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The Renku Sessions: Junicho verse #12

renku_300

I’m Sandra Simpson, and I have served as your guide through the composition of this 12-verse junicho.

Let me begin by saying how proud I am of all the submitting poets. You did a great job with moon verse candidates – in fact, there were so many good ones I won’t pick any out for special mention (bar one, see below). Please, each of you, give yourself a pat on the back. You let your hair down, got limbered up and the result was a sack full of verses that could have been used. You made my job difficult, which, believe it or not, is a plus!

However, as with most things in life, there can be only one winner …

halfway across the world
a skein of clouds halfway
across the moon

– Michael Henry Lee

What an elegant and beautiful verse this is, perfect for its position. The rhythm, reinforced by the repeating “halfway across”, is beguiling and the whole image has the right amount of painterly dreaminess. Michael has also cleverly used two orbs in his verse – Earth and the moon – without stating that the moon is full. That’s left for the reader to figure out, or not. Echo, upon echo.

For me, the link to the previous verse is one of “spirit” (if you’ll pardon the pun). The people clinking their single malts (which may or may not be the colour of the moon) could be parting or have just arrived from different parts of the planet – travellers anyway, just like the clouds and the moon. And after a dram or two on that darkening balcony, I daresay the talk slows and their minds begin to drift (gathering woolly clouds). The story is yours to discover and fill out, which is just how it should be.

Michael’s original verse was even more beautiful but with “ducks” in the hokku we couldn’t have “geese”. So, Michael, with your permission … (if you’d rather not have the edit, I will choose another verse). I think “skein” works nicely with the idea of clouds.

The following verse was put out of contention by using a freshwater image (our hokku has “river”) and couldn’t be edited without destroying its genius – it moves us through space and time, and with a significant nod to the master who has gone before and lit the way.

moonlight
jumps on the surface
of an old pond

– Gabriel Sawicki

I have been pondering the question raised about the “clinking single malts” verse. Is the overall poem affected enough to warrant altering the verse? Would it weaken the verse to alter it? Does the overall poem benefit by an alteration? And so on. Prevarication has been my middle name. John Carley was my mentor in renku, writing and being a sabaki, so it was time to call him in, in spirit anyway (John died on the very last day of 2013). “Relax,” was his first piece of advice, while his second was “you’re writing a poem, not carrying out a forensic examination”. Sensible.

Having read and re-read the sequence many times this week, I like the link between the nuns and whisky – and I like the flow of the verses.

When we have placed our final verse, the tradition is for everyone to read the completed junicho (which we’ll name) and comment on the verses. Changes may or may not be made then.

But for now let us attend to the important ageku (closing verse), just as important in a renku as the hokku. Remember, that we are in our quieter kyu phase.

Here are some words from John Carley that may be helpful:

The final verse of a renku sequence is the ageku, a name which implies not just an ending but also the fulfilment of anticipation: ‘at last’. Whatever the seasonal aspect the ageku has a function mirroring that of the hokku – this time combining elements of summary, salutation and augury.

In order to have the freedom to meet these demands the ageku may be largely exempted from the more rigorous demands of link, shift and variety.

What comes next – verse #12 is:

  • A 2-line verse that is not cut.
  • An autumn verse that also serves as a “summing up” of sorts. If you want to you may in some way refer/nod to the hokku. But this is entirely optional.
  • This verse is in the quieter kyu phase.
  • Link, shift and variety can be ignored, or not!

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.

Inspiring quote:

Most vital to renga that one verse not be followed by a verse with repeated or associated links. A link with “snow” should not have “icehouse” in the following one. It is in the leaps between the verses that lies the beauty of the renga. The link must be close enough for the reader to follow but far away enough to avoid a repeat – Jane Reichhold

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

clinking single malts
on the balcony

– Paul MacNeil

halfway across the world
a skein of clouds halfway
across the moon

– Michael Henry Lee

This Post Has 62 Comments

  1. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon

    – Michael Henry Lee
    ***
    the droppings, dew or blood
    whatever results are

    – Charles Olson, from ‘The Moon is the Number 18’ (The Distances, second printing)

  2. last one for the last verse:
    *

    the silence between words
    in the retirement village
    **

    Thank you so much Sandra, for this opportunity to participate in a renku. Although I was not consistent in my participation, which is usually the case because I seem to drift in and out of this game of writing in renku – it fails to keep me grabbed, I am so glad that I came back again and continued. Has been a wonderful experience of togetherness. And great learning too. Not easy to be a sabaki, I can tell. And not easy to write verses too!

    Warm regards to all.

  3. clinking single malts
    on the balcony
    – Paul MacNeil
    .
    halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    – Michael Henry Lee

    ~~~~~~~~~

    falling leaves: : the tree stretches the dusking sky

    *

    in the crook of the fallen tree
    cuddle red and gold leaves

    *

    dusk and more leaves blow
    into the goal nets

  4. my offers for the last verse:
    *
    crickets take over
    what’s left of the sun
    **
    with every sun
    more leaves gather at the feet
    ***

  5. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    – Michael Henry Lee
    ***
    that figure on horseback
    still shines in the morning dew

  6. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    – Michael Henry Lee
    ***
    that figure on horseback
    shines in the morning dew

  7. Hi everyone – but especially Christopher, Paul and Alan,

    I have moved the intriguing discussion on point of view (POV) in renku that was started by Chris over to the In-Depth Haiku Discussion area under the “Social” menu. It seemed to me to be a bit “bigger” than our verse candidate selection process could deal with, and doubtless has merit for a wider readership than makes it here.

    Hope that’s okay with you guys and please do continue your “talk” over there. It’s nice to see renku explored on the main boards too.

    Thanks to Paul and Alan for contributing so much to the discussion. It’s a pleasure to read.

    All the best,
    Sandra

  8. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    .
    – Michael Henry Lee
    .

    morning sunshine on
    pillars of the banyan tree

    .

    * William Higginson in his book – The Haiku Seasons says the ‘morning sunshine’ is an autumn season word. Page 129 !

  9. Two submissions for Link #12:

    last night’s argument
    dissipating

    or

    dragonfly in a telescope
    carries troops home from war

  10. ageku candidates:
    *

    too soon the first leaf
    falls
    **

    so many apples
    still on the ground

    **
    we share the last piece
    of pumpkin pie

  11. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    .
    – Michael Henry Lee
    .

    the temple lit
    by a bronze lantern

    .

      1. Doh! …links back to the ‘roar’….I shall miss the head-banging challenge of link and shift and all of the wonderful verses and their poet creators!

  12. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    .
    – Michael Henry Lee
    .
    the backyard lit
    by a bronze lantern

    .
    .

  13. Great choice. Good job, Michael! Congrats.
    Sandra thank you for comment to my previous verse.
    *
    applause for volinist
    mixed with the falling leaves

  14. clinking single malts
    on the balcony

    – Paul MacNeil
    .
    halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon

    – Michael Henry Lee
    _._._._
    .
    from time zone to time zone
    the falling leaves
    .
    the sheen of insect wings
    within a fairy ring
    .
    pumpkins on the cart
    arranged by size

  15. too quickly the
    long night descends
    *
    sweet aroma of new straw
    fills each nostril
    *
    dance longingly
    to the fading renku

  16. offer for $ 12

    in the window some quinces
    lighting inside and out

    ***

    the best must turning into
    wine for the Holy Communion

    ***

    over the sprouting wheat
    the first autumn rain

    Vasile Moldovan

  17. Hi Sandra…wondering if ignoring shift means that even using another color would be OK?…thanks, Judt

    1. Hi Judt,

      *
      A colour would fall under “variety” rather than “shift” … and I would prefer not to repeat a noun or an image as we have only 12 verses (almost nothing when it comes to renku!).
      *
      Thanks,
      Sandra

    1. Hi Pat,
      *
      As you’ll see from the poem we have completed our moon verse and are now writing an *autumn* verse. As we’ve had “moon” in the previous verse we may not repeat it here, no matter how relaxed I might be feeling about the content of the ageku.
      *
      The moon verse is a specific verse(s) in any style of renku, just like the spring flower/blossom verse. There’s only one place the moon may appear and we’ve already done it.
      *
      Please do keep submitting and don’t forget to read the “What comes next” for the parameters for the verse we’re working on.
      *
      Many thanks,
      Sandra

  18. halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon

    – Michael Henry Lee

    Ab lovely verse. 😀

  19. i’m honored to be included with so many talented haiku voices, and
    wonderful verses.I think the edit works very well. I completely spaced out on the “duck” ” goose” repeat.
    Now i’m going to sit back and enjoy how the finished product
    turns out.
    Kanpai

  20. .
    I have to say that the edited version of the successful moon verse is quite beautiful, breathtakingly so:
    .
    .
    halfway across the world
    a skein of clouds halfway
    across the moon
    .
    – Michael Henry Lee
    .
    .
    Although not able to be in the renku, this is also a fine verse, and I hope to see it in a future poem:
    .
    moonlight
    jumps on the surface
    of an old pond

    – Gabriel Sawicki
    .

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