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Rasika: Week 1


Hi, everyone,

I’m Kala Ramesh here, from India.

Introducing Rasika – the renku that’s even shorter than junicho!
Let’s start with a sample poem:

The Heart of an Onion
— Rasika, a renku of 8 verses.

a journey
to the heart of an onion …

the steady rhythm
on the chopping board

strains of sitar
and my hand in yours
this balmy night

children having left
we recall old jokes

setting moon
trapped in a dewdrop

I am
what I make of dreams

daffodils push through
the thawing earth

the horizon rises
on a frothy wave

Anitha Varma, Kerala, India – vs : 1.3 & 5
Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, Birmingham, United Kingdom – vs: 2 & 7
Created and led by Kala Ramesh, Pune, India – vs: 4, 6 & 8

Started on 1st December 2014 and completed, 8th December, 2014

* * *

I’ll be your sabaki for this renku at the Haiku Foundation that we begin today. Thanks to Jim Kacian and John Stevenson for giving me this opportunity. This will be my second stint here as a sabaki. I’ve learned the art of renku from Norman Darlington, Moira Richards, John Carley and Eiko Yachimoto. I’ve been writing renku from 2005 and I’ve been a sabaki of many renku and was the guest renku editor at A Hundred Gourds 5:2.

Renku or renga (collaborative poetry) is a genre of Japanese short forms of poetry. Two of the most famous masters of renga were the Buddhist priest Sogi (1421–1502) and Master Basho (1644–1694). Renga/renku was one of the most important literary arts in pre-modern Japan.

When teaching renku to beginners in schools and colleges or during haiku festivals that we have in India, I felt the shortest renku, junicho was a wee bit too long, for all we can spare for renku is around 2 hours and John Carley’s Yotsumono (of just 4 verses) is surely not for beginners who need to learn the nuances when going on a renku journey. 

Necessity is the mother of inventions — I’ve been thinking for some time now about this problem when teaching renku to beginners and I hit upon a new form of renku! Thus, my version is based on the need to have a shorter version of renku, without sacrificing on the aesthetics of this 400 year-old art form that has come to us from Master Basho’s time— the shofu-style of renku which is essentially anti-thematic.

“Rasa” means the emotional essence in Indian aesthetics. “Rasika” is one who enjoys the rasa. So I wish to call this short 8-verse renku “Rasika”. 

Rasika has 8 verses set as in traditional junicho style. The jo-ha-kyu * are not clearly demarcated. The number of kaishi (writing sheets) is just one. I’m keeping this renku very flexible regarding the inclusion of the usual 4 seasons in renku, meaning spring, summer, autumn and winter. Since we do not have the space and the number of verses to include all the four seasons, we can pick and choose just 2 or 3. It has the conventional moon and blossom verse and of course the “love verses’ without which a renku seems incomplete.

Important to note: The link and shift is strong, and the shifts can be wide, since it is not a 36 verse structure of Kasen, which can afford to have small shifts. So shall we say, to coin a new phrase, we’ll be following – link and leap!

As often practiced: 
Long verses will be of 3 lines (about 14 sound structures or syllables) 
Short verses will be of 2 lines (about 11 sound structures or syllables counts) 

A Schema for this Rasika renku:

  1. long – hokku | au mn*
  2. short – wakiku | ns*
  3. long – daisan | wi*
  4. short – ns
  5. long – end su/lv (rainy season)
  6. short – ns/lv
  7. long | sp bl *
  8. ageku | ns *


The asterisks show the important verses which remain constant in all renku.
ns: no season
au mn: autumn moon
wi: winter
su: summer
lv: love
sp: spring
bl: blossom

1. Long – hokku | au mn

Open to everyone. A three line verse. A regular hokku (our contemporary haiku), with a good cut (kire). A moon verse. Can be a verse with or without human presence. Around 14 syllables. I would like not more than 3 candidates per poet and please post them by Sunday night, 3rd October.

I’m exciting about being your sabaki for this renku.
Hope all the renkujin participating here, have a whale of a time writing, critiquing and giving constructive feedback, and we sail along smoothly, together, to reach the other bank!

yours in renku,


1. In renku, the hokku generally talks about the current season and it’s also celebratory! Remember, now we have the internet to write collaborative verses, in those days renku was written when poets gathered for a meet and that called for celebrations!

  1. jo-ha-kyu *

jo: introduction.
ha: expansion
kyu: rapid close.

The notes for ‘Rasika’ and a sample Rasika are taken from A Hundred Gourds 4:2 March 2015. My sincerest thanks to Lorin Ford and William Sorlien for all the ‘Rasika’ renku published in the subsequent issues of AHG, written by the undergraduates of Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune.






The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy

This Post Has 84 Comments

  1. Thanks for all your lovely offers.
    I have made my choice and the call for wakiku will be up on Thursday.
    Mona and Nani, your verses were not considered because you submitted them late.

    try to participate for the 2nd verse – wakiku – which should be up on Thursdays.
    The window for submission closes on Sunday 10 Oct.
    Be on time!!

  2. Here are my offerings!

    harvest moon
    the clouds play

    forest walk
    playing with the shadows
    midnight moon

    rose moon
    my daughter asks for
    strawberry jam

  3. full moon
    shine your sari
    is sharing

    smile widely
    under the moonlight
    teacher’s pen


    with passion
    cross the bridge
    full moon …

    Nani Mariani

  4. Dear Kala,
    Thank you for the knowledge ” Rasika ” . Very challenging although still confused and lame, will try, thank you

  5. Dear Kala,

    What a unique & beautiful introduction to “rasika”. Am reminded of Krishna and the Gopis.

    Here are my offerings:

    moon reflection
    the notes of the flute
    rise and fall in waves


    moonlight weaves
    the scent of jasmine
    in silver hair


    full moon
    are you alone too
    this starless night


    Looking forward to this interesting journey with you.

    Warm regards,

  6. a wisp of smoke
    curls the moonlight . . .
    mice move into the house


    autumn moon . . .
    we promise to speak only
    in the present tense


    a river of words
    glitters under the moon
    . . . incoming tide

  7. Welcome, Kala, and thank you!
    the clink of glasses
    on a dark porch…
    but for the moon
    music and laughter
    under a covered porch –
    and the moon

  8. Hello Kala,

    So very happy to be learning about Rasika from you and to participate with the other participants as we co-create this piece!

    our collective sighs
    the only sound

  9. Welcome, Kala! Thanks for your fine introduction .

    moon and wind-
    the smell of earth
    after the rain

    of cut grass-
    sickle of the moon

    crescent moon-
    a barefoot gypsy
    reads the future

  10. Hi Kala! Here are my verses:
    a dream etched
    on your forehead. . .
    crescent moon

    day before
    the full moon
    fake howls

    I see you
    looking at the moon
    first date

  11. Hi Kali
    This is my first Rasika adventure. Thanks for your informative intro!

    full moon in Covid—
    she holds up her newborn
    at the hospital window
    Hunter’s Moon—
    his coin enters the holy well
    with a prayer
    full moon
    by the second verse, chaos. . .
    becomes harmony



  12. Hello Kala
    Looking forward to the Rasila!!

    harvest moon
    rasika slowly
    taking shape

    full moon
    sparkle of her bindi
    between eyes

  13. Hi Kala. This is my first time so I’m not really sure. But here’s an attempt. Good to read about rasika.

    hunter’s moon
    catching the glass eye
    of a mounted deer

  14. My verses:
    fragrant dusk–
    a garden owl shares
    the moon with me
    autumn moon–
    her small face
    mirrors its glow
    soaking in moonlight
    and good cheer
    *Kojagiri is a harvest festival in India. The word itself means ‘one who is awake’.

  15. hunter’s moon –
    already in the wings
    the departure
    before sunrise
    we start humming –
    hunter’s moon
    under the autumn moon
    old school friends

  16. Welcome Kala – looking forward to learning about raisika!
    the fluxong
    of a million tripping photons
    harvest moon
    the harvest moon inhabits
    the inner ear
    of planckards
    harvest moon
    Just having a little fun with portmanteau 😉

  17. Hi Kala! Great to see you here. Thank you for leading us once again.

    My moon verses…

    midnight departure
    we choose the path
    of moonlight

    full moon
    a friend bids us
    a safe journey

    lapping waves
    we set sail in a boat
    of moonlight


  18. Offer #2 :
    the coolness
    of harvest moon ..,
    last tomatoes
    ( Double kigo?)
    Offer #3
    long-on fielder
    latches on to the ball…
    harvest moon

  19. Dear Kala, thank you for introducing Raiska. Helps novices like me. With my little understanding, attempting the below offers …

    rowing through
    the reflecting lake
    of nearly ten thousand moons

    half moon eyes
    turning inward

    daughter’s bite
    making full moon
    on an apple eye

    1. sorry–offer 3.1, if I may:
      night fishing
      casting into the depths
      of the blue moon

  20. G’day and welcome Kala,

    I have participated with you in published rasika back in 2015, and look forward to this latest rasika. Herewith, my offers:

    the beguiling moon
    leads us forward
    into mystery


    multicoloured leaves
    highlighted by
    tonight’s bright light


    shadow puppets
    dancing merrily
    in the moonlight


  21. Looking forward to this Rasika journey with all.

    eyelet lace
    the day moon caught
    in a tree’s branch

    rising moon
    a hush descends
    in the observation car

  22. Kala, Thank you for this new Rasika experience.

    our journey
    to the other side
    labyrinth moon

    above spent fields
    harvest moon

    make shadow puppets
    gibbous moon

    1. or:
      twitter up shadow puppets
      waxing moon
      another blessing
      for the spent fields
      harvest moon
      ******* trying to make my offerings more celebratory in the spirit of Raiska

  23. crescent moon
    splitting the sky
    with fireworks

    a hint of moon
    peeking through my shutters
    the pumpkin man

    a million stars twinkle
    in his shot glass

  24. My verses :


    the comfort I get
    in mother’s hug

    all our promises
    in a handful of water
    another moon


    moon rise
    the hidden peaks
    get a slow wash over


  25. It will be very interesting to follow the Rasika journey with my fellow poets and you, Kala.

    Verse 1:

    one thousand thousand stars
    and a gold moon
    we gaze skywards

    Verse 2:

    silvery moon
    our empty barque
    skims over the ocean

    Verse 3:

    we take our packs
    and head south to the hills
    the moon watches

  26. 2.
    noting the sky
    a limb-striped

    10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek


    the moon
    and i~~flags
    in the ocean

    10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek

    * these are replacing prior 2nd and 3rd offers
    kindly, please note, my apologies, dear kala.
    thank you in advance.
    so to clarify:

    here are my final three offers:


    harvest moon
    a new ghost rises
    in her child’s eyes

    9.30.2021 by wendy © bialek

    noting the sky
    a limb-striped

    10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek


    the moon
    and i~~flags
    in the ocean

    10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek

  27. Just saw this post!
    Here is my offering for long – hokku | au mn*

    sadness seeks no company
    midnight moon
    sheds its light over the Pacific


    sadness needs no company
    midnight moon
    shedding its light over the Pacific

  28. a light light
    behind the hills
    the moon rises

    giving itself
    alike see and sky
    the full moon

  29. Thank you, Kala – the Rasika sounds delightful!
    Here are my three offers _()_
    bright moon
    he sings his heart out
    to dawn
    getting high
    on the harvest moon
    her sparkly eyes
    next full moon
    the ruru too
    foretells its beauty

  30. hunters moon
    the wolfcub’s howl
    an octave higher
    sickle moon
    the hollow in us
    waiting to be filled
    first stirrings
    the kitten lifts a paw
    to bat the moon
    – “Maneki Neko” – the beckoning cat – luck and prosperity

    1. i agree….betty, adorable kitten verse!
      kashi & betty….et al
      ps they even have a solar powered one!

  31. Welcome, Kala! Thanks for your fine introduction–very excited about this.

    Two of my three:
    opening credits
    the moon colorized
    by its aura
    wind chimes
    a spontaneous gatha
    for the rising moon

  32. Hi Kala
    Looking forward to the rasika

    autumn moon
    the long distance driver
    sings of home

  33. my third offer:

    pinpointed moon
    owl ears and
    rotary cutter

    10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek

    1. my third offer revised to:

      pinpointed moon
      owl ears and
      a rotary cutter

      10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek

  34. Welcome Kala always a delight interacting with you. I think this is my first Rasika so it should be a lot of insightful fun!

    moon viewing
    a third cup of sake
    to find the rabbit

    moon shadows
    the wax and wane
    of myth and magic

    moon lit lake
    a glittering path
    connects both shores

  35. Greetings, Kala. Looking forward!

    I take it that with the moon required, a second kigo in the hokku is best avoided.

    My three offers:

    bright moon
    a golden snake
    girdles the ocean

    bright moon
    an eye of the Daruma doll
    painted in gold

    hunter’s moon
    perfect conditions
    for the octopus

    Keith Evetts 0509 GMT 1 Oct21

  36. Hi Kala! Was looking forward to this. Thanks for the wonderful introduction to Rasika.

    My first offer:

    moonrise …
    the quiet sounds
    of a table being set

  37. Kala, it’s good to read your preface to this, your second, Rasika at THF. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to reading all the hokku candidates from everyone this week but this time I’ll wait until after a hokku is selected before I join in with any verse offers. ‘Autumn moon’ seems a very nice, tranquil place to start. . . quite the opposite of the spring we’re having in Australia, what with the ice storms , an earthquake, hard rain. and even (very rare!) a tornado!

  38. 2.

    harvest moon
    cupboards full
    of canning jars

    9.30.2021 by wendy © bialek

    harvest moon
    filling the pantry
    with overnight pads

    9.30.2021 by wendy © bialek

    1. please note…kala, this one is not a candidate for raskita
      but offered just for fun:

      harvest moon
      filling the pantry
      with overnight pads

      9.30.2021 by wendy © bialek

      1. sorry….. lol !!!!

        even the moon
        can see…this
        my first rasika

        10.01.2021 by wendy © bialek

  39. thank you for this wonderful
    and comprehensive intro
    to your new form, kala!


    harvest moon
    a new ghost rises
    in her child’s eyes

    9.30.2021 by wendy © bialek

  40. thank you, Kala, for the great information in your informative post. I look forward to learning from you as this is a new form for me🙏

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