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The Renku Sessions: Jûnicho – Week 8

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.

 

autumn verse #2, long

Thanks to all 23 people who submitted verses for our ‘long’ autumn verse. For this, our 7th verse, I made a point of encouraging alertness to syntax and verb use and especially the avoidance of simple present tense, since that occurs in Barbara’s verse, our uchikoshi. With final selection in mind I’ve also been aware that this, our ‘long autumn’ verse, will be uchikoshi to our ‘summer flower’ verse, so I felt the need to avoid anything that might cause difficulties for that verse, such as bright colours which are typical of many summer flowers. I felt that a change of mood was due, too.These considerations ruled out some favourites. Selecting a ‘right’ verse can be an agonizing balancing act! In my ‘top ten’ I’ve included the excellent verses that I didn’t select in the light of these considerations but which link well. Here, I focus on link:

with each gust of wind/ leaves fall/ in hundreds                                       – Ajaya Mahala

The number, ‘hundreds’, links to the ‘pair’ of parrots, who perhaps fell, too, as they walked along, inebriated, under the vine. The falling leaves might be from (what I see as) someone’s back or front yard grapevine.

*

bare trees /scratch the surface/of a monochrome sky                           – Michael Henry Lee

Nice use of ‘monochrome’ to link with parrots, many of which, by contrast, are bright with primary colours. An evocative image of stark trees under a low, brooding sky where the only movement seems to be that of the bare branches, scratching at the grey. The change is to a sombre, somewhat oppressive mood. There is a lingering sense of the uncanny, as well: the bare trees seem almost animate. An excellent verse.

*

the long since urge/ to roll down a hill/ through crisp red leaves       – Judt Shrode

I love the physicality of that urge. Who hasn’t had such urges, long after childhood has passed? The link is to the ‘letting go’ and playful indulgence of the parrots. I probably would’ve changed “the long since urge” (awkward!) to something like “that urge again”, but since the verse required ‘no human presence’ I couldn’t select this verse. Beyond the issue of naming of a colour (in consideration of our upcoming summer flower verse) such an urge can only be that of the verse’s persona, a human presence. Great verse, though.

*

mackerel clouds/ hanging over the / Fuji mountain                                 -Pravat Kumar Padhy

Nice link to the parrots through wordplay, so that, while we have a literal scene with the ‘all autumn’ kigo of ‘mackerel clouds’. There is a humorously irreverent suggestion that the sacred mountain has a hangover.  (The description of the clouds comes from the distinctive striped pattern on the fish species, and cats with this pattern in their fur are called ‘mackerel tabbies’.)

*

from the river valley/ the musty smell/ of fog                                        – Polona Oblak

After corking, wine, especially red wine, can become infected with certain bacteria which give it a musty smell — somewhat damp and stale, like in old, unaired houses. A similar smell can be carried by fog. Here, we’re at a vantage point above the valley in clearer air, but smell the fog as it rises from below. Like the verse above, the change to a distant scene works well.

*

more and more/ shades of red and gold/ in the arboretum                 – Polona Oblack

Another excellent verse. We move from colourful parrots to the grand stage of autumn colour, when everything deciduous turns to multiple shades of red and gold. We have a sense of abundance and the swift movement of time here, too, as it seems every time we look, the colours are rushing in “more and more”. (This movement is quite Keatsian.) The link is to a place relating to the parrots, too, as there are usually vines and shrubs in an arboretum along with trees. Beautifully done.

*

spent spawn/ tumble down/ the riffle                                                        – Sally Biggar

Perhaps the link is in the sense of being ‘spent’ and the possible ‘tumbling down’ of the drunken parrots? We have a river or stream and (probably salmon) spawn that have come loose from the sand where it was laid and is no longer viable for life.

*

a poster/ of palm trees and sun/ in the frosty fog                                   – Margherita Petriccione

I love the longing for warmer climes this verse conveys. The poster links well to the parrots, which are often associated with tropical and sub-tropical regions where palm trees grow naturally. My reservations have to do with the fact that the verse selected for this autumn verse spot will be uchikoshi to our summer flower verse.  I feel that even on a poster ‘sun’ and a suggested warmer climate would foreshadow our summer flower verse.

 *

psilocybin blue/ among the dense carpet/ of brown leaves                – Agnes Eva Savich

An interesting link to the alcohol-consuming parrots. The psilocybin in certain mushrooms is a very different kind of mind-altering substance. I was hoping Agnes would return to tweak this one. As is, it appears that these ‘shrooms’ are blue in colour, which is misleading. (The stems can show blue bruising due to handling and drying.) There is, however, one species known as ‘blue meanies’, which occur naturally in many world regions. (They are not blue, before being picked etc. but greyish beige . . . yes, I am a survivor of the late ‘60s – early ‘70s) I feel it would’ve been better to name them. Still, I’d have reservations about colour, even in the name, because of the summer flower verse which is the verse after the next.

*

on the wagon/ a few bales/ of straw                                                            – Carol Jones

This verse suggests a rural place, perhaps a small, self-sufficient farm with grapevines and a few cows and horses.  It also links to our maeku by wordplay in L1.

 

autumn verse #2, long:  On the wagon

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

 

“On the wagon”, being the common colloquial expression that applies to someone who has given up drinking alcohol after being regularly “on the booze”, links immediately by wordplay to our maeku. We’ve not had this sort of linkage in this renku before so it’s great to have one included now. A variety of manners of linking is always desirable. But we mustn’t stop there. The wordplay is only part of the linking. The form of Carol’s succinct verse supports its content: a spare image of “a few bales of straw” on a farm wagon speaks of the diminished mood that later autumn carries. (Note that it’s straw, not hay. Such a well-chosen word!) There is nothing to lure or allure us here. After the richness and abundance of images in our renku to date, after our maeku’s parrots who’ve had too much of a good thing, there is a strong change of mood in this verse. The poverty of things that is almost emptiness is conveyed. I imagine a small farm in a rural area. It may be the very place that the parrots in the previous verse found such enjoyment in but the scene is now deserted. There are no people, no animals and no activity. No sense of movement or life. I can imagine a wind that might blow through this emptiness, through the wagon and the few (last?) bales of straw and through the reader, who becomes the observer. As in Wallace Steven’s winter poem, ‘The Snow Man’, Carol’s autumn verse draws us to behold “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” This state of awareness calls for but goes beyond sobriety. Carol’s verse has the kind of poetic light touch the later Basho called karumi. It is made with admirable skill. Well done, Carol.

 

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 #8: no season, short

  • is a two-line verse without a cut or turn
  • is a no-season verse, to be followed by the summer flower verse
  • links to the previous verse (the maeku) and shifts completely away from the last-but-one, the uchikoshi
  • is a ‘humanity + nature’ verse

 

Please bring people (plural) and nature into this verse.  (‘People’ = a group, crowd, team, family, tribe, gang, class etc. of people. Other people: people beyond ‘you, me, he, she, we’. People beyond individuals. (Beyond pairs or couples, too, of course)  Also consider the possibility of a non-seasonal topic we haven’t visited yet: for instance:

human affairs
current event
painting
music
dance
literature
film / movies
clothes
education (eg. school excursion, nature studies)
military
nostalgic image
etc.

Renku is about the ’10,001 things’. In a 12 verse renku, we can touch on only a few. Also pay attention to variation of syntax/ expression. Avoid verbs in the present tense and progressive/ continuous tense if you can. The ABC for this verse: (A) Please avoid any seasonal reference. (B) Link to our long autumn verse (our maeku). (C) Shift from the last-but-one (our uchikoshi). Enjoy the challenge of moving our renku forward.

 

Submissions:

  • Please use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of the thread to submit up to 3 of your long ‘autumn’ 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 5th 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 short no season verse and instructions for verse 9 will be posted next Thursday morning: March 8th 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

 

 

This Post Has 86 Comments

  1. Time for the traditional call: “Time, Ladies and Gentleman, please!” 🙂
    (come back in a couple of days)
    .
    – Lorin

  2. Congratulations Carol Jones
    .
    on the wagon
    a few bales
    of straw
    .
    .
    puppeteers
    convening on the square
    .
    .
    a trio of street folk
    busking
    .
    .
    panhandlers
    at all four corners
    .
    .
    Jan Benson
    USA

    1. .
      …Avoid verbs in the present tense and progressive/ continuous tense…
      .
      .
      puppeteers
      at town square
      .
      .
      a trio
      of homeless buskers
      .
      .
      Corrections
      Jan Benson

  3. A wonderful verse from Carol!

    Enjoying catching up, Lorin, as I have no wifi where I’m staying at the minute.

    ***

    all heads bent
    on the field trip

  4. Well done, Carol. So little to
    say so much!
    ***
    logs down rivered
    to mill sawyers
    *
    gnarly driftwood
    storm-washed ashore
    *
    dreamers’ wood nymphs
    once danced with fauns

  5. whistles on the dialogues
    of deceased actor

    *

    segregated in a group
    at bood donation camp

    *

    loud whoops in the hall
    after the tremors

  6. on the curve of the football field
    the crowd praises the day hero

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    in a selfie of the school trip
    pupils and castle ghost together
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    travel the country road
    a group of pilgrims

  7. fathers and sons in a row
    for the exit the last Ipad
    * ——————————–
    voices of people on the street
    on the day of voting
    * ——————————-
    a footrace
    through the streets of the historic center
    * ——————————

  8. earth tone camos
    in these desert wars
    .
    or
    .
    earth-tone
    .
    .
    Lorin, I think it’s ok for me to offer this third verse since we scratched my first…? If not, please disregard.

    1. Thinking ‘camos’ might seem too general to be plural.
      .
      desert soldiers
      in earth tone camos

  9. Congratulations, Carol, for your brilliant verse. I appreciate Lorin’s splendid comments.

    *****

    Boi-Bumba paints
    under the moonlighted sky

    *****

    curious kids in the
    Village Artisans Gallery

    *****

    village side crowd
    for ‘The Tin Drum’ of Gunter Grass

    *****

    1. Thank you very much Pravat, your comment is appreciated.
      *
      I really like your second verse. It has overtones of an incident
      that ended with van Gogh having to enter a sanatorium.

      1. “Hello there, hokku.” Judt
        .
        Not a return to hokku to me, Judt. Such vigils are held around the world, in all seasons, for a variety of causes. One regular one in Melbourne against family violence towards women, in May (mid-autumn), here.)
        .
        It’d have to be a specific vigil in a specific season to return to hokku.
        .
        – Lorin

  10. the slaves shuffled
    through the dust

    under a painted sky
    hunched backs of labourers

    the women’s big hats
    spoiled the view

    Congratulations, Carol, on your verse and how much was in the spare phrases.

  11. a sea of “me too” placards
    chases down the dawn

    around the schoolyard
    a group of tweens snap selfies

      1. And a third revision….
        *****
        the poll found a widespread
        belief in global warming

        ****

        Or substitute “climate change” if I must avoid the ‘ing’ altogether.

  12. Carol, a clever and excellent verse. Congratulations! Lorin, your choice is perfect here.
    .
    a children’s march
    in a world gone mad
    .
    in a topsy turvy world
    the children’s crusade begins
    .
    a children’s crusade
    in this topsy turvy world

  13. Love your autumn link, Carol & Lorin!

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

    Will the chess match continue
    as masterpiece for film classes?

  14. “on the wagon ” brilliant Carol
    ***************************
    gone gone all the way
    “Gone with the Wind”
    *******************
    open and empty in
    the master’s footsteps
    *******************
    one more performer
    off the bucket list

    1. Micheal, “gone gone all the way” potentially makes for a very interesting link to Carol’s verse.
      Is this what you intend: “Gate, Gate, Paragate. . .”?
      .
      Thich Nhat Hanh translates the Heart Sutra‘s closing Sankrit mantra as: “Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone . . .
      .
      I’m not so sure about the book (or film) title as well though, and we’d need ‘people/ plural’. (There’s one example of ‘people/ plural right there under your nose)
      .
      – Lorin

  15. the startled looks of scarecrows
    through spokes of the running wheel

    women showered flowers
    on the passing row boats below

    1. Ajaya, we can’t have flowers until the next verse and ‘scarecrow’ is usually considered to be an autumn kigo.
      .
      Try again?
      .
      – Lorin

  16. a ps. of little or no relevance. 🙂

    re:
    .
    ” The Renku Sessions: Jûnicho – Week 8

    Rolling along, in a renku way!”
    .

    It’s John Stevenson who adds the catchy subtitles to the Renku Sessions logo on the home page each week, not me! 🙂 I suspect a merging of American pioneers in wagon trains and the theme song from ‘Rawhide’ were at the back of his mind, this time. 🙂
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KPplYp7K7M
    .
    When I was a kid, I couldn’t work why the implied cattle drovers in the theme song seemed to be herding dogs! Where I am, it’s the dogs that do much of the work of ‘keeping them rolling’.
    .
    – Lorin

    .

    1. “Dogie: (pronounced with a long “o” as in “own,” not as in the pet animal named “Spot.”) A calf with no mother. Term used more often in Texas. Derived from the Spanish word “dogal” meaning a short rope used to keep a calf away from its mother during milking.”

      1. 🙂 Yes, Betty. As I got older, I understood. But as a kid watching ‘Rawhide’, I didn’t.
        .
        – Lorin

  17. the gambler risked
    a tall stack of chips

    **
    *

    to get the pot the gambler
    said “full house”

    **
    *

    they used to stuff
    mattresses with walnut shells

  18. Thanks, Lorin, for mentioning my verse–even though it missed by a mile ☺!
    .
    .
    Tlingit spruce root basket
    on eBay
    .
    .
    Tlingit pron. – klink-it

    1. Hey, Judt… hmmm . . . contemporary (and good) as this is, wouldn’t Tlingit count as a foreign . . . even alien. . . language?
      .
      I’d be happy if others would weigh in on this one.
      .
      . Lorin

      1. Well, Lorin, I suppose so. Invariably some element sails right past my head. Living, as I do, on the Pacific Northwest Coast of N. America, it doesn’t seem foreign or alien to me. (And I love how the word feels in my mouth ☺) Maybe it could change to ‘native’?

      2. Variety is king. It can be good variety to shorten a verse for contrast. I like it too. The words have more meaning. Too long? draws attention to itself, I guess. A lean or spare stanza is often done in kasen nowadays, too. Just not too often. Good verse, and good stuff about it Lorin.

        1. Thanks for your confirmation, Paul. I did weigh it all up, carefully. There were many good verses, but this was the one for me.
          .
          – Lorin

    2. Whoops… it’s early in the morning here. I read “Tlingit” but thought ‘Klingon’. . . a ‘Star Wars’ language! (People do speak it.) See me blushing!
      .
      Now I see that ‘Tlingit ‘ are a people, just as ‘Wurundjeri’ are a people and that you say “Tlingit spruce root basket” just as I’d say “Wurundjeri possum-skin cloak”.
      .
      It’s apparent to me that in calling for “people (plural)” I needed to be clearer. I did mean ‘plural’, but you’ve interpreted this as including the collective: “a people”, as you’ve used the term.
      .
      Let me give some examples of ‘people, plural’ off the top of my head ( but avoiding ‘occupation’, since we have “marriage celebrant”):
      .
      trophy wives, shoppers, stamp collectors, a crowd, an audience, film buffs, kindergarten kids, amateur painters, home renovators, tv addicts, gun-slingers, joggers, chess players, old people, bag ladies, tent dwellers, vagrants, haiku group members, readers, gossips, neighbourhood thugs, hikers, mothers, a family, high school students, strangers, . . . and on & on. People, not a people.
      .
      Judt, let’s scratch this one with the name of a people (& another capital letter, which I’d prefer to avoid). You’re welcome to replace it with a new one altogether. Others will have the advantage of this clarification.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Lorin, Judt, and all,

        Foreign words, in general argument not about this renku or this verse, can be thought of in different ways.

        This is a renku WITH Sabaki, so the last word is Lorin’s.

        I am most familiar with writing as a team, a democracy. Can be via E-mail or in person, live as it were. 2,3,4,5 Sabakis. Cannot do it on a list or blog. In my experience a proposed verse is accepted by each of the other players before it is written down, and covered (by the next verse). Most renku friends would have objected to another “transportation” verse. Then we would talk about it; the author would defend it. If widely spaced in renku of 20 or 36, might be accepted if it goes in a very different direction or tone. A Japanese master like Shinku Fukuda-san was very strict as opposed to Western tastes. To say a word or topic, is to say it. period. Yet as a commenting judge he was more forgiving.

        In English language, just what is a foreign word?. Much of our language is made of “borrowed words.” Haiku itself is one such, chili another, then pasta & spaghetti — from Italy. These would not fall into the category. British English adopted from India, France, etc. some even found its way to Australia, no doubt (grinning). Bloke? Native Americans had/has many tribes and languages … Tlingit is both. I knew it, but it is obscure (not a problem in renku all the time).

        We could have a “sauna” verse and not be bothered by foreignism. But there is an interception of taste and rigidity. Up to a Sabaki, or to the democratic will of a small group.

        A side note about kasen variety… some groups have often prized one very long word (a fairly regular English word) for its variety. Cries of “good one” might follow… something as long as a dozen or more letters. Laughing now, instead of magician doing tricks… why not prestidigitator? ONCE. Our little joke.

        One more attempt to be funny: This week I read in a political column a perfectly apt word for a certain male political figure NOT an elected one — sent me to the dictionary. Is both a French word and a long word —-> Have fun.

        rastaquouère

        ==

        1. Paul, there are those in England who consider one of their Princes’ bride-to-be a rastaquouère.
          .
          Chauvinism is not limited to any one national or ethnic group. It’s everywhere.
          .
          But see my apologetic embarrassment, above, about confusing Klingon (definitely an ‘alien’ word, since it’s a language spoken by the inhabitants of a non-Earth planet, or so I read.) with Tlingit.
          .
          Also my explanation that by ‘people (plural)’ I didn’t imagine that anyone would interpret that to include the name of a people, or even a group of people known by a name, eg. ‘The Bombers’ as it refers to a team of people who play football . . . (Australian …formerly Victorian… Rules football.) (Or the ‘Miami Dolphins’, ‘Los Angeles Chargers’ etc. in your football) or your political groups, ‘Democrats’ or ‘Republicans’.
          .
          And I don’t regard ‘wagon’, in Carol’s verse, as a ‘transport vehicle’ in the way you and your “renku friends” seem to do (though you/ they may be right. I don’t know.) I regard it as a farm implement. (I’m pretty sure we might find in Basho’s renku the usual transport option for people of his day, the horse, plus a cart of radishes pulled by a farmer, a boat of some sort and quite possibly even a palanquin born by half a dozen men with a courtesan peeking out from behind the curtains.)
          .
          Would wheelbarrow be out? What does ‘vehicle’ actually mean to the Japanese? How are we to interpret the category given as ‘vehicle’ in the first Renku Home list of ‘Topics and Materials’? (it doesn’t appear on the second) I really don’t know. Is there a difference to the Japanese between vehicles used to transport things and vehicles used to transport people? Between vehicles used for leisure, vehicles used for transportation of goods, vehicles used as farm equipment, vehicles used in wars? (There is no category titled ‘transport’ on those lists, anyway, just ‘vehicle’, which is pretty wide. A postcard can be a vehicle for expressing thoughts and feelings.) And other categories that might or might not be relevant to ‘vehicle’: ‘travel’ and ‘boat’. If a boat is not a form of transport I don’t know what it is. Does ‘travel’ exclude ‘vehicles’? That would seem unlikely to me.
          .
          If we had ‘house’, would ‘silo’ or ‘airport’ or even ‘shop’ or ‘department store’ be out? If we had ‘car/ automobile’ would that rule out ‘roller skates’, ‘tractor’ and ‘combine harvester’?
          .
          How about a ‘humming bird’ and the ‘rheumatology wing’ of hospital? How about a beer can and an automatic rifle?
          .
          Things can get ridiculously forensic. I’m much in the dark about the meaning and scope of these Japanese ‘Topics and Materials’, so I’m winging it, interpreting them as well as I can. I’m no expert. But I’d appreciate it if you’d not continue with comparing your private renku-writing groups, with their small, pre-selected participants (most of whom are your fellow USA nationals) with these THF renku, which are open to all who wish to participate, from all around the world.
          .

          – Lorin

          1. Hi Lorin, just to say many thanks for defending my verse with such gallantry. It certainly is an eye-opener when reading the comments.
            I hope others in my position, with regards to learning this genre, read them also- there is much to learn by doing so.

            *
            Many Thanks

            Carol

          2. Lorin to Paul: “But I’d appreciate it if you’d not continue with comparing your private renku-writing groups, with their small, pre-selected participants (most of whom are your fellow USA nationals) with these THF renku, which are open to all who wish to participate, from all around the world.”
            .
            Over six centuries, Japanese renga /renku writing groups were highspirited. In the 17th century, the Dutch were able to stay in Japan in the southern island and Basho wrote a haiku or two on the Dutch, but none of the Dutch were invited to renku groups. Basho had disciples he taught and the same names come up in Basho’s linked-poetry. In the latter half of the the 20th century, a small group of people started, AIR, the Association for International Renku in Japan. I was able to practice renku with the Japanese and non-Japanese residents of Japan, including Australian, Canadian and American poets. Guests from Europe such as Romanian Ion Condrecu came to visit.
            .
            Whether we are of the same nationality or of many nationalities each renku group is something precious.

      2. Ok, no problem. I guess I kind of misunderstood ‘tribe’ in the intro. Also, I rather think of people who ‘do eBay’ — sellers and bidders — as plural people…?
        I’lll try to reword the verse.

  19. What a brilliant surprise, many thanks Lorin for choosing my verse and the wonderful explanation. I’m absolutely over the moon 🙂 I will continue to follow this session with interest. Always learning.
    The idea for this poem came when I was having a coffee break in the silence of the straw shed, and indeed there were a few bales on a trailer. I’ve been reading the book, Haiku Seasons-William J Higginson. The linked verse section, Thatched Cottage. On page 59 there’s two linked verses that caught my attention-

    *
    the end of a messenger’s
    duty; asleep in the grass
    Shiki

    *
    he closes up
    for winter covering the ceiling
    with wastepaper
    Koroku

    -its these two verses (messenger-wastepaper) that set me thinking about a connection for over indulgence, hence, on the wagon. Not always easy to see the connection when starting out, and on times, right in front of your face.

    I hope this will be of help to other newcomers such as myself.
    ps. its a very good book.

    1. “The idea for this poem came when I was having a coffee break in the silence of the straw shed, and indeed there were a few bales on a trailer. ” – Carol
      .
      Wow, that’s interesting, Carol. So you’re actually on a farm (or something along those general lines, rural). You’re in Wales or somewhere near it, aren’t you?
      .
      Yes, the link between ‘messenger’ and ‘wastepaper’ is a good one. Shiki’s verse also demonstrates that we can have a degree of ‘turn’ in renku and that punctuation is not absolutely verboten (which is also shown in Basho’s renku… and, for that matter, Buson’s)
      .
      – Lorin

      1. I live and work on a farm in South Wales, bit nippy at the moment.
        Since you mentioned about syntax, I’m going back over the books of the poets you mention above, and many others when I first discovered this genre last year, and seeing their words with new eyes. Fascinating journey.

        1. That’s fascinating. No wonder your verse has such presence.
          .
          Ah, yes, certainly “a bit nippy” over there at the moment. I saw all the snow on last night’s news. Even unusually heavy snow in London. The reporter asked some people out in it what they thought of it. One woman answered, “incredible, wonderful: I’ve never seen snow before.” The astounded reporter asked where she was from. She answered, “Melbourne.”. 🙂
          .
          – Lorin

  20. in the narrow streets
    a multitude of tourists

    ***

    every age youths with wellies
    in line for the festival

    1. This would most often occur in summer, though, wouldn’t it, Polona? The fire season. And this verse will be <i<uchikoshi to our ‘summer flower’ verse.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. … “followed” by our summer flower verse, I mean. And that verse is our only summer verse.
        .
        – Lorin

      2. you have a point, of course, as far as wildfires go. but i just read an article about a house fire where about 13 people were left without a home and the troubles the firemen faced getting to the scene due to extreme cold and large quantities of snow (yes, we’re also getting all the crap winter can offer, including today’s freezing rain at -6C)

  21. the abstaining sense of “on the wagon” escaped me (which, more than anything, goes to show that no matter how good my english may be it’s still a foreign language) but the phrase did faintly remind me of the sleigh ride. also, i couldn’t help but notice a nine-syllable “long verse” directly following a 13-syllable “short verse” (though i know master Basho and his peers sometimes deliberately aplied anomalies in their compositions)
    i do appreciate your reasoning, Lorin, and it is an excellent verse, i just wanted to point out how different minds work in different ways and how challenging the role of sabaki really is. i still think you’re doing a fantastic job 🙂

    1. ‘An excellent verse,’ high praise indeed from such and experienced poet. Thank you, Polona.

    2. Hi Polona,
      I did wonder if someone sharp might query wagon. 🙂 Even though in context ‘wagon’ is clearly a hay wagon (a farm implement) and in Carol’s verse it’s not going anywhere, I considered ‘wagon’ carefully in relation to ‘sleigh’. I have (and still do) vetoed cars, trains, anything that might be a vehicle of transport for people and I believe I’ve even used the term ‘transport vehicle’. I worried over American history (‘Wagons Ho!’ where people traveled in covered wagons to settle the ‘Wild West’.) I even considered…absurdly…substituting the antiquated term ‘wain’. But I returned to common sense. Would I classify a supermarket shopping trolley as a ‘vehicle of transport’? A modern suitcase with wheels? The handy trolley I used to use to take my computer to the local repairer’s? A wheelbarrow? No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even consider a skateboard in the category of ‘transport vehicle’, though it certainly is a form of transport.
      .
      Your other point, about the relative brevity of this verse as a ‘long’ verse is a good one, and it’s a point I considered and weighed as well. But padding this verse out with extra syllables would be a crime, would ruin it. For me, the verse is full of a vast emptiness which would be diminished by adding syllables. It’s a case of form supporting content. I also note that we have a relatively ‘long’ verse in Simon’s maeku, a ‘short’ verse. The pair, for me, balance each other out. Perhaps in another, more traditional sort of renku, this would be considered a major flaw (despite Basho!) but is a Junicho (developed, along with the Imachi, by Mr and Mrs Okamoto in the1980’s) a modern form of renku where departing from the general rule is more acceptable.
      .
      (Of course, we wouldn’t want a succession of verses where the ‘long & short’ verses seemed to switch. Or a succession of anything else, for that matter. All things in good measure. No overdoses of anything.)
      .
      Playing the sabaki role is challenging, and especially on an open, online forum with many participants from all over . . . as I’m sure you’ll be finding out in the near future. 🙂 One does one’s best. It really is a balancing act.
      .

      (It’d be interesting to know which verse you would’ve chosen, and why, Polona. (Especially in consideration of the upcoming summer flower verse and the points you’ve previously made about verbs) Not necessarily on these threads. You could email me. My address is up in Haiku Registry)
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Just as an aside here, Lorin…where I grew up in a rural area of the US Midwest, hayrides were a summer thing. They were in a hay wagon, formerly pulled by horses, but in my time mostly by tractors. It was an exciting time for teenagers to burrow down and make out, cushioned by hay, under the stars. Nostalgia!

        1. Sounds like good fun, Judt 🙂
          .
          I have to say that I agonized about selecting a verse for this spot.
          .
          1. I’d asked for a change from the moods of the verses so far because I strongly felt it was needed. Thrill, anticipation, appreciation of natural beauty and wonder in our winter hokku and wakiku. The mundane, slightly comical (and possibly boring to the listener) of a self-absorbed life story told between mouthfuls of food in our daisan. (Brilliant!) The sexual heat of our first love verse conveyed in a whisper. The concerns of a marriage celebrant running late ( & possibly out of breath). The funny, drunk parrots.
          .
          2. This verse was specified as ‘all nature’, no overt human presence. No me, my, we, you, he, she, they. No person. Just ‘observer as camera’.
          .
          3. No anticipation or foreshadowing of our summer flower verse, or anything that might limit it.
          .
          4. I specifically called for change of syntax and especially no present tense or progressive/ continuous verb.
          .
          The two verses that best conveyed a change of mood to one of late autumn ( a less than ‘up’ mood. . . we had lovely ‘up’ moods in our hokku & wakiku, we needed something different) for me were Michael’s and Carol’s. Michael used a present tense verb.
          .
          I don’t deny that a hay wagon, in the context you mention ( a hayride/ summer) would be great fun, just as a sleigh ride would be (with different connotations, of course.) A hay wagon could work well as a ‘prelude to love verse’ and a hayride might be suggestive in a first ‘love verse’. (but not in this renku, which has a sleigh ride) But here’s the thing: context. It would depend on the maeku for link, the uchikoshi for shift and any or all other previous verses for change. Each verse in a renku depends on the context of the other verses. An immobile hay wagon with a few bales of hay on it in a later autumn context is a very different thing with a very different mood to a hayride , in my view.
          .
          In a ‘closed’ Junicho composed privately, with the ideal 3- 5 participants selected in advance, these things could be discussed before a verse is accepted. In a completely public renku with no limit on participants and no restriction on world region, we don’t have that luxury. What has a (winter) sleigh ride in Poland have to do with a late autumn agricultural hay wagon, immobile, containing a few bales of straw, and without even a suggestion of people or animals present, in Wales? (The sleigh doesn’t even have wheels! ) In my view, very little. About as much in common as a deserted house and a department store at sale time. The Japanese seem to distinguish between ‘conveyances’ with wheels (carts, wagons) and those without wheels. . . boats, palanquins.
          .
          Yes, a hayride would be too close to a sleigh ride for me, both being communal, seasonal rides that people enjoy. As would a ferris wheel ride or a ride through the ‘pirate caves’ in Disneyland.
          .
          I don’t know all the answers and I can only select from the verses submitted and try to stick to the instructions I’ve given. And try to be fair. (It wouldn’t be fair if I called for no present tense or progressive verbs and then selected a verse that featured one, would it?)
          .
          But invariably, not everyone will be happy. ( I wasn’t happy with Marshal Hryciuk’s selection of 3 or 4 ‘recreational sports’ verses, each separated by one or two verses (“striping”) in a row, in that renku, but nobody else seemed to have a problem with that.)
          .
          One can’t please everybody. And perfection, whatever that may mean to the experts (true or self-proclaimed) is beyond me. “Such is life!” . . . Ned Kelly’s famous last words on the gallows, immediately before he was hanged. 🙂
          .
          I hope we’ll end up with a good Junicho renku, and an inclusive one. More than that is beyond my capabilities.
          .
          – Lorin

          .

          1. Lorin, I truly was just throwing this in, as part of the whole…not meaning to question your choice. You have given excellent and very interesting commentaries as to your choices, and they make perfect sense.
            It’s all I can do to try to write one verse that adheres to the requirements. I can’t fathom trying to sort out the multi-dimensional complexities of the organic development of the whole. Looking back, I can see why you would see my comment as a challenge, and it was ill advised. I am a novice, and have no business chiming in on this at all. I apologize.

        2. Hi Judt, no, please don’t take it that way. I didn’t take your comment in a negative way, but as a kind of enquiry and it was a helpful one for me: it helped me clarify in my own mind how distant the mood of Carol’s verse is from other potential ‘hay wagon/ farm wagon’ verses such as your ‘hayride’, and also from our hokku’s ‘sleigh ride’. I saw how good a ‘hayride’ verse could be in a renku, too. . . sort of a nudge to you to try it, in a future renku, if the chance comes up.
          .
          I , too, am a novice. John asked me, in the latter part of 2016 to lead a THF renku and I declined. (I imagine I’m not the only one!) When he asked me again, in the latter part of 2017, I accepted the challenge because I’ve enjoyed participating & learning in the THF renku to date and because I know, from John Carley, that we need more people willing to act as renku sabaki and that THF needs more people to take on the role, too. But it is a challenge, in many ways, and very time-consuming.
          .
          – Lorin

      2. in the middle of insanely busy time at the office & b-day preparations
        will get back as soon as i can catch a breath

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