Nijuin

500 Responses to Nijuin

  1. sandra says:

    A nijiun is a 20-verse renku, divided into 4 sides and using the jo-ha-kyu dynamic movement. For a schema go, guess where? That’s right, the Renku Reckoner: http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk/

  2. sandra says:

    John has agreed to lead this linked verse for as long as he is able – which is why he’d like us to be as rapid as possible about it. Please post – with immediate effect – your hokku candidates here, summer or winter, depending upon your hemisphere.

    This from John:

    If I’m the only person from the northern hemisphere on the team I’ll be minded to go with summer. Honorifics such as coded greetings, etc, are not barred, but not obligatory either.

    Hmmn, another alternative is to just go with a hokku by the poem leader (me). I’m actually writing a kasen at the moment. The sabaki has taken one of my hokku. I can see why he’s chosen the one he has as it is more conventional. But I also wrote the following which just *may* be suited to a slightly more modern tone, and to an international competition:

    Happy New Year!
    the global village
    pretty much snowed in

  3. sandra says:

    The team is:

    John Carley (sabaki)
    Lorin Ford
    Cynthia Rowe
    Sandra Simpson
    William Sorlien

    Welcome.

  4. Two before bed:

    patch-work quilts
    of snow and stubble
    deer all bedded down (alt.:a white-tail doe’s dream)

    hoarfrost
    the daywatcher’s lookout
    invisible in the trees

  5. Lorin Ford says:

    I’ve never been in a renku that was going to be submitted to a competition before, so not sure what might be the go. Here are some ku ,anyway … the ‘shotgun’ approach (I hope the italics work!):

    14 days to Christmas!
    the incessant tinkling
    of bellbirds

    should auld acquaintance
    dust motes dancing
    on the aspidistra

    cloud castles …
    our origami tractors
    succumbing to rust

    a blast of hot wind –
    up to our necks
    in the afterlife

    deep shade –
    the discourse of ravens
    over our heads

    hot night –
    someone opens a box
    of forgotten insects

    parched hydrangeas –
    a glass of Chenin Blanc
    with the gossip

    …and one Winter one for the hell of it:

    come as you were
    the class of ‘68
    a winter rainbow

    – Lorin

  6. sandra says:

    picking tomatoes –
    some questions
    better unanswered

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower –
    morning heat

    record highs –
    the weatherman
    adjusts his grin

  7. John Carley says:

    Hi everybody, early here but I just wanted to post something to let you know I’ve wandered on to the right page.

    Competition + HSA + Renku = conventional. I don’t know who the judges are, but the entire thrust of renku via the HSA and persons associated has been conservative to the point of restrictive practice in the past. So we have to play a pretty straight bat (cricket analgoy Willie. And no, not ‘Jiminy’).

    Yeah, so my sole hokku candidate is probably already too left field:

    Happy New Year!
    the global village
    pretty much snowed in

    Back soon after a bite to eat. 🙂 J

  8. John Carley says:

    Ooops – another quick though if anybody is online right now: this site is publicly accessible. That may well render our submission invalid. We might need to go to private circulation. If anyone has time could they please have a look at the published rules and see how it strkes you. J

  9. Lorin Ford says:

    Hi John,
    Just checking in whilst the oven is warming up (yes, the oven… crazy!) I’ve checked the HSA website. It’d be this, I think:
    The HSA Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Competition
    http://www.hsa-haiku.org/hsa-contests.htm#einbond

    “. . . Entries must not have been previously published, nor contain any stanzas previously published, submitted for publication, nor entered in any other contest. Publication is defined as an appearance in a printed book, magazine, or journal (sold or given away), or in any online journal that presents edited periodic content. The appearance of poems in online discussion lists or personal websites is not considered publication. Judges will be asked to disqualify any link that they have seen before. ”

    Going by that, I’d say that they’ve stated clearly what they do and do not consider publication and it’s ok to compose it here at Snail, which is a personal website and though accessible to the public if they are looking, it cannot be said to have edited periodic content. The main gist of it seems to be that all of the verses must be fresh and not resemble any verses that the judges have seen before.

    – Lorin

  10. John Carley says:

    Housekeeping:

    Thanks so much Lorin. I entirely concur with your reading of the stimpulations. We can stay here.

    Hi to Cynthia. I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of writing with you before. Please don’t be too put off by the odd mixture of dictatorial certainty and random wanderings in my style of ‘leadership’. We have two imperatives here which contrast, one is to move fast simply because timescales are tight for the deadline, the other is for everybody to feel able to jump in with any sort of query, observation, objection, at all times and without hesitation. I have dysylexia Cynthia so please forgive omissions, substitutions, misspellings etc – they are not a sign of disrespect or (in most cases) slovenlyness.

    Verse turn around: because of our global spread we’re going to need to try and get a substantive turn around/response time of 24 hours (for each time zone). That way we should be able to effectively bottom a verse every 36 hours in total. This may mean moving forward with drafts rather than definitive stanzas. Given that we have high levels of confidence in each other this shouldn’t be a problem.

    Completing the poem: I’ve been on some experimental meds which don’t work. So I’ve increasingly been getting a distracting amount of discomfort. At the mo’ I’m coping with high doses of codiene. If I have to move on to ditto morphine I might not be able to think straight so I’ll need to pass the baton (I was never really an opiates man). I’m also being threatened (by the estimable Dr Meatslab) with a further, different, experimental treatment which may prove to be so all round debilitating that, again, I’ll have to hand over. But we’ll worry about that as and when.

    Ok, next up the hokku. J

  11. John Carley says:

    hokku:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    (early) morning heat

    Well wouldn’t you just know it. I can’t resist tampering. There were any number we could have gone with. The wonderful origami tractors and my nod to McLuhan point out why Sandra’s is more appropriate. It is, at first sight, more conventional – but it is also, arguably, more multi-valent. Well, you all look like a line of ants to me anyway!

    Why the tamper? Truth: scansion. Untampered I read the accentual stress as 2/2/2. Tampered I read 2/2/3. Lies: ‘haikuness’. ‘early morning heat’ is straight out of the Big Boy’s Book of Kigo. Ok, that’s too cynical. But it is true that, if there is an argument for injecting an extra accent, then ‘early’ does increase the sense of specificity (how about that for spelling!). And the overall effect is intensify the moment (also imply that it’s going to get *really* hot later).

    I’d like to try and keep the first movement v. easy. Allow more contrast as we get into the second movement. The Nijuin is a bit fiddly so sensitivity to tone is going to be key to making the pattern work.

    Sandra obviously you can shout ‘NO’. But until the sorry juncture I’d like everybody else to frame wakiku offers based on the hokku above. We are in summer. We are all very pleasant. We will eschew the temptation to write a moon verse next. Unless we feel really compelled to.

    I just hope to God the judges know enought not to construe our hokku as a blossom verse AARRRRGGGHHHHHHHHH! 🙂 J

  12. A quick note then off to the “races” –

    Good’n, Sandra! I’ll be musing over eggplant and Indian flatbread for the rest of the day.
    Go Lakota! Go Foxes!

  13. Urp!!

    the underdog gives thanks
    for this evening downpour

  14. all the others
    a haze of fitful dreams

  15. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

  16. Lorin Ford says:

    Nice one Sandra… we call ’em zucchini though.

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    the plum thief’s poem
    stuck on the fridge

    https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15535

    William Carlos Williams wrote it to his wife… it came as I was drifting off to sleep. 😉 …will have another go tomorrow.

    – Lorin

  17. sandra says:

    Thanks John and you tamper away, no problem. I like the addition and the way it emphasises the heat to come.

    Lorin, we call them courgette or zucchini, there doesn’t seem to be a national preference. I chose “courgette” because of its softer sound.

  18. Lorin Ford says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    all the smart young men
    wearing straw fedoras

    …enough of fedoras already! 🙂

  19. Lorin Ford says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    the sound of water
    trickles from the hose

  20. Lorin Ford says:

    … fedora again, sorry!

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    our boss tips the brim
    of his straw fedora

  21. CynthiaRowe says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve recharged my iPad so here we go. A couple from me

    the office air-con
    leaking moisture

    aspiring executives
    queuing at the tea urn

  22. John Carley says:

    daisan:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    Sandra, John

    Hi all, I’ve bitten the sabaki’s bullet and gone with this over Lorin’s “the sound of water / trickles from the hose”. Both do the essential thing for a conventional opening pair of staying in the same temporal and spatial location. They also don’t try and take the movement on in any substantive way (a criterion that is significant only for the initial pair of hokku and wakiku). The parasol verse retains the ghost of a symbolic reading typical of Basho period renku in that it can be understood as an augury for co-operation in the writing of the poem. And tonally it has a slight air of whimsy. I’m pointing these up not to big-up my contribution, but because they have consequences for #3.

    Daisan is, typically, the ‘break-away’ verse in renku and, in modern styles, this often involves a really quite tangential shift away. But the Nijuin is erm, particular, in that the first movement closes at verse #4 – so if we move a long way at #3 it puts a lot of pressure on #4 to generate anything resembling a ‘pause and rest’ at the end of the movement. We can easily end up with a run of four verses that perform very much like a Yotsumono. Not ideal (more of this in another strand). But for the moment let’s stick with our particular considerations at #3:

    We are pretty much obliged to go ‘non-season’ or ‘year round’.

    Because of the style of diction of #2 we will generate variety just by using a straight third person narrative voice (a further ‘non-standard’ voice here, declamatory for instance, would probably over-egg the movement).

    In terms of protagonist(s) third person too, maybe plural.

    Classic style would be to go to a more or less identifiable ‘indoor’ location.

    We *could* nod to the Japanese convention of using a particular conjugation and consider present perfect or present progressive here – the point being to generate a sense of something which (may have begun on the past but) is on-going.

    But the most important thing is not to try for too much additional ‘shift’, and to stay light.

    Lastly, because any figurative reading of the hokku is effectively subliminal we *could* pick up on the ‘augury’ aspect of #2 and have a verse at #3 which takes forward the idea of ‘share’. A typical Basho-school trick would be to invert this to ‘squabble’ or ‘selfish’ but, because we are in the opening, to do so in a wry rather than judgmental fashion.

    You’ll be please to know that I’ve no intention of writing a lecture about every verse position. Just that the damned Nijuin is a bit exigent. Well no, it’s easy to do. Just that it’s easy to do badly 🙂 J

    ps – yeah, I was shocked when I went to live in Italy at how many hard zeds there actually are, plus kays and guttural churrs.

    British English used to be strictly ‘courgette’ but food snobs will quite happily pay double for the same amount of ‘zucchini’ so the twitterati will now accept no substitute.

  23. Lorin Ford says:

    Good Morning, honoured Sabaki,ladies and gentlemen 😉

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    I think I’m beginning to follow your drift, John. In the final version, will you have that exclamation mark after the question mark? I’m thinking that the judges will be American, and it might send them into fits.

    Anyway, one go for this morning and I’ll see if anything else occurs later:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    at the art auction
    my companions’ accents
    becoming genteel

    – Lorin

  24. CynthiaRowe says:

    Agreed, I thought the exclamation mark over the top

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    strolling in the gallery
    we exchange petits mots
    on handmade paper

    Cynthia

  25. Lorin Ford says:

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    on set, but still
    the extras bickering
    over costumes

    – Lorin

  26. CynthiaRowe says:

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    Mona Lisa’s eyes
    following every quirk
    of their squabble

  27. Lorin Ford says:

    Just realised I can’t have “my companions” in that first offer… so revised to:

    at the art auction
    our vernacular English
    becoming genteel

    – Lorin

  28. Lorin Ford says:

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    after the movie
    shampoo commercials
    after the movie

    – Lorin

  29. Lorin Ford says:

    … quieter, perhaps,

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    the calico cat
    still waving a welcome
    we enter the fray

    the calico cat
    still waving a welcome
    from the temple gate

    … “The maneki-neko (Japanese: 招き猫?, literally ‘beckoning cat’) ”

    – Lorin

  30. Lorin Ford says:

    ..and dreary realism:

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    from soapie heaven
    to washing the dishes
    mopping the floors

    – Lorin

  31. CynthiaRowe says:

    … to the mundane

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    from the flickering tv
    the roar of the crowd
    ponctuated with snores

  32. CynthiaRowe says:

    … a typo … my iPad has a mind of its own

    from the flickering tv
    the roar of the crowd
    punctuated by snores

  33. Care, share, parasol – lovely rhymes and rhythm, John.

    I’ll stay local …

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?!

    ***

    country-western
    and native songs
    a circle round the drum

    … guess you had to be there.

    KXSW 89.9 FM

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ah, nice and laid-back, Willie. I think I’ll be taking a page from your book from hereon in.
      – Lorin

      • Managed not to over think it for a change. Thanks for your compliment.

        I have a broken antenna on that old Mazda so i pick up the station when i near the Agency Village of Goodwill, close to the job and the Reservation. (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate)
        You can hear the first quavering strains of the Native-American chorus, usually before dawn through blowing snow and hoar frost, and then a soloist will sing a stanza as the chorus enters again amidst shouts and cries. All the while one drum beats like a heartbeat, with many drummers sharing and playing in unison. Songs of power, of family and community.

        They play some old country – western, too – we gots both kinds a’ music!

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ” we gots both kinds a’ music! ”
        … both kinds… I thought that meant Country and Western 😉 (…never mind, a film from my impressionable youth)
        – Lorin

  34. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    Thanks for so many options everybody. I’ve gone with this because it extends the metaphor, picks up on the sound of #2 and seems to set up a simple ‘pause and rest’ at #4.

    Punctuation at #2 – what are the US conventions on rhetorical question taking the query I wonder? Maybe it should be an exclamation mark (only). Maybe nothing…. one to watch.

    Punctuation at #3 – I’ve added a comma at end of line 2. Another one to watch!

    #4 and #5. Let’s go by turns just for the moment (maybe go back to degachi at #6 when Sandra is back online).

    #4. Cynthia, would you take #4 please. This is a further ‘all year round’ verse, i.e. one without content tied to a specific season. Classic stylistic conventions would suggest that now is the time to suggest, directly or indirectly, an indoor location. Maybe a bit more urban than any of our opening 3. Not necessarily ‘big city’ though. And, along with the setting, and given that none have figured so far, a more or less directly represented protagonist (s) – 3rd person singular/plural is best as verse #2 already has a direct first person address.

    How long? A good target is 5 accentual stresses. And feel – still lightish in tone, and, given that this is the end of the ‘first movement’ a slight sense of ‘close’ is ideal too.

    Oops – I should be 15 miles away right now!

    Best wishes, John

  35. CynthiaRowe says:

    a couple for consideration …

    his fingers syncopating
    on the mullioned windows

    she polishes the crystals
    of the salon chandelier

    — Cynthia

  36. CynthiaRowe says:

    or…

    she pastes happy snaps
    In her Moroccan album

  37. CynthiaRowe says:

    sorry, iPad again … that predictive text!

    she pastes happy snaps
    in her moroccan album

  38. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    [she pastes happy snaps
    in her moroccan album]

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    Hello from a snowbound Rossendale. All the schools are shut (to prevent teachers from tripping up and suing the education authority) so there’ll be a few happy snaps of kids sledging taken today!

    This is an ideal verse #4 Cynthia. So why the tampering? The answer is almost entirely to do with the specifics of writing for this competition. I’m walking on eggshells a bit trying to anticipate the attitude of the judges. It is an unfortunate truth that the zeitgeist of renku in North America is, in many quarters, incredibly ‘rule’ obsessed. And one of the ‘rules’ held to be an evident truth is that the opening movement (JP: ‘jo’) of a renku sequence does not allow for mention of “death, war, illness, impermanence, religion, sex and long distance travel, […] ‘Foreign’ reference [or] person and place names.”
    In fact that list obtained in conservative circles in the Edo period, Basho himself was more flexible, and in contemporary writing the entire issue is much more nuanced. BUT ‘Morocco’ is both a proper noun, and foreign (unless one is a terrorist) it is therefore WRONG ( to much gleeful satisfaction our entry has just slipped down the pile).

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    This is a suggestion only. It is designed to allow a hint that this may be a Facebook page or suchlike, and therefore retain ‘internationalism’ and ‘modernity’ without actually stating the same (and without straying to strongly back towards ‘share’. Given that a bit of tampering is more or less inevitable, a falling cadence seems to suit the verse position (this is the place at which the poem ‘turns the page’.

    Thoughts on this please.

    But the gist is clear so Lorin, whilst the exact phrasing of #5 will depend on the agreed draft of #4 I’d ask you to consider some ideas for where we might go please. Don’t post them yet.

    And what do we know about verse position #5? I was going to open up a strand about the deficiencies of the Nijuin, but I’m not sure of the utility of so doing. The Nijuin is the format specified and, per my notes above, we’ve probably got to anticipate a very formulaic judging stance. Suffice it to say that when I went to check my own schematics for the Nijuin at Renku Reckoner I looked at the verse distribution and thought I’m made some horribly crass mistake. But in fact it is very much as Bill Higginson and Tadashi Kondo represent Meiga Higashi’s intentions: http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/shorter_renku.html

    So, we bite the bullet. #5 kicks of the first ‘development’ movement. It does so with ‘autumn moon’. We’ve got ‘love’ coming up (which I think we’ll slip to #7 and #8) but that *may* suggest a pure ‘landscape’ verse here at #5. In terms of tenor – of the two moon verses in a Nijuin one might expect the autumn one to be more mainstream.

    Right – it’s time to get the huskies out and battle to the nearest supermarket so I can panic-buy some essentials 🙂 J

  39. CynthiaRowe says:

    The change is fine, John, more in the zeitgeist. I did mean moroccan, as in leather, but there is still mention of a foreign country — so go with the tamper!

    Cynthia

  40. Lorin Ford says:

    Yes, I like “to a favourite page”, its mellowness of mood. Though it’s open in that it could be pastes/ posts, album or internet sharing site, it has the “time for an evening under lamplight” feel running through it … or is that just me, associating?
    ” . . .
    There is a time for the evening under starlight,
    A time for the evening under lamplight
    (The evening with the photograph album)
    . . . ”
    East Coker, part V – TS Eliot (from Four Quartets)

    Anyway, with ‘favourite page’ v4 seems to leave things nicely open for a moon verse not requiring camels 🙂 (Don’t think I’m making it up: there’s a moon ku with camels on P1 of the March AHG, wait & see)

    Ok, here’s a first offer. Some more later in the day or this evening, I hope.

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    – Lorin

  41. Lorin Ford says:

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    right at moonrise
    the squeak of my father’s
    extension ladder
    —-

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    for the lucky few
    earthrise
    viewed from the moon
    —-

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    on the wallaby
    the moon bouncing along
    with the ute

    across the outback
    the moon bouncing along
    with the ute
    ( revised version for international audience)

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    out of pebbles
    I throw a fish head
    at the moon
    —-

    – Lorin

  42. Lorin Ford says:

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    painted by Vermeer
    the turning earth a girl,
    the moon her earring

    – Lorin

  43. sandra says:

    Wow and double wow guys, you are really bringing some nice work to the “table”.

    Just back from Sydney, not too hot, thank goodness, we struck a cooler break in the weather. Lorin, I spent a good half day walking round the botanic gardens there (poor Lorin came on a route march with me around the Melbourne botanic gardens), taking lots of pictures (even saw a large-ish lizard on a lawn). Great exhibitions on, saw a festival show and am now fairly shattered. But I have a day off tomorrow to recover.

  44. Lorin Ford says:

    Great that you enjoyed it all, Sandra. I enjoyed that walk around the Melb Bot Gardens with you. My most recent visit there, when Cynthia was down, there was a hot wind.

    the haikuza/ a hot wind blows up/ Guilefoyle’s Volcano

    … and that’s on top of the prickly cactus 😉

    (I actually came back onto Snail to do a revision while the chops are cooking)

    – Lorin

  45. Lorin Ford says:

    (…or maybe it’s an alternative ?)

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page
    * * *
    in time for moonrise
    the squeak of my father’s
    extension ladder

    – Lorin

  46. John Carley says:

    Doh! ‘moroccan’ not ‘Moroccan’ – I blame it on the non-capitalisation convention (or just possibly on my being obtuse!). Unfortunately there’s an awful lot of literalism and single word level analysis (as true for haiku as renku I guess) which would find the use of ‘moroccan leather’ just as much as infraction of those opening movement conventions as would be ‘Moroccan Sufism’. Ho-hum…

    Anyway, with thanks to Cynthia, we now have a first movement which has exactly the tenor which corresponds to my understanding of how the immediate Basho school would look in contemporary English. In theory this is relevant because Meiga Higashi, who originated the Nijuin, was trying expressly for a format which would allow for those sensibilities but in a form shorter than the Kasen. A laudible aim, and one Norman Darlington achieved with the Triparshva 😉 J

  47. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    Yes, indeed. If you’re going to do a step-change then to it right! I was really taken with extension ladder verse too, but one could critique that it is a further direct ‘person’ verse, and a domestic one, so it somehow extends a bit of ‘person’ presence that has been there in #2, #3, and #4. As it happens some of the Basho I’ve translated has as many as six such verses in a row. But clearly he wouldn’t win an HSA competition.

    #5 – I’ve no idea what this verse means literally, and I’ve no idea what the linkage may be at any sort of analytical level, but the imagery cascades outwards so rapidly that, by the time we reach the hook, the first movement in its entirety is forgotten. I think the regularity of the cadences in the opening can now be seen as a strength because I hear the underlying rhythm syncopate and hang slightly with the last line of #5. We are now in new territory. So how does #6 respond?

    #6 – Sandra, good to have you back. Let’s stay with going by turn for the moment. Which means you are up now. I think we might as well follow Bill and Tadashi’s rendering of Higashi in the third column of the schematic of the Nijuin you’ll find page down here http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/shorter_renku.html But we’ll slip the fixed topic of ‘love’ to #7 and #8. That makes #6 our second of three autumn verses. The proximity of ‘love’ means that those will be more or less direct ‘person’ verses, which rather suggests that #6 would ideally be a pure ‘landscape’ verse.

    Some great sage noted for his renku pomposity (me) once remarked that to link by season alone is poor style, but in truth #5 is so striking that here at #6 a ‘quiet’ autumn verse, as long as the music is right, will probably slip in very nicely indeed without any particular need for ‘nousei no zuke’ (‘cerebral linkage’ – made up word!).

    Talking of ‘made up words'(and Higginson and Kondo). Anyone who wants a haikai laugh while Sandra is nail biting at her desk should google ‘Stalking the Wild Onji’ . I’ve got a suspicion that Bill and Tadashi were major players in the ‘backlink’ conspiracy too. But that’s for another show trial. 🙂 J

  48. sandra says:

    Here are a few, maybe do some more in a bit.

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    among the coloured leaves
    a coin of the old money

    from out of the fog
    a flurry of pheasants

    the colours of corn stubble
    rising into the sky … sparrows

    a taste of river fog
    as we gather plums

    as we gather damsons
    the tall tales of youth

    • Lorin Ford says:

      whoops, sorry , Sandra. You posted whilst I was typing.

      – Lorin

      • Lorin Ford says:

        um, plums and damson plums..aren’t they Summer things, Sandra? The local plums are flooding the markets now, as cheap as, and the little cherry plums fall off the trees just before Christmas here. Even in colder climes they have greengages in Summer, according to the literature.

        (Then there’s WCW’s famous ‘plum’ poem ‘This is Just To Say’, with plums in the ice-box: another indication of Summer, and we could expect American renku judges to be familiar with at least WCW’s most anthologised work … TiJTS and ‘Red Wheelbarrow’ (‘It All
        Depends’)

        – Lorin

  49. Lorin Ford says:

    Whew! Thanks, John. 🙂 My first moon verse in a renku!

    “#5 – I’ve no idea what this verse means literally, and I’ve no idea what the linkage may be at any sort of analytical level, …”

    It means, to me, simply that some people (children perhaps?) and/or some things (shadows and moon?) are playing hide and seek out in the night, beyond the curfew. The link I had in mind was to ‘happy snaps’ being pasted into an album/ page: someone preserving happy memories, someone looking back (“the evening under lamplight”) which took me to happy childhood times playing outside in the night, being happily of the wild (“the evening under starlight” or in this case, ‘moonlight’) Some memories being analogous to ‘happy snaps’ preserved for looking back on and showing others, the difference being that adult members of the mixed family weren’t around to take literal photos.

    Though the verse is a bit open to interpretation and authorial intention is of little account, the above is what I had in mind.

    – Lorin

  50. sandra says:

    as we gather persimmons
    the tall tales of youth get taller

    snuffling among the acorns
    a hedgehog trailing plastic

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      Gathering persimmons bothers me a bit. They tend to be sparse — well, they were on my mother’s tree — and need to be picked carefully, rather than ‘gathered’.

      • sandra says:

        Your gran must have had a poor specimen! 🙂 The trees I see round here get laden with fruit. I don’t feel “gather” has the connotation of “roughly handled”, but we’ll wait and see where the maestro takes us.

  51. sandra says:

    Yes, you may well be right about the plums, I “feel” they are an autumn fruit so shall go and do some research … Hugh F-W characterises damsons as “summer into autumn” fruit and our own Nutrition Foundation lists plums as an autumn fruit. I’m not bothered about changing them though if convention decrees that plum = summer …

    a taste of river fog
    in the blackberry basket

    gathering bitter sloes
    the tall tales of youth get taller

  52. Lorin Ford says:

    a taste of river fog
    in the blackberry basket

    oooh, this one takes me back immediately…yum, and definitely Autumn, the wild ones (but still warm enough to walk down the river in one’s cossie and pick them, where no-one can get in to spray them) The farmed ones have been bred into varieties that ripen from early to late, from now until around April.

    – Lorin

    • sandra says:

      Yep, I was a kid who picked wild blackberries in autumn – Dad always left a patch unsprayed (tucked away where no one could see it from the road) on the river property. The little ones would pick away and then Dad would use his slasher to open a bit more of the patch. Sweet memories, indeed, and that’s without the ensuing blackberry and apple pie!

  53. John Carley says:

    wow, just gone midnight here and too whiskied to trust my judgement. It’s between flurries of pheasants and river fog – different dynamics but both excellent responses to moon + shadow. It will be phonics that decide it I think. Talking of moon and shadow – thanks for the notes Lorin. I wondered because ‘tsuki no kage’ is an absolutely classic Edo period emblem, and one not too readily picked up in translation because, for legitimiate reasons, it tends to get rendered in terms of moon + light rather than moon + shadow. Yes on abundant persimmons. The damn things used to rot on the trees in Piedmonte because there were too many to pick! J

    • sandra says:

      Feel free to invert this one if that helps, John:

      in the blackberry basket
      a taste of river fog

      • Lorin Ford says:

        My fave is the blackberries 🙂 …not just because it feels so connected to the same place or sort of place as the preceding verse, not only because I like the ‘taste’ image (yes, the quality of river fog in them, a slight metallic tang which is also earthy, like base note in a perfume. No blackberries I’ve bought or even picked on a farm taste the same) but also because of the sense of colour … black & white, sort of, or dark & light in ‘blackberries’ & ‘river fog’.. .which also continues the ‘colour mood’ of the previous, but subtly, taking it into taste as well as vision.

        – Lorin

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      Half your luck! Persimmons used to be sparse in Melbourne. On the positive side, they looked terribly zen, with only a few bright orange fruit dotted along the bare branch.

      • Lorin Ford says:

        yeah, I believe that persimmon trees take many years before they come into full fruit. That’s probably why, Cynthia…those trees were too young. I saw them too, all around the ‘green belt’ suburbs. They did look striking.

        – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      That’s interesting, John. I assure you that any connection with the ‘classic Edo emblem’ is purely fortuitous … I didn’t have a clue, of course. But now you’ve clued me in, I’m sure to find an opportunity sometime to drop it into conversation and impress the boffins no end 😉 (of course I’ll cite my source)

      – Lorin

      – Lorin

  54. I love the jux of sensory detail between taste and river fog. A cloying rot and decay in Autumn? Further then the basket of fresh berries – sweetly gratifying alone, more so combined with the latter.

    I imagine pheasants at night – is that unlikely? Morning then … would we seek the quicker, comparably abbreviated pheasant verse at this juncture? Syllable count aside, the alliteration feels abrupt to me … at this time of day, at least. Transposed, perhaps:

    a flurry of pheasants / from out of the fog

    Would either verse have four beats, as you say, John?

  55. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    ——————–

    Thanks everybody, the intelligent discourse makes the choice a whole lot easier and shapes the direction for the next couple of verses.

    The inversion is the key to generating an almost tanka-like pair in terms of cadence. The pheasant verse would have inverted ditto. In the end I’ve gone with the intangible and sense of taste here as opposed to the kinetic ‘flurry’.

    It’s interesting to note how very difficult it is to write a pure ‘landscape’ verse. The very fact we have a basket here moves us towards ‘human’. And what of our hokku – does ‘courgette’ immediately mean ‘vegetable garden’. And is that ‘human’?

    What Sandra’s excellent pheasant verse tells me is that for our final autumn verse at #7 I’d like to see if we can go to pure non-human (and animal is certainly one direction to be thinking). This will then indicate that the following (final) three verses of this movement can be an extended non-season ‘love’ treatment. Which in turn obviates the need to return to ‘love’ in the third movement (strictly speaking ‘in the second part of the development movement’).

    This is a tough call. And I’m just about to drive in to the city to see a quack then go recording some percussion backing tracks to my son’s band. So in order to keep the momentum, and to get the maximum spread (and duck the fact that I may not be able to hack it if left to my own devices) I’m going to throw this last autumn position open as a ‘degachi’ i.e. ‘competitive’ position. To re-iterate: this is a last of/late autumn position and it is strictly ‘nature’. Animal is good though not obligatory (probably avoid insects ‘cos of the hokku). Kinetic, smell, tactile are good, as is specific sound (contrast more general sound by implication in ‘drum’ verse). In terms of tenor: stronger and more direct are probably indicated given the sfumatura of #6 (sorry, can’t find the English word!).

    God, what a poser! 🙂 J

  56. Lorin Ford says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog
    ***
    pampas grass plumes
    whitened by the wind
    a quail’s shrill cry

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog
    ***
    the pollen path
    yellow again
    with aspen leaves

    – Lorin

  57. Lorin Ford says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog
    ***
    that swirl of bubbles …
    a platypus swims deeper
    into autumn

    – Lorin

  58. sandra says:

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    stretching on into autumn,
    the drought begins to collect
    bodies
    [should be indented so the two “b”s line up]

    a field
    of dandelion clocks,
    all ticking

  59. CynthiaRowe says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    trout pond…
    tossing potato peel
    to his pigs

    the chameleon’s
    prehensile tail
    red, orange, yellow

    the tabby knocks
    the filigree lid
    off the pot pourri

  60. sandra says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    rising from the stubble
    a flock of dun-coloured birds
    deepen the chill

    oh, how he struts
    among the windfalls
    this cock pheasant

  61. Lorin Ford says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    what’s left
    of the burdock seed heads
    rattled by sparrows

    version 2:
    a quarrel of sparrows
    rattles what’s left
    of the seed heads

    ———
    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    windborne
    up from the valley
    a currawong’s cry

    version 2:
    windborne
    from the heart of autumn
    a currawong’s cry

    – Lorin

  62. Lorin Ford says:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    seagulls squabble
    under mackerel clouds
    over a fish bone

    – Lorin

  63. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    [signalling]
    red, orange, yellow

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C

    What a wonderful verse. And totally suited to the moment of this particular passage. Q. Why the marker (if such it be) ‘signalling’? A. I’m concerned that the subtleties (sfumature!) of the autumnal reference (red, orange, yellow) might tend to be marginalised by the ‘scientific’ or ‘precise’ register of the word ‘prehensile’ – that it can grab turn the attention in a way that becomes a mis-direction. In terms of scansion the echo is ‘river fog’ (strong/weak/strong) to give it a binary analysis. I guess a truer parsing of ‘signalling’ is strong/weak/mid. Anyway the semantic content of ‘signalling’ is an attempt to indicate that, to my reasoning, the ideal word keeps us in the moment of the verse and, if anything directs the attention *more* towards ‘autumn’ – in this case the chameleon is flashing the colours of autumn at us (which I understand to be Cynthia’s core intent here).

    Willie, in order to keep the momentum up, you and I need to work on the basis that this or a similar solution to that middle line will be found and that we move forward to considering how we can introduce ‘love’ as the fixed topic background to the fourth verse of this development movement. We’ll go head to head on it – which will then leave the other of us and Lorin to take the closing two of this passage.

    So we’re no season, and, given that we’ve got three rather than two ‘love’ verses we *could* go in less directly via a ‘call for love’ or ‘usher-in of love’ verse (on the other hand we could jump in with gum boots flailing). Anyway, if anyone wants to have a look at where the Japanese theory is at in this regard search strings are ‘koi no yobidash’ or ‘koi yobidashii’ or ‘yobidashi no koi’ or ‘usher of love’ – may with ‘+ renga’ or ‘+ renku’.

  64. John Carley says:

    ps – and given that I rudely forgot to add a smiley 😦 – Willie, we’ve to tactile, scent and kinetic sensory input available and begging here. Probably, because of ‘fog’ I’d avoid ‘scent’ in this immediate next verse. Best, J

  65. John Carley says:

    Hi all, here’s a couple from me:

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    [signalling]
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    ——-

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    [signalling]
    red, orange, yellow

    that shameful heat
    that always make him blush

    [heat – stir – sight?]

    😉 J

  66. sandra says:

    the chameleon’s tail
    changing
    red, orange, yellow

    ???

    red, orange, yellow
    the chameleon’s tail
    changes season

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      The chameleon is changing ‘ with’ the season, rather than changing the season.

      • sandra says:

        The ku is saying (or means to say) that the tail is “changing seasons” ie, from summer to autumn colours. Not that the tail has anything to do with the change of season … there is no “the” in L3 so I’m not sure why you’ve read it that way.

        Anyway, it’s only food for thought, just an offering that might spark something with someone. 🙂

  67. Lorin Ford says:

    the chameleon’s tail
    switching
    red, orange, yellow

    ?

    – Lorin

  68. CynthiaRowe says:

    the chameleon’s tail
    mutating
    red, orange, yellow

    ?

  69. CynthiaRowe says:

    the chameleon’s tail
    transmuting
    red, orange, yellow

    ??

  70. sandra says:

    yellow, orange, red
    the chameleon
    changes season

  71. CynthiaRowe says:

    red, orange, yellow
    the chameleon’s tail
    signposts season

    ??

  72. CynthiaRowe says:

    signposts — or signals — might be better, as there is double meaning. Chameleon colours change when they are in season (mating).

  73. John Carley says:

    ‘Shaking off a few aches’… you been fighting again Willie?

    Chameleon verse – wake up at the back – I’m pretty much certain that we need to deliver the pulse of the three colours as the last line. And I’m nearly as convinced that middle line is (nominally) strong/weak/strong. The fact that there’s no verb in the maeku (verse to which it links) probably means that we want one now. But it doesn’t have to be a present participle. Going back to ‘prehensile’, and thinking ‘present simple’ got me to

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    😉 J

  74. CynthiaRowe says:

    I like the verb ‘curls’ as it incorporates the shape of the tail and the movement of the colours. Good one 🙂

  75. A marathon work week on this multi-million dollar building become a month; me brain hurts more since I was appointed “in charge”. Not a preferable connotation so haven’t had to fight off any challengers! 🙂 I fell asleep at some point …

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    a match flickers / the flick of my zippo
    in her loosely cupped hands

    Aargh!

  76. John Carley says:

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    Thanks Cynthia, yes – I think we’ve got it now with the characteristic shape and the reading that the colours are/may be both within and external to the tail. So, where are Willie and I up to….

  77. John Carley says:

    the flick of my zippo
    in her loosely cupped hands

    I like the curled tail and cupped hands Willie, and this would be my take on the two options offered but there are marginal problems – certainly if we’re envisaging a literalist as judge. The repeat of the preposition ‘in’ from the last-but-one verse, especially at head of the line, might be enough to ellicit a tsk-tsk or three from some expert tongues. Dunno if you’ve ever encountered any of Ferris Gilli’s stuff on must-not-do’s with renku diction but you can bet your backsack it’ll be in there [handy hint: anyone who uses the expression ‘ing words’ can be safely ignored].

    At a more serious level, though it is entirely unstated we’re working principally with a visual link based around the flicker of the light and it *may* be that we can go further into the sensorium. There’s also the question of how we’ve depicted individuals to date – though we are at verse #8 we’ve only used pronouns so far: ‘my’ at #2, and ‘her’ at #4, which this verse would repeat.

    that shameful heat
    that always make him blush/stir/sigh/whatever

    There are a number of reasons why this isn’t very good, not least those two ‘that’s. For some reason the juvenile/pubescent element does quite make it either – probably a bit crass, or too crass too soon. The pronoun ‘him’ might be new, but isn’t much of an advance

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    I’ve been agonising about whether or not ‘Salome’ was too blaring in terms of iconography here. But, given that she’s mediated via ‘chameleon’s tail / Salome’s veil’ I think it can work. Again, in terms of expectation, there’s the argument that an entire passage of verse that is intelligent and elegant won’t fulfil the expectations of many critics (who seem to think that it is ideal for sequences to just randomly thrash about from verse to verse). OK, agonising over. 😉 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “Dunno if you’ve ever encountered any of Ferris Gilli’s stuff on must-not-do’s with renku diction but you can bet your backsack it’ll be in there [handy hint: anyone who uses the expression ‘ing words’ can be safely ignored].”

      To be fair about context of ‘ing words’, it took me a long time and quite some effort,on haiku forums, to dispel the myth that all words ending in ‘ing’ were gerunds. Who was I anyway? An authority had declared so in a popular, beginner’s ‘how to haiku’ book. Later, I realised that rather than enter into armed combat, Americans like Ferris who knew what a gerund was and wasn’t had simply chosen to get around it by saying ‘ing words’. She did know her audience.

      – Lorin

  78. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C, J

    Willie and Lorin, I’d like you to take #9 and #10 between you please. Whoever posts a snug fit to #9 first the other to take #10. Let’s go with the traditon you seen in some Edo period stuff that’s a hangover from ‘high’ renga whereby the ‘love’ run goes from ‘invitation’ (often youth + innocence) via consumation (albeit not full frontal) to bitter old age/disillusion etc. That’ll synch nicely with our Nijuin structure here as we get a long verse next at #9 for the steamy bit and then a short verse at #10 to close out with a downbeat tonal change. Inevitably such arrangements can be viewed as para-thematic, but as long as we don’t stray into the blatantly narrative I’m happy.

    And that’s quite enough from me for one day. It’s dark, and it’s snowing – so it must be time for some Sunshine! glug glug! J

    btw – if ever you’ve doubted that the English were idiots here’s what my countrymen say about my favourite beer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/rossendale-sunshine/134282/

  79. Lorin Ford says:

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    Mr and Mrs Smith
    still the favourite name at
    Honeymoon Hotel

    – Lorin

  80. Lorin Ford says:

    … perhaps ‘name’ is redundant in context?

    Mr and Mrs Smith
    still the favourites at
    Honeymoon Hotel

    – Lorin

  81. Lorin Ford says:

    Mr and Mrs Smith
    in every suite at
    Honeymoon Hotel

  82. Lorin Ford says:

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    wave upon wave
    the ocean keeps on coming
    keeps on coming

    – Lorin

  83. Lorin Ford says:

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    two by two
    to Honeymoon Hotel
    the Smith couples

    – Lorin

  84. Lorin Ford says:

    with a shiver of silk
    Salome sheds her veil

    wave upon wave
    the ocean keeps on coming
    keeps on coming . . .

    – Lorin

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      As in ‘From Here to Eternity’ … the kiss scene …

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        i.e. metaphor for consummation

      • Lorin Ford says:

        … I googled the title + ‘kiss scene’, Cynthia, and there were lots of results. 😉 Watched it on Youtube (without sound, my sound has gone) Definitely a hot ’50s beach scene, and I think it’s been copied more than once. I’m not surprised. Film and haiku both commonly use superimposition and Eisenstein, I believe, had studied Japanese verse and theatre prior to his development of the ‘montage’ technique. How many ‘consummation’ scenes have had a ‘cut to a suggestive element of nature’ to avoid the censor’s scissors? For the better, usually, too, since it involves the viewer’s imagination. And as my late friend Ted Lord used to advise the local poets when hosting an annual, open stage ‘erotic poetry’ competition: “The feather, not the whole chook. ”

        – Lorin

  85. Sorry, but I’m drained. Work, eat, sleep for a month now to save a schedule my betters seem intent on destroying to save a dime. Maybe if I’d seen that flick with Rita Hayworth … ahh, Rita, packing my lunch and tucking me in.

    Alas, only that swarthy Pakistani hotel manager to greet me when I return from a long day. I wonder how he ended up here in South Dakota, next to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate? The local Buffalo Wallow Bar and Grill can’t even produce a decent Bloody.

    We did count a hundred white-tailed deer on the way back yesterday, though.

  86. John Carley says:

    verbs, adjectives and gerunds: I take your point Lorin. One has to communicate in a way that can be understood. But, to argue it back the otherway, the problem arises in the first place because people wish to enjoy the benefits of discussing prosody without taking the time out to learn the most basic concepts such as parts of speech. So we end up with precisely the sort of simple misunderstanding you describe: all ‘ing words’ are adjectives, or whatever.

    What I find more alarming is the propensity for people to advance such theories as though they have some sort of universality or legitimacy related to a body of carefully articulated theory and practice that has developed over time. I have no objection whatsoever to Ferris, or anybody else, proposing a set of considerations in respect of renku dictions (or anything else) that they have personally elabourated and which they think may be of use/food for thought etc. What gets my goat are the itimations that these things have in fact appeared on a tablet of stone somewhere up a mountain. Only Renku Reckoner was directly dictated by an archangel. ‘Fred’ I think he was called. 🙂 J

  87. John Carley says:

    Willie, no worries buddy – sorry to hear you’re so beat. And anyway you’re not the one holding anything up… I’m doing the dirty on you both here because I think I’ve got to move the goal posts.

    I could boast to the effect t that at least I don’t just fiddle with other people’s stuff. But the truth is that, irrespective of all that earlier agonising, I got the draft of #8 wrong. I’ve come back to it fresh and (a) encountering ‘Salome’ here is like being hit between the eyes with a haddock, and (b) ‘tail /veil’ as end rhyme just doesn’t do it. This following is, I believe, correct:

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    Now, dropping the proper name ‘Salome’ messes with the responding Mr and Mrs Smith. But I think an irresistible verse may anyway be found by fusing the strands of Lorin’s responding drafts. Oh yes, I’ve seen those artistic films: cut away to ‘train entering tunnel’. And I used to live in Brighton – home to the quintessential dirty weekend ever since the mad prince regent had The Pavilion built.

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    wave upon wave
    dit – dit – dit – dah
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    ‘bursts into spume’ (ho-ho), ‘pounds up the beach’ (possibly) etc. Thoughts please.

    Were a solution such as the above to stand that would leave the final verse to draw on the essential loneliness of the much-married, and now aged, female film star etc. I have in mind this classic wrap up to a love sequence by Basho (Ono no Komachi was a waka poet renowned for her beauty – it all ended badly of course!).

    affairs of the heart
    experienced and
    no two quite the same [Boncho]

    at this world’s end
    all are as Komachi [Basho]

    You can say this for Basho: he wasn’t just a miserable ********, he was proud of it too 🙂 🙂 J

  88. Lorin Ford says:

    ” wave upon wave
    dit – dit – dit – dah
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    ‘bursts into spume’ (ho-ho), ‘pounds up the beach’ (possibly) etc. Thoughts please.”

    A very hard one, John! Nothing that springs to my mind that wouldn’t collapse the poem to smutty farce or silliness.

    eg

    wave after wave
    to see Harry’s crown jewels
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    …and that’s the best of what’s occurred to me! … & I’d want a pen-name to have that in any publication 🙂

    Will keep thinking on it throughout the day.

    Meanwhile, is there a reason why this one doesn’t fit the bill?

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    wave upon wave
    the ocean keeps on coming
    keeps on coming . . .

    I thought the rhythm worked and that the repetition might set the stage (& mood) for ‘the inevitable’, however the inevitable might be framed (even successive marriages…any inevitable let-down, fall from grace, aging …anything ‘on the ebb’,…tides in the affairs of men and women “bound in shallows and in miseries” etc.

    (The link, btw, had to do with ‘shiver of silk’, as waves breaking and slipping up the shore have the movement and tactile sense of silk…or vice versa)

    Is it that there needs to be something specifically human and literal in this verse? Or is it perhaps that ‘ocean’ might be seen as a ‘distant reincarnation’ of ‘river fog’ in a previous verse?

    at Honeymoon Hotel
    the ocean keeps on coming
    keeps on coming . . .

    …but I don’t like that at all. It needs the waves and the ocean for it not to be reductive or shallow, to keep that sense of a natural force.

    Hmmm… will keep thinking.

    – Lorin

  89. Lorin Ford says:

    … or is it that there’s something wrong with lyrical? Despite, as Cynthia pointed out, the image of ocean waves have been used in film as a way to suggest ‘consummation’ and the cynical view is that it’s a ploy to avoid censorship, the use of montage/ superimposition, is often inherently lyrical in effect.

    I was in two minds … to go with the reductive and cynical, the already seedy (the Smiths & Honeymoon Hotel) or to given the sexual part its proper due and awe, leaving the undercutting/ disappointment/ wisdom etc to the next verse. In the end, the ‘ocean’ verse felt more suited for a ‘middle’ love verse.

    – Lorin

  90. sandra says:

    behind every door
    at the Honeymoon Hotel
    the popping of corks

    (another film fave, the overflowing spume from a champagne bottle)

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Hmmm, yes, but I’m not sure about the syntax, Sandra, repeating as it does that of two others in near proximity :

      2. ‘in the blackberry basket’ – Sandra
      3. (‘the chameleon’s tail’) – Cynthis
      4. ‘with a shiver of silk’ – John
      5. ‘behind every door’ – Sandra

      Inversions can seem tedious when repeated too frequently, imo. I’ve been trying to avoid inverted syntax in this stretch.

      -Lorin

  91. Lorin Ford says:

    wave upon wave
    dit – dit – dit – dah
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    wave upon wave
    the perfumes of Arabia
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    hmmm… perhaps not ‘veil’ + ‘Arabia’, and anyway it’s from the Scottish play. We don’t want visions of suicide bombings, I think.

    wave upon wave
    that cheesy fragrance
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    um, no! Smack over the wrist for me: I’m channeling ‘Absolutely Fabulous’.

    – Lorin

    • sandra says:

      wave upon wave
      of animal scents
      in the hotel’s lobby

      🙂 Sorry, not very good at innuendo (probably even worse, having just been at a 70th birthday lunch)

      wave upon wave
      someone’s musk perfume
      at the Honeymoon Hotel

      Don’t know if this is any help, Lorin. But maybe it will spark something …

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        animal scents?! mmmn…beyond innuendo, Sandra:-) must’ve been that birthday lunch:-)

      • Lorin Ford says:

        Thanks for trying, Sandra. It’s a bummer trying to get a line that isn’t just really bad between ‘wave after wave’ & ‘Honeymoon Hotel’. Perfumes are things that can come in waves, which is why I tried it, but I don’t think it works… too overwhelming & obvious, even nauseating.

        I’m guessing that

        wave after wave
        the Johns keep on coming
        to Honeymoon Hotel

        might not be quite it, either 😉 ‘the players’ ? I still don’t like it. And references to cross-gender persons & surprises of that kind don’t work for me either.

        Everything just seems too obvious, too cheap and tawdry, too cynical for the middle ‘love’ verse, leaving little for the third verse to do. I feel that the movement over the 3 verses needs to be a movement through 3 stages. Actually, having the ‘heroine’ already disrobed in the first verse narrows the options.

        with a shiver of silk
        her last veil hits the floor

        all his promises
        forgotten by morning
        at Honeymoon Hotel

        with a shiver of silk
        her last veil hits the floor

        wave upon wave
        of clashing aftershaves
        at Honeymoon Hotel

        (ugh! )

        with a shiver of silk
        her last veil hits the floor

        nothing to wear
        to the Tunnel of Love
        she cancels the date

        – Lorin

  92. Lorin Ford says:

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    nothing to wear
    to the cocktail party
    at Honeymoon Hotel

    – Lorin

  93. CynthiaRowe says:

    wave upon wave
    la petite mort
    at Heartbreak Hotel

    ??

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ah, Cynthia, your French is sure to come in handy in this renku. 😉

      ah, Cynthia, your French is sure to come in handy in this renku. 😉

      If you go to the index at the top of the page and click on ‘current renku’, a pop-down menu will appear giving ‘Duelling Renku 1’ and ‘Duelling Renku 2’. Willie was sabaki for the first, John for the 2nd. Then if you click in the second, you’ll get the threads of the composition of ‘Poets’ Picnic’ which contains some good instructive commentary from John and these verses:

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

      toujours se fier
      with a bob each way!

      The first is John’s, the 2nd is Barbara’s that John tweaked by turning L1 to French. The pair of renku will be in the March issue of AHG.

      My concern would be that having ‘le/la petit mort’ again in this renku we working on now might go against any chances of it being in the running for the competition. There are not many places where published renku are easily accessible, but AHG is one such venue.

      – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        It’s la petite mort — mort is feminine, so maybe needs an edit before March AHG comes out. 🙂
        se fier is transitive so doesn’t make much sense on its own — maybe that could do with e rethink 🙂

      • Lorin Ford says:

        tee hee… 🙂 Cynthia, I’ll leave you and John to agree on the final form of those two verses in ‘Poets’ Picnic’ . When it’s resolved, would you let Willie & me know if there are to be any changes?

        – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        re se fier

        unless it’s

        toujours si fier — meaning — always so proud

        then it makes sense 🙂

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ” unless it’s

        toujours si fier — meaning — always so proud

        then it makes sense 🙂 ” – Cynthia

        I’ll lay odds that’s it, Cynthia, it does make sense in context. (Have a look at the thread) Just a spello. Will wait to hear back from John, then give Willie a prompt if need be.

        – Lorin

  94. sandra says:

    The French for honeymoon is lune de miel, any help?

    la premiere journee (the first day)
    le matin apres (the morning after)

    chanson d’armour

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      the morning after is: le lendemain matin

      chanson d’amour

      you’ve got me on a roll here 🙂
      … the French schoolmarm rises again 🙂

      • sandra says:

        Aargh, I always spell amour wrong (armour is possibly needed in amour, but not always!) and I guessed at the morning after – so much English is French, but then it isn’t.

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ‘chanson d’armour’ 🙂 ..that’d be what Joan of Arc wore? 😉

        Maybe I should go & play my old Leonard Cohen’s and see if that inspires…”O, the flames/ they followed Joan of Arc…& high above the wedding guests / he hung the ashes of / her wedding dress. // La lah, la lah, la la la la la-lah, la la la la-lah.” (exit with maniacal laughter)

        – Lorin

  95. CynthiaRowe says:

    Talking of Joan — and thinking of ‘maniacal laughter’! — I had ‘Our Joan’ blasting from the stereo last night. Any consummated love inspiration from one of her many operas? 🙂

  96. CynthiaRowe says:

    at Heartbreak Hotel
    the mad scene from Lucia
    on the radio

    ??

  97. in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    Que paso? … early on from the Snail archives, do I correctly recall a reference to a trad. JP charcoal-type heater and two lads sharing a blanket ? A verse that was not chosen. I ask since a search would take some time. And, some fragments to follow:

    hot on the trail / the trail not so lonely
    bunkmates / bedrolls

    trailmates
    sharing a bedroll
    the prairie not so lonesome

    Gack!

    (feeling/scratching) that itch
    from our woolen bedrolls
    the trail not so lonesome

    Stilted? Needs more consideration, perhaps. I’ll return from the mines in ten hours or less, me thinks.

    Good morning, Southerners!

  98. John Carley says:

    Lorin posts earlier: is there a reason why this one doesn’t fit the bill?

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    wave upon wave
    the ocean keeps on coming
    keeps on coming . . .

    It seems to me that one of the problems with the understanding of renku currently is that, from the way ‘experts’ go on about ‘the rules’ you’d think that, before suggesting a new verse, it was necessary scrutinise every single aspect of each proceeding verse in order to avoid the infringement of God knows what criterion. This chimeric monster has a name: ‘backlink’ – and it looks *exactly* like the one that used to hide under my bed when I was five years old and had a fever.

    Frankly speaking I’ve little patience for such forensic nonsense – it is a displacement activity seized upon by the anti-poets that seem drawn to haikai in order not to have to deal with the concept of artistic judgement. BUT there’s an awful lot of it about. And for our particular purposes – writing a competiton entry – we’ve got to assume that our text may well end up being subjected to a deal of this nonsense. I’ve therefore being trying to form judgements which take account of it. So for instance I’ve been antsy about ‘vei’ in #8 when taken against ‘fog’ in #6.

    Hence my suggestion of an ellision between the two strong directions you indicated with the intitial raft of draughts. I think there’s a real danger that, with the chameleon cycling through its colours at #7, if we have ‘wave upon wave / keeps on coming’ at #9 there is a real danger of the potential scrutineer seeing “reiteration” as the “backlink” between the two verses. If, however, the final image directed strongly away from “reiteration” via ‘wave upon wave’ transitioning to ‘Honeymoon Hotel’ then the “backlink” would not be the percieved import of the verse. Arrrrgggh!!

    So much for my genius though. Because “backlink” doesn’t just operate at the last-but-one verse level, it operates for all of time and in all entelechies that have ever been imagined. So, I realised at 3 am this morning, we simply *cannot* have ‘shadows and moon’ at #5 and ‘Honeymoon’ at #9. And because of the subtle thread of intangibility that weaves between ‘shadow/fog/changeling/veil’ we simply can’t get away with ‘scent’ here at #9 either – it’s one whispy thing too far.

    So where does this leave us? It means sticking with what is simple. And with what feels right. I think therefore we need to direct our attention back to the Smiths…

  99. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at [Honeymoon] Hotel

    ——-

    I honestly think this might hit the buttons. The scansion of ‘Honeymoon’ is perfect but because of the aforesaid ‘moon’ conflict we’d just need to find another name that scanned the same and conjured the correct amount of dubious chintz.

    Thoughts please. J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “I think there’s a real danger that, with the chameleon cycling through its colours at #7, if we have ‘wave upon wave / keeps on coming’ at #9 there is a real danger of the potential scrutineer seeing “reiteration” as the “backlink” between the two verses. ” – John

      Arrgh! That would never have occurred to me. (Still doesn’t, really) However, since I have to admit that ‘moon’ in ‘honeymoon’ was starting me in the face the whole time and that didn’t occur to me either, I do need to concede a general blind spot, probably a huge one. Thanks for clearing that up John. The category of wispy things!!! Including fog, perfume and veils! It doesn’t sound quite authentic to me. I’m recalling my
      brief and very trying time at TRG … I wanted to publish a list of giddy things and I know who was going to be first on it.

      autumn rain
      the list of falling things
      grows longer

      (But an interesting thought occurs as a way to get rid of my most unfavourite thing in renku and haiku… the names of the months pretending to be seasonal references. Obviously they’re illegitimate in a poem which must have a ‘moon’ in it, wouldn’t you say?)
      —————————–

      everyone answers
      to the name of Smith
      at [Honeymoon] Hotel

      I think your solution works well, John. Probably we can add just about any one-syllable word to ‘Honey’ to get something sticky enough. I’m happy to accept anything that anyone comes up with. Here’s some starters:

      Honeybee, Honeycomb, Honeybird, Honeybun, Honeypot, Honeybunch, Honeylove, Honeytongue, Honeydew, (oops… cancel that last one… we’ve had a courgette flower and arguably courgettes, squashes, pumpkins, gourds and melons are botanically in the same family, and anyway we might need dew later! ) Honeywell (no, I think they make computers, or once did)

      HornyToad Hotel. ..might be overdoing it?

      Merrilee Motel, …

      – Lorin

  100. John Carley says:

    Willie, that word was ‘kotatsu’ – the charcoal heater + table + quilt combination: https://www.google.co.uk/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=944&bih=955&q=kotatsu&oq=kotatsu&gs_l=img.12..0l9j0i24.2506.3740.0.5319.7.6.0.1.1.0.83.365.6.6.0…0.0…1ac.1.zkf4bQPgvb8

    Nice and snuggly! J

  101. Lorin Ford says:

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor
    —-
    John, what would you think, for your ‘veil’ verse, of this:

    a shiver of silk
    as her last veil hits the floor

    ?

    It’s probably just me, but the ‘twinning’ of inverted syntax between “in the blackberry basket” and “with a shiver of silk” keeps catching my attention in a slightly irritating way. But “a shiver of silk” after “the chameleon’s tail” doesn’t annoy me at all.

    Well, ‘irritation’ and ‘annoyance’ are very subjective, 😉 but they do point to ‘distracting’… at about the level of the sound of a mosquito in the room when one is reading. Just a little nagging thing. Thought I’d mention it, just in case.

    – Lorin

  102. sandra says:

    1: Hotpillow Hotel/ the hot-pillow joint
    (a term I’ve come across in the writings of the genius that is James Lee Burke)

    2: The history of love hotels (ラブホテル, rabu hoteru) can be traced back to the early Edo Period …(thanks Wikipedia)

    Okay, that’s not as seemly as Honeymoon, but …

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at the hot-pillow hotel

  103. John Carley says:

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    Wonderful! I get a very strong image of all that early seventies middle-rise system-build stuff: each appartment with its own luxury balcony. As it happens I’ve just been watching Tony Curtis and Roger Moore in a *very* old episode of The Persuaders on YouTube. If only we could all live in San Tropez! Perfect.

    OK, Willie – this gives you the sign-off verse for the love sequence, and the end of the movement. As I indicated earlier a classic way of approaching this is with a really down-beat old/miserable/lonely/deserted vibe. But that’s no kind of obligation.

    It’s lateish here, and I’m a bit lit up by the Sunshine, so let’s keep the issue of those inversions under advice for the moment. The convention remains that all draughts to date are provisional.

    It’s looking very much like we’ll hit ten verses in 12 days. At this rate we’ll complete the poem with a week to go before the submission deadline. I’m very grateful indeed for everyone’s forebearance. I read somewhere that back in the day they used to have little paper twists full of incense and that you had to settle each verse before the thing burn out.

    No pressure there then! 🙂 J

  104. Lorin Ford says:

    Here’s Honeycomb Hotel, the old-fashioned sort:

    There are actually lots of Honeycomb Hotels, especially in China and Japan, the newest sort involving v. space age construction. It’s the future, and they’ll probably be inhabited by the many clones of Agent Smith… remember him? ‘The Matrix’.
    (an idle moment)
    – Lorin

  105. John Carley says:

    Yeah, nice one. My thoughts turned first to ‘Happiness Hotel’ – also asiatic predominantly. But the warm glow wore off when I realised we have ‘happy snaps’ in #4!. In this context your photo prompts another pondering to rise from the deeps: do kanji more closely to resemble sememes than do English word stems? And, if this were so, would it give more legitmacy to a focus on word-level exclusion criteria in linked verse? 😦 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      How interesting! I googled ” word-level exclusion criteria in linked verse” and 5th on the list (after the irrelevant ‘ JAMA network instructions for authors’, Wikipedia’s ‘Universe’ , Wikipedia’s ‘Bi-polar Disorder’ and a PDF titled ‘Shakespeare/ Poetry Linked Task’) I got ‘Occurence and Recurrence’ :

      http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk/Occ_rec.htm

      …which I’ll read again to understand your question better 😉

      What that last / first kanji (if that’s what it is) on the right in the Chinese sign resembles most to me is a pesticide sprayer… which admission probably disqualifies me right off from making any kind of comment whatsoever.

      – Lorin

  106. the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    prostitution
    travel
    anger
    paved streets
    in a bar
    falling things
    a letter

    About as far as I got, trying to avert disaster at the jobsite today. Can’t think … I might not return for 11-12 hours, so may have to take a pass or go degachi.

    • John Carley says:

      Hi everyone, Willie needs a hand. And renku is collaborative writing. So let’s collaborate. Reading back you’ll see I’ve outlined some ideas on how love sequences used to close in ‘classical’ renga, and which transfered often into Basho school renku. Whether that appeals or not it is certainly true that this verse is the end of the present six verse movement, so ideally should generate something of a sense of ‘closing out’ or ‘pause’. Willie has given us some clear pegs, let’s see if we can hang some candidates on them.

      with a shiver of silk
      her last veil hits the floor

      everyone answers
      to the name of Smith
      at Honeycomb Hotel
      ——
      his scribbled note
      blows down the empty street
      ——
      a single leather glove
      found in the gutter

      These aren’t wonderful. But you get the idea! J

  107. sandra says:

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    throwing his key
    in front of the street-sweeper

    the edge of his temper
    blunted by antimacassars

    the clock’s tick keeps time
    with his confessions

    packing his suitcase
    she tucks in a letter

    throwing his letter
    to the street-sweeper

    a southerly change
    flings grit in his eyes

  108. Lorin Ford says:

    How about a relatively happy ending for a woman with a certain past, for a change? It does happen …

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the pachinko shop mine,
    a contented old age

    “The majority of pachinko shops in Japan are owned by Zainichi Koreans … ”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachinko

    – Lorin

  109. John Carley says:

    I really l like the street-sweeper Sandra. And that gets me thinking that we are indeed crying out for a tangible person. So I’m borrowing him! 🙂 J

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    ——-

    the street-sweeper
    gives one last Gallic shrug

    ——–

    an old man with a limp
    takes out the trash

  110. sandra says:

    I throw his letter
    to the street-sweeper

    it’s the grit in my eyes
    that makes them water so

    closing the book
    a sigh of contentment

    alone for so many years
    no one came close

  111. CynthiaRowe says:

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at the Honeycomb Hotel

    he flips the pages
    of the Greek Islands brochure

    behind him the door
    slams twice

    she flaunts her breasts
    at the Hamburg meat market

    the Dear John letter flutters
    across the cobblestones

  112. Lorin Ford says:

    I like the ‘Gallic shrug’, a v. expressive gesture… “That’s life.”

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    ——-

    the street-sweeper
    gives one last Gallic shrug

    Not so sure I like the emphasis on ‘one’, though. Somehow, (don’t ask me why because I don’t know!) counting seems off, here. .. takes something away from the Gallic shrug itself. Anything wrong with the indefinite article?

    (It’s like the difference between ‘One Hundred Gourds’ & ‘A Hundred Gourds’ )

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ps, another reason I like this is that ‘street-sweeper’ implies ‘early morning’, and therefore throws back a context of night to the previous verse.

      The mood, something like early Bob Dylan:

      “..and you’re right from your side / & I’m right from mine. We’re both just one too many mornings/ and a thousand/ miles / behind.”

      – Lorin

  113. CynthiaRowe says:

    …shouldn’t the street-sweeper be getting on with his job rather than pausing to give multiple Gallic shrugs! 🙂

    • Lorin Ford says:

      He’s trying to get on with it, it’s just that these bloody tourists persist in asking him to tell them the meaning of life. 😉
      – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        and throwing their letters down on the cobbles! What is it with Les Ros-bifs?

      • Lorin Ford says:

        “*shiver* and the *shrug*, too similar?” – Sandra
        … hmmm… not for me, though I see what you mean. Even if it was a person & not silk shivering, wouldn’t there be distinction between a voluntary gesture, like a shrug, and an involuntary reaction, like a shiver? They seem different, anyway.

        – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Can’t have throwing letters down on the cobbles after veils hitting the floor! 🙂 Too uchikoshi? Hmmm… but then, probably can’t have all these ‘last things’, either:

      with a shiver of silk
      her last veil hits the floor

      everyone answers
      to the name of Smith
      at Honeycomb Hotel

      the street-sweeper
      gives one last Gallic shrug

      the street-sweeper
      gives his usual Gallic shrug

      the street-sweeper
      gives the same old Gallic shrug

      ?

      …neither quite it, I think.

      – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        and then there’s the *shiver* and the *shrug*, too similar?

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        anyway, if he gives too many Gallic shrugs the image loses it’s ‘cool’ and veers towards Tourette’s Syndrome 🙂 why not simply

        the street-sweeper
        gives a Gallic shrug

        ?

        not sure that shrug and shiver are the same, especially if there is only one shrug?

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ” anyway, if he gives too many Gallic shrugs the image loses it’s ‘cool’ and veers towards Tourette’s Syndrome…”

        LOL Cynthia… I do see what you mean.

        – L

  114. CynthiaRowe says:

    and when Les Rosbifs toss him a tip he says ‘Ton cul vert est moche’ which, if said quickly, sounds like ‘thank you very much’ 🙂

  115. Lorin Ford says:

    John, for your consideration:

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    a shiver of silk,
    her corset hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    gives one last Gallic shrug

    From veil to corset … well, it fits with chameleon skin, has ‘body’ in its history as a word, there’s the corset scene in Madame Bovary (which bookends the ‘treading on the silk trail of her dress’ scene earlier on) and they’re not so old-fashioned since Madonna in the 80s and fetishism becoming more mainstream now. Plenty for sale on the internet.

    Trying to find a way around those two ‘last things’.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      seeking, hiding
      way beyond the curfew
      shadows and moon

      in the blackberry basket
      a taste of river fog

      the chameleon’s tail
      curls between
      red, orange, yellow

      a shiver of silk,
      her corset hits the floor

      everyone answers
      to the name of Smith
      at Honeycomb Hotel

      one last Gallic shrug
      from the street-sweeper

      ?

      – L

      • Lorin Ford says:

        …ps if ‘shiver’ & ‘shrug’ , as you mention, Sandra, might be too similar, there’s always the possibility of ‘shimmer’ for the silk thing.
        – L

  116. sandra says:

    I know where you’re going with corset, but it sounds harsh after shiver and silk.

    bustiere
    chemise
    camisole

    But then all of these interfere with the Gallic shrug …

    and on that unhelpful note I’m signing off for a bit.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      I don’t know, Sandra, I rather feel that, instead of harshness, the sound of the ‘corset line’ balances the ‘shiver of silk’ (variation: ‘shimmer of silk’ ) line in an interesting way… v. Flaubert, actually, in the way the garment gains an ambiguous life of its own. The twinning of the assonance patterns works for me, too. I like the decisiveness of ‘corset hits the floor’. It lends an unexpected resonance to the garment itself. This is a garment that could slither and pounce! 🙂

      Yeah, I agree that we can’t afford to presage ‘Gallic’ with Frenchified lingerie words. 🙂 Better to stick to pragmatic Engish via Latin here and leave any possible French associations way underground where no-one can pin them down. I think something as unconscious as a distant association with Flaubert’s style/ technique is allowed to reach forward, though. It probably happens all the time, part of the DNA of renku.

      I’m preferring ‘shimmer’ now because the sound of ‘shiver’ takes me back too easily to ‘river’, and the coldness of Autumn fog… this on top of the ‘ a dit of dot’ syntax pattern… (which does give the impression of framing the chameleon verse in the Kannonbiraki fashion, like that Buddhist alter piece on Renku Reckoner (whether it officially counts as kannonbiraki/ uchikoshi or not) ‘Shimmer’ somehow goes with the way a lizard or chameleon catches the eye when they’re trying to be still and the way the colours move as they change, too.

      in the blackberry basket
      a taste of river fog

      the chameleon’s tail
      curls between
      red, orange, yellow

      with a shiver of silk
      her last veil hits the floor

      a shiver of silk,
      her corset hits the floor

      a shimmer of silk,
      her corset hits the floor

      (the 2 variations I’m offering)

      Am I turning into one of those ‘backlink people’? I don’t think so, because this isn’t about subject/ topic, it’s about patterns of sounds and syntax and keeping that in mind in regard to moving forward without being hitched back to the last-but-one.

      But it could be that I’m simply being an old fuss-pot. 😉 Up to John to use or lose as he sees fit, anyway.
      – L

  117. Thanks, people. Fun times in SD, USA. A reservations jumble occurred, so we had to change rooms at our own little hotel, then some sub-contractor with his own agenda nearly undermined my material list by attempting to order six tonnes too much material! The rest of the two score or more people under my charge are doing well. At least I think they are – most don’t speak English! Things are under control again for a while at least.

    A Native American worker (we’re on the Reservation building a new administration complex) told me of his own love story – an eight inch blade through the lung as a parting gift. I didn’t bother to ask if he still had feelings for that particular femme-fatale, but Joe just brushed it off in his own self-effacing way. I like that guy, as I do all the “Indians” on the job, to share his vernacular. They maintain a sense of humour in the face of any adversity.

    prostitution
    travel
    anger
    paved streets
    in a bar
    falling things
    a letter

    I have variously a tip left on the nightstand, a long haul trucker, the sound of footsteps on wet pavement, wet rings from a glass on the bar, rain (though winter approaches), and a Dear John letter. The trouble is, I keep hitting the right notes but with a five pound maul.

    I think the street sweeper verse fits well. Evolved from a road paved with cobblestones, he/she is neither too grand a personage or falling into coarseness. Fatigued as I have been at the end of the day, I couldn’t muster such subtlety in a statement containing so many implications. “One last (Gallic)shrug” denotes the necessary finality quite well, and the stresses on words seem to merge seamlessly within the progression of verses.

    I’m taking this weekend off to catch my breath and should feel improved forthwith.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      yeah, I agree with all you say about the ‘street-sweeper/ Gallic shrug’; verse, Willie.
      I don’t have a problem with ‘one last’ if ‘last veil’ can go from the last -but-one verse, and this is the version I prefer:

      one last Gallic shrug
      from the street-sweeper

      – L

      • Lorin Ford says:

        “wet rings from a glass on the bar,” – Willie

        …reminds me of an early ku I wrote:

        beer garden table …
        the blurred edges
        of many circles

        paper wasp April 2005

        You’d get it, I think, Willie.

        – L

  118. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C, J, L, W

    Kanji as pesticide sprayers eh… don’t get me started! I can think of a few people that deserve a good sprutz – not least anyone who describes renku as ‘a game’ or participants as ‘players’ (I was also doing a bit of random reading yesterday). Talking of exclusion criteria, if anyone would like to see quite how much pesticide might be required I’ve got a translation of Konishi Jun’ichi’s ‘Art of Renga’ which I can forward on a private basis. Right, to our poem:

    For the moment I’d ask everybody to go with the above. Why? In terms of function the word ‘last’ in #8 cuts off the cycling to and fro of the previous verse movement and gives us both a break and linearity into the ‘narrative’ passage of love verses. By contrast ‘last’ in that earlier street sweeper draught (at #10) is a kind of functional tautology: it is the ‘Gallic shrug’ which consigns the first page of our poem to indifference, we don’t need to reinforce it with ‘ultimate’ or ‘signing off’. Returning briefly to #8 – the words ‘shiver’, ‘silk’ and ‘hit’ are present principally for their tactile and kinetic qualities. Some stage soon we’ll need dynamic ‘sound’ .

    For the moment at #10 I’ve sketched in the word ‘returns’ just to give shape to the piece. There are some possible advantages in that it generates an unseen interlocutor. Anyway the final shape of the verse has to depend on Willie’s take on it.

    Let’s look at the next verse (only) and I’ll open another strand to discuss the wider poem from here on.

    #11 is ‘degachi’ – i.e. open to all on the writing team. Higginson and Kondo, allegedly per Higashi, have us going to ‘winter’ or ‘non-season’. One effect of which is to oblige a run of fully five ‘non-season’ verses before finally reaching ‘spring’ in the last movement http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/shorter_renku.html

    I find it hard to believe that any of these guys have actually read as much Basho as they claim (a relevant comment because Higashi’s avowed intention with the Nijuin was to achieve a shorter but otherwise amenable version of the Kasen). Anyway, five non-season verses is too many in a sequence that divides 4/6/6/4 (a mistake I’ve repeated on Renku Reckoner and which I’ll correct once the competition is over – in my defence I haven’t even looked at a Nijuin since 2007, and when I came back to it the other day I thought I’d made a whole series of ghastly and crass mistakes with the verse allocation table!).

    So, we are competitive. We stay non-season. We need a sense of re-launch and quite a strong verse without straying too overtly into verse structures that are essentially haiku-identical.

    Go! 🙂 🙂 🙂 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Somehow I don’t feel quite qualified to offer anything for this verse, but someone’s got to start 😉

      the street-sweeper
      [returns] a Gallic shrug

      * * *
      between translations
      a frog jumps into … whoops,
      the bouillabaisse

      – Lorin

    • William Sorlien says:

      I’m up for a translation copy, John. I’m ‘light’ in the reading department.

  119. John Carley says:

    The shape of things to come.

    Hi all, looking back I see we’ve achieved half the poem in 11/12 days. This is excellent turn around; thank you. We’ll have to sustain this if we are to come in on time. MY GOD – I’ve just been to the HSA site and realise they are insisting on surface/air mail to reach them by Feb 28th. Wow. We’re going to need a bit of secretarial efficiency here!

    The Nijuin. Is ugly and unbalanced. Or rather, it is what we make of it. So far I’m confident we’ve done the possible. In the post above I allude to the fact that 5 non-season verses (as indicated by Higginson and Kondo) are too many in a run for a sequence this short. We deal with this by going :

    #11 non
    #12 winter
    #13 winter moon
    #14 non
    #15 non
    #16 non

    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    This has the distinct advantage of putting ‘winter moon’ in a long verse position. It means we’ve ‘deviated’ from the Higginson Kondo template referenced directly by the HSA Einbond criteria. But if the judges don’t understand that those winter verse positions above all are nominal only we can forget about it anyway.

    A structural flaw with the Nijuin is that the closing movement (JP: ‘kyu’) is too constricted at only 4 verses. We deal with this by overtly giving the ‘movement boundary’ between #16 and #17, as shown above, but by actually adjusting the verse tenor differently thus:

    (second half of the development movement – ‘ha’)
    #11 non
    #12 winter
    #13 winter moon
    #14 non
    (rapid close – ‘kyu’)
    #15 non
    #16 non
    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    A corollary to this is that #11, #12, #13 and #14 are where our poem might be most ‘mosso’ (to use an orchestral analogy). We don’t have to go for full on war and pestilence etc, but a little bit of ‘edge’ is good. As are some phonic bumps.

    Lastly – we will close the poem with as near an Edo-identical spring run as we can muster without descending into parody, complete with ageku full of bunnies and Easter eggs. 😉 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ” MY GOD – I’ve just been to the HSA site and realise they are insisting on surface/air mail to reach them by Feb 28th. Wow. We’re going to need a bit of secretarial efficiency here!” -John

      We might be able to save about a week if the finalised renku was emailed to Willie to print off & post from within the USA?

      -Lorin

      • William Sorlien says:

        Thursday night, catching up on my reading after the commute:

        Certainly – first class mail or registered is quick and cheap. I’d be glad to send the finished poem along.

  120. sandra says:

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    if life gives you lemons …
    closing the book
    I stretch and sigh

    the cafe’s chatter
    and steamed-up windows
    just the antidote

    carefully choosing
    a paper I can’t read
    from the cafe’s rack

    in the mirror, a plate
    of babas aux rhum
    waltzing round the room

  121. sandra says:

    applying lipstick
    with a heavy hand,
    all the better to eat you with!

  122. sandra says:

    the tightrope walker’s
    well-developed calf muscles
    flex across the abyss

  123. Lorin Ford says:

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug
    —-
    mid-way in life
    I wake in a dark wood,
    cross my fingers

    mid-way in life
    awake in a dark wood,
    I cross my fingers

    – L

  124. CynthiaRowe says:

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    this new Berber carpet
    soft beneath my feet
    but, oh, those ceiling drips!

  125. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    [misunderstood]
    a frog jumps into
    – whoops –
    the bouillabaisse

    I absolutely love this idea. I’m suggesting that ‘misunderstood’ in line one might simplify the cadence slightly, allow for the reference to the interminable treatments of the (sainted) poem, and ramp up the irony slightly by suggesting that this is some sort of auto-da-fé on the part of the frog (long overdue).

    I’ve been looking at alternative ways to punctuate it on three lines but kept slipping into four. This is, admittedly, a big call. To be clear: as I suggested above with my comments about ‘mosso’ and ‘phonic bumps’ in the Basho school stuff this part of a sequence is where the irregular metrics often creep in. For instance in a translation Frogpond are just about to publish I’ve got three verses in a row presented on two lines in this section. But we are relying on the judges having some flexibility if we go with four lines here.

    Thoughts please (oops, taxi’s just turned up). 😉 J

  126. Lorin Ford says:

    Have at it, John, anyway you please. I’m surprised but delighted that you liked this one.

    I’m not averse to four lines, three lines two lines or even 5-7-5 if it’s not overstuffed just for the sake of syllable count. A ‘misunderstood’ frog is funny, cartoon-like, and this was intended as a light verse anyway, so may as well go the whole hog. I hope the judges have a sense of humour and know that something the French are famous for is farce.

    My one concern, though to me this verse is clearly ‘senryuish’ rather than ‘haikuish’, someone might pipe up with,”But everyone knows that kawazu is a kigo for Spring!” (which everyone does know, even me once I got over thinking it was a musical instrument) “They can’t have Spring here in a no-season position!”

    Come to think of it, having it in a non-traditional line format…4 lines… might be an excellent idea as it’d underline the farcical aspect and de-emphasise any suspicion of a lurking kigo.

    I’d be interested to know what Sandra, Cynthia and Willie think.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ps… there’s also the possibility of ‘lost in translation’, but you’ve probably already considered that.

      -L

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      A four-liner is a risk. It will either lift the renku above the masses and create attention (hopefully positive) – or the judges will wipe the entry for having broken the competition rules and place it on the NO pile. A bit like the ubiquitous frog; it’s hard to know which way to jump! 🙂

  127. John Carley says:

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into (whoops!)
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    [blob of something blots?]

    Yes, on reflection I’m with Cynthia: we can’t risk four lines – it is expecting too much. We have until the end of the poem to find a three line solution. I’ve pencilled in another above. I’ve absolutely no idea if this works anybetter than Lorin’s original presentation, only to say that I’d probably advise against ellipsis points, em dashies, double dashes, tildes, or anything else that are, or have, with any identifiable frequency,been used to denote a ‘kireji’ (a cutting character in Japanese i.e. flagging up an ‘American Haiku’ grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr).

    Is it ‘senryu like’? Good question. As with so much in renku I’d argue that really this ‘issue’ belongs more properly to the aesthetics of English-language haiku. Or, as perhaps it should be known, ‘poku’ (from ‘po-faced’). Anyway, Basho’s own sequences clearly demonstrates that his understanding of ‘hai’ still embraced the odd moment of surreal humour as long as (a) it was genuinely more than just coarse and (b) was at an opportune moment. The bouillabaisse verse hits all these buttons and more. This is the *perfect* time to generate a belly laugh and an accompanying cerebral tweak.

    Kawazu/Kaeru/Frog as season word ? I’m a John Bird man in terms of obligatory adherence to a blah-blah-blah except that, being an Australian, John was a gentleman, whereas I’d just line all the kigones (kigo+coglioni) up in a row and shoot them. Probably more than once, just to make sure. So… (oops: kireji!) the way round it is to tell the audience/judges/tea lady that we know what we’re doing and invite them to laugh/marvel with us. I sketch an illustration of what I mean above. If we can pull that off we then we can in turn use ‘saijiki’ or ‘kigo’ or ‘kiyose’ (or whatever seasonal prompt/pivot/reference we deploy) as a route in to a ‘serious’ seasonal verse next up – which probably suggests mustering a majestic ‘winter moon’ as a ‘reproach’ to the shennanigans immediately preceeding.

    having lived awhile
    in this hermitage
    now to break away

    news of our anthology …
    isn’t life great

    [Basho, Kyorai from Summer Moon]

    look, Basho the hut-dweller
    smites a butterfly

    what common cur
    could bring itself to eat
    rotten haika!

    blinking, blinking
    neither moon nor darkness rest

    [Kikaku, Basho, Kikaku from The Verse Merchants]

    coglione (pl. coglioni) [koʎˈʎone]: literally an offensive version of testicle; where referred to a person, it usually means idiot, burk, twit, fool. In addition, it can be used on several phrases such as avere i coglioni (literally, to have the balls, that is, to be very courageous), avere i coglioni girati (literally, to have turned testicles) which means to be angry/in a bad mood, or essere un coglione (to be a fool). Note that when said to a close friend (ma quanto sei coglione) the word is not really offensive. Sometimes Coglione was also featured in worldwide news when used by Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi referring to those who would not vote for him during the 2006 Italian election campaign.[2] It derives from Latin culio, pl. culiones, and is thus cognate to the Spanish cojones;

    Hey, ‘blob’ sets up ‘moon’! 🙂 J

  128. Lorin Ford says:

    “Is it ‘senryu like’? Good question. As with so much in renku I’d argue that really this ‘issue’ belongs more properly to the aesthetics of English-language haiku.” – John

    True. 🙂 And one would expect renku judges to be a tad more sophisticated than to cry ‘kigo’ in this context anyway. There’s a bit of ‘poku’ about, but thankfully not as much as there was. Humour in haiku is still a valued thing. I don’t know about renku.

    If you’re not concerned about a false attribution of ‘kigo’, John, why the concern about ‘ellipses as cut marker’? One would expect the judges to know the difference between cut/kire and cut marker/ kireji and it’s as clear as a bell that the break in this ku is not a cut.

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into (whoops!)
    the bouillabaisse

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into . . . whoops!
    the bouillabaisse

    Another way would be to eliminate the ellipses but have the same amount of spaces between ‘into’ and ‘whoops’ as there is in the ellipses version. I’m not keen on the brackets, it seems too heavy-handed for a comic verse and whereas the ellipses or spaces ‘enact’ the movement of a jumping frog, all that the brackets do is enclose/confine ‘whoops’, slowing the pace of the verse down and making ‘whoops’ seem like an afterthought, inserted later. .. as well as being an eyesore and making the verse seem over-punctuated. Imho, of course. 🙂

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into . . . whoops!
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    [blob of something blots?]

    Perfect to have this saijiki verse! 🙂 I rather like the connotations of ‘smear’ & ‘stain’ 🙂 …as well as the longer, less tidy sounds of the words in comparison to ‘blob & blot’. Also that version opens more possibilities for a winter moon verse, imo. My mind goes to possibilities such as ‘oilslick moon’, or winter moonlight that can seem greasy in the city areas through cloud/ smog cover or mixed with neon lights or Charles Olsen’s ‘dirty moon’ in his early poem ‘The Moon is the Number 18’ (of the major arcana in the Tarot deck)

    http://contritefallibilist.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/moon-is-number-18-by-charles-olson-is.html

    —-
    A true story from the local bocce club: One old gentlemen wandered in whilst a game is in process and asked his friend (another old gentleman) “Which balls are yours, the white or the red?” The reply: “Last night when I looked, mine were red.” (That’s in translation, of course, as it was told to me)

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      There’s a word missing from that poem of Charles Olsen’s.

      …penultimate verse, line 6 should be:

      there where what triumph there is, is: there

      (I’ve been familiar with this poem since I was 24 … many decades)

      – Lorin

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      I agree. A bracket around whoops! is too heavy. I don’t like brackets in haiku, anyway. Emphasis can be overdone, and consequently lessen impact. As my YA novel editor says when I get carried away: “Not italics as well as an exclamation mark!” Best not to gild the lily. 🙂

  129. sandra says:

    Okay, late to the discussion …

    I’m in agreement that 4 lines would be 1 line too far for a competition entry, and I like the idea suggested somewhere that we have a gap in the line

    a frog jumps into [white space] whoops

    I think the white space will look good.

  130. John Carley says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into
    whoops the bouillabaisse!

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    [blob of something
    blots my new saijiki]

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, W, – L, J

    Hi everybody, I’ll start a separate strand below for variations on that punctuation question. Cynthia’s editor got me thinking – yes, but what happens if you have the italics and the exclamation mark slightly separated 😉

    My concerns about the ellipsis points Lorin spring from having witnessed/taken part in a large number of discussions in which their use was very expressly and directly argued (or simply asserted) as *being* an English kireji. Which one? Well, any you like. Having said that, there was almost a convention at one stage of using ellipsis points at the end of poem as being a true and direct equivalent of ‘kana’ – and then of course arguments followed about whether they also equated to ‘keri’ (sigh). If we can swerve around it I do think it is one element of contention best avoided (hey, for all we know the judges might be Michael Dylan Welch and Paul McNeil – both nice guys but with very very conservative and US tinted stances on renku!).

    And a clarification: sorry if those Basho quotes didn’t’ seem particularly hilarious – I had intended them to illustrate a point I then failed to go on to make: it is not uncommon to find direct references to haikai writing and technique in Basho’s own sequences. I guess I was trying to legitimise the ‘saijiki’ verse in the eyes of those who, like me, get a bit yawny when they encounter poems about being a poet.

    Coming back to the text, that saijiki verse does in fact look as effective as any other such we might originate – so it makes sense to go with it. Above I show two drafts. I was a little concerned that the first had too many ‘ess’ sounds. Put another way, maybe the plosive//sibilant of ‘b’ followed by ‘s’ had more variety and picked up better on the phonics of ‘bouillabaisse’.

    As in so much about renku the absolute arbiter is what happens in the transition to the next verse. So let’s look at that:

    Above I append the verse attribution breakdown separated into fives. This tells me that next up are Cynthia, Sandra and Willie competitively for verse #13. We need to go direct to ‘winter moon’ now. This will be followed by a second winter verse – so we need to avoid an irrevocably ‘absolute end of winter season’ sensation at this point. Therefore, a general ‘winter moon’. As hinted earlier, a classic Basho school thing would be to have a dignified and generally high minded verse at this juncture as a kind of reproof to the smart-arse flummery of the frog and saijiki incident. Arguably this impetus (towards the waka/tanka-esque in the way we treat the seasonal topic) is furthered by the fact that, prior to the ‘notional frog’ incident, our last true seasonal reference (Chameleon cycling autumn colours) was both innovative and relatively indirect.

    But that’s not an obligation, just me ruminating. Please use either draught of the saijiki verse as maeku (verse to which one is linking) and we’ll finalise these texts as a pair.

    We’re looking good. This has momentum. 🙂 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “… a large number of discussions in which their use was very expressly and directly argued (or simply asserted) as *being* an English kireji. Which one? Well, any you like. Having said that, there was almost a convention at one stage of using ellipsis points at the end of poem as being a true and direct equivalent of ‘kana’ – and then of course arguments followed about whether they also equated to ‘keri’ (sigh). . . .”

      OMG! Words fail me. My ignorance was bliss.

      “… for all we know the judges might be Michael Dylan Welch and …”

      Yikes!

      – Lorin

      • John Carley says:

        Yeah – as ever that kireji debate evidenced an inverse proportion between certainty and scholarship. As to potential judges – I’ve a lot of time for what Michael is doing with getting some very raw writers to start to post their work over on NaHaiWriMo. I cite him not for some intrinsic defect but because he’s a good example of the way that renku has tended to be viewed in the US as very much a second strand activity – not unlike the relatioinship between waka and renga back in medieval Japan. The entire *point* of Basho is that he demonstrated an approach in which linked verse could be high art, not just an entertainment. Low expectations with always yield poor results IMHO.

  131. John Carley says:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into … whoops,
    the bouillabaisse

    [counter: ellipsis points my be take as kireji]

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into (whoops!)
    the bouillabaisse

    [counter: parentheses incongruousi]

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into – whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    [or simple white space in place of dash. This platform supresses white space so that variant cannot be shown]

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into whoops
    the bouillabaisse!

    misunderstood a
    frog jumps into
    whoops the bouillabaisse!

    • Lorin Ford says:

      I prefer the less ambiguous and more ‘concrete’ white space. Imagine the dots below to be whited out:

      misunderstood
      a frog jumps into . . . whoops
      the bouillabaisse

      Yes, that many spaces/ that much white space. 🙂 And whoops in italics.

      Undecided about the exclamation mark at the end of the verse, but it feels as if it’s overdoing it, to me.

      – Lorin

  132. CynthiaRowe says:

    Fo what it’s worth, I prefer the en dash. Or white space 🙂

  133. CynthiaRowe says:

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    playing a pig organ
    under the light
    of a crescent moon

    a rain-drenched moon
    shining through
    the orangery window

    this super moon
    snuffing out the stars
    one by one

  134. sandra says:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into [][][] whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    fish heads lined up
    on the ice,
    a moon in every eye

    they way the ink
    has run into the page
    ice moon

    the way the letters
    cut into the page
    ice moon

    the way the letters
    cut into the page
    hunger moon

    how the letters
    cut into the page
    winter moon

    the confession
    still to be transcribed
    winter moon

  135. William Sorlien says:

    two from notes on my commute:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into . . . whoops!
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    cottons, woolens (mufflers, mantles /old style winter clothing / odds bodkins / the kitchen sink / dee-da- – dee-da)
    nothing (can/will) withstand
    this cold moon

    blowing snow
    across the highway
    the moon is my guide

    Please pardon the gibberish of alternate notes. Might a hard C sound in each line of the former submission be beneficial in contrast to maeku’s sibilance?

    As for our deadline, I could mail the finished poem without delay. Our post is efficient, normally a two-day delivery. I’ll warm up the printer.

  136. Lorin Ford says:

    What about all those deer in your headlights and beside the road in the snow and all you write about? Surely there’s a ku in those experiences, too, Willie? Just about froze me to the bone even to read about it.

    – Lorin

  137. John Carley says:

    Thanks everybody for the creative and rapid turnaround. I note that all verses take the ‘smear/stain’ draught of the maeku. So that’s sorted. We also seem to be narrowing down on an ideal three line layout for the frog verse. Shortlisting from the candidates for winter moon:

    playing a pig organ
    under the light
    of a crescent moon

    This is a wonderful verse – weird and scurrilous at first sight, on consideration disturbing. The tenor goes in the opposite direction to the one I’d postulated, which is not a problem. There is no doubt that this is a striking verse. There are however two caveats: I’m not sure that it immediately communicates ‘winter’ strongly enough for our very specific purposes (and therefore risks defaulting to ‘autumn’ in the minds of many), and, more marginally, the domestic and specifically the comestible animal perhaps runs a slight loop back towards ‘food’ in the last-but-one.

    blowing snow
    across the highway
    the moon is my guide

    Yeah – all those (unstated) pristine/virgin qualities of ‘snow’ play very well indeed against the greasy smear of the maeku. And the verse takes us firmly into the season, which I do think we need to reference very directly. The overall tone is perhaps a little down beat though when set against the weird and wonderfulness of the two proceeding verses. Or perhaps more germane: it may be a little too restrained given the limited scope with have in the six verses of a Nijuin ‘development’ face to actually generate any ‘development’ (I’ve been trying without success to get the Einbond to admit the Triparshva to the competition as it is demonstrably a more elegant and apt solution to how to shorten the Kasen.)

    fish heads lined up
    on the ice,
    a moon in every eye

    This is absolutely fantastic. But, to quote the child custody lawyers, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’
    Last time I was in Marseille (admittedly 30 years ago) bouillabaisse (at last-but-one) was fish soup. Specifically, in the old days, a staple of the poor made from the less appetising cuts of fish. Such as fish heads!

    I have a suggestion. Lorin posts: “those deer in your headlights and beside the road in the snow […] froze me to the bone”. Me too:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into –whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    a moon in every eye

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, W, – L, J, S,

    The whole-verse scansion remains that of the original. As does the (important – contrast last two verses) move to a plural image in the first line. And of course the killer moon phrase. I also note that the wide outdoor setting comes at exactly the correct juncture.

    Given that the scavenged collaboration of verse #10 was set against Willies name this, were it acceptable, would be set against Sandra’s. Alternatively we go for a round two of ‘competitive’ submissions.

    Thoughts please.

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      Spot on about the bouillabaisse. It is, indeed, a fish soup — and delicious, too! I’ve had it in New Caledonia as well as Marseiile — which means further mention of fish would be out.

      Re the pig organ — of course the pigs are not being eaten, simply played!! (i know, it does sound a trifle sick 😦 )The pig organ was invented by Louis XI (from memory). Each pig’s ‘voice’ has a different pitch, so a tune was played by prodding, or pulling, each pig’s tail!! (there is, I suppose, a tenuous link to the chameleon’s tail , by implication). I used crescent moon as being symbolic of the beginning of winter — the activity of playing the pig organ an indoor pastime to keep warm!!! 🙂 🙂

      snowbound highways
      lined with deer,
      a moon in every eye

      is a wonderful verse — but, is this not redolent of full winter, rather than the beginning of winter?

    • William Sorlien says:

      Absolutely, boss. I was concerned about #10’s attribution. Seemed unfair to everyone’s creative input.

      • William Sorlien says:

        Wrong space for the above post. My Wi-fi is hounded by sun dogs today or something.

        Full on winter, Cynthia? With all due respect to your thoughtful observation, I remain sensitive to seasons in my place of origin, and as for the region between the Big Woods and the Plains, the above scenario could be attributible to the full range of winter weather. Considering an abbreviated winter sequence (temperate zone northern hemisphere, as this might suggest), one might counter chronologically with deep freeze or very thick ice on the lake or river, which are now present here, at least. 20 below fahrenheit yesterday, windchills -40’s. Perhaps not preferable to your recent heatwaves!

        Hope you’re keeping cool. Brrr!!

  138. John Carley says:

    Willie, thanks for the offer buddy. I’m just a bit reluctant to see you under admin pressure you can do without. Perhaps if Sandra and I put our heads together we can make sure that everything arrived on your virtual desk as a one shot (‘cos there are stipulations about proof of copyring permission and so on) so it’d just be a question of print out and mail… 🙂 J

    • William Sorlien says:

      Exactly as I proposed – Willie the go-pher! That’s what I do now mostly, attend to the troops. And, negate the “bad spirits’ occasionally migrating into this building on the Res. My friend Joe, an Oyate member, warned me about those. I believe him after the other day …

      Oop! Not to jinx us, but be be sure not to bring smoke into your domicle from the outside, ya hear?

  139. John Carley says:

    Hi Cynthia – yeah, I’ve encountered two different takes on the pig organ. The more gruesome one has the pigs being poked with pointed spikes when the keys were struck – the other, as you say, suggesting that the tails were tweaked. Either way, more grossier than musical I imagine.
    That’s a sharp observation about seasonal positioning. The only absolute ‘rule’ – and this because renku abhors backtracking – is that within any given run of season verses there should be no obvious anachronism; within these narrow bounds, where time is present, it moves forwards. In Basho’s period, before season word lists got autistic, this was a matter purely of common sense and artistic judgement. Amongst later, and contemporary writers, who consult saijiki which identify ‘early’, ‘mid’ and ‘late’ season then the bottom line is that a ‘late’ should not precede a ‘mid’ etc.

    But (and there are several!). Even in that latter case, as I’m sure you’re aware, many season word lists ascribe many terms to ‘all season’ – and these may appear accordingly at any juncture in a given seasonal run. It is also relevant that typical season breakdowns in renku, as in renga, favour autumn and spring over winter and summer. Accordingly acute sensitivity to precise seasonal positioning is really only a feature of autumn and spring references in long sequences such as the Kasen wherein up to five autumn or five spring verses *may* appear in a row. In those circumstances it is very much the case that one has to be cautious not to start out with a verse that is unequivocally close to the end of a given season’s chronological iconography. In the Kasen, by contrast, winter and summer almost never extend beyond a run of three verses, so the issue is still present, but less acute.

    As we look at shorter sequences we find that the spring/autumn= major and winter/summer=minor allocation remains roughly the same. So, if you look at a schema of a typical Nijuin such as ours, you’ll see that, whereas autumn and spring are typically assigned a run of three verses together, winter and summer get only a pair of verses each. And indeed even this is considered an option – in some circumstances a single verse is sufficient. So clearly the issue is radically simplified.

    For our present purposes – we are composing a Nijuin so the maximum number of winter verses together will be two. Personally I’m recommending that we do indeed use both winter positions available to us as I believe to do so will yield a more elegantly balanced poem. We are not employing the recognised Japanese cannon of seasonal reference (otherwise no Chameleons!) nor or we adopting any other formalised system which ascribes all or most words to a precise location within a time of year. We are instead using something more similar to the notion of ‘kisetsu’ – a common sense, but acute, sensitivity to naturalness of season.

    For these reasons I don’t believe there is any ‘exact time of year’ problem with the snowbound highway at this point. But it certainly does mean that, were the consensus to let this verse stand, we couldn’t go to a ‘very first signs of winter’ verse next – we’d have to go to something that felt either generically ‘winter’ or that was definitely ‘later on in winter’.
    While we’re on about season word lists etc – how do they cope with ‘Christmas barbeque’? 🙂 J

  140. Lorin Ford says:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into –whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    a moon in every eye

    I love the progression here! Perfect! As is the verse itself. A beaut! Something unambiguously outdoors was needed and the vista needed widening, imo, and this does it wonderfully, just the right tenor, too. Great synthesis, great collaboration.

    – Lorin

  141. sandra says:

    Last time I was in Marseille (admittedly 30 years ago) bouillabaisse (at last-but-one) was fish soup. Specifically, in the old days, a staple of the poor made from the less appetising cuts of fish. Such as fish heads! – John

    Bugger! – Sandra

    It’s what comes of trying to be creative after a long day spent correcting the work of others … sorry about that, but pleased it resulted in something after all.

  142. sandra says:

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her last veil hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    [returns] a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into [whitespace] whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    a moon in every eye

    • sandra says:

      just looking at the “a”s in the last three verses … a frog/a smear/ a moon

      so maybe

      snowbound highways
      lined with deer,
      the moon in every eye

      ??

      And folks I’d be happier if the credits on these collaborative ku were reversed – this one is much more Willie’s than mine.

  143. Lorin Ford says:

    Yes, Sandra, I think ‘the moon in every eye’ would work well here, too.

    – L

  144. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her [stocking] hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into – – whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W,
    #11: em dashes indicate white space. Do we also show the detached word ‘whoops’ in italics?

    For submission practicalities we’ll work on the principle that Sandra and I collate completed text and permissions etc and forward to Willie for print and despatch.

    In the text above I’ve flagged up my belated understanding of the point that colleagues were making about the potentially dubious scansion of #8. I’m sorry to have been so obtuse, and summarily rude in just shutting the exchange down. It’s look to me as though ‘corset’ may well indicate the ideal scansion but, perhaps, has too much ‘substance’ and directs rather rapidly towards conventional overtones of eroticism. The word ‘stocking’ suggests itself to me as having the same metrics, softer phonics, and carrying some of the ‘insubstantial’ and ‘nether’ overtones of ‘veil’ whilst also having sufficient suggestion to enable the transactional sex at the Honeycomb . As to ‘last’ – it may well be that the sense of ‘break’ is achieved just as effectively with the more indirect ‘hits the floor’ (rather like the question of ‘last shrug’ in earlier drafts of #10). Hmmn, and if ‘stocking’ is correct should it in fact be: ‘stockings hit the floor’?

    I’m showing a title. As you know the convention is pretty much to take the ‘fragment’ as the title where the hokku is a ‘phrase and fragment’ type. Unless there are reasons not to do in this case?
    ————————-

    Thanks everyone for the concentration and enthusiasm. I *think* I’ve got our current working text and attributions adjusted above. Our exceptional momentum carries us forward to the second winter verse at #14. I’d like to balance our nominal/actual input before we go into the final round of mixed competitive/turns (just to keep track I’m temporarily grouping the verse attributions above by 5’s).

    The breakdown suggests that Cynthia and Willie go head to head next. Given that Willie is currently at minus 40 and Cynthia at plus 40 few things could be more natural! So we remain in winter (generic, mid or late). Given the cerebral abstracts of #11 and #12 I’ve a suspicion that we might do best to stay in the real world too rather than do anything ornate. But I could be wrong.

    Right – it’s Saturday so I’m off to Bury Market (the self identified ‘world famous’) to see if there are any rare French cheeses going for £1 a slab at the clearance stall. There seems to be a lot of smoked Polish sausage about too. Hmmn, don’t know what how Willie’s mates would feel about bringing smoked sausage into the house! 🙂 J

    • William Sorlien says:

      Rolling with the premise that Sandra and I retain our current # 10 and #13 verse allocations – by the way, Sandra, I found an undelivered draft responding to your request to transpose the lines of “Grackles” ageku. Absolutely, consider it done. How’d I miss that? Having slept 18 of the last 36 hours might be a clue …

      a smear of something
      stains my new saijiki

      snowbound highways
      lined with deer,
      the moon in every eye

      from the big woods to the plains
      the north wind’s icy path

      that cold crow’s call
      from the big woods to the plains

      Urp – I see now attributions have been switched. I’ll hold up…

    • William Sorlien says:

      I enjoy the drama of an italicized whoops, with or without the exclamation point as I recently demonstrated.

      Aye, aye, Cap’n, ‘print and dispatch’.

      A single stocking may create more tension? Waiting for “the other shoe to drop”, so to speak?

      ‘Early Morning Heat’ – now that’s catchy! Grabs your attention.

  145. John Carley says:

    Dunno mate. I’m already asleep by the time they get to the stockings bit.

    Anyway – I *did* manage to get a nice bit of Vignotte for £1 and a big bit of Comte for £1-50. The world’s gone mad! 🙂 J

    • William Sorlien says:

      A ute full of smoked sausage would hit it off nicely! That’d earn me access to the ice fishin’ spot – sixteen-inch Crappies, too big to pull through the hole!

      … although, last time I went, I set my coat on fire. 😦

  146. Lorin Ford says:

    v. 8.
    I like ‘stocking’, singular ( 😉 Ya can’t have ‘stockings’ , as no-one can take stockings off two at a time…you’d have to have ‘pantyhose’ or ‘tights’, neither of which can be removed elegantly or sexily so don’t set the right mood, nor can the action contrast nicely with ‘hits the floor’…more likely to suggest a woman in a very bad mood…(the old hurling the pantyhose across the room scenario, followed by anything else that’s handy & throw-able)… nor fit with the rhythm you’d like. ‘Stocking’ is subtle & suggestive,…my old friend’s “feather, not the whole chook”…quietly erotic.

    D’ya still prefer ‘shiver’ over ‘shimmer’ , John? (with ‘river’ in the last -but – one ) ?

    v11. ‘whoops’ in italics or not? I’m not sure. Ditto for an exclamation mark. I’d need to wait until we’re finished and print the complete poem off to have a definite opinion. That’s probably a quirk of someone who entered the computer age later in life than many.

    Title is good.

    …and yeah, snow-bound highways with deer, moose etc are the norm in Winter for Northern USA & Canada whereas for NZ … not really, though it snows on the South Island and in the high country, of course. It seems like a Northern American scene anyway (and deer are not native to NZ or Australia, I’ve only seen one by the road in my life…a strange sight, it must’ve escaped from a deer farm, probably was trying to go home to America)… so it makes more sense in all ways to attribute the verse to Willie. I’m guessing that probably Sandra had this in mind , too, when she suggested the swap.

    – Lorin

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      Rusa deer run wild in some areas of Australia, and particularly Far North Queensland — probably introduced from New Caledonia. In New Cal they stream across the savanna, out of control. Australians go to NC on shooting safaris. Rusa deer are endemic to South East Asia. So — very common in this region. In my Genna Perrier YA series, Genna’s evil grandfather is a deer (and cattle) farmer! Lots of graphic scenes of glassing and stalking, with dogs tearing the deer apart!! 😦

    • bondiwriter says:

      the deer was probably trying to go home to Java, or Papua New Guinea, which is where they are from 🙂

      • bondiwriter says:

        sorry, i apparently have two names on this site – one for my ipad, the other for my computer 😉

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ah, yes,Cynthia, those little deer in Indonesia, what’s left of them,(and what’s left of Sumatran tigers) I didn’t know they were in New Guinea, but it makes sense. I’ve not seen any wild deer in FNQ, and I can’t imagine wild deer on snow-bound highways in FNQ 😉 (despite climate change)… wild pigs, though. 🙂 …haveta say that of all the plentiful wildlife in FNQ, including taipans & the local blokes, I prefer the wild fish… and the animal I ‘belong to’ up there, Green Turtle…which I’m prohibited from eating (as if I would, anyway)

        – L

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        deer are tropical animals in the southern hemisphere, and not so small. The Rusa deer in New Caledonia produce huge antlers — which are, of course, deciduous.
        It’s a bit like leopards — snow leopards , as well as the other sort. 🙂

  147. Lorin Ford says:

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    Icicles filled the long window
    With barbaric glass.

    The river is moving.
    The blackbird must be flying.

    how many ways
    to look at a raven?

    🙂 Just some morning reflections, not intended as contenders. Bits from a favourite poem : ’13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, Wallace Stevens. Full text can be googled.

    Another favourite an earlier poem by the same poet is ‘The Snow Man’, should anyone want to google it.

    …also,
    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    an owl calls twice,
    the chill to the bone

    …in case it might inspire Cynthia or Willie. Alluding to the novel, ‘I Heard the Owl Call My Name’, which I read some decades ago.

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

    ‘Owl’ is an official Winter kigo 🙂 …I checked! 🙂 One of the less ‘foreign’ or absurd (to me) ones, too.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      whoops, forgot to close off the italics!

      – L

      • John Carley says:

        ‘barbaric glass’ – is this an example catachresis or auxesis? Either way it’s interesting that it is one of those tropes that haikai either doesn’t seem to support too well. Or perhaps it’s simpley that it isn’t used in Japanese, and so has not been present, to date in English language haikai. Hmmn, I probably tend to the former, but for reasons I can’t really articulate – maybe something to do with transfering the attention to the surface of the language. Or some such bulldust! 🙂 J

  148. CynthiaRowe says:

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    under an ice moon lemmings
    stream across the frozen lake

    too cold for snow, icicles
    gleam palely in the moonlight

    in a blue moon her mink
    spread across the bed

    the moon highlighting
    a boot below the snow line

    the hotel cat huddled
    under the air-con vent

    • sandra says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      You might like to have another look at these …

      It’s best not to repeat “moon/moonlight” as we’ve just had the word in the preceding verse. Likewise, “hotel” (from Honeycomb) and “snow”.

      The final verse is fine but you might want to change “air-con” to “heating” for it to be a winter verse. 🙂

      Sorry to be such a wet blanket!

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      D’oh, can’t believe I used hotel after all those lengthy hotel discussions! ;-( our air-con does have heating as well as cooling — as does our car. However to make it clearer

      the ski lodge cat huddled
      against the heating vent

      the ski lodge cat huddled
      against the pot-bellied stove

  149. CynthiaRowe says:

    Re the others

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    too cold for snow
    the icicles gleam palely

    unable to afford whisky she spreads
    her mink across the bed

    their high beam torches locate
    a boot above the snow line

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      I’ll revise a couple of those. 🙂

      lemmings stream across
      the frozen lake

      too cold, too cold
      the icicles gleam palely

      unable to afford whisky she throws
      her mink across the bed

      their high beam torches locate
      a boot on the closed ski run

    • Lorin Ford says:

      well, whaddaya know? I thought all the deer here were on/from deer farms & ‘ranges’ (which I did know about) but I was intrigued, so googled. The deer by the side of the road I saw (here in Victoria) was a Red Deer. I’ve identified it from this website:

      http://adrf.com.au/content/view/35/79/

      Not just New Calendonia, then! Nor did the deer from New Caledonia decide to migrate here by swimming across or building their own rafts, as is sometimes assumed of the Brush-tail possums in the wild across the Ditch in NZ. 😉

      And it does snow in Queensland, rare though it is. Guess ya’d have to be there.

      – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Brush-tail possums must be ace swimmers, then! I never relised how good.Perhaps we should send them to the next Olympic Games! 😉

        Snow in Qld? Yeah, I guess ya’d have to be there. 🙂

      • William Sorlien says:

        Snow! I wondered about that. And introduced deer; 30 million or so indigenous to North (and South?) America I might recall. White-tailed, that is. Then there’s Black-tailed, and those little fellows in the Florida Everglades, if they haven’t been taken by released-pet Boa Constrictors. And not enough wolves, maybe, though Minnesota instituted a controversial hunting season on them this past year.

        Can’t say about those free-range chickens …

  150. John Carley says:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into – – whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    [white] lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    [white] lemmings stream
    across the frozen lake

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C
    This is an absolute classic Cynthia; the spatial movement – both the shift of viewpoint and the dynamic of the animals in motion – is exemplary. This is how ‘landscape’ verses at their best link. Further, ‘moon/eye/lake’ become a single icon, the whole ‘frozen’.

    How very interesting that I wake up to find you’ve posted ‘lemmings’. Around three in the morning I was awake and wondering about movement out of the winter pair back into non-season in the light of conventions that a renku sequence should contain all of human experience (more on this another time). Anyway – thoughts of ‘ice’, ‘plummet’ etc got me to the stockmarket. Lemmings indeed!

    Why the suggestion of ‘white’? I was looking for a metrical make-weight and the word suggested itself because of the inference that the countless animals are like flakes of snow (or vice versa). But somewhere far back in my mind was the inuit belief about the white lemming (as opposed to the common or Norway lemming). Here’s a quote from the Arctic Studies Centre: 19th Century Naturalist Edward Nelson Recounts: “The Norton Sound Eskimo have an odd superstition that the White Lemming lives in the land beyond the stars and that it sometimes comes down to the earth, descending in a spiral course during snow-storms

    To be clear – one encounters in renku a lot of practice where people go round ‘explaining’ the othewise obscure reasons for why verses link. Personally I regard this activity as more aking to ‘justifying’ or ‘pleading for’. By my reckoning if the audience can’t access the flow of the piece without specialist info then it’s probably not poetry. So if the suitability of ‘white’ here relies on being on nose rubbing terms with Inuit folklore then just tell me to shut up.

    If it were effective, where to break the line?

    Lorin -thanks for the thoughts on ‘stocking/s’. Yeah, the implication of ‘last’ is also better with the singular. Yes, I think the tactile/kinetic of ‘shiver’ is probably more appropriate than the visual ‘shimmer’. I don’t really feel there’s so much return to ‘river’ as to make it inadmissable.
    Ooops – got to go to Manchester *now* to consult ‘she who must be feared’ on some translation stuff. Edith, my daughter. Trust me – I’m the cuddly one!! 🙂 J

    • William Sorlien says:

      Pummeled by *stockings* – the horror!

      Rummaging through the allocations, my obsessive-compulsive sense bids me to note Sandra missing from the sequence.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      snowbound highways
      lined with deer,
      the moon in every eye

      [white] lemmings stream across
      the frozen lake

      [white] lemmings stream
      across the frozen lake

      “If it were effective, where to break the line?” – John

      It is effective, imo, and I had no idea of the Inuit story, though I’m not surprised there is one. So often when an Inuit story is given, I find it similar to the Australian Native people’s and those of the South Sea Islanders. People have forever been looking up at the sky at night and ‘as above, so below’ seems hard-wired into the human psyche. It’s not hard to see this as a ‘sky picture’ as well as an ‘earth picture’, or a combination of both via reflection of winter stars on the ice as one moves long.

      Where to break it is indeed a nice quandary as both work, but differently. Version 2 has perhaps the more conventional ‘haiku line break’ and rhythm, whilst in version 1, L1 is the more visually striking, stretching the image in a way that strengthens it …more mimetic, as in the kind of ‘free verse’ written by the poets of the Black Mountain school (Charles Olsen, Denise Levertov et al ) But though L1 gains, L2 seems a tad clunky to me.

      The other alternatives are:

      [white] lemmings
      stream across the frozen lake

      [white] lemmings stream across the frozen lake (one line)

      [white] lemmings streaming
      across the frozen lake

      The last is a sort of compromise between your original versions 1 & 2. (I rather like the contrast between the continuous action and the frozen lake in this version, movement and stillness poised,together. And for some unknown reason …& this might be ‘;just me’… there seem to be more lemmings, a lot of lemmings, perhaps a suggestion of an infinite number of lemmings. Amazing what the participle can do!

      The knee-jerk reaction might be ” ‘lemmings streaming’… two ings in a row! How non-haiku!” and it is an awful tongue-twister when recited. Hmmm…pity about that. (I don’t suppose we can have tigers 🙂 Joke! )

      [white] lemmings louping ?

      No,’stream’ is lost. Forget the participle version.

      [white] lemmings stream across
      the frozen lake

      [white] lemmings stream
      across the frozen lake

      [white] lemmings
      stream across the frozen lake

      [white] lemmings stream across the frozen lake (one line)

      – Lorin

  151. CynthiaRowe says:

    ‘lemmings streaming’ is not just non-haiku — horror, horror! Even though one word is a noun, the other a gerund, when you try to say it aloud, it sounds, and feels, as if you have a mouthful of peanut butter! 😦

    alhough the setting is less conventional, I prefer the more striking

    [white] lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    to version 2

    [white] lemmings stream
    across the frozen lake

    again, thinking of the judges

    maybe the one-liner

    [white] lemmings stream across the frozen lake

    might make the setting look a bit out of kilter when printed in hard copy??

    • Lorin Ford says:

      ‘lemmings streaming’ is not just non-haiku — horror, horror! Even though one word is a noun, the other a gerund, when you try to say it aloud, it sounds, and feels, as if you have a mouthful of peanut butter! 😦 – Cynthia

      It does indeed sound terrible 😉 Definitely out. I was going through the possibilities as I typed, without editing any thoughts along the way.

      Whether one calls it a verb participle or a gerund is probably a matter of where one starts from. To avoid confusion, I usually reserve ‘gerund’ for those words that look like verb participles but perform the function of nouns, eg the 2nd ‘ing word’ in this sentence:

      ‘She was hanging the washing on the line. ‘

      or the 3rd in this:

      ‘We heard the herrings singing in the gloaming as we three went a-gleaning by the sea.’ 🙂

      – L

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        it’s definitely a participle — a present participle. I guess I used the word ‘gerund’ due to the influence of those tanka poets, who toss the word around, and whose syntax is more than a little dodgy! 😉 Of course I don’t earn any brownie points when I point out their grammatical deficiencies 😦 😦 Which I do from time to time 🙂

        – C

    • Lorin Ford says:

      I know who’s responsible for the notion that every word that ends with an ing is a gerund. I tried to be polite about it, blaming it on a poorly skilled copy editor 😉 but of course some people are so confident that the very idea of running a ‘How To..’ book past a copy editor just would not occur. I’ve not earned any Brownie points for begging to differ, either. So I tip-toe a bit. 😉

  152. CynthiaRowe says:

    Lorin, you might remember Penny Harter, at our ginko in the Melbourne Bot Gardens, pointing out that grammar is as important when writing haiku and tanka, as it is when writing prose. 🙂

    – C

    • Lorin Ford says:

      What I do remember was one of the Melbourne haikuza telling you in no uncertain terms that you couldn’t have a certain verb in relation to seagulls. It was all I could to to stop myself from bursting into raucous laughter.

      Did you like the Charles Olsen poem I posted here, btw, with the line
      ” …while prayers
      striate the snow, …. ” ? 😉

      – L

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        You were very restrained 🙂 — not sure I held back as well as I could/should have 😦 Some days later, I did, inadvertently — as I don’t do Facebook — come across a Facebook comment on Google, from a certain other haikuza present. He said that, if he had been ‘running’ the ginko, he would have set strict rules 😉 Phewww…

        I like the Charles Olsen poem very much.
        “… while prayers
        striate the snow, … ” Great stuff!!

        – C

      • Lorin Ford says:

        “He said that, if he had been ‘running’ the ginko, he would have set strict rules 😉 Phewww…” – Cynthia

        I’m not surprised. Russia under Stalin, and the fates of those whose theories were in disagreement with a certain pseudo-scientist in the field of agriculture, spring to mind.

        – L

  153. John Carley says:

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    OR

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    white lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    Hi all, coming back to the text (and finding it batting around my head at odd hours of the night) I’m aware of two things. One is that the word ‘white’ is fine. The other that it may in fact be redundant – that Cynthia’s original draught is entirely effective as it stands. We don’t have to decide this now. Not least because how the reader experiences the movement of the poem will will depend strongly on the next verse.

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C

    Switiching the attributions on #10 and #13 (which I had understood felt more natural to both of the accused) places Sandra twice in the second quintuplet. Which in turn suggests that Willie should appear twice in the third quintuplet. So, unless I’ve lost the plot (well possible), that putsWille up next with a long verse that is non-season. The second half of the poem will therefore be distributed thus:

    #11 non/false spring L
    #12 non J
    #13 winter moon W
    #14 winter C
    #15 non W
    #16 non

    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    There are theories, derived ulitmately from Shingon Buddhism, that a renku sequence should contain ‘all things’ under heaven. These derive from a time when sequences were typically 100 verses long. There is some evidence that Basho’s treatment of the 36 verses of the Kasen was influenced by an awareness of these arguments/conventions. I have encountered the backwash of the theory amongst contemporary renku theoreticians, perhaps evidenced most strongly by the persistence, in Japan in particular, of ‘tick sheets’ of topics and materials – all of which are supposed to appear in a poem and which are quite literally marked off as they are referenced. Personally I think that anybody who uses a tick sheet for anything should be barred from writing anything more presumptous than a shopping list. But spiteful arrogance aside, I think one can seriously question whether it is possible to entertain the idea of ‘all things’ once we get down to sequences of only 20 verses in length.

    Be that as it may, at a minimum we can say that a renku sequence should not be hearts and flowers throughtout, and that such considerations might be present in the mind of our judges. It is also pertinent that there is a mostly mistaken understanding amongst occidental renkujin that the last movement of a poem (JP: kyu) *necessarily* comprises light and airy verses only. So… there is an argument to be made that these last two verses of this movement/face might be best to harden slightly in topic and tone.

    Ooops – battery nearly gone. I’ll get back online later. J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      white lemmings stream across
      the frozen lake

      I like the specific ‘white lemmings’. If all lemmings were white or all lemmings were white all year round it might be different. As well as aiding visualisation, the precise image, ‘white lemmings’, is what allows the imagination to form a secondary, parallel image of ‘stars as lemmings’. I feel that the greater visual emphasis and if I may use the word, beauty, also balances the dark idea of lemmings as the fabled creatures who follow each other over precipices to certain death. It’s this balance which moves the verse sufficiently away from any implied suicidal frogs or deer as roadkill.

      The balance between movement and stillness in this is beautiful, wonderful.

      – L

      • Lorin Ford says:

        … also the assonant echo of the sharp ‘I’ sound from ‘highways’ in ‘white’ seems to recur at just the right time in the movement of the sequence.

        – L

    • sandra says:

      My vote too, goes to the inclusion of “white”. Without looking it up, I wouldn’t know what colour lemmings are, but would guess brown, so the “white on white” as it were (lemmings on ice) is a very rich and affecting visual image.

  154. John Carley says:

    Hmmn, back again – and still no further forward on the yay or nay of ‘white’.

    Gerunds – ha! Easy for me as the adjective, present participle and gerund take distinct forms (in Italiano, ovviamente).

    I’m not exactly doing a Felix Baumgartner tomorrow but I am only the third person in the world to be injected with these new meds. And it didn’t go too well for the last chap. So if I haven’t showed up within 48 hours of the time and date of this post appearing on your screen please proceed without me with Sandra as titular head.

    Herewith I formally grant copyright permisson for the use of my work to appear as part of the Nijuin competition submission for the 2013 Eibond competition, and for the work to be subsequently published, as appropriate, in conformity with the conditons of entry stipulated by the HSA. Further, any interested person may make use of any portion of my commentary upon this Nijuin page (only) of Issa’s Snail on the condition that it is for scholarly purposes, and correctly attributed.

    plum flowers, fresh greens
    Mariko’s inn
    serves up yam paste potage

    the latest in sedge hats
    for this spring dawn

    a skylark sings,
    it’s time to work the earth
    prepare the paddies

    having blessed the rice cakes
    humbly offered

    stuck in a corner
    afflicted with bad teeth,
    the twilight moon

    my upstairs guests
    having left, only autumn

    Bashō, Otokuni, Chinseki, Sodan, Otokuni, Bashō – first six from the Kasen ‘Ume Wakana’.

    Best wishes, John

  155. Lorin Ford says:

    John, what to say… only how much I admire you, your spirit, your dedication and your courage and that I want with all my heart for you to be the triumphant record breaker in your bout with this experimental chemotherapy. Will be waiting for further word from you in a few days. All my best wishes, hopes and prayers for your perfect success.

    – Lorin

  156. sandra says:

    What she said. Go well, my friend and we look forward to seeing you back here.

  157. sandra says:

    And, in the light of all that, let’s be having your verses Willie …

  158. William Sorlien says:

    Talk to you soon, John. And, here you are, Sandra:

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    white lemmings stream across *
    the frozen lake

    an article
    about climate change
    buried on the seventh page

    the clerk
    adjusts his spectacles
    peering into the screen

    on hold
    the menu plays
    over and over and over

    expectations
    for the GDP
    reported by a talking head

    * Visually, this break in ‘lemmings’, in small case, conveys the action in the verse! Or, I’m beginning to see things. 🙂

    • sandra says:

      Okay, working through these …

      I really like

      an article
      about climate change
      buried on the seventh page

      … but we have the word “page” in the first movement

      an article
      about climate change
      buried in the third section

      buried in the lifestyle section

      ?? or somesuch. Does it work as well?
      ***

      the clerk
      adjusts his spectacles
      peering into the screen

      is too close to the “eye of every deer”, yes?

      ***
      on hold
      the [phone] menu plays
      over and over and over

      I rather like this one, but does it meet John’s suggestion to harden in tone and topic? And does it rather undermine (or underline) the beautiful lemmings? Discuss.

      ***
      expectations
      for the GDP
      reported by a talking head

      Now, here we have a harder tone and tougher topic…but it strikes me as ever so slightly “off”. I don’t think we can use “unemployed plumber” (cf street sweeper) but it would be good to get in a touch of something remote (the GDP) affecting someone real and suffering.

      expectations
      for the GDP
      in the shanty

      sleeping in his car
      but still the latest
      on the GDP

      What do you think Willie? I would like to hear your take on it, you have such an instinctive grasp of these “Steinbeck-esque” verses.

      Cheers.

  159. Lorin Ford says:

    Willie & Sandra , some ramblings just in case they’re of any use or inspiration., or even assistance in eliminating possibilities 🙂

    an article
    about climate change
    buried on the seventh page

    I like the idea of a climate change verse around here in the sequence.

    ya, probably best not to repeat page… ‘after the crossword’ occurs, but then we have ‘across’ in last verse. ‘after the obits’ or ‘obituaries’ occurs too, but that sort of takes us back too, though not overtly…but it could perhaps interfere with the flow./ progression. Do we want ‘buried’ for similar reasons (suicidal frogs, roadkill deer, lemmings… buried) ?

    buried on the seventh page // deep in the late edition

    an article [a report on]
    about climate change
    deep in the late edition

    deep in the
    late edition
    reports on climate change

    Hmmm … Dubious at best, methinks.

    …article + clerk

    filed away
    under ‘Foreign News’,
    reports on climate change

    between the comics
    and the movie reviews
    climate change

    (what an irresponsible editor-in-chief!)

    between the soapies
    and the soup commercials
    climate change

    … but we have two verses with ‘and’ in already. I don’t know whether that’d be a consideration or not.
    ——

    I like this one, also The gist of it fits the progression well:

    expectations
    for the GDP
    reported by a talking head

    This occurs:

    the GDP
    talked up
    by a pair of talking heads

    talking up
    the GDP
    a pair of talking heads

    … which are both a tad wonky, probably.

    – Lorin

    .

  160. William Sorlien says:

    Damn, my comment lost! I’ll try again, sans a few points:

    an article
    about climate change
    buried in this evening’s news

    the clerk
    adjusting his spectacles
    with an ink-stained finger
    (“old” technology that I began with)

    on hold
    the menu plays
    over and over and over

    I’m uncommited on this one.

    expectations
    for the GDP
    reported by the talking heads

    Quite relevant, actually. ‘Heads’ , plural, a bit more generalized, less “troubling”, perhaps. Fill in the blanks. 😉

  161. William Sorlien says:

    The satellite reception is better on the south side of the hotel, I’ve noticed.
    In all the commotion I “missed the beat” of the first offer:

    an article
    on climate change
    buried in this evening’s news

    As for the last, I feel it evokes a recognizeable emotion in many, what with the current distrust of government and media – and I love that lead “expectations”! A good point of being troublesome, as you suggest. How to follow it in it’s next to last position of the third face? I’m afraid the verse fails for me without retaining the same shape and rhythm:

    expectations
    for the GDP
    chatted up by talking heads

    lighter in tone – an improvement?

    • sandra says:

      I don’t think we need to be lighter in tone but it does need to leave somewhere for the next person to go. See my suggestions below, trying to get the dichotomy between the truth and what the media feeds us. Ha. Anyway.

  162. Lorin Ford says:

    I dunno about the USA, but here ‘chatting up’ is exclusively in the realm of ‘boy meets girl’ or ‘girl meets boy’ (age regardless). ‘Talking up’ is putting a positive spin on something, especially when there’s no good reason to do so, all part of a salesperson’s job.

    – L

  163. Lorin Ford says:

    ah, bugger it, no. We have ‘hiding, seeking’ already.
    – L

  164. sandra says:

    talking heads
    make some forecasts
    for the GDP

    talking heads
    fill in the coffee break
    with GDP forecasts

  165. John Carley says:

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into – – whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu [calls us in / invites / fades to black?]

    Hi everybody, Lazarus here 🙂 Serious snow and related road traffic accidents have closed the Manchester orbital motorway so rather than lyong on a hospital bed being poked with singed chicken bones (or whatever the Shamans call medicine nowadays) I’m still sitting here in the highlands waiting for the indomitable will of the British to triumph.

    In parallel to the route already being explored I’m interested in the possibilities of inverting the video verse line order. One of the attractions is the chance to use a slightly ‘non standard’ scansion/line break pattern (our final section will need to be ‘conventional’). And in with that is the opportunity to explore the effect of leaving Cynthia’s lemmings without that extra unstressed beat and rebalancing the whole-poem rhythm via the added verse (I hear something similar to that going on between #5 and #6).

    As indicated above, were the suggestion valid, I think it involves a tag to ‘the menu’ – but I don’t know what and I’m not certain to the cadence either. The only thing I do know is that, to get it right, we need to read on from #11, and that we can still leave this verse #15 feeling slightly edgy in terms of the phonics as long as #16 pulls it all together whilst rounding out the passage of verse.

    Best wishes, John

    ps – returning to the lemmings. I entirely agree with Lorin’s analysis of the way the word ‘white’ works. It is certainly not out of place. But I also find it intriguing to speculate on the degree to which, given that the mind may readily supply the word ‘white’, or snow related homomemes (new word : sememe + homphone) such as ‘scurry’ and ‘flurry’ to relate the lemmings and the snow flakes, it *may* be that the bell rings loudest when it is not in fact directly struck (or some such fauz-Zennist nonesense). In terms of the metrics/timing and the difference of adding the word ‘white’ or no – we desperately need someone to apply Gilbert and Yoneoka’s methods to English lanuage haikai. Though God knows what the ‘gerund’ brigade would make of hard fact – denigrate it I should imagine.

    http://research.gendaihaiku.com/metrics/total2.html

    Best wishes, John

  166. John Carley says:

    Damn – probably not ‘fades to black’ there is a fractional danger of ‘distant return’ (JP: to-rinne) to the chameleon cycling through its colours. Maybe a solution is to move from the visual to the aural and suggest one of those maddening computerised telecoms holding system. Actually, looking at the balance of the senses referenced in the poem to date, there is a quite a compelling argument for a non-visual here. J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      whew… So good to hear from you, John. I will eat & I will sleep.

      over and over and over
      on hold
      the menu [calls us in / invites / fades to black?]

      “Maybe a solution is to move from the visual to the aural … ”

      I wonder, then, if ‘replay’; might have a look-in?

      over and over
      the sound of the wind
      on replay

      (I still like ‘white’)

      – Lorin

  167. John Carley says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu murders Bach

    OR 🙂 🙂

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    they murder Mendelssohn

  168. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    they murder Mendelssohn

    LOL..no! No murder! (she shrieks) Not even of famous composers. (Though I appreciate these verses in themselves) All the morbidity should stop at the deer verse, imho, otherwise we’re in danger of having a theme running through this part.

    (In the morning I’ll read the Gilbert essay.)

    – L

  169. William Sorlien says:

    G’ morning … another day, another dollar;

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu looping back again

    I just stifled a scream. 😉 Back after awhile …

  170. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    Glad you’re still with us John …

    Yeah now I’m undecided on white, put me on hold 🙂

    Public holiday here today, founding of our nation or somesuch, so will be brief cause there’s a sky full of sunshine outside, a deck chair and a good book waiting for me to discover whodunnit …

    over and over and over
    The Entertainer
    played by a computer

    One of my local newspaper offices has this – of course, no one there knows what their hold muzak is like.

    over and over and over
    the bank’s version
    of Vivaldi

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      Are lemmings in fact ever white? Or is it just Walt Disney being creative? They don’t jump off cliffs, either. They do, however, swim across lakes and sometimes drown when they misjudge the distance and are unable to make it to the other side. The suicidal implication is a myth, and perpetuated by Disney movies 🙂

      • Lorin Ford says:

        yes, I know it’s a myth, Cynthia. But 1.myths are a part of our awareness and part of our social reality, as much as facts are (if not more so) and 2. I’m in no position to tell which myths anyone else believes are facts unless they tell me. Can we assume 1. that all of our judges/ readers know that the lemming myth is a myth and 2. even if we could be sure of that , what does that have to do with theme or motif, since both myth and fact (as well as in between things,like literature) can be part of the one theme?

        “Lemmings are small mouse-like animals that live in the Arctic tundra. In summer they are brown, but in winter they are all white. Their white winter coats help them to hide from the Snowy Owl and other predators that depend upon them for food.”

        http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-lemming.htm

        – Lorin

  171. William Sorlien says:

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into – – whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu circles in

    ??? 😐

  172. CynthiaRowe says:

    Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

    woukd be appropriate, no? A sort of metaphorical tie-in with earlier seasonal references? 🙂

    • sandra says:

      Which is what I was alluding to earlier with my ref. to Vivaldi. Do we need to spell out Four Seasons? It’s his best-known work

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Maybe not — but what about the number of beats? 😉

      • Lorin Ford says:

        yeah, Sandra… it’s just that both John & Willie seem to be aiming at a particular rhythm. Check out L3 in each of John’s and Willie’s :

        over and over and over
        on hold
        the menu [calls us in / invites / fades to black?] (John)

        over and over and over
        on hold
        the menu murders Bach (John)

        over and over and over
        on hold
        they murder Mendelssohn (John)

        over and over and over
        on hold
        the menu circles in (Willie)

        Now see how your Vivaldi ‘plays’ differently:

        over and over and over
        the bank’s version
        of Vivaldi

        So all I did was put your Vivaldi suggestion into the same pattern as John’s & Willie’s:

        over and over and over
        on hold
        Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

        It seems to me to fit with what they seem to be aiming at. It’s not quite the same pattern, because of different stresses, but it’s the same length. (tap it out with a fingernail)

        – Lorin

  173. John CarleyJ says:

    Hi everybody, I’ve never felt like such a fraud in all my life: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. Well, there is – but not it terms of the massive counter-indications the medical team were fearing from the latest gloop. I simply went green, grew to three times my previous size and started ranting about ‘puny humans’. Incredible!

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu circles in

    Yeah, as has been remarked – this is the cadence alright. But I am wary of too much emphasis a ‘iteration/reiteration’ as we have loops and cycles earlier in the piece, albeit indirectly.

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the muzak looping back

    So again the ‘loop’ may be over present here too. However, looking at the raft of possibles (for which many thanks) it does feel as though the move to aural is correct. It also occurs to me that the literalist style of renku reading might somehow cite the chimeric ‘backlink’ between ‘menu’ and ‘bouillabaise’. For anything other than our present purposes I wouldn’t entertain the link… but, given that this is a competition, and given that the line is under review, there is an argument for losing ‘menu’.

    Lorin’s comment to the effect ‘no more murder!’ also raises an issue for another day: wherein lies the connotation the constitutes our linkage, be it ‘good’ linkage (i.e. intentional and between conjoined verses) or ‘bad’ linkage (an unintentional return) – is it the word itself or the tenor of the word use? Anyway, as with loops and menu’s it is probably one best avoided, given that we may do so readily enough. I think therefore we’re down either to the wry, something like:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    they mangle Mendelssohn

    or the more neutral:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    I feel confident that we don’t have to worry about specifying the piece – certainly where I live people frequently come out with expressions such as: “You know, the one that sounds like the first four bars of Bach”. Naturalness of expression trumps logic at all times!

    Hmmn, just got to change machines as the sandwich trolley is about to pass me by..

  174. William Sorlien says:

    Mornin, ya’ll. Sorry if I seem obtuse. My wi-fi reception is wonky here. I’m on the wrong side of the building, if not the tracks in this little town. Jumping in between moonbeams and satellite signals. 😉

    Yeah, tempo and pacing are tant in my little world. What did John say:
    … can’ tcopy

  175. John Carley says:

    Wow how weird, I’ve just posted a message from a machine elsewhere in the hospital which told me it had gone, but hasn’t shown up on screen. It must be the radiation…

    Because I’ve never felt like such a cheat in all my life. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. Well, there is – but not to do with the latest infusions of gloop. There I was with doctors, nurses and the Prof himself all staring at me waiting for the massive counter-indications that had afflicted the last chap, and all that happened was I went green, grew to 3M tall and started growling about ‘puny humans’. Incredible!

    So, to business. There are white lemmings honestly (as distinct from brown, common, Norway etc). And that Inuit myth specifically relates to them only. But for our poem I do think the word is looking redundant if we use the slightly extended scansion of #15. Sorry for the time waste, and particularly to Cynthia for the meddling.

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu fades to black

    The potentially dubious ‘fades to black’ in conjunction with ‘over and over’ has already been discussed in the context of the chameleon. But I do think that the scansion pattern works, as picked up by Willie with his

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the menu circles in

    The strong visual ‘disruption’ of the short middle line appeals too (as a one-off, and at this specific juncture of the poem only). BUT…. *is* there a problem with ‘menu’? Is there a problem with too much emphasis on ‘iteration/reiteration’ (so wary of ‘loops’ here, or ‘circles’ etc). And how about that suggestion that a draught using ‘murder’ extends a thematic undercurrent present in the last several verses? On what basis do we decide?

    The question of what truly represents an unacceptable halt+return to a previous verse is a knotty one. The traditional Japanese sources are pretty much limited to endless lists of which specific words may appear at what distance from each other and/or in association with what. The idea of extracting general principles from such lists of instances in this and other disciplines is something that is very new indeed to both semiotics and linguistics in Japan so hasn’t really made it into renku poetics yet. In the US, whilst those concepts are more readily available, their application has gotten hopelessly mixed up with the oddball authoritarianism of the ‘haiku moment’ liberals. My own attempt is represented by the article ‘Occurrence and Recurrence’ on Renku Reckoner – but it suffers from the twin evils of being both too long and too short. I’ll have to try to simplify/abridge it for practical purposes, and hope that someone else gives the extended academic treatment somewhere down the line.

    For the moment – one shorthand approach is to go with the idea that (a) a seeming halt+return *is* a halt+return if it *feels* like a halt+return (think: walk/quack/duck) as long as (b) the feelingness is the product of a natural reading rather than a forensic criminal investigation. These considerations point to a synthesis (c) that the holistic judgment of words and phrases in context is more important than measuring the angles of each individual wing-nut.

    Back to the poem – we’ve already discussed being defensive on such issues given that this is a competition entry. Given that we are editing the line anyway we might as well avoid ‘menu’, ‘loop’, ‘murder’ etc. As it happens I think ‘four seasons’ is in genuine and direct conflict with ‘saijiki’ (at a level called in the Japanese ‘to-rinne’) such that we really can’t use both in a single six verse movement.

    over and over and over
    on hold
    they mangle Mendelssohn

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    I do like the visual irregularity of this verse. I’m am utterly unable to find any reason to prefer one draught over the other. Maybe the first is more wry. Maybe the second is more effective because it is less obvious. Dunno.

    Ok, I’m going to try and post this. If successful open another strand to take us onwards.

    Ow. Oooh. Ahhh. (it’s mi old war wound doctor). yrs, Fraud

  176. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~~whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, –

    #11 non/false spring L
    #12 non J
    #13 winter moon W
    #14 winter C
    #15 non W
    #16 non

    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    Right then here we are. I found a reason to distinguish between those two draughts of #15. The Mendelssohn draught strives a bit for effect, but more importantly the Bach draught sets up or leads in more to an added verse; it leaves us with expectations of continuance (the *next* four bars of Bach for instance).
    #16 – we go ‘competitive’ again. So lots of candidates from everybody please!

    We remain non-season.

    Normally I’d be asking people to consider a verse here that closes out the movement to a degree. But not in this instance. Because of the constricted dynamics of the Nijuin that last folio face division is going to be more a matter of a ruled line or whatever – a question of typesetting.

    This is the last verse where we want to countenance anything particularly harsh in sentiment. But we don’t want to be too obviously striving for effect or otherwise trying to be shocking

    If we look at the balance of ‘person’ versus ‘place’ stanzas we probably want some directly figured human presence now.

    To get the phonics right I reckon we need to read on from the bouillabaisse verse as a single breath. OK, that’s one hell of a deep breath. But you get my meaning.

    How does the song go: “Makes you feel sorry for the rest”. Ha! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. J

  177. Lorin Ford says:

    Wonderful to read you this morning, John! 😉 I’m cheering you here, across the oceans.

    Last night I woke after what turned out to be only two hours of sleep (not usual for me), at just after midnight, from a dream in which I was continually getting up putting out a fire which kept flaring up again & again in a heap of old laundry in a house (this house) which had lost all it’s visible cohesion and support…no mortar between any bricks, no window frames attached to walls, gaps instead that the outside shone in through, but none of this was affecting its standing. I heard the wind rattling and banging the front door, so I got up to make sure it was closed properly… and found myself at the front door, the real one, in the dark. There was no wind at all, no banging and I woke up enough to realise I was awake, go back to bed and fall asleep again almost immediately.

    Right, will get some more coffee and try to come up with some verse contenders today.

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      over and over and over
      on hold
      the first four bars of Bach

      always it’s her migraine
      or her hot flushes

      …though perhaps not. 🙂 This might be a return to ‘love’ verses? (or lack of ‘love’ verses)

      – Lorin

    • William Sorlien says:

      Geez, Lorin, you’ve described the building we’re working on!

      I’ve finally relented and am using the house internet service. My portable connection just wouldn’t cut it, thus the garbled message earlier. Wow, I’ve typed two sentences in a row!

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        LOL, Willie 🙂 🙂

        over and over and over
        on hold
        the first four bars of Bach

        beside the railway track
        he winkles out fool’s gold

        in the twilight breeze
        the bowler’s lavender scent

        for the long-haul flight
        the miner’s hard hat

  178. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    that sense of déjà vu
    in a Metro station

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

    (…though we’ve had one poem reference already, and French references, too. Hmmm…)

    – Lorin

  179. sandra says:

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    waking in the night
    to a ship’s horn

    manouvering the cello
    in her mother tongue

    ordering granite
    in her mother tongue

  180. Lorin Ford says:

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    the traffic policeman
    points our way with a baton

    (… but then, there’s highways and lemmings …yikes! )

    – Lorin

  181. Lorin Ford says:

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    In Nomine Jesu
    the choirmaster’s ears

    – Lorin

  182. sandra says:

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    boiling up the billy
    a half-remembered face

    struggling to place her
    the woman in the library

  183. John Carley says:

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    a bust of Himmler
    cast in porcelain

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

  184. CynthiaRowe says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    rehearsing a pas de deux
    at the ballet school in Dresden

  185. CynthiaRowe says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all those men in dark glasses
    busking in the underground

    ??

  186. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    Next War Postponed
    until further notice

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    once upon a time
    a Turing machine . . .

    – Lorin

  187. Lorin Ford says:

    So far, I like these two a lot:

    boiling up the billy
    a half-remembered face – Sandra

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust – John

    – Lorin

  188. sandra says:

    using my teeth
    to tear meat from the bone

  189. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    Warhol’s soup cans
    for sale on e-Bay

    – Lorin

  190. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    our conductor’s baton
    points the way

    – Lorin

  191. sandra says:

    speaking thus, I walk
    towards daylight

  192. CynthiaRowe says:

    sorting through his collection
    of ducats

  193. John Carley says:

    soup – bouillabaise (or however the hell they spell it!) 🙂 J

  194. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    a shaft of light
    strikes the unplayed harpsichord

    – Lorin

  195. William Sorlien says:

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    Brings me back to Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and the protagonist’s (Billy) seemingly innocent resignation to horrifying events. An echo of ‘lemmings’, perhaps, though it isn’t directly stated. Two pronouns in a row, though this links so well the two verses read like a tanka.

    • William Sorlien says:

      “echo” I deduce is in relation to my personal take on the offer and the implication it evokes

      Darn – now thehotel wi-fi is wavering

  196. John Carley says:

    Hi all, thanks for the huge range of possibles. Often, when there are fewer candidates, one of them will self-select at first reading – sometimes for the rather negative reason that the others have obvious defects. When writing with more experienced and skilled people the choice becomes much more nuanced. So below I do a stream of consciousness analysis of a shortlist (which could easily have been longer).

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    ===

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    ===

    boiling up the billy
    a half-remembered face

    ===

    In Nomine Jesu
    the choirmaster’s ears

    ===

    Dresden: two aspects of German high culture. Is this a tight enough link? Although this position is theoretically still in the development movement we probably need to be tightening down to verses that link clearly and relentlessly (a core quality of the last movement – the ‘rapid close’ JP ‘kyu’). The verse morphs into a reference to the fire-bombing of Dresden by the RAF in 1945 – something so grave that many people hold it to be a war crime. Is this iconography accessible to an international readership, and can we tolerate this here and still get to ‘spring blossom’ without looking incongruous? God forbid that such a verse should end up looking like shroud waving (how many ghastly, clumsy and exploitative verses about Hiroshima have you read?). The cadence closes off very distinctly. But do we want to close off so strongly here (c.f. arguments about blending into the final movement above)? And what happened to the sabaki’s ruminations about a clear ‘person’ verse being probably favourite? Verdict: this verse could very well be ideal in a Kasen or a Triparshva where there is more scope for the tenor of the overall piece to ‘recover’ – crucially, because the closing movement ‘kyu’ is six verses long.

    Billy: Good cadence. British readers will recognise ‘billy can’ (sic) but does that hold for North America? Beginning/end verses tend to have more prominence than ‘middle’ verses – as do the beginnings and endings of lines. Is it a problem the boil/billy stands in this relationship to ‘bouillabaise’? The similarities aren’t just phonic – both words come from the same Latin stem. And the wider context for the use of both here is alimentary/culinary. The verse plays on indistinctness, but do we in fact want a more directly envisaged personage. And is the link via ‘nagging thought’ as direct as it might be for this precise juncture of this type of sequence (c.f. my stuff about needing to merge into ‘kyu’)? Verdict: an excellent verse, but perhaps for the middle of a passage of more loosely linked verses rather than our specific purpose here.

    Latin: Latin is good – the linkage is strong and direct whilst still introducing something new and unexpected to the sequence. So it is the reverse of the common error of ‘novelty at all costs’. The wry tone is welcome. The personage is very tangible. The verse forces us to see him. And we can grin at his incongruity. The word ‘choirmaster’ has the effect of reinforcing the link with ‘first four bars’, and therefore tightening the pairing, whilst the hanging diphthong of ‘ears’ dangles as an ideal phonic set-up to the next verse. All of which makes selection, for me, a no-brainer. BUT. A playful reference to the prophet Mohammed in this type of device would offend some people. Whilst in Britain it is fashionable for liberals to display their virtues by offending Christians, personally I’d be loathe to do so. Is there *any* chance that a part of our readership would be uncomfortable with the naming of Jesus in this context? I honestly don’t know.

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    Deo Gratias,
    the choirmaster’s ears

    Thoughts please. Either way we’ll be going with the substance of this verse. So everyone can start to think about how we (nominally) kick of the final movement ‘kyu’ by linking with the last of our non-season verses.

    🙂 😉 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “The verse morphs into a reference to the fire-bombing of Dresden by the RAF in 1945 – something so grave that many people hold it to be a war crime.”

      😉 yes, and between this and the preceding verse, probably because of the phone, scenes from the film ‘Dr. Strangelove’ kept coming to my mind. Y’know, those scenes in the pentagonal room, the droll delivery of the soldier when asked to shoot up the Coke machine so one of the Peter Sellers characters can call the pentagonal room from a pay phone “… you’ll have to answer to the Coca-Cola company”, and of, course, Slim Pickins riding the bomb …

      I thought it worked very well indeed, the ‘executive humour’ in the preceding verse metamorphising between the lines to the black humour of Dr. Strangelove (for me) then the non-humorous outcome, given as lament.

      – L

  197. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~~whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    In Nomine Jesu
    the choirmaster’s ears

    OR

    Deo Gratias,
    the choirmaster’s ears

    * * *

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, – L,

    kyu:
    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    I’m too knackered to abridge the thing folks so I’m posting about kyu verbatim from Renku Reckoner. Here I’m going on about the Kasen or Triparshva so keep mentioning ‘six verses’. In fact we only have four four our poem: a bit of a squeeze. Allegedly. In fact all the dire stuff I’ve been intimating about the Nijuin’s ‘manifest deficiences’ may have been over egged. 🙂 J

  198. John Carley says:

    The finale – kyu

    Master Zeanni reputedly likened the jo-ha-kyu dynamic to the course of a mountain river: jo is the tributary’s gentle rill; ha the powerful cutting back and forth between peaks of the river in spate; and kyu the plunge of a mighty waterfall into a deep and silent pool.

    The metaphor is important, for though jo and ha have been reasonably well understood in occidental renku the closing movement – kyu – has tended to be taken as simply a mirror of jo. As a result the 6/12/12/6 verses of a Kasen would be viewed as quiet/loud/loud/quiet, or restrained/open/open/restrained – an interpretation sustained by more than one contemporary Japanese renku theorist.

    There is nothing dreadfully wrong with this proposal, but it does not accord with the evidence from Basho’s own writing and tends to yield sequences that fizzle out. The 6/12/12/6 of the Kasen are better understood as quiet/varied/intense/rush-and-stop. Kyu is rush-and-stop or, as it is more commonly given, rapid close.

    Crudely put we might expect the first three of the closing six verses to be striking, whilst the final trio achieve a happy and tranquil state, abetted by the fact that the closing pair, and often all three, have spring as their background and are therefore conducive to felicitous sentiments.

    Whereas the latter part of the development, ha, encourages diversity of content and style the early stage of kyu requires compaction and irresistibility. So whilst the verse content might be quite brash the prosody will now be unchallenging, the metres conventional and the inter-verse linkage relatively tight. Extra textual direction will be limited too; the desire is to once more hold the reader directly within the ambit of the poets’ intention. We wish the reader to experience the waterfall, rather than fly off in some random direction.

    With the initial part of kyu understood as drum roll and cymbal crash it is not difficult to imagine how the few verses which close the poem can more easily generate a peaceful and lingering resonance, the precise colouration of which is provided by the final verse, ageku. Far from being a succession of anodyne verses kyu is the wave that breaks followed by the hiss of foam and the growl of the undertow.

  199. Lorin Ford says:

    In defence of “In Nomine Jesu”, it’s what Bach wrote at the beginning of his MSs :

    “At the beginning of his manuscripts Bach would write I.N.J (In Nomine Jesu-“In the name of Jesus”) or J.J. (Jesu Juva-“Jesus Help Me”). He would then inscribe SDG (Soli Deo Gloria-“To God alone, be the glory) on the last page.”

    http://www.metzgermusic.com/component/content/article/38-documents/57-the-faith-of-johann-sebastian-bach-

    At least I didn’t choose ” Jesus Help Me! ” 😉 If the reader translates I.N.J, in context, to an exclamation of …what? … an exclamation of ironic surprise not unheard of among Australian pub-going men of the distant past (1950s- 1960s) and probably first used by those of Irish heritage, then it’s the reader’s culture that’s being imported 🙂 Seriously, I doubt that this sort of usage has ever been common in America, where even non-believers are pretty po-faced about “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.

    That said, I don’t mind “Deo Gratias” (Thanks to God/Thanks to the Lord”) either, but I note that (as well as change the tone of the verse) it loses the link to Bach that’s embedded in “In Nominae Jesu”, in the way Haruo Shirane described as ‘vertical axis’. See ‘Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory and the Poetry of Basho’ or his paper, ‘Beyond the Haiku Moment: Basho, Buson and Modern Haiku Myths’, which revolutionised the American perception of haiku. (At least>/i> the American perception & probably the EL world)
    (I won’t include the url because including two urls here means the post has to wait for moderation before it’s displayed, but anyone not familiar with the paper can google it up)

    Personally, I think that the embedded reference to Bach’s practice would be a plus for a reflective reader, but I mention this once and not again, as whatever you choose to go with is fine with me, John.

    I guess this verse being selected (in whatever form) means I’m ‘out’ as far as the closing section goes? 😦

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      sorry, about the disrupted sequence of posts. I was slowly going about my above post whilst, unbeknown to me, John was posting the two posts above it.

      …and also I mucked up with the italics, again!

      – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Soli Deo Gloria,
      the choirmaster’s ears
      ?

      That’s if ‘ears’ in relation to ‘the moon in every eye’ isn’t a problem.

      – Lorin

      • sandra says:

        Sorry if this butting in, or heading off on a tangent. If so, ignore.

        I wondered about a line from a well-known hymn (say) in English … maybe something like

        he who would valiant be,
        the choirmaster’s [small] smile

        Choosing English may be because I wasn’t brought up in the faith that used Latin (insomuch as I was brought up in any faith at all). We have Gallic higher up so do we need to be cautious about the use of Latin? Probably falls under John’s “forensic” heading …

        Yeah, I’m not sure about “ears” either. “smile”, small or otherwise, may not be right but it kind of fits the verses in this movement, what with the frog and all.

        And because of the cross-posting, this may all be academic.

      • William Sorlien says:

        Hi Sandra,

        just an off the cuff response, but I think we may have sufficient space between the descriptive ‘Gallic’ and the quoted Latin. And ‘ears’ more sardonic than ‘smile’ – a preferable attribute?

    • William Sorlien says:

      Hi Lorin,

      Here’s hoping I don’t have to type in fragments since I’ve moved to the other side of the building!
      Funny you should mention Irish heritage – St. Paul was “laid out by drunken Irishmen” according to our former Governor Jesse Ventura, so the expression implied is not unfamiliar here (home) or in other parts of the country with deep Irish roots – they’re not all that far removed..

      ‘In ‘Nomine Jesu’, interestingly, brings to mind the first line of a Norweigian grace I learned from my Grandmother. I’m hazy on the origin, my father claiming some allegience to Catholicism over Lutheran as many Norkis were, though I went to church with him only twice. Odd, maybe, considering our other closely related love-it-or leave it gun totin’ ideologies in the US. In any case, the verse caught my eye but I was unable to define what it was that brought it to my attention this morning.

      Would the naming of Jesus be upsetting to some? Being no slave to dogma I might only claim the defense of artistic license to our reknowned ultra-right religious types so prevalent here. I’m not sure many of them write renku, however. Some surprise in the “novelty” surely, welcome, in fact, tempered by the tongue in cheek reference to the choirmaster’s ears, and I prefer this cadence to ‘Deo Gratias’ superimposed over the image, just uplifting enough with multiple ramifications evident within and to follow. I wanted to comment on this verse earlier but was frustrated by my wi-fi connection. Heck, I have a hard time judging any references to religious topics, being out of the loop, you might say.

      The devastation of Dresden would be something I could more likely relate to, and I like how it finished with those three curt syllables , comparing it to a martial rhythm on snare drum, though admittedly I was preparing to march out the door myself, jaw set, ready to throw caution to the wind. I may have misunderstood a call for a hardening of tone, though I’ve had time to read John’s elucidating comments and can agree with the selection.

      And, meaning no offense, what’s ‘boiling up the billy’ mean?

      • sandra says:

        Here you go, Willie. I’m sure your cowboys have something similar:
        http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/9870/boiling-a-billy

        And until John mentioned it, I never realised its origin was from boulli-pot. When I was a kid we used a billy to hold the pegs for the washing.

      • William Sorlien says:

        Thanks, Sandra, I’ll have a look. The Billy verse caught my eye, too, though I was unsure what to make of it!

      • William Sorlien says:

        Ho! “Trampers” – and I was leaning to “hobos”, not the recreational kind, more than cowboys!

      • Lorin Ford says:

        “Funny you should mention Irish heritage – St. Paul was “laid out by drunken Irishmen” according to our former Governor Jesse Ventura, so the expression implied is not
        unfamiliar here (home) or in other parts of the country with deep Irish roots – they’re not all that far removed..” – W

        That’s interesting (and good) to know 😉 It’s hard for me to really know what common expressions we share with America. I blame this on America’s ‘free press’, from which the more earthy, direct or possibly blasphemous expressions of ordinary people are religiously expunged, or journalists who want to keep their jobs don’t use. I recall a hilarious article, featured in a Melbourne newspaper about 7 years ago, by a journalist ‘on loan’ here from a major USA newspaper. He clearly took great delight in the relative freedom of writing the (long!) article: about the many wonderful variations of meaning that the word ‘piss’, in it’s various forms, can take… “pissed”, “piss off”, “pissed off”, “taking the piss”, “pissing in someone’s pocket”,”pissing in the wind”, “piss weak” etc were just the beginning. 😉 Enlightening!

        Sydney, too, was laid out predominantly by Irish men and the ex-London poor, but it’s unlikely they were drunk, watched over by Her (HIs?) Majesty’s troopers as they were.

        – Lorin

  200. CynthiaRowe says:

    I’m a bit with you, Sandra. I was brought up an Anglican (C of E school, grandfather on the synod) with religious references always veering to the Mother Country (‘green and pleasant land’ – all that, most of which I have forgotten!) … and with more than a passing nod to France. The aforesaid Latin religiosity is unfamiliar to me, and might well be unfamiliar, even alienating, to the judges? 😦 And, as you rightfully point, out we have Gallic references above.

    Could we not be seen as being too clever by half with all this ‘language dipping/flaunting’? Another point to remember (ref. Poets’ Picnic renku in which there are egregious French language errors — hopefully to be amended prior to publication 😉 ) is that one needs to be accurate, deadly accurate, linguistically — or risk looking like a bunch of tossers 😦

    Hmmm, would not the previous mention of ‘eyes’ ideally preclude further mention of specific body parts? ‘smile’ is somewhat different, though, evoking emotion 🙂

    • William Sorlien says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      I wonder if the ‘ears’ link more strongly to ‘on hold’ due to the implication of a numbing of the senses and the subsequent focus on irrelevant matters – been there, done that!

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Does ‘ears’ link too closely with ‘on hold’, Willie? Choirmaster is almost a dirty word in this part of the world! A whole swag of them will be fronting up before the courts in the not too distant future 😦

    • Lorin Ford says:

      …and I was brought up by a nominally C of E mother and a nominally Presbyterian father, both of whom were agnostics at best, and then later a Catholic de facto stepmother was added to the mix, and I’m sorry to say I gave her hell. Also, I ran away from a C of E girl’s grammar school in Sale, at which I was a boarder for as short a time in grade 6 as I could help, and at which I was subject to a dwarf, albino, alcoholic, Jewish house-mother, the less said of whom the better. Also, I assure you that there is as much religiosity in Anglican Church ceremonies as there is in the Catholic, and I don’t think there’s much difference.

      None of which has anything to do with Bach or with the verse I wrote whatsoever!

      There was a time when Latin was the language of education, literature and culture. Bach was a Catholic…so what? Latin is an historical language. It can set a solemn and ceremonious mood not easily found in the present. It can contrast, in context, with the contemporary jargon, “on hold” and the irritating, ear-piercing, electronically conveyed sounds heard through phones.

      I do not agree that the use of this Latin phrase can be dismissed as “being too clever by half with all this ‘language dipping/flaunting’ “, not in this particular movement of the renku, anyway.

      “Hmmm, would not the previous mention of ‘eyes’ ideally preclude further mention of specific body parts? ” – Cynthia

      As I believe I indicated, early this morning:

      “And, does ‘ears’ commit kannonbiraki/ uchikoshi with ‘eyes’? … … or ‘not-so-distant reincarnation’?” – Lorin

      That’s my one concern about this verse:

      In Nomine Jesu
      the choirmaster’s ears
      —–
      (and ps, Sandra

      “I wondered about a line from a well-known hymn (say) in English … maybe something like

      he who would valiant be,
      the choirmaster’s [small] smile”

      To me, it just sounds like someone mangling normal syntax in the way of Victorian era poets & songwriters ( so therefore, wrong era), but without the end-rhyme on the following line (which was usually the purpose of inverting the syntax) Somehow, it feels far too flaccid and meek for this spot, and especially with ‘smile’.

      – Lorin

    • William Sorlien says:

      ‘mornin’ ,

      No! Umm, on trial for what, I’m afraid to ask … 😮

      Oh, dear …. connection slipping again. Troubleshooting now.

  201. CynthiaRowe says:

    The ‘choirmaster’s (lascivious?) smile’? Eeeuw!!!

  202. sandra says:

    re the language – we have two overtly French words and one overtly Japanese. Is Latin a language too far? Food for thought 🙂

    • sandra says:

      Make that three French words – courgette, Gallic, and bouillabaisse.

      • Lorin Ford says:

        Is Gallic a French word? Light me a Gauloise … I need one!

        Yeah, both ‘courgette’ and ‘bouillabaisse’ are from the French, though they are loan words in English now. ‘Parasol’, too, is a loan word from French.

        Bach is a German name, except when it’s English and pronounced ‘Batch’ (as a long ago student, who had that surname, explained to me) ‘Chameleon’, well that’s quite a mixture, coming through Middle English via Latin via Greek…& with earlier roots in Indo-European and Akkadian.

        ‘saijiki’ is a Japanese term. Is it a loan word, as ‘haiku’ is? Not officially, yet, perhaps, so it’s a ‘foreign word’. However, it occurs in this particular movement/ section of the renku, not earlier.

        ah, but ‘stocking’ seems to have a pure lineage in Middle English. Probably what they wore to keep the chill out when they were put in the stocks?

        Deer seems to come via the German, into Middle English…

        Well, we could go through, change ‘courgette’ to melon (maybe not though as I think that’s from the Italian, as is Jerusalem Artichoke, so perhaps ‘squash’? Though I suspect that ‘squash’ might have Native American origins) We could change ‘bouillabaise’ to ‘fish soup’, ‘parasol to ‘umbrella’, ‘chameleon’ to ‘ground lizard’ or ‘ground lion’ and then continue to look for other suspects of dubious heritage…maybe mark them all with a yellow star as we go ?. . .

        😦

        The Latin is almost unique, though, in this poem (with the exception of ‘saijiki’, perhaps) It is neither a loan word from a language other than English nor an anglicised version of a loan word, nor a translation … not changed from its original one bit. I guess that means it’s ‘foreign’ , but guess what? in traditional Japanese renku, ‘foreign words’ are allowed,/b>, even encouraged, in this particular movement of a renku. John may be ill, he may (or may not) overlook this or that now & then as anyone can, but it’s clear to me that he knows what he’s doing and he wouldn’t be overlooking anything as blatant as this.

        – Lorin

  203. sandra says:

    Settle down Lorin, it was a query, is all. I wasn’t suggesting anything had been overlooked by anyone. Was asking a question. Along the lines of “there are no stupid questions” … but it seems there clearly may be. I’m not saying this lightly, but I find the tone of your remarks above unnecessary. I guess we’re all stressed about John and how he’s getting on.

  204. Lorin Ford says:

    “I find the tone of your remarks above unnecessary. ”

    Well, what about “…being too clever by half with all this ‘language dipping/flaunting’? ” ??? 😦

    – Lorin

  205. William Sorlien says:

    Have to love these passionate discussions. And I thought I was the only one destined for eternal damnation! 😉 Ever notice how folks avoid or gloss over the subject in polite conversation? I’m enlightened – the choice of verse *is* controversial to some degree. But, what’s a renku of “all things” without a reference to religion, however tenuous? We haven’t had any Buddhist verses, have we? Though they’ve had their controversies, too, haven’t they, political and otherwise.

    I remember telling a pastor in the old neighborhood I was volunteering for the Youth Club in, with some discomfort, that I was essentially a heathen. He countered, “We’ll make a Christian of you yet, Willie.” Made me laugh. he was a pretty tolerant fellow, a good sense of humor.

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    (a/the) moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    the frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    In Nomine Jesu
    the choirmaster’s ears

    Shucks, I’m drawing a blank at the moment. 6am and I have to run off again. Well, the good thing is the building will be near empty this weekend and I’ll be able to achieve something other than putting out fires. Could be in touch with my own mortality, too, accessing a difficult section, thirty feet in the air. I’ll return with some offers in due time.

  206. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    [a]frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, – J,

    kyu:
    #17 non
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    Verdict (on the Dresden verse above): this verse could very well be ideal in a Kasen or a Triparshva where there is more scope for the tenor of the overall piece to ‘recover’ – crucially, because the closing movement ‘kyu’ is six verses long.

    Hi everybody, after carefully reading the discussion during my overnight, and in the specific light of the completion entry, I think it is best to revert to the Dresden verse. It has the benefits I outlined in that earlier crit, with the downsides I reiterate immediately above. On reflection I think the benefits outweigh the downsides – rather like my ruminations on the structural defects of the (any) Nijuin, this writing team has the skill to overcome them. Before I go on to outline where we go nest though, a couple of thoughts about my reasons for the switch.

    Latin, I don’t believe, is a problem per se. However it *can* have the effect of excluding some readers. I get this verse, and its ambit, automatically having been raised as a catholic, having studied Latin, and being fluent in Italian. As such I automatically get the tone; it is wry but with an empathic warmth. Therefore there is no way anyone with my background could be offended, confused, or otherwise unsettled by this verse. It is purely amusing, and the linkage delightful. But. That’s not going to be everyone’s experience of it.

    Technically – yes Lorin, four successive last lines beginning with the definite article is poor indeed. There’s a Japanese term meaning ‘identical diction’, which I’ve never been able to remember probably because a good old English phrase such as ‘poor artistry’ or ‘missing the bleeding obvious’ probably covers it! We could *probably* get away with ‘ears’ and ‘eye’ at only two clear verses separation, but the fact that they are the last word of the last line of their respective stanzas certainly points them up (the Japanese term for this stuff about single strongly related emblems appearing with not enough close separation is ‘sarikirai’. ‘To-rinne’ is more about similar *compound* ideas appearing twice at more or less any distance: stuff like ‘intangible breath of wind’ coming x number of verses after ‘the slightest puff of perfume’).

    Specific light of the competition entry: that stuff earlier referred to about a renku sequence containing ‘all things’ has gained more traction than critical thought in contemporary renku circles. Specifically in respect of its consequences when applied to every shorter sequences. Anyway, for our present purposes, it may very well be that a caustically critical reader of our sequence would have observed ‘Yes, but where’s the horror?’. So, we go with Dresden.

    #17 is the last of our non-season verses. It has buffer the transition into what will end up as a pleasant enough spring sequence. Not an easy task. But I’m sure we’re up to it! In order to get the maximum spread of input we stay ‘competitive’.

    Go!! 😉 J

  207. John Carley says:

    ps – I’m flying the kite of ‘a frozen lake’ just as a way to keep the definite/indefinite articles turning over

  208. John Carley says:

    pps – going with the Dresden verse means that we really must have a directly depicted perons or persons here. For some reason (‘turned to dust’?) I see an old person – anitquarian? – in a study: someone who still remembers the things everyone else has forgotten and/or moved on from. (Bloody hell, I sound like Mystic Meg!) Hmmn, talking of ‘to-rinne’: have to be careful not to revisit too many of the ideas of the happy snaps verse though! 🙂

  209. sandra says:

    Thanks John, have been feeling a bit bare on the inspiration front of late but will give it my Sunday morning best – especially now I’m fortified with a cooked breakfast (not by me, hurrah) that included corn bread!

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    I decide to take
    the astrakhan coat,
    moth balls and all

    steadying his breath
    for an application of scarlet
    to the saint’s robe

    sharing out her belongings
    we fail to notice
    that we’ve stopped quarrelling

  210. Lorin Ford says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust
    —–
    great-grandchildren
    always wanting stories,
    more stories!

    – Lorin

  211. CynthiaRowe says:

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all tha Dresden china
    turned to dust

    reversing his khaki beret
    he spoons couscous
    onto each guest’s plate

    at first kava sip
    she feels her tongue go numb
    and calm take over

    he hides his stash
    of cherry bonbons
    in the glovebox

  212. Lorin Ford says:

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    the way of the wind
    blowing through the Parthenon,
    blowing through her hair

    the way of the wind
    blowing through the A-Bomb Dome,
    blowing through her hair

    – Lorin

  213. Lorin Ford says:

    the way of the wind
    blowing in the Parthenon/ A-Bomb Dome,
    blowing in her hair

    – L

  214. Lorin Ford says:

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    his grandson
    finds her on e-Bay:
    Girl on a Swing

    – Lorin

  215. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    [a]frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    grandad hides his stash
    of [doo daa] bonbons
    in the glove box

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, – J, C

    kyu:
    #17 non C
    #18 spring
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    Thanks everybody for the quick turnaround. I see we’re on the 10th so a verse per day becomes more or less imperative again. Having said which – the requirements of the verse positions are less complex/more directive from here on in.

    This is inspirational from Cynthia. The time-jump responds perfectly to the ‘finality’ of the Dresden verse. The narrow focus detail (sweets in glove box) is classic renku response to the big sweep of the previous verse. And ‘hides’ is sufficient to realise the individuality of the protagonist. I’ve lifted ‘grandad’ from the generational aspect of other colleagues verses as it helps concretise the image.
    We can’t risk ‘cherry’ here as it is highly likely to foul the spring blossom verse at #19 (the all important last/next-but-one position). And, given that we’ve got to edit the wording, it just *may* be worth avoiding a ‘berry’ of any sort given that we have ‘taste+blackberry’ way back at #6 (a potential case of ‘to-rinne’: it is the combination or dependency between two or more elements that marks this out from a simple reoccurrence of a single related image – which of itself, at a large degree of separation, is not any sort of problem).

    If we wanted to be hyper-sensitive to word choice we might even avoid ‘bonbon’ as it could be perceived as French. Personally I don’t think that’s an imperative. Anyway, the scansion of ‘cherry bonbons’ is perfect. So an alternative is simple enough: ‘sticky toffees’, ‘fizzy bonbons’ etc – just so long as it doesn’t become incongruous with Dresden. Hmmn, last thought: because of spring and growing things up next almost any plant taste such as ‘mint’ *might* be a problem.

    Right – let’s leave that open whilst we move on to #18. We stay degachi between Lorin, Sandra and Willie. This is the first of spring. If the type of confectionary is central to your linkage please do specify along with the candidates.

    BANG! (that was the starter’s pistol going off). 🙂 🙂 J

  216. It struck me how the mention of the word “sweets” coincides with the allusion to the act of firebombing. The contrast, or, similarity of the desired product of each might further allude to man’s violent nature in an innocuous manner. Might it be incorporated into L2 somehow? It’s probably just me but bon-bons evokes a cartoonish image in my mind.

  217. sandra says:

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    grandad hides his stash
    of pralines/scorched almonds/hazelnut brittle
    in the glove box

    everywhere in the orchard
    a blackbird’s mating call

    a blackbird’s mating call
    filling every branch

    every day, the hum
    in the orchard a little louder

  218. CynthiaRowe says:

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    grandad hides his stash
    of sugared almonds
    in the glove box

    ??

    sugared almonds are handed out at christenings and weddings, particularly in Europe, but also in other communities worldwide — a predictor of spring?

  219. Lorin Ford says:

    grandad hides his stash
    of [doo daa bonbons]
    in the glove box

    the trapdoor spider
    also out of its hole

    the girl on a swing,
    her slippers lost to the sky

    a kettle whistling
    somewhere in the haze

    a whistling kettle
    adds steam to the haze

    the family’s edges
    blurring in the haze

    rain from the era
    of Roman hyacinths

    on swings, on roundabouts
    a torrent of children

    a torrent of children
    racing to the swings

    – Lorin

  220. Lorin Ford says:

    pinwheel colours
    obscure in the haze

    – L

  221. sandra says:

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    grandad hides his stash
    of sugared almonds
    in the glove box

    splitting open the seed head
    and saying a prayer

  222. Lorin Ford says:

    grandad hides his stash
    of [doo daa bonbons]
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of its hole

    – L

  223. sandra says:

    all along the avenue
    the greenest green

  224. Lorin Ford says:

    grandad hides his stash
    of [doo daa bonbons]
    in the glove box

    caught in the birch tree
    yesterday’s pink balloon

    – L

  225. Lorin Ford says:

    grandad hides his stash
    of [doo daa bonbons]
    in the glove box

    a map marked with X
    where we pick bitter greens

    – L

  226. snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    [a]frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    Grandpa hides his stash
    of (sugared almonds)*
    in the glovebox

    yesterday’s rain / this morning’s drizzle
    adding / adds a touch of green

    falling things and color in close proximity to previous topics

    *provisional: I like the subtle oddity of “sugared almonds”.

  227. Lorin Ford says:

    Grandpa hides his stash
    of (sugared almonds)
    in the glovebox

    blackbirds back and forth
    to the chirping hedge

    (mine were ‘Grandpa’ on both sides, also other kids I knew, except a couple of families where Grandpa was ‘Pop’. )
    – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      blackbirds to and fro
      from the chirping hedge
      ?

      (because of “first four bars of Bach”:. I think I’m going nuts! )

      – Weary of Brunswick

    • Grandpa and Grandma here. Grandad seems more upbeat, maybe more “upper crust” (to my ear), stuffy, even, if he were Biff and Muffy’s Pops, i.e., thus the fun of him hiding his stash.

      I see a ’62 Ford Galaxie 500 … I really do. Over there, buried under a snowdrift in the empty lot. Nothing moving now ’cause of the blizzard this weekend (Midwest US).

  228. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    [a]frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    gran[dad] hides his stash
    of [sugared almonds]
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, – J, C, L

    kyu:
    #17 non C
    #18 spring L
    #19 spring blossom
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    Hi everybody, first the easy one: I forgot to say yesterday that whereas the scansion of ‘grandad’ is, I believe, ideal (the more so with our putative added verse) the spelling c.f. granddad, or bi-syllabic alternatives such as grandpa, granpops etc are surely Cynthia’s call. I am not familiar with the regional and social variations of usage in Australia, but obviously they will exist.

    On the confectionary – crucial input from Willie: we have to keep in mind that this is the HS of America and our judges may quite naturally lean towards US usage. ‘Sugared almonds’ is pretty much perfect. BUT (in capitals because I fear it’s a big one). We’ve got to be careful about the number of liberties we take with the literalists before they decide to bite back. ‘Almond’, on its own, and at face value, is clearly an autumn season word. If only I could make head nor tail of the insane Doctor’s WKD site I’m sure I would find it listed as such in the saijiki of everywhere from Anguilastan to Zylophonia. Either that or we’re not allowed to use it at all because it doesn’t appear in the Tale of Genji. Sigh. I really think we’d be best advised to go with something which would withstand a Jesuitical level of examination: ‘soothing centres’ , ‘sticky toffees’ , ‘toffee wrappers’…

    Why? Because I can’t find a way around the next one. ‘Earthworm’ is a summer kigo in classical Japanese because Japan doesn’t have worms all the year round, they just warp into existence with the seventh new moon and vanish again with the tenth. By contrast ‘warming earth’ is an absolutely classic Japanese early spring kigo, and where I live one of the first signs of ‘warming earth’ is that the blackbirds can get at the bloody worms again. Ow, ow, ow (sorry – just banging my head against the wall in frustration).

    This blackbird verse does absolutely everything we need at this juncture: as an inversion of the action in Grandad’s stash it is funny, at a surface level it is an entirely accurate spring ‘nature’ verse, and it sets up a ‘flourishing forth’ at the blossom verse next. In sum, we have moved a long way, in only two verses, from the hideous death of Germanic fantasy. Oh yeah, and all this rubbish stuff about kigo nearly made me forget why I like the verse so much anyway – it is that ‘ah-ah-ah’ of the phonics that reminds me so much of the jerky movements of the blackbird and the stary madness in its eyes.

    We have to keep this verse. But that in turn means I don’t think we dare keep ‘almonds’. Not after the notional ‘frog’ at #11.

    To spring blossom. In normal circumstances I’d never run a series of degachi verses down to last man standing because I was *always* the last to be picked to join a team game in the school yard – and the emotional scars are still raw. But I will do exactly that now because I believe Willie and Sandra understand the score – this isn’t about who is best, but how the moment of synch is most easily and readily arrived at. It’s also the case that spring blossom and ageku are equally taxing, but in different ways. And hell , in the light of our street sweeper and snow moose verses, it’s not even certain who is who anyway!

    Ok, Willie and Sandra head to head on spring blossom. The slightly anomalous earthworm means more than ever that we need to demonstrate a grasp of the classics. I really think we are in conventional cherry/plum blossom territory. Either outdoor or, just possibly, cut sprigs indoor. And I also suspect that Lorin invites us to be upbeat rather than (primarily) smart.

    God, it’s 11:57 on Monday and my brain hurts already! 🙂 J

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      I like the assonance of dad and stash

      granddad hides his stash
      of sticky toffees
      in the glovebox

      I also find appealing the irony of granddad having a weakness for eating sticky toffees when his teeth are likely to fall out in the process 😦

      – C

    • Peanut brittle – just sayin’. Sticky toffees is prolly better. I don’t eat a lot of candy, ‘cept for Almond Joys from the truckstop lately.

      A little more suggested tweaking:

      a blackbird pulls a worm
      out of [its] hole

      I had the same observation about the Blackbird, its manic behavior juxtaposed with Grandad’s weakness, or any other symbolism it might hold.

      • John Carley says:

        The effect of ‘its hole’ is interesting Willie. It is certainly more rational. Personally, as well as the ah-ah-ah phonics I tend to ‘a hole’ purely because the randomness of it seems to exacertbate the ‘hyper’ undercurrent! J

      • Lorin Ford says:

        …what was going through my mind:

        gran[dad] hides his stash
        of [sugared almonds]
        in the glove box

        the stash …’in the glovebox’
        the worm ‘out of its hole’

        What is a glovebox but a hole for stowing things, when all is said & done?

        – L

      • Jah, I’m stuck on those short vowel sounds. I get your point, though. Linguistics, a fascinating subject.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “We have to keep this verse. But that in turn means I don’t think we dare keep ‘almonds’. Not after the notional ‘frog’ at #11.” – J

      I think we’re having a Mintie moment. 🙂 (“It’s moments like these you need Minties!” — classic Aust. advertisement)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minties

      But the adjective is hard. .. ‘sticky Minties’? ‘rock-hard Minties’? . . .birthday Minties? ‘stolen Minties’?. . . ‘pilfered Minties’? . . .

      There’s a classic biscuit (US ‘cookie’) called “Melting Moments” . . .

      – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “‘Earthworm’ is a summer kigo in classical Japanese because Japan doesn’t have worms all the year round, they just warp into existence with the seventh new moon and vanish again with the tenth. ” – J

      Yes, but … according to der Doktor-san, (I looked it up), earthworms not only come out in Summer, they sing! Rather like the frogs of Spring, I suppose. And birds mate in late Spring in Japan, whereas here they’re getting stuck into it in Winter. (And Australian seasons begin on the 1st of the relevant month, not on the equinoxes and solstices, so it’s a bit like the old Japanese calendar) But. . .

      Things Coming out of Their Holes

      Hole (ana) and hibernating animals

      ***** Location: Japan
      ***** Season: Various, see below
      ***** Category: Animal

      *****************************
      Explanation

      Many animals hibernate in winter, which means they go into a hole before it gets too cold and come out again when it gets warmer.

      kigo for mid-spring

      ari ana o izu 蟻穴を出づ (ありあなをいづ)
      ants coming out of their hole
      …. ari ana o deru 蟻穴を出る(ありあなをでる)
      ari izu 蟻出づ(ありいづ) ants coming out (again), ants emerge

      Finally it gets warmer and the ants come out looking for food. This kigo shows the joy of springtime.

      ants out of a hole —
      when did I stop playing
      the red toy piano?

      Fay Aoyagi, 2006
      http://www.modernhaiku.org/essays/Lanoue-FayAoyagiHaiku.html

      When the animals come out again, the kigo reflect that it is now getting warm and there is the joy of springtime.
      http://wkdkigodatabase03.blogspot.com.au/2006_12_01_archive.html

      So it seems that ‘out of its/ a hole’ even has a hon’i !!! 😉 (‘poetic essence = ‘the joy of Springtime’ ) That the blackbird is helping the worm out of its ‘hole’ a little earlier than mid-Spring -equinox might dampen the hon’i a tad, for the worm, but the kigo still holds, imo.

      Earthworms don’t actually live in holes, they have the whole earth as their ‘hole’. The only reason I used ‘out of its hole’ was that I knew about ‘creatures coming out of their holes’ as kigo, which has caused me more than a little amusement, over the years. 🙂

      (probably earthworms are a Summer kigo in Japan is that’s when you’d see them flushed out of their ‘holes’ by rain, floating around drowned or drowning in the rice paddies)

      – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      damn, I missed that url within the quoted text. Deleted now.

      “‘Earthworm’ is a summer kigo in classical Japanese because Japan doesn’t have worms all the year round, they just warp into existence with the seventh new moon and vanish again with the tenth. ” – J

      Yes, but … according to der Doktor-san, (I looked it up), earthworms not only come out in Summer, they sing! Rather like the frogs of Spring, I suppose. And birds mate in late Spring in Japan, whereas here they’re getting stuck into it in Winter. (And Australian seasons begin on the 1st of the relevant month, not on the equinoxes and solstices, so it’s a bit like the old Japanese calendar) But. . .

      Things Coming out of Their Holes

      Hole (ana) and hibernating animals

      ***** Location: Japan
      ***** Season: Various, see below
      ***** Category: Animal

      *****************************
      Explanation

      Many animals hibernate in winter, which means they go into a hole before it gets too cold and come out again when it gets warmer.

      kigo for mid-spring

      ari ana o izu 蟻穴を出づ (ありあなをいづ)
      ants coming out of their hole
      …. ari ana o deru 蟻穴を出る(ありあなをでる)
      ari izu 蟻出づ(ありいづ) ants coming out (again), ants emerge

      Finally it gets warmer and the ants come out looking for food. This kigo shows the joy of springtime.

      ants out of a hole —
      when did I stop playing
      the red toy piano?

      Fay Aoyagi, 2006

      When the animals come out again, the kigo reflect that it is now getting warm and there is the joy of springtime.
      http://wkdkigodatabase03.blogspot.com.au/2006_12_01_archive.html

      So it seems that ‘out of its/ a hole’ even has a hon’i !!! 😉 (‘poetic essence = ‘the joy of Springtime’ ) That the blackbird is helping the worm out of its ‘hole’ a little earlier than mid-Spring -equinox might dampen the hon’i a tad, for the worm, but the kigo still holds, imo.

      Earthworms don’t actually live in holes, they have the whole earth as their ‘hole’. The only reason I used ‘out of its hole’ was that I knew about ‘creatures coming out of their holes’ as kigo, which has caused me more than a little amusement, over the years. 🙂

      (probably earthworms are a Summer kigo in Japan is that’s when you’d see them flushed out of their ‘holes’ by rain, floating around drowned or drowning in the rice paddies)

      – L

  229. for starters

    gran[dad] hides his stash
    of [sticky toffee]
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of [its] hole

    stands of wild cherry
    blossom beyond
    the dry stone hedge

    panicles of blossoms
    encroaching beyond
    the dry stone hedge

    encroaching beyond
    the dry stone hedge
    panicles of blossoms

    gathered beyond
    the dry stone hedge
    rows of white blossoms

  230. sandra says:

    granddad hides his stash
    of sticky toffees
    in the glovebox

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of [its] hole

    cherry blossom:
    the teenagers
    stop complaining

    cherry blossom:
    the teenager (and his spots)
    stop complaining

    the philosopher
    deep in thought beneath
    a blossom-filled sky

    the frowning philosopher
    remembers to look up,
    a blossom-filled sky

    a sudden wind
    and the world
    fills with petals

    a sudden wind
    and the world
    fills with blossoms

    smiling at strangers
    amid the cherry blossoms,
    how easy it is

    a day too early,
    a day too late
    cherry blossom season

    Well, that’s enough for now. May be more later, we’ll see.

    I’m trying out the colon in the first two offerings based on John’s “degree of turn”. May be too ambitious for this poem (and may very well be “wrong” regardless).

    “the philosopher” is a reference to the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosopher's_Walk

    • John Carley says:

      That pause and turn you employ is no more strong than I’ve encountered sometimes when translating Sandra. It tends to be a technque seen more readily in moon or blossom verses.

      march 3rd blossom,
      pitting the long-tailed cock
      against the parrot

      Juugo, from First Snow

      a verse merchant
      devours the blossoms all,
      debts from drinking

      Kikaku, from The Verse Merchants

      As you see I hedge my bets with the forensic brigade by using a comma rather than a colon! 😉 J

  231. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    a frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of [smelly] toffees
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossoms

    S, J, W, C, L, – S, C, J, L, S, – L, J, W, C, W, – J, C, L, W

    kyu:
    #17 non C
    #18 spring L
    #19 spring blossom W
    #20 spring ageku (close)

    Classic cinematic linkage from Willie to pan up from the tussle at ground level to the wall, then up again to deliver the blossom (sic) as the final image. ‘Rising’ as might the bird, and ‘black/white’ reversal. In sum -doing exactly the right amount in the right order (as an aside: interesting that the visual tracking style of linkage pre-dates cinema by 500 years!). Btw – only joking about ‘blossom (sic)’. British and American usages differ. Dunno what the conventions are down south.

    To Sandra for ageku. In theory the same person rarely takes hokku and ageku. But we don’t care. And anyway, given my confusion between Sandra and Willie, we could always just swap the attributions!

    Given the last two, and indeed the balance of the whole sequence, we probably need a person or persons in this Sandra. Other than that… well, you’ve written x number of Yotsumono’s, so you know all about the notion of synthesis/resolution at ageku. ‘Determination’ (I couldn’t remember the damned word for a moment).

    I think we need to be a wee bit cautious of the fact that the hokku can read as quite early summer so we probably want to avoid a late spring scene here that is similar in content. It might therefore be best to stay well clear of the horticultural. In fact – I hesitate to say this as it might sound very directive, but then you know you can ignore me totally anyway – I note that we have no reference to the sea anywhere in the poem (and the only large body of water, the lake, is frozen) so you *could* link via ‘wave’. In other circumstances such linkage might appear a bit too much Danrinesque, but ageku is allowed to be liberal in such things in order to concentrate on the determination bit, and we haven’t over used that kind of direct single word and image linkage hitherto.

    ‘[smelly] toffee’? Arguably the ironic tactile element of ‘chew’ for gummy old granddad is already present in ‘toffee’, so we don’t *have* to use ‘sticky’ too. Reading back through the poem to check on how the whole sensorium is approached I saw that we *might* take the opportunity to reinforce the sense of smell, which is not too evident otherwise. I was just racking my brains on the precise smell/aroma of the toffee when I found myself thinking ‘smelly toffee’. ‘Minties’ is a lovely aside but probably off the agenda for fear of three proper nouns in a row.

    The text above shows ‘a frozen lake’ at #14, simply in order to keep the definites and indefinites turning over. If there are no objections I suggest we keep it.

    Best wishes, John

    • Thanks. Actually, I prefer ‘blossom’ if that’s correct usage.

      Waiting for a snowplow. It’s unfortunate that many ornamentals don’t grow this far north. I’d hoped to be correct in implying wild or sweet cherries.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Hmmm, John . . . “smelly toffee” comes across as a tad judgmental, to me. . . ‘author’s thumb too evident on the scales’ ?

      coffee toffees?…perhaps not, but it implies a scent. Hard to separate aroma from taste!
      licorice, aniseed, brandy…
      – L

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        treacle toffee, bonfire toffee (peculiar to UK I think)

        granddad hides his stash
        of treacle toffees
        in the glovebox

        granddad hides his stash
        of bonfire toffees
        in the glovebox

      • Lorin Ford says:

        …’treacle toffees’ seems ok, Cynthia. Never heard of ‘bonfire toffee’, but there’s that ‘bon’ word again 🙂

        I just can’t think of a fragrance or aroma, in relation to toffee and which has two syllables that’s not fruity, nutty or boozey! Except coffee.

        – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      … minty choo-choos / minty chew-chews ?

      We used to have Choo-Choo Bars here. Black, strong aniseed flavour. Guaranteed to pull yr fillings out.
      – L

      • Lorin Ford says:

        … ‘licorice allsorts’ ? ‘jelly babies’, ‘fruity jujubes’, ‘bourbon toffees’ . . .um … now ‘bourbon’ is very American, despite the word’s origins.

        ‘caramel chews’ ?

        – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Wow, I am hugely impressed by the range of sweets you are able to recall 🙂 A misspent childhood at the tuck shop?? 🙂

      • Lorin Ford says:

        🙂 …country town.

        – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Okay, still mulling over toffee smells

        granddad hides his stash
        of minty toffees
        in the glovebox

        granddad hides his stash
        of toffee apples
        in the glovebox

        but toffee apples involve fruit 😦 sigh

        – C

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “Reading back through the poem to check on how the whole sensorium is approached I saw that we *might* take the opportunity to reinforce the sense of smell, which is not too evident otherwise.” – J

      “I note that we have no reference to the sea anywhere in the poem (and the only large body of water, the lake, is frozen) so you *could* link via ‘wave’. ” – J

      Is there the possibility of including fragrance/ smell in relation to the sea, then? I know that I love the smell of everything by the sea, I think it’s the salt in the air and the sand that warms up & mingles with the scents of things, freshening them, linking them together.

      – L

  232. Lorin Ford says:

    “Actually, I prefer ‘blossom’ if that’s correct usage.” – W

    Hi Willie, it’s not that there’s correct & incorrect usage. It’s that there are two Englishes. 😉 “Divided by a common language” & all that. From what I’ve experienced via international haiku, Americans & Canadians tend not to use ‘blossom’ as an uncountable noun. I say ‘waves of blossom’ , you say ‘waves of blossoms’, tomayto, tomahto etc.

    Though I think usage varies in the USA. I’ve seen eg ‘waves of blossom’ used by someone in America’s South, only to be ‘corrected’ in that o-so-nice but o-so -certain way by Canadians, whom I then ‘corrected’ . . . 🙂

    Now, if only we had a crystal ball to see who the judges are!

    – Lorin

  233. sandra says:

    First attempts later today …

  234. sandra says:

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossoms

    between the hemispheres
    a bridge of sand

    (don’t worry, this isn’t it)
    mtc …

    • Lorin Ford says:

      I rather like this ‘bridge of sand’, Sandra. Not sure about hemispheres in this verse spot, though.

      Some thoughts, roughed out … possibilities to add to the mix, that you & John might be able to work up into something, or be half-way inspired by:

      between us and the spring tide
      our bridge of sand

      the spring tide washes over
      our bridge of sand

      we watch the spring tide claim
      our bridge of sand

      the spring tide washes
      each name/ our names from the sand

      poets and beachcombers,
      our footprints in wet sand

      beachcombers all
      until the ferry’s whistle

      poets and beachcombers
      mingle at low tide/ spring tide

      spring tide: each one
      leaves with a favourite shell

      spring tide, the scent of rosemary
      calling sailors’ home

      spring tide,
      each of us a sailor

      … perhaps a tad mawkish. o, well, unedited but offered in good will.

      – L

  235. sandra says:

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossoms

    my childhood quilt hanging
    from a stranger’s window

    out on his step the new neighbour
    polishes a pair of dancing shoes

    in a giddy moment we all
    sign up for dance classes

    at the poets’ table someone
    calls for elderflower champagne

    at the poets’ table someone
    calls for gorse-flower champagne

    as the film director leans in
    to kiss me, a tang of gorse

    (okay, okay, no more horticulture! 🙂 )

    a new baby in his arms
    and we all start talking goo

    Feedback please … I don’t think I’ve got anywhere near what I need to do. Any and all direction gratefully received.

    There are no ocean ones as John suggested – been to a funeral today of the son of a close friend. He was lost at sea. So not really getting my head round that yet.

  236. sandra says:

    five speckled eggs
    in a shaft of sunlight

    five speckled eggs
    & a new spring in my step

    the shepherd’s hand gentle
    as he guides a lamb to milk

    counting his lambs at dusk,
    the shepherd’s tuneless whistle

    counting his lambs at dusk,
    the shepherd’s tapping finger

    ambling through the dusk,
    the ewes call their lambs home

    Whew, that will do for now. If all found wanting, I’ll try again, no problem. FYI: While eggs aren’t so strongly associated with spring in the southern hemisphere, they appear in northern word lists as part of the link to Easter.

  237. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street-sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    a frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of [tasty] toffees
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between [the] [hemispheres]
    a bridge of sand

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C, J, L, S, L, J, W, C, W, J, C, L, W, S

    This is devastating Sandra. Without wishing to be rude it is in a totally different class to the other candidates. I am very sorry indeed to hear of your bereavement. Your distress is evident in your writing.

    If we were writing a competition entry I wouldn’t go anywhere near this verse. But we’re writing poetry, which just happens, in this case, to be a competition entry. I’m sorry if I’ve just lost us the competition but I really think this verse has to stay.

    As it happens it is not without precedent. This is Basho at ageku from The Wild Goose (Kariganemo):

    having eaten mud snails
    this sinful mouth

    Superficially this is a reference to monks (vegetarian by rule) breaking their vow in the grubbiest way imaginable. It is however the more shocking when we learn that ‘to eat mud snails’ was an idiomatic reference to a particular form of homosexual encounter.

    So, your stanza is *highly* unusual, but in rather august company.

    between [the] [hemispheres]
    a bridge of sand

    Why the brackets? If you feel able to countenance it I think we might be best to at least make a nod towards our judges’ expectations. At a minimum, for the balance of the poem, and to really draw the reader in, I’d ask you to consider swapping the definite article for a possessive pronoun:

    between our [hemispheres]
    a bridge of sand

    In so far as the blackbird verse doesn’t scream ‘springtime’ officially, and because the Nijuin has a relatively short spring run, there’s an argument to be made that we really might be best to tick that season-reference box. Whilst the word ‘hemispheres’ takes me directly to ‘worlds apart’ it does feel slightly stand-out in terms of register. So this would be the place to look… is there another way to re-frame it?

    In shorter renku the convention, inherited from Japanese season word use where lots of season words are compounds naming the season (spring rain, autumn wind etc) is that no more than one season should be named directly in a sequence (so once ‘winter’, then none of the others etc). We haven’t cited any season directly; the word ‘spring’ is therefore available to us. And given that the sainted ‘cherry blossom’ is the most hackneyed emblem of anything ever used in the history of literature it seems that a negative take on ‘spring’ is long long long overdue – particularly where ‘spring’ itself stands in for the wider issue of kigo, orientalness, conformity etc etc

    I’d argue that what we need is something like ‘between our takes on spring / a bridge of sand’ – without going so far down register.

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of [tasty] toffees
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between our thoughts of spring
    a bridge of sand

    * * *

    To tell you the truth, because ‘Traces of Dreams’ is such an important book, and because the Basho poem it refers to is so important

    a trace of the dreams
    of warriors past
    ah, the summer grass

    I’d really like to suggest:

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of [tasty] toffees
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    Thoughts please. J

  238. Lorin Ford says:

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    Yes!!! ( from me)

    My admiration! The rhythm is lovely, just right for a reflective mood, the sand bridge (which caught my attention right off) is perfect in its evocation of transience as sand banks/ sand bridges come & go with the tides but even so, ‘bridge of sand’ suggests connection, however temporary. Then, ‘our dreams of spring’ is a master stroke. ‘Our dreams…’ become islands, a literal picture, twice a year with the big tides, the ‘spring tide’ being one of them, when the tide goes out the furthest and then comes in to cover the beach completely. ..’dreams/ islands’… a fitting metaphor, unstrained, a natural analogy.

    I find a nod to Basho (“my dreams wander/ withered moor”) but also am reminded that there was a great poet in the Victorian era. Not that anything in this verse is a direct allusion, it’s more on a feeling and association level, or maybe it’s just because of the sea/beach image and the tinge of melancholy.

    http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/arnold/writings/doverbeach.html

    “Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams, …”

    Also, on the level of the location of four of the participants in this renku, it’s interesting to note that the UK, Australia and New Zealand are comprised of islands. Each has the sea all around it.

    “Dawn points, and another day
    Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
    Wrinkles and slides. I am here
    Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.”

    (from ‘East Coker’ – T.S. Eliot)

    – Lorin

  239. Lorin Ford says:

    ps…the balance in this one is marvelous. .. connection/ separation, real/ dreams … It’s a wrap-up that acknowledges that there is no wrap-up, but beginnings, endings, beginnings . . .

    – L

  240. Lorin Ford says:

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    Pragmatics: 3 indefinite articles in the last-but-one verse, and the indef. art. recurs in the ageku.

    Possibilities for your consideration:

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of its hole

    or/and

    between our dreams of spring
    this bridge of sand

    – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Because we have the possessive ‘our’ in the ageku (& I feel it’s essential) then it seems to me best to leave the blackbird ku with the three indef. arts. (also, it’s unclear whose hole it is, blackbird’s’ or worm’s)

      Is ‘this’ too demonstrative, too ‘pointing’, for the ageku? It doesn’t feel so, to me.

      – L

  241. What can I say? The linking allusion of impermanence is marvelous, the notation of ‘dreams’ chronicling desire, the whole concise, logical without destroying optimism while sustaining a commonality of feeling and experience. Sounds good, too. 😉

  242. sandra says:

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    This is stupendous John – the new drugs must be great! I would like to thank David Attenborough for inspiring the “bridge of sand” after watching an episode of “Africa” the other night:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qb062 (click on show more). And, of course, the Academy.

  243. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street sweeper
    returns a Gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    a frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of [butter menthols]
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry-stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C, J, L, S, L, J, W, C, W, J, C, L, W, S

    Wow. Jan 18th to Feb 14th – that’s the fastest turnaround I’ve ever witnessed in remote composition. Even faster than (horrid) early stuff I was involved in where people just added their ‘best shot’ in a kind of round-robin free for all.

    The text above. Taking verses in numerical:
    #10: I’ve dropped the hyphen from (the former) street-sweeper. These are questions of usage I know rather than any absolute sense of ‘correctness’. No real reason other than I think one might be needed at #19 so thought best not to overdo it for the poem.

    #11: I’ve really grown to like that froggish squiggle of the tilde to offset the word ‘whoops’ but earlier comments about punctuation marks and (alleged) kireji are probably germane. So I’d respectfully suggest three (count ’em!) character spaces.

    #17: thank God for Australia! The quintessential granddad sweets in the UK are Werther’s Originals http://www.werthers-original.co.uk/ but that name doesn’t come close to the icky chewy smelly *wonderful* combination of ‘butter’+’menthol’ which, I learn, is itself a brand name for a something of a traditional comfort confectionary in Oz. I’ve been really worried about this verse. To be blunt: when the fire crews finally reached the air-raid shelters in the aldstadt of Dresden they found not the bodies of suffocated people (the firestorm had used all the oxygen) but vast puddles of goo with the occasional long-bone sticking out. All the people had melted – hundreds of them flowing into one. This stuff has been keeping me awake at nights (as it should). ‘Liquid centres’. Even ‘sticky toffee’…

    #18: I really think the ah-ah-ah is a positive here. The fact that #20 employs ‘our’ makes it pretty much our only true option. I understand why this might appear in conflict with the indefinite article appearing again in #20 however, because of the heavy burden taken by ageku (the last verse) in providing the summation the convention has always been that it is expempted from the more strictly applied conventions of diction/diversity/minimum separation etc that govern all other verses in a sequence other than the hokku.

    #19: This is where I’m suggesting the addition of the hyphen in order to void the reading of ‘dry’ and ‘stone’ as adjective/noun. Believe me, the moors outside my window are the quintessential dry-stone wall landscape, and they’ve never been ‘dry’ for more than half a day at a time!

    #20: Thank you Sandra for allowing that slight re-working. ‘Slight’? One could use this verse as an object lesson. I believe that to many eyes this level of re-working would look like a substantive intrusion such that ‘it is no longer Sandra’s verse’. But, though the suggested alteration is my own, I know that I could never in a million years have come anywhere close to generating the source verse in the first place. But anyway, that’s the stuff of tomegaki’s. So I’ll leave it there.

    Team, I know that Sandra has contacted me direct in respect of copyright releases etc so I’ve no intention of interfering (for a change!). Let’s see if we can sign off on this text. I cordially invite last contributions asap in respect of the material presented directly above in this posting.

    Wow! 🙂 J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      # 10 …Yes to dropping the hyphen from ‘street sweeper’. I intended to mention it once we were at this stage, because usage here has more or less settled at ‘street sweeper’ for a person but ‘street-sweeper’ for a machine.
      # 19 …Yes also to ‘dry-stone wall’, for the reasons you give, John.
      # 11 … Yes, to spaces.
      #17 …I have some reservations about Butter Menthols, so I might as well just out with them & get it over & done with.

      granddad hides his stash
      of [butter menthols]
      in the glove box

      They’re probably the oldest well-known medicinal lolly here, used for soothing the throat when one has a cold. (The other sort, that was also around when I was a kid, is/was Throaties) Butter Menthols come in a ‘roll’, stacked up like Lifesavers, wrapped as a cylinder. So whilst the sound is good, the associations for me are with Winter and I have a bit of difficulty seeing someone (even someone a tad nutty) hiding a stash of them. Not even a hypochondriac. It just hits the wrong note for me.

      As well , Butter Menthols is a brand name, so capitals should be used. And I was going to bring up Granddad re the capital, too: it’s a proper noun, unless qualified by ‘my/his/ their etc’. Sorry, because I know we probably don’t want proper nouns here, after Bach in the last-but-one, but we’ve got them, and to me they’re not disguised by neglecting the caps. It’d just look like a clumsy oversight and it’d stand out like the proverbial dog’s hind leg, imo. What to do?

      I don’t know what to do about Granddad, but I’d suggest a generic lolly rather than the branded Butter Menthols: barley sugar comes to mind, probably the precedent for Butter Menthols anyway, but without the medicinal tang & associations with colds and flu. It comes loose in a bag rather than a roll so can be hoarded & stashed and can be either bought in the shops or homemade. Also, with it’s twisty shape and golden colour, it can recall fiddly bits on china figurines ala Dresden (the worst ones, anyway)

      #18 …I agree completely that the 3 indefinite articles need to stay.

      #20 … just checking to make sure that you’ve considered ‘this’ :

      between our dreams of spring
      this bridge of sand

      … in relation to the blackbird verse & its indef. arts. and decided against it, as being too demonstrative or the like.

      – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        #10 re street sweeper — I wondered why the hyphen was there in the first place so agree with having it removed

        #11 — yes, to spaces

        #19 — yes, to dry-stone wall for reasons above

        #17 — I don’t like Butter-Menthols at all. I cannot imagine why anyone would keep a stash of these medicated sweets, which come in a square roll (they are square these days, and packed in a long stick thingy). Butter-Menthols are pretty much a winter lozenge, used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

        I still think something chewy, or difficult to eat: …peanut brittle; … chocolate brittle; …chewy fantails (the beat is right for any of those)

        not sure I agree that the word granddad needs a capital letter — ‘the granddad’ can be used as a generic term and, after all, this is poetry.

        #18 — yes to indef articles

        #20 — ‘this’, for me, is too specific (as well as being a tad demonstrative)

        You too, Willie — and a pleasure writing with all of you 🙂

        – Cynthia

      • Lorin Ford says:

        … ‘peanut brittle’ sounds good to me, Cynthia.

        um, ‘chewy fantails’ doesn’t! ;-), especially when followed by the blackbird verse! Unless we changed Granddad to Sylvester the Cat . . .

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

        “not sure I agree that the word granddad needs a capital letter — ‘the granddad’ can be used as a generic term and, after all, this is poetry.” – C

        yes, ‘the granddad’, ‘a granddad’, ‘our granddad’, ‘their granddad’,… but, unless we’re e.e. cummings, and we’re referring to a particular granddad by name (and that’s clearly the case in this verse), it’s Granddad. Poetic license? Hmmm, maybe, but I do know that the major haiku publications in the USA agree that caps should be used for place names and that’s generalised to most proper nouns. I suspect that it might be the same for renku, but I don’t know for certain. John & Willie would be the ones who’d know more, I think.

        In any case, it looks like an oversight, there’s no getting away from that. It can’t be put down to style because we’ve used caps for all other proper nouns in this renku.

        – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “To be blunt: when the fire crews finally reached the air-raid shelters in the aldstadt of Dresden they found not the bodies of suffocated people (the firestorm had used all the oxygen) but vast puddles of goo with the occasional long-bone sticking out. All the people had melted – hundreds of them flowing into one. This stuff has been keeping me awake at nights (as it should). ‘Liquid centres’. Even ‘sticky toffee’…” – J

      yes, it’s a problem, I agree. I didn’t think of that when I suggested ‘Melting Moments! God, what a boo-boo!

      I don’t think the problem is solved by ‘Butter Menthols’, though. Not even sure it’s solved by ‘barley sugar’. Will keep on thinking…

      – Lorin

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        I don’t think John Bird even possesses a majuscule on his computer — Christmas Day …whatever… always lower case in his haiku 😉

        Barley sugar is sucked rather than chewed. Why not stick (no pun intended!) with peanut brittle in #17??

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      Though the time that I ‘sent’ my post suggesting ‘barley sugar’ is later than the time of your post suggesting ‘peanut brittle’, your post had not appeared when I began it. As I said in a subsequent post, after reading yours, ‘peanut brittle’ sounds good to me.

      Re your reference to what you consider to be John Bird’s practice, are you suggesting that we should omit all of the instances of caps for proper nouns in this renku?

      Personally, I’ve not noticed that JB uses lower case for proper nouns in his haiku:

      Haiku Dreaming Australia:

      http://users.mullum.com.au/jbird/dreaming/ozku.html

      Australians p3

      Australia Day
      dot by dot she paints
      yam dreaming

      Australians p6

      Arrernte mother and son
      sit with their interpreter—
      breeze stirs the dust

      Coast, p 9

      I fill a hole
      in the Pacific Ocean
      white clouds

      . . .

      – Lorin

      • bondiwriter says:

        opera house –
        on the far side
        sydney zoo
        (FreeXpresSion April 2011)

        street gutter
        a christmas angel swept
        into the underworld
        (FreeXpresSion December 2010)

        beneath
        the southern cross
        a pub dish
        (FreeXpresSion March 2012)

        deserted farm
        the home paddock blue
        with patterson’s curse
        (FreeXpresSion March 2012)

        I was not being vexatious, Lorin. All the work John has submitted to me has been in lower case.

  244. Connectivity and the early hour restrain me from elaborating much further other than I’m all in. (all my chips on the table.) S’only the candy i wonder about, but that just may be ’cause of all the memories of youth and Grandpa that verse brings forth, and a glovebox story of my own.

    I await your instructions. A pleasure as always. And Cynthia, doubly so to write with you!

    Dutifully yours,

    willie

  245. sandra says:

    #10: Drop the hyphen from (the former) street-sweeper. Okay

    #11: Three (count ‘em!) character spaces.Okay

    #17: Sweet name. licorice straps ; licorice all-sorts ; striped humbugs ; gob stoppers ; coconut ice ; pistachio nougat ; pineapple lumps; walnut whips; sherbert drops.

    #17a Cap for Grandad. Generally speaking, I prefer no caps in haiku, not even place names, but that’s just me. We’ve had Bach and Dresden one after the other, so I’d be inclined to have grandad tso it doesn’t look like a pattern.

    #18: The ah-ah-ah is a positive here. Okay

    #19: Addition of a hyphen. Okay.

    #20: Reworking. Okay!

    (And I’ve made all these changes to the master file that I will send Willie once the whole thing is signed off.)

    • Lorin Ford says:

      LOL…well, I think you’re joking, Sandra.

      Ya put yr right foot in/ ya put yr right foot out/ something something something and ya shake it all about / Do the hokey-pokey & ya turn around/ — That’s what it’s all about!
      🙂

      Merriam- Webster has a long list of synonyms for hokey-pokey.

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

      – L

      • sandra says:

        We call the dance something else, and it wasn’t till I found the Wikipedia link that I understood your confusion:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokey_cokey

        Hokey pokey, on the other hand, is the best-selling ice-cream flavour in this country and has been for years.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokey_pokey_(ice_cream)

      • Lorin Ford says:

        Goodness, Sandra, what an interesting history the dance (& the name! ) has. I hadn’t realised. The words of the song/ dance just popped into my mind as soon as I saw ‘hokey-pokey’. I don’t think I’ve heard or used the word since childhood (when we did the dance/ song in Winter, in grade school, to warm up) so I googled to check and got the Merriam-Webster dictionary first up. .And all those regional differences re the name! The Ditch may be small between Australia & NZ, but it’s deep enough to make for some hilarious differences & misunderstandings.

        OK, ‘hokey-pokey’ is an ice-cream and a sweet in NZ. 😉

        How weird, too, that (according to Wikipedia) there has also been a taunting, anti-Catholic interpretation of the song/ dance, when we’d had that little problem re the Latin, ‘ In Nomine Jesu ‘ just a couple of verses earlier! More to the collective unconscious than we’ll ever know, I think.

        – Lorin

      • Lorin Ford says:

        ps … “your confusion”… well, it wasn’t really my confusion (though I was missing some important info re the regional differences in the dance name). It was an assumption that, there being a dance/song of the same name as the sweet/ confectionery in the link you gave, that the judges would’ve found it confusing, or at least ambiguous. But of course I had no idea that there was an ice-cream as well as the dance going by the same name in the USA.

        – Lorin

      • Lorin Ford says:

        …until I read the Merriam-Webster definitions, that is.

        – L

  246. 10, 11, 17a, 18, 19, 20 – affirmative. (note: prefer the consistency of caps for pronouns)
    That leaves the candy choice. I agree with John re: the allusion to the “goo” factor – the juxtaposition of war with the “sweetness” of some sort of candy fits my propensity for a touch of darkness, the allure of chaos, our primal, violent nature, what have you, however cryptic. So then, does peanut brittle fit the bill? Perhaps not. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, though it’s crispness is appealing. Naw, not “repulsive” enough – gob-stoppers? Eeeww! But, four syllables is preferable for cadence – “sticky” toffees seems the closest thus far. Wish I knew for certain – more a cookie man myself.

    • Lorin Ford says:

      I’m with you, Willie, re consistency in relation to style, so all proper nouns in caps or all in lower case, in the one poem, would be the go for me, so it doesn’t look like an oversight (whether it is actually an oversight or not). My personal preference would be caps for all proper nouns, but Granddad does present a problem, possibly, because of Dresden in the last-but-one, and anyway Bach, Dresden, Grandpa, whether beginning with a cap or not, are all proper nouns. Anyway, I was pointing it out to draw it to John’s attention (as he’s the sabaki) just in case he hadn’t noticed the discrepancy. It wasn’t my aim to get into an argument about what’s best, as these things so often come down to personal choices of style.

      Lollies in the glove box! 🙂 Perhaps we don’t actually need a specific name for the lollies in the glove box? How about considering the generic?

      [g]randdad hides his stash
      of dandy candy
      in the glove box

      [g]randdad hides his stash
      of chewy jujubes
      in the glove box

      – Lorin

  247. John Carley says:

    Early Morning Heat

    a line of ants
    in the courgette flower —
    early morning heat

    perhaps you’d care
    to share my parasol?

    country-western
    and native songs,
    a circle round the drum

    she pastes her happy snaps
    to a favourite page

    * * *

    seeking, hiding
    way beyond the curfew
    shadows and moon

    in the blackberry basket
    a taste of river fog

    the chameleon’s tail
    curls between
    red, orange, yellow

    with a shiver of silk
    her stocking hits the floor

    everyone answers
    to the name of Smith
    at Honeycomb Hotel

    the street sweeper
    returns a gallic shrug

    * * *

    misunderstood
    a frog jumps into ~ whoops
    the bouillabaisse

    a smear of something
    stains my new saijiki

    snowbound highways
    lined with deer,
    the moon in every eye

    lemmings stream across
    a frozen lake

    over and over and over
    on hold
    the first four bars of Bach

    all that Dresden china
    turned to dust

    * * *

    granddad hides his stash
    of sticky toffee
    in the glove box

    a blackbird tugs a worm
    out of a hole

    rising above
    the dry-stone wall
    waves of white blossom

    between our dreams of spring
    a bridge of sand

    S, J, W, C, L, S, C, J, L, S, L, J, W, C, W, J, C, L, W, S

    Hi everyone, thank God for Australians! Yeah, we really don’t want to direct towards winter here. It’s a good job you guys actually live there 🙂

    On one level I really liked ‘chewy fantails’ but I agree that it can diminish (for want of a better word) the blackbird verse. I feel the same about ‘brittle’ here – the word link into (from) ‘dust’ makes this problematic. The more so as we are going to hinge everything on ‘sand’. I think the consensus is towards ‘sticky toffee’. The metrics are ideal. The phonics of ‘stash of sticky toffee’ lighten up the mood. It is really tactile and directs away from the ‘dryness/fragility’ in ‘dust’ thereby refreshing the possibilities for the later ‘sand’.

    Granddad is only a proper noun if we point it out to the reader 😉 Actually I think the fashion now is for grammarians to make the distinction between proper names and proper nouns. By this reasoning it is entirely legitimate to capitalise The Honeycomb Hotel, Mr and Mrs Alleged Smith, J.S. Bach and Dresden, but to leave ‘granddad’ in lower case (well, it is as long as I’ve understood their reasoning correctly!). In the text above I have dropped the cap from the former ‘Gallic’.

    As the Chancellor of the Exchequer says: “And I commend this budget to the house.”

    ————————-

    During the course of composition I’ve cast aspersions at the Nijuin form. But the experience of completing this poem suggests the essential truth that, as ever, execution is the determining factor. If people are good enough they can make sense of even garbage formats such as the Yotsumono 🙂 So I’ll limit my crit to the observation that, in so far as it was allegedly Higashi’s avowed aim to come up with a shorter format permissive of Kasen-style composition, the Nijuin is perhaps less successful than the Triparshva.

    The speed of turnaround of this poem has, in my opinion, materially affected its nature. I think it is the more successful because of the urgency; too much time and people disappear up their own outbacks. The cynic in me observes that the time pressures have simply given me licence to rail-road through stuff in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise dare. But I am certain of two things. One is that extended collaborative poetry of this sort needs formal direction just as surely as does ballet or cinema. The other is that without artists of really high quality renku is going to fail more often than not. The art form is not complex. It is simply difficult.

    I am immensely grateful to Sandra for prodding me with a pointed stick a couple of weeks back. And I’m humbled by the willingness of such gifted writers to submit to the butchery detailed in the exchanges above: 484 and counting – a significant proof of the level of engagement necessary to succeed in remote composition.

    This is far and away the best poem I’ve ever been involved in. And all those thousands of words of renku theory are worth less than one good exemplar. If I have a style, this is it. Thank you. J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “But I am certain of two things. One is that extended collaborative poetry of this sort needs formal direction just as surely as does ballet or cinema.” – John

      Absolutely, and thank goodness for your sabaki-ing, John. You’ve pulled this one off in great style. How you managed to do so whilst being quite ill is a thing of wonder to me, but my admiration and my thanks to you, for being available and so completely engaged.

      You’ve even pulled off the slightly sticky little issue of whether to use caps or not for ‘granddad’ by putting ‘gallic’ in lower case, too. Whatever the pedantic arguments for and against might be, my concern was the seeming oversight. With both of these terms beginning with a lower case letter, the dog’s hind leg is no longer sticking out in v. 17. Also the poem is the better for the loss of the two caps, imo. Three verses with caps for proper nouns (Honeymoon Hotel verse, Bach verse, Dresden verse) seems a good balance to me. Not sure why, perhaps it’s because there’s something magical in instances of 3 embedded in the Western collective consciousness. .. or some such waffle.

      I know naught about competitions, but this reads like a good poem to me. I feel very privileged to have been one of the participants. Thanks to you John and thanks to Sandra, Cynthia and Willie.

      ps

      “I think it is the more successful because of the urgency; too much time and people disappear up their own outbacks. ” – J

      LOL…how true, and there’s quite enough of that tendency in the ‘haiku & related’ world in general, without us adding to it.

      – Lorin

  248. sandra says:

    Thanks John and fellow writers, it’s been an interesting and (as always) educational experience.

    Tomorrow or Monday I will sit down and get the master files and permissions off to William.

  249. sandra says:

    Is it better to have the American

    glove compartment

    do you think?

    And is “whoops” in italics as has been discussed earlier?

    Thanks.

    • CynthiaRowe says:

      I think glove compartment is a bit clunky

      the verse loses its crispness

      best to stick with glove box

      The emphasis on “whoops” seems to have been watered down after some discussion, but you will need to retain the squiggly doodad before it.

      – C

      • CynthiaRowe says:

        Oops, sorry, I’m wrong — weren’t there meant to be spaces (four?) rather than the tilde before “whoops”??

  250. CynthiaRowe says:

    nup, three spaces before ” whoops”

    – C

  251. sandra says:

    Have the spaces sorted, thanks. Am inquiring about italics …

    • Lorin Ford says:

      …good golly, yes…glove boxes/ compartents, bonnets/ hoods, boots/ trunks! tomahtoes/ tomaytoes. One slips into forgetting these differences.

      ‘Box’ seems needed for the nice bit of assonance with ‘toffee’, though, and for the rhythm of the verse.

      As for the ‘whoops’, yes, spaces before it (at least 3, imo) was decided on. I think the possibility of italics was mentioned but it went no further. I suspect that italics might be overdoing it, or italics might make it seem like a quote or simply call too much attention to it, but I don’t know. If John’s available, you might ask him. Or just leave it as is.

      – Lorin

  252. John Carley says:

    Hi all, in respect of ‘whoops’ the impression I took was that the consensus was for no italics, and no tilde. It depends on the type face to some degree but personally I wouldn’t exceed three blank character spaces (for what it’s worth this is something I agonised for ages over in respect of the midline caesurae in the ‘zip’ haikuk-analogue).

    I really think it has to be ‘glove box’ principally because that is the term civilsed people use; I’ve tried to explain to Willie that elephants have trunks whereas cars have boots, but to no avail. Crypto-xenophobia apart though, I think the cadences of both the verse and the link demand ‘box’. There’s also a phonic and semanitc synergy between ‘box’ and ‘hole’ which is best preserved.

    Thanks again to everybody – specially to Cynthia for so rapidly getting right to the pace of the process. I don’t know how much renku writing you’ve done Cynthia but this suggest to me that you’re a natural.

    I’m going to keep my head down for a week or two as these new experimental meds seem to have kicked in and the effect is a bit taxing. But if the deleterious effects are noticeable, perhaps the intended therapeutic ones are active too. In which case it’d be good to get some more composition on the go a little further down the line when it takes more than the fingers of one hand to count my red cells! 🙂 J

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s