Welcome to the third week of rasika renku — The Moon’s Aura.
I’m Kala Ramesh, and I’m leading this journey in collaborative poetry.
Rasika, a renku of 8 verses, was developed by me in 2014. This 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.
It’s a good form for composing online because it moves quicker than the longer renku, while also following the jo-ha-kyu, beginning-development-rapid closure, pattern of traditional renku.
Moon’s Aura – a rasika renku with Kala Ramesh.
62 renkujin made approximately 129 offers for the waki-second verse (thank you with a huge thumbs-up!) We had two poets submitting late so I’ve not included their poems or their names. Sorry.
I already like the way this rasika is taking shape! With the hokku and wakiku forming a strong bond, a good and interesting opening is established and this poem is already looking like a winner!
The beauty of a trip (in real life, for some) can be the unplanned and exciting twists – all renku trips offer you this choice! Doesn’t that sound exciting? To me it does and that is what steers me again and again to renku. Yes, one can say, the schema is already outlined – so where is the surprise? The surprise lies in the route we take, which comes from participants entrenched in different cultures and thought processes.
With so many beautiful offers for this slot and the task of picking just one was overwhelming! And, I again found many, many verses very close to love! There were other very good offers but they were an outside scene. I had specifically asked for an indoor scene for this slot. Some other offers were very good, but they all read like haiku to me, with a ‘cut’. We need a sentence stanza here. That is important.
Brief comments on my favourites and why certain verses could not be added:
ochre hand prints
blown on a cave wall
Nice one. Keep it as a pocket verse for the next renku you take part in. We have the hokku using the word ‘colorized’ so I feel stating a colour here ‘orchre handprints’ isn’t working well.
together on the bonnet
of our battered car
This verse creates a good happy mood – but to me it is a bit too close to the two love verses coming on the 5th and 6th slots.
counting ceiling tiles
in the Emergency Room
Dan, this is good. Keep it as a pocket verse and use it in another renku. I couldn’t select it because it doesn’t buttress the chosen hokku that well.
the theatre door reveals
another new world
Joshua St. Claire
Very nice verse, in my opinion, and I could be wrong, your L 2 is showing a huge divide and isn’t buttressing the hokku. The waki needs to stay close to the hokku – making the beginning strong and effective.
auntie’s seance voice
at least an octave lower
Nice verse, Mariette. I had to look up ‘séance voice’ and I feel it’s best to avoid foreign words in the first movement in a renku.
Each renku has three movements:
jo – first part – simple and the participating poets create friendly spaces
ha – the middle part – using foreign words and going intense.
kyu – rapid closure, where you don’t linger.
the puppy follows me
around the house
This was a strong contender to be a wakiku. But my only reservation was who is that ‘me’ at the beginning of a renku? This can come later and will do very well in some other slot, I felt.
dipping the guache brush
we begin to paint the scene
I don’t know how to express it – but your word ‘scene’ goes back to hokku. Yes, a waki should buttress the hokku, but not take the images or refer to the images, that’s already written about in the previous verse.
just the trilling of crickets
What you have given me is a verse with a kireji (cut marker) which in ELH is a punctuation. You must have forgotten – but only the hokku shows a ‘cut’ in the whole renku. All the others are without a ‘cut’ which means they are sentence haiku.
shadows of branches
flicker across the window
This is a good contestant for waki. It’s an indoor scene and we are looking out seeing the moon in the hokku, when suddenly the shadows of branches flicker across the window. Just that I like the other verse I have chosen for the waki position better.
in the light of a candle
the shadows of chess pieces
Lovely verse. The hokku is all about ‘the light’ so I felt the waki should be away from the ‘light’ angle!
the sable brush hovers
I like the way this verse adds a vibrant colour to the moon!
cookie cutter shines
I love this verse – the sounds of ‘sh’ and ‘ca’ are excellent here and I debated a lot over this verse for waki.
In many ways, all the above-mentioned offers pull my imagination in mysterious ways, but (after much internal debate) the one I ultimately fell for is Sally Biggar’s waki:
in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso
Simple and direct and these lines buttress the hokku so snugly. I’ve been keeping an eye on this verse for the last one week and when Sally submitted it again, I couldn’t help but agree with her that this two-line (11 syllable count) verse is the verse for waki.
So we have:
The Moon’s Auro
rasika: 8-verse renku
the moon colorized
by its aura
in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso
Look at the way these two verses written by two different poets buttress each other and make the hokku and the waki come together so beautifully. What a brilliant beginning!
Does a cut happen in renku (as it does in haiku) and, if yes, how? We all know in haiku the *cut* (known as the *kire*) happens between two images. Hold your breath … the cut happens in renku also, but it happens in the white space between two verses! Sheer magic, isn’t it? You will notice how with each additional verse our understanding keeps changing as we proceed on our journey.
Again a reminder: to check the schema:
- long – hokku | au mn
- short – wakiku | ns
- long – daisan | wi (current verse)
- short – ns
5. long – end su/lv (rainy season)
- short – ns/lv
- long | sp bl
- ageku | ns
We have a blossom verse and love verses coming closely below, so remember to stay away from these subjects.
What is the role & function of the daisan (verse #3):
If the purpose of the wakiku was to closely support and buttress the hokku, it is now the daisan’s job to break away from what has come before. The core process in renku is link-and-shift: link to the preceding verse (we know this already), but equally important is to shift away from the verse before that.
In any three consecutive verses A-B-C, A links with B, B links with C, but we must absolutely ensure that C does not link at all with A. And this verse, the daisan, is the first time such an opportunity arises to test if we understand this *rule*, and if you do, it would make your participation much more fun and challenging!
The link to my introduction on 30th September, for those who have missed it.
Important to note: The link and shift is strong in rasika, 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 we’ll be following (to coin a new phrase) – link and leap!
The daisan is also called the break-away verse!
So BREAK AWAY!
Use your imagination – Basho spoke about using imagination, and renku gives you the scope and breadth to do just that!
- long – hokku | autumn moon*
- short – wakiku | non-seasonal*
- long – daisan | winter*
Seasonal words – kigo: we are using an on-line source for this purpose in our current renku:
For daisan, the requirements are:
Let this one be purely nature in its imagery. No human presence, more so because the hokku and wakiku have strong human references.
A 3-line verse, without a cut.
Between 12 and 14 syllable counts.
No link whatsoever with the hokku or even the waki, I would add.
Move away from all those images and words in the previous 2 verses.
Remember the 3rd verse ‘daisan’ is a break-away verse in renku.
A challenge, yes, but one which can be rewarding too! It’s time for some adventure.
The window closes on Sunday 17 October.
Keep a close watch on this space! Meet you next Thursday.
Thanks once again for all your lovely waki offers.
Keenly waiting to read your daisan.
Through all this maze don’t forget to have fun!
with palms pressed in gratitude,
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