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The Renku Sessions: Junicho – wakiku

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).

Thank you to all the poets – 19 of you – who contributed offerings for our hokku, or lead verse. There were a number of verses that appealed, among them:

gator hole
the heavy slap
of water colors

– Betty Shropshire

A tremendously striking image. Has an alligator appeared in a hokku before?

bamboo branches
curved for the new screech-owl box
first oak blossoms

– Paul MacNeil

An author who wasn’t afraid to try a blossom in the hokku (not as easy in a winter poem).

morning assembly
a pupil suggests we pray
for snow

– Marion Clarke

snow moon
rabbit tracks all over
the apple orchard

– Polona Oblak

distant jingle
everything is mice and men
through the snow

– Alan Summers

first snow
our steps weaving
through the deer tracks

– Maureen Virchau

I was interested that so few poets have used a visible cut. As this is the only verse in the junicho that will have a cut, I wonder why so many poets (scroll through the Comments section of the call for a hokku) shied away from using a visible cut? I expect there’s a thesis in it somewhere!

I have settled upon this verse to open our poem:

cooling off –
our feet in the river
with the ducks

– Lorin Ford

And not only because I’m sitting in late summer! It opens our junicho with a nice “sense” image and leaves somewhere for the author of the wakiku to go – the passing of the baton from poet to poet is also a skill to be developed in renku.

The next verse is the wakiku and I am looking for:

  • A 2-line poem that is not cut
  • A poem that subtly reinforces the summer season of the hokku or is no-season and reinforces the hokku is another way (this is an option peculiar to the junicho form)
  • A poem that in conjunction with the hokku could be read as a tanka.
  • A poem that is mild/pleasant in tone (jo phase).

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.

As our poem is so short we can approach it in a more leisurely fashion, so please submit only 3 candidate verses for each position, rather than using a “shotgun” approach and offering several versions of the same verse, plus others.

I will allow a week between each verse selection so you will 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!

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks

    – Lorin Ford

    .

    I carry back home
    the nibbling of fish
    .
    – Kala Ramesh

  2. fireflies doing
    pirouettes over the pond
    *
    daydreaming to the distant
    music of a child singing
    *
    laughing and walking slowly
    home after too many beers

  3. cooling off-
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    Lorin Ford

    under the catful of hay
    the wooden bridge tremor

    the string of a kite
    scratches the rainy clouds

    coming of Age Day
    on his desk a new laptop
    Vasile Moldovan

  4. cooling off –
    our feet in the water
    with the ducks
    – Lorin Ford
    * * *
    an omen shifts the tide
    for a sweet Penelope
    – Betty Shropshire

    1. I know the above is too much of a leap as well but here is the source for my response to the hokku:

      “Penelope’s parents were Prince Icarius of Sparta and the nymph Periboea. Periboea hid her infant daughter as soon as she was born, knowing that Icarius had wanted a son. As soon as Icarius discovered the baby girl, he threw her into the sea to drown. However, a family of ducks rescued her. Seeing this as an omen, Icarius named the child Penelope (after the Greek word for “duck”) and raised her as his favorite child.”

      Read more: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Pa-Pr/Penelope.html#ixzz3S72XDwBf

  5. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    .
    -Lorin Ford
    .
    .

    sweat beads a bottle
    of Orange Crush
    .
    – Karen Cesar

  6. Sandra, Betty, and all — back to discussion of a prospective hokku . . .

    gator hole
    the heavy slap
    of water colors
    ***
    – Betty Shropshire
    ***
    [Sandra]
    A tremendously striking image. Has an alligator appeared in a hokku before?
    ***
    [Paul]
    Betty, I know exactly what you saw, what motivated you. It does require a reader who knows alligators, though. These beasts are native only to the USA south, Texas to the Carolinas. I live in Florida and have encountered many. For the rest of the world, including Australia, crocodiles are similar in season and mating behavior, I believe. Are there crocs in New Zealand? Sandra, quite a number of haiku use “alligator” and it is either spring or summer. I’ve not seen it in a renku’s hokku.. In Fla. a late winter drought is common which concentrates gators into ever shrinking bodies of water. One large gator will dominate and smaller ones flee for their lives. Breeding season is in April, when they are moving about — males to find territory and advertising for mates while expressing dominance. They bellow. Taking in huge breaths, the body cavity expands and a very low sound is made on the release of air. Google “alligators bellow” for some video of this. The low vibrations travel pretty well in water and very well in the air. I once felt it vibrate through my feet standing above such a “hole.” Amazing. At night, near a swamp it is part of the night sound in Spring. I have seen this and heard this even in daytime. This bass sound is much like, I’m told, the African male lion sounding off in the Serengeti. And to the same purpose. So, gators on the move, “growling” (as it is called in the US South), mating, laying eggs are Spring symbols. Baby alligators hatch from eggs in about 3 months, so they are very much part of summer. To me, a mention of American alligator, not otherwise qualified is Spring. The colloquial “gator hole” is winter just as Betty put it. In Florida one can see them in all seasons, but most in Spring such as when a big one finds a house’s swimming pool. One of my own old haiku (Snapshots monthly calendar):

    August heat
    an alligator nose
    in the coot’s wake

    Paul MacNeil
    ***
    [later published as “windless heat” etc.]
    ***
    A coot is a small aquatic bird, not a duck. And the slow motion chase is as old as birds and reptiles. I’ve only seen crocodiles in the wild in Florida’s Everglades National Park — they are in salt water only ( species swam from Cuba and points south). Crocs and gators overlap only in places where the freshwater leaves the swamps for Florida Bay. Ten-footers* of either animal are fearsome looking and in reality. Don’t feed the bears! or alligators . . . – Paul
    * largest gators 13-14 feet, crocs? 20 feet?
    ***
    returning you now to the renku.

    1. “Has an alligator appeared in a hokku before? ” – Sandra

      ” I’ve not seen it in a renku’s hokku.” – Paul

      Paul, are you implying that there is such a thing as a hokku outside of renku?

      Of course, back in Basho’s day, there was the one word, ‘hokku’, used whether the verse was at the head of a hokku or published independently in an anthology. We in the ‘Western’ world only learned about that in retrospect, of course. Since Shiki, though, I’d thought that whilst ‘hokku’ remains the name for the first verse of a renku, all other hokku-like, ‘stand-alone’ verses have been called ‘haiku’.

      We don’t have any alligators in the wild in Australia , but we do have crocs, both freshwater and estuarine. The freshies won’t hurt you, usually, the salties will have you for dinner. They’re all up North, in the tropics. I don’t think there would be any crocs in the wild in NZ.

      – Lorin

      1. Dear Lorin, Pace. I didn’t mean to open that definitional “can of words” to use a US idiom. Ha! Renku begin with a “haiku” a/k/a hokku. But, not all haiku have a renku attached. Love your distinction among the kinds of crocs in your country! And, Captain Hook feared to go in the water again in Neverland.

      2. Thank goodness, no crocodiles roaming free in New Zealand, no snakes, no bears, no lions, no tigers – domesticated (or otherwise) dogs and cats are top of the food chain on land, and sharks in the surrounding oceans. We don’t have as many shark attacks as Australia but then our population is smaller and our seas are, on average, colder.

        1. Is that true, no snakes, Sandra? Had I realised that, I probably would’ve migrated decades ago!

          (What, did the Hobbits eat them? 😛 )

          – L

          1. Yup, no snakes. Like Ireland, we feel very blessed!

            We have one native poisonous spider – rarely seen and quite shy – but there are some your redbacks establishing themselves in a few of places, and a bite from a whitetail spider (an early Australian migrant) can cause grief (but not everyone reacts to it).

            Other than that, I read about a man who was very ill with leptospirosis after a possum peed on his face (actually, not that difficult to have happen should you be standing under a tree trying to get it to shut up and/or push off).

          2. No snakes is definitely a bonus! Yes, whitetails & redbacks … are in my yard and I try to avoid them. Not only are the redbacks over there in a few places, it seems they’re interbreeding with the endangered locals:

            “A member of the genus Latrodectus in the family Theridiidae, the redback belongs in a clade with the black widow spider,[5] with the katipo as its closest relative.[13] A 2004 molecular study supports the redback’s status as a distinct species, as does the unique abdomen-presenting behaviour of the male during mating.[5] The close relationship between the two species is shown when mating: the male redback is able to successfully mate with a female katipo producing hybrid offspring. However, the male katipo is too heavy to mate with the female redback, as it triggers a predatory response in the female when it approaches the web, causing the female to eat it.[14] There is evidence of interbreeding between katipo and redbacks in the wild.[13]”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redback_spider

  7. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    – Lorin Ford

    a capella
    between the skip of a stone
    – Betty Shropshire

  8. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks

    – Lorin Ford

    a wind leafs trought the book
    poem after poem

    a distant melody
    of the ice-cream truck

    flying with the wind
    soap bubbles

  9. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    .
    – Lorin Ford
    .
    .
    how condensate glistens
    in all the right places
    .
    .

  10. cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks

    – Lorin Ford

    * * *

    new generations
    play on the beach

    This is pretty interesting, considering the Neville Shute novel (‘On The Beach’) and the film derived from it, which certainly haunted my childhood. (Yeah ! 🙂 During the filming at Frankston, Fred Astaire waved at me an my schoolmates. Later, every cloud over the bay I saw seemed to me to be a a mushroom cloud.

    Things that haunt.

    – L

    1. Dear Lorin,

      *

      This is a poem about Lake Michigan, our great lake from the Wisconsin USA side. Karl and I live by the beach in an old house that began as a cottage in the 1940s. We’ve been here for a few decades now.

      *

      When we first returned to Wisconsin, I had been teaching in Chicago. Time seemed to stand still here, by contrast, but of course it has not stood still.

      *

      I remember a poem I wrote on my blog about a new generation building sand castles on the beach .

      *

      Thank you for your comment. I remember the movie or book, now that you mention. I’m still new to renku, and I try to read the guidelines and then write from images that have been with me for a long time. Have also been reading more widely online, so gradually the process feels more intuitive (a long way from this goal!)

      *

      So I am here to learn . . . and as Sandra makes selections over these next weeks, I am open to revisions.
      *

      Blessings, Ellen

      *

      PS I’ll try a star between paragraphs to keep my format.

  11. Congratulations, Lorin. What a delightful hokku.
    Thank you so much for all your time and consideration, Sandra.
    *
    a fragrant breeze
    rippling through the reeds

  12. Lovely verse Lorin 🙂

    cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    .
    – Lorin Ford

    a leaf floats
    upon the breeze

  13. well done, Lorin, and a good choice, Sandra 🙂
    .
    .
    cooling off –
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    .
    – Lorin Ford
    .
    ***
    .
    algae at the bottom
    of a watering can

    a toy truck climbs dunes
    in the sandbox

    cloud peaks all along
    the mountain range

  14. What a nice surprise! I’m most honoured, Sandra. And thanks, Betty. 🙂

    I’ll follow this renku to its conclusion with interest.

    best wishes,

    Lorin

  15. Well done, Lorin! And thank you, Sandra for the lovely compliment!


    cooling off-
    our feet in the river
    with the ducks
    -Lorin Ford


    mark twain sounds
    on a Mississippi queen
    -Betty Shropshire

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