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The Renku Sessions: Imachi, Week 2

renkuchainWelcome to another Renku session. I am Linda Papanicolaou. The renku I am leading this time is an Imachi, an 18-verse form from Renku Masters Shunjin and Seijo Okamoto (“Waiting for the Moon,” 1984). Like Junicho, the other form they gave us, Imachi is a single-sheet renku though it develops in a more traditional jo-ha-kyu structure and depends more on the flow of passages of verse in its linking.

A thorough discussion may be found in John E. Carley’s Renku Reckoner, pp. 51-56, online at Google Books. The section includes a discussion, a selection of seasonal schemata, and a lovely example, “Between the Jagged Rocks”, by JEC and Norman Darlington.

 

Good morning!  I’m pleased to announce that our chosen hokku is one of Simon Hanson’s:

a row of icicles
blue sky and sunshine
dripping from the eaves

In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere this has been a harsh winter, and midway through April some of us are still getting snow. At my place up in the mountains, the warmth of house heat always liquifies the snow on the roof so that icicles form along the eaves. In really bad winters they can grow quite long and thick, like jail bars that almost close off the view out the window. Yes, when the weather warms, blue sky and the dazzle of sunlight refract through the glissade of melting water.

There’s a  traditional kigo in this hokku: melting ice, koori toku 氷解く, mid-spring (see entry in the World Kigo Database: https://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com/2005/09/ice-koori.html). My own haiku teachers often remind us that kigo are not simply calendar or weather reports—they’re the emotional heart of the poem. That’s especially true here. Notice that Simon has not simply said that the icicles are melting but has shown us through a cluster of sensory images that evokes the joy of warm weather and real spring finally arriving.

It’s a verse that fits well for the hokku of a modern renku form with traditional qualities. At 16 syllables it’s in the longer range for short-form verses, and while the line lengths may be irregular in syllables (6/5/5),  in stresses it’s  2/3/2–a well-formed, measured verse. Admittedly it’s personal style, but when I’m leading a renku that follows jo-ha-kyu dynamic, I like hokku that take their time and establish a sense of time and place that lets the reader settle into the poem before things pick up in the ha. For me, Simon’s verse does just that and I’m very pleased we have it. Onward to the:

Call for Wakiku:

This will be a two-line spring verse. Here are a few requirements, or just things to keep in mind:

  • Season references may be mid-, late- or all spring, though with a hokku of mid-season, anything the saijiki codes early spring is not an option.
  • The function of the wakiku is to support and enlarge the scene of the hokku, so sit with Simon’s verse a bit and ask yourself, what else?
  • The hokku is what we’d classify as a “non-person” verse–sometimes called a nature verse though it’s more accurate simply to say that there is no one in it. We’ll be switching back and forth between person and non-person every two or three of verses throughout the renku. The wakiku may continue non-person mode, or you may introduce someone.
  • The verse following the wakiku will be our blossom verse, so please no spring flowers. No moon, either, please–our moon verse comes later.

Registering your verse offers:

• Use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of this thread to submit your offers.

• Please hold revisions or corrections to a minimum, but if you must do so, use the “Reply” link on your own post rather than initiate a new submission.

• Post your submissions before midnight Monday,23 April, Eastern USA time.

• The selected verse will be announced the following Thursday morning: 26 April, Eastern US time.

Happy writing!  I look forward to what you all come up with!

Linda

 

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. The window for submissions to the wakiku is now closed. Thank you, everyone, for your imaginations, creativity, and beautiful writing. See you on Thursday with our verse and a call for the daisan.

  2. *
    quicker than s’cat
    the lucky tongue
    *
    *
    high as a kite
    the river and pony tails
    *

  3. small salmon flashes
    not yet against the current
    +++
    between cold walls
    fragrance of cut grass
    +++
    a still cold stream
    cuts the emerald field

  4. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    ***
    a swallow into nest
    sitting on spotted eggs

  5. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    ***
    the last drops on the ceiling
    slowly fall one by one

  6. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    ***
    full of fresh scents
    are the budding boughs

  7. 1.
    they come out of the larva
    the gauze wings of the dragonfly
    ————————————————-
    2.
    at dinner time
    the smell of cut grass
    ———————————————–
    3.
    drops of light on the leaves
    after the downpour

  8. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves – Simon Hanson
    .
    on Earth Day, deep breaths
    for the scent of it
    .
    – Lorin

    1. Today, 22nd April is Earth Day.
      .
      (Well, it is Earth Day today where I am & in many world regions, including Tokyo and Moscow. London has about one hour to go & it’ll be Earth Day, New York time, in 6 hours.)
      .
      – Lorin

    2. Linda, how do celebrations which occur world-wide fit in international renku, in your view?
      .
      We know that the traditional Japanese saijiki is based on one region of Japan, by ancient precedent or by consensus or by both. ‘The 500 Essential Japanese Season Words’ lists “spring soil (haru no tsuchi, all spring). ”
      .
      Earth Day in Japan happens over 2 days, the weekend 21st & 22nd April.
      https://livejapan.com/en/in-harajuku/article-a0001041/
      .
      But we are not all in Japan, nor even all in the Northern hemisphere. In this wakiku, a spring reference is required. Personally, I can accept that spring is the time when generally, wherever we are, we notice the earth smells of warming soil, new moss etc. as we spend more time outdoors.
      .
      But I don’t think that Earth Day, in itself, without qualification, can be a seasonal reference, even if it has become a kigo now, in Japan, since it’s international (and ‘international’ in a truer sense than a renku composed between Japanese and North American participants. . . and I have seen that described as ‘international renku’. 🙂 Well, I suppose it is ‘renku between two nations’, so ‘international’ in that very limited sense.)
      .
      So in my view we could have Earth Day set in either spring or autumn (like Christmas etc.) as long as there is a seasonal reference as well. But I’m interested in your view.
      .
      – Lorin

  9. a flock of gulls
    follow the plough
    *
    skylark song faintly heard
    beside the swollen stream

  10. a smell of grass
    on the cat whiskers

    a bunch of kittens
    in a corner of the stable

  11. Beautiful, Simon. Happy Spring!

    wisps of spring cirrus
    zephyred along

    what perfection waits
    beneath the garden loam?

    first notes of robin song
    hatching in the old pine

  12. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    .
    Simon Hanson
    .
    windowsill seedlings
    too big for their pots
    .
    Liz Ann

  13. A beautiful hokku, Simon. Very evocative!

    Verse 1:

    we breathe
    the spring light

    Verse 2:

    in the spring mountains
    the bear bells ring

  14. Nicely done Simon
    ****************
    Chimney Swifts remind us
    to secure an open flu
    ********************
    cleaning gutters all that
    glitters isn’t gold

  15. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    .
    Simon Hanson
    .
    the smell of soil
    freshly tilled
    .
    Liz Ann

  16. Congratulations, Simon.

    a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves – Simon Hanson

    *
    everywhere
    the sparkle of rainbows

    *
    mulching the morning
    into fragrant soil

    *
    happy screams of kids
    on park swings

    ~~~

  17. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    .
    Simon Hanson
    .
    a pregnant doe shakes
    rain off and moves on
    .
    the broken gate
    clangs with the wind

  18. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves – Simon Hanson
    .
    all that twittering
    in the old cypress hedge!
    .
    – Lorin

  19. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves – Simon Hanson
    .
    bright seed-packets
    lined up on the fridge
    .
    – Lorin

  20. Congratulations, Simon! 🙂
    .
    Icicles aren’t something I’ve seen in my life, but you make a lovely image from them.
    .
    a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves – Simon Hanson
    .
    bike tracks criss-crossing
    the last patches of snow
    .
    (Well, I’ve seen snow . . . 3 or 4 times! 🙂 )
    .
    – Lorin

    1. There are not many icicles here in sunny Queensland but I have seen a few small ones form under the roof gutters during my years in Mount Gambier. Size is not everything some say, and they were just big enough for me to admire in them the play of morning light : )

  21. Thank you Linda and everyone for your thoughtful comments – much appreciated. There were so many wonderful offerings that i am a bit surprised.
    So looking forward to the journey ahead.

  22. a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    – Simon Hanson ( love this!)

    outside their den
    bear cubs stop and blink

  23. 😊 Lovely, Simon!! Well done!
    – Betty
    ¤¤¤

    a row of icicles
    blue sky and sunshine
    dripping from the eaves
    – Simon Hanson
    .
    .
    are we there yet? pipes up
    one pilgrim as if on cue
    – Betty Shropshire

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