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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 23

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Fifth Renku Session: New Calendar. I am John Stevenson, leading my second Kasen (36 verse) renku on this site. We will be trying something a little different this time. Instead of making all of the selections myself, new verses will be selected by the poet who wrote the preceding verse. This will be on a voluntary basis and I remain ready to preform this task for anyone who prefers to pass up the opportunity.

This week we hear from Debbie Feller. Here are her comments and selection:

“Thanks to everyone for welcoming me into the renku community.

There was something that I liked in every verse submitted. Congratulations everyone! The winter verse I chose was Marion Clarke’s. John suggested it be altered slightly, if that is okay with Marion, since “side” was used in verse six.

snowflakes
falling north and south
of the peace wall

        1. –Marion Clarke

Thank you, Marion! I am grateful that Marion mentioned that this peace wall is in Belfast. I looked it up and found there is not just one peace wall, but many, meant to help keep the peace between differing neighborhoods. The snow falling on either side reminded me of similarities—common ground—amid differences. I saw the peace wall linking to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Thank you, Marion.”

Thank you, Debbie and congratulations, Marion!

Marion Clarke will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Marion, please contact me, either in a reply below or by e-mail (ithacan@earthlink.net) to let me know whether you accept this offer. If you do, I will ask you to choose the next verse in accordance with the requirements listed below and to write a paragraph or two about your selection and send it to me on Wednesday morning (June 14) so that I can incorporate it in the next posting, which appears on the following day. If you would rather not make the selection, I will do so, but I would prefer to know that I’ll be doing that as early as possible

Verse twenty-four will be a second winter verse. It will be written in two lines. Bill Higginson’s Haiku World lists “snowflakes” as a late winter topic. So, the next verse should probably be either a late winter or all winter image.

Verse twenty-four must link to the twenty-third verse (and only the twenty-third verse) but it also must clearly shift away from it in terms of scene, subject, and tone.

You will have until Tuesday night to make your offers. The Haiku Foundation site has been busy lately and the link to our renku session has not always been obvious on the home page. There is a permanent “Renku Sessions” button a little further down the home page and you can always reach the current session via this route. We will continue to check for new verse offers through each Tuesday.

With best wishes to all,
John

 

New Calendar to Date

new calendar
a year of
“Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson

a clownfish offers
the first greeting

    –Peter Newton

taking a fistful
of freshly tilled earth
to my cheek

    –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

café aromas
on the warm breeze

    –Maureen Virchau

sound of a flute
slowly rising
with a hazy moon

    –Dru Philippou

flickering light of a bike
from the side road

    –Marina Bellini

under the bed-sheet
tales of bold highwaymen
and horse-drawn coaches

    —Lorin Ford

has the lord executed
his droit du seigneur

    —Polona Oblak

Jimmy Carter
and Rosalynn
on the kiss cam

    —Judt Shrode

after the picnic
some spirited croquet

    —Michael Henry Lee

the old quarry
so deep and cold
and daring

    —Mary Kendall

her scars stay hidden
though the neckline plunges

    –Debbie Feller

each time I wake
the moon lights
something different

    —Gabrielle Higgins

the whir of dragonfly wings
in the remaining heat

    —Sally Biggar

a neutrino
passes through the chestnut
and the worm, too

    —Lorin Ford

the tension of the needle
piercing linen

    —Carmen Sterba

Dutchman’s breeches
sprout along a cliff’s
ragged edge

    —Maureen Virchau

six pairs of boots
by the pilgrim shrine

    –Polona Oblak

in full flight
fledglings skim
through the archway

    –Barbara A. Taylor

my toddler puts her milk glass
on the kitchen counter

    –Paul MacNeil

on the store’s intercom
comes a cleanup request
for aisle thirteen

    –Michael Henry Lee

recalling where they were
on Jerusalem Day

    –Debbie Feller

snowflakes
falling north and south
of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

This Post Has 100 Comments

  1. snowflakes
    falling north and south
    of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

    crowd control with batons
    at the rugby game

    – Lorin

      1. i think football of some sort is the sport played throughout the colder months in most of the world. We have rugby and Australian Rules (previously Victorian Rules) here. Football for the colder months, cricket in the warmer. (baseball in the USA)

        Goodness, I saw news of that terrible fire in London tonight! Horrible beyond imagining.

        – Lorin

        1. Okay. I’m not really into sport, so I wasn’t sure.
          .
          Yes, Lorin, it is totally horrific. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing first thing this morning and I’ve just come back home to learn that one woman threw her baby from ten storeys up in the burning tower block in an attempt to save the child. Unbelievably a member of the public caught the little one, but no doubt many were not so fortunate. I fear it will be some time before they learn the full outcome of this devastating tragedy.
          .
          marion

      1. Thanks Marion just dipping my toe in 🙂

        skating the ice
        over moving water

    1. Ha, I could imagine this, Mary! I’m just wondering if we can have another drink as we’ve had milk, “spirited” croquet and “café aromas”? Perhaps it’s okay because alcohol hasn’t been specifically mentioned?
      .
      marion

    1. I might like this with just “hunted ermine / disappear” because we know it’s a white background, Betty, but I’m guessing it’s too short then?
      .
      marion

  2. snowflakes
    falling north and south
    of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

    in a world of white
    the hawk’s yellow eye

    – Lorin

    1. Just a point about the eye color. You might name the hawk, Lorin, because at least ½ of hawks have dark eyes … some few even red.
      .
      Maybe not your species, but: ——– the red tail’s yellow eye
      .
      The ______ hawk’s yellow eye. In the US, eagles (largest of hawk family) have a very gold/yellow eye.

      1. Hi Paul,
        I don’t think a particular species needs to be named. If we see a hawk with yellow eyes and haven’t got our ‘Bird Guide’ handy or aren’t ornithologists, we still see a hawk with a yellow eye. There are several common raptors with yellow eyes. There are birds in Australia commonly known as ‘chicken hawks’, but in fact there is no such bird as a chicken hawk here. What people usually mean is the Brown Goshawk. Sometimes they might even mean an osprey!

        If renku is poetry, rather than a birder’s notebook, readers accept that the hawk has a yellow eye as given. It’s up to reader if they want to go further and research which hawks have yellow eyes & which don’t. It’s not important to the verse. I’d wager there are hawks with yellow eyes in North America and Europe. They may not be the same species in every world region but it doesn’t matter.

        The seasonal reference is ‘a world of white’, not the predatory bird, which is around all year. In ‘a world of white’ that bird might be hungrier than at other times and need to be even more sharp-eyed.

        What sort of blackbird is this?

        Among twenty snowy mountains,
        The only moving thing
        Was the eye of the blackbird.

        (Wallace Stevens, verse 1 of ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’)


        Would it be good editorial advice to suggest that W.S. identify the bird precisely? One of these 5 US blackbirds, perhaps?

        “There are five species of the blackbirds in North America, the Red-winged Blackbird and the Rusty Blackbird are the only two that may be seen in eastern North America, while the Brewer’s Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Tricolored Blackbird are seen from the Central regions of North America to the Western coastlines. ”
        http://www.birds-of-north-america.net/blackbirds.html

        Among twenty snowy mountains,
        The only moving thing
        Was the eye of the Red-winged Blackbird.
        ???!!!

        Sometimes it’s best not to specifically identify but allow to readers to imagine the bird they’re most familiar with, as a secondary thing, because too much detail can distract from focus.
        🙂

        – Lorin

        1. The two of you are far more experienced renku writers, but your discussion really interests me. I’ve wondered about this–the need to be so specific or not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
          .
          As for me, I love this offering by Lorin, as it is:
          .
          in a world of white
          the hawk’s yellow eye

          – Lorin
          .
          It caught my eye and imagination so clearly!

          1. Thanks, Mary. I’m not a very experienced renku writer. Paul is. We can both be opinionated, though. 🙂
            I think renku isn’t the issue here, but we have differing opinions on how much specifying is enough or too much for a particular verse.
            ‘Hawk’, for the Japanese, is easier. According to Gabi Greves’ extensive kigo collections, ‘hawk’ (taka 鷹 たか) is a winter kigo in itself, though they also have words for specific hawks & falcons.
            https://wkdkigodatabase03.blogspot.com.au/2007/03/hawk-taka.html

            More to the point in relation to this renku, though, this ‘hawk’ verse of mine is most likely out of the running because we have ‘fledglings’ previously, in Barbara’s verse. Can the renku have another bird verse? Even though different in mood and focus?

            Probably not, in the categories of renku topics. (Though the previous renku had 3 or 4 ‘recreational sports’ verses in a row! (each separated by one verse. . . in the ‘ha’ section) That stuck out like the proverbial dog’s hind leg to me. 🙂 But the sabaki was very experienced in renku. “Go figure”, as you say in the U.S. 🙂

            – Lorin

        2. I remember reading a similar discussion with Alan Summers a few years back when a haiku was being workshopped here on THF. The author had simply written “seagull” and he asked her to specify the type of gull. I was surprised about this, as I didn’t know back then that a bird of that name didn’t exist. We grew up in a house opposite the shore and everyone referred to the white sea birds that flew into our garden as seagulls, so we didn’t know any better.

          I guess it depends on what is important to the writer, whether they consider the naming of a species important to the haiku. And of course sometimes the proper name of a bird/animal is just too long to fit.

          Anyway, Lorin, I like the beady yellow eye against the snow-scape of your verse. If a variety of yellow-eyed, white hawk existed – even better! 🙂

          marion

          1. Hi Marion,
            I, too, grew up in a house across the road from a beach, Seaford beach 🙂 I only knew the gulls as ‘seagulls’… that’s what everyone calls them. The common gulls here are ‘Silver Gulls’, but to say ‘silver gulls’ would sound a tad … well, poncey. 🙂 Unless the person saying it was a birder visiting from somewhere else in the world, of course.
            We also have Pacific gulls, but their behaviour is different. Pairs or loners, rather than social mobs. Tough, long flight birds that call in, rather than permanent locals.

            I suppose it’s a choice between using the vernacular, common name & the specific species name. There’s a place for both, but I cite Wallace Stevens & the Japanese references to ‘hawk’ in the case for the common & vernacular. 🙂 And you say ‘seagull’ as I do. Though they’ll be different species, yours and mine are certain to have a lot in common.

            Not everyone likes our seagulls but I have an affection for them, from way back. 🙂

            – Lorin

  3. snowflakes
    falling north and south
    of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

    sledge marks
    down the slippery slope

    – Lorin

      1. I might even try this without the article “the”:
        .
        in frozen silence
        a red bird’s song
        .
        .
        (I realize not all readers will have heard an American Cardinal (common name: red bird, here in the south at least)…but both male and female sing equally well. Their songs and calls are beautiful and very sweet sounding.

      1. This has taken us to a floaty, underwater world which has slowed things down nicely, Barbara. I don’t know enough about renku structure to know if this is appropriate or not, but I know a man who does – so I’ll ask. 🙂

    1. I don’t like to see the approach of darker evenings, but once we are in deep winter it’s nice to settle in front of a fire with a good book, knowing that you don’t have to leave the house. There is a balance.

    1. I was going to say that I would associate blackberries with autumn more than winter, Lorin, but of course in this case you are referring to the thorns rather than the fruit.

      1. yes, just the bloody thorns that still can snag your clothes & rip into skin. Blackberry brambles grow very big here, into impassable thickets, unlike where they came from… the UK, with the early settlers. But the fruiting season is autumn, as in their home country and the leaves have all gone by mid-winter and don’t come again until spring.

        – Lorin

    1. Good use of sound, Lorin.

      Do you think there would be less authorial comment if we had “across borders” or “crosses borders”? Or is it okay to give an opinion in renku – can you tell I’m floundering here? (Gosh, that’s another fish! 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

      1. Nope…whales are not fish. 🙂 The animal they’re most related to are is the hippopotamus, believe it or not.

        Personally, I’d say it’d be an opinion if it were “across” or “crosses” . . . “without borders”, imo, is a truism rather than an opinion.

        – Lorin

        1. LOL Lorin – I was referring to me “flounder”ing, rather than the whale. 🙂

          Yes, I see what you mean; the fact I’ve mentioned them suggests that potential borders exist to be crossed….

          1. Human borders only, though, that exist only in the collective human mind. Though animals have territories, it’s not the same.
            – Lorin

  4. Can’t use ‘cold’ or ‘deep’ because they’ve both been used before (in a summer verse!)

    the dreams of winter bass
    fathoms d***

    the dreams of winter bass
    fathoms down

    – Lorin

    1. Ah, yes, the water of Mary’s quarry was cold and deep.
      .
      I really like ‘the dreams of winter bass’, Lorin, but wonder if we can we have two fish in this renku? Or is it okay if there’s sufficient distance between the clownfish and the bass?

    1. Or is it the dog’s tail that sweeps the snow angel, Pearl? I don’t know much about the anatomy of snow angels – perhaps they do have a tail? 🙂

      1. This one continued to perplex until I asked my son just now and he thinks it is the dog’s wagging tail that is making a snow angel!
        .
        our dog makes
        its own snow angel

        🙂

  5. Thank you for choosing this verse, Debbie. I’m pleased it worked for you.

    Thanks also for the revision (I missed Marina’s “side” road) as it is particularly apt for those of us from the island of Ireland, since “the North” and “the South” are often used to distinguish between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

    So, as well as suggesting a snowy landscape through the more macroscopic second line, someone from this part of the world reading this might well find a political undercurrent. When combined with the sudden focus on the peace wall in the final line, there is little doubt that the city of Belfast would come to mind. However, since many countries, cities and even neighbourhoods have a north/south divide, hopefully the verse is general enough to make a statement about the futility of conflict and, as you have rightly pointed out, the similarities for both sides.

    marion

    (Incidentally, despite being the most northerly point in Ireland, Malin Head in County Donegal is located in “the South” because it is part of the Republic 🙂 )

    1. You are so welcome , Marion! Best wishes as you choose the next verse! You will have fun!

  6. I’m pleased to report that Marion has accepted the opportunity to make our next selection!

      1. 😖 That’s for sure Marion! Thanks for the thought-provoking verse.

  7. snowflakes
    falling north and south
    of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

    let’s toast the up side
    of winter seclusion

    – Lorin
    – Lorin

  8. Congratulations, Marion. Very fitting. 🙂
    I read that the first of the 48 Belfast peace walls came down last week.

    – Lorin

    1. Thank you, Lorin. 🙂

      Yes, the walls are due to come down. In fact, I think the first one came down last year – at least it was supposed to. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know. Although I lived in Belfast as a student I only go to the city centre when I go back for a poetry event or music gig, so haven’t noticed.

    1. A poignant image, Marina. I would try to shorten the second line, perhaps?

      women knit beany hats
      for children of the refugees
      .
      or
      ,
      women knit beany hats
      for the refugee children

  9. Excellent choice, Debbie. I love Marion’s verse and how it links to the Wall in Jerusalem and then reminds us of what we have in common in our humanity.
    .
    .
    I posted a verse too late in the last verse offerings, so I’ll try it here:.
    snowflakes
    falling north and south
    of the peace wall
    .
    —Marion Clarke
    .
    we wake at dawn
    to new frost pattern
    on the windows

    1. Ugh, it should be in two lines. Forgive me…I had cataract surgery on Tuesday and my reading isn’t very good yet. I’ll do my best to be more attentive. Perhaps I can revise this:
      .
      we wake at dawn
      to new frost patterns

      1. As Lorin has pointed out, we had “cold” in Mary’s quarry verse, Michael Henry.

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