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The Renku Sessions: Jûnicho – Week 12

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 #11, spring

Sixteen renkujin submitted verses for our penultimate spot. Considering that we already had ten verses in place and those who’ve had verses selected previously aren’t in the running, that’s pretty good! Thanks to you all. I’m aware, too, that some have joined this renku later than others and may have been disadvantaged to some extent, not having followed the threads from the beginning. Nevertheless, there were ample good verses. These are my ‘top 10’:

in the spring parade/ a princess with parasol/ gracefully waving               – Judt Shrode

.

spring-cleaning/ we find an old volume/ of Grimms’ Fairy Tales                 – Polona Oblak

.

celebrating spring/ in the bounce-house/ at a toy store                                – Jan Benson

.

from this far away/ fliers appear to be/ conducting kites                              – Jackie Maugh Robinson

.

still cold outside/ but through my window/ greening trees                          –  Pauline O’Carolan

.

the carousel’s music/ brings out the kid in us/ as we circle ‘round            – Mary Kendall

.

chasing bubbles/from the stilt-walker’s/ wand                                                 – Sally Biggar

.

brought back/ by the spring tide/a peace sign cut-out                                    – Tzetzka Ilieva

.

up and down the stairs/ doing the cleaning/ of spring                                    – Angiola Inglese

.

on our spring break/showers of dust from a balcony                                      – Marion Clarke

(slightly edited)

.

This was a challenging verse spot for contributors to write for. It was also challenging for me to select the ‘right’ or ‘most fitting’ verse for this spot. My priorities: (a) People (plural and the more inclusive the merrier) engaging in a spring activity (b) Close/ tight linking to maeku (for both of our kyu verses) and, as usual, the essential shift from our uchikoshi . (c) An “as-near-as-possible-international” seasonal reference for spring. All of the verses on my shortlist include a good spring reference. Most of the shortlisted verses do feature people in one way or another. A few use a pronoun (‘we, ‘our’) and some use the implied first person pronoun, a practice common in EL haiku. (This practice does not remove the first person pronoun for anyone apart from haiku beginners, who are quite naturally baffled by dangling participles. We’ve all become used to inferring the “I am” in, for instance, Elizabeth Searle Lamb’s classic “pausing/ halfway up the stair-/ white chrysanthemums”. Some of us laughed and cheered, however, when Ferris Gilli demonstrated the obvious dangers of danglers with her example ku, “saying grace/ the hound stares/ at the beef roast”, followed by her dry comment, “What a clever dog!”) I can’t help being aware that we already have the first person possessive pronoun in our daisan and we have a third person pronoun in verse #4. Further pronouns, given or implied, would stick out for me as a kind of repetitive chorus in a 12 verse renku. (But, as ever- polite Canadians are wont to say, “This might be just me.”) There are only three candidate verses that give ‘people’ explicitly,  in a manner beyond pronouns or implied pronouns: Jackie’s ‘fliers’, Judt’s ‘princess’ and Sally’s ‘stilt-walker’.  After selecting the verse for this spot, I admit to second-guessing myself three times, choosing, in turn, three more verses from my shortlist and beginning to write up a commentary for each. But I kept returning to my first-selected verse. In the end, I recalled John Carley’s advice on verse choice: “If it feels right, it is right”. That’s not to say there aren’t issues that might be (and quite possibly will be) raised. We don’t all see things in the same way. Beyond an “as near-as-possible-to-universal” spring seasonal reference, my priorities for this verse spot were tight/close linking to maeku , shift from uchikoshi and people, explicit people. The selected verse is, in my view, the most fitting of all verses offered for our penultimate verse spot.

 

Verse # 11 – Imagine

 

a bee
disappears into the bell
of a foxglove

– Andrew Shimield

cameras atop towers
turned to the five boroughs

– Betty Shropshire

from this far away
fliers appear to be
conducting kites

– Jackie Maugh Robinson

 

 

Imagine. It’s something no surveillance camera can do, nor any AI program to date. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination … is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”(Wikipedia) Imagination is what we do with our perceptions, what allows us to see, with the mind’s eye, alternatives. It’s what John Lennon imagined might save the world. It’s what enables us to create anything new at all, for better or worse. Here, in Jackie’s spring verse, we have an example of the human imagination at work. Imagine you live or work behind one of the many windows in Betty’s tall towers. From that height you have a view of public parks and gardens, the city’s green spots, below. (Or you may be the human operative, buried in a windowless office somewhere, who keeps an eye on what the CCTV cameras are recording.) You see a gathering of people in a public park, at a distance, their arms waving about in the air. There seems to be a rhythm and a purpose to these movements. What are they doing? Far above the people, colourful kites are aloft. It’s a kite festival, such as are held in many places around the world. From this distance there are no strings to be seen between the people’s arms and the kites. (But note that no arms . . . no ‘body parts’ . . . are named in this verse and although of course kites aloft implies that there is wind out there, wind is not named nor is it felt as sensation by the viewer.) Every kite- flier appears to be conducting an orchestra. It’s interesting that music is suggested by ‘conducting’ in this verse, although there is no sound, there are no instruments, nothing that would place it in the ‘Music’ topic category. As readers, though, each of us is free to imagine a musical accompaniment to this activity. Perhaps Vivaldi’s perennial ‘La primavera’. Perhaps ‘El Condor Pasa’. Choose your own music to play as sound-track over the silent images you see through the window or on a screen..

Jackie’s verse is light, whimsical and also uplifting. It contrasts with Betty’s maeku both in mood and tone whilst linking tightly to it via place. Betty’s maeku gives us the city towers and their rooftop surveillance cameras. Jackie’s verse gives us a human view from such a tower. This view focuses on people, people at play in a public space, enjoying a communal, recreational activity. Perception shows the movements the people are making. Imagination creates the appearance of multiple conductors of orchestras, via association. The reader’s imagination creates the music (and you, dear reader, “. . . are the music, while the music lasts.”) Such an unexpected link and twist! And we have now covered a topic which might be called ‘recreational sport’, at death-knock. Well done, Jackie!

 

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 #12: ageku

  • is a two-line verse
  • is a spring verse
  • is our ageku, our final verse
  • has a performative function: that of implied celebration in relation to the whole of the poem and the company of participants.

 

The ageku

Like the hokku, the ageku has a performative function.

“In renku, the last closing verse is called ‘Ageku’ and supposed to be open-ended in happy celebration.” – Shuntaro Tanikawa

http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/cou_article/item/27183/The-thrill-and-joy-of-tsukeai

“ . . . the poem ends on an upbeat note, as the guests optimistically say good-night and look forward to the next party.”  From ‘A Personal Introduction to Renku’ – William J. Higginson, ‘Renku Home’ (see link in main post)

“(Ageku) implies. . . 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. To have the freedom to meet these demands the ageku may be largely exempted from the more rigorous demands of link, shift, and variety that condition all other verses.” – John E. Carley (see link in main post)

(*Note: in the above “the fulfilment of anticipation: ‘at last’ . . . doesn’t mean ‘OMG, look at the time! Gotta go now’ or ‘At last this renku is over and done with!’  “A function mirroring that of the hokku” means ‘a function which mirrors. . .’ in the sense that the ageku has the function of implying an upbeat leave-taking in an open-ended way, just as the hokku has the function of implying an auspicious greeting. )

“Here is what Professor Fukuda said about it, “It should…be a bright or relaxed verse that expresses the joy of completing the work. Sorrowful topics must be avoided.” To this, I would add that we are not writing “the end.” Our sense should be of something that goes on, even as we part from it.” – John Stevenson, THF Renku ‘New Calendar’, call for ageku. https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/2017/08/31/the-renku-sessions-new-calendar-35/

 

Two lines, with a spring seasonal reference, upbeat with celebratory implications, fulfilment, open-ended rather than closure or ‘the End’.

 

Submissions:

  • Please use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of the thread to submit up to 3 of your ageku (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 2nd April 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 ageku will be posted next Thursday morning: April 5th New York time. Happy Easter to all!

– 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

from this far away
fliers appear to be
conducting kites

– Jackie Maugh Robinson

 

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. Thanks for all of your ageku submissions. Subs are now closed.
    .
    Our completed renku will be posted on Thursday morning, New York time.
    .
    cheers,

    Lorin

  2. from this far away
    fliers appear to be
    conducting kites
    .
    – Jackie Maugh Robinson
    .
    .
    Jackie, what an excellent verse. I love how original and fresh your lines are.
    .
    Lorin, your explication throughout the Junicho has taught me/us so much. My thanks for being such a thoughtful Sabaki and mentor.
    .
    .
    My offerings:
    .
    a swirl of koi
    awaken the pond
    .
    the koi’s tail swishes
    in a curl of gold
    .
    up from the depths
    a flash of golden koi

  3. Hi again Lorin!
    Congratulations Jackie!

    from this far away
    fliers appear to be
    conducting kites

    – Jackie Maugh Robinson

    a fresh photo of lovers
    on the bedside table
    *
    stacking chairs
    at the first spring gathering
    *
    after the spring moon
    closes the curtains

    Many thanks
    Brendon

  4. *
    *
    tethered to the proscribed dragonfly a tissue thin regard
    *
    *
    at the tipping point
    naturally the singed siamese
    *
    *
    the orthotic socialist doffs a group prosthesis
    for the ambulatory public
    *
    *

  5. Congrats, Jackie
    .
    from this far away
    fliers appear to be
    conducting kites
    .
    .
    an echoing whale song
    tempts us onward
    .
    .
    1 of 3
    Jan Benson

    1. “Two legs bad. Four legs good.” (Animal Farm) – George Orwell
      .
      “No legs better.” – Lorin
      .
      Good potential here, Chris.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Easy: a synonym for ‘returned’. eg. released to, put back in, tipped back in or just ‘back in’. There are probably more simple solutions, too.
        .
        – Lorin

    1. ‘fox kits frolicking’ strikes a lovely, upbeat note, Polona, but we have ‘foxgloves’.
      .

      – Lorin

      1. oops, true, shouldn’t have missed that!
        for some reason i thought a wild animal (mammal) would be preferred to a domestic one. would replace with:

        .
        bear cubs wrestling
        outside the den
        .
        (we have a healthy population of brown bears and occasional encounters with humans are not too rare)

  6. hibernation’s end
    a turtle comes up for air
    *
    kitty’s sunny spot
    just a little longer now
    *
    curtains flutter
    in the first fresh air

  7. The ageku, needing to be somewhat upbeat, celebratory etc. is pretty much exempt from many of the strictures and avoidances required by the ‘internal’ verses.This is pretty much essential in a long (100 verse) or fairly long (36 verse) renku. But we only have 12 verses, so I do think we can more easily find ways to avoid things which have featured in prior verses than we could in long renku.
    .
    I say this again because I note there are 3 verse offers focusing on birds and we do have birds, parrots, in Simon’s verse #6. An ageku with birds or relating to birds would be only 6 verses after that.
    .
    So we have birds (2 legs, two wings, feathers, beaks) an an insect, the bee ( 6 legs, 4 wings. antennae).
    .
    ‘Kites’ is given in ‘The 500 Essential Season Words’ as ‘all spring’, and that’s fair enough. Many kite festivals happen throughout spring in various countries. That leaves things pretty much open as far as a spring kigo for our ageku goes.
    .
    A whimsical thought: we haven’t had ‘4 legs’, apart from the implied horses in our hokku.
    .
    from this far away
    fliers appear to be
    conducting kites
    .

    – Jackie Maugh Robinson

    a lull at dusk, then
    the frog a cappella
    .
    – Lorin
    (Not a contender, of course but I like it. Well, I would, woudn’t I? 🙂
    .
    – Lorin

      1. Hi Pauline, it doesn’t have to. But it would be good if it did, along with its function of an implied salutation.
        .
        Consider how hard it would be to necessarily link after all the topics covered in an 100 verse renku! Or even a kasen, at 36 verses. With a Junicho, we have it easy and Jackie’s verse is, imo, an excellent penultimate verse as (among its other fine qualities) it opens to door to at least one major topic we’ve not covered.
        .
        Though the kyu phase linking needs to be close or tight (and both Betty’s and Jackie’s verses are good examples of tight linking to maeku(visual similarity transformed – Betty; place link – Jackie) the ageku is exempt from tight linking . . . the linking can be more distant, a ‘scent link’.
        .
        All of the kinds of linking require imagination, though. Just because one thing appears in spring doesn’t mean the next spring verse will automatically link.
        .
        – Lorin

  8. Congratulations to all renkujin for the successful journey. Our reverence to Lorin for spectacularly piloting the vessel.

    ***

    departing geese
    on the way to nest building

    *****

    after a long day
    a burst of smile on everyone’s face

    *****

    enliven again
    sprouting grasses of winning track

    *****

  9. Thank you so much, Lorin. Feeling as high as those kites !

    Here are my celebratory, just-for-fun offerings:
    *
    April puppy’s first scamper
    what a dear word, scamper
    *
    frolicking pony
    shares Buddha’s birthday!
    *
    who giggles there
    beneath the new mown grass?

    1. No legs, Lorin? Ok out goes the dog and pony show. Winding up
      with these instead
      8^D
      .
      .3-2 bottom of the 1st
      then a grand slam jubilee
      .
      spring training
      at a fever pitch
      .
      scoreboard flashes “Play Ball !”
      and emojis start the party

      1. or, if no ‘heads’ because of ‘mouthfuls’ in Lee’s verse…
        ****
        as if on cue,
        the furled tips of ferns uncoil

        1. Sally, I wouldn’t consider ‘fiddleheads’ in terms of a ‘body part’ and it’s not as if we had already have ‘heads’ in any sense in this renku. (To say the mouth is in the head so therefore we can’t have fiddlehead ferns would be at the extreme end of forensic, to me.) The ferns (which is what I imagine you mean,) are named so because they reminded someone of the scroll of a violin or fiddle. They are not even a species and some fiddleheads are poisonous. Victorian indigenous people once harvested the fiddleheads of tree ferns (not poisonous) and ate them briefly barbequed on hot stones, only slightly charred. You wouldn’t catch me eating bracken fiddleheads, though. I don’t know what species of fern it is that the Japanese eat. They don’t have treeferns as a native species.
          .
          Written English, like some other European languages, is based on the alphabet. Japanese, like some other Asian languages, is based on characters which are a combination of stylized visual signs. I’ve noted that the ‘avoidances’ in the translated guides often mention avoiding the same character for so-and-so many verses, so that more or less translates into English as avoiding the same word. ‘Head’ has not been used, in any sense.
          .
          – Lorin

          1. In response to your thoughtful analysis I will offer one final version…thanks for being so patient!
            — Sally
            ****

            as if on cue
            fiddleheads unfurl

  10. I love that image of people ‘conducting’ kites – a great choice, Lorin.
    .
    Well done, Jackie.
    .
    .
    with the dust brushed away
    why not head for the hills!

    1. Nooo – “away” is in the last verse 🙁
      .
      with the dust all swept out
      why not head for the hills!

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