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The Moon’s Aura: Week 10


Hi, everybody,


I’m Kala Ramesh here.

We’ve come to the end of this renku and it’s a fond farewell from me.

You can relax now, no more verses on water :))

All said and done, during the last nine weeks, I’ve loved reading and mulling over all your candidates and enjoyed myself thoroughly in your company.


I wish I could totally agree with you, Lorin, that it was all completely about water.
I don’t agree about ‘baby shower’ being a water verse.
The term ‘baby shower’ is to be taken as a whole. Why split it and focus only on ‘shower’ as part of the water theme?

To say the ageku is also about water is taking “the theme of water” to an extreme.

But that’s just my take on it.

“Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.”


Looked at in this way, even our ‘love verses’ are water verses, not because of ‘petrichor’ or ‘baby shower’ but because they are centred around human beings, who are made up of 60% water!!

I’ve learnt one thing late in my life – nothing is perfect.

We have a beautiful saying in India – perfection is like the horizon – the closer you move towards it, the farther away it gets.


So take this as one of my attempts that it is not perfect – but that’s fine too!

There’s a lot of beauty in imperfection.


Now for the title:


Thanks, princess k, for “h2oetry.”

Ha ha ha! I did smile at your suggestion for a title!

Life would be so boring if all of us did the most perfect thing in all our attempts, wouldn’t it?

Thanks a million to all of you who have so graciously taken the time to tell me how much you enjoyed the journey of the last 2 months.
I personally enjoyed them, too, and spent a lot of my time each week on all the verses offered.



Thanks for answering my questions:

“I’d suggest: “An Unexpected Bloom” (we have the bloom of an aura, of an enso, of love, the surprise baby shower, the unexpected flowering of the jacarandas, and ….the zebras were caught napping.”

Your suggestion ‘An Unexpected Bloom’ for the title is a very good one.

Many of you like ‘The Moon’s Aura’ and for practical reasons I think we’ll stick to it.
One of you mentioned that it was a convention to take only the first line of the hokku as a title. I was taught that any line could be taken from the hokku, and if we are choosing the title from any other verse, it should be based on a season.


Andrew writes:
“Like some of the other people who have commented, I prefer the ebb and flow of longer forms.

As with the Yotsumono, I find the precise requirements of each verse a little stifling in these shorter forms.”

I quite understand your take. As I said in my introduction, rasika came into existence for a different reason. When teaching renku to beginners in schools and colleges or during the haiku festivals that we have in India, I felt the shortest renku, junicho, was still a wee bit too long. We can spare only about two hours for renku and John Carley’s Yotsumono (of just four verses) can’t be compared to a regular renku if one wants to learn the nuances of how to use and differentiate among season and non-season verses. The play of jo-ha-kyu: introduction, expansion and rapid closure. In rasika I’ve tried to incorporate the other verses, such as the moon, blossom and love verses, whose positions in renku are important. So I conclude that rasika is the shortest of all the renku styles using the jo-ha-kyu structure. The shorter the renku, the harder it is in many ways, because there is no space for cushioning, but I firmly believe rasika is a practical alternative to ‘live’ renku, or whenever time is short.


Here is the complete rasika:


The Moon’s Aura

— rasika, the shortest renku ever!


opening credits
the moon colorized
by its aura

in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso

of the huddled sparrows
as snow comes down hard

sea winds whistle through
the bleached bones of a whale

her perfume
with its hint of petrichor
enchants him

surprise baby shower
at the women’s shelter

most unexpectedly
the jacarandas bloom
a month earlier

zebras napping
in a baobab tree’s shade



The Moon’s Aura
A rasika renku — composed for The Haiku Foundation from 30 September to 25 November, 2021.

The renkujin as they appeared:

Laurie Greer – vs 1
Sally Biggar – vs 2
Sanjuktaa Asopa – vs 3
Kashi Reisu – vs 4
Marietta McGregor – vs 5
Chris Patchel – vs 6
Barbara A. Taylor – vs 7
Dan Campbell – vs 8

Kala Ramesh – Sabaki


With this I bid you all a fond farewell.
Thanks for such enthusiastic participation!


on a watery dais!
_kala :))



John Stevenson speaking: This concludes our final session for 2021. We will resume in the new year. In the meantime, please note that this renku has been added to our archive and that I would be glad to hear your suggestions about where you might like to go next, with 2022 sessions.


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 14 Comments

  1. If the matter can be re-opened, I’d like to put in a pitch for
    An Unexpected Bloom’ (Keith Evett’s) – recalling the bloom
    in ‘Timescape’ by Gregory Benford. This would also bring out
    the parting humorous uplift of the zebras under the Baobab tree.

  2. The Shortest ? I reckon a yoshitsuma could be made
    with sabaki & the yo-ha-kyu principle ;

    Five players – a,b,c,d & x (the sabaki)
    V! – the four offer, x chooses a.
    V!! . b,c, d offer a response to V1. x chooses b.
    V111 – c & d offer a second response to a,
    resonant , but not competing with b.
    x chooses c.
    V1V – To round off, d makes n offers for this ;
    x chooses.
    e.g : something borrowed, something blue.
    (with thanks to John Thompson of California)

    straw by straw
    the scarecrow abandons
    its post

    mosquito dusk snowflakes melt
    above the darting swallows on the children’s tongues
    a wishing star kindergarten recess

    newly converted
    the whole creation
    has a new taste

    Maybe the sabaki could add a fifth

    a winter field
    clear in the keen air
    a huntsman’s call

    To compare small things with great, it could be said that
    Hilary Clinton lost to Trump because she was so obviously &
    always, too pleased with her self :
    The Lady of the House lost to the Irresponsible Mountebank.

    Now is the time for all Good People to come to the aid of
    the Party of Sleepy Joe.
    It’s ‘Riders in the Sky’ time again, folks.
    Bleed, bleed, impoverished Democracy !
    Will the predatory yet cautious Apparatchiks herd up
    the sheep, & sweep the board?
    Except the Lord
    build the house,
    They labour in vain
    that build it.
    Gird up your loins, ye isles & nations. Shall there be weeping
    and gnashing of teeth ?

  3. Dear kala, Advance NEW YEAR GREETINGS. It was a rewarding experience, each week, learning and eagerly expecting what next, Good interaction with otp ther
    writers. Journey through Renku/rasiaka/ and the Moon’s aura – very gentle, cool, touchy and inspiring. Enjoyed the takes.

    Thanks to John Stevenson, for the remarks and information that that this
    Renku be added to the Archives. Throughout the journey was opening up
    many vistas.
    Thanks to Lori, for many efforts.

  4. Thank you so much Kala. It was indeed a learning experience. I’m happy I tried and though one or two was near the finishing line; I knew I had made an error. It was fun and thank you so much for each week’s guidance with steps to go for the next move. Amazing!!!
    Thank you.

  5. Thanks Kala it was a wonderful learning experience. Hope to see some more of it in the new year.

  6. I didn’t expect the kind of ‘Front Page Exposé’ you’ve indulged in, Kala, but you had criticized examples of what you believed to be people’s ‘failed verse offers’ on the front page/ weekly introduction page throughout, so perhaps I should’ve expected it. It’s in very poor taste, in my view, but I’ll do my best to respond.

    “I wish I could totally agree with you, Lorin, that it was all completely about water.” – Kala

    Personally, I don’t believe you wish you could agree with me about anything, Kala, but never mind. Those who can read show they can read by their responses. Those who can’t read very well reveal that they can’t in the same way. I found a ‘water’ theme running through the renku and said so. Anyone who declares that I said or even implied that “it was all completely about water” is either a very poor reader or has reason to ‘muddy the waters’. Or perhaps both?

    ( ‘muddy the waters’, idiom – “make an issue or situation more confused or complicated.” Definitions from Oxford Languages)

    “I don’t agree about ‘baby shower’ being a water verse.” – Kala

    You have nothing to disagree with me regarding this because I certainly didn’t say Chris’s verse was “a water verse”. I do wonder what your purpose might be , though, since you seem to say that I did.

    “The term ‘baby shower’ is to be taken as a whole.” – Kala

    I know what a baby shower is, Kala. I know what a wedding shower is. I know what it means when someone is showered with gifts, with praise etc. However, I also have a sense of humour and I also have the benefit of knowing what a ‘word link’ is in renku. The word ‘shower’ links to Marietta’s ‘petrichor’ verse, does it not? I found it clever. You seem to have missed it entirely.

    ” Why split it and focus only on ‘shower’ as part of the water theme?” – Kala

    I didn’t ‘split’ anything. By that stage, the water theme trickling through the verses was glaringly obvious to anyone who can read. I found Chris’s use of ‘shower’ (a) a clever word link to Marietta’s ‘petrichor’ and (b) funny. I appreciate a variety of ways of linking in renku. Variety! And that includes word links. Not just a sequence of mysterious ‘scent links’.

    “To say the ageku is also about water is taking “the theme of water” to an extreme.” – Kala

    Did I say that the ageku “is also about water”? I did not! I certainly do find a (quite unexpected) hilarity in the fact that the unique African tree, the baobab, which has evolved to store huge amounts of water in its trunk, should be part of the ageku. I literally burst out laughing when I first read it. I may well be the only one who did, and I have no way of knowing whether Dan intended a reserve of “hidden water” or not but it certainly resonated with me. 🙂 Dan’s verse seemed to be “Taking the, um … mickey” in a clever and humorous way, considering all that went before. The ‘hidden water’ in a baobab tree is there for those who know of the tree but not for those who don’t.
    re the (unnecessary) science lesson and the conclusions you draw, Kala:

    “Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.”
    Looked at in this way, even our ‘love verses’ are water verses, not because of ‘petrichor’ or ‘baby shower’ but because they are centred around human beings, who are made up of 60% water!! ” – Kala
    I can’t tell whether you’re being sarcastic or just being silly, so I’ll refrain from commenting on this.

  7. Congrats all poets whose verses were picked, and thank you everyone who participated. I have been immersed in my studies, but I still tune in and appreciate the renku journey, however short or long.
    Kala, I’ve enjoyed the Rasika, and The Moon’s Aura was a wonderful intro for me into this form. Thank you for all the time and energy you’ve given us _()_
    John, I look forward to the new year, and learning different forms of Renku. Still wading trough the Renk Reckoner haha, someday I will have a firm grasp, until then I remain a humble haijin x
    Dan, I adore that final verse of ‘zebras napping n a baobab tree’s shade’. It’s such a soothing image!

  8. Thank you again, Kala. I enjoyed it, and the stimulation, and learned a lot.

    What you say about the rasika being the shortest form that enables an illustrative classical structure for teaching renku in a short time carries weight.

    As a side effect of The Moon’s Aura, I am now toiling through a copy of John Carley’s Renku Reckoner. He is quite acerbic in commenting on antecedents!

    John, you ask for suggestions for next year. I should like to participate in any kind of renku, being a learner. If 50-80 participants are expected, as lately, then perhaps the longer ones offer more chance for participants to be rewarded with inclusion? From reading about the various forms, a rokku sounds particularly appealing if a suitable sabaki could be found (but also challenging and potentially controversial).

  9. Dear Kala, I hope you can guide us on another renku voyage in the new year, best wishes and thank you!

  10. Thank you, Kala, for running the renku, and for all the detailed information you provided about the rasika’s form. It was fun playing and learning this shorter form of renku. I appreciate all the time you put into it over these 10 weeks.🙏 and, Congrats to Dan on his zebra verse!

  11. Thanks for running the renku, The Moon’s Aura, Kala While I didn’t participate as fully as I would have liked, it was an interesting experience.
    One more note on water, our planet is about 3/4 water, not all fresh, mind you, so it’s going to show up everywhere and in everything including haiku and renku.
    One other weird thing, renku auto-corrects to enemy. For what is considered a peaceful, reflective poetry form, it seems to devolve into contention. It doesn’t have to, but…

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