Skip to content

The Renku Sessions: Pilgrims' Stride 10

renkuchainWelcome to The Renku Sessions. Renku is a participatory literary game, following a set of rules that are implemented by the leader of the session. If you would like to learn more about renku go here. And if you would like to see a sample of a complete renku, go here.

I’m John Stevenson, and I will serve as your guide for this session, a thirty-six verse (kasen) renku. I have supplied the opening verse (hokku) and each week I will select an additional verse from among those submitted prior to the Tuesday deadline.

Twenty-two poets offered a total of eighty-one candidates for verse ten. This is just slightly less participation than we had for the previous verse. In the event that this may be due, in part, to one of our links disappearing from the home page over the weekend, a situation that will continue through the month of May, I would like to alert everyone to the option of using the “Go to” link under “The Renku Sessions” at the top left of the home page. It will take you to another page, from which you can always reach the most current renku post.

I’m going to make a change in a verse that we have already included, namely the hokku. In Japanese practice the fact that the hokku and its leap-over, the third verse, both contain structures (shrines/glass house) would be considered a serious flaw. While we are not engaged in quite so rigorous an approach, I would like to fix this as an example of the kind of revision that is possible. Please note the slightly different wording of the hokku, below.

We are now in a part of the renku where we might go almost anywhere with images and implied themes. My choice of the next verse is affirmative and, at the same time, made with some regret for the wonderful options that I must let pass, at least for the present. We might, for instance, have introduced a fantasy or science fiction element here with Patrick Sweeney’s vivid into the blue electric bath. Or we might have moved into the element of gambling (and perhaps crime) with Scott Mason’s the best man excels. An element of laugh out loud humor is offered by a number of verses. My favorites in this vein are Jennifer Sutherland’s he makes me an offer and who left, Marion Clarke’s a dolphin surfaces, and Alice Frampton’s a mouthful of milkshake. While all of these are attractive options, I have decided to look for something that seems distantly linked to verse nine and therefore represents a dramatic shift. There are two final contenders in this regard. The runner-up is Stella Pierides’ the tooth fairy.

Our tenth verse comes from Asni Amin. I take it to link through the traditional vows of “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” But it also offers a wide array of associations relating to the manner in which a person responds to adversity. Note that this verse names a color. While future verses may feature colorful images, they should not name another color directly.

Here is the verse you must link to:

thinking of a red wig
during chemo

    –Asni Amin

The next verse, the eleventh, also has no seasonal or other specific topical requirements. A dawn, dusk, or nighttime image (without mention of the moon) might be good at this point. Here are the formal requirements for verse ten:

  • Non-seasonal (avoids any topics assigned to a specific season in our list of season words)
  • Written in three lines, without a cut
  • Linking with the tenth verse, and only the tenth verse
  • Shifting widely to a new topic and setting

Add your suggested three-line link below, in the Comments box. You have until midnight EST, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. You may submit as many verses as you like, but please use a new comment box for each one. I will announce my selection for the next link on Thursday, May 15 here on the blog, and provide information and instructions for submitting the next link.

What We’ll Be Looking For — Throughout the Session

    There are many schematic outlines for a kasen renku. We will be using one set out by Professor Fukuda in his book Introduction to World-linking Renku. It will not be necessary for you to have a copy of this book since instructions will be offered before each verse is solicited.

    It is a good idea for those participating in the composition of a renku to make use of the same list of season words. There are a number of these lists available and I intend no judgment of their relative value. For purposes of this session I am suggesting the use of The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words.

    Pilgrims’ Stride to Date

      comparing maps
      to the mountain pass–
      pilgrims’ stride

        –John Stevenson

      a sun-warmed stone bridge
      over snowmelt

        –Billie Wilson

      dampened soil
      of seed trays
      in the glasshouse

        –Margaret Beverland

      grandmother’s silverware
      polished every monday

        –Polona Oblak

      a sonata
      on the concert Steinway
      played to the moon

        –Lorin Ford

      a dragonfly hovers
      over the swaying reeds

        –Karen Cesar

      slight hum
      of a drone
      in fog

        –Alice Frampton

      the atmosphere
      thick with teenage pheromones

        –Norman Darlington

      I stumble
      trying to reply
      “I plight thee my troth.”

        –Paul MacNeil

      thinking of a red wig
      during chemo

        –Asni Amin

      This Post Has 117 Comments

      1. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        – Asni Amin

        where four roads
        meet the roundabout
        four cars wait to move
        -Sue Richards

      2. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        the king of beasts
        lifts his leg and dribbles
        out a weak stream

        – Karen Cesar

      3. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        coca cola trucks
        assemble in a twilight line
        at headquarters
        —Marilyn Walker

      4. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        a quaint barn
        at meadow creek crossing
        slips into dusk
        –Marilyn Walker

      5. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        the rain
        not knowing it was
        the last rain

      6. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        do rushing
        raindrops dream
        of being the ocean?

      7. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        -Asno Amin

        Another day alone
        C-spiking
        the free radicals

        -Patrick Sweeney

      8. “I love you
        tomorrow
        you’re only a day away! ”

        Little orphan Annie from ‘Annie’ the musical

      9. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        a shopping cart rolls
        into an empty parking lot
        far into dusk

      10. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        in front of the sideshow
        gnats juggle
        the last bit of sun

        (new to this, didn’t see the “without a cut”. Apologies…)

      11. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        a cure by
        like cures by like
        from the periodic table

      12. “Whoops! Mothers’ Day might be spring.” – Alice

        Or Autumn… depending on your hemisphere. 😉 Today, the 2nd Sunday in May, is Mothers’ Day and Autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

        – Lorin

      13. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        after dark
        Rapunzel
        l
        e
        t
        s
        d
        o
        w
        n
        h
        e
        r
        h
        a
        i
        r

      14. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        the sound
        of bats wings
        flapping

      15. Whoops! Mothers’ Day might be spring.

        dipping into
        my stash of gummy bears
        on my birthday

      16. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        just before dawn
        the apparition
        of Ronald McDonald

        – Lorin

      17. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        the train
        turns around along
        the mausoleum
        – Sandip Chauhan

      18. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        as idea
        Khrushchev’s famous shoe
        still banging

        – Lorin Ford

      19. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        for most of space-time
        Khrushchev’s famous shoe
        is yet to bang

        – Lorin Ford

      20. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        as an idea
        Khrushchev’s famous shoe
        still banging

        – Lorin

      21. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        ’round midnight
        the apparition
        of Ronald McDonald


        the apparition
        of Ronald McDonald
        on the early train

        from the midnight bus
        the apparition
        of Ronald McDonald

        (variations of the same ku)
        – Lorin Ford

      22. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        scientists watch
        in silence as the stars
        do their thing

        – Sandra Simpson

      23. I stumble
        trying to reply
        “I plight thee my troth.”

        thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        overnight
        69 new followers
        on Twitter

      24. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        twilight is upon me
        soon night
        must fall

        – Yoda from Star Wars

      25. a mid-life Barbie
        comes out of the closet
        in her convertible
        -Alice Frampton

      26. sorry John & all, I forgot !!! no colours!!!

        thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        a cheeky wink
        from Betty Boop
        in her frilled pyjamas

      27. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        in a glass jar
        a firefly beating
        its wings
        – Sandip Chauhan

      28. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        a cheeky wink
        from Betty Boop
        in her pink pyjamas

      29. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        a different voice
        for each character
        in her bedtime story

      30. no comma of course

        thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        the day
        they bring the baby home
        it’s raining

      31. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        it’s raining
        the night
        they bring the baby home

      32. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        the day
        they bring the baby home.
        it’s raining

      33. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        he gropes
        for her hand
        in the movie theater

      34. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        i bow
        to the crimson sunset
        behind the mountain
        –Sandip Chauhn

      35. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo
        –Asni Amin

        listening
        to a swan song
        in fading light
        –Sandip Chauhn

      36. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        steady drips
        of rain slowly down
        the armadillo’s back

        -Karen Cesar

      37. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        rhythmic motion
        of Part Wild Horse’s Mane
        breaks the dawn

      38. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        rhythmic motion
        of Cloud Hands
        breaks the dawn

      39. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        breaking down
        a tai chi movement
        with the first light

      40. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        breaking down
        a tai chi movement
        as the sun rises

      41. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        rhythmic motion
        of Black Stork Spreading Wings
        breaks the dawn

      42. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        breaking down tai chi
        movements under
        the morning star

      43. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        restoring balance
        with a tai chi movement
        under the morning star

      44. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        memories of dress up
        but can i ever fill
        my mother’s shoes?

        – Leah Meyers

      45. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        that one of Ella’s
        about a cardboard sky
        & a honky-tonk parade

        – Sandra Simpson

      46. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        that one of Ella’s
        about a canvas sky &
        a muslin tree

        – Sandra Simpson

      47. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        Fred & Ginger glide
        across the screen,
        her dress moulting

        – Sandra Simpson

      48. thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        A Night at the Opera
        with Otis B Driftwood
        & a box of chocolates

        – Sandra Simpson

      49. I stumble
        trying to reply
        “I plight thee my troth.”

        thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        A Night at the Opera
        tucked in behind Callas
        at the boot sale

      50. I stumble
        trying to reply
        “I plight thee my troth.”

        -Paul MacNeil

        thinking of a red wig
        during chemo

        –Asni Amin

        chimpanzees
        in Senegal who gaze
        at the setting sun

        -Karen Cesar

      51. Karen,

        Thanks for your suggestion. I have tried to be sparing about suggesting changes in anyone’s verses. I did that “off line” near the beginning but have stepped back from it since then so that the entire process can be visible on the site. Since you are offering, though, I will gladly incorporate your first offer (dragonflies hover/by the swaying reeds). It will appear in the next update.

      52. John,

        Why not also revise my verse where the word ‘over’ used in the wakiku is repeated?

        Maybe:

        dragonflies hover
        by the swaying reeds

        or, if you like the echo of the structure in Lorin’s verse:

        a dragonfly hovers
        ( near, by, beside) the swaying reeds

        Customarily, Sabaki may use his/her discretion to alter offered verses. Please feel free to alter any verse I offer as you see fit.

        Thanks,

        Karen

      Comments are closed.

      Back To Top