skip to Main Content

The Renku Sessions: Pilgrims' Stride 12

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-five poets combined for one hundred nine verse twelve offers. Once again, there are verses I would love to have used but feel I have to pass up. First on the list is Patrick Sweeney’s now the acedia of the strip mall / bombards my reticular formation. This plays wonderfully with the woodland silence of verse eleven but I think that cancer and medical treatment in the leap-over (verse ten) precludes a verse that refers so strongly to neurology at this juncture.

Another good choice would have been Terri French’s a loud sneeze / from the sidewalk mime. And perhaps I’ve been punctilious here but I’m concerned that a sneeze may suggest illness and, if so, would preclude Terri’s verse for the same reason as Patrick’s, i.e. too close a relation to the leap-over.

Other verses that got a long second look included:lost glove (Dru Philippou), a ghost of fire and smoke (Vasile Moldovan), getting back on (Stella Pierides), distraught parents scream (batsword), and more offers than I have space to list from poets already included in our renku.

Our twelfth verse comes from Marion Clarke. Among other attractions, I look upon this as a good setup for the summer / moon verse that is to follow. While the verse clearly relates to the story of Pinocchio, it can be taken more broadly since that character is not specified.

Here is the verse you must link to:

he makes a wish
to become real

    –Marion Clarke

The next verse, the thirteenth, is the summer / moon verse. If you remember (or care to look back to) my instructions for the autumn / moon verse (number five), they indicate that any mention of the moon is presumed to be an autumn moon unless otherwise specified. So, verse thirteen will need both the moon and a summer season word or image. While it is permitted to simply say “summer moon,” let’s not do it that way. Here are the formal requirements for verse thirteen:

  • Summer and Moon images
  • Written in three lines, without a cut
  • Linking with the twelfth verse, and only the twelfth 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 27, 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 29 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

dragonflies hover
by 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

the woodland
of silent stories
and shadow

    –Alan Summers

he makes a wish
to become real

    –Marion Clarke

This Post Has 118 Comments

  1. Thanks everyone. We resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 (eastern US time).

  2. oops prior typo

    attracted by moonlight
    the moth flutters
    by the bedroom mirror

  3. the woodland
    of silent stories
    and shadow
    –Alan Summers

    he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    under the moon
    a spiral of bones
    on flattened grass

  4. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    the short night moon
    hangs with the cool boys
    near the CokeTM machine

    – Lorin Ford

  5. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    the short night moon
    seems even cooler
    near the CokeTM machine

    – Lorin Ford

  6. moonstruck
    in our birthday suits
    we wade in

    moonstruck
    in our birthday suits
    we dive in

    moonstruck
    in our birthday suits
    we brave the leeches

  7. he makes a wish
    to become real

    poppies borne on
    wand-like stems
    bathed in moon glow

  8. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    one recalls
    the dream of an octopus
    under the summer moon

    ( guess who 😉 )

    – Lorin Ford

    – LorinFord

  9. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    one recalls
    the dream of an octopus
    beneath the summer moon

    🙂

    – Lorin Ford

  10. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    an old debate
    between philosophers
    this short night moon

    – Lorin Ford

  11. he makes a wish
    to become real

    poppies borne on
    wand-like stems
    bathed in moonshine

  12. he makes a wish
    to become real

    poppies borne on
    wand-like stems
    bob in moonlight

    Difficult to decide whether to leave definitive articles in. Perhaps John can enlighten?

  13. he makes a wish
    to become real

    poppies borne on
    wand-like stems
    bobbing in the moonlight

  14. Only for fun version two:

    he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    just as
    the dispute moon
    wanes gibbous

    –Alan Summers

    August Moon name:
    Dispute Moon (Celtic)
    Dispute Moon (Full Janic)

  15. Only for fun:

    he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    just as
    the dispute moon
    waxes gibbous

    –Alan Summers

    August Moon name:
    Dispute Moon (Celtic)
    Dispute Moon (Full Janic)

  16. Oops, my last one should read:

    skinny dipping
    in the moonlit pond
    despite the leeches

  17. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    invoking the moon
    to cast a spell
    at summer solstice

  18. he makes a wish
    to become real

    -Marion Clarke

    Zildjian Moon
    the boys call themselves
    Sredni Vashtar

    -Patrick Sweeney

  19. there’s no mistaking
    that sweat from your arm pit
    even in the moonlight

  20. forgot this is a summer moon verse …

    he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    the empty track
    of the Daytona 500
    in moonlight

  21. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    a shot
    at immortality
    at the Daytona 500

  22. under the summer moon
    the early apples already starts
    slowly to ripen
    Vasile Moldovan

  23. he makes a wish
    to become real

    the many
    childhood memories
    with the mango moon

    changed *of* to *with* in L3 🙂

  24. he makes a wish
    to become real

    a gentle glow
    of the moon on
    each hanging mango

  25. he makes a wish
    to become real

    the many
    childhood memories
    of the mango moon

  26. he makes a wish
    to become real

    neighbours gather
    to watch Armstrong
    walk on the moon

    obviously just for fun – no traditional season words and not even summer for those in the southern hemisphere

  27. feeling it
    at moonrise
    poison ivy

    How to avoid: illness, sun, red, insects, pronouns, fictional characters… :/

  28. he makes a wish
    to become real
    Marion Clarke

    Summer moon rising
    a big earthquake jars
    the Aegean Sea
    Vasile Moldovan

  29. Slight revision: Can’t use high/mountain

    on her birthday
    his very last beer
    at moon shine

  30. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    on her wet gown
    on the Trevi fountain
    the moon’s coolness

    Lorin Ford

  31. he makes a wish
    to become real
    –Marion Clarke

    the moon’s coolness
    on the Trevi fountain
    on her wet gown

    Lorin Ford

  32. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    by moonlight
    a drop of sweat
    upon his brow

  33. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    skinny dipping
    in the reflection
    of the moon

  34. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    after the fireworks
    the crowd leave
    just a moonbeam

  35. Slight revision:

    hopefully all the snakes
    have slithered down their holes
    now that it’s moonrise

  36. hopefully all the snakes
    have slithered down their holes
    by moonrise

  37. it takes til moon light
    to cook our turkey dinner
    on Independence Day

  38. he makes a wish
    to become real

    datura blossom
    gathers the moonlight
    and a falling star

  39. he makes a wish
    to become real

    datura blossom
    collecting the moon
    and a falling star

  40. he makes a wish
    to become real

    the garden
    planted with moonlight
    with Datura blossoms

  41. he makes a wish
    to become real

    moonlight reflects
    a hawkmoth embedded
    in a datura blossom

  42. he makes a wish
    to become real

    moonlight reflects
    drunken honeybees struggling
    in a datura blossom

  43. he makes a wish
    to become real

    under a full moon
    the datura’s fragrance
    lingers

  44. he makes a wish
    to become real

    under the moonlight
    the datura’s magic
    fragrance lingers

  45. he makes a wish
    to become real

    under the moonlight
    he inhales the datura’s
    magic fragrance

  46. #12
    he makes a wish
to become real
    1. –Marion Clarke

    #13 submission

    even the man
    in the moon
    perspiring

    – Paul MacNeil

  47. Aalix,

    Two things come to mind in reply to your question. First, any decision of this kind must be made by the editors of the publication(s) to which you apply or by the sponsor(s) of any contest(s).

    Perhaps more importantly – these should not be considered haiku.

    Haiku is a descendent of the hokku. Other verses within the renku should not be “stand alone” poems. The poetry for other verses should consist of their interplay with the preceding and succeeding verses.

    That said, unused material created in a renku session can often serve as the basis for future haiku or senryu. Generally, some revision will be required in order to render it effective in these formats. Substantial revision could make it eligible for submission to journals and contests. Always a judgment call.

    PS I just Googled my name and the first line of my hokku. It brought me to this site. For The Heron’s Nest, this would render the verse ineligible for submission and (re)publication. (Of course, the fact that I am a The Heron’s Nest editor also renders it ineligible!)

  48. John,
    What would be the status of haiku presented here, but not chosen? Would they be considered by a journal or a contest to be previously published? (sorry, I had asked this after the last session was finished if it looks familiar!)

  49. he makes a wish
    to become real

    –Marion Clarke

    wild horses
    unbroken, beneath
    the watermelon moon

Comments are closed.

Back To Top