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The Renku Sessions: Jûnicho – Week 5

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.

 

Love Verse #1, short

Thanks to everyone for the great variety of approaches to our first love verse. We had everything from Adam and Eve to internet dating, from a naughty nun to speculative science/fiction, from a seductive whisper to a hilariously direct approach to “country matters”. (Hamlet’s pun, not mine!) The challenge was to move our renku forward with a first love verse that had no hint of nature’s seasons. (That ruled out an otherwise good contender that featured a picnic blanket.) The continuing challenge in our Jûnicho is to ring in changes with each verse. This includes changes in place, person, mood, tone, expression and ‘topics/ materials’. (See Renku Home, ‘Diversity: Topics and Materials’ for a couple of checklists, if you’re curious.) Once we have ‘sleigh ride’ we refrain from referring to all transport vehicles. (and yes, that does include locating a love verse in a car or plane.)  Once we have falling snowflakes, we don’t have related phenomena such as rain, hail, frost or dew in our short renku. After chili con carne we refrain from food from now on. (But, following the Japanese, not from alcoholic beverages!) We have ‘mouthful’, so we won’t want to name a part of the body again. In a longer renku, these categories of things could occur again after a ‘minimum separation’ of a certain number of verses but in a 12 verse renku it’s best not to revisit them at all. The ‘rules of avoidance’ are simply there to help ensure that the flow of the renku is ever forward until the finish. Here are my ‘top ten’ choices, with minor edits to a few:

inside the Chapter house/ her habit in disarray                           – Betty Shropshire

.

filling the empty half/ of her locket                                                  – Terri French

.

rhythmic moves/ to the bossa nova                                                 – Carol Jones

.

his breath as he whispers/“Señora . . .”                                           – Liz Ann

.

flinging off our clothes/ as we race up the stairs                         – Elaine Andre

.

adding a touch of tango/ to our foxtrot                                          – Judt Shrode

.

Eva tempting Adam/ with the forbidden fruit                              – Vasile Moldovan

.

we glide / into lavender-scented sheets                                         – Giselle Maya

.

something about his profile/gives me pause                                – Sally Biggar

.

a shared bath/and the old lost soap trick                                       –  Brendon Kent

.

 

Love verse, short:  the art of seduction

 

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

 

My friend, the late Ted Lord, painter and poet, hosted a weekly poetry reading at The Dan Hotel, in Carlton, Melbourne. One feature was the annual, open-stage ‘Love Poem Competition.’ Ted’s advice in advance to all comers was : “The feather, not the whole chook.” (‘chook’ = ‘chicken’ in the Australian vernacular) He understood a bit about women and the art of seduction, too.

I kept coming back to Liz Ann’s verse, which had attracted me from first reading onward, despite some excellent contenders. I kept debating with myself on the difference between loan words/ phrases and commonly known ‘foreign words’. ‘Foreign words’, in the history of Japanese renku, meant specifically Chinese words or words written with Chinese characters. There are restrictions, like those on topic categories, on how often these can recur. In the end, I simply decided in favour of the vernacular: ‘chili con carne’, a loan phrase, is spoken and written throughout the English-speaking world. It’s even the official State dish of Texas, USA! English speakers do not normally address a woman as ‘Señora’, so it’s a ‘foreign word’ and we use the tilde accent mark above the n to make that clear.  ‘Señora’ is just a respectful, polite way of addressing a mature or married woman, in Spanish. But what a difference (to my ears) it makes to be addressed as Señora rather than the mundane “Missus” or the cool and distant “Madam!” Especially when whispered, close up. What mature woman wouldn’t be fanning her face? I think Bob Dylan was right: “Spanish is the loving tongue.” (along with Italian)

Liz’s love verse moves from first person (in the daisan) to third person and from the heat of a dish of chili con carne to the stirring of an inner and very sensual kind of heat. As the first of two love verses, this verse implies the very beginning of a passionate encounter. It leaves great scope for the following love verse, our last love verse. Subtly and very seductively done, Liz.

 

Schema

For our Jûnicho , we’ll be 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 #5: Love, no season

 

  • is a three-line verse without a cut or turn
  • is the second of two love verses
  • links to the previous verse (the maeku) and shifts completely away from the last-but-one, the uchikoshi
  • this love verse must have no seasonal reference or kigo

 We’re now in the ha phase. We’re up to the second of two love verses.  Love verses in renku are exclusively about sexual or potentially sexual love between adult humans. Because renku move ever forward, the second of our two love verses will ideally reflect a later stage in the course of love than the previous verse. Please note that we move forward with every verse in a short, 12 verse renku such as the Jûnicho, so we try not to revisit any previous topic category. At this stage, for this renku, that includes transport vehicles, horses, food and eating, the naming of parts of the body and ‘foreign languages’. Following the schema for this renku, both of our love verses are set as ‘no season’ verses. So, (A) please avoid any seasonal reference. (B) Link to the previous love verse (our maeku). (C)Shift from the daisan (our uchikoshi).  Beyond this basic ABC, go boldly forward wherever your renku muse takes you. And have fun.

 

Submissions:

  • Please use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of the thread to submit up to 3 of your love 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 that 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 12th February, Eastern USA time. (New York time)That’s the deadline. I find the World Clock handy.

Happy love writing! I look forward to reading everyone’s submissions. The selected love verse and instructions for verse 6 will be posted next Thursday morning: February 15th 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

 

This Post Has 92 Comments

  1. Thank you Lorin – I am so glad you liked and chose my offering. I’m really enjoying your very educational commentary. I don’t know if I’m eligible for another selection and only got back to the site this evening. I look forward to your upcoming commentary and participating in the next round!

    1. Hi Liz,
      It’s so good to hear from you. Do you have a surname we can use to go with your verse?
      Ive been wondering why we hadn’t heard from you and I don’t have an email address for you. Could you get back to me on this thread or at my email address, which you can find at the top of my THF Registry entry?
      .
      Because we have a 12 verse renku and an unlimited number of people who participate or may participate, once a verse is selected that author won’t have another selected, but it would be good if you’d continue to follow this renku to its conclusion. At that point, the traditional feedback from all participants is welcome.
      .
      – Lorin

  2. lines deepen
    as the old man’s eyes flash
    in adoration
    .
    oh so gently
    grandma gives grandpa
    his last sponge bath

        1. 🙂 I don’t know how, Judt… you’re not from Texas, are you? (at least I know what a Prairie Oyster is. Yuk.)
          .
          – Lorin

  3. Dear Lorin,
    this is the right submission, the one I posted previously is wrong.
    My apologies
    Have a nice day
    lovely
    Doris
    *
    his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”
    *
    *
    she speaks spanish
    he speaks english
    google doesn’t have barriers
    ***
    at that moment
    waiting for my pills
    a big headache
    ***
    an invitation
    the seat next to my
    was left empty

  4. his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”
    ***
    ***
    she speaks spanish
    he speaks english
    google doesn’t have barriers
    ***
    she speaks spanish
    he speaks english
    google helps conversation
    ***
    …and in that moment
    I wanted to have
    a real conversation

  5. .
    his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”
    .
    kiss
    as fresh
    this reunion year
    .
    vibrant still
    the honeymoon
    conch shell
    .
    pause
    of the porch swing
    in evening light
    .

  6. his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .” Liz Ann
    .

    ——
    .

    sleeping alone
    for the first time
    in forty odd years
    .

    concealer
    hiding imperfections
    and a fresh bruise
    .

    in parting
    her promise to save
    the last dance

  7. Lorin, you’re doing a great job as handler/guide…and not fuhrer!
    I have another clarification question: is the final revision the only version that will be considered?
    Thanks!
    .
    Judt (revision queen)

  8. .
    his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”
    .
    Liz Ann
    (Congrats)
    .
    .
    call to a pharm
    for the morning after
    pill
    .
    .
    lift music playing
    all the single ladies
    (put a ring on it)
    .
    .
    passing the fountain
    to make a wish
    with shiny penny
    .
    .
    Jan Benson
    USA

    1. Jan, I googled. . . because my first association was with the practice of knackering (young male) sheep by ‘ringing’ the testicular sac with what amounts to a thick rubber band. That suppresses the blood flow and after a while the testes just drop off. (“Put a ring on it” might be something said of a man who couldn’t keep his fly zipped). Cultural differences! The Japanese never had this sort of problem! It’s sure to arise with international EL renku, though. These days it’s a lot more than just England and the USA that are “divided by a common language”.
      .
      What part of the female anatomy should he have put a ring on, according to Beyonce? (Enlighten me!)
      .
      Music is a topic we haven’t visited in our renku so far (as is visual art, dance, literature etc. etc.) so that’s good. We’d need quotation marks for the quoted part of this one, though, otherwise there’s either a cut after ‘playing’ or the lift music is playing all the single ladies in the lift!
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Lorin,
        The reference to “put a ring on it” is the wedding ring finger, as is evident in the video by Beyonc’e…

        https://youtu.be/4m1EFMoRFvY
        .
        .
        So would the quotation marks begin on line two and continue to the end of line three?

        Thanks for your positive comment.

        Jan Nenson

        1. I watched and listened to the video, Jan. It’s not evident to me. Never once does she mention ‘finger’ or what the ‘it’ he should’ve put a ring on is!
          .
          “If you liked it you should’ve put a ring on it.” Are we supposed to imagine, in context of the rest of the song, that it was one of her fingers he liked so much?
          .
          – Lorin

          1. It’s a game, Jan, but renku is a communal poetry game. There may be ‘cultural barriers’, but basic grammatical construction is something shared across the Englishes. Sometimes we can guess what’s meant even when the subject is missing, as in riddles: “If you walk it without a leash it might bite someone.” (Most people will guess it’s likely to be a dog, not a toddler or a shark even though both can bite… though we can’t entirely rule out the toddler possibility.)
            .
            It may be that, in Beyonce’s song, “it” is deliberately ambiguous (like Betty’s Boring figure) but is understood well enough in context of the whole. What happens, though, when title & subtitle . . . and/or refrain, since it’s both. . . is lifted out of context and the reader is confronted with an unsolvable “missing subject”? Basically, the verse becomes a riddle. . . a riddle which, because of the (I imagine, deliberate) ambiguity or vague double entendre in the song, cannot be resolved. “My” in our current uchikoshi refers to a person and “his” and “he” in our maeku refers to a male person, That’s clear. What the two instances of “it” refer to in the song is far more opaque. (I’m pretty sure it doesn’t simply mean “if you liked the 3rd finger on my left hand you should’ve put a ring on it.”)
            .
            It’s attention-getting, but my feeling is that, in terms of a renku, it has the potential of stopping the flow while readers try to figure out what “it” is.
            .
            – Lorin

    1. Sally,
      Good use of topics we haven’t had yet…’war’ & ‘technology’. But, as I read it, this is a haiku. I read L2 as a ‘hinge’ or ‘pivot’ line:
      .
      skyping
      from the war zone
      .
      and
      .
      from the war zone
      blown kisses goodbye
      .
      A hinge/ pivot line in haiku allows two simultaneous ‘cuts’ in a 3-line verse. In renku, it’s the ‘white space’ between verses that acts like either a cut or a pivot/hinge. The connections are between verses . . . between maeku and tsukeku. . . see Week 3 ‘A trio of verses’. Only the hokku is like a haiku, which stands alone, isn’t dependent on a prior verse.
      .
      – Lorin

  9. Congratulations, Liz !

    his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”

    – Liz Ann

    *

    making a wish
    for tower clock’s
    malfunction

    *

    romping
    around the cufflink
    hooked in necklace

  10. Definitely some Spanish heat in both Lee’s and Liz’s verses! Muy bueno!
    .
    .
    a post-it note
    on the doorframe requests
    “another night 🙂”
    .
    Are we allowed emojis in renku, Lorin?

    1. a post-it note
      on the door requesting
      “another night 🙂”
      .
      Or does requests/requesting need to drop to L3?

      1. Yet, Marion and Lorin, the same as in haiku… I ask how it would be pronounced when the poem is read aloud? No footnotes or stage-whisper asides, ey?

        1. Paul,
          I suppose, when reading it aloud, we’d have to translate the written note into speech, for instance, ” another night smiley-face.” 🙂
          .

          – Lorin

  11. his breath as he whispers
    “Señora . . .”
    – Liz Ann
    *

    the gentle wind
    leaves the fragrance
    behind

    *****
    the mirror
    reflects the smiles
    of shyness

    *****
    the newlyweds
    chant as the church
    bell chimes

  12. It’s great fun to be indulging in a renku for the first time, and it makes me work hard to try and get around the various restrictions. I love reading everyone’s verses although some links are beyond my comprehension (which makes me want to ask about the meaning but would mean revealing my ignorance!). I think the verses already chosen are very impressive and it’s compelling to try and follow them at a complementary level.

    Here are my love verses for Verse#5:

    lying on the lawn
    in the silence
    between the sighs

    alcohol at work
    led to urgent coupling
    in the computer room

    tomorrow
    there will be chafing
    and a huge grin

    1. Hi Pauline,
      Yes, it can be daunting at first. The primary ‘restriction’ is actually the motor that drives the renku forward, that of not revisiting the uchikoshi/ verse before last. This is the ‘shift’. Each verse links in some way or another to the maeku. Link is what makes renku something other than a collection of miscellaneous verses on various topics.
      .
      The ‘meaning’ of link is simply an association/s between things or scenarios. Nothing esoteric about this: think about kindergarten association games. “Two of these things belong together/ two of these things are kind of the same/ but one of these things is kind of different: “cat, dog, rose.” Or a bit harder,” giraffe, elephant, shark.” Or “snow, rain, successful Mars rocket launch”. Or “hot, cold, wet.” Then we go on to what have these things in common: “pumpkin, ugly sisters, glass slipper”? “sandcastle, pipi shells, sunburn”? If you’re American, “turkey, early settlers, religion”? Or again, “hot, cold, wet” , this time focusing on what they have in common.
      .
      A bit further on we get riddles: Q.”Why is a woman like a rose bush?” A. “They both have hips.” (Educational as riddles are, they can lead, in the wrong hands, to some ridiculously absurd and forensic interpretations of regression, as noted by John Carley: eg. ” Ya can’t have ‘beer’ here because 7 or 8 verses back we had ‘hubcap’ and beer comes in metal cans, both are man-made items, both are made of metal and we can find both beer cans and hubcaps dumped along the local road.” and “Can’t have a mansion here because we had a seagull there and both have wings.”
      .
      John Carley, with a great deal of common sense, has concluded that if it takes the methodology of a forensic laboratory to pursue a case of supposed regression its just a waste of time and mind. Both link and shift are important.
      .
      The tsukeku must link to its maeku and shift completely away from its uchikoshi. How a tsukeku links to its maeku is open to interpretation. Some may spend a lifetime counting the myriad ways and leave a thesis and guidebook behind. Basho didn’t :-). He basically said that linking via rank, place, word associations etc. were all well and good (& he did use these), but if something looked like a link, walked like a link and smelled like a link it was a link.
      .
      A variety of different ways of linking is as desirable as different topics and expression/syntax is in renku.
      .
      – Lorin
      .

      1. Interesting in itself, Simon, but always check with the uchikoshi before posting:
        .
        A. my life story
        between mouthfuls
        of chili con carne

        .
        B. his breath as he whispers
        “Señora . . .”

        .

        C. imagine
        mirrors with minds
        and memories

        .

        It’s the maeku you need to link to and the uchikoshi you need to shift from
        Complete disassociation from the uchikoshi but association with the maeku is the primary means by which a renku (any renku) moves forward.
        .
        – Lorin

        1. ah yes, i see what you mean, i didn’t initially make the connection with my ‘mirror memories’ and “my life story” but the moment you mentioned it i could see it. Thanks again, the challenge of it all is quite fun.

          1. It would be the same if we reversed your tsukeku & our uchikoshi:
            .
            A. imagine
            mirrors with minds
            and memories

            .
            (B. his breath as he whispers
            “Señora . . .”)

            .

            C. my life story
            between mouthfuls
            of chili con carne
            .
            – Lorin

    1. Clever, Betty. 🙂 But perhaps a tad overstuffed, what with both ‘Boring/ boring figure’ and ‘pulling it off’/ pulling ‘it’ off? Also, grammar: if you were being upstaged, wouldn’t it be by something someone else does, rather than by something you’re doing. ?
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Thanks! And, I see your point. Maybe this revision will do:

        still upstaged
        by that Boring figure
        kept in the wings

        1. Jan, imagine a love triangle…a scene where the other woman (of an indeterminate age) is being attended to and in full view. Perhaps, a powerful man who doesn’t care if his wife witnesses his indiscretions. How would it be dealt with…scorn perhaps to hide the hurt? And, there is that play on the word “boring”
          Anyway, this scene came to mind because I had an experience in my early 30’s while riding a bus to work with my ex-husband. Because my hair had turned completely white by then and I wore it long, it was hard to figure out my age. I’ll never forget a woman who was a few rows upfront saying a little too loudly and snidely, “look at her hands, just look at her hands” after her boyfriend kept staring at me. It was a flagrant attempt to get her boyfriend to see me in a less appealing light. Ah, well.

  13. A sensuous offering. Congratulations, Liz Ann
    *
    *
    strand of pearls
    left on the pillow
    with unfinished poems
    *
    the note ends
    with Cupid arrows
    piercing “always”
    *
    mantle clock
    ticks away
    the last time

  14. Congratulations Liz, slyly subtle
    **************************
    what’s love got to do
    with the here and
    the now
    **************
    fit to be tied
    she said
    with a smile
    *************
    two fools
    to far gone
    to recover

  15. before the morning
    a heap of green backs
    on the bed side table

    *
    going with the autumnal verse coming up I’ve used the American term for dollars. Hope this is ok?

    1. Hmmm… I don’t know, Carol. I think ‘greenbacks’ (one word) were paper currency used in the American Civil War. Is that what you mean? (I’m no expert on USA currency. I didn’t even know the USA had pennies until Gene Murtha told me they used to have them. Maybe someone from the USA will step in & explain?)
      .
      I’m not sure what green backs (or greenbacks) or any sort of money would have to do with autumn, but more importantly, we haven’t had the autumn verse yet. You don’t need to provide a link in advance..
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Ok, Lorin, thank you. I’ll leave this one and move on.
        Think I’m trying to be a bit to clever and tripped over myself 🙂
        Must remember to write for the reader…at all times.

  16. Congratulations, Liz Ann. The beauty of using a word of a ‘foreign language’ reminds me of my New Year haiku, published in Mainichi Daily on 1.1.2016.I used the Japanese word ‘Ganjitsu’ (A New Year’s Day). Isamu Hashimoto appreciated it and published the haiku. I think, Lorin, aptly preferred to choose this two-line poem. Indeed it is fascinating and the journey so far looks a roller-coaster poetic ride! Congratulations to all participants.

  17. Great to see some comments and verses here already! 🙂 Thanks Carol, Terri. Paul and Simon.
    .
    Also great to see that Paul’s and Simon’s verses veer away from using ‘person’. Just in case it’s not clear to everyone, ‘person’ is a grammatical term. We have a 1st person possessive pronoun (‘my’) in our uchikoshi and 2nd person possessive (‘his’) + 2nd person (‘he’) in our maeku. So we avoid using ‘person’ (‘we’, ‘our’, ‘your’, ‘they’, ‘their’) again.
    .
    Avoiding ‘person’ does not mean avoiding people! How could a love verse possibly avoid people? It can’t. No people, no love verse.
    .
    It’s sheer coincidence that our 2nd love verse occurs with Valentine’s Day soon coming up. If the theme tempts you ( and it certainly does not have to) remember not to name the day (we have ‘Senora’) and please avoid ‘hearts’ and ‘flowers’. (We save flowers for the flower verse.)
    .
    After seduction, what? From the comic through the romantic to the tragic there are many, many possibilities, over the course of a day or of a lifetime. Make the most of it, have fun with the ‘love’ topic and bear in mind that it will soon be autumn. . . in our next verse.
    .

    – Lorin

    .

  18. Superb verse Liz. I am so much enjoying the journey . . . thanks Lorin and thanks to all poets here
    .
    an idle hour
    in the gallery
    of erotic art

  19. Congratulations, Liz Ann, very sensual.

    *
    I can still remember, when I was a teenager, the time when a young man took my hand and kissed it then asked me to dance. The same kind of inner excitement as your verse portrays 🙂

    1. Thanks Carol – I did worry that the scene from “A Fish Called Wanda” where the Jamie Lee Curtis character wants Kevin Kline’s to speak french to her might take away from my offering. Glad good memories rose up for you.

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