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The Renku Sessions: Breathing In – Week 12

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Welcome to our ninth renku session under the sponsorship of The Haiku Foundation. This will be a Jûnichô (twelve verse) renku, under the guidance of John Stevenson.

The counts toward this, our penultimate verse, were twenty-three poets and fifty-one offers.

I will be commenting on just a few of the offerings this time. This is mainly because I feel that I didn’t give you enough information about moon verses and, as a result, a large percentage of this week’s verses were eliminated. Fortunately, since I’ve selected a first autumn verse that does not feature the moon, our final verse will be the moon verse and I can provide a little more information this time, before we try again.

First and perhaps most importantly, I am reluctant to select a moon verse featuring the absence of the moon or moonlight. This is especially true in such a short renku, where we have only the single moon seat. Secondly, the moon must be an autumn moon. There is no option to specify a moon associated with another season in this short renku. Third, I want a moon verse in which the moon or moonlight is literal rather than a reference to a song lyric or other indirection. Given that we were linking to a verse featuring a band, this was natural enough and I should have thought to state my preference about this last week.

So, our final verse will be the autumn moon verse. Because the verse I’ve chosen this week is a late autumn image, our moon verse will also have to be a late autumn image (or “all autumn”).

And now some comments about verses that, for me, were finalists:

the two halves
of an autumn moon
in the glasses

                                    Margherita Petriccione

I liked the poetic math of this image. My first interpretation of the word “glasses” was “eyeglasses.” But it could also be a pair of drinking glasses, in which case we might have a bit of redundancy because of the “cup” in verse three. And, using the less helpful reading, I liked the glass / moon half-empty / half-full images.

 

racing with
the moon to our next big
fiasco

                                    Michael Henry Lee

The surprise ending is great fun but would be more welcome earlier in the renku. While this format does not require that we adhere to the jo-ha-kyu structure of longer renku, I would still prefer something like a kyu for this and the final verse. And there is also the sense, which I mentioned in last week’s post, that certain verses can be read as commenting on or relating to the renku session itself. In that light, this verse would also be more welcome in the middle verses rather than so late in the sequence.

 

moonlight
highlights the names
on the war memorial   

                                    Andrew Shimield

This was a contender until I realized that the leap over verse featured “live and die.” But it has just the tone that I hope for in this position. And the link is subtle (as I see it). A contrast between the “loud” lighting of a rock band and the quiet illumination of almost forgotten sacrifice. And a contrast between witness in a fervent and feverish crowd and a perhaps lonely moment of contemplation.

 

OUR ELEVENTH VERSE

the shadow
of crows descending
on a stubble field

                                    Judt Shrode

The unified action of a rock band is transferred to crows descending. The shadow might be an implied effect of either sun or moonlight but it might be that the crows themselves strike us as shadow-like.

There is a sensitivity in renku to rising things and falling things. So, the downward movement of these crows, leading us from sky to ground, can be a great setup for our upcoming moon verse!

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR OUR NEXT VERSE

  • An autumn moon verse
  • Two lines, without a break
  • Linking with verse eleven but not, in any significant way, with the first ten verses

A few words about our final verse (ageku): this verse is not “the end.” It should be a bright or relaxed verse that expresses the joy of having completed the work. Sorrowful topics should be avoided.

 

OUR RENKU, SO FAR

 

breathing in
scent of new growth
in the trees

                                    Shane Pruett 

a pollen-covered bee’s
waggle dance

                                    Polona Oblak

china cups
filled with oolong
and memories

                                    Liz Ann Winkler

the delicate neck
of his housemaid

                                  Maureen Virchau 

I pull up my hood
to avoid the snow
and your words

                                   Marion Clarke

UN laughter
heard round the world

                                    Chris Patchel

is it so long since
dugongs were taken
for mermaids?

                                    Marietta McGregor

the rainbow snake redrawn
as nucleic acid

                                      Lorin Ford

English roses
live and die
in Hyde Park

                                      Pauline O’Carolan

the whole band
headbangs in unison

                                        Agnes Eva Savich

the shadow
of crows descending
on a stubble field

                                          Judt Shrode

 

Please use the “Leave a Reply” box, below, to submit your verse twelve offers. I will be reviewing them until the submission deadline of midnight, New York time, on Monday, November 19. My selection and commentary, together with an invitation for title suggestions will appear here on Thursday, November 22.

I look forward to seeing your autumn moon offerings!

John Stevenson

 

 

This Post Has 60 Comments

  1. under the crescent moon
    keep wheat leaves

    ***************************
    a persimmon tree glitters
    in the light of the full moon

    **************************
    the moon of the first snow
    shines in my bowl raku

  2. Congrats, Judt!

    *

    a drop in the temperature
    doesn’t delay the moon

    *

    haystacks shimmer gold
    in bright moonlight

    *

    already, frosted dew
    as the moon rises

    *

    audience appreciation
    for the moonlit puppets (or puppet show)

    ~~~

  3. .

    .

    the red shift at civil twilight

    and that gigantic white pill

    .

    photons leave no forwarding address

    for the travel moon

    .

    ever pale this beaver moon

    and the blue shift in the november election

    .

    with a wave the milky way

    abdicates to the frost moon

    .

    at 186,000 miles per second

    crickets

    .

    h

    i

    s

    l

    e

    g

    s

    somehow flimsier

    under a hunter’s moon

    .

    sinatra and the autumn moon

    wax the kitchen floor

    .

    leaning into it

    the must of moonshine

    .

    .

    1. .

      h

      i

      s

      l

      e

      g
      s

      somehow flimsier

      under a hunter’s moon

      .

      the first line of this verse – “his legs” – was meant to be formatted somewhat in an s-shape like a scoliosis, however the formatting was removed on posting.

      1. Oh wow! What an incredibly kind thing to say – thank you Judt! I truly appreciate your encouragement. I too have enjoyed reading your verses, and indeed everyone’s contributions to this renku – such a pleasure to check back every day to see what has transpired overnight.

  4. moonlight borne away
    on the river’s ripples
    *
    creeping round every curtain
    the soft light of the moon
    *
    through the open gate
    the moonlight streams

  5. Thanks for the comment John, congratulations to Judt
    *
    **
    the harvest moon coming
    even in hidden corners
    ***
    put away sheets and pen
    the glow of the full moon
    ***
    no more tired faces
    looking at the full moon

    1. I apologize, I would like to make some changes
      *
      **
      the harvest moon is coming
      even in hidden corners
      **
      put away sheets and pen
      the glow of the moon
      **
      no more tired faces
      looking at the moon

  6. Congratulations, Judt. A very visual verse!

    Verse 1:
    thinking the moon is a ball
    baby tries to catch it

    Verse 2:

    straw bales stacked
    underneath the moon

    Verse 3:

    picking mushrooms together
    in the moonlight

  7. clouds hid the bright moon
    but not my shyness next to you

    *****

    caught out under the big moon
    the hare pretends he’s not there

  8. the shadow
    of crows descending
    on a stubble field
                                        Judt Shrode
    *
    shivers of moonlight
    on the chilly night tide

  9. the shadow
    of crows descending
    on a stubble field

    ###############

    a chestnut moon
    gets loose in the orchard

    *

    a chestnut moon
    rising over hot chocolate

    *

    next full moon rising
    with the tide

  10. a few weeks since i last commented and i see the renku is taking a very nice shape. good job, everyone! 🙂
    .
    just couldn’t help noticing three of the last four verses begin with a definite article – not a big deal as this is something that can be easily fixed
    .
    playing along…
    .
    .
    together we wait
    for the sixteenth night moon

    1. Palona (and everyone),

      I addition to having an additional week to consider title options, I am contemplating using that week to hear suggestions about edits that might improve the complete renku. And then, one more post to report the title and any edits that I adopt. And perhaps one more post to discuss future options for this feature.
      .
      Thanks to all who are making this a really good experience.
      John

  11. Congratulations Judt – very evocative and visual
    *
    the shadow
    of crows descending
    on a stubble field
                                        Judt Shrode
    ***
    frosty grapes in the vineyard
    sparkle with moonlight

  12. Judt, what a perfect autumn verse, filled with so much transience. Well done!
    .
    the shadow
    of crows descending
    on a stubble field
    .
    a final round of drinks
    before departing with the moon
    .
    departing with the moon
    tinkling bottles of spirits
    .
    late-night lights
    brighten the rising moon

    1. A beautiful verse! I am forever enamored of the corvids – crows, ravens, and jays. Very nicely done, and evocative of the mood I think we are seeking (though I’m such a novice here I speak only for myself).

      the shadow
      of crows descending
      on a stubble field
      Judt Shrode

      #####
      moonlight fragments
      dance among the trees

    1. my cell phone messed up the spacing. the verse should read
      **************************************************
      a bountiful moon shared
      with family and friends

  13. Congratulations, Judt. I liked this when I read it, reminds me of the Van Goch painting, ‘wheat field with crows’
    Just wonderful.

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