Tankako 1

Welcome to the first renku at the Snail for 2013 – a Tankako led by John Carley!

http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk/ (see Tankako on the left for schema and notes)

Participants:

John
Steven
Ashley
Vasile
Bill
kala

290 Responses to Tankako 1

  1. Bill says:

    Lookin’ good!

  2. John Carley says:

    Right guys let’s do it. I’ll take strand one and Wilie strand two.

    Let’s keep an eye on the sabaki role in the same way that we notice what the particular shape and disposition of this Tankako means for the way a poem unrolls. I can understand why people are a bit wary of ‘poem leader’ (it does after all translate as Gedicht Fรผhrer in German) on the grounds that (a) it takes a lot of knowledge and (b) ditto brass neck. But really it’s more like being the office cleaner. Above all what we need to happen is for everyone to feel free to pitch in with opinions and observations. At any time. And in either strand. Though in order to keep things manageable I’d suggest that actual verse contribution is limited to the nominated writing teams.

    Call for hokku –

    The Tankako is relatively conservative. So the expectation is that the hokku would be of the current season, and possibly even of the style that codes augury or salutation.

    And let’s see if we can hit, and sustain, a rapid turn-around time. 24 hours is optimal. To do so *might* involve a higher than usual amount of revision at the end but (a) that hasn’ been my experience so far and (b) it’s not necessarily a bad thing anyway.

    Boom (that was the cannon going off)

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  3. John Carley says:

    by night the frost
    consumes the willow bud โ€”
    a blaze of stars

    in some old book
    a world of words away
    these daffodils โ€”

  4. Bill says:

    Caveat, caveat, quibble, quibble: there, that’s out of the way. This is the best I could come up with–

    April showers
    drench and fill the droughty marsh
    with pilgrim geese
    (with a bow to G. Chaucer)

    spring turtles
    line up on the log
    for the new sun

    frogs toads–
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

  5. William Sorlien says:

    Good on ya, Bill! Nice to here from you again.

  6. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    Thanks Bill. That’s a very strong candidate.

    Of my own two, the second is probably not suitable because it’s too much of an external reference (to writing – Wordsworth) and I reckon it makes the hokku, hence the poem, look weak if we have to refer outwards. And the first if probably quite a good poem as a haiku, but a bit bleak, specially to kick of a sequence that is in any way ‘traditional’.

    Right team – we really do need to try and hit a 24 hour turnaround per verse. I’ll leave this open a little longer…

    Whummm-mmm-mmm (that’s the echo from the initial cannon shot still reverberating). ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  7. Bill says:

    I suppose “referential” refers as well to my earlier entry, so less reverentially, I’ll submit–

    Spring’s force forces
    the fourth forsythia forth
    for the festival

    …to be spoken with a mouthful of crackers.

  8. John Carley says:

    Call for wakiku candidates.

    Our hokku is:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    And a very fine one too. So the second verse has the relatively simple task of furthering it, amplifying, complementing, without trying to move too far too fast. We remain in spring – early to mid or generic, but avoiding anything that looks like ‘end of spring’ sentiments. And, given that the tankako is unfamiliar, it might be best to stick with the outlines of the schemtic (lifted directly from the Japan renku soc.) and avoid spring blossom in this openign sequence.

    I’ll have a look at the WordPress set up and see if I can mail people direct to say that ballon has gone up, the liner left port, the first bite of the bun bitten if not the actual burger. Mmmmmph …

    Bill, looking at it this morning I reallise I’ve automatically repunctuated the hokku British style. That’s something we’ll need keep under advice – probably settle on a regularised set of conventions for the completed text. My knowledge of British conventions is probably 30 years out of date anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  9. Bill says:

    John, I have no objection to your style of punctuation; my only conviction is that there should be little used in renku or haiku and that it need be consistent. A sequence, even two items in length, does beg for some marker, but that may be a sensation produced by habit rather than by actual lack of clarity without a comma. I will gladly bow to whatever decisions you finally make.

    It is awfully quiet in here; perhaps a louder cannon? Next verse, much like the first–a little bit shorter, a little bit worse, and I will bide quietly, not to startle anyone’s horses. Ha, your email reminder just appeared!

  10. ashleycapes says:

    Mine come through too, Bill? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great verse, the perfect opening. I’ll do my best to follow, but I think I’ll come back with another try too:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices / bill

    a long walk together
    hands still cold

    • Bill says:

      Ashley, yes, of course, it was your email, not John’s. My error. Lovely follow-up for the second verse. Very companionable, relevant to the context of renku yet changing to an interesting degree. I look forward to hearing from the others.

      • ashleycapes says:

        ๐Ÿ™‚ All is well, Bill!

        Thanks, Bill – your analysis makes it read better second time around! Although, is it maybe too great a change? I’m doubting it now. Maybe too ‘cut’ also. I’ll write a couple more I think!

  11. kalaramesh says:

    Sorry! I didn’t know I had to check here. I thought you hadn’t started as yet ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Good hokku. I like it a lot
    _kala

  12. kalaramesh says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    amidst soap bubbles
    the world was once young

  13. kalaramesh says:

    Bill, I’m not Ramesh!
    I’m Kala. My husband’s name is Ramesh.
    We are from South India and don’t carry the burden of a surname!
    ^_^

  14. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Greetings to all. My offer for wakiko.If it isnt too late:

    the lotus stems growing up
    even in the lake mirror
    or
    whole the concert in the open
    here is the first thunder

    • Bill says:

      Linking from “voices” to “concert” seems appropriate and “first thunder” has a suitable sense of beginning. I rather like this offering.

      • Bill says:

        Vasile, from a quick re-reading: are the first two words reversed? “whole the” or “the whole”…?

  15. John Carley says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for checking in and the great offers to date. Below one of my own. Like Ash I’ll try and get another online in a while. Up page a bit I mention trying to hit a 24 hour turn around.

    Steven, I hope you’re reading. And thank you – it was your query a while back that got me thinking that it was high time for a poem. There are no obligations here ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    piff, pouff, paff
    the buds begin to burst

  16. John Carley says:

    And that second:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    ho, brother crow, back off
    the spring is here!

  17. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Bill I wanted t write something else.But the more haste, the less spead. I wririte the second distich:
    during of concert in the open
    suddenly the first thunder

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Hi Vasile, here are a couple of variations for you:

      at the open air concert
      first thunder

      before the kettledrum
      first thunder!

      – Lorin

      • Lorin Ford says:

        Vasile:

        before the kettledrum’s roll
        first thunder!


        the lotus stems growing up
        even in the lake mirror

        …a variation for the above:

        a lotus stem lengthens/ripples
        in the lake’s mirror

        – Lorin

  18. kalaramesh says:

    V. nice John. I like your waki. Lots of energy!

    my offers for the next verse:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    ho, brother crow, back off
    the spring is here!

    across wheat fields
    the tranquility
    pulls me in with it

    a shock of life
    as I touch the wings
    of an oakleaf butterfly

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Well, something seems to be a tad waki! Is it John who’s selecting the verses still, or has he delegated selection to you, Kala? Are all the contenders in?

      – Lorin

      • kalaramesh says:

        Ho hoho!
        Lorin ^_^ I mistook John’s second offer as his choice —
        I read this and assumed it was chosen:

        John wrote:
        And that second:

        frogs, toads โ€”
        the unsuspected beauty
        of their voices

        ho, brother crow, back off
        the spring is here!

        it was early morning for me and I must have been half asleep!
        Sorry, I withdraw my offers ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    Bill, Vasile

    Hi everybody, sorry for the confusion. I did indeed intend that ‘brother crow’ verse as my second offer.

    Ultimately I think the ooomph Kala identifies would make it more suited to a shorter sequence that wants to ‘energize’ right from the outset. And Lorin’s empathic edit of Vasile’s ‘lotus’ verse showed the way. That slight trimming brings the beautiful imagery into sharp focus. I also agree that the verb ‘to lengthen’ – though the core of the meaning is unchanged from ‘to grow up’ – suits the tranquility of the moment. But I think Vasile’s avoidance of the possessive is most effective in the closing phrase and so propose ‘mirror lake’.

    I commend the pairing above for being simultaneously tightly linked and yet varied. The shift to the high register imagery – almost more typical of classical renga than renku – really fits the notion that the tankako invites a more refined style.

    Ok – as long as Vasile is happy with this edit let’s move immediately to the third verse, daisan.

    This is the last of our initial run of three spring verses. If anything we want to give a hint of ‘late/later spring’. We also probably want a person, or some people, in there. Or at least the world of man – even if actual individuals aren’t seen directly.

    Thanks everybody I’m encouraged already. Not only could I not have written either of these verses. I couldn’t have immediately realised the fit. Or the slight trim needed just to schnick it into place.

    24 hours folks. Daisan. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Bill says:

      Question: is “lotus stem” a flower verse?

      • Lorin Ford says:

        Hi Bill,
        I’d argue that a stem isn’t a flower, but in the case of lotuses, the preparation for a flower. So I’d argue that this isn’t a flower verse. But I can be an awful pedant or bush lawyer when I want to be. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Unlike water-lilies, the lotus stem grows tall and lanky-elegant before blooming (much like young girls, and boys for that matter) Here in Southern Australia, where they are not native, lotuses bloom in December, the first month of Summer, but the lengthening stems begin to happen in Spring. In the tropics, such as the NT or FNQ, where they are native, there isn’t a season that can rightly be called Spring anyway.

        ps… as an habitual over-hyphenator myself, I sympathise, but I can assure you that neither ‘lotus stem’ nor ‘mirror lake’ need a hyphen. ๐Ÿ™‚

        – Lorin

  20. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Thanks to all for understanding. I acccept corrections at my verses because in our sextette I bilieve that I am single nonspeaker English. Thank you in advance.

  21. Bill says:

    I added hyphens for the compound nouns, subject to approval. Perhaps ice-cream trucks is too parochial an image or even dated. I haven’t actually encountered one in years. When I know whether the wakiku is a flower verse, I’ll submit others.

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror-lake/ vasile, et al

    the first ice-cream truck
    breaks a trail of music
    through the long evening

  22. Bill says:

    (Later he goes hyphen-mad)

    friends throw bird-seed
    as newly-weds depart
    a green wedding

  23. kalaramesh says:

    Vasile, nice meeting you here ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the word ‘lengthens’ here

    my offers:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    the earthen bowl
    holds new rice
    that was just cooked

    (Rice from our first harvest – Jan/Feb – is called ‘new rice’ in India. It’s difficult to cook it well, without it coming out sticky and wet, as against old rice. The secret is to use less water while cooking it )

    from terraces
    the kite contest begins
    on shouts of glee

    _k

  24. John Carley says:

    Hi all, early for me yet. But firstly very many thanks to Vasile for endorsing the draft of the wakiku.

    My answer to Bill on the flower verse question – no, yes, and no. Or something!

    One thing it isn’t is a ‘blossom verse’ (in Japanese ‘hana no za’ – the throne of blossom). The ‘parent’ literature makes a pretty much absolute distinction between cherry/plum and all other types of flower. Hmmn, and I realise as I type that I can’t remember any other flowering tree being mentioned – chestnut fof example. Anyway, it is one of the defining aspects of the ‘radicalism’ of late twentieth century developments in renku that patterns such as the Junicho were proposed that expressly accept a generic ‘flower’ verse in place of a blossom verse.

    Yes, I think a ‘lotus’ alone probably does default to the image of the flower in most readers’ minds. But in this instance I beleive the word ‘lengthening’ playa a part too. ‘Rice shoots lengthen’, ‘reeds lengthen’, ‘the bamboo lengthens’ are all formulations I’ve both used myself and encountered severally as direct translations of season-setting phrases from Japanese poems. This is in fact an early summer kigo in Japanese – but given that the Japapnese notion of when a season starts and ends is at least a month out of phase with the perception in English language cultures I’m perfectly happy to propose the image to our readers as mid/late spring.

    So my I see this as certainly not a blossom verse. Potentially offering elements of ‘flower’ but more predominantly of ‘new season growth’. And of being mid/late spring. As a consequence it doesn’t interfere in any way with our later more conventional takes on ‘blossom’ (given that the tankako is a more conventional type of sequence) but it does mean that we need to be a bit sensitive to our season position in #3. We certainly can’t return to an early/mid time frame. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  25. John Carley says:

    one from me:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    with rakes and hoes
    children are weeding

  26. ashleycapes says:

    Jumping in! I love the lotus-stem, perfect follow up ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact I could almost not even throw a verse in, I like yours a lot, John, and kala’s new rice. Nevertheless!

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between
    broken paving stones
    a memory of frost

    hmmm….perhaps instead

    between
    broken paving stones
    the last frost

  27. Vasile Moldovan says:

    I bielieve that our begining is OK..For this reason and for my coming late, I venture proposal you an offer for verse #4, ns. Only one. Here is:

    stop press: just now in North Corea
    other tactical maneuvres

    No political, neutral point..Link: play of children/ war exircises for soldiers(both are impliedly)
    Gowing away : children (expressed)- men or exactely soldiers(impliedely).
    This is all. Thanks

  28. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of rakes and hoes,
    men are weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    ——-

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala.

    Hi everybody I’d like suggest this as our first movement. I feel confident about the draft of #3 which I think tightens the linkage. It also follows the convention, as did the earlier draft, of finishing with an action that continues. There is a longstanding body of thought as to why this desirable for the ‘break away’ verse. Anyway daisan in Japanese almost invariably ends with a verb in the ‘te’ conjugation, which is close to the English present progressive.

    Kala may simply find that #4 is too much of a truncation. In which case we’ll find a different direction. There are also other potential objections. But the most important question is – does anybody find any objections to any verse on reading this passage? Or did it feel to work?

    Bill – I’ve hypenated ‘lotus-stem’. British English has started to absorb this essentially US practice. But more to the point – I think it tightens the delivery of the first image. The mind picks up ‘lengthens’ all the better. By contrast I’m resisting ‘mirror-lake’ as I don’t read this as a compound noun but as irregular adjective and noun.

    Vasilie – any conservative approach to a renku sequence would be likely to adopt the old convention that people and places (especially ‘foreign’ ones) are not named directly in the first movement anywhere other than in the hokku.

    Comments please. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Ok, a comment re ‘lotus-stem’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

      “Bill โ€“ Iโ€™ve hypenated โ€˜lotus-stemโ€™. British English has started to absorb this essentially US practice. But more to the point โ€“ I think it tightens the delivery of the first image.The mind picks up โ€˜lengthensโ€™ all the better. ” – John

      “a lotus-stem lengthens
      in the mirror lake”

      For this reader, the hyphenated word here does the opposite. It’s something to trip over. I stumble and have to re-read in order to make sure that ‘lengthens’ is a verb. It is a verb, not something that is qualified by ‘lotus-stem’, such ‘lotus-stem ice-cream’, ‘a lotus-stem pattern’, ‘the lotus-stem song’ etc.

      Put another way, the hyphen here is an obstruction to the basics of reading the line. Making ‘lotus stem’ into a compound word would only make sense if it facilitated reading, in my view.

      – Lorin

  29. Vasile Moldovan says:

    I understand .Thank you.

  30. Bill says:

    J.–One of my treasured possessions, my store of grammatical concepts, has been enlarged by “irregular adjectives.” It seems quitely obvious, one stated. The sequence, as you put it forth, seems strong and smooth. I have only one quibble, and it is really small: weeding does not involve rakes very much, especially in the sort of agriculture large-scale enough to employ multiple workers. Let ’em lie where they fall, is the general usage. And the use of end rhyme stands out distractingly, at least to me. I like moving away from children to men weeding, as children make lousy weeders. Men make lousy weeders, too, lacking patience and fine motor skills, and in many cases the job falls to women. To slightly evoke pathos of woman’s lot (not Lot’s woman), and the general sexual tension of flashing skin (I just drove through a college campus on a warm afternoon), how about:

    between the rows
    flashing hoes and arms
    of women weeding

    ?

  31. You’ve just stated it – men are lousy weeders. Or, it’s a gay hippie commune. But that’s OK ….

  32. kalaramesh says:

    Thanks John. I do like the edited version of my verse. Fine with me.
    I think Bill’s suggestion of having ‘women’ in your verse gives us a strong beginning ^_^

    If you take the ‘kite’ verse, it means 4 spring verses, right?
    _k

  33. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”-

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala.

    Friends, sorry to rush – I have to leave for the big city for a quacktor’s appt.

    Yes Kala, I lot of people will read that as four spring verses,or in truth as spring/summer cusp. It is a bit dependent on where they’re from. I don’t have a problem with that as the core imperative of all of this is that it is true to itself, and there’s no chronological reverse to halt the forward momentum. There are three consequences: we’ll need to take a layout like the righthand spring route on RR in order to avoid too many spring verses in general; we’ll need to have two unequivocally non season verses next. And we’ll almost certainly then be wise to go to ‘winter’ rather than ‘summer’ in order to get sufficient differentiation.

    Interesting points about horticulture. In this country shallow and narrow rakes are (were mostly) used for surface weeding. But I’m trying for the slight sense of discomfort in reading this verse precisely so Kala’s brilliant kite image gives us the ‘ahh, and relax’ feeling – so closing out the first movement (I have issues with how diffiicult it is to construct a preface in only four c.f. Nijuin, Tanakako). So in fact the weeding knife just hits the button perfectly. The end rhyme is part of the deliberate disruptiveness. It is used (or it’s equivalent is – syntactic parallelism plus terminal duplication) in exactly this way in a number of the pieces I’ve been translating. To some extent a bit of a Danrin technique. Anyway, let’s keep it under review. The important thing is to judge it in the context of the flow on into the second movement.

    This deliberate disruption is not just flashiness, cussedness etc but an attempt to get a tangible degree of movement across the four and to deliver #4 as an emotive resolution. This is because, at a technical level, the most ‘problematic’ aspect is the two verse only separtation between ‘voices’ and ‘shouts’. If we’ve been moved past that, then so have our readers. We escape the renku police again!

    Ashley – would you please take #5 as a named turn. If at all poss buddy this would mean providing a couple or three of alternative directions. We are now strictly non season. But other than the fact we probably can’t go to female third person plurals (‘cos of content of #3) I reckon just about anything that fits is open.

    Oooops. I’m not trying to cut off discussion here. But running late… ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  34. ashleycapes says:

    Hi John, will definitely have a shot at it – I’ll rustle up a few possibilities – and I do love non-season verses too ๐Ÿ™‚

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    sharing pieces
    of toffee

    (we share pieces?)

    first paycheck
    in the mail
    buying a book

    my brush roams
    green below
    and blue above

    (not sure about that last one – might be trying to hard to be clever)

  35. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of (doo dah) toffee

    Top quality. You’ve maximised Kala’s invitation to open the second movement as though it is the ‘substance’ of the poem – further reinforcing the preface as exactly that – a preface.

    I know I obsess about metrics. But it’s also true that, in more conservative styles the prosody tends to break up more in the second half of ‘ha’ rather than the first (a telling contrast to the Junicho – new or old – in which verse #5 would be high time for a bit of challenge).

    So I’d like to suggest we take this first passage as fairly regular in terms of the coarse metrics.

    What’s the quality of that toffee that adds to the tactile or other sensory input? Doo dah toffee doesn’t exist. But I’m sure one in your head does! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    ps – if flavour might be good to stay away from fruit as it’s a devil of a job not to read them as seasonal.

    • ashleycapes says:

      Sounds great John, really glad you liked that one too. I thought using sound and taste might be too bold in tone but hoped it’d be all right due to the switch in ‘sides’ ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I think those extra beats in there sound good – how about:

      peanut? or sticky? homemade? English?
      Hmmm, I just looked up ‘Bonfire Toffee’?

  36. John Carley says:

    To #6 open to all

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    Many thanks Ash.I’ve gone with ‘peanut’ as I like the ‘humble’ aspect of it in respect of the direct linke back to the kite flyers. But also, in so far as the ‘re-launch’ stanza can be read as coding for our own efforts, it is a suitable observation that our efforts are ‘peanuts’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    To six: open to all. We are ‘degachi’ to use the Japanese term. We have a short verse. At the moment I would ask everyone to be aware of the relatiive proportions of long and short we have adopted so date.

    In order to continut Ash’s successful move away from the spring into early summer run that characterises the opening we remain resolutely non-season (ps – ‘bonfire’ or ‘treacle’ toffee to Brit is inescapably autumn – Nov 5th). I know that the schematic shows ‘love’ as resolutely slap bank in the middle of the page of 8 verses here but we *could* go there now if that’s the way you find yourself led. Other than that there’s not really much constraint of any sort. Hmmn, I suppose given that Kala and Ash have just given us essentially pleasant and light vibes we might consider if something a bit more freighted was indicated (though proabably too early for ‘fraught). But one of the characteristics of these appreciably longer sequences (as opposed to the Junichos of this world) is that we don’t have to schiz quite so quickly between emotions.

    Hmmn. Actually I’ve just picked up that Kala gives us third persons plural generic referred to. And Ash second persons plural. It *could* be worth considering if a single tighly portrayed individual was a good figure to introduce. That’s kind of what the theory wallahs say. Basho’s acutal writing doesn’ really back it up ๐Ÿ™‚

    Off to Manc in a rush again. Lorin – sorry for not picking up your punction comment until it dowloaded to my email this morning. I’ll respond later on if I may. That whole area of compounds and when a noun is an adjective etc is one that I’ve had to read back on in terms of grammar. And differences between national perceptions.

    Thanks everybody. This has direction and form. I really appreciate the attempt to hit the turn around time. I’ve a feeling it has a significance that has been largely unremarked. J

  37. John Carley says:

    Doh – reading back: even more typos than ever. And Ash’s verse is of course first person plural. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  38. kalaramesh says:

    Your comments were interesting John. Thanks.
    So, here I go :

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    henna on her palms
    tells the wedding dayโ€™s near

    her soft-footed smile
    at the tea ceremony

  39. Vasile Moldovan says:

    To Kala and John Carley:
    A like all.Specially “crunching”. But because the second line is the shortiest I proposal you

    crunching, crunching
    we are sharing pieces
    of peanut trofee

    To all, my offer for v#6
    cosmic pulsation:
    a mother nursing

    Link: crunching/pulsation
    Crunching /nursing

    sudden bonfire…
    crying without tears

    or
    suddenly bonfire…
    crying with hidden tears

  40. Bill says:

    I always seem to give in to temptation.

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee/ John

    sweets to the sweet
    she offers him crumb cake

    a dozen glass bangles
    jingle as she points down

    with a cellophane crackle
    leaning together to smoke

    See you later!

  41. stevenyaschuk says:

    Oh gee….. I’m really late to the party here, I only got the email this morning! Didn’t even know you guys started. Is this suitable? I honestly have no clue what I’m doing and just trying to copy what I see others do (which is the best way to learn, right?).

    crunching, crunching
    we are sharing pieces
    of peanut tofee

    her hair in flutter
    on cobble benches

    eyes on untied shoes
    cold whispers, maybe wind

    geese hunched in packs
    riverbed swollen

  42. John Carley says:

    Hello! And very close to #7. Please all read.

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all aflutter
    on a cobble bench

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven (provisional)

    Welcome Steven. I’m delighted you’ve joined us – it was your query a while back orphaned up there on the board that got our show back on the road. Somewhere on this GUI there’s a routine that will take you to Tankako Two that our friends and rivals are composing simultaneously under the implacable gaze of William Sorlien ๐Ÿ™‚

    The way we’re working here is very closely modelled on Basho school practices of late 17th century, or better – on the way they have been adapted during Japan’s renku revival of the last 50 years. That basically casts me as a ring master/choreographer/director figure. My principal task is to suggest direction, and to offer or ask for minor edits and adjustments in order to help the text cohere. Reading back you’ll already see examples of the kind of degree this reaches.

    So to verse six. I’d ask you to consider the two tweaks above. That’s a great gritty link which I feel works nicely behind the ‘narrative’ extension of the sharing from the previous verse into the closer focus on one person. But I think, for the visuals of the verse to deliver, the one person on the one bench is more compact – apprehensible. ‘All aflutter’ may be too much my register of British English. I’m not too good on idiolects in Manitoba. But the metrics (and broader phonics) of renku verses are (in my obsessive world) an important and neglected aspect. Another take which does it could be ‘all in a flutter’. Anyway, please see what you think. btw – I love the internal contrast of ‘hair’ and ‘cobble’.

    Everybody: we’re close enough on #6 to think about its impact on #7. And indeed #8. The nature of the seasonal development from spring into the spring/summer cusp during the preface (first 4) effectively obliges ‘winter’ to be the contextual background of both #7 and #8.

    Steven’s evocation of (what I see as) a tender or sympathetic female figure in #6 reads like the classic ‘koi no yobidashi’ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jqysp3NaP-wC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=koi+no+yobidashi&source=bl&ots=459lKIcs6w&sig=2irzOVjtcWfrWwIiRN1aJCT61yo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aOdnUenZMaKk0QWksoHgCg&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=koi%20no%20yobidashi&f=false which suggests very strongly to me that we are now faced with an unusual combination – a ‘love achieved’ type of verse set in winter. That will then lead to our final ‘love’ verse of these three being set against ‘winter moon’ at #8 – a short verse, also quite unusual for ‘moon’. To me that’s an appealing prospect of variation from the norm.

    So, just as we settle the definitive text of #6 please begin drafting full-on love verses for the winter three line long verse at #7. Traditionally such a verse may be quite carnal. But would rarely be graphic, gross, or cynical. In the Edo period it was common practice for such a verse to permit a reading that portrayed a homosexual relationship (mostly male/male) – though the majority of translators seem either not to have understood this, or chose to gloss it away by settling on a more narrow interpretation.

    Erm… yes, please DO post your offers for #7 as we top and tail #6. We can always synch them. As ever the text at head of this post remains a working text until we’ve signed it off on completion of the poem as a whole piece.

    Sorry to be so long winded but a last personal bleat. These new meds are playing havoc with my dyslexia. I’m typing and pasting from a word processor in order to try and pick up some of the worst of it. But of course they don’t pick up omissions, substitutions or a lot of inversions. I’ve seen with shock how many articles, conjunctions, pronouns and even verbs I’m beginning to maul. Please don’t think the apparent sloppiness is lack of respect because I can’t be bothered to make the effort.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  43. John Carley says:

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    Hmm – after bashing keys on the missive above I reckon this might have it best. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  44. John Carley says:

    Lorin’s, Bill’s, John’s punctuation comments – a fascinating area. About the only thing I’m more or less certain on is the impact of German on American English – making it much more aglutinative than Brit. Oh no, and looking at ‘mirror lake’ I reckon it’s reasonable to construe ‘mirror’ a simple, albeit irregular, adjective and therefore decide that we’re not looking at any form of compound at all.

    But I’m torn between my first instinct to leave lotus-stem unhyphenated and Bill’s equally natrual wish to see it so. My earlier respone to Lorin is also moot. I honestly *feel* as though the hyphen can help tighten that line – in exactly the opposite way Lorin experiences it!

    Hmm, none of this is made any easier by the fact that type on screen has now taken to turning blue and going walk-about just as readily as my school books did when I was a kid. The absolute key to all of this is, as has been observed, consistency. I think it therefore makes sense to gloss the whole piece for punctuation/presentation at sign-off (n.b. hyphen!). Not least because, although I’m bullying everybody to stay with conventional metrics and form at the moment, there may well be more odd looking stuff, esp in part two of ‘ha’ – the erstwhile ‘intensification’ of the central movement.

    And now it’s been two hours on screen and the light show is starting. Oh joy! ;( J

    • Bill says:

      Never a bully, J–ringmaster! It is true, we Americans stand in contrast to the British in that we will hyphenate anything but our surnames. Your observation of German language influence upon American usage is fascinating. I had not thought, though I live not far from Germantown. I’d be interested in any further comments you could make. Certainly there are German ancestors enough in my own family tree to justify such a conclusion. The general rule is that compound adjectives get hyphenated, as in “the dog-walking women), but why stop there, I say? Anyway, as Gedichter Fuehrer (that was the term?), it is your role to impose a smoothing, unifying style on our various contributions, or what’s a heaven for? Pygmalion, which gives the romantic lead to a grammarian, is quite popular over here. Anyway, I believe it was Count von Metternich who said it: “Never apologize; never explain.” Thanks for all the in-put.

  45. stevenyaschuk says:

    From my understanding verse eight is three lined love poetry, so I offer three different takes! This is quite enjoyable.

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    my eyes full with her
    pennybottom coat
    with tails of a fox

    droplet of snow flakes
    on her rosy nose
    melting with my heart

    blonde shines from lamps lights
    atop the walkway
    her hand limp to take

  46. Bill says:

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench /S

    the butcher’s cold hand
    stops his youngest apprentice
    from mincing away

    • Bill says:

      Psychotherapists all know this, they’ll tell you–silence, it causes nervous chatter.

      admiring a last
      he catches the antique shop
      owner’s eye

      what he misses
      now
      being able to cry

      At the night school, you see, I signed up to join the chattering class. I took juggling the next year. Want to see me juggle, huh?

  47. John Carley says:

    Hell, I’d better get an offer in before Bill goes back to night school to learn something even more threatening than juggling! But speaking of circuses – roll up, roll up. 9 hours to go before verse selection time! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

  48. kalaramesh says:

    My offer:

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    the winter rain
    sets a cadence
    to their love making

  49. John Carley says:

    To #8 – winter moon – ‘competitive’

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    .
    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven, John

    Hi everybody, sorry for the delay – unexpected, but very pleasant, family commitments.

    I’ve been agonising between this one of mine and Kala’s ‘winter rain’. In the end I’ve gone with my own because, although it wasn’t a deliberate intent, I suspect it will set up ‘moon’ the more easily. This is particularly important here as ‘moon’ would normally have more space to achieve its effect (as a three liner).

    By contrast we now have at #8 a two line ‘winter moon’ verse which, if we follow tradition, whilst not necessarily containing any people at all, might be read as a metaphor for ‘end of love’ – in sum: an element of sadness, regret, resignation etc. Although it is not a requirement we can certainly afford something that feels very ‘still’ here.

    Let’s stay ‘competitive’. And particular thanks to Steven for entering so rapidly into the spirit of things.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  50. kalaramesh says:

    trying . . . .
    . . .
    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    the winter moon
    bereft of stars stands alone

    _k

  51. Vasile Moldovan says:

    My offer for verse # 8

    through the steamy window
    the cold full moon’s rays

    a long distance calll…
    the honeymoon is over

    the weather forecast:
    serene sky, icicly moon

  52. Bill says:

    Here y’go!

    lost among bare limbs the moon
    reduced to almost nothing

    cold moon fills a busker’s bowl
    with useless beauty

    ice grows on the pond
    as the moon rises to leave

  53. stevenyaschuk says:

    perched gold on horizon
    the moon in child’s eye

    sticky frost clinging
    blue moon to backdrop

    window left open
    for moon to shine through

  54. John Carley says:

    #8 โ€“ winter moon โ€“ last tweak

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon stands alone

    Or

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone
    .
    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven, John, Kala (prov)

    Hi everybody, this verse from Kala is a text book example of an ‘end-of-love’ verse. And the run of four verses, from the ‘common’ sharing of peanut toffee to the ‘refined’ solitary moon is likewise classic Basho-school renku. Thank you so much for your efforts so far.

    Kala, to my eyes the phrasing tweaks best to deliver ‘alone’ as the concluding concept. If that instinct is correct I wonder how colleagues read the two drafts above. Bearing in mind that, for the purposes of our refined moon verse, we are hinting at what is sometimes called ‘renga diction’ – i.e. the slightly more consciously ‘poetic’.

    While we think about this let us also look at where we go next. There are a further four verses to complete this ‘side’ or ‘movement’ of the poem. If you look at the Renku Reckoner schematic of the Tankako we are more or less following down the fourth column. That means our next four will be #9 non season (but not also ‘love’), #10 non season, #11 summer blossom, and # 12 summer. I think the way to handle it might be to have #9 on a ‘competitive’ basis. And the the following three by turns.

    So, we have the exact phrasing of winter moon to decided. But then we’ll be straight on to a non-season or ‘miscellaneous’ verse – i.e. one which could be any time of year, or has no reference to a time of year of any sort.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      bereft of stars
      the winter moon, alone

      This version would be my choice. As well mucking up the rhythm, ‘stands’ seems in excess.and ‘bereft’ is enough for the touch of personification, without leading to distracting thoughts about the moon’s suggested legs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      – Lorin

  55. ashleycapes says:

    I really like the tweak, John – it does give it a poetic sense of closing, definitely.
    A beautiful verse either way, looking forward to more. Back soon with an offer

  56. Kala Ramesh says:

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    Thanks John. I like this tweak.
    Sorry for this delay. I had gone out for a concert and just returned some time back!

    _k

    • stevenyaschuk says:

      bereft of stars
      the winter moon – alone

      I prefer this phrasing, and throw my support for either the hyphen or the comma.

  57. Bill says:

    It’s a fine day for banana fish, that’s all.

    bereft of stars
    the moon stands alone /K
    *
    every day alike
    on a tropical beach
    paradise

    a low budget film
    recognizable faces
    only one

    at the bus stop
    trying to check her wrist watch
    in the faint light

  58. John Carley says:

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    Thanks everybody. We’re on it for the next verse then. The comma I think because some people read dashes in a particular way related to haiku technique and the dreaded kireji. Comma is just safer! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  59. Lorin Ford says:

    … and the comma is sadder, dangling there like the last of all tadpoles, suggesting, in context, one left hanging. It’s serendipity, when a punctuation mark adds to the mood of a verse like this as well as providing the right pacing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    – Lorin

  60. stevenyaschuk says:

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone/K

    advertisement mid
    grandiose television
    bores to play outdoor

    painters came today
    to fix the hooliganism
    out of walls, and teens

    stagnant tap water
    in sink filled with my child
    and his rubber duck

  61. Vasile Moldovan says:

    My offer for # 9

    bereth of stars…
    the winter moon, alone

    never even a hope…
    however the fight with cancer
    continue away
    or
    traveling
    through the Arctic Ocean
    without one compass

  62. John Carley says:

    Hi all, sorry to be late back. I’m struggling a bit. And this is very close to home. We go with Vasile’s brillantly linked cancer verse. We all know that English is not his first language so I’d be grateful for the minimum suggestions just the slip the verse into synch.

    The sentiment is plain as day. So the trick is to modify to the minimum without distorting.

    Wow. Gotta sleep! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Lorin Ford says:

      “Iโ€™d be grateful for the minimum suggestions just the slip the verse into synch. ” – John

      “That means our next four will be #9 non season (but not also โ€˜loveโ€™)” – John

      The vernacular expression ” a snowflake’s hope in hell” occurred first, harsh & bleak though it is in context, but could be read as a Winter kigo (it’s not! But it might seem so to some readers) A snowflake’s hope/chance is better than none, imo, since we do hope for the miracle.
      1.
      a snowflakeโ€™s chance โ€ฆ
      however the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      2. Rhythmically, this version would seem right for this verse (5-8-5…the extra syllable weighing in to support/enact the ‘extra effort’ entailed in L2):

      a snowflake in hell …
      however the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      3. a variation without the snowflake:

      not a hope in hell โ€ฆ
      however the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      4, 5. two more possibilities:

      drained of all hope โ€ฆ
      however the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      all hope gone โ€ฆ
      however the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      – Lorin

    • Lorin Ford says:

      a snowflakeโ€™s chance โ€ฆ
      the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      Yes, nice , Willie. I like it, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ Just concerned about that snowflake.

      – L

    • Lorin Ford says:

      Arrgh! Willie, we overlooked something:

      snowbound silence,
      just the warmth of
      breathing from their bed

      bereft of starsโ€ฆ
      the winter moon, alone

      a snowflakeโ€™s chance โ€ฆ
      the fight with cancer
      goes on anyway

      Duh!

      – L

  63. Bill says:

    How’s ‘is:

    never even hope…
    the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    excellent link, even before my suggestions

  64. stevenyaschuk says:

    no morsel of hopeโ€ฆ
    the fight with cancer will
    continue to plague

    Vasile if you could chime in and make a suggestion of your own which version you prefer out of all of us.

  65. Kala Ramesh says:

    I think Vasile’s verse doesn’t need a punctuation. It should flow together without a pause between lines — in combo with ‘the winter moon, alone’,
    More so because we have added a comma before ‘alone’ and that alone should sweep through the cancer verse. Just a thought

    So trying this idea out:

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    without any hope
    the fight with cancer
    continues

    _k

  66. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Thank you to all for choice, understanding and help. I like a snowflake’s chance but I’m afraid that it was winter in the last two verse. So because I am not a native Englishman I ask Sabaki to choice the best. Thank you in advance.

  67. John Carley says:

    Moving swiftly on…
    .

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    .
    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie

    Running order: Steven at #10 (non-season/misc.) Bill at #11 (summer blossom) Ash at #12 (summer wrap)

    Thank you Vasilie, and thanks to everybody for the thoughtful input. You are right – in order to preserve the macro-structure of the poem it is best if the verse reads primarily as non-season.

    Because the topic is so strong, simple is the key. The edit above is an attempt to add nothing and take nothing from the original draft. Not quite true, I tend to read ellipsis points as generating a degree of suspension. The line break on ‘hope’ and the phonically harder ‘but’ are kind of more direct, less forgiving. Great verse.

    Let’s go to turns and balance out the (nominal) who-does-what. There’s a running order just below the verse allocation to date, above.

    Steven. You are up next. This is a short two line verse. It can pretty much go anywhere it wants but (a) it will probably work best if it is quite snappy, and (b) it needs to be what the Japanese call ‘zo’ – a ‘miscellaneous time of year’ verse i.e. it doesn’t automatically suggest a season of any sort.

    When we go to ‘turns’ it is a great help if the person taking that verse position sends in several different candidates that are quite different to each other (my favourite number is 3). This gives the writing team food for thought and makes any eventual tweak that much easier. Don’t feel you have wait until everything you have is perfect. This is team work. And turn-around time really does seem to be an important factor is how people work together.

    Bill, I’ve held you back to ‘summer blossom’ because it’s a potentially elusive mix of modern and traditional. And Ash, given that the only season you guys have is ‘hot’ I thought you might enjoy writing about corks around your hat.

    Eeeeeh – you can’t beat a good stereotype! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  68. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Thank you very much because you helped me I bielieve that you made a good choice. Let’s g away. With thanks for all,
    Vasile

  69. stevenyaschuk says:

    willow tree hangs low
    enough to spark a tall flame
    which guides the lost’s way

    tea spurts from child’s mouth
    porcelain sheets now ruined
    guilt overwhelming

    station gone weary
    mean in rocking char chewing
    gas gone pump empty

  70. Bill says:

    HI, Steven: what is needed is two-line links, since we just had a three-liner. But the change is not too hard to make. The one I like best is your second, which seems most connected, in an interestingly tangential sort of way, with the battle with cancer in the previous link. My suggested adjustment to your offering is this:

    tea spurts from the child’s mouth
    the percale sheet is now ruined

    Percale is a sort of fabric used for good bed linen. The ‘porcelain’ you had used is a china-ware material, used for tea cups, etc, and often white–by association often conflated with the color white–but not quite right here, particularly since porcelain is water proof and stain resistant, though white.

    I think it is really a small change to an otherwise very interesting link. I hope you don’t mind the suggestion.

  71. stevenyaschuk says:

    In my haste I must have missed the two line bit. I was using porcelain as a descriptor for the fragility of the sheets, or in the child’s mind how is accident is “unfixable” believing the tea will never come out.

    Now that I’ve been informed of my errors I will fix them.

    willow tree hangs low
    enough to spark a tall flame

    tea spurts from childโ€™s mouth
    porcelain sheets now ruined

    station gone weary
    men in rocking chair chewing

    I simply just removed the last line of each, though I think Bill is right in that the second one has the most meaning.

    Could we put it too a vote?

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    percale sheet is now ruined/B

    vs.

    tea spurts from childโ€™s mouth
    porcelain sheets now ruined/S

    Just to see which one is more understandable (as I have been critiqued in the past for my vagueness).

    • stevenyaschuk says:

      Also, though I don’t know if this is important or not. Bill’ version has an extra syllable in the first line and second line (which I already removed the article, which was “the” from the second line).

  72. John Carley says:

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    .
    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven (provisional)

    Thanks guys, you’ve done the hard bit! And raised a lot of interesting points. So please excuse ramble. First the verse.

    This is stunning. Vasilie’s verse operates on the grand scale of ‘despair’ and ‘battle against cancer’. Now Steven gives a visceral, tight focus shot of an event which the unspoken link fills with foreboding. It is text book. And look have far we have moved in diction from the refined moon just one verse further back.

    As we discussed the close of the first movement (jo – in our poem the first 4 verses) I pointed to a potential conflict between ‘voices’ in #1 and ‘shouts’ in #4. Was there a danger this would cause our readers to flip back from #4 to #1? To put it technically – was there a danger of the type of second order repetition called ‘regression’ in (my) English and ‘sarikirai’ in Japanese (mine too!). In the end we concluded it didn’t.

    In draughts to date of this verse we’ve got the same quandary. Personally I do think that ‘bed’ at #7 and ‘bed sheet’ at #10 are too close from comfort. Probably the difference here is that they necessarily evoke a specific physical location (the bed/bedroom) compared to the spatially generic ‘voices/shouts’.

    BUT even if ‘in the bedroom’ is best avoided – the powerful image of soiling fabric is still available to us. Hence my ‘down his shirt’. This also has the effect of allowing he verse to read through the line break – which I think make the experience even more immediate (the, eeeeuuugh factor).

    Metrics. I’m completely re-writing all my stuff on renku metrics because it’s a dog’s breakfast. Too dense ( both me and the text). I’ll post a bit in the window below just for a laugh. Anyway, what actually matters here is that we want something that feels marginally truncated, but isn’t in fact truncated. It’s more a question of stressed than syllables. But in truth it’s the underpinning beat… Anyway it’s probably best to ignore my techincal bulldust and get feel by reading aloud from the moon verse. Ahh – I can already here Bill’s answering verse ๐Ÿ™‚

    Feedback needed folks. Jildi ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  73. John Carley says:

    Votes etc. Decision making. A really crucial area I’m trying to get my head around for a magazine article/book chapter.

    The conduct of this poem and our that of our friends at #2 is something of an experiment on the significance (or otherwise) of very fast turn-around times (compared to current norms). We did his earlier with the two Imachi (and 18 verse type sequence). My *suspicion* is that it generates better poetry – but we’ll see what everybody says, from all #4 poems, once these two are completed.

    But I’m certain from more than a decade of online, email etc renku that – as with face to face work – things which can lengthen do lengthen, and one can become very ‘procedural’. There are few things more dispiriting than a Kasen which takes four months to complete.

    But there are a whole other lot of considerations around ‘shaping’ etc that, I believe, tend to point away from the consensual. The analogies are to the role of a director in film, a producer/engineer in music recording, a choreographer in ballet.

    I’m putting this in a separate window folks because it goes beyond our verse to verse poem considerations. J

  74. John Carley says:

    Oh yes – metrics. This pasted from Renku Reckoner.

    ” the tercet and couplet/distich may be employed to good effect for all types of original haikai poetry in English, and considered a fair emulation of their original counterparts, when they are approached not as fixed form in the narrowest sense, nor as purely free verse, but as supple stanzas employing an accentual metre of seven stressed syllables for the long verse (typical lineation being: 2/3/2; 3/2/2; 2/2/3; 3/1/3) and five stressed syllables for the short verse (typical lineation being: 3/2; 2/3; 4/1; 1/4).”

    • Bill says:

      I wish I could talk like that. Sometimes, alone, late at night, I try. In fact this morning I attempted to post a longer comment, but the e-fairy seems to have nipped it away. If you find any coins under the cushions, they’re probably mine. I’ll post my next contribution shortly.

  75. stevenyaschuk says:

    I like the version of my verse you made.

  76. Bill says:

    Ecco mi!

    Summer blossom link

    art students
    drift into the Rialto
    with the squash blossoms

    sunflower clock
    slow
    on a rainy day

    sky rockets blossom
    on the Fourth of July eve
    driving birds mad

    driving birds mad
    on the Fourth of July eve
    sky rockets blossom

    only immigrants
    pause to admire
    potato blossoms

  77. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    ————–

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala, Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill (provisional)

    Wow. Firstly very many thanks to Steven for going with that abrupt feeling draft of #8. And I think a potential merits of keeping a close watch on the phonics – on the cadence in particular here – I think we can see it in the relationship to #9.

    Bill, you’re a star. I thought the move to any kind of blossom or flower would be so difficult that I was going to say we could let it devolve on Ash at #10. And give you more latitude to simply go to ‘summer’. But you beat me to the draw!

    Obviously I was describing my own limitations because this is superb. The stanza will work equally well with the lines in either order. But the surreal and graphic logic of the following struck me as worth considering – thanks to the dyslexia I always have to check what order the lines are in anyway ๐Ÿ™‚
    “tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth down his shirt with the squash blossoms (as) art students drift into the Rialto” This is the kind of mad unrolling phrase that the likes of Sheila Windsor handle so well.

    Given that we’ve also got a raft of synergies going on – the orangey yellow of the teas stains, the inversion of ‘spurt’ and ‘drift’, the grossier and the high culture – add in a bit of simple phonic and syntactic cohesion and we’ve got the above: an utterly tangential connection that nonetheless seems…. if not ‘logical’ then ‘right’.

    It’s interesting to contrast how the pace of this first side of the development movement erm… moves and develops ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel that the orchestra really swells into Steven’s sick child (Wagner was pretty good on ‘projectile vomiting’ as I recall) then begins to tail slightly away (c.f. drift – and maybe a reason why it might deliver even more strongly on the last line).

    Which sets Ash up for a summer verse which can do more or less anything it wants. Anywhere it wants. Though may well be most effective – in terms of the whole-poem dynamic, in certainly as the last on the ‘page’ – if it is relatively unobtrusive.

    #10 could be the gym instructor who says: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahnd, Rest!”

    J

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for the compliments. I was originally thinking of the consecutive connection between “child” and “students” as well as the “spurt-drift” linking. I’ll look up Sheila Windsor, sounds interesting. On to Ashley.

  78. ashleycapes says:

    Ok, sorry about the delay everyone – been a bit distracted last couple of days, but here’s some suggestions at last, hope one’s a fit. Hope they’re not too ‘loud’ too.


    waiting above my door
    tiny spider webs

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun(set?)

    the slap of bare feet
    on pavement

    at long last the
    air conditionersโ€™ hymn

  79. Bill says:

    Zo! These are of a single, high quality, mostly, making choice difficult. Just to seem alert, let me prefer the fourth least: the air conditioner would seem to praise…but what, with its hymn? The heat? We might sing a hymn of thanks for the protection of an air conditioner, but it escapes me to what the AC might by hymning along. “waiting above my door,” seems perfect as it stands. I do think “set” helps clarify the situation with the sun. “Know, my son, how poorly the world is governed,” said some famous Swedish councilor to the young Metternich, but surely the sun is not running late, unless it is either late in the year (not our seasonal preference here) or setting late in the evening, as it does in summer. Would it be too colorful to borrow a word from Walt Whitman and say, “the blab of bare feet on pavement,” to avoid a much used word and perhaps suggest the rumor of crowds? My taste is not sufficiently sophisticated to judge whether you are being suitably or overly colorful here. I always add salt and pepper to my food. However, I think any of your first three links would fit neatly and link with a nice twist. Excelcior!

    • John Carley says:

      Yeah, I like the Whitman. I love that sound. Nowhere in England is warm enough to make it an activity of choice. And the profile of poverty has changed. But actually there is an eccentric local woman ‘La Contessa’ or ‘Jackie Barefoot’ who threw her shoes at her cheating spouse and has never worn any since! Hmmn, I haven’t see Jackie at the Griff for a bit. The Griffin Inn. Of which more below. J

    • ashleycapes says:

      Thank you, Bill! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I liked the idea of ‘blab’ too, it’s a fun word to slot in there, huh?

  80. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash

    Almost too many good things going on to count them here team. But a couple of observations: I loved the closure generated by the air-conditioner candidate too, and would have simplified to ‘hum’ for ‘hymn’. But I’d have done it in a shorter poem – cos I think as it stands the closure is almost too strong for a mid-movement end verse. A further clue is that ‘at last’ as in ‘thank God we finally got here’ is a good translation of the ‘age’ bit in the term for a poem-ending verse ‘ageku’! Seriously. So keep that one in you pocket for a New Junicho ageku Ash ๐Ÿ™‚

    Personally I don’t advocate the use of saijiki, so I’ve no idea where it’s actually listed, but to me ‘sunset’ feels ‘autumn’ in a way I can’t quite explain. Perhaps that was the only time it ever stopped raining in Manchester when I was a kid.

    Anyway, as ever with me the final arbiter is what the sounds do. And the drifty hovering long first line, followed by the short ‘late sun’ tell me that, man, this is one of those nights when you’ve just to sit out drinking wine until WELL after dark – about 1:30 should do it ๐Ÿ™‚

    We’re about to come up against a long run of non-season so having human presence almost completely absent apart from the setting via ‘menu’ is ideal. Why? Just from experience it seems that ‘non-season’ seems automatically to feed into ‘human culture’.

    This poem is working. The extra two verses of each development side (by which I mean 8 per side here as opposed to the Nijuin’s 6 per side) seems to give that much needed elbow room to craft a complete passage of verse. So, for instance, Vasilie’s audacious ‘sick child’ verse works all the better for not piling up against a pause. Both Bill and Ash can make use of that accumulated energy to achieve a kind of diminuendo into statsis that just feels more – grown up. More like music.

    I’m rambling. Sorry. Right. We are half way in. We’ve taken a pair of verses each. And there’s a good balance of succession – we haven’t always got Smith folloing Jones etc. So let’s continue with the same approach. That means three or four ‘competitive’ positions followed by some turns to balance. We therefore go to verse #13 – oops I’ve just realied I had all my verse numbers wrong in the last missive. Sorry.

    #13. Long verse. Competitive. Non-season. http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk If you look at the Tankako schematic we’ve followed column 4 pretty closely down.

    Thanks to Ash’s very well generated sense of pause, we are now looking for a degre of re-launch. The temptation is to essentially to provide another hokku. Which is going too far. Just.

    Argghhh – beer time. Here I am waxing lyrical about rubbish like poetry when the Griffin Inn has already opened and some miscreant other than I has been slurping pints of Sunshine.

    I say, yes, you fellow. Make way there…. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  81. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Proposal for verse # 13

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun ash

    red warm wine
    barefoot balerina dancing
    on the brimful table Vasile

    link: menu-table
    and late sun – warm wine

  82. Bill says:

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    Thursdays his daughter’s
    tuna noodle casserole
    made a day ahead

    fly specked
    in the window
    year round

    everything looks good
    eeny meeny miney mo
    when on a diet

  83. Kala Ramesh says:

    my offer:

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    digging for diamonds . . .
    is the mud colour this deep
    from bloodshed?

    _k

  84. stevenyaschuk says:

    John san…. my offer *opens palms*

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    ink drips off the top
    of the table on to paper
    writing a classic

  85. John Carley says:

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala (prov)

    Thanks so much everybody for the rapid and creative turn-around. We could have gone with any of those. But I’d like to see if this, or a similar close draft of Kala’s submission can work. Several reasons: one is that this is just about as close as we dare get to ‘combination poem’ to relaunch the poem – i.e. it is very close to being a second hokku. Another is that it takes us, entirely successfully, straight into territory that it can be tempting to avoid (politics/ethics is very hard to do well in renku). So the overall ability to ’embrace all things’ of our poem is very much improved. And thirdly I love the inversion of imagery from the sky to the ground.
    Kala, because the stanza very nearly used full on juxtaposition – and some people read any long punctuation as a ‘cutting character’ (kireji) – I’m suggesting dropping the ellipsis points for a simple comma.

    I’ve also broken the line after ‘colour’ because, for reasons I can’t really explain, ‘bloodshed’ seems to take us into a more overtly political statement. May be it is that ‘blood’ is a wider image of tremendous physical ardour (blood, sweat and tears) whereas ‘bloodshed’ is armed conflict, or brutal repression.

    I don’t know. I’m flying a kite here. This is an excellent verse though, I’m sure of that. And I’m sure we can settle on a draft. But, we are making good general time so – before we go any further – comments please. Esp. from Kala is this her text.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  86. Kala Ramesh says:

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    Yes, John. I like your reasons for the edit. I’m happy you think this verse fits the slot.
    Thanks:))
    I had the ellipsis since I thought you’d said you wanted a second hokku!
    I’m fine with the comma.
    _k

  87. John Carley says:

    Thank you for your generosity Kala. Friends, back to the grindstone – we move on with the text as posted above. Please follow down.

    It is an interesting area, this question of hokku/not hokku.

    I know of one instance (only) where a kasen led by Basho does indeed use a second hokku, at exactly this point – to relaunch the second part of the poem.

    Of course, in Japanese, it is often more easily decided what is or is not a ‘cut’ poem – at least it is when they use ‘kireji’ – the cutting words. The one I have in mind *did* use a cutting word, but, if I recall correctly, it was a rare adjectival ending that just *may* be treated as a plain word – even when it appears in the classic position for a cutting word (as this one did).

    In English it becomes more complicated because we don’t really have much agreement between writers of what a ‘cut’ definitely is, nor of how a ‘cutting word’ might be emulated. My own advice (to myself!) is ‘use with care’ when it comes to a verse that may seem to turn rather strongly. And don’t try and do it too often. Certainly not several verses in a row.

    Here, because Bill and Ash take the tension out of the first part of the poem so well and bring us to rest, I think we can cope with a sudden blast to re-awaken. And I’m particularly grateful for your forebearance because, as I should have said I was aware of, I do feel that the edited cadence has a slightly abrupt edge which the draft as submitted did not.

    It is slight – we are almost into angels and pin-heads territory – but I’ve a feeling that, as with the stark sensation generated by what felt like a slightly truncated cadence to our eventual draft of Steven’s ‘sick child’ verse, the next verse we add will respond to that sensation in a way that makes inutitive sense – and links the two verses tightly together in the ear.

    Team – I’m not trying to cut off conversation on any of this. But let’s run the two in parallel. Always remembering that, strictly speaking, our *entire* text is a working text at this stage.

    OK – we go directly to erm, erm, #14! We remain ‘comptetitive’. And we remain non-season. We *could* go to ‘love’ – hmmn, though it is probably a bit early. Here’s a challenge though for anyone who fancies a bit of an extra strong headache ๐Ÿ™‚ Kala has already done us a great favour by offering a non-season verse that is almost void of any form of human presence – beyond the direct authorial address by phrasing as a question. Now, is it possible to write a *completely* human-free verse that is also non-season? I’d say yes. I’d say I’ve seen it done. In fact I’d even claim to have done it myself, reasonably well, once! But how?

    Why am I labouring this? Firstly because I’m a pedant, and secondly because we do have love verses imminent, and love verses tend to need to feature people. So one needs to forward think a bit in order to avoid ending up with six or seven verses in a row which all seem obliged somehow to have Janet and John in them.

    It’s a two liner, team, Keep an ear out for those phonics. Go! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Bill says:

      I like Kala’s offering because it touches on serious matter, without becoming didactic, and your edit of it is even better. If I were writing such a link in the privacy of my chamber, I think I would have dispensed with the punctuation all together. I tend to use only the dash, if anything, and than not in the body of renku. A good link, altogether.

      • John Carley says:

        Yes Bill, both the comma and the query *could* go. The reader would still get it. Keep it under advice for the final text buddy. There’s absolutely no reason why we should’nt produce two complete texts punctuated to different, but internally consistent, standards. Then we can simply decide which presentation suits are purposes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  88. Kala Ramesh says:

    Thanks bill ^_^
    John, this verse is about the ‘blood diamonds’ and many of my family members have given up wearing our diamonds after seeing this movie. So it did have ‘bloodshed’ — thought you should know about it.

    Here is the piece from Wikipedia:
    Blood Diamond is a 2006 American political war thriller film co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou.[3] The title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in African war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.
    Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1996โ€“2001, the film shows a country torn apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces.[4] It also portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels’ amputation of people’s hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.
    _k

      • John Carley says:

        Yes, I’m familiar with the term and, to a degree, the international politics behind it. If I’m not mistaken the European Union has the shameful reputation as being the destination of 90% of the blood diamonds. All of these despite loud protestationis of rectitude. And of course, as your verse so effectively points out, much of the African earth these diamonds are mined from is a deep blood red.

        Right – I’d better go and try a get a linking verse or two written! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  89. Vasile Moldovan says:

    A proposal for verse #14 (ns/human), a true happening, nothing else.

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood Kala

    souls rising to the Heaven…
    the mine’s a grave, nothing else

  90. Bill says:

    Thought I’d try to slip in another hyphen. And what think you all of using the possessive “mud’s” in Kala’s fine link?

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud’s colour
    this deep from blood? /Kala

    this thousand-year redwood
    stands erect in all weathers
    or
    in a shoal of mussels
    how many river pearls?

    • John Carley says:

      That’s a really interesting one Bill. Having run the verse round and round my own head yesterday I don’t think I can get enough distance from it now to be able to make a judgement. But it *does* impart a slight change to the timing. And it *may* very well be to the good. Please hold it back until we get to the end of the text. And please raise it. ‘Cos I can’t guarantee I’ll remember. Thanks for the close reading and the considered though. J

  91. John Carley says:

    two from me:

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    the wave becomes
    the particle, the wave

    by tooth and talon
    harrrowing their hell

  92. John Carley says:

    Last call to Steven and Ash for verse #14. It’s not an obligation, you are welcome to pass if it’s just not happening for you. I’ll stay open for another six or seven hours before moving on to #15.

    • ashleycapes says:

      Sorry John and team, I’ve been away with my students for volleyball (we came 2nd) and have been away from the computer. I think I’m too exhuasted to get anything good ready in time, but I’ll be back for 15 and on. I really like kala’s ‘blood diamond’ and I will definitely save the air-con for a future renku ๐Ÿ™‚

  93. stevenyaschuk says:

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    smothered in baked goods
    kitchens far away

    or

    galvanized pole struck
    cyclists with ease

    Sorry for being late!

  94. John Carley says:

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John(prov)

    Thanks everybody. I’m suggesting this draft of my own for #14. In a shorter sequence such as a 12 verse Junicho I think Stephen’s well realized lateral shift to the benevolent image of the ‘exotic’ kitchen might have won the day. But we have longer horizons in a tankako, so in the end I’ve gone with the hyperbolic descent into the abyss.

    My original draft had ‘harrowing’, but that would have given us three present progressive’s in a row. Anyway the simple present ‘they harrow’ may be better as it obliges us to envisage the entities that the teeth and talons attached to, whilst the whole shebang permits internal rhymes which respond to those in the maeku.

    I’m marking this up as provisional in case I’ve missed something that really won’t permit the verse to stand. But I think we’re OK. In which case let’s go on to #15 as ‘competitive’ with Ash, Bill, Steven and Vasilie in a the alphabetical frame.

    I’m looking at the schematic, and this suggests, all things being equal, that we can go to love here. But I don’t think we can, not in this particular poem.

    Kala has already used moon, really effectively, as the always-ends-in-sadness part of our first love sequence. If we go to ‘love’ now we end up doing something similar to ‘autumn moon’. And that is dangerously like a full-on repeat-at-a-distance that the Japanese call ‘torinne’. In fact I’m tempted to keep autumn moon and love completely separate by pushing love fully to the bottom of this page, round about positions #18, #19, 20.

    OK – #15. Non season. Three line long verse. Not love. Ash, Bill, Steven and Vasilie. No restrictions really on people or place.

    Should have said – without going too far into medieval Christian theology ๐Ÿ˜‰ this take on the already dubious ‘harrowing of hell’ is a bit of a dark inversion. I think I’ve been listening to too much of my son’s black metal music ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  95. Bill says:

    I was planning to say something about hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas and rice), but imagine my surprise when I discovered on Allrecipies that it is considered a New Year’s Day specialty, which brings luck through the year if eaten then. Who woulda thought? Well, next year I’ll eat it; it explains so much!

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell /J

    at a dare
    he pokes in the fire
    and grins

    the old scoundrel
    takes out his teeth
    on retiring

    the harried farmer
    takes time to attend his wife
    in maternity

    like a cook book
    take a pressure cooker
    and some bee-bees…

  96. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Offer for # 15
    the tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    after the stubborn battle
    cooking a blanquet
    from the two cocks

  97. stevenyaschuk says:

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell /J

    fallen branches on
    grounds uneven from battle
    a boy wanders through

  98. John Carley says:

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    gracing the blanquette

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie (prov)

    Hi team, I’d like to suggest we go with Vasilie’s cock fight. It’s a great link back into the real world, and the hint of bitter irony rounds off the unsettled emotions that Kala unleashed at the head of the page.

    This is a provisional draft. Although I got the verse straight away, and although I lived in France long enough to train as an engineer, for some reason the perfectly logical transliteration of ‘blanket’ for ‘blanquette’ threw me off course ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve used the word ‘graced’ here because in western Europe ‘blanquette’ is a distinctly bourgeois dish. And I sense a deliberate irony in Vasilie’s tone. An alternative, which perhaps makes it more clear that the brave birds end up cooked might be:

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    Hmmn, maybe that’s more simple and more effective. Thoughts please team.

    We’re going to go to turns. Ash, wake up at the back. You’re going to be next on with a two line short non-season verse. Steer clear of ‘love’ ditto ‘astral’ whatevers because Bill will be up after with ‘autumn moon’.

    I feel we’re very close to an agreed draft here Ash. But please don’t post until we’ve got a wrap.

    I’m pleased with these three verses. They bump about in just the right way for the second part of the ‘development movement’ (to be honest, I conceptualize this as a four movement piece. So this is the third movement).
    Good work team. Onwards! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  99. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for your choise and because help my to grow rich my poor English. This was a memmory since my childhood. Really I saw at least a fight of roosters by teath and nail.

  100. Claire says:

    Hum, blanquette.. This is grand-ma’s days, the good sauce with veal,little peas, carrots and binche potatoes! It’s great time that DNA help revive our good old people & empty kitchens, isn’t-it? Does Findus cook blanquette? My freezer has Mc Cain country potatoes and steakhouse fries in its belly (their grow the potatoes in Nord-Pas-de-Calais). What a shame!
    Sorry, I shouldn’t post here…

    • John Carley says:

      Oui c’est ca – blanquette de veau. Mais il-y-aviat aussi en ce temps-la coq en blanquette, je crois!

      Thank you Vasilie for your comments on the draft. I think the simplest is best. So let us work with:

      by tooth and talon
      they harrow all hell

      a stubborn battle,
      both cocks end up
      diced in the blanquette

      Ok Ash – over to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  101. Bill says:

    It was back to Allrecipies for me.

  102. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Thank you John for your confidence in my words. A goof day to all.

  103. John Carley says:

    Hi everybody – Ashley has gone walkabout for a bit of ritual kangaroo teasing – or whatever it is that Australians do when they’re not losing to the English at cricket ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ But he hopes to be with us shortly. J

  104. ashleycapes says:

    Hi everyone, I’m back in place – all kangaroos have been wrangled and the cricket is switched most firmly off. ๐Ÿ™‚ One for now, back at lunch in about an hour or so

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    digging into the keys
    the piano shouts back

  105. John Carley says:

    digging into the keys
    the piano shouts back

    Good morning everyone. I’m with Steven – this surreal interchange between ‘musician’ and piano is a great evolution of the dark irony of the previous verse wherein our cocks both end up cooked.

    The only thing that is holding the forward momentum back is the language of boom-bash-bang that picks up too strongly on the previous verses – ‘digging’ for instance is the first word of the opening verse on this side and presages the descent into violent struggle.

    So, let’s look at the verse in context with a very minor metrical change to line one, and ‘my’ for ‘the’ in line two simply to draw the reader in (given that the previous three, remarkably, have no immediately drawn human presence).

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    [digging] at the keys
    my piano [shouts] back

    It’s obvious that the verse works excellently on all levels. It’s simply a question of inflecting the interaction between man and piano differently – away from stridency. What are those two missing words – preserving the scansion?

    Because I like assonance and alliteration a lot in renku I lean towards something like the passage below. What do you think team. Ash – this is your verse.

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    grumbling at the keys
    my piano groans back

    ? ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  106. I feel like it’s to altered now, especially the second line where the piano has had enough and “shouts back”, as a musicians frustration is rampant and its an interesting juxtaposition to imagine the piano being just as frustrated from the increased “digging” into it.

    I now prefer Ashley’s other offer.

    specks of glass
    somewhere deep in our carpet

  107. ashleycapes says:

    Of course! Can’t believe I overlooked ‘digging’! Sorry, my fault for composing at work ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the introduction of the first person too.

    I’ll have a think, but happy to hear other suggestions of course ๐Ÿ™‚
    And would the carpet also work?

    Or what about:

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    Too light? Or does it need sound? (this one is more like my playing ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    Again, happy to hear other thoughts and suggestions – feeling bad for slowing us down too

  108. Bill says:

    I dunno, mebbe–

    snatching a handful of keys
    the piano chokes up

  109. John Carley says:

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    No crikey Ash – don’t feel bad. Time is not an issue.

    This does it for me. It’s light and immediately accessible. Actually the sound it still here by implication, and the humour slightly more surreal with ‘frown’ rather than ‘groan’.

    Tech notes: the next verse ‘autumn moon’ is regarded as pivotal in the historic literature. And the tankako invites us to write in cognizance of classical considerations. So the function of the verse here is to ease us between the sound and fury of the opening three, into a copmpletly different place. This type of ‘quiet’ verse is, IMHO, one of the hardest to write well.

    For our specific purposes, I feel like the glass in the carpet has too much back story (deep) – it gets us speculating on things outside the bounds of the text. And stronger treatments of man+piano keep the tensions ramped up too high.

    What we really want at this point is a smile and a wave and, oh look, we’ve arrived somewhere else. It’s almost as though the more invisible the better.

    If this can stand we’ll go to ‘autumn moon’. Ash – what’s it like in context buddy. If feels like the original is marmelised we can drop this direction and go off in search of others… ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

    • ashleycapes says:

      Sounds great, John. I see what you mean about the carpet, I hadn’t considered that. Still shaking my head over missing ‘digging’ but all is well!
      I think you’re right about the surreal aspect of ‘frowns’ too – acually, at a later date I’d love to ask you what you think about surrealisms historical role in renku – how often does it appear in Basho school renku or older?

      On to Bill’s moon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  110. Bill says:

    “Marmelized…,marmelized…,” yeah, what you said.

  111. Bill says:

    Hey-o, then, I agree with everything John said and this is my effort in that direction.

    ***
    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back
    ***

    to keep out the cold
    there’s whiskey in bottles
    and moonshine in jars

    a frozen willow
    grabbing and holding the moon
    on a frozen pond

    the key
    revealed by moonlight and snow
    to life as a fox

    an ivory disk
    un-stained by winter clouds
    scudding by

  112. John Carley says:

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    revealed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bill (prov)

    I think Bill has part answered the question Ash. This moon verse reads like a straight translation from the classics about the magical ‘trickster’ fox.

    Surrealism western style – no, I haven’t seen much in the Edo period stuff. But there’s lots of reference to Chinese and Japanese magical fantasy, specially via Shinto. At foot I paste the foreword to the Basho kasen ‘Under the Tree’. This is by Etsujin (Yachimoto and Carley). It’s the closest to full on surrealism that I know of.

    Bill – we can’t really go with ‘key’ in adjoining verses. I’ve sketched in ‘stave’ on the grounds that this preserves the link to the piano player, and can transmute into ‘paling’ or ‘fence post’ as the verse develops.

    Snow – we’ve already used ‘snowbound’ in the context of ‘winter’. This isn’t a absolute bar against the single element ‘snow’ but it does make it a bit suspect. I’ve sketched in ‘smoke’ on the grounds that it is close phonically to ‘snow’, gives us ‘autumn’ pretty directly, and, thanks to the moonlight, has a host of ‘smoke and mirrors’ type of overtones to complement Mr Fox.

    Were you to think that ‘stave’ was OK, we *could* get away with ‘the stave to life’ but it feels high-register and forced (obliging us to read ‘stave’ as ‘stanza’). Which pushed me in the direction of ‘his life as a fox’. This seems to chime nicely with the shape-shifter aspects of the Sino Japanese fox, making our piano player a magical character by implication. It also allows that long middle line to work as a straight pivot between the short first and last – a nice symmetry.

    Wow. I’m struggling with the old chemo cocktail today folks. I hope these comments make sense.

    Thoughts please. Oh yeah, and here’s our mate Etsujin (probably my favourite of Basho’s ‘disciples’)

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

    Chinseki, who lives to the south of the lake, has sent me a bottle gourd. This is not one of those vessels one fills with sake simply to drink from. Nor is it the type that may serve as a barrel in order to cross the lake. Like Keishi, who did not appreciate his master Soushi, I do not know how to use this bottle gourd.

    Heedlessly I happen to fall asleep alongside it and tumble in by mistake. On awaking I realise that it is all here: the sun; the moon; warmth; the twinkle of autumn; the darkness of the snowy dawn; the cry of the cuckoo. Even my friends appear, all drawing their inspiration from fลซga. Oh, how could I know that the space of the bottle gourd exists outside this world! As I emerge I announce my findings. And every day I dance back in.

  113. John Carley says:

    Fuga – ‘high poetry’ – the reverse of ‘doggerel’. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  114. Bill says:

    Jon–I have more trouble than you or Ashley do in breaking free of concrete associations and pedestrian grammar. I really do feel that as a limitation in this context, so I was glad for your suggested modifications of my suggested link. Just how I overlooked the repeated use of “key” is a mystery. One of Aesops’ fables tells of an eagle searching so hard to find an acorn, while not noticing the one on top of his head. Perhaps not one of the ancient’s greatest hits, but relevant here.

    But to return to out muttons–I would willingly accept your version, still, we were aiming for a winter moon (always aim for the moon) and maybe frost is more wintry than smoke, though that’s conjectural. And fixed, as I am, in plodding logic, I am still preoccupied with having a medium for revealing the fox’s footprints–frost, if not snow. Though your more imaginative flight works in its different manner. I’ll lay down a couple of suggestions below and whichever you think best, I will, too.

    the stave
    revealed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox
    ***
    progressions
    revealed by frost and moonlight
    through his (her) foxy life

    frost and moonlight show
    a series of progressions
    through his foxy life

  115. John Carley says:

    You had me panicking there Bill. I’m supposed to *know* this stuff! No, honestly it is ‘autumn moon’ buddy, followed by a further two autumn (these are standard quantities for this type and length of sequence). If you read back my last-but-one comments above it is “Tech notes: the next verse โ€˜autumn moonโ€™ is regarded as pivotal in the historic literature.blal blah”.

    But this isn’t about being right buddy (I was just a bit spooked ‘cos I’ve been so grotty) it’s about seeing why – it informs the choices that we make. The schematic at renku reckoner for the tankako shows where we’re at: “http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk

    We’ve more or less followed the fourth column down. In fact since the mid break (Kala) we’ve been following it exactly, and it makes sense to continue to do so, apart from ‘love’ (which we’ll shunt to the bottom of this movement). If you scroll up and down the column it becomes clear that our decision to go to winter at #8 and #9 directed us towards summer at #11 and #12, which then leaves ‘autumn’ to make its substantial presence in our current passage of verse.

    It’s because of knowing that we were going to ‘autumn’ – with its associated moods – that made me keen to the heat out of the opening three. And that meant being cautious of the degree of volume and pzzazz in Ash’s verse. Ideally it is a transition verse that is not too prominent in tems of demanding attention.

    Please have a look back. I assure you that ‘autumn moon’ is correct here. Personally I find the magical fox a perfect fit for this verse position in relation to Ash’s dadaist piano. Ditto the link via words (as the primary) and then imagery (as the secondary).

    But, there’s always more than one way to skin a piano. There’s nothing to stops us going back to Vasilie’s cock fight and transitioning through a completely different verse from Ash into fresh territory for our autumn run of verses. I’ll past the complete passage in below. One of my tricks is to read it to the computer’s recorder and then listen back. Thoughts please everybody. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    revealed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    • Bill says:

      This is why you’re pulling down the big bucks–you’re right. My mistakes. Onward and upward!

    • Lorin says:

      a stubborn battle,
      both cocks end up
      diced in the blanquette

      fumbling at the keys
      my piano frowns back

      the stave
      revealed by moonlight and smoke
      his life as a fox
      —-
      Hi John & All,

      I love ‘his life as a fox’ but I’m finding “revealed by” a tad ponderous here. So another angle on it to throw into the mix, for what it’s worth:

      the stave dances
      in moonlight and smoke
      his life as a fox

      ?

      … or ‘ through moonlight & smoke’

      – Lorin

  116. John Carley says:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven (current)

    Hi everybody, I’ve finally managed to get a decent night’s sleep, my soccer team’s hated rivals are obliged to provide a ‘guard of honour’ at the match today because we’ve already won the league, and I’ve very nearly finished editing a chapter on linking technique which has been *very* heavy going. So what a pleasure to come back to this poem and see it with fresh eyes!

    Above I post the full working text to date. I’m confident we are on track with this movement. It bumps about nicely, allowing us to later tighten into a smooth finish for the remaining ‘side’ of four verses.

    Ok – Steven is up next with the second of our three ‘autumn’ verses. This is a short two line verse. It *could* pick up on some element of the flamboyant/cheating/trickster fox and take us into ‘love’.

    Enough said ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  117. John Carley says:

    Ah, as I upload Lorin’s comment appears. That’s a nice smooth edit Lorin. Were we in a different dynamic phase of the poem – such as the calm start or the compact and swift finish – I’d be leaning in that direction myself. But in the development movement, particularly in the latter part (or second half depending on the type of sequence) there is an argument to be made for some deliberate ‘irregularities’. To my reading that long middle line, in combination with the magical oddity of the content, work well at this specific juncture to be a bit ‘disruptive’ – a bit like the clunks and bonks that I hear the pair that start this movement.

    But certainly in two verses time we want to be back into ‘slick impetus’ territory ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

    • Lorin says:

      ๐Ÿ™‚ ‘smooth’, โ€˜slick impetusโ€™ !!! …where’s the tongue-poking-out smiley when one needs it? Well, You’ll just have to imagine it, John. The sign of the raspberry would come in handy sometimes, too. Why has no-one thought of it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Looking forward to your recently advertised new haiga book, too … despite auld lang syne.

      – Lorin

  118. stevenyaschuk says:

    My offerings:

    pennybottom coat
    with tails of a fox

    nylon sleeves rustle
    stares are thrown my way

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    The first one was an offering a way’s back that didn’t make the cut, but I thought it was talented, so like a loving parent I have thrusted it back into action. The second verse is also about jackets, I came up with it based on my first date with my current girlfriend (though the way I have written it, it’s more of a singular albeit paranoid individual walking through a crowded park). Finally the third verse is about young children enjoying autumn for the first time, the beauty of death.

  119. Lorin says:

    I don’t think you can have the have fox again, Steven, because it’s in the previous verse.

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    pennybottom coat
    with tails of a fox

    ๐Ÿ™‚ …though I like the humour.
    Apart from that, with the usual, common or garden fox, it’s one tail per fox.

    nylon sleeves rustle
    stares are thrown my way

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    Either of those latter two verses could work, imo.

    I’m curious to see which John chooses. ‘Nylon sleeves’ brings to mind a quite funny novel, with a dark side, that I read for distraction recently: ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian’:
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/828387.A_Short_History_of_Tractors_in_Ukrainian

    – Lorin

  120. John Carley says:

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    That’s in every way excellent Steven. The juxtaposition between the buoyant life of the young and the onset of withering is as good as anything I’ve read.

    There’s only one possible consideration which *could* suggest a minimal change and I’ve no idea of the merits either way so I set both out below for feedback.

    As I think I mentioned a few comments back this part of the poem is one (from Kala’s diamond verse to now) is one where we might, so wishing, have the structures and cadences of our stanzas that bit more ‘mosso’ (to borrow a term from musical notation) – a bit more choppy and changey. And this in contrast to what then tightens into a more ‘compelling’ (and therefore less variable) closing movement.

    For this reason, alone, I offer an arrangement of Steven’s line one which shifts the simple present of the verb to an adjective, and employs a comma. Comments please everybody.

    Please don’t post anything else yet, but get thinking about the next verse of this ‘side’ of poetry, because it’ll be the last of our three autumn verses, the penultimate of this side, and we’re going to return to ‘competitive’ submission.

    ps – Lorin’s quite right about not repeating a principle noun, verb etc in successive verses. I can’t remember ever encountering and example which breaks this ‘rule’. But I’ve also never seen said ‘rule’ expressed as such or discussed anywhere! OK – here are those two variants. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    OR

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    young necks, hairs raised
    the touch of frail grass

  121. ashleycapes says:

    My vote is for the version with the comma, I like the reading rhythm

  122. John Carley says:

    Yeah, it’s marginal Ash, but coming back to it I thought the extra pause in line one both matched the preceding verse, and then delivered the very powerful second line just so.

    I’m guessing Steven may be out of town as we’re 24 hours up more or less. I’ll leave this comment strand open for a couple of hours more. But we’ll move on to #19 thereafter as we need to pick up compositional pace again – I think it will help towards getting a tight close. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  123. stevenyaschuk says:

    My apologies, just found out I’m having some of my poetry published!

    Anyways, please do not go with the second one as the meaning I was intending is lost (I feel) the first one captures my intention much better.

  124. John Carley says:

    To #19. Degachi – ‘competitive’ – open to all.

    Hi everyone, Steven takes us into early/mid autumn so leaving abundant scope for the mid to late autumn context of the last of our season run of three.

    We *may* be past the point where striking structural effects will work to best effect. But that’s not certain. So please just follow whatever route the touch of frail grass (and those young necks) suggests to you.

    This next verse is nominally also ‘love’ but we can interpret that liberally – not least because the ‘love’ passage in our early section of verse has already followed the more conventional happy to sad trajectory.

    Good news on the publishing Steven! Our working text of the last four is:

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  125. stevenyaschuk says:

    offer:

    lone shingles aline
    neighborhoods empty and bare
    the wolves howl to dogs

    whirled wind strikes hard
    as tears fall with drops of rain
    mud on closed caskets

    fears of the snow fall
    pouring more than frost into
    the cities cold heart

  126. stevenyaschuk says:

    Sorry if some if these aren’t “autumn” themed per se. It just snowed where I live and my seasonal compass is bunk.

  127. Vasile Moldovan says:

    My offer for #19

    the first collectors
    in the orchard of nut tree
    two squirrels

    or
    New inscription
    at the edge of meadow:
    “Grazing freely”

    and this
    burnt clearing-
    hunters and beaters ready
    for the shooting season

  128. Bill says:

    cat hair
    on her sweater
    makes him sneeze

  129. John Carley says:

    Thanks Steven, Vasilie and Bill for some rapid for responses. We’re still open. Ash? Kala?

    Offers to date post an intriguing question. Bill, I’ve blagged a take on the cat hair because we can’t really go with ‘hair’ twice in succession. So I’ve regularised the cadence in messing about.

    I love the whimsy of this verse (still a bit conflicted about ‘him/his’ in respect of the last but one verse – but that’s a detail). Anyway there’s a take on it below because it stands in illuminating contrast to Vasilie’s verse.

    Vasilie again come up with a very powerful, straight, depiction of the man’s place in the natural world. I’ve simplified the phrasing of the last line to ‘the shoot’ which is the standard expression used in England/Wales/Scotland/Ireland for the autumn hunt with smoothbore firearms.

    There’s no question about the quality of Vasilie’s verse. But is it *too* strong for this part of the sequence. Particularly because of the link, by association, with emotion/love/vulnerability?

    To reiterate- we’re still open to Ash and Kala, but I’ll move on in a few hours. But have a look at this guys. A sabaki’s dilemma

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    cat moult
    on her skinny cashmere sweater
    makes him sneeze

    —–

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    ps – I’m guessing that should be ‘molt’ in US English

  130. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Dear John, thank you for your sugestion. Only now I learned about “shoot” like hunting season.
    We have our eastern (Ortodox) Easter. So between 3 and 6 May I will go to the country, where I vave not Internet . Sorry for this disturb. But you can go away in these days without me. Thanks for understanding.

  131. John Carley says:

    A complete working text to #20 –

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven, Vasilie, last of side (open to all)

    Hi everybody, let’s attempt the challenge.

    This verse from Vasilie is a strong return to the turbulent emotions that characterise the first part of this side of verse. Our task now is to find a single short verse that ‘defuses’ the mood and gives a sense of completion/pause to our current passage of eight verses – so that we can then launch into a final movement that has a different feel to it.

    Please read back to the beginning of the poem in order to get a sense of our total direction.

    Verse #20 is a two line short verse. It is non-season. It is open to all. Our mix of person and place verses is good. So we can do just about anything we want at #20. It is not the meaning of this next verse that is crucial. It is the emotional ‘colour’ that is all important. And the fact that it need to generate a degree of ‘closure’. We need everybody’s input here friends. If we get this right, our poem will move into a good space for the final movement of four verses.

    Vasilie -thank you so much for your concentration and your generosity of spirit. I hope you have a very good Easter celebration. When I lived in the mountains in Italy I used to love the family celebrations away from the ‘modern’ world when we enjoyed eating, drinking and singing.

    Please say ‘hello’ to the butterflies for me ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  132. offer:

    miniscule humming
    in fields far gone

    shadows on water
    lapping up sun rays

    gulls’ – beach flooded
    maroon the ocean; sand

    The last one is just an experiment, (psssst…. I don’t know what I’m doing).

  133. kalaramesh says:

    I’ll pass John. Can’t seem to get anything ๐Ÿ™‚
    _k

  134. Bill says:

    Here’s my best shot:

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot
    **
    a single curved feather
    spirals down from the sky

    showing at the cinema,
    Bambi re-mastered

    sharing a sleeping bag
    and the sky full of stars

  135. kalaramesh says:

    Ok, giving it a shot:

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    in the long jump
    the athlete pedals the air

    ??

  136. kalaramesh says:

    Or:

    in long jump
    the athlete pedals the air

    _k

  137. John Carley says:

    Thursday morning here. Great to wake up to some creative responses to the challenge of trying to generate a degree of ‘wrap’ in such a confined space with this single verse. Already I see some very appealing possibilites. I’ll post a pass myself and leave Ash’s time zone to sort itself out so that he can get in with a shout in a short while.

    I’ve also just paged back up and extracted a text of the poem composed of the intitial drafts. This is in the context of the questions/doubts that I’d like to raise with the teams here on these two poems, as with earlier on two Imachi we did at speed, about the impact of trying to work with rapid turn-around times. Plus associated ideas of the degree of interventionism that is neccessary/desirable/acceptable in modern renku composition on the part of the poem sabaki/leader/director. I’m trying to write a book on renku composition. This whole area of ‘who decides and how’ is a bullet that needs biting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  138. Bill says:

    Just an uninformed cogitation, John, but the origins of renku were essentially what might be called house parties, at which an entire renku would be composed by a group in a single sitting, or a single meeting, usually a single day, if I have the history of the thing right. Turn around time between links must have been brief. The role of sabaki/leader, given the rather hierarchical nature of Japanese society at that time, would have most likely have been imbued with great authority. A leader would have been selected whose judgement was respected (as in our case), and although participants might have opportunity for input, discussion could not have been prolonged before a decision was made–for practical reasons of time constraint, if nothing else.

  139. ashleycapes says:

    Ok, only one comes to mind right now:

    standing back from it
    the last coat (of paint)

    But I think I need help – ‘it’ too vague? ‘coat of lacquer’?

  140. John Carley says:

    You’ve got that in one Bill. You describe the practice up to and including Basho’s day – certainly the dynamics of the vast majority of sessions. But in fact there was a further stage too. The text, as briefly discussed and annotated, of the evening was then taken away and subsequently edited. Either by the Master, by one or two of his principle (i.e. most on-message) followers, and/or occassionally by a ditto group who also prepared for print. This did not involve any reference back to the original contributors.

    There aren’t a lot of texts left where the source and edited versions are in existence. Eiko Yachimoto and I have one such by Basho and Co but I’m afraid it’s currently embargoed as Eiko is in discussion with publishers to have the whole body of translations done as a book. Anyway, I was surprised (and in truth gratified) from working on it to discover that the nature and degree of the changes between original and final draft are very close indeed to the kind of thing we get up to here.

    However, there is also record of *entire* stanzas being substituted in some of the Basho stuff. Brutally put – of contributions which didn’t, on reflection, cut the mustard as being wholly written out, but the orignal contributor’s name for that verse position still being appended!

    Here you go, this can’t be breaking any confidence if I just post three verses. This is Hokushi, Sora and Basho. The sequence is Uma Karite no Maki (The Borrowing a Horse Folios). Verse positions #7. #8 and #9. It’s a kasen so these are the first three of the first ‘development’ movement (JP: ha).

    Original texts first. Then published texts. You’ll note that Basho corrects his own text as much as anyone else’s:

    deep pine forest,
    in the mountains to the left
    Suge temple

    four or five actors
    wandering abroad

    on the hip high wallpaper
    finding the name
    of you whom I love

    —–

    hailstones fall,
    in the mountains to the left
    Suge temple

    four or five harlots
    wandering abroad

    amongst the daubings
    finding the name
    of you whom I love

    Interesting stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  141. John Carley says:

    Ps – sorry folks. I should have said – I couldn’t resist responding to Bill’s thoughtful comments immediately. But it’s probably most efficient (must be a better word!) if we finish the poem first and then I’ll fly the kite to all parties. Yeah, because there as a Nijuin done also with a slightly different group – under pressure of time for a competition entry. I can compile a sort of respone profile and circulate an outline of the ‘conclusions’. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  142. John Carley says:

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    first of kyu

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven, Vasilie, Kala (finalising)
    [first of kyu open to Steven, Bill, Ash, John]

    Hi everybody, Kala’s hyper-real generation of pause as we see the slo-mo flailing of arms and legs make this one irresistible. There’s something about athletes and the gaudiness of pheasants too that really appeals to me.

    Kala, I’m suggesting moving ‘athlete’ to the plural as this allows the verb to drop the letter ‘s’ – and deliver ‘athletes pedal air’ as a kind of manifold split-screen moment of hiatus.

    The word ‘caught’ is a suggestion to rebalance the dropping of the definite article in ‘pedals the air’, but also to take the opportunity to re-enforce both the link and the freeze-frame nature of the image.

    How does this read? ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    Bill – I gave a lot of thought to the single feather, but in the end the heart-in-mouth pause off Kala’s verse trumped the greater finality of our deceased game bird.

    Ash – great internal verse for this movement. Probably too loose a link to close on. And no – I haven’t taken *any* offence at your suggestion that reading a sequence led by me is like watching paint dry! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  143. kalaramesh says:

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    Yes to this edit, John.
    It’s reading much better :))
    _k

  144. John Carley says:

    A complete working text to #21 –

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    first of kyu

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven, Vasilie, Kala
    [first of kyu open to Steven, Bill, Ash, John]

    Thanks so much everybody.

    It’s very late here so I’ll be mercifully brief.

    I’d like to finish the poem with a balance of verses taken by each contributor. So our last four will be taken by Steven, Bill , Ash and John. We’ll stay ‘competitive’ for this next verse, the first our ‘rapid close’, then move to turns for the final three. There are some notes on Renku Reckoner under >Aspects of Prosody >A Dynamic Pattern which describe conventional ideas of ‘kyu’ – the closing movement as conceived by the Basho school. At left the >Tankako button, fourth column, gives us the typical background nature of the verses. So we are on a three line long verse. Non season.

    We have a good overall structure to this poem. Let’s see if we can pull off a classic feeling finale ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  145. stevenyaschuk says:

    Offer:

    gourd of the pumpkin
    reminiscent of bull horns
    line the Spanish cove

    gravel roads waiting
    to be traveled,
    paved with memories

    blurred street lines
    by the top speed
    of cars passed

  146. Bill says:

    So, then! Well, then! Having read as John suggested–kyu, and all–can I do as he suggested? Below the falls, fish face all directions in the pool. Poor fish!

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air
    ***
    tracing down the shelf
    along the spines of books
    a trembling finger

    tapping with the chalk
    the teacher awaits
    an answer

    startled
    from a flight of fancy
    by her cough

    and come down
    hard on the back beat
    in the bridge

  147. John Carley says:

    Two very strong candidates here already. So, given that I’m so full of steroids that my head’s about to take off and fly around ther room, I’m posting a ‘pass’. Ash – your call if you want in here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  148. ashleycapes says:

    Hi John! Hahaha! First coat? I’ll give it a shot, though I like Bill’s too – here we go, only two come to mind, not sure whether I need a dash in that last one:

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    sitting through class
    one more tick
    and it’s lunchtime!

    dropping the needle
    in near-darkness
    memories

    • Bill says:

      Ashley, embarrassment of riches, innit? What a pity we are not conducting this is some Nordic language, so that you could use “ja” in place of !–lol Or Hindi, where “kana” means food or a meal, and you could end the second line with that. But a dash would seem pretty much like a haiku, wouldn’t it? I’m speaking from a wealth of half-knowledge, here, in reaction to a comment or two made above somewhere about a break seeming possibly “too cutting.” I’m sure your judgement is better than mine. I’m really just enjoying the sound of my own keypad.

      • ashleycapes says:

        Hahaha! No, not at all – I think you’re right, the dash is too big a cut, you’re right.

        Maybe it needs another word, for an extra beat, down there around ‘memories’? Hmmm…

  149. John Carley says:

    Ah now – don’t get me started on dashes and kireji (cutting characters).

    The two that really strike me here are Steven’s ‘gravel roads’ and Bill’s ‘spines of books’ – each for the way they link back into the suspended animation of Kala’s atheletes.

    In the end I’ve discounted the gravel roads verse on the not very significant grounds that we have diamonds+mud as the first verse of our previous movement. This is a small objection. But it *is* true that the mind picks up on starting and ending verses in a way that it doesn’t with ‘internal’ verses quite so much. A vanishingly thin objection is that we also have crunch+peanut+cobble at the head of the movement before that. So just *maybe* we’d be risking a kind of reiteration of ‘lumpy bits’.

    The verse that really grabs, as Steven observes, is:

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    along the spines of books
    a [trembling finger]

    What do these edit suggestions and marks mean? If you go back and run a syllablic and accentual analysis of our coarse metre throughout the poem it will average at 13-15 syllables 7 accents. Hence the suggestion of dropping ‘the shelf’ which takes us up to 16 / 8 and, in this situation where we want a smooth run in, makes it hard to balance out (specially ‘cos the tankako has a relatively abreviated 4 verse close). Personally I feel that ‘tracing down / along the spines of books’ is almost more visceral as a link too.

    The ‘trembling finger’ is in square brackets purely because, and again this is a vanishingly small objection, it *could* be argued that there is the slightest degree of what is technially called ‘reincarnation’ (JP: torinne) in respect of the ham hands on the piano keyboard.

    Of these two ‘issues’ I do think the cadence consideration is important. The finger… it struck me, Bill, that if you were aiming towards age/infirmity rather than nervous excitement then stuff about skin mottling or withered etc etc might deliver just as strongly whilst avoiding the miniscule hint of reiteration. But in truth I’m not really fussed about it either way and bring it up only to illustrate the kind of stuff that goes on in the mind of someone – dunno what the word is: obsessive? – obsessive as me when trying to synch all the verses into a single continous read.

    Oh God, and no time to spell-check ‘cos I’ve got to drive to the big city for a family birthday. Sorry if this mail is messy. Hopefully the meaning is clear. If we’re ablte to bottom this shortly I’ll post a running order for the last three soonest. I reckon Steven should have the honour of taking ageku ‘cos it was his interest that got us together here in the first place. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • stevenyaschuk says:

      It would be a grand honor to end off this renku, thank you.

    • Bill says:

      tracing down
      along the spines of books
      a [trembling finger]

      John,

      Ok ok, I never would have thought to take the average syllable count into consideration. This is SO educational, ya. I have some unease at two adjacent prepositions–down and along–more or less fighting to give direction to the action: is it vertical or horizontal? And going with your misgiving about the trembling finger (which writes, and having writ, moves on, don’t you know?), I suggest we move from the tactile to the visual, yielding a syllable/stress ratio (s/s) of 13/7. I had been thinking along the lines of excitement, rather than infirmity when I suggested “trembling” in order to sympathize with the athlete above. The same sharing of intensity is what I hope a narrowed eye accomplishes.

      caught in the long jump
      athletes pedal air
      ***
      tracing down
      the faded spines of books
      a narrowed eye

      BUT I could easily accept the re-working as you proposed it.

  150. John Carley says:

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven, Vasilie, Kala
    Bill,
    #22: John
    # spring blossom: Ash
    ageku: Steven

    That’s a fantastic edit Bill. You’ve resolved all of those marginals at one go. The verse was already very good. I think this is even stronger. Intriguingly I had to go back to double check we had not already been near ‘acuity of gaze’ territory. Not at all. In fact if anything we have a high proportion of tactile and kinetic verses. Good news!

    Metrics/phonics – let’s put it this way, if you read the Japanese it’s plain as a pike staff that Basho and Co used a lot of phonics to re-enforce correspondences within and between verses. ‘Cos of our 20th C haiku heritage it’s an area that has almost got deliberately obscured. I sometimes feel like – if we stick to imagery only to carry the verse – we box with one hand only.

    Thank you Steven for stepping forward for ageku. Between Ash and I, purely on the grounds of the number of long and short verses we’ve taken to date, there’s a marginal indication that I go next and Ash takes ‘spring blossom’.

    So it’s time for me to shut up and actually write some candidates for this last non-season verse. It probably wants to be fairly quiet, certainly not throw too many new elements into the hat as, for our closing four, we want the reader to feel drawn in to the ‘narrow’ confines of the verse we offer rather than have their attention directed outwards (techniques more suited to the middle passages of these longer sequences).

    I’ll be back soon as with some candidates for comment.

    Thanks everybody. Looking good. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  151. John Carley says:

    Hi all, here are three possibles. Please make any and all comment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    the Chinese knew
    a dozen cures for wind

    perhaps Monsieur
    has certain things in mind?

  152. Kala Ramesh says:

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    I like this John. Made me smile :))

  153. Kala Ramesh says:

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    We’re having two verses with ‘hair’ . . . is this ok?

  154. John Carley says:

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bil, Steven, Vasilie, Kala
    Bill, John,
    spring blossom: Ash
    ageku: Steven

    Hi all, let’s by all means go with this one then. As it happens quite a few of the Edo period sequences make direct reference to writing in the closing movement – there’s a famous one which goes something like ‘news of our anthology / isn’t life great!’ which I really like for its timelessness – always good to get published ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The coarse laugh at the Chinese and flatulence again isn’t a million miles from the correct style – but probably something that fits better into the early part of the first development movement. And the rather unpleasant insinuation about the Frenchman and his specialist taste in books – in truth was a provocation. I did pop into my mind, and I thought ”uggh’. So I included it as a good example of exactly what *we do not* want in the closing stages of a poem of this style.

    ‘Hair’ twice – yes, I picked it up when checking back in the course of looking at Bill’s and my own edits to the previous verse. So that’s after about fifteen other readings. Despite some of the misinformation that regularly surrounds renku there are no reasons why we cannot repeat such a word a the distance of eleven clear verses. If there were repeated compounds involved like ‘hair in the ice-cream’ and ‘hair on his lips’, or ‘fine blonde hair’ and ‘shock of dark hair’ it would be a different matter. But then we’d all have noticed it immediately anyway. So, let’s keep a possible change under advice for the final tidying up. It is good to track back and check things, because obvious weaknesses can get missed. But it saddens me that a sometimes the approach to renku becomes almost ‘forensic’. Friends, we are writing *poetry*!

    And so to Ash and the famous ‘spring blossom’ position. The only guidance I can give, Ash, is that this ‘tankako’ type of sequence seems fairly well adapted to being a 2/3 scale kasen. And so there’s a bit more of a trad vibe around this verse position than there would be in something more off the wall like a junicho or a rokku. In fact really if we go back and look at our hokku and wakiku then we’ve already got the tone set for outro as well as intro. So we’re looking at a *reasonably* trad take on cherry/plum/something-local-but-very-close.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  155. Bill says:

    I turn my back for a simple high school reunion…! But really, a very interesting twist for the sequence. I have never seen such meta writing in renku context. Lived a shelter life, I guess. Good to go with. Saw our first humming bird dipping into a Japanese azalea this evening, if that helps to know.

    • John Carley says:

      It certainly does – we have humming bird moths here, no birds that can hold station.

      A lazy Sunday morning so I’ve fished out a couple of those refs. The anthology one in fact closes the ‘development movement’ before the start of the last passage. Anyway here’s a couple from my own files:

      a verse merchant
      devours the blossoms all,
      debts from drinking

      the spring lake at sunset
      our verse imbued with verve

      Kikaku, Basho #35 and #36 from The Verse Merchants

      in classic dress
      our haikai master
      exudes youthfulness

      bright with camellias
      a hat for winter winds

      Yasui, Uritsu #35 and #36 from November Frosts

      having lived awhile
      in this hermitage
      now to break away

      news of our anthology โ€ฆ
      isnโ€™t life great

      Basho, Kyoria #29 and #30 from Summer Moon

      ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  156. ashleycapes says:

    Ok, here I go!

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    blossoms lying in dust
    no rain
    to wake them

    our street
    filling with
    plum blossoms

    a song
    between blossoms
    the swallow

  157. John Carley says:

    our street
    filling with
    plum blossoms

    This is the one to go with Ash – there’s a figurative link back to the idea of otherwise dry verse filling out that really appeals. But, in comparison to the compositional style of the rest of the poem, the cadence is very truncated – essentially running out at the same proportions as a short verse.

    My automatic question is – if the verse were to be fleshed out, where does the added content come from? And the obvious answer is – from the other candidates because they suggest the complex of ideas that are in a person’s mind as they work up candidates.

    This kind of gleaning gets me ‘dusty streets’, and it also gets me ‘blossoms and swallows’ as a complimentary pair:

    our dusty street
    filling with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    How does this kind of think look slotted into context? ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  158. Lorin says:

    our dusty street
    filling with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    yeah, I like it too but here it’d be more likely to be lorikeets, galahs or cockatoos. I’ve never seen swallows in trees, they prefer to be near rivers, to catch insects.

    In Ash’s original verse I saw ‘swallows’ working both as the birds & what one might do on hearing a sentimental song whilst viewing the blossoms (ya know, swallowing that lump in the throat), but that double reading doesn’t come across here. So what about ‘galahs’ instead of swallows? Which is likely …whichever sort of galah comes to mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Dusty street, blossoms and galahs …yep, Bairnsdale alright ๐Ÿ™‚

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

    – Lorin

  159. John Carley says:

    I’m afraid my ignorance of the natural world in Australia is almost total. I can tell you that European/African swallows never perch in trees – in fact they may be incapable of perching in trees because of the way their feet grip. Personally I saw both the blossoms and the birds in the air/interacting with the air. I love swallows – they are both slick and plump at the same time.

    Galah is great scansion. Pink too (I’ve just written a spring verse elsewhere about pink champagne)! Clearly this is Ash’s call but a regionally specific word is certainly not a demerit here.

    Given that I’m commenting – looking at the syntax of the previous two verses it may be that the verb here could go to the participle

    our dusty street
    filled with plum blossoms
    and swallows/galahs

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

    • ashleycapes says:

      Fantastic – I like what everyone has done for me, great combo John and I like Lorin’s suggestion about the galahs – though I personally find the word itself ungraceful looking ๐Ÿ˜‰

      But either work for me, I didn’t have a firm position for the swallows to occupy – so I like them there. It’d be more traditional to go with swallows?

      Is that what fits best, overall for the piece? A traditional word choice/bird? Sorry to not leap in with a choice, but I’m curious about where you see it fitting in the whole?

      Certainly the galah gives it a ‘local’ flavour, insomuch as it’s local for me at least ๐Ÿ™‚

  160. John Carley says:

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    our dusty street
    filled with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    Thanks Ash. Let’s go with ‘swallows’ then for the moment as it feels to me it fits with our reflections on more rather than less trad. Certainly it is an absolutely straight down the line old school Japanese mid spring ref. – so in every way consistent, and carries with it the hint that the blossom if falling (‘cos of the time of year).

    Steven, to you the ageku. The word actually means ‘at last’ as in ‘thank God we got here!’. Because it has elements of ‘tie up’ or ‘in sum’ going on – albeit at a figurative level – it is allowed more lee-way in terms of how it links to the verse before, and it doesn’t sweat so much about things like slight hints of repetition.

    In fact the only thing that is, I believe, crucial here is that the cadence of the verse should fit well with our last several. Basically from Bill’s ‘faded spines’ (which we shortened) through to Ash’s blossom and swallows (which we lengthened). It’s a bit of a discussion for another day but all this stuff about metre is something I tend to major on in a way that many people do not.

    As a team we’ve got here to verse #24. But equally because of individual thought outside the box.

    Go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  161. John Carley says:

    Hi all, we’ve got our longs short and our shorts long!

    In Japanese the last verse, ageku, is always a 14 mora short verse – two metrical feet of 7 mora each. Likewise in English, other than for the most experimental approach that’s conceivable, it is a two line short verse. Scanning back over the way we’ve written this poem you’ll see that typical values for the short verses are a range of 10-12 syllables with 5 accents (very occasionally 4 or 6).

    But the intent and content of the verse, Steven, is excellent. So, if we were to shorten it – how do the elements function?

    There are instances in high quality of renku where the last verse returns directly to the hokku and reiterates some stated element – in defiance of any number of conventions. Perhaps more to the point, it is difficult to do effectively. And I think we’re in that territory here. The frog is such a heavily freighted icon in respect of Basho’s work, and codes for so many things, that I think we might do best to have the presence by implication only, rather than named.

    ‘Pond’ is a great timeless reference and I think the classic feel of the blossom verse reinforces this, so we can probably take ‘yesteryear’ as also being present by implication.

    ‘Breeze’ and ‘ripples’ are essential foils to the mirror lake – and an elegant suggestion that our frogs are indeed present, just below the surface (for my sins I have a frog pond in my garden).

    And the phrase ‘a cool touch upon the pond’ is a killer – so exact in evoking the swallows’ interaction, but also working figuratively with the whole poem – picking up on the lingering ‘Master corrects my verse’.

    Run these through the mixing desk and we get:

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    our dusty street
    filled with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    a cool touch upon the pond,
    a/the rippled breeze

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  162. Lorin says:

    a cool touch upon the pond,
    the rippled breeze

    Nice! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Deftly done.

    – Lorin

  163. Lorin says:

    ‘upon the pond’
    …or ‘on the pond’?

    – Lorin

    – Lorin

  164. John Carley says:

    My ideolect would be ‘on the pond’ Lorin. But that integrity of that line seems pretty unassaliable so I’m guessing that to Steven’s ear it is ‘upon’ which is most natural.

    Good call on ‘a rippled breeze’ Steven. the comma pause and the parallelism of both lines starting with ‘a’ are a welcome variation IMHO as the two verses before both use unbroken syntax and Bill’s book verse pretty much reads through too ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  165. John Carley says:

    A complete working text –

    The Kite Contest

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    our dusty street
    filled with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    a cool touch upon the pond,
    a rippled breeze

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bill, Steven, Vasilie, Kala
    Bill, John, Ash, Steven

    Hi all, I’m a bit bog eyed with the old chemo today, so I’ll just get the text up without the usual endless prognostications.

    The title is a suggestion only.

    There will be other ways to punctuate the piece.

    Do we have problems? Need amendments/edits?

    Hair? Personally I think we can safely ignore it. I suppose we could have ‘curls all in a flutter’ or some similar substitution.

    Grooooh. Need some fresh air – a working pair of lungs would be good too! ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • stevenyaschuk says:

      I like it. My only question would be, are we going to seek publication?

    • Lorin says:

      I suggest that John and Willie, the two sabakis, put their heads together about the possibility of getting both Tankako published, in English as they are written, in the one issue of the one journal. After first publication would be the time for translations and bi-lingual publication, imo.

      – Lorin

    • Bill says:

      Please, not Curls All in a Flutter, I beg of you!

      • John Carley says:

        You’re right Bill. It’s wrong on all sorts of levels. I really don’t think it is necessary to change it at all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  166. Vasile Moldovan says:

    If I will have your agreement will try to publish it bilingual on this autumn.

  167. John Carley says:

    Publication. I’m entirely confident the poem is good enough to merit publication. It’s purely a question of where/how/who. Personally i don’t expect to be in a state to do too much follow up. But then I’ve been doing this ‘death’s door’ routine for so long now that I’m even boring myself with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I came across the kanji schematic for the tankako by accident Willie, not as some sort of internationalist gesture by the Renku Societry of Japan. There will certainly have been very few composed in English before now. I suspect the true positioin is none at all. So that makes this pair of poems look interesting *as* a pair.

    Essentially Lorin’s comment above nails my own feelings. The more so as she’s the experienced editor and I’m not. A Romanian translation would be very welcome indeed Vasilie – I’m aware to some extent at least of how strongly haiku and now renku feature in cultural life in both Romania and neighbouring countries. I think the English, Americans and French would all benefit from an understanding of the true history of the spread of Japanese literary forms during the course of the last 100 years.

    Again I concur with Lorin that the best route might be English (only) ‘first publication’ in an English (only) setting. There’s no reason why the ‘first publication’ priority should be anything other than nominal – i.e. that translation(s) could appear immediately after.

    So let’s give it a day or so just to be sure we’ve got definitve texts. And I really should do the trad bit and draught a ‘tomegaki’ of some sort. But yes, publication definitely. I already know I rate the overall approach above the Nijuin. And I think we’ve played to its strengths. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • As always, at your service, re: publication. But yes, let things settle.

      I’d love to see the Romanian in due time; better yet, hear it spoken. I’m unfamiliar with the language, so far removed and isolated from the rest of the world as I am in the U.S. That entire region that we here might have once thoughtlessly referred to as the “Eastern Bloc” produces haikai that is so fresh, honest and compelling. Might you recommend any reading sites, Vasile? You certainly have my interest.

  168. John Carley says:

    Hi everybody, the full working text of poem 1 is above. Here I post the text as intitial drafts. It’s an interesting comparison. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    text as intial drafts –

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    the lotus stems growing up
    even in the lake mirror

    between the rows
    with rakes and hoes
    children are weeding

    the kite contest begins
    on shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    sharing pieces
    of toffee

    her hair in flutter
    on cobble benches

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    the winter moon
    bereft of stars stands alone

    never even a hopeโ€ฆ
    however the fight with cancer
    continue away

    tea spurts from childโ€™s mouth
    porcelain sheets now ruined

    art students
    drift into the Rialto
    with the squash blossoms

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun(set?)

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds . . .
    is the mud colour this deep
    from bloodshed?

    by tooth and talon
    harrrowing their hell

    after the stubborn battle
    cooking a blanquet
    from the two cocks

    digging into the keys
    the piano shouts back

    the key
    revealed by moonlight and snow
    to life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    burnt clearing-
    hunters and beaters ready
    for the shooting season

    in the long jump
    the athlete pedals the air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down the shelf
    along the spines of books
    a trembling finger

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    our street
    filling with
    plum blossoms

    for yester-years breeze
    a cool touch upon the pond
    ripples, disturbing frogs

  169. Bill says:

    Well, is there such a thing as post-renku triste? The crossword pleasure of renku is accompanied by a social aspect, which has been quite gratifying, at least in this case and for me. It’s like arriving at a journey’s end and telling the wife that you met the most interesting bunch of people on the road to Canterbury–good company, each and all. Valise and Steven have been braveโ€ฆ, audacious, even, in their determination to cope with the challenges of Japanese verse form in a language which is not their own, which they have both done well. Kala succeeded in harnessing sensitivity and wit together and making them go apace, which my own spotty performance gave me to appreciate all the more. Ashley, I do not doubt, could break a door with his head while keeping three balls in the air–the modest competency of a good host in one with the knowledgeability of a good guide. But then, as I was telling the wife, poor wife, there was this bloke, Geoff, trudging along beneath the burdens of his illness and its remedies, who still got everywhere before us and came up behind with a broom. I only gradually became conscious of the privileges inherent in John’s company–the reservoir of knowledge which he put at our disposal and the instructive tact with which he helped us make sound furnishing of the sticks and skins we sometimes brought to the job (I’m speaking for myself, here). Really, it was a pleasure to go down the road with all of you, and a privilege as well. I, for one, am only sorry it’s overโ€ฆ, except for the editing and potential publication. Do we want to talk movie rights as yet? Anyone curious can keep tabs on me at my web site.

    • stevenyaschuk says:

      Bill, you are a gentleman and a scholar, truly an honour to work with you. Thank you for this write up, it really hits the ball down center field for me abou this experience. It was a journey, and a motivation to get up in the morning (because my inbox would be FULL of responses on this page). Care to share a link to your website?

      • Bill says:

        Steven, thanks for the kind words. If you simply click on my name in the entry above, it will take you to my web site. When the names are in blue, they serve as hyperlink to our own web pages. I generally do not go in for so much personal aggrandizement, my own site being a pretty humble place when you get there. It’s been good knowing you. Perhaps we will meet again as digital dust.

  170. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Dear William,
    Romanian is a latine language, sister with French, Italian, Spanish, Portughese. From this reason one milion of people work in Italia,another milion in Spania.The first Romanian haiku reader, in fact, listener was our king Carol I just in the Independence year(1877).A Chinese gardner translate for him some haiku and tanka. There was ten haiku magazine, now only two, Haiku(Bucharest) and Albatross(Constantza). The first international haiku meetinng in Europa was in 1992 at Constantza. In the same sity wiil be an international haiku conference in this year, 7-11 Augost.There are several haiku blogs. More important is ROMANIAN KUKAI. It is enough towrute Romanian Kukai. There are two international haiku contest, Of Romanian Kukai only in English, Haiku magazine’s in English, Romanian and French.
    A good day.

    • Bill says:

      Interesting and impressive, Vasile. My son had occasion to visit Romania, several years ago. He says it is beautiful and the water is cold. I did know Romanian was a romance language, a connection I picked up when studying Italian. A trick I learned, which you may find interesting, is to put the word “translate” in the Google search window. Google translation service is quick, easy and free. M-am bucurat de lucru cu tine ศ™i sper sฤƒ ne รฎntรขlnim la melc lui Issa un alt timp. LOL

  171. John Carley says:

    The Kite Contest

    frogs, toads โ€”
    the unsuspected beauty
    of their voices

    a lotus-stem lengthens
    in the mirror lake

    between the rows
    a flash of knives and hoes,
    women weeding

    the kite contest begins
    to shouts of glee

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    crunching, crunching
    we share pieces
    of peanut toffee

    her hair all in a flutter
    on a cobble bench

    snowbound silence,
    just the warmth of
    breathing from their bed

    bereft of stars
    the winter moon, alone

    not a hope
    but the fight with cancer
    goes on anyway

    tea spurts from the childโ€™s mouth
    down his shirt

    with the squash blossoms
    art students
    drift into the Rialto

    hovering over the menu
    a late sun

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    digging for diamonds,
    is the mud colour
    this deep from blood?

    by tooth and talon
    they harrow all hell

    a stubborn battle,
    both cocks end up
    diced in the blanquette

    fumbling at the keys
    my piano frowns back

    the stave
    betrayed by moonlight and smoke
    his life as a fox

    hairs rise on young necks
    the touch of frail grass

    a burnt clearing,
    hunters and beaters
    ready for the shoot

    caught in the long jump
    athletes pedal air

    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€“

    tracing down
    the faded spines of books
    a narrowed eye

    the Master checks the metre
    of my verse

    our dusty street
    filled with plum blossoms
    and swallows

    a cool touch upon the pond,
    a rippled breeze

    Bill, Vasilie, John, Kala
    Ash, Steven, John, Kala, Vasilie, Steven, Bill, Ash
    Kala, John, Vasilie, Ash, Bill, Steven, Vasilie, Kala
    Bill, John, Ash, Steven

    โ€ƒ
    The Kite Contest – tomegaki.

    “!s there such a thing as post-renku triste?” Bill asks. Yes, there most certainly is. I’ve been trying to put a name to the most saddened person – don’t think it was Basho himself, but one of his inner circle – who was once so gutted that he opined words to the effect of: “The text that remains as a record of the session is just rubbish and might as well be discarded.” Needless to say, suitably decontextualised, this has been used down the years by proponents of the supremacy of solo verse to show that Basho was in agreement with them.

    I’m still a bit battered, and google won’t play, but I know I’m not misleading you with the essentials. One thing of which I’m 100% is that in semi-formal Japanese contemporary practice is a commonplace for participants in a session to achieve ‘closure’ by writing a ‘kanso’ (literally something like ‘appreciation’) and the poem leader, sabaki, to do a ditto called ‘tomegaki’ (more or less: ‘debrief’). It is therefore a great pleasure to read the spontaneous comments online. And this is my tomegaki.

    I’ve encountered three patterns for renku, all of them proposed since the eighties, which attempt to offer a vehicle for writing poetry very closely modelled on Basho’s 36 verse kasen. There is anyway a vector for shorter sequences in the contemporary renku revival, but it’s also true that a kasen is hard to do well face to face with a really good sabaki. Doing it online with people who aren’t particularly au fait can be a nightmare. I’ve seen lots of poems fail under the weight of indecision and lack of direction. So shorter is worthwhile for all sorts of reasons.

    The ones which get close are the nijuin (20 = 2/6/6/4), the triparshva (22 = 6/10/6) and the tankako (24 = 4/8/8/4). All of these permit typical Edo period things like more than a pair of verses for any given season, ditto for ‘love’, familiar or ‘rational’ placements for blossom and moon verses, and a pretty large overall spread of tones and topics throughout the poem. Crucially all claim to be able to accommodate Basho’s significant emphasis on the jo-ha-kyu pacing paradigm as applied to the kasen (36 = 6/12+12/6).

    It is my belief that the radical three folio (or rather three ‘side’) structure of the triparshva remains the most effective.

    Lease effective is the nijuin. There are difficulties in accommodating the classic ‘jo’ in only four verses of the opening – despite the fact that the newfangled yotsumono will teach people how to achieve a complete four verse poem. The two six verse centre sections might appear to parallel the binary centre sections of the kasen, but they are a very tight space in which to develop extended cohesive passages of verse. And the ending, ‘kyu’ is again overly restricted by having only four verses available. This is not to argue that the nijuin is a rubbish proposal, only that it lends itself to the production of a different type of poem that the kasen.

    The tankako retains the squeeze on the first four. But the last four can be extended, or anticipated, by moving the first intimations of the ‘rapid close’ into the close of the second part of ‘ha’. And this in turn is possible because the twin eight verse centre sections (ha), as our poem demonstrates, can indeed accommodate a fairly comprehensive movement from one set of emotional colour to another, and back.

    This last point is significant in that we do well to retain a residual awareness that a principle aesthetic driver of the fundamentally anti-thematic nature of Basho-style renku is that it comes from Shingon ideas of ‘mandala’ and Zen ideas of ‘10,000 things’. Or as Falstaff would have said: “The more the merrier!”

    The experience of leading this poem has been an overwhelming positive experience for me, for which I am deeply, personally, grateful. But I need to take a break from composition for a while in order to have any chance of doing a Lazarus later on.

    I’d like to suggest we leave the text of this poem in the competent editorial hands of Lorin Ford. Normally I’d say Willie but it’s possible to suggest a conflict of interest given that team two have been our ‘competitors’ in the examination of the tankako.

    again my love song
    morphs into a sick note โ€”
    mad March moon

    Best wishes, John

    • Lorin says:

      Got it, John, and have entered the bracketed amendments for nijuin & kasen.
      I’ll contact you re where you’d like the final version of your tomegaki to conclude & with a proof-read version for your approval before I send it all on to the renku editor :-).

      Do we have all of the participants’ approval for ‘The Kite Contest’ to be published in ‘A Hundred Gourds’ 2.4, September, 2013 ? I’ll take it as unanimous approval if no-one registers an objection within this thread of comments.

      Also, participants โ€˜The Kite Contestโ€™ in might be interested in reading the feature, ‘ From Here to There: Conversations with John E. Carley’ and Johnโ€™s essay, โ€˜Renku: Explaining it all Awayโ€™ in AHG 2.3, which is due for release on June 1st.

      John, I hope you’ll be able to get out and relax in some Spring sunshine, and that there will soon be some Spring sunshine for you to get out in.

      – Lorin

  172. John Carley says:

    Sorry everybody, as I read back I see there are all sorts of substitutioins in the text of my tomegaki.

    An important error of fact: the nijuin is (20 = 4/6/6/4),

    And for consistency the kasen should have been presented as (36 = 6/12/12/6)

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  173. Bill says:

    Was it Metternicht who said, “Never explain; never apologize,” or was it Kissinger? Your reputation is safe with us, J.

  174. John Carley says:

    After the alleged bit of Falstaff please Lorin. And yes I’m delighted to formally give copyright consent.

    It’s spring even up here an the moors now. But still rather cold.

    buttercup buttercup
    two little moon calves
    twine their purple tongues

    ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Claire says:

      A moon haiku in this everlasting cold spring. That’s just nice! Do enjoy your spring, then, because,

      little lamb little lamb
      your first yellow primroses
      gone the wrong way

      cold morning
      will cherry blossoms
      be warming the season?

      Two years ago,

      I dream Fukushima —
      all of them sunbathing
      on the Easter beaches

  175. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Thank you for all. And I am delighted to formally give copyright consent.

  176. Hey everybody! There hasn’t been an update in awhile on this, how’s everything going?

  177. Bill says:

    July 17, 2013
    I wish there were a better place to post this. I always wondered, you know.

    Well! Hello down there,
    friend snail! When did you arrive
    in such a hurry?

    Issa, trans. Harry Behn

  178. John Carley says:

    The Book of Renku

    Free of charge to anyone interested in poetry. Download the pdf now from here: http://www.renkureckoner.co.uk/ Please repost this message and link on any relevant poetry forum or newsgroup. Thanks. J

  179. Lorin says:

    Thanks, John. I’ve downloaded it and began reading. It looks great and I like your introduction, in your unmistakable style. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Vida has beaten me to posting it at one site, and Kala to say she already knew, as well. That’s how I found out you’ve completed it this morning. I’ll look about for others.

    Steven, all is well with the two Tankako. You’ll be able to read them in the renku section of AHG 2.4 on September 1st, as planned.

    – Lorin

  180. kalaramesh says:

    Thanks a ton, John. I’ve downloaded it too. Checked a few times to see if it’s safely in my comp ๐Ÿ˜€
    It’s going to be the “Ved” for renku learners and even those in its path.

    “Ved” is short for ‘Veda’, meaning it’s going to be the gospel truth! That’s the way we say it in India.
    Wishing you all the very best, always.
    warmest,
    _kala

  181. John Carley says:

    Thanks both. Yes, please do post the link etc or just forward on the file – same goes for anyone reading.

    Of course you’re both in it too – I had to change some of the translations in the ‘exercises’ section because Eiko is negotiating with Japanese publishers but our snippets from early Snail work are retained. It was nice to come back to them and still find them exemplary.

    There’s a revision of the hankasen in there that I’ve called the ‘demikasen’. It’s an 18 verse sequence a bit like the imachi but with ‘classical’ season order. It’d be good to try it out once the holiday season is over here in the northern hemisphere.

    Watch this space ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  182. Vasile Moldovan says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you so much for this great work received like a gift. It wil be a guidbook for me and many of my fellow contrymens poets.We know many things about haiku, senryu , haiga and tanka. But we know to few about renku.
    In my country there are many renku boklet. A few of these are in English too. If you give me your postal address on my email vasilemoldvan@yahoo.com I can send you at least one renku bok in English too.
    I wish you a temperate summer.
    Vasile

  183. sandra says:

    Hello John,

    Have downloaded the book and will read when I have some leisure. Busy making the last arrangements to attend Haiku North America in LA, on next week. Ah! Will put it on my tablet and read on the plane. Perfect.

    Thanks you for all the effort you have put in to renku education. I am lining up for the sabaki workshop at HNA, thanks to the confidence you have given me with support, advice and information.

    Is there a reason why the RR website is to be no more?

    All the best,
    Sandra

  184. John Carley says:

    Sabaki workshop, Sandra – I had no idea! What an excellent prospect. The last chapter – ‘Conducting a Sequence’ may have some relevance.

    The website is a pain to maintain. It is only possible to renew the hosting and the doman name for limited periods. Hence the book. It’s possible I might do a second edition as a physical object with some expanded content. But I don’t really want to write any more technical stuff. Believe it or not I’m sick of the sound of my own voice ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  185. John Carley says:

    Hey – talking of the HSA and renku: does anyone know if the winner of the 2013 Einbond competition has been announced? I’m sure the dealine was ages ago! J

  186. Lorin says:

    Hi John,
    I think not. There is no announcement in the July HSA newsletter, or anywhere on the HSA website. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re planning to announce the results at the HSA conference next week.

    – Lorin

  187. John Carley says:

    ps – God alone knows where Paul (McNeil) has plucked his stuff about ‘pauses between succeeding pairs’ from. Even Miner and Odagiri do better than that! Actually what I suspect is that it is a misunderstanding arising from poor language use – the person draughting the text on the website has got the wrong end of the stick. I hope ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  188. Lorin says:

    hmmm …something else seems off, unless I’m going batty … always a distinct possibility:

    “Haiku North America attendees will have a unique experience on Saturday, August 17th, to see a performance of three grand prize-winning renku from the Haiku Society of America’s Einbond Renku Contest. . . . The renku are each โ€œclassicallyโ€ oriented kasen (36 verse) renku , following the โ€œrulesโ€ and structure taught by Bill Higginson and Shinku Fukuda. The renku will be “performed” — read with feeling, interpreted by pace, volume, serious to comic, with one reader for each original poet.”

    Wasn’t our entry a Nijuin? How come they’re telling everyone that the winning entries are “classically oriented kasen” according to Bill Higginson & Shinku Fukada rules & structure?

    – Lorin

  189. John Carley says:

    Yes indeed it was a nijuin only competition. But elsewhere it is definitely billed as the reading of the prize winning entries. As with the distinctly odd suggestion that renku pauses after every pair of verses, I think we’re seeing a disconect between the persons writing the copy for the website and those supplying the info. ๐Ÿ™‚ J

    • Lorin says:

      yeah, probably. Maybe using some unedited copy from the previous year’s comp, as well. Anyway, whomever the judges are I don’t think Paul McNeal, Ferris Gilli or Ron Moss would be eligible. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Within the week it’ll be all over but the shouting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      cheers,

      Lorin

  190. Oy!!
    The book is up? I’ll post a note right away! Good on ya, pal!
    I was invited to share a room, gratis, at the HNA with Mr. Gilbert, (We met at a Mineral Point gig this Sunday past – he’s a decent chap) but the airfare proved too burdensome. A shame – I’ll miss the renku topics. But, nice that they’re included.
    By the way, John, I believe you and Mr. Gilbert hold extraordinarily close views on haikai, Shomon school in particular.

    w

  191. John Carley says:

    Hi Willie – yeah, there’s a revision of the han kasen in there (I’ve called it the ‘demikasen’) which might be of interest. As you say – excellent to see that HNA have got past the pigeon hole approach. By contrast one European haiku society (I sent a round robin about the book) replied that haiku and renku had absolutely nothing to do with each other! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Is that Richard Gilbert? I’m jealous. The guy knows his onions. I’d love to get the chance to write some renku with him. My only direct contact was marred by a misunderstanding that I think led Richard to believe that I was of the opposite opinion to the one I was trying to put across. As I recall at the time he’d been on the recieving end of yet more villification by the ‘gatekeepers’ who took exception to him knowing what he was talking about. In this instance I think he’d put some noses out of joint by pointing out that the way a number of talking heads were conflating occidental ‘spamku’ with Japanese ‘zappai’ was factually mistaken, and potentially insulting. Yeah – seven or eight years ago. If you’ve got his contact details – why not try and rope him in!!

    Yeah, thanks Willie. Please flag up the pdf, and just send copies to people if you like. I’ve tried to make it specifically clear that there are no copyright issues in terms of distribution. The only thing I’ve tried to prevent is snippets being lifted and posted either out of context, or as somebody else’s work. Ha – there’s a story there to be sure. I found about half the now defunct Renku Reckoner site posted up elsewhere the other day. Ho hum – it seems that copyright law doesn’t apply to cat lovers as they are self evidently nice people ๐Ÿ˜‰ J

  192. Bill says:

    Ha, there has been so much activity since last I looked. John, your pdf is going to make you famous(er). I have downloaded it, but not yet looked it over thoroughly. I did make use of the old Renku Reckoner website. I’m sorry it’s gone. I have friends interested in the verse form, ghazal, who are moving uncertainly toward a collaborative ghazal form, something like renku…, or it could be. Perhaps I’ll send the link to one of them for cross-pollination purposes. I gather you do not mind it’s general distribution.

  193. sandra says:

    Hi all,

    To clear up a misunderstanding that has appeared above – the reading at HNA (where I stood in for Ferris Gilli) was a reading of PAST Einbond winning renku (most of them kasen, but not all). No results out, and no one there knew when they might be available. Ron Moss and Paul Mac said they always seem to take a long time. They announced the winners of the HNA Haiku Contest (names now posted at Haiku NewZ) but that’s all.

    Willie, I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Allen, who said she had just met you – 2 degrees of separation! I sold 3 copies of LBoY at HNA, 1 of them to Melissa.

    Heard a great talk by Steven D Carter about some historical aspects of renku and hokku, taken from his book “Haiku Before Haiku”. Learned and accessible, what a combination.

    (Sorry for any typos, still in the US and on an unfamiliar keyboard.)

    All the best,
    Sandra

    • William Sorlien says:

      Well, then, that answers that …

      Actually met Melissa when she came to see a production of “The Diviners” in Minnesota, which is a neighboring state to her home Wisconsin in our Midwest breadbasket. It’s a long drive! Two years on I went East to surprise her. She hardly recognized me – golly, I must have aged, eh! I culled some ginko material here: http://haikubanditsociety.blogspot.com/2013/08/road-trip.html
      The trip will be even more beautiful for our fall colors in a month or two.

      How was California? Seems a foreign land to us fly-over folks.

      Had You met Richard Gilbert at the conference? The fellow seems a dynamo – I hope the jet lag didn’t spoil any fun you might have had.

      • sandra says:

        Yes, I did meet Richard, although was too intimidated by him to do much more than chit-chat! He seemed to have a cold or somesuch which he thought he picked up on the plane over, but always had a question (or 2) in the more in-depth sessions.

        Unfortunately, Kris Moons sabaki workshop didn’t go ahead – an elderly female presenter in the session before fainted (while sitting down) and knocked her head as she hit the floor (as it turned out she wasn’t concussed but had cracked a rib and was severely dehydrated, hence the faint). Ron Moss (who’s a volunteer firefighter in Tasmania) sprang into action and administered first aid until the paramedics arrived and took the patient to hospital. All in all everyone had had enough for the evening and it was decided to cancel.

  194. sandra says:

    Oh, and a PS – we didn’t pause between every pair of verses in the renku reading and nor were we (stand-in readers) instructed to. We occasionally paused for effect, that’s all.

    Night-night.

  195. John Carley says:

    It’s like a good thriller – the mystery of the pauses turns out to be a teaser; the Einbond Ultimatum has yet to reach its denouement ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes Bill there are specific copyright waivers to allow distribution of the complete pdf file by anyone to anyone who might find it useful. The only thing I’ve tried to discourage is sections being taken out of context and subsequently generating confusion. In which regard – as they say in the Mother of Parliaments – I refer the honourable gentleman to my previous response! J

    • Bill says:

      Well, John, I would do no more than send my friend a link to the new Reckoner with a few lines of commendation. You being easy in your mind, that I will do. Thanks muchly.

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