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The Renku Sessions: A New Beginning – Week 2

renku_300

I am John Stevenson and I will be your guide for a twenty-stanza, nijûin, renku.

 

Before we get into the selection of our hokku, I just want to announce that our tan-renga have now been archived here.

The advent of another renku session has brought forth much creative activity. I want everyone to know that I could have highlighted and commented upon many more hokku offers than those appearing below.

I began to winnow the potential choices through a number of almost arbitrary considerations. One of them is that I prefer, since I have so many other choices, not to begin with a verse that names the season. While many good verses mention “spring,” I think it’s better to leave the option to name a season open for use later in the renku.

If a month or a holiday associated with a particular calendar date was mentioned, I passed over the verse in deference to the fact that important parts of our group live in different hemispheres, involving different orientations of the seasons to the calendar.

While it is possible to open with a blossom verse, I have elected to save that for the next verse. And some otherwise good offers included moon or love images. These will have their turns, later in the renku.

It could also be said that what I have selected to highlight befits from a consideration that was not listed in the instructions as a requirement. In fact, I’ve never seen it listed as a requirement for the hokku. But, in the course of reading your offers, I found myself thinking a lot about whether the verses contained words or phrases that might make a good title. While the title of a renku sometimes comes from later verses, the use of some part of the hokku is far more frequent. And, in this setting, it is helpful for us to have a “working title” from the very beginning.

So, with these things in mind, here are some hokku offers that garnered additional consideration on my part:

 

meadow pond
among the ripples
sprouting reeds

                        Ellen Compton

Each line of this verse is a potential title. And each would function in a different way as the title. The first line would be the “keep it simple” title – a setting that would be encountered in the very first words of the renku and, thus, get the title business immediately completed. The second line, to me, suggests the interaction of the verses we are about to compose. And the third line, to me, suggests the multiplicity and essential equality (without the sacrifice of individuality) of the poets working together.

 

cabbage white
this heady sense
the time has come

                        Laurie Greer

Another possible function of the hokku that is not usually listed as a “requirement” is its potential to comment upon the experience of beginning a new adventure in renku. This verse links the feeling of “spring fever” with the pleasing anticipation of working together.

 

dandelions
the lawn opens
to bees

                        Kristen Lindquist

Yes! We’re in business! (In case this idiom – we’re in business – is not familiar to some, its meaning is something like, “anything is possible now!”)

 

tadpoles—
childhood memories
of a prince

                        Dan Campbell

Because we have the story of a prince turned into a frog and then returned to his original state by a kiss, this verse is constantly trading outlooks – talk about “link and shift!”

 

unexpected visitor…
a red kite lands
on our lawn

                        Marion Clarke

This event could be greeted with either delight or consternation. Because it is presented in the hokku, we are inclined to choose delight. And the verse offers the author of the next verse the opportunity to reinforce that inclination.

 

whitebait
by the bucketful…
she flours her hands

                        Marietta McGregor

Little fishes collected for a delicious meal. Little verses collected for a renku. The first and second lines are also interesting title options.

 

roof tiles in bloom…
in the buzz of bees
noise of time

                        Angiola Inglese

Roof tiles and noise of time both strike me as potential titles.

 

a butterfly flits
into the fat of the day—
the skip of a stone

                        Jonathan Alderfer

I can see I am not alone in loving the phrase “the fat of the day.” That would be a fabulous title. And the way in which “the fat of the day” is echoed structurally by “the skip of a stone” tends to act out the skipping stone. Also, I have an almost unconscious sense that “fat of the day” invokes the “flat” aspect of a rally good skipping stone

 

Any of the above, and many others not highlighted here, would serve us well as the new hokku. Here is where I would like us to start:

 

green barley—
we follow the way
of the wind

                        Lorin Ford

I’m going the suggest “Way of the Wind” as our working title (though green barley would also serve us). Because this hokku so strongly suggests the way in which we move forward throughout a renku and because I have emphasized this by the selection of the working title, the next verse is challenged to reground us in the sensory experience of “seeing the wind” through its effect upon vegetation.

 

You are now invited to submit up to five wakiku (second verse) offers.

The requirements will be as follows:

  • A two-line verse of seventeen syllables or less
  • Containing a spring blossom image or phrase from the site listed below
  • Without a grammatical break
  • Closely linked to the hokku (first verse), possibly by elaborating on the scene depicted in the hokku

For this renku, we will be using this site (http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html) as the source for our season words and images.

 

I will be reviewing your offers until midnight on Monday, May 10 (New York time). On Thursday, May 13 there will be a new post in which I will announce my selection of a wakiku, comment on some of the other offers, and issue instructions for writing third verse (daisan) offers.

Thank you, everyone,

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 145 Comments

  1. mountainside the shade
    of cherry blossoms

    a fingertip bouquet
    of fallen blossoms

    a cloud of petals
    caught up in a breeze

  2. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    ———Lorin Ford

    blossoming clouds
    water the wild mountain roses

  3. a farmer slowly cycles
    through swirls of plum blossom

    cherry blossoms float
    in my painted tea cup

  4. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    *

    yellow butterfly fluttering from
    violet to queen anne’s lace

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 5/10/21

  5. Great start, Lorin. Thanks John for your comment.

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford
    – – – – — – – – — – – – – – – –
    the gray of a nettle leaf
    among the butterflies
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    the hidden perfume
    of pittosporum flowers
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – –
    the lightness of poplars
    on the side of the road

  6. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    ———Lorin Ford

    as pear blossoms open
    his daughter leaves home

    the grass remembers green
    and the cherry pink

  7. footprints in the mud
    impressed with plum blossom

    plum blossom collage
    en plain air

    the picnic basket returns home
    full of apple blossom

  8. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    the next lane passes
    the pony ranch

  9. walking upon
    spring grasses his morn’s new wake
    ***********
    bliss of spring rain
    still on her long hair
    *********
    end of snow begins
    all gardening in her home
    *********
    silkworms in cauldron
    brings her shine of silk saris
    *********
    sprouting grasses nod
    usher entry of romance
    *************
    he deems his right
    tilling a paddy all life

  10. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    a hint of orange peaks
    out of the papaver

    in a snakes eye a hint
    of orange papava

  11. Lovlely choice John and congratulations to Lorin for this captivating beginning.

    green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    plum blossoms swirl
    in the stream
    *
    kids playing pooh sticks
    with plum blossoms

  12. a peach blossom opens and
    a bumblebee stumbles in
    *
    a dogwood blossom bookmarks
    Proverbs in grandma’s Bible

  13. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford
    *
    the roadside verges
    full of blossom

  14. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

                            Lorin Ford

    wisteria branches
    hold this open gate

    #####^*+*^*+*^*+*^%%%%

    Icarus too
    follows air-born dandelion fluff

    #####^*+*^*+*^*+*^%%%%  

    this gate grows open
    with criss-crossed wisteria

  15. waves of willow fluff
    roll to the end
    ***
    the horsetails bow
    to the river and the hills
    ***
    in the cloud-cleared air
    the plums seem to quiver

  16. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    ***
    roses bloom here
    and the joyful laughter of the children

    Nani Mariani

  17. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    boiling horsetail shoots
    from a roadside ditch

  18. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford

    crop circles in new grass
    ascribed to aliens

  19. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    dandelion seeds found
    in the colt’s tail
    .
    peach blossoms mix
    with parade confetti
    .
    a breeze turn willow fluff
    into drifts
    .
    dandelion cypselae find
    new homes

  20. the tide pulls the apple blossom
    out to sea

    clouds race
    and peach blossom swirls

  21. mustard flowers ripples
    across the hillside
    ********************************
    dandelion fluff
    drifts in meadow breezes

  22. Thank you for your guidance, John. Congratulations Lorin, for an inspiring hokku! Here are my offers:-
    ……………………………………….
    gathering blossoms
    on temple grounds
    ………………………………………..
    we sway at the hedgerow
    breathing in roses
    ……………………………………….
    ah, to rest for a spell
    beneath peach blossoms
    ………………………………………
    the tonic and respite
    among almond blossoms
    ………………………………………
    apple blossoms drift
    to meet Queen Anne’s Lace
    ……………………………………..
    the middle road
    lined with plum blossoms

  23. green barley–
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    ring-tail shadows
    sweep the tranquil fields

    returning cold detour
    Emerald City

    sisters ride
    draped in almond blossoms

  24. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    the scent waist-deep
    in a mustard field

  25. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    camellia tea for a whiff
    of exotic places

  26. Great start, Lorin. And thanks John for your comment.

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    a breath of cherry blossom
    enjoyed with our beers

  27. 🙂 for the hell of it
    .
    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    by lunchtime a rest
    under cherry blossoms

  28. blossoms scattered
    at the buddha’s feet

    the first blossoms
    clinging to the bough

    petals on a wet
    buddha belly

    many trees blossom
    outside the station

    the joy in seeing
    mango blossoms

  29. Wonderful image to start from!
    Congratulations Lorin (this reminds me of Prince-Edward’s island’s fields… thank you so much for reminding them through your hokku). Thank you for insightful guidance John! “Way of the wind”: it is a pure gem! It is great having you as our navigator 😉

    green barley-
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    (Lorin Ford)
    ***
    an almond blossom stuck
    on her fresh lipstick
    ***
    almond blossoms gathered
    between flooded river rocks
    ***
    a fake peach blossom
    in the young flight attendance’s hair
    ***
    peach blossoms offering
    so many port of call for the bees

  30. coming of autumn
    we nod our golden heads in harvest
    *************************************************
    always waiting evening
    we narrate the story of humankind
    **************************************************
    fragrant breeze from the Fertile Crescent
    *******************************************************
    in stillness heads drooping
    golden spring field
    ********************************************************
    turning golden
    we feed deer and beer

  31. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    – Lorin Ford
    *
    old man bent over
    a bowl of boiled rose blossoms
    *
    a cactus blossom, not straw,
    broke the camel’s back

  32. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    branches of wild plum
    crisscross the lane

  33. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    – Lorin Ford

    *
    breezes blowing blossoms
    into the beggar’s bowl
    *
    fortune tellers reading azalea
    blossoms instead of palms

    1. peach blossoms mix
      with parade confetti
      .
      a breeze turns wildlife fluff
      into drifts
      .
      dandelion seeds found
      in the colt’s tail
      .
      dandelion seeds find
      new homes

  34. Congrats Lorin! A lovely “way” to start the renku.
    .
    green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    .
    further afield
    what blossoms!
    .
    in a bird’s eye
    wild cherry
    .
    ear to ear
    blossom snow
    .
    an arpeggio of blossom
    rendered in a single note
    .
    not a yowl of blossom
    but the timbre is the same
    .
    .

  35. peach blossom scent
    on the morning air
    .
    was going to use ‘orange blossom’ as they are flowering, here, but not on the kigo list :/

  36. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    fragrant gardenia
    together towards the aunt’s house

    Nani Mariani

  37. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    Lorin Ford

    our shoes whisper
    to the fallen blossoms

    blossom mist
    hugs the old riverboat

  38. the scent of plum blossoms
    wafts across the waking land
    ***********************************
    red plum blossoms float
    in the gentle breeze
    *************************************
    spring orchids color
    the rippling hillside grass
    **************************************

  39. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    an old road leading
    into blossom haze

  40. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    — Lorin Ford

    *
    the most beautiful peach
    blossoms there by the outhouse

  41. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    — Lorin Ford

    *
    peach blossom waltz
    in the breeze

  42. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    — Lorin Ford

    *
    rooster crows sprouting
    among the peach blossoms

  43. Congratulations Lorin and thank you John!
    *
    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    *
    honey bee strolling
    among the peach blossoms

  44. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    blossoms swirl
    in squeals of laughter

  45. Thank you John and Lorin for a great start.

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    —Lorin Ford
    .
    wild roses wave
    at the passing parade
    .

  46. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford
    *
    the fawn shies from the blows
    of the falling red plum blossoms
    *
    briefly sheltering in the scent
    of the thorny wild rose
    *
    peach blossoms flipping
    with two kids on the trampoline
    *
    dogs breathless from racing
    around the flowering mulberry
    *
    Would rather have these as apple blossoms (for the sound, especially with “trampoline”)–but don’t see it on the list. If it’s allowed, let me know and I will revise.

    1. “Apple blossoms” are listed, though as something of an exception to Japanese practices. Since they are on the list, I consider them available for this renku.

    2. revised versions:
      *
      the fawn shies from the blows
      of the falling apple blossoms
      *
      apple blossoms flipping
      with two kids on the trampoline
      *
      thanks!

      1. Well, that’s embarrassing. If you can’t unsee that comment, please pretend apple blossoms grow on oleander trees. Sheesh😩

  47. Lovely hokku Lorin!

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    —Lorin Ford

    *
    a knot of snakes
    whispers into mist
    *
    under plum blossom
    dancing with light
    *
    along the old path
    after a butterfly
    *
    an arc of swallows
    splicing the clouds
    *
    barefoot in blossom
    on the pilgrim path

  48. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford
    *
    peach blossom confetti opening
    us to the vast unknown

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 5/6/21

  49. lovely hokku, Lorin .. and John, thank you so much for explaining your train of thoughts and reasoning along with the comments on all those different proposals. … so here, a blossom ..
    *
    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    the shimmer of azaleas
    overlooking mother’s grave

    1. I’ll comment here, but could have mentioned this earlier: the opening section of a renku (jo) does not deal with death, illness, grief, or any strongly emotional matters. Those things will all be welcome in the middle section (ha), starting with verse 5.

  50. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    —Lorin Ford

    [Lovely hokku, Lorin! I look forward to seeing where it leads us.]

    *

    trailside lady’s slippers
    nipped off by deer

    [lady’s slippers are spring orchids where I live]

    *

    a basket piled with fiddleheads
    for our evening meal

    *

    the old pasture
    filled now with cow vetch

    *

    roadside horsetails sway
    with each passing car

    *

    the water-meadow brimming
    with blue violets

    1. green barley—
      we follow the way
      of the wind
      ———Lorin Ford

      as plum blossoms open
      his daughter leaves home

      blossoming clouds shelter
      the flowering peach

      the grass remembers green
      and the cherry pink

  51. plucking a wave of plum blossom
    from the tree where you lie

    ***
    your ashes dance a waltz
    around the first cherry

    ***
    the camellia not all
    that falls at my feet

  52. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    the first sprigs of white
    from the apple tree

  53. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    *

    flurry of peach blossoms
    shape the unspoken

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 5/6/21

  54. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    a shower of plum blossoms
    and a rainbow

    1. Keith (and everyone),
      .
      It’s a good idea to check the list of season words in order to be sure of your season references. The list designates “plum blossoms” as “late winter” and “rainbow” as “all summer.” So, while this is a nice verse outside of these considerations, it can’t be our spring blossom verse. Please feel free to offer another verse in it’s place.

      1. John,

        I thought the list says plum and red plum blossoms are both early spring. Am I reading something iwrong?

        1. Winter
          early plum [blossoms] (soobai, late winter)
          .
          Spring
          plum (blossoms*) (ume, early spring).
          red plum (blossoms*) (kobai, early spring).
          .
          So we’d need to use “early” as modifier if we wanted to show plum blossoms in winter, I think.

          1. Hi folks
            Just wondering if an early spring kigo can be used, considering we are moving forward from an all spring kigo?

      2. Thanks, John – will do. (The rainbow came from a bird splashing in our birdbath, which is full of apple petals as it happens….. another time…)

        1. to Robert’s – “Just wondering if an early spring kigo can be used, considering we are moving forward from an all spring kigo?”
          .
          Yes, an early spring kigo can be used. Since ‘green barley’ is classed as ‘all spring’ on the list, things are open. Following ‘green barley’, any spring blossom can be used, whether it’s early blooming, late blooming or in between. ‘Green barley’ is considered to be present throughout spring, so isn’t a marker within the progression of the season.

          When something is designated ‘all whatever season’, there’s no issue of the next kigo in that season, whatever it might be, taking the renku backwards.

  55. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    jasmine falls
    tears flowed remembering mama

    Nani Mariani

  56. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    falling first blossoms
    circle their shadows

  57. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    all the dandelion fluff
    in clouds

    1. In the light of John’s subsequent ruling that reference to death etc. cannot come at this point in the renku, please amend to:

      gathering violets
      by a sheltered hedgerow

      Thank you.

  58. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind
    Lorin Ford

    a distant bell
    across the spring orchids

  59. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    zigzagging blossom petals
    strewn by the flower boy

    5/6/2021 by wendy © bialek

  60. I may not have made it clear enough – this second verse must be a blossom verse.
    .
    This is more or less forced by my selection of “green barley” in the hokku. One of the first three verses (in a nijûin renku starting in spring) must be a blossom verse. When we started, it could have been any of the three. But now, if we wait until the third verse, that verse would link in a “leap over” fashion back to the hokku – blossom to barley plants. This is something we need to avoid in a renku.
    .
    On the other hand, any blossom in verse two will be a sufficient link to the hokku.

    1. Can that be any spring flower from the list, John, (for example, ‘violet’) or must it be strictly a blossom? If it can be a flower, can it be a spring flower that’s not on the list, but is widely recognised as a spring flower?

      “dawn crows the scuffle of nomenclature ” – Cherie Hunter Day. One of my all-time favourite haiku. 🙂

      1. Quoting Shinku Fukuda, “In Japanese there is no distinction between ‘blossom’ and ‘flower’. They have the same meaning.” And, “Japanese people cannot hear ‘blossom’ without associating it with cherry blossoms. . . (other people) tend to want to (designate) a blossom concretely, like a peach blossom, a pear blossom, (or) a cherry blossom.”
        .
        Bill Higginson used to say that the blossom verse should feature some variety of fruit tree.
        .
        We have another blossom verse in this renku (number 19) and, for that one, I think I will insist upon a cherry blossom. For the present verse, however, we can use any spring flower from the list (though I will be most comfortable with some variety of fruit tree blossom). And, for this renku, I am asking everyone to use the list for all kigo.

        1. John,

          If we use a cherry blossom for verse 19, is it alright to also have a cherry blossom in verse 2, or should we try to stick with plum blossom or peach blossom for verse 2 and reserve cherry blossom for later?

          1. Thanks, John, for clarifying that. Any blossom or flower that appears under ‘Spring’ on the list, then. 🙂

            Michelle, we wouldn’t be having “cherry blossom” in both verse #2 and verse #19 (of that I’m sure)
            .
            “For the present verse, however, we can use any spring flower from the list (though I will be most comfortable with some variety of fruit tree blossom). ” – John

            I think John means that if “cherry blossom” doesn’t make an appearance in verse #2 he will insist on including it in verse #19. 🙂 (But I’m not certain.)

          2. Thank you, Lorin. I know there are certain places for certain kigo and we don’t like to repeat. Though I am partisl to cherry blossoms, I’ll hold off till verse 19😉

  61. ghost wind
    i listen to silence

    dandelion clock
    the child’s breath becomes a wish

    finding myself in it
    quivering rain drop

    melancholic
    the wind of a thousand butterfly wings

    ocean zephyr
    kissing the salt from his skin

    ©️ Veronika Zora Novak

  62. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    scent of roses
    grandma started walking

    Nani Mariani

  63. green barley –
    we followed his path
    wind

    Lorin Ford

    not too long …
    we found my cat

    Nani Mariani

  64. green barley –
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    a bushel and a peck
    of first blossom petals

    5/6/2021 by wendy © bialek

  65. Thank you, John. This is a most unexpected honour, and I do feel honoured. I was surprised to find “green barley: all spring” on the list and the verse wrote itself.
    .
    I look forward to reading all the wakiku. 🙂
    For those who aren’t familiar with barley fields, there are quite a few YouTube videos and this is one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awCvbOVO7OQ

    1. Lorin, it’s a beautiful hokku and Way of the Wind a great title to work with. Pauline Oh, and I enjoyed the video too. Amazing how the barley rippled.

    2. Congrats Lorin. Your barley and Laurie’s heady cabbage floated my boat. Thanks for the video link to watch in any season.

  66. green barley—

    we follow the way
of the wind
                            Lorin Ford

    in our first hello
    the scent of wild rose

    dandelion seeds disperse
    in all directions

    sipping horsetail tea
    from our finest china

  67. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    sprats by the barrel load
    amongst sea kelp

  68. green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

    a mountain rose
    tucked into my journal

    old woman bows her head
    onto the temple floor

    up with the lark
    to pick wild garlic

  69. Congratulations Lorin. Loved the images from first reading.
    Thanks for the guiding thoughts John.

  70. Bravo Lorin
    *******************
    departing geese catch
    an updraft above the trees
    *********************************
    remaining blossoms
    cartwheel down the storm drain
    ****************************************
    a dusting of willow fluff
    sprinkles the pond
    ***************************
    reed sprouts cut a
    wake through the ripples
    **************************************
    dandelion seeds from
    two doors down the street

  71. An inspired choice, John–congratulations and thank you for leading us off, Lorin.
    And thanks, John, for your illuminating comments and for mentioning my cabbage whites.
    So many ways to go now!

  72. wow, john….so impressed with your angle-focus on titles! wonderful commentary and crystal clear explanations. the hokku choice is quite the perfect start.
    **********************************************************
    lorin, a graceful, simple but modern zen-like hokku….congrats for having “way of the wind” lead us for the next journey.

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

  73. Thank you for the insightful commentary, John! Congratulations to Lorin on creating a hokku that sings to the soul. I loved it as soon as I saw it!

    green barley—
    we follow the way
    of the wind

    Lorin Ford

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