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The Renku Sessions: Rasika Renku, Week 8

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 – 7th verse

25 renkujin have submitted 54 candidates.

After reading several times, I singled out certain verses.

rings
of purple crocus appear
among patches of snow

kjmunro

Beautiful link to the marriage verse – but the colour *purple* made me take it down, since in Sanjuktaa’s verse we do have the *white* silk hat …

*

under a line of blossom
ballerinas
hurry to class

Lee Nash

My next favourite was Lee’s verse – no lingering over images here and it shows rapid movement but on second thought, I felt this slot would do better without any human presence.

*

The following verse caught my attention too: I like the urgency here in spite of *quiet* in L 1, but we can’t start another verse with *how.*

how quiet
the blare of a violet
in bloom!

Agnes Eva Savich

*

Most of the other verses fell short of one thing or the other.

And it boiled down to just these two verses:

the orange grove
filling with twilight
and blossom scent

Paul MacNeil

bees map the lot
from apple blossoms
to chives

Julie Emerson

I was wavering between these two verses for a long time – both being strong contenders for this slot – but ultimately Paul’s *orange grove* edged in to claim the seat!

the orange grove
filling with twilight
and blossom scent

Paul MacNeil

Ls 2 & 3 seem to be galloping and I see an urgency in the moment with *and* being very nicely placed. The present progressive verb *filling* brings a lot to this verse. The topic is new and though there is much happening, I found music in these lines when I read them aloud. Please note: the *orange* here is more about the fruit and not the colour. Congratulations, Paul – your *twilight* is in and it’s beautiful.

Now we come to our last verse – the ageku:

Ageku means – At last. You can well imagine in a 100-verse renku how frustrated the poets may have felt before they reached the 100th verse – that *at last* seems so correct! John Carley says, “The name implies not just an ending but also the fulfillment of anticipation: ‘at last’. In classical renku the ageku takes the same season as the preceding verse (spring), though in some recent variants it may be any season, or none.”

I remember once when I was on a rokku trip with Eiko Yachimoto as sabaki, she asked us to start thinking of an ageku much before the end, saying the ageku is independent of all the other verses! But please note: it has to combine elements of summary, salutation and augury. Ageku (like the hokku) is also free from the link and shift/leap we were aiming for in all our previous verses.

Ageku is an important verse like the hokku and a special honour. The same poet would not be expected to write both these verses.

The requirements for this slot are:

Short, 2-line verse

Around 11 syllables or sound units

A strong nature verse without human presence and without any seasonal references

Avoid: blossom, colour, number, moon, time of the day, or any other word and image we have already used.

Please don’t begin your verse with an article – we have verses beginning with, *a*, *an* and *the* already.

Most important, the ageku should be an uplifting verse, combining elements of salutation and augury.

The *kyu* section is all about *rapid close* – so don’t linger over images and words in the ageku!

I agree, quite a demanding slot!

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

the orange grove
filling with twilight
and blossom scent / paul

 

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, 27th November. The next posting will be on 30th November, next Thursday morning (Eastern US time). The RASIKA in its entirety will be posted!

I would be interested in hearing how you felt about this journey and whether you would like to try it out with friends or on the net.  Keep a close watch on this space.

Keenly waiting to read your candidates for verse # 8.

In *rasika* spirit and friendship,
Kala Ramesh

This Post Has 75 Comments

  1. Kala, you just said no to bird song, so I need to make a change. One of my offerings (#2) had antiphonal birdsong, so I guess that one is a no go. Here is a substitute offering:
    .
    .
    the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent
    .
    .
    such fresh air and earth
    after the lightning storm

  2. Such lovely offers, but please remember this is a no-season verse.
    birdsongs, twitter all point to *spring* in the Japanese saijiki.

    1. Hi, Kala….I just looked through Gabi Greve’s kigo database for whale song. It list human activities like whale watching or hunting or specific names as kigo. But nothing in regards to song. Any thoughts for writing from the perspective of a whale?

      1. No idea, Betty.
        We need to go deeper into the natural world – we are so cut off …
        Stuck with our comps, TVs and cell phones :((

        1. Yeah, so I feel incredibly lucky to be able to volunteer as a park host/interpretive guide out in the boonies of west Texas. 360° views of mostly dark sky…incredible sunsets and 4000+year old pictographs to ponder in a carved out limestone canyon. ☺

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

    blue jays spread their wings
    for their first morning flight

    1. I know…
      No color!

      here’s the altered version
      .
      he orange grove
      filling with twilight
      and blossom scent
      .
      finches spread their wings
      for their early morning flight

        1. the orange grove
          filling with twilight
          and blossom scent
          .
          finches spread their wings
          and fly into the horizon
          .
          or

          the orange grove
          filling with twilight
          and blossom scent
          .
          finches spread their wings
          give salute to the sky

  4. the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent
    .
    wrens gives salute
    to the morning sky

  5. through mist,
    the outline of an ancient plane
    ***
    each constellation
    takes its place in the sky
    ***
    dawn chorus
    from treetop to treetop
    ***
    ***
    (In the first verse we could have ‘tree’ or ‘oak’ instead of ‘plane’…)

  6. Halley’s Comet
    streaks across the sky
    *
    a star is born
    in a distant galaxy
    *
    Andean condor
    soars above the cliff

  7. A beautiful verse, Paul and Kala.

    .

    where the sky meets the earth
    clouds welcome in tomorrow

    .

  8. Hi, Kala.
    Would you consider this verse instead of my last offering

    *
    stars reflect
    across a silent lake

  9. A wonderful choice, Kala. I loved this verse as soon as I read it. Congrats, Paul!
    .
    the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent
    .
    .
    antiphonal birdsong
    as they rise in flight

    1. It just occurred to me that you might prefer a specific type of bird rather than the anonymous “they” since not all birds sing in an antiphonal manner. If so, then, this change might work:
      .
      antiphonal birdsong
      as wood-wrens rise in flight

  10. soon the crows dissolve
    into the mackerel sky
    *
    carrying her litter the possum
    scampers up the oak
    *
    after the storm
    the trees reach for the sky
    *

  11. the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent

    Paul MacNeil
    .
    Paul, I also liked “the orange grove” from the beginning. You are so right that we all learn as we submit together.

    1. Don’t think ‘anomalies’ is the right word for this position.

      *
      viewing parallels
      within criss-cross branches

  12. Kala Dear,

    I am very pleased at your selection and comments. I am humbled to be in this public debut of your new renku form. — A fine invention. It would be quite quick for renku aficionados to write in person. Perhaps two done at a sitting?

    And please, especial thanks to ALL who have commented on my blossom offering, and kala’s choice of it. We renku players are peers and it is gratifying to be recognized. Renku is a communal art, each stanza is a part of the whole work… and each of us is not wholly an individual. Most of my renku writing has been with a group either in person or on-line that are each part-sabaki, as it were. A democracy which has each verse accepted by all the other players before we progress . Not at all practical in this on-line setup with a sabaki (which is the traditional Japanese way, it must be noted). We who make verse offerings, accepted or not, are all part of the whole. We learn from each other, and enjoy the process as a group. And of course from our hard working, expert _volunteer_ guide.
    – Paul

    1. or perhaps this version:

      warm thermals carry the condor
      higher and higher

      *****

      I realize ‘warm’ is redundant in this version (since thermals are warm air currents), but I prefer the rhythm it creates when read aloud.

  13. Unfortunately I found out of this renku today and I see only last verse left to write 🙁

    *
    when line of ants
    crosses the border

  14. thin clouds
    cast by the wind

    pine needles
    doing their shimmy

    cat whiskers
    caressing the blue

  15. the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent / paul
    .
    sound of silence
    in the air

  16. excellent verse paul congratulations
    *************************
    turtle hatchlings gallop
    pell mell down the beach
    *********************
    releasing the hounds
    not a minute too soon
    ********************
    sounds as if the coyotes
    have found their supper

  17. the orange grove
    filling with twilight
    and blossom scent

    called home for supper
    by dad’s whistle


    1. the orange grove
      filling with twilight
      and blossom scent

      called home for supper
      by dad’s whistle

      1. Hi, Paul,
        Lovely to see you here!
        I remember meeting you in London many years back – I remember the haiku wall you had put up!
        You were the first editor who accepted my haibun for Simply Haiku in 2006.
        Can never forget that.
        _()_

  18. gnarled oysters worry
    sand grains into gems
    *
    outgrowing his house
    hermit crab sidles off
    *
    disturbed octopus
    inks her disapproval

  19. Congratulations, Paul. I love the subtle ‘scent’ linking to Carmen’s verse via ‘marriage’ & the traditional bridal flower, worn on the veil: orange blossoms . . .from a small spray of them to the rush of a whole grove filling the air with that superb scent at twilight. I inhaled deeply when I first read it.
    .

    – Lorin

  20. new stars forming
    in a distant nebula
    .
    or, perhaps, with a proper name (or a combination thereof if appropriate)
    .
    new stars born
    in the Orion Nebula

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