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The Renku Sessions: A Better Look – Week 12

renku_300

There were 185 verse twelve offers this week, from 20 poets. Lorin Ford is our selector and here is her report:

“Thanks to everyone for the abundance of verses submitted for our verse #12. Here is my shortlist of fifteen verses, in no particular order:

 

let’s turn on the radio
and dance

Michelle Beyers

A radio not yet turned on confirms that the speaker of the previous verse probably was recalling a screen version of the cigarette commercial. This verse recalls a time (before mobile phones and devices) when people actually listened to the radio. . . and yes, danced to radio music. We’re invited to turn off the TV and enjoy such dancing again, a positive suggestion for these locked-down days.

*

potholes and rain
down memory lane                                                             

 – Dan Campbell

This verse links to the previous verse via general reminiscence with “memory lane”, but there’s a mood change:  memories of sad and difficult times are introduced, but in the form of a rhyming chant such as might be sung by children.  The unusual (for a renku) use of end rhyme here is a plus.

*

all the cartoons
in black and white                                                                

– Dan Campbell

 

Perhaps this verse is set in the days before colour TV or, going perhaps further back than even black & white TV, to the “big screen” at a theatre or drive-in. I do recall Heckle and Jeckle cartoons in the Frankston picture theatre in the 50s.

*
the ageless comfort 
of slightly singed gingerbread

Laurie Greer

What’s implied here is that a smoker has quit and (as many do) gains comfort from eating sweet things. Homemade gingerbread sounds good to me.

*

the story rolling on                                                                          
and on and on

– Ellen Compton 

A story that begins with “time was…” is often likely to continue as a monologue for quite some time and be boring, rolling on and on and on.  There’s a wealth of humour captured in this idea. The narrator of the previous verse becomes a bit like the Ancient Mariner, who accosts people and insists on telling his story in full before letting them go on their way. “Rolling” also takes me to “roll your own” cigarettes as well as to memories of the TV Western serial, ‘Rawhide’ and its theme song.  However, “rolling on” might also take us back to the steam train wheels at the ski resort in the uchikoshi.

*


collection of matchbooks
from all the best bars
 

–   Ellen Compton

The matchbooks link well to and support the smoking-related reminiscence theme of the previous verse. People did collect these matchbooks as a hobby, like others collected stamps.

*

all eyes on the quiet man
reaching for the stars

– Robert Kingston

Apart from linking via the use of another idiom, this time metaphorical (“reaching for the stars”) I imagine that this verse links to the previous via an implied film or TV screen. Perhaps what’s showing is a literal thing happening, such as an astronaut being filmed. John (Stevenson, our sabaki) says: “I wonder if this in some way refers to “The Quiet Man” – one of John Wayne’s better movie roles.” I’d say John’s likely to be on scent.

*

to have and have not
starring Bogey and Bacall                                               

 – Michael Henry Lee

When smoking was sexy! To Have and Have Not was Bogart and Bacall’s first film together and cigarettes and smoking were worked in as visual metaphor. It’s also a classic in the history of successful subliminal advertising. However, we have Picasso and Dora Marr earlier in the renku and it’d be repetitive to have another pair, especially as a lead-in to love verses, which will necessarily imply couples.

*

take five for a
break in the action                                                           

 – Michael Henry Lee

Michael takes us onto the set where a cigarette commercial is perhaps being filmed, but this verse also plays on advertisements/ commercials that had slogans along the lines of “Have a break, have a (Brand Name) cigarette”.

*

breathing in
dust from the Sahara                                                      

  – Jonathan Alderfer

Perhaps whomever is “breathing the dust. . .” here is walking a mile for a Camel?

*

and why are the clocks
always melting?
                                                                 

 – Marion Clarke

An interesting and original link to “time was”, as time itself seems to be melting away. Melting clocks, though, are sure take readers to Dali’s famous painting and we already have Picasso named in verse #7 (by Andrew Shimield) and Picasso’s “cat and bird” painting in verse #8 (by Kiti Saarinen) for our “Visual Art” topic.

*

the slow drawl
of her favourite cowboy                                                
   

– Marion Clarke

The idiom “time was”, from the previous verse, seems to fit well with a cowboy persona. On hearing it, perhaps she recalls the voice of her favourite cowboy character from film or TV. Perhaps it’s James Dean in the earlier part of the film, ‘Giant’. The choices are many.

*

welcome
to the cancel culture                                                                   

 – Pauline O’Carolan

Times change, trends change and fashionable jargon changes. Cancelled advertisements for products that endanger health for the profit of a few (such as cigarettes) can be seen as be a public good. On the other hand, when “cancelled” replaces “ostracized” in our language (as seems to be the current fashion) and we use it to refer to people, we’re dangerously close to the Orwellian nightmare. Or to Nazi prison camps. While this isn’t a verse that I’d choose to precede a ‘love’ verse, it’s an original linking to the previous verse. John adds: “For me, “cancel” also has the scent of “cancer.”

*

little nose wrinkling
after grandma’s kiss    

 – Dana Rapisardi

A graphic and delightfully true to life image of a child’s response to the smell and taste of the smoker’s kiss. That wrinkling nose says it all.

*

pow pow, she yells,
pointing her air pistols                                                                        

 – Linda Weir

A fresh and lively verse, full of fun. Here we have a Calamity Jane in the making! With this portrait of a young girl with air pistols Linda brings history into the present. (Air pistols and rifles can certainly be dangerous: a certain boy tried to shoot me with his air rifle when I was twelve.) John adds that “air pistols” might also be pretend pistols, the equivalent of “air guitars”. Real or pretend air pistols, watch out, because this girl is more likely to shoot than be shot.

—————————————————————–

Verse # 12  –

the slow drawl
of her favourite cowboy                                                

– Marion Clarke

This is the stand-out verse for me. It links well, taking the previous verse’s idiom, “time was” and attributing it to a “cowboy”, most likely a fictional character played by an actor. There is a simple warmth in the idea of a “favourite cowboy” being brought to mind by a regional idiom.  Also, introducing a likeable character here opens the way for a smooth transition to the forthcoming “love” verses, which is a great plus.

*

It’s been an honour and a challenge for me to be the verse selector this time around. I’ve much appreciated John’s input and feedback along the way.  Many thanks, John, for the opportunity.

– Lorin”

 

John speaking again:

Marion Clarke will now be offered the opportunity to select our next verse. Please let me know, Marion, if you would like to do so.

And now we move on to our thirteenth verse, the first in a pair of love verses.

Our thirteenth verse should:
• consist of three natural, unforced lines
• constitute a single phrase, without a grammatical break
• register clearly as a non-seasonal love verse

Do not attempt to make your verse a “stand alone” poem. Renku is not a haiku sequence. Think of the thirteenth verse as making a new poem when added to the twelfth verse. Repeat nothing from the first eleven verses. Be especially careful not to draw our attention back to verse one or verse eleven.

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

the slow drawl
of her favorite cowboy

Marion Clarke

 

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. Marion or I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Monday, November 23 (New York time zone). On Thursday, November 26, there will be a new posting containing the selection for our thirteenth verse and instructions for composition of verse fourteen.

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 194 Comments

  1. the slow drawl
    of her favourite cowboy
    @Marion Clarke


    clattered his shoes
    reminds me of stories
    fellow school
    @Nani Mariqni, Melbourne

  2. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    whispers then a soft laugh
    from under
    the rustling sheets

  3. .
    .
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    .
    just the glint
    of his golden horn
    and the pleiades dance
    .
    .

      1. together on
        bareback through
        open plains

        Michelle Beyers
        Copyright © 11/23/20

        together riding
        bareback through
        open plains

        Michelle Beyers
        Copyright © 11/23/20

  4. time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    her leather
    fringed vest tickles
    his hippie heart
    .

  5. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    meeting
    cute
    at the cattle call
    *
    a meeting
    too cute
    for words
    *
    a small wedding
    witnessed
    by two best friends
    *
    practicing
    their vows
    until they sing
    *

  6. .
    .
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    .
    absence makes
    this fucking tattoo
    bleed
    .
    absence makes
    the red thread around my neck
    tighter
    .
    absence makes
    the art of nonchalance
    my lingua franca
    .
    .

  7. Two more offerings.
    ***

    departing Dallas
    for their honeymoon
    in the Maldives
    ***

    taking their time
    walking down the aisle
    the second time

      1. LOL!!!! thank you, me too! dan!!!!!
        ….i was just wondering if flower mentioning at this time
        is premature.

  8. .
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    .
    overcompensating
    debbie does austin
    too
    .

  9. rounding up
    all the courage
    he could muster
    **************
    watching the clock
    as they wait
    for her husband
    *****************
    greatly restrained
    by his weathered
    lariat
    ***************
    swept off her feet
    in the twinkling
    of an eye
    ************
    their rendezvous
    spent waiting for
    Old Paint to dry

    1. very clever, michael….

      greatly restrained
      by his weathered
      lariat

      everytime i read it….i want to read….”gently”……instead of “greatly”!

  10. A fine verse, Marion, and a clever choice by Lorin to lead into a love verse. Thank you for mentioning my cancel culture, Lorin. Enjoy being selector, Marion.

    Verse 1:

    their courtship
    was a fast
    and very public event

    Verse 2:

    a prolonged
    seduction between
    breakfast and dinner

    Verse 3:

    I’m climbing
    into the saddle again
    after my second divorce

    Verse 4:

    do you think
    a whirlwind romance
    ever lasts?

  11. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy – Marion Clarke\
    .
    the groom’s blushes
    throughout their shotgun wedding
    outshine his bride’s
    .

  12. Congratulations Marion on a lovely verse to lead into our love verse. And thanks Lorin for mentioning one of mine in the commentary.
    *
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    **
    out in the bush
    their first dance as he sang
    Waltzing Matilda

  13. Congratulations Marion – I love a slow drawl! And thanks Lorin for your commentary.
    .
    .
    time was
    a cigarette commercial
    would feature here
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    .
    losing my religion
    in the church
    of the flying spaghetti monster
    .
    .

  14. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy — Marion Clarke
    *
    she fell in love
    with a stormtrooper
    at Comicon
    *
    campfire songs
    of a girl waiting
    back home
    *
    his pulse races
    at that french accent
    whispered in his ear

  15. when she’s dancing
    in the white boots
    it makes him go insane
    ********************
    his branding iron
    leaves a lasting
    impression
    *****************
    time stands still
    in the porn theatre
    men’s room
    ************
    their first date
    features pralines
    and cream

  16. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    @Marionne Clarke

    on the edge of the lake
    standing behind the tree

    water fountain
    gentle wind sound
    Hello, hello, hello…
    @Nani Mariani

  17. Congrats to Marion for finding your place in the renku. And many thanks to Lorin for considering one of my offerings as noteworthy.–As for my current offering, any among us older folks remember the… Village People?
    ***

    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    ~ Marion Clarke
    ***

    what a shock
    when she married
    the construction worker

  18. I am happy you created a verse by linking to mine, Nani😊 My verse was more an adult version but it is fun to look and create new verses from each other’s creations. thank you for sharing.

    1. You are welcome, dear Michelle

      I am just a newcomer here and hope it is fine for you 🕯🕯🌹🌹
      Thank you

  19. the slow drawl
    of her favourite cowboy
    … Marionne Clarke
    .
    yet
    he always hears
    my unspoken thoughts
    .
    even
    from a distance
    he hears me

    1. Oh dear, sorry for misspelling your name Marion. Great verse, by the way. Congrats.
      .
      the slow drawl
      of her favourite cowboy
      … Marion Clarke

  20. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    riding
    into the sunset
    is only the beginning
    *
    never The End
    with a wild West
    romance
    *

  21. it was the sun
    the sweet
    the look
    @Michelle Beyer

    ice cream
    raise children’s eyes
    cute like a cat
    @NaniMariani, Melbourne

    1. nani….i do hope you can catch on soon….to the concept of renku.
      you have great ideas to contribute.
      using and relying on google to translate may not be enough at first…the navigation and mapping order of renku need to be learned first…the concept is to link to the “selected” verse…
      in this case
      …marion clark’s verse.

  22. he had me
    tangled up
    in wranglers

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 11/19/20

    you had me
    tangled up
    in wranglers

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 11/19/20

    I was
    tangled up
    in wranglers

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 11/19/20

    1. hmmmmm! sounds so familiar…..now where did i hear something like this before?????? really….i am flattered!
      LOL!!!!!! michelle…..
      you left out…. he, she or it ….is…you are, we are, they are?

      1. bobby dylan should be flattered. you said

        wrangled up in blue

        which uses the word wrangle as an intransitive verb. my verse tangled up in wranglers uses wrangler as a concrete object aka wrangler blue jeans. Both verses sound highly remeniscent of Bob Dylan’s tangled up in blue, a guy I have met personslly speaking😎😎 the verses are completely different!!

    2. michelle,

      i am wondering how/why …here…you felt the need to (c) a day before i posted my verses first ??????
      strange…..how you haven’t (C) any other poems this time that you have listed.

      1. what are you saying, Wendy? I don’t understand what you are asking? If one is inspired to right tangled up in blue after bobby d’s infamous notes, are you suggesting my wrangler jeans verse can’t also use the phrase tangled up? I don’t understand what you are saying, Wendy. I like your verse but I like mine, too😊

        1. Without the capital W, “wrangler”, in the USA, refers to a trade or occupation.
          .

          “In North America, a wrangler is someone employed to handle animals professionally, especially horses, but sometimes other types of animals as well. The word “wrangler” is derived from the Low German “wrangeln” meaning “to dispute” or “to wrestle”. It was first documented in 1377. ”
          (Wikipedia)
          .
          In my reading, being “tangled up in wranglers” evokes a scene from the bawdier end of the ‘Love verse’ spectrum . If a brand name for jeans is intended, a capital W is needed to distinguish the proper name from the general trade or occupation name.
          .

    1. it was the sun
      the sweat
      the stare

      ***

      it was the sun
      the sweat
      the gaze

      ***

      it was the sun
      the sweat
      the eye

  23. blessed is the day
    we met and it goes on
    till now
    ***

    jumping to know
    what happens to her lover
    in that mega serial
    ***

    grand show
    without a love scene
    only fist fights
    ***
    her wedding gown
    her symbol of love
    in her wardrobe ever
    ***

    a shawl and hug
    warmth of his love
    unforgettable

      1. I subscribe to Daily Issa and that’s where the link was posted. I’m so grateful too! John’s strict guidelines make perfect sense to me now.

        1. yes, dana….not to repeat the past….keeping us moving on, so healthy for the soul….so there is no dwelling in the past!

          1. I studied renga as part of a college course in Japanese lit but I never achieved the understanding I’m gaining now.

            I’m wondering what it was like composing one of these at a party!

      1. You’re welcome, Dan! This article was like the proverbial bolt from the blue for me, making it clear why a renku has no narrative thread. More importantly it provided me a new insight into how to link to the immediately preceding verse and yet head in a new direction.

  24. Congrats Marion on being selected this week. The cowboy is inspiring a lot of direction here. Thank you Lorin for fine commentary, and a belated congrats to your verse being selected last week. My mother just passed away so I am taking a little time off from here and will return when it seems appropriate. Will keep reading and look forward to the next addition.

    1. So sorry for this loss, Debbie. Take your time. There will always be a place for you here, whenever you are ready to return.

    2. Dear Debbie, thanks for your kind comments and for taking the time to write them at this sad time for you. My condolences for the loss of your mother.

    3. Debbie–so sorry. Thanks for letting us know, and I hope that the renku can help brighten the days. Looking forward to having you back when you are ready.
      Take care.

  25. Congrats Marion a great choice
    **************************
    dashing
    and daring a drink
    he was sharing
    *****************
    come a ti
    yi yippee yippee
    yea yippee yea
    ***************
    comes a time
    when you’re drifting comes
    a time when you settle down
    *************************
    black leather
    chaps accent
    her petite derriere

  26. As weird chance would have it, I picked up a 3 pack of James Stewart films in my local op shop (USA ‘charity store’ ?) today and watched the first this afternoon:” ‘Bend of the River’. It was good! I think it It had more horses and horse action than I’ve seen in a Western film before, covered wagons, a small herd of Herefords cows (tan and white with big horns and gentle nature ) and a surprisingly young Rock Hudson in a small part as a handsome gambler.
    .

    1. ahhhhhh Jimmy Stewart..he is the best. I love him in anything especially when he’s teamed up with kate hepburn. what hutzpah! Bring on the popcorn💎😍Thanks for sharing.

      1. cool!….thank you, thank you, thank you, again, for seeing this john.
        you are perfectly right…..”out” is not needed!
        .
        mint julep toothpicks
        pried from his mouth
        with my teeth

  27. thinking of her while
    drinking cheap whiskey
    in a saloon
    *
    she’s up
    at dawn to
    fix the corral
    *
    some hearts
    even survive a
    buffalo stampede

  28. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy — Marion Clarke
    .
    only beef i have
    with him is organic
    usda grass-fed

  29. he slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    nothing
    between them
    but a saddle blanket
    *
    a saddle blanket
    all they need
    to stay warm
    *

  30. together we walk,
    trot, and sometimes
    even gallop
    *
    some cowgirls
    keep handcuffs and paddles
    under their saddles

  31. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    lifted over
    the threshold of their home
    on the range
    *

  32. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    .
    ten gallons
    and a hot seat
    in his fast car
    .
    if people knew
    the mean behind tonto
    they would not laugh
    .

  33. thanks john for your guidance and input, as usual, enlightening!!!!
    terrific job….lorin, enjoyed reading all your picks and comments and the selection for our 12th verse was perfect!
    .
    congrats!!!! marion…..i loved that verse, the first time i read it and so happy it became included in our renku. such a great link, and a perfect shift for the loves that will follow.

  34. the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy — Marion Clarke
    **
    snuggled into
    his little dogie
    jammies
    **
    snuggled under
    his tumbleweed
    comforter

  35. love that slow drawl, Marion .. congrats .. and congrats, too, to Lorin for wise comments on lovely short list .. so difficult to narrow it down!

  36. Congratulations Marion.
    Thank you Lorin and John for an interpretation on mine.
    FYI I wrote both this and my other space verse at the same time. Both related to Elon Musk and his project x achievements. In my mind it was an advert connection, as so much was on the tv and media on the day.

  37. *

    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    thrown for a loop
    by the skill
    of the pick-up line
    *
    back in the saddle
    after a string
    of rough break-ups
    *

    1. “back in the saddle”. Indeed. 🙂
      (I know it was a song and intended to mean back to being on horseback but in certain country regions I know of the phrase came to have a usage quite suitable for ‘love’ verses. )

  38. Great work Lorin and Marion! Thanks for your comments, Lorin, and for noticing one of mine.
    *

    the slow drawl
    of her favorite cowboy
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    giddy
    as their hearts
    quicken
    *

  39. Great choice, Lorin! Congratulations to Marion. So we roll on to cowboys and the wild west. What an adventure renku is indeed😍

    ps. thanks for mentioning one of mine.

    1. Thanks, Michelle, and your verse took me back to my learning to dance to the radio. (I lived, for some years of my childhood, in a remote timber town which was beyond the reach of TV signals)

      1. Thank you, Lorin. Your timber town story reminds me of growing up without cable tv, waking up early (I am a early riser) and sitting at my grandfather’s reading Tennesee Williams because the only thing at 5 am on a sunday morning were bible thumper channels and fishing🥺

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