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The Moon’s Aura: Week 9

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Namaskaar!
_()_

Welcome to the ninth week of rasika —’The Moon’s Aura.’
I’m Kala Ramesh, and I’ll be your guide in this journey in collaborative poetry.

Rasika renku: 8th verse, the ageku – we’ve come to the last verse, so fast?!

 

The rasika till now …

The Moon’s Aura

— rasika, the shortest renku ever!

opening credits
the moon colorized
by its aura

 

                                           — Laurie Greer

 

in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso

 

                                           — Sally Biggar

 

hush
of the huddled sparrows
as snow comes down hard

 

                                          — Sanjuktaa Asopa

 

 

sea winds whistle through
the bleached bones of a whale

 

                                              — Kashi Reisu

 

her perfume
with its hint of petrichor
enchants him

 

                         —  Marietta McGregor

 

 

surprise baby shower
at the women’s shelter

 

                                  — Chris Patchel

 

most unexpectedly
the jacarandas bloom
a month earlier

 

                        — Barbara A. Taylor

 

 

And now to our last verse – the ageku! Ageku actually means ‘at last’!

Such good candidates offered for this last slot, each so inviting, that to choose just one was daunting and it seemed so unfair – but my hands were tied. I have to choose one, but first let me give you my favourites …

 

At the beginning of this renku, I had said we could consider andrew shimield’s verse for the last slot:

the long distance driver
sings of home

Excellent verse, full of optimism, and a very good verse for ageku, but it’s not a good fit for this renku. Andrew, I hope you are able to use it somewhere else soon.

 

traces of alien life
in the impact crater

— Keith Evetts

As ageku candidate, this opens out nicely to myriad possibilities.

 

 

 

a Saintpaulia leaf
has taken root in the glass

— Margherita Petriccione

This highlights life and growth. A positive sign. Good verse for this slot.

 

 

 

conch releasing
the breath of the waves

— Lakshmi Iyer

 

Nice one, Lakshmi. Keep it as a pocket verse and use it when the right time comes. Here I can’t use it because it’s taking us back to the sea, water, waves :))

 

 

 

all tulsi leaves unattended
in the temple yard

— Radhamani Sarma

 

Good verse, but outside India nobody will know that ‘tulsi’ is ‘sacred basil’ Ageku is generally an uplifting verse. The word ‘unattended’ doesn’t work here.

 

 

on the laptop screen
images from other worlds

— Vasile Moldovan

This again opens out nicely to myriad possibilities.

 

 

 

wind sculpting
the cypress tree

— Dan Campbell

 

What a beautiful image. But definitely we aren’t going to talk about the ‘wind’ again!!

 

 

 

a column of gnats spirals
up up and away

— Marietta McGregor

 

An excellent ageku but you already have a verse in this rasika, Marietta. Keep it as a pocket verse to be used in another renku, if possible.

 

 

hung on one arm
the chimp’s broad smile

— Robert Kingston

What an image and what a fun verse this it!

 

 

 

carps gobble air
here and there

— Milan Rajkumar

 

Lovely verse, Milan. But definitely not for this renku, for we have ‘whales’ in verse 4.

 

I was attracted to Firdaus’s verse, for it seemed to summarize the whole story we have created through the three stages of this renku – jo, ha, kyu.

 

sunrise from behind
the jagged city skyline

— Firdaus Parvez


Lovely! But I couldn’t use it for it does take us back to two circular objects – the moon & the enso.

 

 

 

Somewhat on a similar note, we have one more verse:

 

over the mountains
a brilliant sunrise

— andrew shimield

 

 

 

Dan’s verse gets the coveted place – the ageku. Congratulations!

 

zebras napping
in a baobab tree’s shade

— Dan Campbell

A broad-trunk tropical tree, a baobab tree is just the right place for zebras to nap. What a peaceful scene. There is movement and activity in the preceding verses and this verse, in contrast, seems to strike a good balance. Forest life is not for the meek. It’s all about the survival of the fittest…and this stanza is refreshingly cool! And most importantly, it gives an effective closure to this renku.

 

Here is the complete rasika:

 

The Moon’s Aura

— rasika, the shortest renku ever!

opening credits
the moon colorized
by its aura

 

                    — Laurie Greer

 

 

in one fluid stroke
we each draw an enso

 

                                           — Sally Biggar

 

 

hush
of the huddled sparrows
as snow comes down hard

 

                                          — Sanjuktaa Asopa

 

 

sea winds whistle through
the bleached bones of a whale

 

                                                — Kashi Reisu

 

her perfume
with its hint of petrichor
enchants him

 

                          — Marietta McGregor

 

 

surprise baby shower
at the women’s shelter

 

                                  — Chris Patchel

 

most unexpectedly
the jacarandas bloom
a month earlier

                                — Barbara A. Taylor

 

 

zebras napping
in a baobab tree’s shade

 

                                   — Dan Campbell

 

 

Now we go to choosing the title. Generally the title comes from the hokku. Or we can take some catchy image from the other verses, but that will give away the surprise for the readers.

So, do give your suggestions for the title and next week we finish the rasika with the title and all!

 

My earnest request to all who participated, whether or not your stanzas were chosen, please post your thoughts on *rasika* as a renku form.

  1. Was it interesting to participate in the shortest renku ever?
  2. Will it make renku fun when a group of poets meet and the time is short – because it is just 8 verses?
  3. Was the renku spirit lost anywhere in this ‘short trip’ because of its brevity?
  4. Will you try out rasika with your friends and in your haiku meets?

 

Please post your comments by Monday, 28th November. The next posting will be on 4th December, next Thursday morning (Eastern US time). The rasika in its entirety will be posted once again with the title.

 

My thanks to John Stevenson for uploading the files each week. Thanks to all of you who participated and engaged in lively interaction–which is what renku are all about! My Himalayan-sized gratitude and thanks to Jenny Angyal for editing and proofreading my notes each week without fail.

Keenly waiting to read your *views and reviews* on this rasika journey!

In *rasika* spirit, friendship and gratitude,
Kala Ramesh
_()_

 

 

 

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: https://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Suggestions for Title

    1. Perfection & Redemption
    2. Beauty & the Beasts
    3. Art & Nature

    4. Dear Kala Ramesh
    Thanks for conducting the rengiku so sensitively and
    decisively. Could you perhaps lay out the specifications/Plan
    of the 8 verses so that other groups, e.g. The Humble Talents
    Renga Club, can try it out ? – dick pettit

  2. Thanks to Kala for conducting the rasika of these two months, which I found new and interesting.
    Thanks for the time and work you have dedicated to us.

  3. thanks for remembering my earlier verse as a potential ageku.
    I didn’t re-submit it as I could see it didn’t fit your requirements.
    Yes it was interesting to participate in and it provides a good opportunity for a shorter renku session.
    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.

  4. ” 3. Was the renku spirit lost anywhere in this ‘short trip’ because of its brevity?”
    .
    No. The renku spirit, in my opinion, was lost primarily because the water/ moisture/ H20 theme in these verses are impossible to ignore. A basic principle of renku is that they are not thematic.

    With the exception of only one verse (Barbara’s ‘jacaranda’ verse) the theme of water/ H20 flows throughout. From the atmospheric conditions that account for an aura around the moon (ice crystals in high, thin moisture-retaining clouds) to wet ink , to snow, to sea wind & whale bones, to petrichor, to shower (amusingly, as a word link) and even, surprisingly and also amusingly, to the ageku’s baobab tree with its unique storage of hidden water, the theme of water is strong.
    .
    (Baobabs store water in the trunk (up to 120,000 litres or 32,000 US gallons) to endure harsh drought conditions.[21] ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adansonia
    .
    I’d query, too, in a renku with a limit of only 8 verses, why there would be two tree species : jacaranda and baobab. (verses 7 & 8)

    1. Another title suggestion:

      h2oetry

      h2oetry –
      poemping the effluentonality
      of pissky

      sorry – couldn’t resist 😉

  5. “. . . the shortest renku ever! ” – Kala Ramesh
    .
    I wasn’t surprised to find you making this claim, Kala.
    .
    ” I thought the shortest renku was John Carley’s Yotsumono at four verses …” – Keith Evetts
    .
    ” 1) JC & I (rip)
    have both variously
    done shorter ” – Dick Pettit
    .
    ” Back in 2010, I participated with John Carley in a Yotsumono which has four verses, . . . ” – Barbara A. Tayler
    .
    ” Carley recently constructed an abbreviated format of renku based on a Chinese precursor to Japanese linked verse, the Yotsumono , loosely translated as four things. The exercise proved successful, with broad acceptance by haikai authors and the release of the Little Book of Yotsumonos: [2] ” – William Sorlien
    http://ahundredgourds.com/ahg23/feature02B.html
    .
    ” Notable among the more recent short forms of renku are the twelve verse Shisen and the equally brief Junicho. At only four verses the Yotsumono represents a further radical contraction, but the structure is not without antecedents.” – John E. Carley, from ‘The Little Book of Yotsumonos – Carley with Anderson, Ford, MacRury,
    Simpson, Sorlien and Windsor’, Darlington Richards Press, 2012
    .

  6. Thank you, Kala, for guiding us these past weeks. As for the length, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of trying something new. In the longer renku there is more space for imaginative and sometimes wild verses, which I did miss a bit. Re the title I like the imagery of starting with the moon’s aura, and ending with a zebra’s shadow. Congrats Dan!

  7. All very challenging. Thank you Kala for directing us on this journey, and am sure it has been a time-consuming and difficult choice-making process from so many participants. I appreciate all you have shown us.

    Back in 2010, I participated with John Carley in a Yotsumono which has four verses, so guess this is not the shortest renku.

    I think a live rasika can work but probably best with two or so partcipants.
    It does miss out on the many diverse topics longer renku can use to shift and link and progress to a satisfactory conclusion to a story line.

    I like The Moon’s Aura as title. or maybe Hush…

    Love participating in renku and look forward to the next one.
    Thanks to everyone for their wonderful offers each week.

    Peace and Love

  8. Congrats Dan! Your verse offers a very appealing image, although I was surprised to have two verses in a row with tree imagery. Nonetheless a lovely way to end the rasika.
    .
    Although the Moon’s Aura as a title is okay, and I am aware that the title traditionally originates with the first line of the first verse, I always like to come up with original title suggestions, just for fun.

    Here are a few that I came up with (the first two are portmanteau):

    Cinemoon
    Apollodeon
    Orbitals
    .
    I enjoyed participating in the rasika – I am always learning from the more accomplished poets in the group and appreciate the information imparted in the discussions that occasionally ensue. I will participate in another rasika, if the opportunity arises, as I simply enjoy the challenge of coming up with verse offerings. I felt there was not enough change in tone across the final poem, no humorous verses, current events, etc, were included, but perhaps that is the nature of rasika – there is not enough time to develop these types of verses?
    .
    Thank you Kala, for your time and effort in leading this group in learning about the rasika.

  9. Congratulations Dan, your chosen verse is much more pleasing than your earlier skunk offering. 😉 Thank you Kala for a whirlwind quick linked-verse experience and for sharing how you look at the verses and why. It provides a better understanding of the sabaki role. I support Pauline’s suggestion of Drawing an Enso as a title because rasika is brief with a specific form and meaning. Either title works. Thanks to all participants. I learn from each of you.

  10. 1) JC & I (rip)
    have both variously
    done shorter

    2) a dearth of poets
    sitting around a renga/ku
    is better than plenty

    3) the fine spirit
    was singularly distilled
    and evaporated

    4) Sorry, no.
    we aim to be different
    every time

  11. Congratulations, Dan! An interesting movement from colorization to a natural black-and-white scene. And thanks, as always, Kala, for the comments.
    And the questions. Well, no form can do everything, but there’s a lot to learn in all of them. I’m still pretty new to renku so always eager to practice link&shift, and the demands are different each time. THF always attracts a talented and spirited group, and I value that community above all, even when tensions arise, as may be inevitable, just because everyone cares!
    As for titles, I have to say I’m partial to the Moon’s Aura, but also like One Fluid Stroke and Whistling Through.
    Thanks, everyone, for another rich experience here.

  12. What a lovely verse and image to end this rasika! Congratulations to Dan and to Kala for the perfect selection(s) and also for taking us on this wonderful journey. I have learnt every week from the detailed explanations as well as the comments by the participants, many of them renku-veterans. ThoughI had participated in a renku now and then, I have a long way to go yet.
    Thank you all.

  13. Congratulations, dear Dan.❤️❤️
    Nice to learn from you, dear Kala. I’m still crawling but happy. Thank you dear Mr John and all of your team. No knowledge is wasted. God bless you all
    🌹🌹

  14. Congratulations on the final verse selection, Dan. It was a strong visual image and a positive finish.

    I dropped out of participating in this renku as I felt it was too short to allow the ebb and flow I enjoy in renku and the topics covered were therefore very limited. I didn’t like verses being commented on because they failed in some way.

    On the other hand, I still read the verses and comments each week and enjoyed the selected verses, and those not selected, for their imagination and often beauty. Kala’s hard work over the course of the rasika was appreciated.

    I think the junicho is the shortest form I’d enjoy as it gives more room for expansion. The longer forms appeal to my liking for renku as an intellectual as well as aesthetic exercise.

    The title ‘The Moon’s Aura’ is attractive. ‘Drawing an Enso’ is a suggestion.

  15. Congratulations Dan. It is indeed a very cool verse.
    As for the title I think ‘Moon’s Aura’ works pretty well.

  16. Congratulations to you Dan for your ‘cool’ close to the renku!

    Thank you very much for your guidance in the rasika form, Kala. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments each week. I’ve only ever participated in renku games on THF, never live with other haiku friends as I’m rather deaf and would probably miss too much of the ‘to-and-fro’. Also, where I am there are not too many of us!

    The very first renku I ever joined was a 36-verse kasen renku. It was amazing to me that one poem could be sustained for so many months across both hemispheres! Since then, I’ve had fun with a few more. I find the unspooling of a longer renku is like a difficult jigsaw puzzle, very satisfying if a piece fits, especially if the sabaki, as you have done, takes the time to discuss verses each week. That helps me so much to understand, although I’m very much a learner and still have a long way to go!

    As Keith has said, maybe the shorter form has less leeway for levity, social commentary or politics. This may be necessary to maintain a flow.

    Yes, I would probably join another rasika session. Thank you Kala, and all fellow poets! 🙏🏼

    May I suggest ‘Jacarandas’ as a name for our renku. They bloom exuberantly for just a short period, and then their flowering is over.

    Warm wishes and happy writing, Marietta

  17. Thanks Kala #masterji. Next time, I could be more careful about what have been written and what should be written! Thanks a lot! ❤️👍

  18. Dear Kala, it was very interesting to participate in this rasika and I learned a lot from your comments about why and why not the verses were selected or not selected. It also gave me an idea of how.much time and effort must go into leading a rasika and analyzing and selecting the verses each week, so thank you very much. It sure was a nice surprise to have my verse selected this week and I plan on taking my family out to celebrate!

  19. Dear Kala, this was my first encounter with renku in any form and I enjoyed it a lot. It was short and sufficient for a newbie like me. It turned out to be a journey of learning and experimenting and generally having fun. I learned a lot from your notes and comments on the verses offered. Kudos to you for being such a thoughtful and gracious guide. I can only imagine how much thought and time you put into choosing each verse and I think all were impeccable choices. Thanks for mentioning my verse. I look forward to participating again. I also enjoyed the comment thread with all the lovely verses on offer.

  20. Thank you Kala. I enjoyed it immensely, and the company was energising.

    Title: neither the moon’s aura in the hokku nor the zebras in the ageku seem to suggest a coherent enough title, to me. Perhaps it is in the nature of such a short fast-shifting renku that the verses are disparate and do not easily fall under any title? 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.

    Answering your questions:

    1. Was it interesting to participate in the shortest renku ever?

    Yes, always interesting and stimulating, including the informative exchanges and links in the comments (thank you, Lorin and others) as well as the commentary and, of course, everybody’s different takes as each new verse was solicited. I thought the shortest renku was John Carley’s Yotsumono at four verses, but the rasika is certainly short!

    2. Will it make renku fun when a group of poets meet and the time is short – because it is just 8 verses?

    It would certainly be a good candidate, I think. Especially if the group is small, so that each has a reasonable chance of getting a verse in. But see (4) below.

    3. Was the renku spirit lost anywhere in this ‘short trip’ because of its brevity?

    Although I’m not experienced as a practitioner, I have read a number of renku and I suspect some renku spirit was probably lost, yes. Partly because of the brevity – perhaps a 12-verse junicho would be better, but I haven’t yet participated in one of those. Also, partly because, as someone mentioned in one week’s comments, there was not much of traditional renkai humour in a middle section. The verses privileged art, as Wendy put it; perhaps with the exception of Chris’ excellent but very serious verse on the women’s shelter. There seemed to be less scope for the fun that can be had in longer renkus.

    4. Will you try out rasika with your friends and in your haiku meets?

    Possibly – something to explore. But so far, friends to try out with have been small in number. For a rasika perhaps a minimum number of collaborating poets would be, say, four? It would be up against other linked forms such as rengay (six verses, theme, 2-6 poets), hexarengay (interesting, ten verses, 2, or 5 poets theoretically ) and split sequences (four verses, 2 or perhaps 4 poets).

    What do others think? I notice that I am the only one so far to have addressed your questions…..probably naïvely!

    1. Very interesting Keith. I stopped short of commenting, as having read the commentary of those more experienced renku players, I thought it best to observe.
      Yours made a lot of sensible observations. Thank you.

      1. Robert, thank you. I too hope others more experienced than I will come in with observations and corrections.

        And a typo – ‘renkai’ humour should have read ‘haikai’ humour – writing quickly…..

  21. It was lovely participating in the renku and really liked the way you took us along the verses explaining so effortlessly the size, strength, syllables of each verse every week without fail.
    Congratulations to Kala Ramesh and to all the poets whose verses made up this journey and to even all who participated. It was a good learning.

  22. Thanks for the nice trip Kala! A short trip sometimes has a bigger grip and stays more alive in the memory. Thanks for the advice and for the attention to my writings.Congrats everyone.

  23. Dear kala,
    A very illumination and rewarding journey, with deeper insights ,to know more and more in this process, ‘ The Moon’s Aura’ ; every week, eagerly looking forward to this, with an aura of experiment and learn, thank you indeed

  24. Congratulations Dan!
    Thank you for the mention and experience Kala! I look forward to the next one!
    Thanks to Kathy, Lori, John and Jenni for maintaining the thread.

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