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The Renku Sessions: Junicho verse #8

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

Love verses are perhaps the trickiest to get right in a renku and according to John Carley, Basho didn’t much care for writing them but I think you all did pretty well – there were certainly some good verses submitted, everything from the sweetly romantic to the phwoar!

Please do read through the information on the requirements for the next verse as I change it for each posting. I mentioned for the last verse that I wanted an indoors setting yet many submitters set their verses outside. At its heart renku is a form that values variety and change as its creation moves forward, something that is important to remember. A sequence of verses that mimic each other in tone, construction, rhythm and setting don’t make for a good renku.

If you’re having trouble steering clear of topics that have gone before, I suggest you print the poem so far, putting it at your elbow as you write. We have all made the mistake of re-using something that has gone before, so don’t beat yourself up, just try again. If we were all sitting in the same room, these “errors” would be laughed off and we’d all have another cup of sake!

Chosen for verse #7 is:

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

– Patrick Sweeney

The link is, broadly, “things that go up in an arc and come down from the heavens” – rainbow and cosmonaut’s space craft; a “scent link” or vibe of (sexual) fireworks and rainbow; and maybe even men in funny costumes (leprechauns/cosmonauts)!

I have added “on” at the start of the verse to eliminate the pause/cut that occurred at the end of line 1 with “re-entry” as a single line.

This is a brilliant verse with its “naughty” double entendre, very ha, but at the same time purely a love verse. Whether our cosmonaut is with his lover or has purchased a woman the moment he steps back on Earth, is left to our imagination. I also like the fact that Patrick has chosen to make our male a Russian (or, at least, part of the Russian space team). “cosmonaut” adds an intriguing note to our poem.

And thank you, Patrick too, for making this a sensual verse, our first using the sense of smell. We’ve had touch and sound earlier so were ready for another sense to be used. Will someone be able to bring taste to the table before we finish?

I don’t perceive any issue with “flight”, as the previous two verses that use “something that flies” (ducks/paper planes) the objects weren’t actually flying and nor was there any indication that they would be. This is the sort of thing that could be discussed ad infinitum, and often is, but my mentor John Carley always recommended avoiding forensic parsing in favour of the poetry!

Other verses in the running were:

her smoldering glance
as Bacall teaches Bogart
how to whistle

– Paul MacNeil

breathless
he bends and dips her deep
to the floor

– Liz Ann Winkler

from the palette of oils
his brush
touching her body

– Judt Shrode

I send flowers hoping
that her daddy
will not see them

– joel

slow dancing
closer than the law
allowed

– Michael Henry Lee

What comes next – verse #8 is:

  • A 2-line verse that is not cut.
  • A winter love verse – this is our only winter verse. Summer and winter are seen as “minor” seasons in renku and so in a junicho receive less weight than spring and autumn, the “major” seasons, which have two verses each. Summer has two verses in our junicho only because it was the season of the hokku and therefore also the wakiku.
  • A verse that links to verse 7 but shifts away from verse 6 – in tone, setting, construction, etc. I would strongly suggest that this is an indoor verse as we’ve spent a lot of time outside and verse 7 is indeterminate, although most likely to be inside (but I guess you never know with cosmonauts!).
  • A verse that has energy – we are almost at the end of the ha or “party” phase of jo-ha-kyu, only one more to go before we change the mood. Don’t just make your words sparkle, but go for a striking idea too.
  • A verse that opens outwards (is open-ended) leaving room for the writer who will follow.

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.

An inspiring quote:

What is so great about the many [renku] rules is that as a writer progresses, there is always something new to learn, another technique to try out or idea to experience. It is beginning to seem that 20 years is no time at all and one needs a long life to try out everything – 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

This Post Has 45 Comments

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

    – Patrick Sweeney
    **

    green tea leaves
    brewing in an earthen mug

  2. .
    .

    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
    .
    .

    adjusting the cold color
    another aperature dilates
    .
    Alan Summers
    .
    .
    December’s cover robot
    starts cooking
    .
    Alan Summers
    .
    .
    through a hairline crack
    the bedroom’s Yule incense
    .
    Alan Summers
    .
    .

  3. gently he kindles
    the fire and me
    ******************
    his holiday stubble
    tickles my winter dream
    *******************
    the crackling of fire
    between heavy breaths

  4. 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 bedposts
    with her thermal undies

  5. 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
    ***
    I’m late to this, but just want to say: a superb verse, & really lovely, excellent linking! Even ‘the vertical axis’ in play!
    ***
    Is everyone familiar with Yoshino Yoshiko’s:
    ***
    a man enters
    the room, disturbing the scent
    of daffodils
    ***
    (from ‘Far Beyond the Field’. page 148)
    ***

    – Lorin

  6. 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
    .
    ***
    snowed in with you,
    one thing leads to another
    .
    the figure skater’s fling
    with her married coach
    .
    your après-ski photo
    with someone i don’t know

  7. in bed with the flu
    an old maid’s feverish dreams

    ***
    a prostitute wriggles
    back into her long johns

    🙂 Karen

    1. Hi Karen,

      I like your old maid, but could you submit a rewrite please, one that doesn’t start with “in”, which would directly follow “on”

      Many thanks,
      Sandra

  8. under the snowfall each hut
    becomes a white house

    in the winter twiligt
    few embers still sparkling

    on the snowman’s shoulders
    the scarf of a woman

    Vasile Moldovan

  9. chocolates the shy lover left
    thaw on her dressing table

    ***************

    their electric blanket
    slips unnoticed to the floor

    ***************

    firewood thawing firewood
    in the bedroom fireplace

  10. clothes tossed to the floor
    The dog drags them away
    **

    open windows open doors
    who cares?
    **
    she takes out her hair ties
    one by one

    1. Hi Judith,
      *

      Great to have you on board … please note the instruction that this is a winter love verse so feel free to resubmit so you have your 3 candidates like everyone else.
      *

      Best wishes,
      Sandra

      1. knitting wooly hats
        his and hers

        **
        one-dog winter night
        furry friend between them

        **
        wood stove chairs
        abandoned

  11. snow angels forming
    on the bedroom floor

    *****

    with each layer of clothing
    the heart rate increases

    *****

    a heart drawn in steam
    on the bedroom window

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