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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 31

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.

Peter Newton provided our verse last week. Here is his selection for this week’s verse, followed by his comments:

folding
the scarecrow’s
clean clothes

      1. –Sally Biggar

“I chose this verse for several reasons. At this point in our renku the season is late autumn and it’s time to take care of business. The action of putting things away for the winter speaks to the final section of this Kasen renku. Also, as an interesting afterthought: the word “folding” brought to mind the paper that was used in traditional renku. And the manner in which it was folded. According to the excellent resource that Karen Cesar cited in the thread for verse 31, ‘Haikai Poetics; Buson, Kito and the Interpretation of Renku Poetry’ by Herbert Jonsson, only the last sheet is given a special name: ‘The fold of lingering memory.’ It is here that we are instructed to ‘move on lightly and swiftly to finish the poem,’ according to Jonsson.

What goes better together than scarecrows and gourds. So, this verse serves as an easy link and then shift to the final six verses of the renku. Also, a shift from outdoors to indoor work. From a public outdoor festival to the more private indoor ritual of doing laundry. Again, taking care of business. I am also reminded of the other indoor rituals that come at the end of autumn.

Yes, it was pointed out to me that there are several other mentions of clothing in this renku. Too many? I don’t think so. I believe you can’t let the rules rule too much. A good dozen verses have elapsed since the last mention of an article of clothing so I think we’re avoiding stagnation with the selection of this clean laundry verse.

Thanks again for this opportunity to learn more about this important form-with and from so many talented fellow poets.”

Sally Biggar will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Sally, 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 (August 9, eastern US time) 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 thirty-two will be a non-seasonal verse, written in two lines. While the lack of constraints on this verse provides us plenty of latitude, it remains a part of the “kyu” and, as such, it should avoid the sort of topics and tonality typical of the ha (like excessive alliteration). There will be an additional non-seasonal verse (thirty-three) and then the renku will conclude with a series of three spring verses, including the final blossom verse (thirty-five).

Verse thirty-two must link to the thirty-first  verse (and only the thirty-first 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

Tolstoy in Russian
by a roaring fire

    –Michael Henry Lee

could it be
that women prefer
a room with a view?

    —Karen Cesar

absinthe and “that look”
as they suck on sugar cubes

    –Betty Shropshire

date nights
purely
for conversation

    –Marietta McGregor

all the agar plates
contaminated

    –Polona Oblak

lunar maria
resolving into
the rabbit

    –Lorin Ford

one last guess at
the weight of the Blue Hubbard

    –Peter Newton

folding
the scarecrow’s
clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

This Post Has 95 Comments

  1. the disposable razor
    runs its course
    **************
    spending an inheritance
    at the dollar store

  2. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

    school lunchboxes
    neatly in a row

    – Lorin

  3. I just want to assure everyone that, even though we have been pushed off the top of the page at THF, I am still reading all of your offers and will continue to do so through the end of tomorrow (eastern US time). Thanks!

  4. Sally, your verse is absolutely charming. It has lingered with me. I love that it brings another scent into the renku. Congrats!
    .
    Peter, thank you for your marvelous commentary. I especially appreciate your insight into the fold. Glad you’ve joined the renku party. Love the clownfish and Blue Hubbard.

  5. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes
    .

    –Sally Bigger
    .
    .
    almost a full chorus
    of cock-a-doodle-doos!
    .
    -Karen Cesar
    .
    * I’m going to miss this Renku. The exchanges have been so good … 👍

      1. Not to my knowledge, Marion. Of course, there are may different lists of season words but this does not appear on any that I’ve seen.

  6. (here’s hoping I’m finally ‘getting’ what ‘all seasons’ might include)
    .
    she always tries to iron out
    everyone’s problems

    1. first line is too long, so let’s go with:
      .
      she tries to iron out
      everyone’s problems

  7. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes
    .

    –Sally Biggar
    .
    .
    post tag sale,
    we donate what’s left
    .
    – Karen Cesar

  8. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes
    .

    –Sally Biggar
    .
    .
    the old card table
    still a tad wobbly
    .
    -Karen Cesar

  9. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar
    .
    .
    the ragpicker’s daughter
    smiles so sweetly
    .
    -Karen Cesar

      1. Was worried that with just “he” it could be referring to the scarecrow of the previous verse…
        .
        with my father’s old spectacles
        my son is the young wizard

  10. the journeyman turns
    to reach for an oil can


    or
    worn journeymen hushed
    by their skyscraper’s beauty

  11. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

    fingers on his smart phone
    tweeting, tweeting

    – Lorin

    1. Mary, I’m smiling at your ‘shotgun’ approach. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      It’s difficult, I know, to switch one’s mind from thinking in seasons to finding topics & words that don’t indicate a particular season. I’d say your ‘whisper of leaves/ hammock verse’ would be excellent in a summer verse spot.

      – Lorin

      1. Ah, Lorin, so true, so true. I seem to be walking backwards and making a bunch of clumsy errors. I will withdraw this verse of course.

        You hit the nail on the head when you said, “It’s difficult, I know, to switch one’s mind from thinking in seasons to finding topics & words that don’t indicate a particular season.” Somehow I was interpreting “no particular season” as permission to make it ANY season. Wrong of course! Thanks for the guiding hand. 🙂

        1. You aren’t on your own, Mary. I too am on a steep learning curve. I mentioned the flower element as in verse 29 I asked about a remote implication to blossom, and was advised that no implication should be made, subtle or not. A link was provided, here – New Zealand Poetry Society – reading the link, shift and separation section, it was interesting to read the connection the ‘renga master’ made between a ‘moth’ and ‘mansion’ – both have wings. What a sharp mind 🙂 it’s little things like this I will, try, to keep in my mind.

          1. That’s JEC, for sure, Carol 🙂 Lancashire man, didn’t pull his punches. 🙂
            How I miss him.

            – Lorin

          2. … of course , in that ‘moth’ / ‘mansion’ example, he was (what we call in Australia) “taking the piss” about ridiculously over-scrupulous, forensic attitude to repetition.

            – Lorin

          3. Carol, thanks for sharing that. I need to do some serious reading and studying for sure. It’s good to know that others are very much in a “still learning” stage. I do enjoy reading all the offerings made by others and the commentary.

            Mary 🙂

        2. Mary, the “no season” verses might also be expressed as “all seasons”… things that don’t relate to a particular season but are part of life the year around. Like housework (if it doesn’t involve a scarecrow or any other seasonal reference) , having one’s haiku published, watching the news on tv, having a shower in the morning, commuting etc etc.


          – Lorin

          1. Thanks, Lorin. “All seasons” makes a lot more sense to me…as do your examples. Thank you!

            Mary 🙂

  12. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes
    .
    .
    I set the table for tea
    with a jug of damask roses
    .
    or
    .
    adding damask roses
    I set the table for tea

    1. I don’t think we can mention flowers in this section, Mary…but I might be wrong 🙂

      1. Carol and Mary, it is an interesting point and will be up to the Sabaki, since we have one. Is this stanza too close to the #35 that we know is to be one type of spring blossom? Mentioning roses here might “steal the thunder” to use a confusing idiom. Can a renku of kasen length contain a non-blossom-verse flower? Yes I’ve seen it. Hothouse or florist types can be used– grown and supplied all year. One could use flowers subtly such as maybe referring to a bouquet laid on a grave [a death image itself would not be appropriate for the “kyu”]. Roses like long-stemmed ones given to a lover… would be season and set in February/winter — in the US, at least, for Valentine’s Day. Your damask roses are from a garden and are, I think, seasonal. Not what we need just here. They give an image of summer on into autumn. There is so much to learn about renku. Compared to the classic and contemporary Japanese Masters — many of us writing in English are but children. But I’m a happy kid, at least.

        1. “Can a renku of kasen length contain a non-blossom-verse flower?” – Paul

          Yes, and we have such in the ha, verse #17 ‘Dutchman’s breeches’ a flower native to the USA.

          Carol is right: roses (not the imported or hothouse variety) indicate a season. Which season might depend where. Where I am, mid-spring to early autumn, with their height in November. . . Melbourne Cup Day. 🙂

          – Lorin

          1. I meany by my quoted question . . . is it allowed by the rules [which are not rules… ha!]. And as you point out, sure, when appropriately placed… and done subtly as I mentioned.

            ahh. Lorin, I was speaking of Damask roses. I gardened 30 + hybrid tea rose plants at a previous house here in Florida. I typically did a major pruning in early to mid-February (MY end of winter) and the first large flush of blooms was 6 week later. So Spring, but all the way until hint of frost closed them down.

            Wild roses like Rosa virginiana and the English import gone wild, R. rugosa, are symbols of summer in our north.

          2. Deep sigh of relief, thanks, Lorin 🙂

            The link you provided have been of immense use. I am now trying
            to find that ‘shared culture’ saying that, I do like to search for things
            I’m not sure about, and ‘Dutchman’s Breeches’ was one. A similar cliff edge plat in the UK is Sea Campion.

          3. Hi Paul, it’s easy where I am to know when to prune the roses: the old rhymes help, “We prune in June” (first month of winter) We also know we need to plant sweet peas by St. Patrick’s Day if we want a good showing. 🙂 (Of course it will be different in the Northern Hemisphere) 🙂

            – Lorin

        2. Thank you both for the heads up about the damask roses. I’m really such a novice with so much to learn. Paul’s explanation makes sense to me…and I appreciate the way the more experienced renku poets here take the time to help those of us who are still at step one.

          I will readily withdraw the roses from my offerings above. 🙂

  13. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes
    .
    Sally Biggar
    .
    A very nice verse, Sally! Peter, I enjoyed reading your commentary. Good job, both of you. 🙂

  14. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

    o sole mio
    on his accordion

    – Lorin

  15. Sally will not be able to make this week’s selection. I will be filling in.

  16. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

    travel brochures
    crammed in my briefcase

    – Lorin

  17. folding
    the scarecrow’s
    clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

    a lone suitcase
    at the bus station

    – Lorin

    1. Hi Carol,
      .
      Just curious regarding your use of “in the back of a draw.” American English would have it,” in the back of a drawer.” Where are you from?
      .
      😀Karen

      1. Hi Karen

        I’ve just been reading about this post, and I wish I hadn’t missed it.
        What a bloomer 🙂 I live in the UK, I hang my head in shame 🙂 🙂

        Thanks Karen

  18. Well done, Peter, for your choice & commentary.

    Congratulations, Sally. 🙂 An excellent verse to begin the last movement with. I especially like the wry link to the bloke having fun in the ‘pumpkin weight’ game in Peter’s verse: the old adage “a woman’s work is never done” sprang to mind when I first read it, and still does.

    – Lorin

  19. at the job interview
    his blue suit smells of mothballs

    or

    the pungent smell of mothballs
    in the job interview room

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