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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 11

renkuchainGreetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Fourth Renku Session: A Day of Snow. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto Canada and i will be the leader of a 36-link Kasen renku. I’ve led over 40 of these linked-poem gatherings and my latest book, from Carleton Place, Canada is a selection of 15 of them, called petals in the dark.

Good morning, renku people. I’m pleased to say i’ve chosen for our renku’s verse 11:

a gypsy’s forecast
uttered to the sound
of rolling dice

        –Lorin Ford

This verse turns the beautiful transparency of the glasswing butterfly’s upper wings into a gypsy’s fundamental prop: a crystal ball.

At the same time, it calls forth a host of other apparitions: with “gypsy,” her scarves and dark eyes, soft hands over the crystal; with “forecast,” a foreboding of foul weather, and with the sound of “rolling dice,” a “back-room-boys'” repeated and illicit activity.

“Uttered” is the perfect word for the solemn yet gravelly tone of her voice, but also in that it evokes the speech act of an oracle; proclaiming without knowing exactly what it will mean for the listener. This, for me, in turn evokes Paul Vale’ry’s great poem, La Pythie (tr. The Pythian Oracle) while “rolling dice” next to it references the first Concrete Poetry poem by Vale’ry’s mentor, Ste’phane Mallarme’ entitled, Un Coup de De’s, (tr. A Toss of the Dice).

So without saying aloud or writing “crystal” or “sight” or indicating literary references, Lorin has here conveyed the sense of a seer’s moment and sounded it out with orchestrations from both the seedy underground and literary High Modernism. Superbly done, Lorin.

It’s further an exhilaration for me as a leader of our renku because the impact of it and its “gypsy presence” have changed my initial choice for the next link. Thus, instead of saving the moon verse for one link later, i feel we need the moon verse now. So for verse 12, we need 2 lines, a moon verse, with a further indication that it is within autumn’s seasonality.

Inspired linking,
Marshall

 

A Day of Snow to Date

a day of snow
no one else
has come to the door

    –Marshall Hrycuik

coyote song closer
this longest night

    –Judt Shrode

incense lit
the scent of sage
lingers in a crowd

      –Maureen Virchau

bales of the second haying
stacked to the rafters

    –Paul MacNeil

dust from travelers
makes its slow descent
in the moonlight

    –steve smolak

faded jeans, school colors
and granny’s specs to match

    –Betty Shropshire

facing me
a hairy bunyip points
the bones

      –Barbara A. Taylor

balls of moss
exit the quaking forest

      –Carmen Sterba

in the garden shop
seed packets
arrayed alphabetically

      –Marilyn Potter

glasswing on the handle
of my butterfly net

      –Karen Cesar

a gypsy’s forecast
uttered to the sound
of rolling dice

    –Lorin Ford

This Post Has 205 Comments

    1. no windows , paul, after “granny’s specs” and the “glasswing” -and playing on reflections is something i rarely want to include because there’s so many haiku that rely on them to stand alone

  1. saxophone notes rise
    under a blue moon

    (apologies for all the blues references, Marshall, but we’ve just had our annual five day ‘Blues on the Bay’ festival here and I can’t think of anything else at the minute!)

    1. this one a little more appropriate but “coyote’s song” is till lingering in our ears

    1. so more of a saxophone verse than a moon one, Marion and still too soon for more music

    1. great first line, Marion -the second brings it up a little too tight for it to link here

    1. “eye” bothers me here, because it feels like you mean it is watching -when it could just be the moon is visible as an aura and its “eye” is the unseen centre like the ‘eye’ of a hurricane -but moreso because of “granny’s specs” back in verse 6

    2. beautifully subtle verse, Marion -as long as you know it holds the moon implicit within it -and with my ‘odd’ placing of the moon verse in this renku, this would certainly be indiscernible -but thanks

    1. “the thick nocturnal” is very heavy diction, Mary -but appropriate since you play such a sharp verb, “pierces” before it -the only link i can think of though is that both dice and the half-moon are usually white something we don’t want to pivot on since the hokku begins with “snow”

    1. “murmuring” here is a better link to the “uttered to the sound” of the previous verse but “blankets” just too metaphorical and ‘flowery’ in language

      1. I was thinking rolling dice: rolling thunder as the connection in that first one. Ah well. Darn blankets 😉 I appreciate your clear directives as to what works and what doesn’t.

    1. interesting reworking of ‘moon’, Mary -restates the gypsy in the act of forecasting though

  2. After moon lore:
    *
    unlucky moon
    over my left shoulder
    *
    I flip a coin
    under the new moon
    *
    new sliver moon
    through the branches

    1. hello again, Christopher -of the three here, i like “new sliver moon” for its reversed ‘silver’ and also for its simplicity -but this could be in any season, unless you knew the ‘moon’ in Japanese verse is usually associated with autumn

  3. After moon lore:

    unlucky moon
    over my left shoulder

    I flip a coin
    under the new moon

    new sliver moon
    through the branches

    1. hey joel, levitating ferries would be great as long as no one slipped off the moonbeam -we’ve had both a harvest and some moonbeams, but thanks for the fun

    1. again, Christopher, which “Great Buddha”? I’m sure the vagueness here would diminish the poise of our renku as well as display a cavalier attitude towards Guatama Buddha that i find unnecessary

    1. “perigee” -the moon at its closest point of orbit of the earth most often would occur in autumn, Christopher -but i’m disinclined to believe there is one and only one “Great Pyramid” -and if we say “the Great Pyramid at Giza” for instance, the second line is just too long

    1. Claire -it’s the “polishing” that links back too close to the “glasswing” this time -ah, well, guess i liked each of these so much on their own i didn’t hear ‘the approach of the backlink’ -oh, no, I didn’t see that you’d sent in a version with ‘caught us stealing kisses’ -just too close to the butterfly net !

    1. well, Agnes, “thunderclouds surround” has a booming timbre to it, but as a poem, i’d like “the moon” in the same line -but the link is just too tenuous and as it is there’s a rhyme to the second line of the previous verse

    1. nice and simple, Mary -but, “woods” too close to that “quaking forest”

  4. a ring of mushrooms emerges
    just before the moon sets
    .
    .
    (reworking an earlier failed verse)

    1. again, Mary i think you’re fusing the growth of a mushroom ring with their appearance within your sight horizon -these are two different events -what I mean is; if you’re talking about your perception, you should locate yourself but if you are speaking only objectively you can’t write “emerges” because that would be just too long a ‘moment’

    1. this one i like too, Claire -have never had a pagan-sourced festival included in a renku i’ve lead-still right now, i prefer the moon-caught kisses -i’ll have to consider both of them again -thanks

    1. this one, Claire has a completely different perspective on this moon verse, Claire -just, “saw” is so personifying of the moon -could you accept, “caught” -then it has a reference to ‘catching something in camera’ and links like a scoop of the rolling dice? hope so – and thanks

      1. hi again, Claire -upon further reflection realize that ‘caught’ or ‘catching’ would ‘backlink’ too hard to the 2 verse previous “butterfly net” so we’d better not use it -thanks again

    1. i prefer this one of the three, paul -the reader feels an ambiguity as to whether “tourists” or “the moon” are about to set the lake afire -but the first version shows you mean it’s the moon -probably more likely too -but then that means it’s a bit of a judgment on the tourists who should’ve stayed, isn’t it -trying to keep out of our renku appraisals of human behaviour (except maybe in the Current Events section)

    1. very nice image, Mary -but “poppy” is still a flower and we had “faded jeans” in Betty’s verse

    1. well, Vasile, in Japan they call the late persimmons that hang high in their trees, ‘guardian persimmons’ but i think this verse is just over the line for personification

    1. trouble here, Vasile, with all the ‘est’ sounds (= 3) , ending in a half-rhyme -but, just for the record, do you mean, the light of the crescent moon is falling on a bowl of “ripe chestnuts” -or do you mean “the crescent” appears to be nested in a chestnut tree with its ripe fruit hanging visible?

    1. relays the unsaid ‘ball part’ of the gypsy’s crystal ball, Michael Henry -but i think that “apples” with “around” overdoes it

  5. a gypsy’s forecast
    uttered to the sound
    of rolling dice

    –Lorin Ford

    after a moonwalk
    we witness earthrise

    – Lorin

    1. yeah, that would be a change of perspective Lorin; to behold ‘morning’ on earth from the moon

    1. “moon silvered” feels just a bit contrived here, Judt -doesn’t match the immediacy and foreboding of the first line

    1. could be a young goat, i guess, Judt -“options” sounds too much like a sales proposition

      1. I was picturing a window steaming up, or looking through steam rising from your cup. Ah, communication. But having something not be understood is as instructive as the other way around.

    1. those tulips must have been kept frozen a few months, Mary -or i guess they could be greenhouse flowers -but “tulips” and “Hunter’s Moon” just don’t ‘go’

      1. May I ask why, Marshall? Hunter’s Moon is in October. That’s when I plant bulbs where I live. Most people plant spring flowering bulbs in the autumn since they need to send out roots and then “rest” in a cold, dormant state.

    1. -even though it’s in the name, “woods” is too close to the “quaking forest”

    1. can’t help hearing, ‘sifting’ at the end of the first line, Marilyn -the moon is probably the original ‘shape-shifter’, but i don’t believe one can see it change shape through one night’s viewing -though it does, certainly ‘shift’ in its placement -but then, “between” can be taken to indicate limits -and i don’t think you mean that either -I think you mean this more fancifully

    1. so thus, you’ve added some drama -but maybe “scare” is a bit too harsh a word for linking here

    1. just a little too wordy here, Aalix -and it ends up being a truism -that i don’t think you meant it to be

    1. this is an intriguing image, Tood -i’ll look at this one again, later -thanks

    1. hi Todd -a summary (and critical) comment or judgment here more than an experience of the moon

    1. hi Marietta -this one i need to understand more fully -I could see the moon’s light or a crescent moon sifting through or floating above rowan trees -but “rowan berries” suggests you mean a gathering of the berries, perhaps in cream, but perhaps as they hang ripe on their trees’ branches, that an image is floating across and through -and if this is the case then the curve suggests a scythe -but i need clarification

      1. Hi Marshall. I had in mind pretty much your latter vision of the image – a sliver of moon just glimpsed as it slips in and out of the rowan tree’s branches which are loaded with clusters of ripened berries.

    1. this one, Vasile, feels a little too close to my story of my daisan verse -but thanks for your response in verse

    1. well, “lo” certainly catches the reader by surprise -as does “moon blaze” but the second line is much less surprising and ripening is here a conjecture, probably a true one but an abstract summary of a night’s growth nonetheless -I think renku verses are best when they are all of one time tense, preferably the present

    1. different as always, Michael Henry -it’s a stretch to make this link with the previous verse though -and i’d like to keep the words, “poem” and “haiku” out of our renku -dissolves much of the charm of our collaboration, i think

    1. very nice, Vasile, but the first ‘moon verse’ had “moonlight” and i don’t want to repeat that

  6. .. . and:

    a gypsy’s forecast
    uttered to the sound
    of rolling dice
    –Lorin Ford

    as a boomerang returning
    this Samhain moon

    Lorin

  7. . . . bad manners, probably, but for the sake of the game 🙂 :

    a gypsy’s forecast
    uttered to the sound
    of rolling dice

    –Lorin Ford

    the moon at midheaven
    dots a pencil pine’s i

    – Lorin

    1. Nope, “telling” is too close to Lorin’s gypsy, isn’t it? Let me change it to this one:
      .
      .
      leaves of moon tea
      changing what’s to come

  8. flecks of moon in the hall mirror
    where they check their lipstick

    1. hi again, Marietta -not sure i want this moon verse to have a mirror in it after the first moon verse linked the “moonlight” to “granny’s specks” -makes me uneasy with “flecks” too since the rhyme feels like it recalls the former verse

    1. always enjoy your originalities, Michael Henry -but don’t want anything coming up “short” in the first 18; cycle rising -you ring resonances here both of formal table settings and tennis -but the negativity make it closer to a double fault -keep servin’ -you’ve got an ace in there somewhere

  9. Marshall,
    Sorry about ‘crystal’. I was thinking of the reflection of the moon in icy water being crazed.
    To me a pond is a simple , natural thing I grew up beside. I mistook a pond for a pond.
    Should we make this “much ado about nothing”? Always enjoy your critiques.
    Joyce

    1. well, maybe ‘much ado’ but I still think to call a reflection ‘crazed” ==made mad or made mad for, anthropomorphic -Friedrich Schelling, the German philosopher was the first to iterate that literature was the only art form whose organon was already symbolic -“a rose is a rose is .. .” already symbolic no matter how emphatic we try to improvise otherwise -“pond” is just about an ounce of symbolic gold in any haiku-related genre

      1. Hiya Marshall..to me, crazed referenced tiny cracks such as in crazed glass or like a type of pottery glaze after firing. Respectfully, Betty

        1. sorry, Betty and Joyce, never heard of ‘crazed glass’ but i think we can move on

    1. …and then I read Marshall’s comments about moon verses. Nevrtheless, this whole exercise is fascinating.
      Congratulations to all whose verses are part of this renku; and to the rest: I learn from them all.
      And thank you Marshall for your articulate, patient comments.
      Carol

      1. “And thank you Marshall for your articulate, patient comments.
        Carol”

        Which, I agree, are very helpful and inspiring, and allow us to orient, gradually getting a perspective. I also appreciate them hugely. .. it’s why I come back. Nice verse, btw, & try it differently without the moonlight? That shape of the salmon, flipping up … moon-like? (before the bear catches it 🙂 )

        – Lorin

        1. I didn’t see this until 2-6. It’s a nice surprise Lorin – thank you; and thanks for your suggestions re the salmon and bear – lovely – but it’s a little too late to submit another verse for this particular place.
          🙂 Carol

    2. this is very nice, Carol -and thank-you for the comments -just that our previous moon verse had “in the moonlight” already -can’t repeat that for the whole Kasen renku

    1. children might be up a bit late here, Aalix -just guessing you’re trying to reference Halloween with a maze -so either “children” or “scare” is inappropriate here

  10. hi Polona, my reply went to the top of the list at 3:27 pm EDT, 2705 -hope you see it there -Marshall

  11. that’s right, Polona to defeat our Western predilection for orderly narrative, the classic renku tradition has two moon verses before the first blossom verse. It is weighted, but this aesthetic prefers the discontinuous and oblique to the square and logical and so do i

    1. found it, Marshall, thank you.
      just to make it clear: if the selected verse calls for the moon (and i can see whyit would) out of its usual slot, i’m all for it! and btw, i’m enjoying your selection of verses, Lorin’s being no exception.
      what i’m uneasy about is having another moon in the same season as the first one only 7 verses later. i mean, at least one moon verse in a renku can and should be in a season other than autumn, right? besedes, we haven’t had any love verses yet either…
      anyway, this is more about me trying to come to terms with different approaches to renku than about you… after all, it’s the sabaki who makes the call. but i think i’ll pass this one as it goes against my instincts
      polona
      .
      cooling off
      under the gibbous moon

      1. apologies for all the typos… apparently it was still too early for my fingers to work coordinately

      2. no, Polona, the moon verse is always in autumn because it’s a bigger indicator -for Death -just as blossoms and flowers are indicators for rebirth and Life -it’s the Japanese tradition to have 2 moon verse before the first blossom verse – i’m deferring to them -my first 20 renku, I just had 2 moon verses for the whole Kasen too -so it’s amusing to me that you are embodying my own first impressions -now it has more of an equilibrium being out of balance like this -and i said i only moved the moon verse up one slot not a whole 10 or 15 verses. I do view verse 18 as a caesura as you would in Western poetry or the space between the ‘lordly linked consonants’ in Old English, Anglo-Saxon verse -after 18 we’re on the ‘return side’ of the roundbout

        1. thanks for your time, Marshall. as i said, you’re the boss here so i respect your decisions (but can still have my own opinions)
          🙂

          1. Hi Polona, Marshall and All,
            I’m sticking my beak in here hoping to help clarify this one issue re moon positions. The renku ‘bible’ for EL renku, for me, is John Carley’s ‘Renku Reckoner’. According to that, Marshall’s positionings (including having a moon verse at #12 as an alternative to #13) are perfectly classical. That Marshall has called for another autumn moon verse here may be a tad unusual (it’d typically be a summer moon here when the Kasen begins with a winter hokku) but I’ve typed this paragraph for you & anyone else who may have doubts about the flexibility a sabaki has within the general framework. :

            ‘Renku Reckoner’
            ‘The Forms of Renku – Kasen, 36 verses,: Description’,P20

            “In total the moon make three appearances: as the penultimate verse of the preface – position #5, at or around the seventh position on the back of the first sheet – verse #13, and as the penultimate verse on the front of the second sheet – position #29. These are tsuki no za – the place of the moon. Two of the moons are almost invariably set against autumn, that of jo – unless the season itself is displaced – and that towards the close of the second part of ha. The third moon takes a different season – generally summer or winter, rarely spring – and may be relatively underplayed. Unlike blossom verses, positions more readily shift – #13 being the most likely to be brought forward or delayed.”

            You’ll note JEC’s caveats… “almost invariably”, “generally”. . .
            All it means to have an autumn moon in part a) of the ha movement (traditionally, the back of the first sheet of paper) is that the third moon at #29 (front of the 2nd sheet of paper) will be a ‘minor moon’ ie that of another season, not autumn.

            For those who might find the 3 ‘movements’ of renku (ha, jo, kyu), in a Kasen handy to know about:

            jo (first movement/ preface) verses #1- #6

            ha (second movement/development) (a) verses #7 – #18; (b) verses #19 – 30
            kyu (third movement/ finale) verses #31 – 36

            – Lorin

          2. thank you, Lorin, appreciate your input.
            as i said, it’s not the position of the moon that bothers me, it’s the season. in his reply Marshall said that all the moons in a kasen should be autumn moons and this is where i don’t agree. and you have just confirmed my doubts.
            but as i said, it’s the leader who has the authority to make the calls Marshall is doing a good job but the renku we’ll end up with will definitely have a western flavour and not much in common with the shofu style JEC advocated for.

          3. Hi Polona,
            Well, I’m not sure at this stage. I agree with you, though, that one of the 3 moon verses ( on the Basho/Shofu school of thinking) needs to be specifically the ‘minor moon’, ie, the moon of any season but autumn.

            I wonder if Marshall meant that unless otherwise indicated, ‘moon’ is automatically an autumn moon?

            – Lorin

          4. let’s wait to hear from Marshall if he cares to share what he meant specifically. Marshall?
            .
            in any case, i don’t mind being involved in a renku with a western slant. after all, it’s all more about having fun and trying to write poetry than strictly adhering to some “rules”.
            and so far i have really enjoyed Marshall’s feedback and verse selections

          5. Hi Polona,
            I think this clears it up: I went back to Marshall’s call for subs for the first moon verse:

            “Fourth Renku Session: A Day of Snow.

            Call for submissions:

            “So what we want now is 3 lines, moon involvement, always autumnal in renku with, of course, no repetition of the nouns or activities of the previous verses.” – Marshall

            And also to Sandra’s query (last comment , top of the thread)
            “A query if you have time. You said in reply to pj: “maybe here’s the place to say: though the moon always indicates autumn, it’s not enough to link with an autumn verse just to have a moon involvement in it – it needs to link and it needs an autumn seasonality as well”. . . .” – Sandra Simpson
            (Sandra was querying the ‘double kigo’ that would result, though Steve’s moon verse did not turn out to contain a second kigo/ seasonal reference)

            So you’re right, Marshall does mean the moon always indicates autumn & also that further indication of the season is needed as well. Confusing, but that’s how it is for this renku, We can only surmise that there may be various Japanese authorities whose interpretations/ teachings about the nature of moon verses in renku differ ?

            – Lorin

          6. well, certainly, Polona, you have your own opinion and it is shared by others as well -and thank-you, Lorin for doing the spade-work both in John Carley’s book and in my earlier comments in this session to point out where he and i diverge -I do remember an answer to a verbal question i once asked when I was in Japan, “Does the moon always indicate autumn in haiku?” being, “Yes . . . in general” and i’ve taken it from there to have the moon and the blossom verses as the poles in a renku i lead, learning as i go -what’s important to me is making renku, not reading about theories of, or arguing about them. One of the attractions of renku for me is that it’s poetry on poetry and not prose on poetry and i do make a clear distinction between poetry and prose just as i do between spoken language and written language (not a parallel analogy) -so it’s probably true that in some Japanese renku groups there are moon verses of other seasons, just as love verses may be ‘gradated’ through ‘spiritual’, familial’ and ‘personal’ levels of love -I don’t do that either -and i will continue to be concerned that English readers who don’t read haiku can read renku, at least renku i lead, this renku even, starting from ‘moon’ at the death pole and ‘blossom’ at the ‘life’ pole, leaving the tones of impermanence, sparseness and beauty up to the offerings of its contributors

          7. Thanks, Marshall, that clears it all up. And yes, the moon alone does indicate autumn, the “, , . in general” you received with the answer means it’s autumn unless it’s eg ‘blossom moon’, ‘icy moon’, ‘ sweltering moon’ or the like. Ya can go skinny dipping in moonlight & that doesn’t mean you’re a member of the polar bear club. 🙂

            ” , , , just as love verses may be ‘gradated’ through ‘spiritual’, familial’ and ‘personal’ levels of love -” – Marshall

            I hadn’t heard about that one! I’ve been under the impression that ‘love’ verses were always to be romantic / sexual in flavour! None of “I love my cat & my dog loves me” etc, (pity, because I do happen to love my cat, 🙂 ) And any cat verses apart from ‘cats in love’ seem to be frowned upon, :- )

            Enjoying the renku, and thanks hugely for your comments!

            – Lorin

          8. a most informative thread so i thank you both, Marshall and Lorin for all the constructive commentaries.

            (from what i know moon in and of itself always signifies autumn but a suitable modifier can place it in any other season – e.g. “hazy moon” in spring – and btw, this is a valid spring kigo)

    1. hi p j -still think the “second haying” verse takes care of a harvest moon until we have the blossom verse in #17

  12. Why a further indication of autumn when an unspecified moon is already an autumn kigo?

    1. because, Christopher we are not moving by ‘kigo’ but by seasonality and here in the West, it can’t be assumed that a reader of English will know the moon in a renku is in the fall

    1. nice, light touch, Christopher -“once more” also answers the uneasiness about so many moon verses so early -I see the dice becoming Stonehenge’s dominoes, thanks

    1. hi Patrick -well, I guess I find ‘faces’ of the moon tolerable because it does turn ‘in phase’ with the earth’s rotation -which I find stunning but once you say, “son of man” i’m in Sunday School and I hate it -apologies for my disposition but not for my feelings

    1. this is the closest you get, Mary, and we probably can get, to writing a moon verse without saying, ‘moon” -thanks -the one before it, i’ll just leave as not as good

    1. again, Mary, “greet” is just this side (the wrong side for renku) of anthropomorphism

    1. hey, Mary -sounds like they “drift away” because of our rapture at the moon -but that’s just a tad too subjective -things observed should not have the observer as an influence -maybe in Heisenberger’s science, but not in renku

    1. “pearl” is good, Mary -but we have to avoid restatement -it’s one of the main recourses in Western writing and i think renku and haiku-related writing are best when we keep this completely on the sidelines (in the many billions of pages of printed Western literature)

    1. too surreal for here, Todd -don’t recognize “glutton” as a verb as here used

    1. prefer the tricker-treaters skipping as below, Michael Henry -but thanks, your offerings usually original in attitude, as here

  13. Sea of Tranquility crazed
    ice crystals on the still pond’s surface

    1. hello again, Joyce -want to keep the ‘crystal’ of the previous link unspoken -don’t understand how a dead sea on the moon could be said to be “crazed” -and when you write “pond” or “still pond” in anything haiku-related, you may as well have started a speech, “to be or not to be” -it had better be more than outstanding to be considered appropriate

    1. well, you have to start somewhere, Judt -as i believe you indicated, not one of your better offerings -keep going

  14. Hi Marshall…thanks for the great commentary on Lorin’s great verse!
    I’m trying to pick up the ways of renku…question: in this verse is it OK to repeat ‘moon/moonlight’? Thanks.

    Judt

    1. Hi Judt,
      My best guess is that you’d have to have moon (& specifically, a moon that’s clearly in autumn, by some indicator or another…even though ‘moon’ alone is usually taken as indicating autumn) but would need to avoid ‘moonlight’ as we already have that in Steve’s verse.

      Let’s see if Marshall confirms that or not. I’m interested in his response to your query, too.


      – Lorin

      1. . . . but, if my thinking is at all on track, we couldn’t, for instance, go down to Mexico & have a moon on the Day of the Dead, even though that’s autumn, because they have Glasswing butterflies down there, & that’d be a ‘return to last-but -one’. 🙂

        – Lorin

        1. Hi Lorin…thanks for weighing in. One thing that stands out to me that I haven’t known about is the emphasis on “last-but-one.” I had thought that we weren’t to get too close to anything at all that’s gone before. I’m definitely unclear in that regard.
          Anyway, I’m beginning to realize that the intricacies of renku are far beyond anything I had imagined. It is so valuable to me that Marshall is sharing an insight with every single offering!
          Thanks for your help. And congratulations on your intriguing link!

          1. just to clarify -i’d take a link that suggests a festival in Mexico, even though glasswings might be there-more important to not repeat butterflies or insects -or flying or nets for that matter, than to always shift countries or cultural differences -otherwise most renku that stay in Japan would be too repetitive -which they are not

        2. a return to a Mexican habitat, in an oblique way, Lorin, but since glasswings could fly in at least 20 other countries they don’t reference just Mexico, so this wouldn’t be a problem -for me, anyway

          1. “. . . -otherwise most renku that stay in Japan would be too repetitive -which they are not. ” – Marshall

            That makes sense 🙂 Ok, got it., now. Obviously, I got carried way with my speculating.

            – Lorin

      2. Waiting for Marshall as Lorin indicates, but I have been taught that _variety_ is King in things renku. A kasen length traditionally has 3 moon stanzas. It is well to vary the aspects of the moon — for the variety. Our moon has different shapes; rises and sets; has varying colors sometimes; affects the tide; has various nicknames (i.e. harvest moon); it appears through trees, etc.. Yet — we only can be aware of the moon because of its light. This is the light of the sun reflected to us. So, to say “moon” is to at least imply light. Even this “light” can be varied. It can cast shadow; be bright or dim; appear or disappear. Lots of possibilities.

        I see a candidate verse already is about features on the actual moon … and do not forget the “man-in-the-moon!”

        1. thanks for explaining, Paul -but let’s leave off of the ‘man-in-the-moon’ and -bunny-pounding-rice’ folklore -these were ancient ways of teaching that the moon was just as much an important being as you and me; while nowadays, if we are aware of ourselves and our infinitesimal ‘significance’ on a planet 6 billion years old, we now know the sun and moon to be far more important than we are for the ‘relay’ of the universe than we are as individuals or as a species -so to cut them down to animal or human proportions isn’t just ‘personification’ or ‘anthropomorphic’ it’s maintaining our collective wilful ignorance when there’s no need to

      3. exactly, Judt -no moonlight, but okay to have the moon -for me it’s as if the moon is ‘syncopated’ here while many other things are delayed -‘summer’ for instance, as Polona indicated -gives the renku a topspin and an intuitive cadence i think

    2. That was a stupid question, I suppose; but I reckon there might be ways to refer to the moon without using the word.
      An example of my confusion…I was thinking about using “pasture” in this moon verse, but thought it too close to “haying.”

      — Clueless in Seattle

      1. right again, Judt, but not a stupid question -my own best link ever was when a renku master in Japan, Ryu’kan Miyoshi, wanted me to do the daisan because i’d come from so far away to Tokyo -his instructions were: a verse of the moon’s influence but don’t say the word ‘moon’ or any of its cognates -I had to offer through a translator, so was going to skip it and eat my sushi while it was fresh, when after the ninth person of 16 got refused and he looked at me i realized I was going to ‘have to sing for my unagi (fresh-water eel)’ his hokku was:
        month without gods (it was November)
        respectful Buddha
        in attendance -you can understand how honoured but also nervous i was
        but i bowed my head, meditated and said to my translator, Syokan Kondo, the first image that came into my head shadow of a crane
        on the white-crescent river
        Syokan said far too many words to Ryu’kan for my link so i asked him what was he saying and he replied, “the master says it is a very beautiful verse, but i asked him if cranes flew at night and he replied to me, “you have to get out more, Kondo” -to which the whole room was laughing while Syokan was saying this to me -then the room went quiet, he gave instructions for the wakiku and leaned to me and said in Japanese -you can go home now, it’ll be 2 hours before we get to verse 18 (in his tradition, everyone in the room has one link before anyone can have two -so yes, you can link in a moon verse without writing, ‘moon’, and yes, ‘pasture’ is too close to haying -but keep on offering

    3. yes, Judt -‘moon’. ‘first crescent’, ‘gibbous moon’ and even ‘silver galleon’ s okay if it links, shifts and is well written and inspiring and doesn’t slow down or stop our momentum

        1. And yes, what a beautiful verse! Very impressive and inspiring. If that’s off the top of your head, well, then…

  15. Wow! Thank you! Very, very happy to have a verse selected for this renku, and amazed & inspired by your commentary, Marshall. I googled & found the Mallarme’ poem in translation just now (not the Vale’ry, though & I have no language besides English) The Mallarme’ is brilliant! What strikes me is that Charles Olson may have been influenced by Mallarme’ in style. (I think of his earlier poems, ‘In Cold Hell, In Thicket’ & also ‘The Moon is the number 18’ … which indeed it is. )
    And as chance has it, even the old ‘Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens’ comes back! “Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone/ Wi’ the auld moone in hir arme …”

    Looking forward to what comes next in the renku!

    – Lorin

    1. you’re most welcome, Lorin -the Vale’ry poem runs to almost 500 lines -I translated both of these poems in my “Marshall’s Frankliecygnoctras” -when I find time i could send it out if you or others like -I did a listserv posing of my symboliste translations twice in the era before facebook -from 2005 til 2007, when I piublished the book -but i run on, mainly, I kicked the table when I read the first 2 lines then jumped in my seat for “the rolling dice” and yer absolutely right about Olson, two of his (and he does this rarely, his best poems read best as open letters) beautiful poems

      1. ” . . . -I translated both of these poems in my “Marshall’s Frankliecygnoctras” -when I find time i could send it out if you or others like – . . . ”

        Yes, please, I’d love to read your translations of these two poems. when you have time. Many thanks for your offer, Marshall.
        (You can find an email address for me by clicking on my name (above) then clicking on ‘editors’ in the top bar of the page. )

        – Lorin

  16. Congratulations, Lorin! Such a captivating link and shift. Great choice, Marshall. Love your commentary.
    *
    trick-or-treaters skip
    under a new moon

    1. thanks, Maureen -yes, Lorin’s verse is captivating -and I like yours as a link to it -I shall keep it around

  17. A beautiful verse indeed, Lorin. Congratulations. 🙂

    A wonderful choice, Marshall. I love reading your comments and interpretation. I’m learning so much as we go.

    1. thanks, Mary -I feel i’m too terse at times, but I want to keep the offerings flowing in

    1. interesting suggestion of a ‘false’ moonrise -like a ‘false’ dawn; but “betrayed” is such a heavy ‘morality-bound’ word -our worldhood can be summed up in 5 categories, i think: the moral, the social, the political, the aesthetic and the philosophical. The spiritual realm i believe outstrips our worldhood and may spin in and out of a renku; but of the worldhood five the only one that leads out back to nature as our source is the aesthetic one. So i’ll keep out the moral words and sententious feelings whenever I can

    1. no, don’t like ‘reflection-on-the-water-like-it’s the-real-moon links, Paul -sorry, you had no way of knowing that

    1. well, i think i disagree -at any rate satisfaction with what you know already is hardly sensuous

  18. another autumn moon, Marshall?
    i’m not questioning your judgment, just curious as we’ve already had one autumn section with the moon in its traditional spot but no summer verses so far in this renku…

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