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The Renku Sessions: Rasika Renku, Week 7

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Sixth Renku Session.

I (Kala Ramesh) will be your sabaki for this renku. Thanks to Jim Kacian and John Stevenson for giving me this opportunity. I’ve learned the art of renku from Norman Darlington, Moira Richards, John Carley and Eiko Yachimoto. I’ve been writing renku from 2006 and I’ve been a sabaki of many renku trips and was the guest renku editor at A Hundred Gourds 5:2.

Rasika renku – 6th verse

18 renkujin have submitted 36 candidates.

The requirements for this slot were:
“For the 6th verse, you can either write about the companionship built on years of togetherness; or separation; or death of a spouse. Show the years that have passed, and the *link and leap* will happen naturally within this framework.”

Some good verses that show *togetherness*:

on her death bed still
getting the last word

Michael Henry Lee

What a lucky woman she is always to get in the last word! There is a dry humour here but also a deep love, which allowed him to appreciate the fact that his wife always outsmarted him.

**
I liked Mary Kendall’s verse:

walking arm in arm on
thousands of daily strolls

**
Madhuri’s verse once again is all about companionship. There are certain words – the ‘slow shuffle’– that show aging and the passage of time. I see an aged couple still liking to dance and wanting to dance together – albeit not as fast as before. I couldn’t take this verse for I felt it somehow ‘backlinked’ to Marion’s *rhythm in the pebble* verse.

a slow shuffle as we dance
on our anniversary date

Madhuri Pillai

**
Lee Nash’s verse shows the couple’s comfort level – which tells a lot about a love that has gone beyond mere physical attraction.

you find the word down,
I find the word across

**

finding your harmonica
and your cool lips

Julie Emerson

I liked this a lot, also, and it does offer music – a new topic in this trip.

**

Separation, avoiding each other, and going their own way: this offer from Giri Ramanathan hurts:

thirty years
and we were still strangers

I would bring it to the present:

thirty years
and we are still strangers

How many marriages fall apart this way … just existing and not being.

**

Betty’s verse digs deep:

his lacquered nails scratch
at my old wounds

Betty Shropshire

**

I really enjoyed David Oats’ offers – I can imagine what loud laughter would have accompanied these verses had it been a live renku trip. The beauty of renku is that it is communal and about life – the way we live it. Please do keep all these as pocket verses to be used in your next renku trip!

what he’d give to smell
that awful face cream again

so many years his loudest
farts don’t wake her

David Oats

**
One verse I would have loved to select is Polona Oblak’s. It hints at unrequited love or the death of her beloved; and it opens to various interpretations even though the scene is all *set*.

sunday breakfast set
as if you were still here

Polona Oblak

One thing I did mull over was – can we talk about breakfast when the hokku was about *gathering and drinks*, and I’ve been talking about ‘link and leap’ and how Rasika, being just an 8-verse renku, should have no repeat images or backlinks. With great reluctance I let go … and

Carmen Sterba posted hers late on Sunday evening (India time …).

how it all began
with a barefoot kiss
behind the bandstand / brendon

our 50th reunion
led to marriage / carmen

How seamlessly both these love verses bond – and yet the leap – decades later. Carmen’s verse by itself is about a school or college reunion, hinting that the couple is close to 70 now … but when the verse is combined with Brendon’s, it becomes hilarious, like a GIF image – kissing behind the bandstand not once but 50 times!

Carmen, can we bring L 2 to the present?

our high school reunion
leads to marriage / carmen

Please let me know if you are ok with this minor change.

***

We’ve now reached the 3rd section of this renku – the Kyu (rapid close).
To refresh your memory:
Jo – the introduction – verses 1 & 2
Ha – the delineation /the expansion – verses 3, 4, 5 and 6,
Kyu – the rapid close – verse 7 & 8.

The 7th verse:

A 3-line blossom verse of 14 sound units or syllables.

This is an important verse. Generally, renku requires that blossoms be only from flowering trees, but the Rasika, like the Junicho (12-verse renku), allows for only a single blossom verse, which may appear in any season and be any type of flower. Please note: in this slot I want a spring blossom verse.

 

So this is what we have before us:

Rasika renku:

tonight’s moon –
eight champagne glasses
catch the shine / lorin

a white silk hat left
on the hat stand / sanjuktaa

an ermine
dashes out from under
a granite boulder / karen

that rhythmic swish
of water on pebbles / marion

how it all began
with a barefoot kiss
behind the bandstand / brendon

our high school reunion
leads to marriage / carmen

 

Rasika Schema:
1. long – hokku | autumn moon*
2. short – wakiku | non-seasonal*
3. long – daisan | winter*
4. short – non-seasonal
5. long – beginning of summer | love
6. short – non-seasonal | love
7. long – spring blossom *
8. ageku – non-seasonal *

The asterisks show the important verses in this renku.

I would like no more than 3 candidates per poet, and please post them by Monday, 20th November. The next posting will be on 23rd November, next Thursday morning (Eastern US time) along with the instructions for submitting the *ageku*, your last verse in this trip! Keep a close watch on this space.

Keenly waiting to read your candidates for verse # 7.

In renku spirit and friendship,
Kala Ramesh

This Post Has 97 Comments

  1. crocus blooms
    beside the guard’s boot
    scent of dog poo

    *

    a fist of flower buds
    Hairy Wood Rush
    and I absorb sun

    *

    bare branch of lilac
    toddler asleep
    on her shoulder

    1. Pearl,
      You were too late in submitting your offers.
      I’ve chosen the spring verse and it will be up in some time now.

  2. crocus through snow
    is some bee out there
    with a down jacket?

    long climb
    between stone steps
    little blue flower

    accident scene
    the wind shifts
    wildflowers

    1. crocus through snow
      is some bee out there
      with a down jacket?
      ***
      long climb
      between stone steps
      little blue flower
      ***
      accident scene
      the wind shifts
      wildflowers

    1. Correction to my previous verse!
      .
      in Bangalore
      the scent of frangipani
      is everywhere
      .
      the jasmine
      made the air fragrant
      with its heady scent

      1. another version of the frangipani verse!
        Sorry for the confusion.
        .
        the scent of frangipani
        fragrant
        as a baby’s breath

  3. Oh dear — it does get more difficult. I’ll need to revise this to remove the number (!) and the article of clothing (!) …
    ***
    an international flight
    from freezing fog
    to blossom
    ***
    the client
    choking on the heady scent
    of mock orange
    ***
    under a line of blossom
    ballerinas
    hurry to class
    ***
    I think that’s a little better although quite possibly I have missed something else.

    1. Thanks, Lee :))
      Yes, the pain of a renku trip – not repeating images and the beauty is that new pastures come into view!

      Renku calls for *total awareness* . . . another facet of this beautiful art form.

  4. Congratulations, Carmen, on your lovely verse! Kala, I’m very pleased that you liked one of my verses — thank you for all your encouragement so far. For spring blossom, this is what I’ve come up with:
    ***
    a twenty-four-hour flight
    from freezing fog
    to blossom
    ***
    redecorating
    in the heady scent
    of mock orange
    ***
    under a line of blossom
    tutus
    hurry to class

    1. Margherita,
      *slowly* blend … ?
      .

      We are in our last segment and *Kyu* means ‘rapid close’
      ^_^

  5. well, I’m going to simplify my verse 7 entry:
    .
    bees map the lot
    from apple blossoms
    to chives

    1. Sorry kala,

      My both entries got posted without gap. Hence posting again. 🙂

      Lakshmi’s idol
      a bee settles
      on the lotus

      *******
      pond side
      the marigold swings
      on sickle moon

      1. Aparna,
        Both your candidates are reading more like a haiku.
        Only the first verse (hokku) is a haiku, as we know it today.
        .
        All other verses are just a sentence ku without a *cut*
        .

        See the cut here:

        Lakshmi’s idol /
        a bee settles
        on the lotus

        *******

        pond side/
        the marigold swings
        on sickle moon
        .

        Plus, the moon verse is over – the hokku (the 1st verse in this trip) is about the moon. Please do check.

        1. Thank you for your comment, Kala ! I will give another try after studying it thoroughly again. 🙂

          1. Thanks.
            .

            Do read my 2nd week posting – where I’ve explained about the hokku:
            12 Oct – link:
            https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/2017/10/12/the-renku-sessions-rasika-renku-week-2/
            .

            For those who are new to renku: the hokku is the ONLY verse in a renku that requires a cut – something we do when writing a haiku, which juxtaposes two images to create a whole. With rare exceptions, all of the subsequent verses should read straight through, sentence-like (If in doubt, please do read the finished renku in THF’s archives – it might help you to understand a sentence-like verse.)

            .
            Hope this helps

          2. Just giving you 3 examples from this trip:
            .

            that rhythmic swish of water on pebbles / marion
            .

            how it all began with a barefoot kiss behind the bandstand / brendon
            .

            our high school reunion leads to marriage / carmen
            .

            Do you see how all the 3-line and the two-line verses actually are just a sentence?
            .

          3. Please read it as:
            Do you see how all the 3-line and the 2-line verses actually are just sentences?

        2. It’s easy when you get the hang of it, Aparna. 🙂
          .

          from:
          .
          Lakshmi’s idol /
          a bee settles
          on the lotus
          .
          to, for instance:
          .
          Lakshmi smiles
          as a bee settles
          on the lotus
          .
          (well, she always looks as if she’s smiling 🙂 )
          .
          btw: bringing in Lakshmi is a very nice link to ‘marriage’ in Carmen’s verse.
          Lotuses have also bloomed from time immemorial at the top end of Australia, too.
          .
          https://www.wildlands.com.au/the-sacred-lotus/
          .
          The traditional European ‘4 seasons’ simply don’t apply to tropical regions. Even where I am in southern Australia the indigenous peoples have 6 seasons. But both water lilies and lotuses begin to bloom in ‘ late-spring’ (November) in Victoria and Sth. Australia. . . earlier the further North one goes. I would’ve have any problem with the lotus as a ‘spring’ verse.
          .
          – Lorin

          1. Yikes! Damned spellcheck, too! Correction:
            .
            ” I wouldn’t have any problem with the lotus as a ‘spring’ blossom/ flower.”
            .
            – Lorin

          2. Wow ! So much of information ! Thank you so much dear Kala and Lorin !! So very kind of you both. I will study it thoroughly now !! Happy!! happy !!

  6. spring awakening-
    beneath the withered leaves
    the snowdrop still sleeps

    ***
    we get together
    the most beautiful plants
    for ikebana

    ***
    towards twilight
    in the florist’ basket
    a lot of unsold flowers

  7. Altering to drop the color reference:
    .
    dogwood blossoms
    and the brightness
    of its new leaves
    .
    spring beauties
    with their blooms
    still closed in the early light
    .

  8. Kala,
    Thanks for your alert. I slightly modified my “orange tulips” entry as below
    *******************
    garden tulips
    in the evening breeze
    show their long necks
    *******************

  9. certificates be damned…
    happy days forever
    between Brunsfelsia

    *

    enlightened complaints
    about overhanging
    honeysuckle!

    *

    along the pathway
    the blissful scents
    from Asiatic Lilium

  10. As we go deeper down the schema – things will get tougher.
    So many lovely verses – but it mentions either numbers, or colours, or dining or one of the many images we’ve already done.

    It’s a beautiful season and a beautiful position – this 7th verse.
    Waiting to hear from all of you and if anyone here has already given three candidates – doesn’t matter (I’ll turn a blind eye to *numbers* 🙂 ) and accept more offers from you.

    1. “So many lovely verses – but it mentions either numbers, or colours, or dining or one of the many images we’ve already done. ”
      .
      (“. . .they mention. . .” ?)
      .
      An interesting quandary re colour: when is a colour not a colour? And if a colour has been named after a thing do we take the word (when used clearly in context not as a colour but as a thing) as intended or do we avoid it because the word does double duty as a colour word?
      .
      Some of the verse offers name a colour (after Sanjuktaa’s “white”) & I agree such verses would be best avoided. It’s the other instance, where a certain word may mean a colour in another context but clearly not in the context it’s used in, that interests me.
      .
      Where is the line drawn between care not to repeat or draw attention back to earlier verses and what JEC tagged as “forensic”?
      .
      I don’t know the answer . . . am musing. . . it’s an interesting quandary in the light of the verse where a colour is not a colour but a collective thing of blossoming trees. These particular spring blossoms have a traditional connection with brides (at least in English-speaking countries) so I’m attracted by the subtle link to Carmen’s verse.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. ps. In case I’m seeming too mysterious 🙂 . . . here’s the verse I have in mind & have been musing about:
        .
        the orange grove
        filling with twilight
        and blossom scent
        .
        – Paul McNeil
        .
        – Lorin

        1. the orange grove
          filling with twilight
          and blossom scent
          .

          Paul is talking about an orange grove and not talking about the colour*orange*
          So it doesn’t /shouldn’t clash with Sanjuktaa’s white hat… I suppose.

          .

          Yes, to that typo :((

          1. Kala/Lorin,

            I’m a bit confused…Sanjuktaa to talked about white hat and not the color white. Does it mean we can use color if meant for a different context other than a hat?
            I don’t say you shouldn’t consider Paul’s verse but my learning mind wants to understand these nuances from you

          2. Hi Shrinivasa,
            Even though black & white aren’t colours in the strict sense, we include them along with blue, yellow, red, purple & all the rest. So after a white hat in a short renku we avoid mentioning a ‘blue sky’/’green leaf’/’black cat’ etc. White shows us the colour of the hat.
            .
            What I was musing on, after Kala seemed to indicate that all of the verses seemed to mention “either numbers, or colours, or dining or one of the many images we’ve already done ” was ‘orange grove’ in Paul’s verse. It clearly does not show a grove of orange-coloured trees! 🙂
            .
            It shows a grove of trees, ‘orange trees’ . . . fruit trees . . .they are not the colour orange! They are evergreens. It is spring and the trees are blossoming, the fragrance is superb and come next late-autumn to winter the oranges (fruit!) will be ripe for picking.
            .
            I hope this helps clear things up for you. Sorry that it got confusing.
            .
            – Lorin

    1. Please change my offering to:

      with midday’s sun
      the hyacinth bed blooms
      bold and fragrant

  11. orange tulips
    in the evening breeze
    show their long necks
    ***
    as the dark creeps in
    with two leaves either side
    a jasmine blooms

  12. in the twilight
    more and more blue
    a field of daisies
    **************************
    unkempt
    a honeysuckle at the window
    of the old ruin

  13. cherry petals
    swirl in the breeze
    by the park bench
    *
    dogwood blossoms
    and the bright green
    of its new leaves
    *

  14. sorry I didn’t space out my verses, so if it matters:
    ********************************
    jasmine fills
    the evening with
    its bittersweet perfume
    *************
    first honey bees
    faintly buzzing round
    the old dogwood tree
    ************
    a modest home
    transformed by profuse
    azalea blooms

      1. and I just noticed…’silk’ in Sanjuktaa’s verse
        ****
        final version:

        ever so slowly
        the camellia unfurls
        her petals

        1. Kyu – the rapid close – verse 7 & 8.

          Sally, rapid close – some quick brisk movement might sit better in this slot.

  15. childhood memories
    as the scent of orange blossoms
    crosses the road

    ***
    ***

    the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent

  16. correction to my first offering
    .
    in our twilight years
    the scent of jasmine
    awakens memories

    1. Giri,
      That *our* and your whole L 1 is taking me back to the love verses and it sounds like a continuation of love.
      Maybe a full nature would sit better here?

  17. congratulations Carmen
    *********************
    jasmine fills
    the evening with its
    bittersweet perfume

    first honey bee
    faintly buzzing round
    an old dogwood tree

    a modest home
    transformed by profuse
    azalea blooms

  18. Offerings 2 & 3:
    .
    our high school reunion
    leads to marriage / Carmen
    .
    .
    in the garden bed
    looking so demure
    sweet-scented Daphne
    .
    bright crocuses
    push their heads up
    into a new season

  19. Dear Kala, thank you for the mention of my verse. It’s much appreciated. 🙂 Carmen made a great link and leap for our reiki. Congratulations, Carmen!
    .
    .
    our high school reunion
    leads to marriage / Carmen
    .
    swallowtails sip
    fragrant lilac nectar
    this fine day
    .
    ***Foreseeing that “sipping nectar” is too similar to drinking champagne, I have an alternative version which I might as well present now:
    .
    swallowtails sup
    on fragrant lilac nectar
    this fine day

    1. Thanks, Mary! For those who do not know, this verse is true to life. I met my former classmate two days after returning from a trip to Japan (to decide if I should return to live in Japan or continue in my hometown in the U.S.). At the banquet, we found out that we lived four blocks away. I stopped worrying about which country I should live in because it became apparent that I was in the right place at the right time. Six months later we got married (in 2016).

      1. What a lovely connect to your verse, Carmen.
        Thanks for so graciously accepting the changes in your verse.
        _()_

  20. Thanks to all of you who have commented and to Lorin for this suggestion. Carmen, please do get back if you are ok with this change. _()_
    .
    .
    John, can you please make this change to Carmen’s verse (# 6)

    .
    So this is what we have before us:
    .
    Rasika renku:
    .
    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine / lorin
    .
    a white silk hat left
    on the hat stand / sanjuktaa
    .
    an ermine
    dashes out from under
    a granite boulder / karen
    .
    that rhythmic swish
    of water on pebbles / marion
    .
    how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon
    .
    our high school reunion
    leads to marriage / carmen

    .

  21. Congratulations Carmen, I love your verse!

    Wow Kala, I agree how hard it must be to choose a verse…phew there were some good ones for this slot!

    Whichever way this verse plays out I’m sure it will be the best for this rasika renku…

    Really enjoying this trip Kala, especially the comments between the verses, so informative… thank you all!

    B

  22. Congratulations, Carmen. 🙂
    .
    Having read through all of the verse offers for this spot and tried to pick my own favourite, I understand how difficult a choice it must’ve been for Kala. (I ended up with two, then one, of the ku Kala mentions, above) Different sabaki will select different ku, as we know. 🙂
    .
    Since I believe that not all verses in a renku should be ‘loud’ verses and we’ve had some flashy ones, I find Carmen’s verse nicely fitting in its quiet, straightforward tone, but I have the same query about the number 50 (& the ‘ thirty’ in Giri’s verse, had it been chosen) as Polona has.
    I know the rule that in a longer renku (20 or more verses) a number can occur more than once as long as it’s a higher number than the previous, but would balk at the repetition in a short renku even if there wasn’t a number in the hokku, as is the case here.
    .
    Since I believe Carmen is referring to a ‘school class/ university class’ reunion’, the verse could be tweaked easily enough to avoid the number taking us back to the hokku, how about this, Kala?
    .
    our class reunion
    leads to marriage / carmen

    .
    (‘class reunion’ , I think, would also remove any ambiguity regarding what sort of reunion it is)
    .
    – Lorin

  23. thanks, kala, for another mention. 🙂
    yes, i actually wondered if breakfast might be too close to the setting of the hokku. however, to me the morning meal (though all too often skipped) is a much more intimate affair and there’s definitely no alcohol involved. still, i agree with the decision.
    .
    i like carmen,s verse and what it does in relation to the previous verses.
    however, i’m confused. there is a number (eight) in the hokku. isn’t using another number a very obvious case of repetition?

    1. Ha! Polona,

      Of course … you are right!
      I’ve been so blind to Carmen’s verse and how it folded in the love verses that I missed the number … totally.
      It’s tough to be a sabaki and yes, I’ve contradicted myself here :((
      .
      Having admitted that, I would add this loose *give and take* as another feature of Rasika and still, to be consciously aware about variety and to avoid repetition.
      .
      Everything is a learning process and this trip at THF has taught me a lot.
      .
      But we’ll continue with this verse and yes, let it be a reminder (surely to me) of how easily we can all slip – all this gives renku *life* and *being*, which teaches us a lot about life.
      .
      .

      1. Sorry, I was thinking & posting before I saw your comment here, Kala.
        I think the issue can be easily addressed & fixed.
        .
        Lorin

        1. Yes, Lorin.
          Your suggestion is good.
          Thanks :))
          I was reading through my reply to Polona and I’m surprised I’ve given a decent reply since it was in the middle of my sleep and night :))
          Around 3 am I think!!
          ^_^

          1. Thanks, Kala. 🙂
            .
            . . . and btw, ‘marriage’ is a very nice, smooth lead-in to a spring flower verse, I think. Looking forward to all of the verse offers for the ‘spring flower’ spot!
            .
            – Lorin

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