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The Renku Sessions: Junicho verse #10

renku_300

I’m Sandra Simpson, and I will serve as your guide as we compose a 12-verse junicho (june-ee-cho, as in choke).

As a helpful reminder, I’ll repost this from last week: Please do keep an eye on what has gone before … and please do keep at your elbow what is required for the next verse, it’s a big help to me if we’re all aiming within the same framework. See below for the particular requirements for the next verse (under ‘What Comes Next’).

Thanks to everybody who contributed. Among the verses I liked for this final position in our ha phase were:

the culture growing
in a petri dish
yet to be determined

– Polona Oblak

outside the door
the steady gaze
of a gargoyle

– Jayashree Maniyil

meticulously
every spoke given
an extra polish

– Barbara A Taylor

on the cafe wall
wind blowing up
Marilyn’s dress

– Gabriel Sawicki

I’d like to congratulate the authors of those verses I found to be like mysterious short stories – the tossed apron, the motion sickness, the boxes of money in the wardrobe! Haiku noir, maybe, short, short films.

Chosen for verse #9 is:

I hear the nuns
roaring over Seinfeld’s
show about nothing

– Marilyn Potter

A true ha verse, well done Marilyn. Are the nuns roaring with laughter or roaring their disapproval? Are they roaring above the sound of the show about something else entirely (in an uproar)? And we’re left wondering what sort of nuns these are – a silent order of contemplation (the television being a special treat), or the flint-eyed teachers that marred so many of my Catholic friends’ schooldays?

Although priests as a group are now largely reviled, nuns can hardly be considered blameless of abuse after films (and the non-fiction book the former was based on) such as Philomena and The Magdalene Sisters. How do you Solve a Problem like Maria, it wasn’t.

Then there’s Seinfeld‘s famed “show about nothing” episode screened in 1993. Is it postmodern irony, post-postmodern or just a joke? The metafiction used has a curious reverb to today’s ‘reality’ television shows where people become ‘famous’ not for their intelligence or good works, humility or faith, but simply for being.

Marilyn also subtly invites us to recall Shakespeare’s lines from Macbeth:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

The selection for this verse position was a close-run thing. Here is the other verse I looked at long and hard:

dancers writhe
and leap to the beat
of Carmina Burana

– Paul MacNeil

It’s always interesting to contemplate the different paths a renku might take if a different verse were chosen.

What comes next – verse #10 is:

  • A 2-line verse that is not cut.
  • A no-season verse that may not cover a topic already used.
  • This is the first verse in our final phase – kyu, perhaps imagine it as the mellow time at a successful party when guests are feeling warm towards one another and becoming a little introspective as the time nears to part ways. The writing once again steps away from proper nouns and “in your face” topics.
  • A verse that links to verse 9 but shifts away from verse 8 – in image, tone, setting, construction, etc.
  • Please do not use another “person verse”, and please move the action outside – however, please do not refer to the night sky in any way as the verse that comes after this is our autumn moon verse (an important verse in a renku). Writers may also like to think about opening the way for the verse to come.

How we play:

Please enter your candidate verses in the Comments section below. All verse positions in this junicho will be degachi, that is competitive, and the final poem will comprise stanzas written by 12 different poets.

Please submit only 3 candidate verses for each position. I will allow a week between each verse selection so you have plenty of time to consider your submissions before making them.

For information about junicho and renku, please refer to the Introduction post. And, remember, have fun with your writing.

Our poem so far:

cooling off –
our feet in the river
with the ducks

– Lorin Ford

the distant melody
of an ice-cream truck

– Maria Tomczak

paper planes
by the window
ready for his bag

– Sanjuktaa Asopa

welcome to Gaza
from Banksy and friends

– Betty Shropshire

somewhere a missing key
among sprouts
of green grass

– Maureen Virchau

and a pot of daffodils
at the end of the rainbow

– Marion Clarke

on re-entry
the cosmonaut inhales
the scent of her body

– Patrick Sweeney

his pride tied to the bedpost
with her thermal undies

– Karen Cesar

I hear the nuns
roaring over Seinfeld’s
show about nothing

– Marilyn Potter

This Post Has 55 Comments

  1. I hear the nuns
    roaring over Seinfeld’s
    show about nothing

    – Marilyn Potter

    an old banyan tree
    with myriad crutches

    .

  2. I hear the nuns
    roaring over Seinfeld’s
    show about nothing

    – Marilyn Potter

    a catamaran
    sails over the horizon

  3. .
    long ago news
    from the crystal radio
    .
    .
    shadows in the pine
    that clings to the cliff
    .
    .
    the brook’s invitation
    calls for my birthday suit!
    .
    .

    1. Hi Phil,
      *
      I’m concerned that ‘dry riverbed’ could connote late summer (drought) and so this isn’t a ‘no-season’ verse.
      *
      Please try again – you may submit up to 3, so you have 3 tries to go!
      *
      Best wishes,
      Sandra

  4. just now a rocket
    crossing the Milky Way

    ***
    the postman’s bag is full again
    of day-dreams and hopes

    ***
    a breath of wind waves
    the stars in the flag

    Vasile Moldovan

  5. Verse 10:
    ***

    his pride tied to the bedpost
    with her thermal undies
    – Karen Cesar
    *
    I hear the nuns
    roaring over Seinfeld’s
    show about nothing
    – Marilyn Potter
    *
    pebbles line the path
    of the labyrinth

  6. atop the broken steeple
    sings the songbird
    —-
    nature chants
    bees hum

    whispered prayers
    earthquake’s retreat

  7. his pride tied to the bedpost
    with her thermal undies

    – Karen Cesar
    .
    I hear the nuns
    roaring over Seinfeld’s
    show about nothing

    – Marilyn Potter
    ***
    .
    ammonite fossils
    within the rock stratum
    .
    the top of the mountain
    through a telephoto lens
    .
    a mercury mine
    now open for tourists

  8. his pride tied to the bedpost
    with her thermal undies

    – Karen Cesar

    I hear the nuns
    roaring over Seinfeld’s
    show about nothing

    – Marilyn Potter
    ***********************
    offer 1:
    the takeaway joint
    stops taking orders
    **
    offer 2:
    walking home after
    my first stand-up gig
    **

  9. Thanks Lorin , I guess the good news is more writing practice. and three more swings at the plate. So here goes…
    *******

    just as the clock tower
    strikes midnight
    *******

    one less sake cup
    hits the pavement below

    *******
    the garden stone’s inscription
    provides more food for thought

  10. Thank you Lorin and Paul for your comments and helpful suggestions – it’s great to have more experienced writers on board. Sharing of knowledge is an important part of learning to write renku.
    **
    For those of you who don’t know Lorin and Paul, they have both been members of award-winning renku teams, as well as both being editors of outstanding online haiku journals (A Hundred Gourds and The Heron’s Nest, respectively).

  11. no problem Sandra, this is my first attempt at a collaborative poem,
    it’s great fun and quite a challenge!
    ******
    yesterday’s yard sale
    covered with dew

    1. Hi Michael, renku is certainly a challenge! So many boxes to tick, which is why a good sabaki/ composer is needed. It’s also handy, at first, to check a basic collection of traditional Japanese season words such as Higginson’s ‘500 Essential Japanese Season Words’ because some things have a classical, designated season that it’s hard to ignore even when writing EL renku! After a while, the more important kigo/seasonal references become intuitive, so we can use them or avoid them depending on requirements, but it can be frustrating at first.
      http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html

      ***
      Sorry to have to tell you that ‘dew’ is an important kigo for Autumn, signifying as it does the ephemeral nature of life. It’s difficult to ignore such associations when writing EL renku. Your verse is a lovely, traditional Autumn verse. You could add another line and have a good haiku out of it.
      ***
      Back to the drawing board? 🙂
      (I’m doing this to try to take a bit of the load off Sandra)

      – Lorin

  12. flies away may be too close to paper airplanes so:

    the empty picnic basket
    blows away in the storm

    1. In the spirit of Lorin’s posts and do forgive me Aalix, but picnic is also a season word. Generally summer, depending on context.

    1. Hmmm, Gabriel, this is a good verse, but aren’t sugar skulls part of the Mexican (& other countries, perhaps) celebration of the Day of the Dead? Which happens in Northern hemisphere Autumn, fitting in with All Soul’s Day? I think Sandra has specified that this verse position requires a verse with no reference to season at all.
      ***
      Even though the Day of the Dead festival is associated with a calendar date rather than a world season (same as All Soul’s Day) ,October is either Autumn or Spring, depending on hemisphere, so can’t really be ‘no season’.
      ***

      Golly, I feel for those who live in the tropics when it comes to writing renku, or even haiku, what with traditional seasonal requirements. 🙂
      ***
      Try with another verse to replace this one?
      ***
      – Lorin

      1. Hi Lorin,
        when I was in Mexico several years ago there were a lot of those skulls everywhere (even on t-shirts and postcards) so I thought they may be some kind of souvenirs that you can buy all year round.
        Now I think you are right! I was there on September/October so it was the high season for them. I wasn’t fully aware it.
        ***
        I will think about another verses to replace this one.
        ***
        Thanks Lorin!

        1. Yeah, it’s a bit like having chocolate Bunny Rabbits or chocolate eggs in a verse :-). There’s even a name for poems written for the Day of the Dead! A fascinating tradition. Check Wikipedia …

          – Lorin

  13. Thanks, Sandra, for selecting my verse. I’ve really enjoyed participating in this renku, and am honoured to have my verse chosen.

    Marilyn

    1. A wonderful verse, Marilyn. Congratulations! I admit to needing to have it explained (all except for the nuns part) but once it was, I could see how superb it is.
      – Lorin

  14. Hi Sandra,
    Am I correct in guessing the verse following the one we’re currently writing will be the position of the autumn moon? I’m asking because that might have some impact on the construction of the current verse.

    1. Hi Polona,
      *
      I got distracted while finishing the post – called away to take my daughter to the inter-city bus. Then the bus was very late, we ran into someone I hadn’t seen for 20 years, there was sheet lightning and, just as the bus finally did arrive and leave, a deluge of Biblical proportions! By the time we got home again, soaked to the skin, I had forgotten the all-important autumn moon … so will go and add to my top comments now.
      *
      Thanks for the nudge,
      Sandra

      1. You’re welcome, Sandra. I knew the moon has to feature somewhere, and the penultimate verse was just about the only available slot left 🙂
        Gosh, you sound busy, and with the elements refusing to cooperate, too! Hope things have serttled down for you.

  15. after the thunderstorm a rainbow appears

    **
    colorful kayaks line the beach

    **
    sunflowers drooping with seeds the birds left behind

    1. Hi Judith,
      *
      I have asked for 2-line verses but these are appearing here as single-line candidates. Is this what you intended?
      *
      And there are a couple of issues to be addressed:
      We’ve already had a rainbow so may not have another
      Sunflowers drooping with seeds is an autumn kigo – we are still in *no season* . I’m sorry if my comments at the top were confusing, but the autumn verses come after the one we’re writing now.
      *
      Please do submit some candidate verses.
      *
      Best wishes,
      Sandra

    1. Hi MHL,
      *
      I have amended my notes for this verse at the top – I’m sorry but we can’t reference the night sky in this position as our moon verse comes next. My apologies for leaving out that vital piece of information.
      *
      Please do submit another verse,
      Sandra

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