skip to Main Content

The Renku Sessions: A Better Look – Week 14

renku_300

We generated 136 verse fourteen offers this week, from 21 poets. Laurie Greer is our selector and reports as follows:

“First, let me say that I always find the double-requirement verses almost paralyzingly difficult—especially with all the other constraints and in only two lines! So kudos to all who met the challenge. Second, as I went through the offerings, I found that each new submission cast the others in a different light, so my list of favorites was constantly changing. What this also shows is that whether your verses are mentioned or not, every single one affected the final selection and, thus, the entire poem.

For our Verse 14 I was ideally looking for something that transcends the physical side of love, which seems amply and well represented. Something along the lines of Wendy’s “Buddha Beach,” and Michelle’s Buddha references, perhaps. Also hoped to move on from purely human contexts and activities with a little nature.

I loved the language of many of these, including, but not limited to Maxianne’s “bubble butts” and “canoodling,” Lorin’s “tanned derrières” and “bloke in budgie smugglers,” Dan’s “cotton candy smile,” and Jonathan Alderfer’s “cerulean sea/ salted.”  Also fun was Carol’s “verse fourteen,” which recalls the date of Valentine’s Day, and Pauline’s rich “circumnavigation of the flesh” and the allusion to the first couple in “naked together in the perfumed garden.” Wendy efficiently hit the requirements with “our ‘make love not war’/ matching tanks still fit,” and “tank” has a nice pun with the military vehicle, but we already have an article of clothing and a train.

Among the many appealing candidates:

 

distant thunder coming
from the master suite

Michael Henry Lee

 

“Master” is compelling with a bondage resonance in keeping with “rope,” as well as multiple senses of “coming”; but it perhaps focuses too much on the physical side of love, already covered in #6 and 13.

 

Which is also true of Jonathan’s vivid and tasty:

licking the salt
from your tan lines

Jonathan Alderfer

 

Though “lines” has multiple possibilities with text and illustration and, as John pointed out, this would make the first appearance of a second-person reference in the poem.

 

beyond the bonds
of holy matrimony

and

their summer house now
her writer’s retreat

Michael Henry Lee

 

The first one is intriguing indeed: what is “beyond” the marriage? This moves us into new, undefined ground, a place of exploration and discovery, though perhaps the “holy” recalls the God of the Dora Maar verse. Also—it lacks a summer kigo.

With “writer’s retreat” we have a strong link to the Kama Sutra as a book and the verse also writes the next chapter of the relationship. Time has definitely moved on here—and it could signal a rupture between the couple or it could mean widowhood, with the marriage passing into the afterlife of memory.

 

not only the sand
that scorches

Tracy Davidson

Suggestive; we feel several kinds of heat: passion and summer sun in a concise, vivid verse also full of tactile sensations—though is scratchy sand too close to the scratchiness of #6?

 

splitting the bamboo
beneath a silk tree

and

the heat they share now
is just the weather

 Dana Rapisardi

I love the direct tie to the Kama Sutra in the first one, and also find it just a beautiful image. The “silk” definitely smooths the earlier roughhousing.

The second one also dials down the passion well, while maintaining a strong sense of togetherness.

 

a Thai massage under
a thatched roof on the beach

Dan Campbell

I love the pun with Thai/tie, and the hands-on approach of the massage, which skillfully avoids mentioning more body parts. But still perhaps a little too exclusively physical.

naps have replaced
picnics in the shade

Dan Campbell

This one subtly reflects the changes in a long-term relationship as the couple goes from passion to a quieter companionship, and the “shade” nicely turns down the heat. There’s also a nice extra in the touch of gentle humor about the mellowing of age. I’m only concerned that the nap recalls the imminent bedtime of the farmer’s wife, though bedtime is not the same as sleep!

 

a fiddler crab
plays nero’s love letters

princess k

I liked the range of references here, the multiple possibilities of “fiddler,” and the natural setting. But Nero echoes earlier proper names

 

tying the knot
two brides in rainbow dresses

Linda Weir

Definitely strong! It has an arresting image and nice development of romantic love, with a twist on June brides as well as June as Pride Month. But I’m afraid the “dresses” repeats an article of clothing from the scarecrow’s hat.

 

I kept going around with several of these, and making a final decision was very difficult. Ultimately, I went with:

 

their summer house now
her writer’s retreat

Michael Henry Lee

Along with the reasons mentioned above, this one has a lot of depth and a powerful haunting effect. It got me started imagining stories about the couple and the house, and I think it offers many ways to link and move ahead.

Thanks so much to John and to all contributors for this wonderful experience.”

 

John speaking again:

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

 

And now we move on to our fifteenth verse..

Our fifteenth verse should:

  • consist of three natural, unforced lines
  • constitute a single phrase, without a grammatical break
  • register clearly as a summer moon verse

Renku convention says that the moon is considered to be an autumn image unless it is clearly indicated to be set in a different season. So, you will need to include the moon or moonlight and a summer season word or phrase (kigo).

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

 

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

 

westernizing
the Kama Sutra
with rope tricks

Laurie Greer

 

their summer house now
her writer’s retreat

Michael Henry Lee

 

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. Michael Henry or I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Monday, December 7 (New York time zone). On Thursday, December 10, there will be a new posting containing the selection for our fifteenth verse and instructions for composition of verse sixteen.

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 115 Comments

  1. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    prompted by the buck moon
    to ask which pronoun
    is preferred
    *
    sweating the pronouns
    under a waning
    buck moon
    *

    1. I had similar thoughts after the weekend’s spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Great TV coverage of an amazing and much needed event.
      Lovely verse, Fern.

  2. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    cicadas still singing
    late into the evening
    as the moon rises
    *
    the cormorant fisher
    working by moonlight
    out in the bay
    *
    the lilies close up
    as the moon rises
    over the trees

  3. moonlight
    ricochets off grandpa’s
    moonshine still
    (moonshine is made in summer because corn is in season)

  4. moonbeams light
    up my garden
    for hungry rabbits
    *
    a stray summer
    moon following
    me home
    *
    a midnight
    swan dive into
    a full moon

  5. Verse 1:

    escaping the heat
    by sleeping outside
    under the moon

    Verse 2:

    battle-weary soldiers
    march away
    while the moon burns

    Verse 3:

    taking off my thin clothes
    to dance alone
    when the moon sails high

    Verse 4:

    high school students
    escape to the beach
    until moonlight sends them home

      1. Love this one Carol –
        .
        crescent moon
        on the curve
        of a crab’s claw
        .
        The constellation Cancer was the backdrop to the Sun’s most northerly position in the sky (the summer solstice) in ancient times.

        1. Thank you, princess , glad you like this verse, and thank you also for the information,
          I had no idea this was so, something I will be remembering.

  6. Congrats to Michael. I feel you really packed a lot in just seven words! And thanks to Laurie for considering a few of my verses worthy of note. (Can’t deny it’s a bit gratifying to know we contributors make the final decision difficult!)
    ***

    their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    ***
    ~ Michael Henry Lee
    ***

    taking notes
    on a mockingbird’s song
    in the spotlight moon
    ***

    there’s no escape
    from a toad orchestra
    the moon’s conducting
    ***

    enjoying a breather
    beneath the moon
    till a skunk drops by

  7. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat (Michael Henry Lee)
    *
    solstice night
    watching the moon
    surrender to the clouds

  8. Congratulations to Michael on this lovely verse. And thank you to Laurie for your thoughtful commentary on your selection process.
    *
    their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat (Michael Henry Lee)
    *
    moonlight comes and goes
    so swiftly on the sarsen stones
    this solstice night

  9. .
    the moon
    at full stop
    oh the heat!
    .
    the short night’s moon
    poems
    in her octopus pot
    .
    the octopus
    cruising abbey road
    in search of the moon
    .

  10. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    .
    under cover
    an alien lifeforms
    passes the moon

  11. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    … Michael Henry Lee
    .
    leaving
    the harvest moon
    to count sheep

  12. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat

    Michael Henry Lee
    .
    the short night’s moon
    hangs out for a while
    with wet beach towels
    .

  13. Whoops. We have “moonrise” + farm wife
    .
    revised to:
    .
    their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    Michael Henry Lee
    .
    a red alert
    is spelled out plainly
    by the bushfire moon
    .

  14. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat

    Michael Henry Lee
    .
    a red alert
    spelled out by the rising
    bushfire moon
    .

  15. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    the moon swelling
    with the paperbacks
    in the humid heat wave
    *

    1. A likeable verse, but it seems to evoke a love ( or relationship) vs and it’s my understanding that
      this is purely a moon vs, with the usual renku requirements of link and shift

          1. revision…

            *

            red moon
            my soul’s
            pages on fire

            *

            Michelle Beyers
            Copyright © 12/4/20

          2. oops I guess that last revision goes back to God unless God is the devil.😉I will think of something else.

      1. The header below the renku banner says ‘more love, as we move forward’ ?

        So just a summer moon verse, then, no lovey dovey stuff.

        1. on the last session, John S. writes, “Renku has specified locations for certain topics. There are designated moon verses and blossom verses. These images should not occur in our current verse.
          .
          I am providing this information to help those who hope to offer a verse that can actually be used as our fourteenth. But I do not offer it in order to discourage you from having fun and sharing verses that, for one reason or another, cannot be selected. In fact, I’ve very much enjoyed some of these verses and I consider them an important part of the “party” ethos of renku. Keep them coming!”

        2. john, as Renku maser’s direction seemed clear to moi unless i am mistaken. 3 line summer moon verse with a l ink and shift An additional response is above my “pay” grade

  16. Congratulations Michael on a lovely verse, and thank you Laurie for your considered remarks and enthusiasm. I look forward to reading everyone’s summer moon verses.

      1. revision..

        migrating moon
        pulling at my
        pages

        Michelle Beyers
        Copyright © 12/4/20

        *

        migrating moon
        pulling at my
        reflection

        Michelle Beyers
        Copyright © 12/4/20

  17. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    the recipe for a sundae
    topped
    with the strawberry moon
    *

  18. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    a smear
    of strawberry moon
    on the copyright page
    *

  19. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    a dusting of moonlight
    on the shelf
    of beach reads
    *

  20. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    capturing impressions
    of moonlight
    with a plume of dune grass
    *
    how moonlight cools
    the heat
    of the attic workroom
    *

    1. dancing pages and
      pages of the full
      thunder moon

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 12/4/20

      ***

      dancing pages and
      pages of the full
      Buck moon

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 12/4/20

      ***

      dancing pages and
      pages of the full
      thunder moon

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 12/4/20

      ***

      dancing pages and
      pages of the full
      Hay moon

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 12/4/20

        1. I wonder what the July moon names would be in El Salvador? Or even Chile, South Africa,Tahiti, New Zealand or Australia ?
          Some moon names are exclusive to the USA, having been adopted from moon names of the First Peoples of North America. Others are exclusive to the Northern hemisphere.
          .
          “SOUTH
          .
          Arab maps still showed the south on top and the north below but by the 13th century Europe had re-established the natural order of the universe.
          According to the rules of that order, dictated by God, north was up and south was down. . . .
          In the south, rivers ran backward, summers were cold, day was night and the devil was God. The sky was black, empty. All the stars had fled north. ”
          .
          – from ‘MIRRORS’ by Eduardo Galeano (an author well worth reading)

          1. “According to the rules of that order, dictated by God, north was up and south was down. . . .
            In the south, rivers ran backward, summers were cold, day was night and the devil was God. The sky was black, empty. All the stars had fled north. ””

            Sounds like my kind of book. There are days when I have quite a bit of sympathy for the devil if God has anything to do with the big Nor’easter 14″ on the way..I wish north was south. Wouldn’t mind being in Australia about now.😉
            .

          2. Sorry! I don’t know why my ‘moon/ reef’ verse showed up here and not at the top of the thread.

  21. Congratulations, Michael Henry, on a fine verse. Looking forward to your perspectives as a selector next week. Laurie, I enjoyed your commentary very much. It was very difficult combining summer and love in two lines, though Michael Henry certainly managed it. Thank you for mentioning a couple of mine.

    Pauline

  22. finding a muse
    between the tide lines
    and the strawberry moon
    *
    finding a muse where
    the sea tide spins
    the strawberry moon into gold
    *

  23. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    … Michael Henry Lee
    .
    leaving the moon
    to the Queen of the Night’s
    bloom
    .
    only the moon
    and the cereus’s
    one-night-bloom

    1. The blossom verse in this renku will be number 19. We cannot include any blossom images until we reach that verse.

  24. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    .
    Michael Henry Lee

    *
    half moon and
    twirling wind chimes
    witness best selling words

  25. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    again tonight
    the moon on the roof
    sunbathing
    *
    the day moon
    pretends to read
    a beach novel

      1. thanks, Laurie .. thanks, Wendy .. have long been fascinated by the fact that moonlight is actually sunlight ..

        1. “. have long been fascinated by the fact that moonlight is actually sunlight ..”- Maxianne
          .
          🙂 … one might even say that moonlight is “second hand sunlight”. (not very romantic, though)

  26. Congratulations, Michael, and well selected, Laurie. Michael’s verse ( subtly, beautifully) shifts completely in mood from its maeku. ‘Their’ becomes ‘her’, so I suspect that ‘he’ is now out of the picture entirely. Peace and reflection are evoked as “their” summer house becomes “her” writer’s retreat. The ties are broken and she has her “room of one’s own”. The gate to a moon verse is open.

  27. congrats to Michael .. and just to say, wish I had a writer’s retreat, too 😉
    thanks, Laurie, for insightful comments .. glad the language of my “bubble butts” appealed to you 😉 .. to set the record straight, however, the “canoodling” is Marion’s ..
    am looking forward to the moons that we’ll see emerging from the summer house .. maybe even one or two from me, just for fun ☺
    happy writing and happy reading!

  28. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    spending the advance
    on a week at the beach
    with a view of the moon
    *

  29. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    deep in her own
    drama
    under the sturgeon moon
    *

  30. their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat
    *
    Michael Henry Lee
    *
    fishing for compliments
    on her fairy tales
    under the sturgeon moon
    *
    blushing bright
    as the strawberry moon
    when she misses the typo
    *
    So much fun to be doing this again! Michael–you will be a wonderful selector.
    Thanks, everyone!

  31. Thank you much Laurie and John what a pleasant surprise!!! Yes i would enjoy the opportunity to select the next verse. It always is a learning experience and far more intensive than some might imagine. As usual i will rely on John as the final learned filter for any of my perspective selections. This is a real gas, and i thoroughly enjoy participating in each an every renku event. A tip oft he hat to the best single source ( in my opinion) of an all things related haiku resource: The Haiku Foundation

  32. ooops….correction

    john, thanks again, for delivering another chapter of renku guidance.
    *
    laurie….a masterful undertaking! precise commentaries, leading to a mature pick…that places a perfect groundwork for our summer moon verse.
    *
    michael….congrats for making a true to life verse…adding great value to our renku and a marvelous transition to the moon.

    their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat

    Michael Henry Lee

    *

    chapter completed
    by the calm evening’s
    moonlight

  33. john, thanks again, for delivering another chapter of renku guidance.
    *
    lori….a masterful undertaking! precise commentaries, leading to a mature pick…that places a perfect groundwork for our summer moon verse.
    *
    michael….congrats for making a true to life verse…adding great value to our renku and a marvelous transition to the moon.

    their summer house now
    her writer’s retreat

    Michael Henry Lee

    *

    chapter completed
    by the calm evening’s
    moonlight

  34. Thank you, Laurie, for your rich commentary of all the selected verses. Congratulations to Michael! A writer’s retreat opens possibilities and a new direction for the renku that now finally gets to see the light of the moon. yaay!

  35. Congratulations, Michael Henry. A well chosen verse, Laurie, I enjoyed reading your insightful comments. and thankyou for the mention of my ‘verse fourteen’ appreciated.
    .
    Look forward, as usual, to reading all the verses to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top