Hello again. This is John Stevenson and I will be facilitating a twelve verse renku, in the Jûnichô style. Over the coming weeks we will add one new verse each week, selected from your offers.
This week brought in 137 verse seven offers, from 34 poets.
I have a lot to answer for this week. So, let’s get started.
My selection for verse six contains the words “apple juice.” Verse four contains “Molasses.” While any sort of strong or direct linking to an earlier renku verse might be considered a flaw, linking to either the hokku or to the last-but-one verse (e.g. verse four, when selecting verse six) is considered a serious flaw. So, I goofed.
As has been pointed out, this particular imperfection could be fixed by changing the name of the racehorse in verse four. Similarly, since Lorin is continuing to press the case for capitalization of “earthrise” in verse two, a change will be made there; selecting something else, clearly not a proper noun, that is “still fresh in our memories.”
Marietta McGregor raised a couple of questions. “(M)aybe John would like to clarify further, that ‘remaining heat’ must apply purely to weather, not to anywhere else, such as the warmth of a bed.”
Yes, that’s right. If you look at the list of kigo, you will see that they are arranged in groupings under each season, with headings such as “Animals,” “Plants,” “The Heavens,” etc. The particular kigo, “remaining heat,” is listed under “Autumn – The Season.” It cannot be successfully deployed as a kigo unless it refers to the portion of early autumn characterized by remaining heat. This does not mean that such a phrase cannot be used for other purposes in a renku but it does mean that it cannot function as a kigo if it refers to things like the remaining heat of a cup of coffee, or of a relationship, or of the final round of a sporting competition.
Marietta also noted: “I’m also worried about ‘stickiness’ — of child seats, mud, Molasses and juicy chins. I can’t help making connections, rightly or wrongly.” This tendency to apply imagination to the finding of connections is easily overdone. Everything is connected and I believe that, given full play to my imagination, I could connect every verse of any renku I’ve ever seen. There is no stickiness overtly offered in regard to the child seats. It’s easy to imagine but it’s also easy to imagine that the temperature and humidity are low enough that the seats are not sticky. It’s easy to imagine that the baby is “sticky” in some ways but also easy to imagine otherwise. And “mud” is not currently presented anywhere in the renku, although it was mentioned in the discussion about the racehorse. We can sometimes find ourselves trying to link to things that were suggested but not actually used. As for “Molasses and juicy chins,” stickiness is the least of our problems. When I change “Molasses” it will be to something less notably sticky.
Finally, Polona Oblak observed, “another imperfection in this pairing: ‘from the pines’ followed by ‘from her chin.’”
This happens a lot in English-language renku. As do things like repeated use of articles. We have, for instance, six instances of “the” in the first six verses. If we were writing for a competition, I would want to find ways to alter any of this that seemed easily modified.
Polona goes on to say, “(O)h well, we’re only human therefore not infallible.” I think that would serve nicely as the keynote for our renku practice.
Here are some of the verses that struck me as candidates for our second love verse:
and yet so far
only a different style
of fun & games
a diamond collar
and the long leash
that comes after
of (a) cigar case to him
and red lip gloss to her
of celebrity divorce’s
a red bikini
the balcony rail
Note: “Swimming” is listed as a summer kigo. If I was going to use this verse, I would want to think of some other intimate attire; something less associated with a particular season.
how they astonish each other
with the portraits
of their marriage
a woman can’t also
pop the question
A question about a question, without a question mark!
husbands are handy
Wendy C. Bialek
rumour of an affair
we take each other
a close shave
in the closet
as hubby returns
OUR SEVENTH VERSE
we take each other
Having firmly established that we have reached the love verses with verse six, we can afford to proceed with a lighter touch.
Our Renku, So Far (note modifications to verses 2, 4 and 6)
to count the stars
9/11 still fresh
in our memories
in the back seat
has borrowed its scent
from the pines
he licks the apple juice
on her chin
we take each other
Please offer candidates for an eighth verse, using these guidelines:
- Two lines
- Winter – containing a winter kigo from our list: http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html
- Linking with the seventh verse only (no obvious linking to any of the first six verses)
- Let’s have a purely nature image – no human presence
- Late entry: let’s make this a moon verse, since I’ve edited out the moon reference from verse two.
- Without an internal grammatical break or pause
Please enter your offers in the comments section, below. Offers should be made by midnight, eastern US time, on Monday, August 8. On Thursday, August 11 I will post a selection of the offers, with my comments, and select the eighth verse for “Barely Time.”
Looking forward to your offers,
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://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct