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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 35

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 were somewhat preoccupied with concern for our friend, Betty Shropshire, who was in the path of hurricane Harvey. We have heard that she is safe. What more there is to know must wait for flood waters to subside. Since Betty was understandably unavailable to make this week’s selection, I have done so.

Those who have read my recent commentaries on the selections I’ve made will already know that I favor adding poets whose verses have not yet been included in our renku, when possible. We had some excellent offers from poets already included but we also had good offers that allow me to consider adding a poet this time.

While I didn’t select it, I thought hard about Lee Nash’s “blossom / I want to protect you / from the wind and the bees.” The tone of the kyu is more about acceptance, gratitude, and optimism than about distress and rebellion against nature. But, still, I would have liked to have found a place for this verse. It would have been fun to link to it.

I also liked the directness and simplicity of Elizabeth Moura’s “blossom / your gift / of spring” and the image of raindrops and petals on a shared umbrella, provided by Jackie Maugh Robinson.

Here is what I did select:

a pink petal
comes to rest
on a raindrop

          1. –kjmunro

Hoping that the poet would accept the small changes I made to the original verse (in order to avoid conflict with the numbering conventions of renku), I was intrigued with this image from my first encounter. For me, there are three important entities in this verse; two specified and the third implied. A very large portion of the raindrops that fall to earth are either instantly absorbed or quickly incorporated with other drops. But there are certain surfaces that allow water to bead, either preserving individual raindrops or accruing water in droplets, which we also refer to as raindrops. It is the nature of this unspecified surface that is the third entity in this poem.

Taken together, the “stacking” of these three layers can be viewed as a model for the “stacking” of renku verses, one on another. Each has a unique quality but each has a natural place.

kjmunro will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. kj, 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 (September 6, 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-six is our final verse, a spring image written in two lines. In Japanese renku, this verse is called the ageku. Here is what Professor Fukuda said about it, “It should…be a bright or relaxed verse that expresses the joy of completing the work. Sorrowful topics must be avoided.” To this, I would add that we are not writing “the end.” Our sense should be of something that goes on, even as we part from it.

Verse thirty-six must link to the thirty-fiifth verse (and only the thirty-fifth 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

searching for candles
in the back of the drawer

    –Carol Jones

ribbon-tied letters
release the faint scent
of face powder

    –Marietta McGregor

how this kite gently pulls
us together

    –Betty Shropshire

a pink petal
comes to rest
on a raindrop

    —kjmunro

This Post Has 75 Comments

  1. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    a slight smile from the girl
    as she lets go her balloon

  2. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    young voices & skipping ropes
    now set the beat
    .
    .
    young voices & jump ropes
    now set the beat
    .
    (jump ropes and skipping ropes are the same thing, but we
    are an international group writing this renku so I believe skipping ropes would be more familiar to all)

    1. thanks for these verses, Mary – I like the skipping ropes, & your earlier honey bees – so many things to consider… I am thinking about it…

    1. thanks Barbara – again, I like the idea of the new day, but maybe mist is too close to rain? I am thinking about it…

        1. Yes, both colors and birds have been used. More than once, each. Topics always get “tight” in a kasen especially toward the end. The universe of possibilities is so large… best to be inventive in the expansion. This renku has really! covered a lot of ground. Good stuff! Link and shift is quite a concept, a non-Western concept for poetic Art.

  3. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    could it be a magic hat
    where ladybugs take flight
    .
    (note: in America we say ‘ladybugs’; in the UK, they say ‘ladybirds’ — either is fine)

  4. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    a cloud of honey bees
    circles the new hive

  5. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    a perfect arc of colors
    brushed across the sky

  6. Congratulations, kj. Such delicate and memorable imagery. Love your commentary, John. As usual! Looking forward to everyone’s verses.

      1. I wanted to connect from the fallen drop to the rising bird, returning to feed her babies, a continuation of spring. That you for commenting, I appreciate your time.

  7. A beautiful verse, kj. Captures a delicate, transient moment. Congratulations! The idea of ‘layering’ is interesting too, John.

  8. .
    a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    –kjmunro
    .
    What wonderful timing, with my book on the way by you.
    .
    Neat verse Kathy, it gathers joy in me each time I read it!
    .
    warm regards,
    Alan

      1. Hi Kathy!
        .
        Just emailed you, and love the books, both Body of Evidence, and your wonderful booklets, utterly gorgeous.
        .
        Body of Evidence looks brilliant, ingenious, and I will have a lot of fun reading this, and as Karen is involved in crime documentaries, I bet she’ll want to read it too!
        .
        warm regards,
        Alan
        .

  9. Fabulous verse, kjmunro. We see this image so often after rain, and you have summed it up with such beauty and grace. Another great write – up, John.
    Look forward to the next verse submissions.

  10. what a great blossom verse. k,a great renku John, and to all her participated
    kanpai
    ****************
    baby birds open wide
    with the promise of a meal

    1. Unfortunately Barbara has already had fledglings skimming through an archway, Mary.
      .
      marion

  11. a pink petal
    comes to rest
    on a raindrop
    .
    —kjmunro
    .
    .
    I love how this verse links to Betty’s. There is such a peaceful and beautiful feeling to this new verse. Congratulations, KJ, for your contribution to our renku. John, your explanation was excellent–I like how you allude to the stacking of this verse.

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