‘world of dew’. Issa wrote the poem in despair on the death of his child. This kind of recasts how jolly the bunyip’s laughter in fact is. By extension it also carries a very strong reproach to the black swan of bathos and her attendant shallow sentiments. That such a short verse can leave one so deeply equivocal in one’s response is surely a testament to renku as a genre.

    In the draft of ageku above I’ve omitted the suggested ellipsis points. Personally I feel the power of the verse is the stronger if its internal dynamic is not directly flagged up by punctuation. But I could be wrong.

    By the same token, although we’ve given quite thorough attention to the drafts of the constituent verses of our working text as we’ve gone along, it may be that there are marginal considerations. Now is the time to raise them.

    I’ve also appended a provisional title. The bog standard default historically has been to take the initial phrase as the title, as I’ve done here. But such things are not set in stone. The trick is not to anticipate/subvert the direction of the poem. So it is rare, for instance, that a title drawn from the ageku will work well. An alternative to our present poem that suggests itself is ‘The Black Swan’. There will be others.

    Friends, I’m full of a head cold so won’t go on for fear of being even more tiresomely bombastic than ever. There aren’t a lot of Imachi’s in English, so let’s attend to signing this text off as I feel confident that it is of sufficient quality to share.

    Achoooooo! ;( J

  148. Dibs! Though I’m certain ours will be better . . . 😉 Beautiful work, people!

  149. Lorin says:

    Whew! “At last”, indeed. 🙂

    Your comments are enlightening, John. That verse certainly isn’t a comfortable close, and could raise some eyebrows, but if you’re happy with it, then I am too. What a coincidence that you’ve been studying that one of Issa’s recently. There’s no doubt it’s a well-known one. The version I recall most is from the first haiku book I bought, back at the end of 2004: a little Shambala Centaur edition — ‘The Sound of Water – Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa and Other Poets’ and the translations/versions are by Sam Hamill, a USA Poet … they’re good,imo, as they work very well in English.

    This world of dew
    is only a world of dew—
    and yet

    Mother, I weep
    for you as I watch the sea
    each time I watch the sea

    *Comment on title*:

    To me, ‘Poets’ Picnic’ trumps ‘The Black Swan’ because as soon as you use caps for The Black Swan it calls to mind an English pub more than anything. I can see that sign flapping in the breeze. 😉

    *Copy editing*:

    The 2nd definite article that sneaked into this verse needs to be changed back to ‘in’.

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    *the* my Ugg boot

    to:

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    in my Ugg boot

    …and poets’ is plural possessive, so the apostrophe in the title needs to go after the s

    Poets’ Picnic

    cheers,
    Lorin

  150. Lorin says:

    I’ve been trying to think how the strong caesura in v 8 might be modified so that it doesn’t seem so much a classic EL haiku written over 2 lines. The colon has been used so much as an alternative to the em dash to mark a cut/caesura, especially in USA C20 haiku, see Nick Virgilio and others of that era.

    first dip: a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    All I can think of is a comma instead of the colon:

    first dip, a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    … and/or changing the line break:

    first dip a blush
    of crimson stains the brush

    … 🙂 which would probably mess around with your phonetic considerations too much, John.

    But anyway, thought I’d raise it, just in case. It’s the nit-picker in me. 😉 Yell me down, lecture me or simply ignore… I really don’t mind, because I learn something each time. 🙂

    – Lorin

  151. Barbara says:

    Bless you, John!

    this world of dew and yet
    the bunyip’s laughter

    I love this ageku! A lot.

    Will leave the decision about colon and commas to John. Either way we will end up with two
    breaks using each. I’m wondering if we need the colon after moon?

    For alternative title, although I like Poets’ Picnic, perhaps: from the edge

    Like Lorin, I also think of a pub when I see The Black Swan.

    It’s great we have almost finished. Thanks so much for the journey.

    • Lorin says:

      “I love this ageku! A lot.” – B

      Thanks very much, Barbara. I think it’s vastly improved by John’s omission of the ellipses, too. That inclusion was just my wussy pussyfooting about doing the honkidori with Issa’s very sad and heartfelt poem. (I can’t think of anyone, of any nationality, who has done what Issa did with that poem and also the ‘mother, I weep’ one)

      There’s nothing jolly about the bunyip, no matter how non-indigenous people have tried to tame it or rubbish it. It may have been based on ancestral memory of the ‘marsupial lion’, which was real, but whatever, the bunyip stories have always served to ensure that everyone comes back to the community by nightfall. Goodness, even dingos do their roll call come dusk. You can hear each one saying, ‘Yes, present’.

      If anyone hasn’t seen it, I do recommend the film, ‘Ten Canoes’. Farting jokes & all 😉

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

      (I don’t think the bunyip is specifically in it, but…)

      – Lorin

  152. Mary White says:

    Poet’s Picnic for me too. My energy has been low as was my input so thanks everyone. I like this one the best
    first dip, a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

  153. John Carley says:

    Poets’ Picnic

    poets’ picnic —
    the black swan of trespass
    brings her cygnets

    watermelon ice cream,
    grins from ear to ear

    from the edge
    his sonic freefall
    straight into the records

    gazing at the lionfish
    through the bubbles

    our tape winds back
    to Lucy in the Sky
    with Diamonds

    you, me, and the moon:
    a rite of spring

    blemished or not
    the magnolia blooms
    speak of romance

    first dip, a blush of crimson
    stains the brush

    le petit mort,
    we punt our party
    down the river Styx

    toujours se fier
    with a bob each way!

    cold equations
    creeping through the holes
    in my Ugg boot

    deep in the bog reeds
    soft pockets of snow

    three weeks on
    a dark thing spreads
    across the students’ fridge

    patchouli incense:
    even the budgie reeks

    an hour trapped
    in a traffic jam she
    sings her heart out

    undiscovered secrets,
    every falling leaf

    tossing it back and forth
    between us
    oops, a walnut moon!

    this world of dew and yet
    the bunyip’s laughter

    L, J, B, M, L, J, B, M, J, B, L, M, J, L, M, B, S, L

    Mary White
    Barbara A. Taylor
    Lorin Ford
    John Carley (sabaki)

    composed at Issa’s Snail between 14/10/12 and 13/11/12

    Hi everyone, dyslexic conturbations apart I’d like propose this as our definitive text. I *think* I’ve got the corrections in the right place, and arrived at a balanced use of punctuation marks. I’m pretty much down to typing one handed today thanks to assorted wires and tubes so I’ll be mercifully brief, but I’m very grateful indeed for the collective willingness to both compromise and comment honestly. Particularly, Mary, I’m conscious of your effort in difficult circumstances.

    This piece of writing feels like literature to me. When a genre crosses linguistic and cultural barriers I guess it’s inevitable that there are two vectors in play: one tends to a bowing and scraping parody of the source literature plus it’s attendant culture (ughhh), the other is to consciously and chauvinistically parade one’s differences: a kind of over assertion based on low self esteem (yawn). Somewhere between these is a middle road which leaves the posturing and egg-shell treading aside, and just gets on with writing poetry. If we can get this right, people will be writing renku in English for years to come. More to the point: Masaoka Shiki will be turning in his grave. Miserable so and so! 🙂 😉 J

    • bondiwriter says:

      just poking my nose in, John.

      there are some lulus in the French 🙂

      should be

      la petite mort (mort is a feminine noun)

      and

      toujours se fier doesn’t make sense 🙂

      always so proud? is that what the poet means to say?

      if so, ‘se’ should be ‘si’

      toujours si fier

      I enjoyed the renku, but perhaps an edit before it goes to press?? 🙂

  154. Lorin says:

    It looks like a wrap to me now, John.. 🙂 And we got it done before today’s solar eclipse (a good sign for the poem, or so the astrologers would say) Mercury retrograde notwithstanding 😉

    It reads beautifully, John, so all your care with the sounds and cadences was worth it. Thanks again , John and everyone, for this very enjoyable and fruitful experience of collaborative writing, and thanks Ashley, for providing the ideal venue for doing renku from the various corners of the planet.

    Mary and John, I hope you’ll both be feeling better soon.

    – Lorin

  155. sandra says:

    Hello John,

    I have enjoyed watching this poem unfold – both the proposed verses and your comments. You are right, you have made poetry and it is my pleasure to have, in some small way, contributed.

    Best wishes to all,
    Sandra

  156. Barbara says:

    Yes, it reads very well. Thank you John, always a pleasure to work with you,
    and thanks to all. I really do enjoy a renku that moves along as this one did. Most enjoyable.

    Peace and Love
    B

  157. John Carley says:

    Brilliant. Thanks everybody, let’s call that text a wrap then. One last question on it: is anyone in a position to chase up publication possibilities? Normally I’d offer but my uncertain health means that I’m not sure I can follow up on the admin – keeping track etc… God, I’ve been trying to organise my notes, bit of essays and stuff and I’ve finally discovered the hideous truth: not only am I not very efficient, I’m hopeless! 😉 J

  158. Lorin says:

    John, Barbara, Mary and Sandra … I’m not in the know about the various publication outlets for renku, except one. Would anyone object if ‘Poets’ Picnic’ were submitted to my favourite renku editor, William Sorlien (yeah, that cowboy sabaki-ing the other Imachi here) for the March 2013 issue of ‘A Hundred Gourds’?

    If that would be ok with everyone, I’ll ensure it’s submitted in good order, with everyone’s names included and anything else, like a tomagaki by John, should he choose to write one and get it to me by Dec.15th.

    – Lorin

  159. Barbara says:

    That would be great, Lorin. I’ve just made an audio file reading through this imachi.
    Perhaps William Sorlien will be interested in that too? I’ll send it to you and John, off list.
    Thanks
    B

    • That sounds keen, Barbara. Seldom, if ever, do I *hear* a renku except reading out loud to myself. A good idea, actually, to *listen* to a composition.

      Hang in there, Johnnie . . . always got your back, bro’.

    • Lorin says:

      Thanks, Barbara… that’s one vote plus mine that we submit this Imachi to Willie in his capacity of renku editor.

      I’m afraid that at this stage AHG doesn’t have the facilities to publish audio files, and we have a new webmaster who’s still finding his footing.

      That audio file sounds like a good thing, Barbara. Out of normal courtesy, get permission from everyone involved to use it if you intend to air it publicly. You have mine, as long as you don’t intend to air it publicly (eg, on radio) until after the poem is first published and the usual ‘fair dealing’ time for wherever it’s published has elapsed. (A radio broadcast counts as published, so we couldn’t submit it anywhere that requires first publication rights if you’d got it published previously or intended to publish it on air before the due time elapse)

      At a later date, though, and after all permissions and publishing courtesies are observed, we might consider approaching THF to include it in their library of audio files…what do you think?

      – Lorin

      – Lorin

  160. Barbara says:

    John, Mary, Sandra

    Please may I have your permission to submit an audio file of this imachi for publication,
    an event that would not happen until after its first on-line appearance?
    I would of course keep you all informed as to when, and if this may occur.

    Thank you Lorin.

    With thanks,
    Peace and Love

    B

  161. sandra says:

    Yes, of course, Barbara – and good luck with your endeavours.

  162. John Carley says:

    Hi everybody, AHG sounds like a really good idea. Gets my vote. And yes Barbara, you certainly have my permission to search out interested parties for an audio take on the poem. That’s a *really* good idea IMHO. A while back one of the better German language haikai poets posted links to a radio show he and colleagues had been involved in which mixed readings of haiku and tan renga with music – a top quality production (to my shame I can’t remember if it was Dietmar Tauchner or not!).

    Right, I’m back off to Manchester to see a man about a canula. It’s a wierd experience in that I was brought up in the area and the sudden familiarities kind of sneak up on you.

    a squish of leaves
    around the hospital –
    my childish voice

    😉 J

  163. Lorin says:

    Good luck with it all, John. You’re very brave.

    – Lorin

  164. Barbara says:

    Thanks Sandra, thanks John.

    I have previously had published audio versions of renku on line, the most recent one was at Notes From The Gean: a rokku. “Year’s First Hike,” a collabaration with Eiko Yakimoto, Hortensia Andersen and Josh Wikoff, with audio, on Notes From The Gean, 4:1, at

    Perhaps AHG might consider the possibility of audio input, as it’s obviously best with both sight and sound at the same time.

    Best wishes to you John.

    Peace and Love
    B

    • Lorin says:

      yeah, well, the ‘new’ NFTG has predictably collapsed, after losing all editors of the previous 9 issues except one and 3 issues of getting ‘bigger & better’. I feel for the new editors who were suddenly told to return all accepted work for the September issue, as well as those people who’d had their work accepted. But one can still access the last issue (4.1) by googling., and your reading is lovely to listen to.

      I have contacted the AHG webmasters about the possibility of audio files, Barbara. Will get back to you via email when I have anything back from them.

      Whatever, I do recommend that we contact THF at a later date, wherever it might be aired first, with a view to your recording being included in their audio archives. It is a reliable institution which will make the audio files available and archive them for posterity.

      – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        Notes from the Gean 4:1 is available through the NFTG website … the link to the youtube recording is available by Googling.

        I had to have two windows open – one for each – to hear the recording while reading the poem.

        Great idea and well done Barbara.

  165. Mary White says:

    I’m happy with with the proposed submission. The audio file too, Take care John,

  166. John Carley says:

    Thanks Mary – just playing for sympathy really. I’ll be back to bear wrestling form again shortly. In the meanwhile it’s beer wrestling!! Yes indeed, The Griffin Inn Haslingden – so chock full of fun it actually has it’s own Facebook and net account http://www.rossendalebrewery.co.uk

    here at the bottom
    of a pint of Sunshine
    surely its the moon!

    🙂 glug glug glug J

  167. Barbara says:

    cheers, I love that haiku, John.

    Thanks Mary, Sandra, and Lorin. Will wait to hear if it is accepted for publishing. Yes, let’s see what your webmaster says re audio. Yes, it would indeed be good to have it at THF.

    With thanks
    B

  168. Mary White says:

    Go one John! You’re a star!

  169. Mary White says:

    Go on I mean. Touch typing here in the fading light on a soggy Sunday afternoon

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