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The Renku Sessions: A Better Look – Week 11

renku_300

Maxianne Berger is our selector this time. We received 89 verses, from 20 poets. Here is her report:

“Dear poets,

I thank you all for the verses you’ve offered. Many of your proposals have given me pause, and below are some brief comments—comments that do, at times, quietly and without attribution, include some of what John explained in our exchanges. John, I thank you for your guidance, your wisdom and your patience.

****

downing
a six pack
with old college buddies

Laurie Greer

The link here is to “chug,” and the feel-good gathering is convivial.

****

repeating
the little mantra
that could

Laurie Greer

The allusion to The Little Engine That Could is delightful! The real train has evoked the fictional train.

****

the conga line
makes a straight shot
to the open bar

Laurie Greer

The conga line conjures so many joyful celebrations, people in a long line dancing. Great energy, here!

****

the past lives
we’ve packed into these
wheelie suitcases

Lorin Ford

The memory aspect of this verse lets each reader read into it. How easily I feel the physicality of trying to close a suitcase, and of being nicked in the heels by a suitcase that refuses to follow as obediently as a dog on a leash.

****

debris piling up
on the slopes
of Mount Everest

Andrew Shimield

A nice change of location to a different mountain, the verse reports on human interference in the natural world,…would that it not be a concern, she added hopefully.

****

forgetting everything
he learned
in boot camp

Laurie Greer

After the struggle of military training, after a possibly long journey, the “he” has arrived to the presumed R & R of the previous verse. There’s a nice paradoxical tension in reminding readers about boot camp within the very statement that it has been forgotten!

****

the smiling Lama
takes out a selfie stick
from his sling bag

Kanchan Chatterjee

We take selfies as reminders of our travels. Also fun in this verse is the 6-degrees-of-connectedness aspect of “Lama”: from Lama, to llama, to Andes, to mountains, to ski resort ☺

****

when will we
ever be able
to travel abroad again?

did we ever
imagine a world
without travel?

Pauline O’Caralan

These days, don’t we all miss travel [sigh].

****

the waiter
names eleven beers
in Swiss German

Dana Rapisardi

The beer links to “chugs,” and I imagine some unnamed mountains. The Swiss Alps? My mind’s eye sees the waiter clearly although my mind’s ear doesn’t really understand a word he’s saying!

****

on the bar
dancing a flamenco
sevillana

Carole Harrison

The bar is even narrower than train tracks, and certainly doesn’t go as far. A nice contrast, and an energetic dance.

****

he lights his pipe
before starting
the story

Mark Powderhill

I wondered if this would be a scent link, two things happening in the same location: outside we have the train, and inside the ski lodge. Perhaps by the hearth, an older man is about to tell a tale. John replied that “the obvious link is the puffs of steam from the train engine and of smoke from the bowl of the pipe.” There is, however, no specific location specified, so a next link could be to just about anything at all, because his story could be about anything at all.

****

a porter
quietly starts
to strip the beds

Marilyn Potter

What happens in the train after an all-night trip. This verse nicely counters the bustle on the platform.

****

standing room
only
on the magic carpet

Laurie Greer

A magic carpet is a kind of ski lift, and that name opens up the very skies! It’s also amusing in and of itself, because standing is exactly how people are transported on it ☺

****

back in the day
a cigarette commercial
would feature here

Lorin Ford

How true this is, “back in the day” when there were cigarette commercials. Those commercials often filmed in healthy locations, like a ski resort, full of big air. John explained the link to me further, that as in the case of the storyteller’s pipe, “the cigarette smoke connects to the puffs from the engine.”

****

young royals
waving
for attention

Robert Kingston

VIPs at a ski resort. I see them waving to the paparazzi while the crowd itself mills about around them, paying them no never mind.

****

an umbrella
handed in at the lost
and found office

Carol Jones

Lost & Found at the station, where disparate objects are gathered. I once wrote a suite of poems about umbrellas, and they have a warm place in my heart.

****

And so, for the 11th verse, the beginning of the second half of “A Better Look,” it is time for a station break, and perforce, a bit of self-referential advertising 😉

time was
a cigarette commercial
would feature here

Lorin Ford

Thank you for your verse, Lorin, and enjoy your time as selector.

John, thank you again for this incredible learning opportunity.

And fella and fellow poets, thank you for the verses, but most of all for the community at a time when community is difficult to come by, still necessary to the social beings we are, and welcome.

Maxianne”

John speaking again:

Lorin Ford will now be offered the opportunity to select our next verse. Please let me know, Lorin, if you would like to do so. Just a note about this verse: since the hokku (first verse) contains the word “back” we consulted with Lorin and created together a modification of line one of the final verse.

And now we move on to our twelfth verse.

Our twelfth verse should:
• consist of two natural, unforced lines
• constitute a single phrase, without a grammatical break
• contain no seasonal reference

Think of the twelfth verse as making a new poem when added to the eleventh verse. Repeat nothing from the first ten verses. Be especially careful not to draw our attention back to verse one or verse ten.

Here is what we have, so far:

A Better Look

dragonfly…
hovering back
for a better look

John Stevenson

the scarecrow’s hat
skims across the pond

Pauline O’Carolan

moonrise
finds the farm wife
undoing her braids

Ellen Compton

the creak
of the mailbox

Angiola Inglese

rising scent
of bosc pears
wrapped in cellophane

Michelle Beyers

his chiseled chin
and my smooth thighs

Wendy C. Bialek

‘after Picasso
only God’
said Dora Maar

andrew shimield

cat devouring
a bird

Kiti Saarinen

fresh snowfall
fills the tracks
of a thief

Carol Jones

our train chugs into
the station at the ski resort

Maxianne Berger

time was
a cigarette commercial
would feature here

Lorin Ford

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. Lorin or I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Monday, November 16 (New York time zone). On Thursday, November 19, there will be a new posting containing the selection for our twelfth verse and instructions for composition of verse thirteen.

Looking forward to seeing your offers!

John

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://www.thehaikufoundation.org/code-of-conduct/

This Post Has 226 Comments

  1. our train chugs into
    the station at the ski resort

    Maxianne Berger

    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here

    Lorin Ford

    their eyes flick to the tellie
    (while) waiting in the queue

    I heard this cadence, then filled in the blanks

  2. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    .
    ashes
    to ashes
    .
    the henna prayers
    on her palms
    .
    an undertow
    grabs hold just offshore

  3. can you see me
    from where you are?
    ~~~
    the paper lanterns we released
    are probably still going
    ~~~
    he still uses
    grandad’s old pocket watch

  4. #1
    beautiful faces
    encourage to smoking hot

    #2
    longest smoker
    blows into sky

    #3
    a vender cries
    hot sausages

  5. midnight ride
    on a stallion

    *
    a stallion
    rearing on hind legs

    *

    a stallion on the sandbar
    rearing on hind legs

  6. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    …. Lorin Ford
    .
    we don’t see
    many wild stallions
    .
    refreshing mint
    filters her day dreams
    .
    …wild stallions
    in the city?
    .
    reaching
    for filtered words
    .

  7. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    Lorin Ford
    *
    the taste of musk
    in Dr No’s surgery
    *
    all eyes on the quiet man
    reaching for the stars
    *
    real estate boards
    designed for the moon

  8. my second half of life
    is smoke-free
    .
    catching the cartoons
    before the movie
    .
    using ash trays
    to hold paint brushes
    .
    the chewed pencils
    cutting down his habit

  9. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    ***

    the mountain silhouette
    just during a lightning

    a tree across the brook
    as the bridge for a mouse

  10. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    keeping warm with the ashes
    of MAGA
    *
    dousing the ashes
    of MAGA
    *

  11. revision:
    *
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    waiting with bated breath
    for the next big thing
    *

  12. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    on pins and needles waiting
    for the next big thing
    *
    who’d ever have dreamed
    of vaping?
    *

  13. calling it a day
    on a park bench

    *

    calling it a day
    at the rollerdome

    *

    calling it a day
    at the riverside

    *

    going with
    the flow

    *

    she said he said
    let’s go with the flow

    *

    she said
    we’re stuck in the middle

  14. old reruns and memories
    of summers spent in trees
    *
    old reruns and memories
    of grandma’s whiskey topped pies
    *
    old reruns and memories
    of barefoot summers

    1. Your first and third here bring up an interesting issue for a renku, Dan. The context (‘reruns, memories’) makes it clear that “summers” and “barefoot” aren’t to be read as ‘season words/ kigo’. These verses are perfectly legitimate for a ‘no season. all seasons’ spot, in that sense.
      .
      But considering the whole of the renku , and especially since a pair of summer verses will very likely be coming up soon in this renku, my feeling is that most sabaki might want to avoid reference to even long ago summers here so as to avoid anticipating interruption (when we arrive at the summer verses) to the renku’s ever-forward flow.
      .
      It’s interesting: these verses about “looking back” are, imo, technically acceptable, but having readers “looking back” to such verses when we come to the summer verses is something most sabaki would want to avoid.
      .

      1. Yes. We will want to leave summer (even the memory of summer) for the summer verses, which will be numbers 14 and 15. In a similar vein, our next verses (numbers 13 and 14) will be love verses. So, we do not want to do anything now to steal their thunder.

  15. mom found the butts
    stashed in my roller drawer
    .
    the coffin made
    of recycled butts
    .
    ashes from raku spread
    on marlboro country

  16. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    ——Lorin Ford
    .
    hitting stone
    at the bunker base
    .
    Pepsi works wonders
    on the hair
    .
    if only the wombles
    were around today
    .

  17. Verse 7:

    best to pause
    before attacking

    Verse 8:

    coronavirus
    attacks the lungs

    Verse 9:

    sundials
    cast long shadows

    Verse 10:

    the clock’s hands
    are almost there

    Verse 11:

    don’t you despise
    political advertising?

    Verse 12:

    interior designers
    love a hero piece

  18. awaiting the verdict
    of posterity
    *
    second guessing the judgment
    of posterity
    *
    armed for posterity
    with a cam-corder
    *

  19. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    *
    1945 church flyer
    Gramp’s thanks to all
    *
    pow pow she yells
    pointing her air pistols
    *

    1. I love halftime because we’re kind of at halftime in our renku, but don’t know if it can be used with time was. here it is anyway.

      shimmying cheerleaders
      at halftime

    1. *I meant poof in this sense from cambridge dictionary.

      “used to show that something has happened suddenly or by magic:
      He waved his hand over the empty box and – poof! – a dove appeared.”

      I had no idea there is another meaning for poof: “a gay man.”

      but, hey. Whitman was gay😎🥳

        1. ooh I love that!😊

          duskfall sighs the echoes
          of eons of nomenclature

          Michelle Beyers
          Copyright © 11/14/20

          1. oops. the format messed up.

            *

            duskfall sighs the echoes of eons of nomenclature

            Michelle Beyers
            Copyright © 11/14/20

  20. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    singe marks
    hidden from view
    .
    burn marks
    beneath her raised top
    .
    road side
    changing the spare
    .
    another hole
    added to his favourite belt
    .
    a fresh look
    in the jaded room

  21. Congrats to Lorin for this appealing link and leap forward!
    *
    *
    *
    *
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    ~ Lorin Ford
    *
    *
    little nose wrinkling
    after grandma’s kiss
    *
    *
    staring at x-rays
    to find some good news
    *
    *
    even the stars above
    are just illusions
    *
    *
    our notorious ancestor
    is a family secret
    *
    *
    *
    *
    And my thanks to Maxianne for considering one of my entries worthy of notice! ❤

  22. Some pharmacy company seems to have taken over Higginson’s ‘Renku Home’ url when I google, but I can still reach the ‘Shorter Renku ‘ page via a url I saved to my computer.:
    .
    http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/shorter_renku.html
    .
    and from there I can reach other pages such as “LINK AND SHIFT – A Practical Guide to Renku Composition”.
    .
    http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/Link_Shift.html
    .
    This is useful, as it not only explains the various kinds of linking it also gives some examples of ‘scent’ linking under the headings ‘SCENT (NIOI)’, ‘ECHO (HIBIKI)’, ‘TRANSFER OR REFLECTION (UTSURI)’, ‘RUN-ON (HASHIRI)’, ‘RANK (KURAI)’ and ‘NOSTALGIC IMAGE (OMOKAGE)’.
    .
    Following, on the same page, are a couple of example lists of ‘Topics and Materials’. (I think my ‘time was’ verse fits pretty clearly as an example of the topic ‘”reminiscence”.)
    .
    These lists are useful guides that can prompt us to diversify as we progress through this renku, so I thought some of you might want to copy the urls.

  23. Great work, Maxianne. Congrats Lorin. Well done. Great potential. Thanks John and team.
    .
    time was
    a cagarette commercial
    would feature here
    … Lorin Ford
    .
    where the sky
    is bigger
    .
    singsongs
    around the piano
    .
    cutting the buttons
    from a frayed shirt
    .
    on the mantle
    a jar of saved buttons

  24. Verse 1:

    my addiction
    is more liquid

    Verse 2:

    brown coal sponsorship
    is not politically correct

    Verse 3:

    just vegetarian dishes
    on the menu tonight

    Verse 4:

    and language
    was racist and sexist

    Verse 5:

    welcome
    to the cancel culture

    Verse 6:

    vaping
    does not look cool!

  25. the day arizona
    went blue


    LORIN AND JOHN S: is this an example of “hovering back”????
    and is this an example of non-inclusion for international renku???

    1. the day arizona
      went blue (Wendy C.Bialek)
      .
      (Q a) I don’t understand this question at all, so can’t even attempt an answer. What’s hovering here, let alone what’s “hovering back”? Try to put your question more clearly.
      .
      (Q b) If you mean something like “is mentioning the name of a USA State ” (or an Australian state or an Italian city etc.) somehow a problem for international renku?” all I can say is “not to my knowledge.” (But if I were to mention Arizona in a verse I’d be using the capital A, and capitals for Rome, Beijing,etc. too)
      .

      1. lorin….does this ring a bell?
        _________________________________________
        Here is what we have, so far:

        A Better Look

        dragonfly…
        hovering back
        for a better look

        John Stevenson

        _____________________________________________________

        lorin thank you for answering, Qb!

        1. lorin….does this ring a bell?
          _________________________________________
          Are you asking whether I recognise the title of this renku and the hokku or not? If so, yes, happily I can attest that I do recognise the title, “A Better Look”, and I also recognise John’s hokku.
          .
          (What that has to do with the price of fish is beyond me, though. )
          .
          LORIN AND JOHN S: is this an example of “hovering back”????

          (b) Are you asking (as you seem to be) whether or not your verse “the day arizona/ went blue” is (somehow!) an example of the title and the hokku of this renku?
          .
          No, I don’t think your verse is an example of John’s hokku and/ or of the title of this renku. (To me, this question of yours is absurd. Perhaps you’re using a dialect I’m not familiar with, though. John may be able to clarify the issue.)
          .

      1. I love the effect of that unintentional line break .. if clothing is taken off ..
        I had a poodle skirt .. the eyes were rhinestones .. I loved it ..

        1. thanks, maxianne
          lol! the “unintentional” line break was intentional….
          and yes, the rhinestone eyes….going down memory lane!

    1. on second thought, I think the line break sounds better after ‘radio.’

      *

      let’s turn the radio
      on and dance

  26. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    …and now to our
    regularly scheduled programming
    *

  27. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    gauging the lifespan
    of the latest trend
    *
    defying the subliminal
    with superior self-discipline
    *
    *

  28. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    getting everything we need
    with a QR scan
    *

  29. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    humming one of last year’s
    Billboard top hits
    *
    still the instant recall
    of Billboard #1s
    *
    a covid PSA
    in all caps
    *
    filling the prescription
    at the cannabis cafe
    *

  30. oh, ho, ho, ho
    you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
    .
    Lorin’s verse reminded me of the David Bowie song ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ from his Ziggy Stardust album that starts….”Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth.”

    1. Btw line two should be italicized because it’s from the actual song lyrics. The first line is how Bowie sings it when I hear the song, but I’ve just checked and see that it’s just written as “Ohhh” for some reason.

  31. No offence intended. But does not Lorin’s verse imply “to look at” does this not clash with the hokku? Perhaps thinking too deep. Alas, worth a slapped wrist to be informed.

    1. that is a fair question…..thank you for mustering up the nerve to ask it? robert, i, too, have similar thoughts, and sure would be interested in hearing an answer to this question.
      .
      i love, love, love,…. lorin’s verse, too….and want it to stay in the renku…..am very interested in learning how this can be an exception! i want to hear in words from john….his thinking process for inclusion….an acceptance.

      1. here is what I have to say. The verse adds an interesting shift because its action occurs within a much larger space frame-giving a more global perspective of the narrator herself about the process of renku writing as it pauses for a break. It is not speaking about a specific image in a single frame of reference such as all the verses including the dragonfly hovering have been doing. The verse is Self-reflexive which has always been a favorite of mine. I don’t know if I am exolaining anything…it just seems to be a verse about a verse, a frame within a frame, adds great texture to our renku i think. For what it’s worth..

        1. yes, michelle….it does all that…..and that is what is all appealing about it
          ….but……it also does other things….having to do with basic renku traditions….not to repeat anything from the hokku….i see this as taking us back…..to look again…..which is a scent linking to hokku,,,,what is being questioned is would this pass the test if it were placed in contest? in submission in an established book on renku????
          the difference is…..how loose can we be…..before it no longer adheres to fundamental structure…..and can we break this tradition without consequences????

          1. I don’t know about contest rules. I am just speaking from a poet’s perspective. The pause is simply not as a great as a full on hokku pause. The ‘looking back’ is actually not done through the verse’s diction or definite imagery desription so much as it refers to an unseen quantity of time so to speak. I don’t know. I think renky should be fun and this verse is fun.

          2. michelle…..i always listen from a poet/artist’s heart …..but i am asking to learn how this sabaki judges and if this would be allowed for publication and professional areas? there is a difference. this is not an attach on lorin’s verse…..i really admire it.
            it is an academic discussion about the latitude of renku.
            i am not rejecting lorin’s verse at all. i am questioning the direction it implicates….with regards to the hokku written by john….”in hovering back”…..how it relates to going back in time….with lorin’s verse.
            this is fun to me, learning and asking questions is fun to me…..i am doing with love…..not with malice…and i can do renku, too!

          3. I know you’re an artist, Wendy. The fun is in the flow of creating as a community and there is something to be said for trusting the choice of the sabaki.

          4. michelle,
            i am not questioning the judgement of john….i believe…you are misinterpreting my objective….i am asking john to share his beliefs with me in a clear way that i can understand it….and treasure it as a living lesson….from john…..as i respect his vision….and he knows i do!!!!!!

    2. This is a question of art – at what point do we go too far in setting limits? Like most questions of art, there is not a final or universal answer.
      .
      If it helps, we can think of this commercial message as part of a radio program. But, really, there is nothing to fix, in my opinion. If I did think that invocation of the visual media was a problem, I would want to write an answering verse that recast it as radio.

      1. yes, i agree about the art factor…..and that is why i love it.
        i can no problem with the visual media aspect….but, as in robert’s question…..john, as i hear it….and my question, too…is…more of a scent linking…..going back to hokku….”time was” reminds me very clearly of looking back.
        .
        and i do hear a pause/break after “was”.,,,which makes it sound very much like hokku/haiku.

        .
        why not just say:
        .
        when a cigarette
        commercial would
        be featured here

        ?

        1. aesthetically speaking, ‘when’ doesn’t create that interesting shift, for me, from a single point narrative to a global perspective that ‘time was’ does. I hear you about the pause but it is a matter of rhythmic degree and it seems to read as a much smaller pause than that of a full on pause of a hokku.

        2. and i do hear a pause/break after “was”.,,,which makes it sound very much like hokku/haiku.
          .
          There is no pause or break after “was”, Wendy. You’d need a very good imagination to have it sound like a hokku.
          The origin of the idiom, “time was”, seems to have been in the USA. It’s a shortening of “There was a time”. Formally, we’d say “There was a time when…”. But there’s no rule that we need to use high register at all times. “Time was” is accepted and acceptable.

          “.
          why not just say:
          .
          when a cigarette
          commercial would
          be featured here

          ? ” – Wendy C. Bialek
          .
          One reason I wouldn’t say or write that is because it makes no sense at all: the sentence is incomplete.

    3. 🙂 Until I read Wendy C. Bialek’s posts below yours, Robert, I couldn’t figure out what you meant.
      I think I’ve worked it out now, but let me know if I’m off-track.
      .

      “… does not Lorin’s verse imply “to look at” does this not clash with the hokku? ” – Robert
      .
      An interesting question, Robert and I see that Wendy is thinking along the same line. – L
      .
      “….it also does other things….having to do with basic renku traditions….not to repeat anything from the hokku… ” – W
      .
      ( Wendy, I ask you, what, precisely, is being repeated? -L )
      .
      “…,i see this as taking us back…..to look again…..which is a scent linking to hokku,,,,” – W.
      .
      Hmmmm, it’s possible to say almost anything is “scent-linked” to anything else these days. Therefore, it means little in this context. – L
      .
      “….what is being questioned is would this pass the test if it were placed in contest? in submission in an established book on renku????” – W
      .
      I suppose it would depend on the views of the particular judges or editors. – L
      .
      “the difference is…..how loose can we be…..before it no longer adheres to fundamental structure…..and can we break this tradition without consequences????” – Wendy C, Bialek
      .
      The question, then, if I read Wendy correctly, is “does the verse fly in the face of ‘basic renku traditions?”, traditions such as “not repeating from the hokku”. A vague “looseness” is then implied (‘how loose can we be?’) which leads to the view that tradition is being broken, and, with this view now set in place, the issue becomes “what are the consequences of breaking this tradition?”

      .
      When it comes down to it, the simple basis for Wendy’s judgements seems to be along the lines of (the expression) ” ‘time was’ reminds me very clearly of (the expression) ‘looking back’.” (I suspect this may be the basis of Robert’s query, too.)
      .
      I can understand this last observation. What we have here is a language issue and the basis of it is a confusion between the literal and the metaphorical. The narrator of the hokku says a dragonfly “hovers back/ for a second look”. As readers, we visualize, in the present moment, a literal dragonfly looking at an unidentified something for the 2nd time. The narrator is the observer, observing the dragonfly.
      .
      “Time was” is an idiomatic cue to a past time, as it is remembered or recalled. In this verse, nothing that’s happening now, in the present, is identified or even hinted at. What is happening in the previous verse remains. The narrator steps out of the immediate frame of the ski resort station, changing only the perspective (immediate real life to film or television documentary) and bringing past experience into the present moment. “In the past, this is what would’ve been happening now, at this point in the program, but things have changed.”
      .
      As far as I can tell, the ONLY way this verse (“time was…”) could be connected to the hokku would be to confuse the metaphorical with the literal. Starting with an observation of an insect “hovering back/ for a second look” (literal) we might by chance think of the related “looking back” (as we might turn to literally look back at a place we’re leaving) then turn the expression to metaphor, using “looking back” to mean remembering/ recalling: “Looking back, I was still naïve in my 20s.”
      .
      The ONLY way that I can see this “time was” verse could be connected to the hokku is by (mis) interpreting
      .
      dragonfly…
      hovering back
      for a better look
      .
      John Stevenson
      .
      to mean that the dragonfly is “looking back” (which it’s not doing, either literally or metaphorically… it’s “hovering back” to look) and then associating the “time was” memories with “looking back” in the metaphorical sense.
      .
      I appreciate and understand John’s statement:
      .
      “This is a question of art – at what point do we go too far in setting limits? Like most questions of art, there is not a final or universal answer.”
      .
      I’m also seeming to hear my other renku teacher muttering a similar point, more bluntly expressed, with the word “forensic” occurring often.
      .
      Everything is related somehow. To what absurd limits do we want to take it? How does someone’s remembrance of what used to occur when in a film documentary or the like relate to someone’s observation of an a flying insect returning to look at something?
      .

      1. Dear John and Lorin
        Thank you for your time in considering my question.
        I have taken some time to reflect and accept the context you both view it in.

        1. Goodness! I have been in a video conference all day and, when I signed on to catch up here and saw 160+ comments, I anticipated a lot of new verses.
          .
          I think we have to remember that this is poetry and that a wide variety of readings are always possible. Always.
          .
          To be somewhat clearer about my hokku – I do not visualize a dragonfly “looking back.” I imagined it seeing the same thing, but hovering back (a dragonfly can fly backward, without changing the direction of its body, head and many eyes) for a wider view. I take this “wider view” to signify “context” and the verse came to me because of the tensions we have experienced in the past when trying to arrive at a single view of some aspect of renku. I hope this feature can illustrate that there are multiple valid perspectives and none needs to prevail. A dragonfly has, literally, thousands of eyes and they work together, to its benefit. That’s what I had in mind.

          1. Here’s looking at you, John. 🙂
            .
            Robert , I suspect that the “back” in my original version of L1 (“back in the day”) was lingering in your mind. John and Maxianne did point out to me that this “back” might take readers back to the “back” in the hokku, and I realized, yes, it would. “Time was” was one of the suggestions John and Maxianne made and in my view, it was the best possible suggestion.

  32. Congratulations, Maxianne, on doing a great job as selector. Thank you for mentioning a couple of my verses. And congratulations, Lorin, on an intriguing and clever verse that can lead us in all sorts of directions.

  33. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    ——Lorin Ford
    .
    only the chimney
    left standing
    .
    breathing in
    dust from the Sahara
    .
    second hand clothes
    with no labels

  34. grandpa’s walking
    in black and white photos
    *
    all the cartoons
    in black and white
    *
    cars with fins
    glided along highways

  35. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    learning to inhale
    with the T-Birds and Pink ladies
    *

  36. Congratulations Lorin and thank you John for getting us underway again
    *
    boyhood barnlofts
    shrivel and shrink
    *
    potholes and rain
    down memory lane

        1. ha, ha!!!! wrong contest for money,
          don, last time i looked, the honour and choice of book was the prize! but with this win in hand, it goes good on resume and may help to pave the way to cash awards….if that’s what you need!

        1. Goodness me! 🙂 Well, that ‘Time Was’ song you’ve suggested was a bit before my time.
          .
          Obviously, “time was” is an idiom (probably a shortening of “There was a time…”) that’s been around in some parts of the world for quite some time.
          I have a sneaking feeling that I first heard the expression/ idiom in an old cowboy film/movie.
          .
          I’ve now tried to find its origin, without success.

          1. Yes, I could imagine that phrase in a Western, Lorin…
            .
            Cowboy looks into the distance, chewing tobacco. Spits. Says: “Time was, we had a sheriff in this town, and folks felt safe. Ain’t the case no more.” 🙂 🙂 🙂

  37. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    setting the mood
    with his imitation voice over
    *

  38. now that was a very, very, long commercial break, john and happy to return to the renku journey. i actually forgot, where we left off…..but it is slowly returning.
    .
    maxianne….very enjoyable concise commentary and terrific pick!
    .
    kudos to lorin for a great comic relief verse!

    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford

    .

    ‘one man’s medicine is
    another man’s poison’
    .

    he ran out of marlboros
    and never came back
    .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaxwDVvrqS8

    i ran out of breath
    waiting for your return

    .
    exhausted by side affects
    listed in medicine ads

    .
    side affects
    worse than sickness
    .
    two husbands tossed
    to these ashes
    .
    countless relatives
    cut short with habit

    .
    where we left off
    is slowly returning

  39. Congrats Lorin a perfect verse:

    breaking away for
    some bittersweet morsels
    ***************************

    to have and have not
    staring Bogey and Bacall
    **********************

    take five for a
    break in the action

    1. Thanks, Michael. I hadn’t at all expected this verse to be selected. Considering “back” took it back to the hokku, John’s suggestion of “time was” was excellent. (Not my Australian lingo, but it takes me back to Canned Heat. . . ah, reminiscence.)

    2. Micheal, much as I like your (a), we probably wouldn’t have the proper names (Bogey and Bacall) in a 20 verse renku since we already have Picasso. (and Dora Maar )

  40. Congratulations Lorin. A nice selection Maxianne. Thank you for considering one of mine.
    And thank you John for getting us back on track.
    .
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    another wall
    conquered by Casper
    .

  41. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    the story rolling on
    and on and on
    .
    not sure the 2nd line counts as unbroken, but thought I’d give it a try

  42. Congratulations, Lorin, and a well chosen, Maxianne.
    .
    Lovely selection of verses and text, and thank you for placing my verse amongst them.
    Looking forward to reading all the entries for this session.
    .
    Many thanks for keeping things rolling along, John, and to those behind the screen who work tirelessly when things go wonky.

  43. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    revision:
    *
    watching
    this space
    *
    saving money
    by buying generics
    *
    *

  44. It’s so great to be back with this–thanks, John, for keeping it rolling. And thanks to Maxianne for terrific comments and for picking an intriguing and rich verse; I feel ready to jump right in.

    And congratulations to Lorin! Wonderful verse.

    *
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here

    Lorin Ford
    *
    a watched space
    never fills
    *
    watching this space
    as the air clears
    *

  45. Great choice, Maxianne! Lorin’s verse creates a nice limk that creates an interesting reflexive space in the growing renku..it’s as if it is a “poem about a poem” now whete the narrator takes a pause to reflect and smoke.

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