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The Renku Sessions: Triparshva—Call for verse 13


Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.


Selection of Verse 12:

Many thanks to everyone who contributed a verse to this slot.  It was so interesting reading all the ideas for a third verse to conclude the love run.  The one we’ll be using is Betty’s “his better half”.  Here it is with maeku and uchikoshi—the full love sequence:

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel

at the Marquise
a clandestine romp
in neon flicker
~Judt Shrode

his better half chambers
another round just because
~Betty Shropshire


I didn’t get it at first–having misread “another round” as ordering drinks in a bar in response to a spouse’s infidelity. Then  I googled the definition of “chamber” as a verb and discovered that it means loading a gun.  Oops.   I’ve known two people dead from gun violence, so my instant reaction was mixed: on one hand repugnance at the subject matter; on the other a recognition that it’s a skillfully-crafted verse that slides smoothly from the maeku (“in neon flicker / his better half. . . ”  Plus, there’s that ending “just because” in the second line, which sounds like a reply to an interrogating policeman.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to see that it’s a good verse for the slot.  Because of the choice of language it’s a bit of persona poem, with a voice that comes through clearly.  And yes, there’s the shock of the subject matter.   Considering the problem we have with guns and gun-related violence in the United States, it’s certainly an American topic.  I did wonder if the language would be obscure for our non-US participants, began to google other terms, and was delighted to find that “better half” isn’t modern slang: it’s ancient Roman. In Latin,  “animae dīmidium meae” means literally “my soul”, a dear friend. In sixteenth century English literature it had developed its current meaning of “spouse”, ie the superior half of a married couple, generally the wife.

So there’s bite in the verse. There’s also layering. Following the maeku, a natural assumption is that the cheat was the husband and the wife is bringing out the shotgun.  But the verse doesn’t really say that, does it? Have you seen the musical comedy “Annie Get Your Gun”  about sharpshooter Annie Oakley? What if it isn’t about what it seems to be at all?  Our next verse could be a lamentation, or it could be about clay pigeons. That’s what I love about renku: across that double space between verses, meaning is fluid.

Nicely done, Betty.  I can’t wait to see what everyone does with this challenge.


Specifications for verse 13: 

Here again is your maeku and uchikoshi:

at the Marquise
a clandestine romp
in neon flicker

his better half chambers
another round just because

For verse 13, let’s have the following:

  • Three lines
  • Non-seasonal
  • Your choice of topic—consult the topic lists at Renku Home for things we haven’t included yet (there are a lot)
  • Non-person
  • Link to the maeku and shift away from the uchikoshi
  • Things to avoid (in intermission): human relationships, proper nouns (again), indoor settings, gemstones, religious ceremonies


How to Submit:

All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant.

The call for verse 4 will remain open until Monday, September  14, 2015 at midnight (EDT).  At that time I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each, choose the one that best serves the renku, and post a call for the next verse on Thursday.

Useful links and resources:  

  • If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my Introduction to Triparshva post.
  • NEW:  A full copy of the schema for the renku may be found at the bottom of the introductory page. I am filling in the verses as they are placed.
  • For the archive of previous calls and submissions, click here.

The Renku so far:

Side 1: jo

a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
someone’s name
~Lynne Rees /su

under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
~Barbara Kaufmann /su

passersby stop
to applaud a subway
saxophone player
~Karen Cesar / ns

sweet reminiscences
of our bygone days
~Barbara A. Taylor / ns

yet again
the moon lights the loggerhead
as she digs
~Paul MacNeil / sp mn

with the twittering
morning mist clears away
~Maria Tomczak

Side 2: Ha

from the mountain top
Puyallup natives trace
their lands below
~Carmen Sterba / ns

who left the doors open
to Valhalla?
~Polona Oblak/ ns

rusty roofing iron
as a letterbox
~Sandra Simpson / ns

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel / wi lv

at the Marquise
a clandestine romp
in neon flicker
~Judt Shrode / ns lv

his better half chambers
another round just because
~Betty Shropshire / ns lv

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. after a while
    the life boat for refugees
    floating hardly

    tonight nobody can see
    the rain of stars

    a kite’s tail
    is touching slouly
    the dish

    1. A replacement verse to address the issue of kannonbiraki:

      a bottle of rum
      spills across the deck
      of a schooner

  2. Congratulations, Betty. A stunning verse. 🙂
    wooden barrels
    of bootleg whiskey
    on the flatbed truck

    1. Betty’s verse is sophisticated and perhaps police or military trained or partnered up people might get it quicker. Rounds are chambered, not bullets, and rounds could be considered drinks which result in wild or deliberated shootings in places that sell killing devices to children, youngsters, and overs.


      1. Yes, it was the rounds of ammunition rather than just bullets that gave me such a shock. Still does, frankly. At school, whenever we have to do a Code Red drill, even knowing it’s just a drill, I get cold with fear.

        1. Hi Linda and Alan…I kept thinking of crimes of passion which then led me to “Honor Killings”…soooo much worldwide violence against women and narry a slap to the wrist In most cases. What truly sickened me was instead of husband’s doing the dirty deed, I read that a younger man would be forced to exact their so-called just cause.

      1. These emoticons never work right!!
        Hi Beth, am grateful mine was included with Christopher’s and Judt’s lovely verses!

  3. Hi Linda! Thank you and so glad you got my drift!
    BTW, I’m more of a Calamity Jane aficionado ; ) Betty

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