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The Renku Sessions: Jûnicho – Week 11

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Seventh Renku Session.

I’m Lorin Ford. I’m your sabaki for this Jûnicho renku.

“The word sabaki means handler or guide. . . . It is pure chance that the German word Führer also translates as guide.” (John Carley, Renku Reckoner)

Please join me in the making of a Jûnicho and in making this collaborative poem an enjoyable experience for all involved.

Some Resources:

John Carley’s ‘Introduction to Renku’.

Renku Home.

THF renku archive here.

 

Verse #10, no season

19 renkujin  submitted for the first verse of our short kyu section. My thanks to all. This verse was quite a challenge! The linking needed to be close/tight and uncomplicated and we needed to move on swiftly to something new as our renku now rushes towards its close. This time, my ‘top 7’:

.

another chamber/in the famous pyramid?                                             – Chris Patchel

.

the word ‘egress’/ in her Lego story                                                           – Sandra Simpson

.

cameras atop towers/ turned to the five boroughs                              – Betty Shropshire

.

agonizing wait/ for the pregnancy test                                                      – Sally Biggar

.

script written/ for pollen allergy                                                                  – Pauline O’Carolan

.

pollen settles on the hem/ of my yellow dress                                      – Jackie Maugh Robinson

.

finally awarded/ that spelling trophy                                                        – Marion Clarke

 

 

Verse #10 – Dystopia Now?

 

gone, gone, gone all the way . . .
with the wind

– Michael Henry Lee

 

a bee
disappears into the bell
of a foxglove

– Andrew Shimield

 

cameras atop towers
turned to the five boroughs

– Betty Shropshire

 

After Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness we had the Vietnam War and subsequently the film Apocalypse Now. After George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four we now have Surveillance. With a capital S. Yes, Big Brother is watching you and Big Brother is a machine, an interconnected network of machines. You are watched by satellite cameras, through your phones, through your computers. (The recently released role of Facebook in the 2016 USA Presidential election is interesting.) And, of course, through CCTV. Just walking to my local supermarket I pass under three obvious ones, and the huge Chinese apartment complex is nearly finished, so there will be more. We have more and more cities growing taller and taller to accommodate larger and larger populations. We live among strangers. CCTV makes us feel safer, more secure. The citizens of New York, where I imagine Betty’s verse is set, are demanding more and more CCTV surveillance. But the image in Betty’s verse is disturbing. Are there such cameras on top of New York towers now, with the capacity to surveil whole districts? If there aren’t, we can be certain there will be in a minute or two. From such an elevation, seen with human eyes, people in the streets below would seem like ants, motor vehicles like small beetles. Today’s technology can focus and enlarge with greater and greater clarity. Though contemporary surveillance networks are complex, Betty’s visual link to our flower verse is ingeniously simple and direct. The word ‘elegant’ comes to mind. Each foxglove spire has many flowers facing in all directions. The central stem grows taller and taller, producing more and more buds which open to flowers. Fade out from a field of foxgloves; fade in to a city of skyscrapers, any big city now. The image of the foxgloves transfers to the tall city towers with multiple windows. Those small buds at the top? Surveillance cameras. How the mood changes from that of our flower verse! Well done, Betty!

 

Schema

For our Jûnicho , we’re following this schema from John Carley’s Renku Reckoner: http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/index.php/updates/renku-reckoner-by-john-carley/

 

hokku      —    winter moon          (long)

wakiku    —    winter                      (short)

daisan     —    no season                (long)

verse  4   —    no season love       (short)

verse 5   —    no season love       (long)

verse 6   —    autumn                      (short)

verse 7   —    autumn                     (long)

verse 8    —    no season                (short)

verse 9   —    summer flower      (long)

verse 10  —    no season                (short)

  • verse 11 —    spring        (long)

ageku      —    spring                         (short)

 

 

Verse #11: spring, long

  • is a three-line verse without a cut or turn
  • is a spring verse
  • is the last verse before our ageku and is in the swiftly flowing kyu phase of our Jûnicho renku
  • links to the previous verse (the maeku) and shifts completely away from the last-but-one, the uchikoshi

 

Care is needed for our penultimate verse: it’s a spring verse but we need to avoid iconic spring things such as blossoms, flowers, buds and insects, and also birds, ‘falling things’ (such as rain), shimmering things (re our hokku) and wind. Yes, you may certainly use the word ‘spring’ if you like.. As for ‘place’, inside or under shelter of some kind would be best considering that our uchikoshi is clearly set outdoors. I think we’re due to feature people again. What kinds of events are typical of spring? What kinds of spring activities do people engage in? (But please avoid horse races, or any animals.) The ABC for verse 10: (A) Please use a spring reference. (B) Link to our maeku. (C) Shift from our uchikoshi. Enjoy the challenge of moving our renku swiftly forward. There is no rest for the wicked until our ageku!

Submissions:

  • Please use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of the thread to submit up to 3 of your long ‘spring’ verses. (Since the Jûnicho has 12 verses only and we have many participants, a verse by a different person will be selected each time. I hope those with a verse selected will continue to follow our renku as it unfolds. )
  • Please, if you wish to post a revision of any verse you’ve posted previously , use the ‘reply’ function at the bottom of your original post, NOT the submissions box at the bottom of the thread that reads ‘Leave a reply’.

Please post your submissions before midnight Monday 26th March Eastern USA time. (New York time)That’s the deadline. I find the World Clock handy.

I look forward to reading everyone’s submissions. The selected spring verse and instructions for verse 12, our ageku, will be posted next Thursday morning: March 29th New York time.

– Lorin

 

Our Jûnicho to date

sleigh ride
the road ahead shimmers
in moonlight

– Marta Chocilowska

softly, how softly
snowflakes fall

– Kala Ramesh

my life story
between mouthfuls
of chili con carne

– Lee Nash

his breath as he whispers
“Señora”

– Liz Ann Winkler

the marriage celebrant
apologizes for not
arriving on time

– Barbara A. Taylor

lured by fermenting grapes
a pair of wobbly parrots

– Simon Hanson

on the wagon
a few bales
of straw

– Carol Jones

gone, gone, gone all the way . . .
with the wind

– Michael Henry Lee

a bee
disappears into the bell
of a foxglove

– Andrew Shimield

cameras atop towers
turned to the five boroughs

– Betty Shropshire

This Post Has 70 Comments

  1. . . . and, Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s it for this week. Thank you for your presence and your contributions for our penultimate verse.
    .
    – Lorin

  2. spring fever
    midafternoon
    filing taxes
    .
    or to avoid a double kigo
    .
    spring fever
    midafternoon
    studying law

  3. a sudden thunder
    announces a storm
    among the green branches

    ********************************
    up and down the stairs
    doing the cleaning
    of spring

    ********************************
    looking out the window
    low flight
    of the swallow

      1. This happened to us in Lisbon last year when walking along a street downtown (it was summer but I thought it might link well to spring cleaning)

        I imagined a child who couldn’t find a mat to sweep it under!

  4. Great choice, Lorin and thank you for your most educational comments. They are much appreciated.

    Betty, what a great verse! It reminded me of the army surveillance towers here in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. Thankfully all gone now. I remember my friends and I whisperjng so the soldiers didn’t hear our conservations – but they probably did anyway!

    1. Gosh, Marion, I can only imagine how awful that was for you and your country. We sure haven’t progressed very far as a species. And yet, I try to remain hopeful…
      And, thank you! ☺

      1. It was a fraught time indeed, Lorin, but things have improved a lot since then. Now, if we can get rid of some of our bigoted politicians it will be even better!

  5. brought back
    by the spring tide
    a peace sign cutout

    (PS Lorin, look at the upper right corner of the page 🙂 )

    1. Thanks, Vida and Marion. I probably would’ve missed it! 🙂 That ku is from 12 years ago now. Where does the time go?
      .
      – Lorin

  6. The heavy coats
    are stored
    in the wardrobes
    ***
    storing the quilt
    you can hear singing
    from the balconies
    ***
    put away knitting
    grandmother plans
    holidays

  7. a bee
    disappears into the bell
    of a foxglove
    .
    cameras atop towers
    turned to the five boroughs
    .
    .
    the sound of sneezing
    inside a new black car
    dusted in pale green

  8. Just for fun, too. 🙂
    .
    in vogue this spring
    hats in all the colours
    of the rainbow
    .
    – Lorin
    .
    That’d be ok. There isn’t any dreaded “double kigo”, a criticism sometimes leveled by some EL haiku aficionados. ‘Spring’ , just as is, is the kigo. If it weren’t for the word ‘spring’, though, the Japanese would take ‘rainbow’ as the kigo. ‘Rainbow’ = ‘summer’ for them if not qualified. In my verse ‘Spring’ cancels all doubt about season.
    .
    I do have a sub-plot in posting this. Here’s the thing: in Japan, as far as season goes, everyone more-or-less agrees upon what happens when. One consults a saijiki. “Aha! ganburo (“bath for the wild geese – kigo for mid-spring”). Righto, now that I have my kigo I can compose a spring verse around it. All of my fellow renkujin will understand what’s implied and if they don’t I can suggest, smiling smugly, that they might want to buy a more inclusive saijiki. ”
    .
    Hmmm.
    .
    “In Lanark, Scotland, children run around with balls made of crumpled paper swinging around their heads near dusk on the first of March. They run laps around the town’s bell, known as the Kirk, until it rings at 6 p.m. after six months of silence during the desolate winter days. This activity is called Whuppity Scoorie.”
    .
    “In India, there’s Holi. In a celebration of the triumph of good over bad, the colorful Holi tradition takes place in late February or early March. The festival originated as Hindu tradition, but is now a cultural experience that has radiated to other parts of the world.To usher in the spring season, people participate in bonfires and parties the night before Holi. The next day, the masses gather on the streets for a giant color fight, throwing dyed powder onto each other. The carefree revelry offers a chance to connect with other human beings and let go of any past hardships.”
    .
    While participants in an all-Scottish renku might agree that a penultimate ‘spring’ verse of a Junicho featuring Whuppity Scoorie is ideal, without a further reference to spring, participants from various regions in the world in the process of composing for an international renku might consider such a verse obscure, or even ‘flag-waving’. Similarly, a verse featuring the Indian Holi, composed among Indians. Similarly, a ‘spring’ verse featuring Easter eggs. (Would Easter eggs signify spring or autumn? There are two answers: both are correct.) Similarly, other things that happen according to the calendar in the various world regions.
    .
    In the ha section of a renku, especially a longer renku such as the Kasen, Whuppity Scoorie or Holi might well feature in a spring spot. We have time to meander from place to place.
    .
    In the short kyu section of this renku, for our penultimate, ‘spring verse’, I’ll be preferring verses that don’t rely on a calendar date or calendar month to convey spring. So be guided: try to avoid Whuppity Scoories or any whiff of the long-dead ‘flat earth’ theory.
    .
    Anyone who thinks they might’ve committed a Whuppity Scoorie is welcome to substitute a new verse or revision, in a post directly below the original.
    .
    – Lorin

    1. I was thinking ‘tax forms’ was a safe bet since it’s listed in Higginson’s “international” saijiki (unlike Whuppity Scoorie : ) or Holi). Obviously there’s virtually no season word that’s universal, outside actually naming “spring” or the other seasons. In any case I’m mostly just challenging myself to solve each linking challenge to my own satisfaction, so whatever is decided is fine by me : )

      1. Yes ,Chris . . . page 62, just above ‘cockfight’ under ‘Spring Observances’: US Income Tax. ‘Easter’ is in there too (but not ‘Prom Night’ etc.) If a Scotsman had been the author of ‘Haiku World’, Whuppity Scoorie might’ve been there under the same category. If an Australian had been the author, ‘Melbourne Cup Day’ (November, last month of spring when the roses are at their best) would be there under ‘Spring Observances’. 🙂
        .
        One bonus of participating in renku is we end up with verses that we might consider, later, as draft haiku. The inspiration isn’t wasted.
        .

        – Lorin

    2. . . . but check out how ‘New Year’ + ‘calendar’ can work internationally in the renku ‘New Calendar’ (THF Renku Archives, link in main post above)
      .
      It can be done. ‘New Year’ is its own season, whether it falls in winter or summer (or, really, neither of these in the tropics). John Stevenson’s hokku and Peter Newton’s wakiku:
      .
      new calendar
      a year of
      “Natural Wonders”
      .
      a clownfish offers
      the first greeting

      .
      – Lorin

  9. Such a clever verse to link to, Betty.

    Verse 1:

    small boy
    gives the old kite
    a new tail

    Verse 2:

    still cold outside
    but through my window
    greening trees

    Verse 3:

    sweet scent
    of the spring meadow
    surrounds the house

    1. Lorin, the way you unpack and illuminate
      the subtext of Betty’s, in fact all the
      lovely poems in this jûnicho renku,
      is a gift to all of us new to and familiar
      with linked forms. Thank you! So pleased you
      mention my contribution —Jackie

      1. a bee
        disappears into the bell
        of a foxglove
        -Andrew
        .
        cameras atop towers
        turned to the five boroughs
        -Betty
        ~ ~ ~
        pastel balloons
        rise rise above
        the lingering day
        *
        docking
        with the hay fever free
        space shuttle
        *
        from this far away
        fliers appear to be
        conducting kites

  10. Thank you, Betty, for the splendid verse with the magical link!

    ***

    in spring union
    the alumni busy in search
    of their batchmates

    *****

    ‘seeing
    the New Year in’ from
    the doorway decoration

    *****

    reminiscing
    martyrs on Saigyo’s
    Memorial Day

    *****

  11. Betty, congratulations on an amazing verse. What an amazing visual to think about.
    .
    cameras atop towers
    turned to the five boroughs
    .
    – Betty Shropshire

  12. Congratulations, Betty Shropshire
    .
    cameras atop towers
    turned to the five boroughs
    .
    .
    a parade of ants
    climb the pole
    of our lemonade stand
    .
    .
    celebrating spring
    in the bounce-house
    at a toy store
    .
    .
    2 of 3
    Jan Benson
    USA

  13. I’ve been enjoying your comments, Lorin :))
    Of course all the verses offered for each slot.
    This junicho is shaping so well.
    All the best to the very end!

  14. To All:
    .
    Remember this verse, our verse # 11, is set in the kyu phase of our renku, the ‘rapids’, the ‘fall of a mighty waterfall’, the ‘speed rush’ phase. Keep your diction clear and straightforward. Keep all words in generally accepted and understood English. No ‘specialist words’ or ‘buzz words’. Also, please refrain from using extra-textual references, which are more suitable for the ha phase.
    .
    We’re past the ha phase. Anything that might delay readers or direct readers away from the downward rush and certainly anything that might require the assistance of a search engine is unsuitable.
    .
    And, please avoid any sense of conclusion. . . the conclusion of anything.
    .
    – Lorin

    1. Ahem… (blush, where was my head?)… correction: “we’re in the kyu phase” !!! ” Anything that might delay readers or direct readers away from the downward rush and certainly anything that might require the assistance of a search engine is unsuitable.”
      .
      Lorin

      1. all fine, Lorin 🙂
        you wrote: “We’re past the ha phase.”
        which is essentially the same as “we’re in the kyu phase”

        1. True , Polona, 🙂
          .
          I just wonder sometimes if I’m communicating effectively or not.
          .
          cheers,
          Lorin

    2. Lorin,

      Feeling clueless and needing your council here. You’re saying that the content must allude to “rushing” DOWN to the ending??? I’ve understood (or thought I did) that linking to the verse before is to create a moment that ‘connects’ to some ‘element’ in it, wherever it may come in the progression. 1) So, to me, my space shuttle suggested the ‘speed’ you ask for; its altitude linking to the ‘tower’; hay fever-free illustrating the ‘spring’ theme. —2) in pastel balloons; alas, I get there’s not much speed . Therefore, mea culpa.—3) guessing the same slowness disqualifies the ‘kites”, yes? no? something else?

      1. Ah, Jackie, I think I can clear this up:
        .
        ” You’re saying that the content must allude to “rushing” DOWN to the ending???” – jackie
        .
        No, not content. I’m talking about the ‘movement’ of the kyu phase for verses 10 & 11. In last week’s ‘introduction’ for verse #10:
        .
        “Our ha section has ended with our transitioning flower verse. With verse 10, we enter the rather short kyu phase of our Jûnicho. No more meandering along the river. No lingering or loitering. The pace picks up. (In ‘The African Queen’, Katherine Hepburn takes the rudder and down the churning rapids the boat rushes, dodging dangerous rocks.) The kyu phase has been likened, by Master Zeami, to “the plunge of a mighty waterfall into a deep and silent pool.” John Carley compares the kyu with the ha :

        Ha encourages diversity of content and style whereas . . . kyu requires compaction and irresistibility. So whilst content may remain brash the prosody will now be unchallenging, the metres more conventional and the inter-verse linkage more tight. Intertextual direction is limited, too, the reader held close once more. We want our readers to experience the waterfall, not fly off in some random direction.” Renku Reckoner, p 91

        Our kyu here is comprised of the two verses, 10 and 11.”
        .
        In renku, the first part, jo is like an introduction or prelude in classical music. In renku, it is the quieter, more formal part. The ha (middle section) is variable and even ‘meandering’. The kyu is like the finale, pace picks up.
        .
        There is no requirement or suggestion that the content of verses #10 and #11 needs to suggest speed. (neither Andrew’s flower verse, which is such a good ‘transition verse’ nor Betty’s powerful image of the towers and surveillance cameras watching five boroughs suggests speed by their content.)
        .
        – Lorin

  15. at the prom
    doing the whip and nae nae
    like a boss
    .
    or:
    .
    on prom night
    she does the whip and nae nae
    like a boss

    1. Judt, before I googled, “the whip and nae nae” sounded to me like a sadistic game that perverts might play with horses, or something like that played between humans. . . perverts who can’t spell ‘neigh’, to boot! 🙂
      .

      (Not for our kyu section.)
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Yes, thanks, Lorin. I get that after seeing your comment about nothing out of the ordinary. Trying to be contemporary, not sadistic. Actually, the dance moves are wonderful.

        — Judt

  16. Delighted to have my verse chosen, Lorin! I so enjoy your commentary and further insights. Thank you!! 😊
    And, yeah, Big Brother is ubiquitous but, it seems, a necessary evil. My home state’s capital, Austin, was finally released from the nightmare of a serial bomber due to information gleaned from such surveillance…sigh. 😐 Betty

    1. Yeah, Betty, I watched the outcome of those bombings on the ABC News. And here, a woman with a mental illness has been shot dead by police after reports of her wandering around with a kitchen knife (a big one!) A better approach to that one would’ve been desirable, that’s for sure. The inquiry continues.
      .
      We live in tense times, and it’s affecting people.
      .

      – Lorin

  17. Congratulations Betty nice verse
    ****************************
    our potluck in the park
    draws the sheriff’s
    attention

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