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The Renku Sessions: Rendezvous – Week 18


Hello Everyone,

It is been 25 days now since George Floyd was killed here in America and protests continue still around the world.

When we started this renku 18 weeks ago there were wild fires in Australia. For the past several months many of us have been under shelter-in-place orders due the corona virus pandemic. A large number of people have lost their jobs, and economies around the world have been severely affected.

I don’t know if it is in spite of or because of these events, as a group you have given your time and attention to creating a work of art—this renku. In the beginning I chose a word from the first verse so that we would have a temporary handle to refer to it. “Rendezvous” was a convenient, yet interesting word. Over time I have grown more and more fond of it. And as we come to the end and reflect on what we have been through and what we have made collectively, I am convinced that “rendezvous” with its association with the phrase “rendezvous with destiny” is my choice as a title for this renku. Its creation depended on the participation of all of you coming together, supporting each other, playing off one another, and cheering for the chosen verse. But before making a final choice, I’d like to hear from you. Do you agree with this choice or do you see something that would work better?

I would also like to address the most controversial move I made in the process of writing this renku: I am speaking of choosing Lorin’s verse and modifying it. It took me back to my own feelings regarding having my verse messed with when I was beginning to write renku. I believe every Westerner goes through this feeling of dismay when they first experience having their verse tampered with. Even in groups sitting down and writing together, even with the sabaki asking permission to modify a verse, the feeling of loss occurs; there’s a feeling that the verse is no longer yours. Because, in a way, it isn’t—it has become the group’s just as the final poem is the group’s. Renku is a communal poem belonging to everybody who participated—even those who didn’t get an actual verse. This process comes from the East where group values outweigh individual values, but it is being practiced here in the West or, more broadly at THF, the world. In the West the individual is valued more than the group. Admittedly, this is a very broad generalization, but I’ve seen it play out in many different circumstances. This inherent difference in values means that every Westerner when they first come to writing renku will experience this sense of hurt and disappointment. Another example of this difference is in Chinese brush painting. If the Chinese master adds to your painting to demonstrate a stroke or improve a spot on the painting, Easterners value the painting more for it has the touch of the master on it. Westerners have an entirely different reaction. They feel it is no longer theirs; someone else has worked on it and taken away its unique individual quality. It’s a matter of what we value. And what we have come to expect. I have written renku in Japan with masters of the form. They feel free not only to modify verses, but to change who wrote the verse to honor someone who was present but who was not a good verse writer. Their focus is on the quality of the poem while honoring the group.

Now I know Lorin is not new to writing renku. But I am new to writing renku on-line, and I failed to recognize the limitations of on-line writing. It was hard to seek permission for the modification I was striving for before I did it. I really loved Lorin’s verse and in my vision of the renku it fit so perfectly as the sixteenth verse I rushed ahead hoping for acceptance; in doing so I forget my own early experiences. I am happy that Lorin was willing to rewrite her verse and that the renku has benefitted from her work.


So we have the final verse to choose today. Here are the verses that I considered:


the lucky velella
catching the true wind


by-the-wind sailors
some heading east, others west                Alison Woolpert


sailing away on
the balmy breeze


somewhere among the leaves
lies an artichoke’s heart                              Michael Henry Lee


my baby left breathless
by a spinning pinwheel


while planting beans
he asks me about giants


so many colours
in that stream of bubbles!


a handful of sea glass
to adorn my porch window                            Marion Clarke


clothespins of every colour
tether sheets to the line                                   Liz Ann Winkler


a warm breeze
turns the page


days long enough to weigh the pros
with the pros


the dancing scents
of strawberry-rhubarb pavlova


the pond springs back to life
in a shimmer of fantails                                    Laurie Greer


fine abalone shells
fill the beachcombers’ sacks


seated in serenity
the snow-capped mountains


namaste namaste
all the lingering day


each face a reflection
in a drift of soap bubbles                                     Lorin Ford


a frog’s new soliloquy
on the defunct pedestal                                       Wendy C. Bialek


letting the breeze
finish my book                                                    Kristen Lindquist


t-shirt weather when
the air fills with laughter                                      Maxianne Berger


unfolding washi parasols
as the warm rain falls


a hina doll keyring
placed in everyone’s pocket                                  Carol Jones


between passing clouds
a moment’s warmth touches my face


the lure of a calm sea
at sunrise                                                               Judt Shrode


free from slugs, strawberries
growing wild in the shade-house                            Kanjini Devi


pink confetti
on the young grass                               Margherita Ptericcione


aroma of spring —
all through his pocket                                  Radhamani Sarma


beachcombers wave
at swooping hang gliders                                    Clysta Seney


breathing in
that first warm day                                     Debbie Scheving


her prom dress matches
her pale pink lips                                         Nancy Brady


I carry in a purse
a clover                                                         Guliz


steering a homemade sailboat
reading the calligraphy of clouds


kites skating figure
eights across the sky                                      Dan Campbell


at the end of the tunnel
there are mountains still to climb


smiling mountains reappear
at the end of the tunnel                            Barbara A. Taylor


how to get a leg up
in this tadpole world…?                             Autumn Noelle Hall


but my heart is riding
on the wings of a skylark                             Pauline O’Carolan


six degrees of separation
become five                                                              Jonathan Alderfer


standing up
barefooted                                                               Kiti Saarinen


nibbling candyfloss together
at the spring fair                                                       Mark Powderhill


shall we follow the petals
along the river?                                                         Marilyn Potter



And the final choices are:


the lucky velella
catching the true wind                                             Alison Woolpert


I like the plucky, optimistic feeling of this verse. The buoyant velella velella, a small jellyfish that rides the open sea in large groups is being blown by the “true wind.” It is a delightful and hopeful image. Velella velella are the embodiment of a “lightness of being” as are cherry blossoms.


a warm breeze
turns the page                                                         Laurie Greer


This lovely verse very quietly offers us an ending and a beginning. The link is to the book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” hinted at in the previous verse.


namaste namaste
all the lingering day                                                 Lorin Ford


Here is a profound thought for all of us as we depart this renku. I find it very moving. I feel the link is by “scent,” that is, the two verses are linked by tone, mood, and sensibility.


a hina doll keyring
placed in everyone’s pocket                                    Carol Jones


I really like the idea of the hina doll festival—a festival for little girls as an ending to this renku. The whole phrase “lightness/of being/a cherry blossom” makes one think of a doll or a little girl.


pink confetti
on the young grass                               Margherita Ptericcione


Beautiful, delicate image—the confetti is on the ground so the party is over—lovely ending. The confetti (or petals) links to the cherry blossom so very nicely.


For the final verse, I am going to choose Alison’s. But I invite you to read the renku through with each of these verses as the last verse, and I believe you will find each perfect in its own way.


And here is our renku:




rendezvous —
snowshoes piled high
outside the sauna                              Sally Biggar

an antiphonal greeting
of one wolf to the others                  Mary Kendall

the jury still out
on gray
vs grey                                               Laurie Greer

a little half-
and-half in my tea                              M. R. Defibaugh

scarecrows and
moons are the best
listeners                                              Dan Campbell

at the autumn gates
who can hear me now                         Wendy C. Bialek

an opened sesame
seed packet
from India                                           Betty Shropshire

and as if by magic
they fall in love                                    Marion Clarke

like charmed quarks
their relationship
thrives on give and take                       Clysta Seney

a boomerang
when skillfully thrown returns              Kanjini Devi

the seniors’ tour group
by an emu                                              Judt Shrode

“this way
to the performing seals”                        Pauline O’Carolan

another round of
sumer is icumen in
for the solstice moon                             Autumn Noelle Hall

a luna moth
revisits my screen door                           Jonathan Alderfer

by the mosaic
mask of Tezcatlipoca                              Robert Kingston

through haze that balloon girl
on the West Bank wall                            Lorin Ford

the lightness
of being
a cherry blossom                                     Carmen Sterba

the lucky velella
catching the true wind                             Alison Woolpert


We have no more verses. At this time I would like to invite you to comment on my choice of a title for the renku and/or offer your ideas for the title. Also please feel free to comment on the renku, as a whole, and on your experience. Please enter your thoughts in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing them until midnight on Tuesday, June 23 (California time zone). On Thursday, June 25, there will be a new posting containing the completed renku, as well as news from John about what is next.  It will be our final meeting.

Please stay safe and healthy. Do take all precautions.

As always, a thank you to John for his help in posting this.

I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you; I especially appreciate the good will and kindness you have shown. I have been very glad for your voices and your company.



This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Congratulations, Alison, so very well done. Your verse took me on a little learning voyage.
    Thank you, Patricia, for all the effort you have put into the renku. Considering the complexity of renku construction, it seems to me that serving as sabaki would be a daunting task. I appreciated all your comments and explanations, and was certainly honored to have a verse included.
    The renku was a life saver for me, especially during the early days of the pandemic, before I had developed any coping strategies. The finished poem feels just right to me, as does the title ‘Rendezvous.’
    Thanks to all participants.
    As always, hoping the next renku is coming soon.

  2. the lucky velella
    catching the true wind
    Alison Woolpert
    Congratulations, Alison–a wonderful choice of a verse to “end” on, in part because it allows for multiple interpretations. On the surface (pun intended), this verse is light and airy and suggests a continuing journey. But for those who are aware of what is happening with our Earth’s sea life, there is a more sinister meaning lurking beneath the surface, which is that as other forms of sea life are driven to extinction by global warming, jellyfish are taking over in ever-greater numbers. This notion then puts a spin on the concluding “out to sea-ness,” in terms of being in over our heads when it comes to the climate crisis. The journey still continues, at least for the lucky jellyfish; but what of other perhaps less-than-lucky life, including us?
    A deep Head-to-Keyboard bow to Patricia for expertly guiding us through this wild ride of a renku IN THE MIDST of society’s own wild ride. To keep one’s cool AND one’s creativity in the face of unprecedented challenging circumstances is beyond admirable–it’s awe-inspiring! You have set such a wonderful example while also producing an outstanding poetic work. I so appreciate all the time you took to illustrate and elaborate upon your decision-making process; the learning opportunity afforded to all of us as a result has been invaluable. Most importantly, perhaps, you have demonstrated flexibility, a skill well worth emulating.
    Thank you for including so many of my verses among your possibilities, and even more so for including one in the final poem. I am truly honored. I personally love Rendezvous as our title, not only because of the way it works with renku itself, but because it holds the possibility of a future gathering, too. A nice thought to begin AND end on!
    Best wishes for continued health, safety and creativity to Patricia and to all who joined in to make this a memorable renku journey. May we rendezvous again in some future poem!

  3. I always appreciate you, Patricia. I first met you at a haiku conference in Long Beach, California in 2001. The last time I saw you we were among the book tables at Haiku North America Santa Fe in 2017.
    I do think Rendezvous was more challenging than most renku. I like how you take the time to display quite a few verses before you make your choice and also explain why you chose the last verse.
    John, thanks for always keeping things together!

  4. I have refrained from weighing in on a preference for a title for our completed renku because I am quite biased. Rendezvous is taken from my verse chosen for the hokku, so I am particularly partial to it. As the weeks passed, and the world situation became increasingly grave, it seemed a more and more appropriate title. Checking in on the progress of the renku was visiting an oasis of creativity in the midst of chaos and sorrow. I would of course feel honored if Rendezvous is the title everyone agrees upon.


    Thank you Patricia for being our sabiki, and to everyone who participated so enthusiastically. I learned so much, and eagerly look forward to participating in the next renku.

  5. Congrats Alison, what a beautiful verse.
    Patricia, thank you for all your guidance and encouragement, it was a pleasure to participate. Thank you to all the poets, looking forward to seeing everyone at the next renku.

  6. Congratulations, Alison, on your fine ageku. I love the sound of “lucky velella” and the fact that we ended up out at sea!
    Thank you, Patricia, for leading this renku — your ability to remain calm in the face of a storm is admirable. I think Rendevous is a perfect title for our renku. I’m delighted I had a few in the running for the ageku as I haven’t been participating as much as I would have liked. Thank you.
    Thanks also to everyone who joined in and made the ride so interesting.
    Roll on the next renku!

  7. This was an interesting experience for me. I have enjoyed participating and watching the renku grow. Thanks Patricia for all your hard work going through so many haiku these past weeks.

    Happy Solstice to one and all.

  8. Hi Everyone

    I thought Alison’s verse was delightful. I liked ending with the sea, which to me is a symbol of beauty and continuity, no matter what is happening on land.

    For myself, the renku has been a much anticipated almost daily ritual, so important as I have struggled with the aftermath of Cobargo’s bushfire, the death of my mother in March, and Covid-19 turning our already upside down world here even more upside down. Writing the verses, having quite a few appreciated and my verse selected for inclusion, have been rays of light in the darkness.

    I like the sometimes obscure references in verses, especially as I seem to write less sophisticated verses myself. As others have said, it opens one’s mind. Quarks and velellas are somethings I now know about, for example. We do have the luxury of the time to explore the worlds the other poets expose to us doing our renku online.

    I feel I need to say that some of the unkind words exchanged between poets on a couple of occasions detracted from the overall positive experience.

    Thank you for leading us through the renku, Patricia. Every sabaki is different and that itself is fascinating. I have learnt some very interesting new things from you. The Eastern/Western divide was of particular relevance to our way of approaching renku.

    I am so looking forward to our next rendevous here (‘Rendevous’ is an excellent title). I wish all poets health and peace, especially those writing from countries where the virus is very prevalent.


  9. Congrats to Alison, Patricia, John, and all others who have contributed to this renku and to making it an enjoyable experience. I feel lucky to be a part of this process, let alone to have a verse included alongside so much talent.
    Reading back through the verses, I can’t find a more appropriate title, although “The Lucky Velella” or “Balloon girl” wouldn’t be horrible either. What stands out to me is how returns, another round, and revisits speaks to everyone’s desire to return to normalcy, while the balloon, cherry blossom, and velella balance the heaviness of these times and highlight our desire to escape. It’s interesting how these themes develop through links without being forced in any one direction. The multicultural aspect of these verses also mirrors the global impact of coronavirus and the diversity among us. Central America, the Middle East, India, and Australia are all represented in these lines.
    I think the unfamiliarity of some of these terms is appropriate, given that it’s an online renku with only one verse being chosen per week. It’s about learning renku, but why not learn some other things along the way? Nifty research can be considered intelligent and should be rewarded. Although the balloon-cherry blossom link is perhaps my favorite, there lies the only snag hit in my read-throughs, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. At first, “through haze” felt like a break as well as a link to the screen door two verses prior. I prefer the original—I use that term lightly here—creative use of balloon as a kigo. I mean no disrespect, of course, and I am reading “through haze that balloon girl” without pausing now.
    Thanks again to all who made this renku experience another great one! I’m looking forward to working with many of you for the third time in the next session, whenever that happens!
    Since this was easily missed in last week’s comments: Not having experienced in-person renku, I’ve recently had thoughts of organizing an online renku session via Zoom or Google Meet, etc. that could be recorded. IF a few knowledgeable participants were present to keep everyone, including me, pointed in the right direction, that might be an idea that catches wind. I know John proposed connecting some of us via email at the end of the last renku, so maybe that’s already going on!

    1. Hi, M.R. . . . I appreciate your thoughts:

      “Although the balloon-cherry blossom link is perhaps my favorite, there lies the only snag hit in my read-throughs, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. At first, “through haze” felt like a break as well as a link to the screen door two verses prior. I prefer the original—I use that term lightly here—creative use of balloon as a kigo. I mean no disrespect, of course, and I am reading “through haze that balloon girl” without pausing now.”

      I agree with you that there’s an awkward bump in the renku there. But let’s be clear: the original verse I submitted (a 3-liner ) was a non-seasonal verse :
      that balloon girl
      on the West Bank wall
      still flying
      even if readers need to get through L2 to realise that “balloon” is not a kigo. It was written as a candidate to follow your moth verse. When the 3rd line is snipped off and the first 2 lines are placed after Robert’s verse:
      by the mosaic
      mask of Tezcatlipoca Robert Kingston

      that balloon girl
      on the West Bank wall Lorin Ford
      there are two problems :
      (a) there’s an unfortunate ‘run-on’ that makes for a distracting connection: the balloon girl seems to be hypnotised by Robert’s ancient mask! A plot for one of those weirdo ‘supernatural’ films. ( I can almost hear JEC’s laughter) There is unintentional absurdity.
      (b) the balloon girl, intended, in context, to identify a particular item of ‘street art’ (and we had not had the topic ‘art’ or ‘visual art’) becomes instead a ‘real’ girl holding or selling ‘balloons’ ON the wall. . . another absurdity While such a thing could happen on the Great Wall of China (it’s wide enough to have food stalls, balloon sellers etc.) to try to have it happen ON the West Bank wall is absurd. The gaining of a kigo at the expense of losing sense just doesn’t work.
      I agree with you that the verse is awkward and I would not have written or submitted it so, but it is the best I could come up with under the circumstances, a compromise.

      1. Thanks, Lorin. I do appreciate your contributions to this renku and haiku in general, so my disagreement is meant for discussion instead of criticism. The shortening of your verse was bolder than the compromise, but the beauty in the final two verses made it all worthwhile.
        I think the idea of the girl being hypnotized is an interesting one since there is still some nuance in the word. She could have gone to a museum and been fascinated by a mask she saw without being in a supernatural trance. Nothing absurd about that version of hypnosis, at least. We all experience that, especially when inspired enough to write a haiku about something.
        There could be a girl with balloons that made someone just think about “that balloon girl” too, which is a stretch, you’re right, but maybe using it as a kigo here could imply this level of realism. It could also just be a metaphor that might not be an accepted practice or qualify it as a kigo.
        That said, I read it smoothly now, and get that looking through the haze is like looking through a mask, adding a link. I’m good with moving on from the balloon girl to the next renku. This one was certainly a success even if the banter was briefly on the edge. No one here deserves to feel attacked or disrespected, so that’s something we all should remember moving forward.

        1. Thank you, M. F. I do appreciate your musings and alternative interpretations and welcome discussion such as yours. Also, I find various interpretations/ ways of looking at verses interesting in general.
          Is linking by direct verbal continuation, as in the completion of a sentence . . . (which is what we’d have without my admittedly clumsy “through haze”) . . . a legitimate method of linking, though? Perhaps it is, but I’ve not come across that idea before. ‘Haze’ at least is a readily searchable spring kigo and its use guides towards Banksy’s image on the wall.
          (I certainly agree with your closing sentence: “No one here deserves to feel attacked or disrespected, so that’s something we all should remember moving forward.” )

  10. Thank you, Patricia, for your guidance throughout this trip. So many verses to read and make a decision! When I wrote with John Carley, I think we were permitted to offer 3 verses only.

    I have participated in writing renku for 13 years, and have always found, like Princess K, the use of too many obscure words where one has to use Google for understanding and/or clarity, is a great hindrance to the readability and flow of the poem. But, if we were at the table creating a link/shift poem, these abstractions/distractions would not happen, though I suppose these days you would all have your smart phones. I do not have this. Google links and blah blahs make one appear more intelligent than perhaps they really are. On the other hand, suppose they are informative. I think I am too much a traditionalist, and of course must learn to shift with the times.

    Thank you for liking some of my verses. Now I know about the jelly fish, it does seem to be an appropriate ageku. Lovely in its lightness. Is there any relatedness to this verse and the hokku?
    Is that necessary, in your opinion?

    I like Rendevous as title.

    Congratulations to all for their contributions. I look forward to doing another renku.

    Peace and Love

    1. Barbara–I am so happy for your participation. I am surprised at the three verse limit that you mention. Were you writing with Carley on-line or in person?
      All of my experience in writing renku up to now has been writing with a group in person. And in that environment I have found that encouraging people to write more is very helpful to the writers by stoking their creative imaginations and thus, to the final poem. I am not sure that this works in the same way on-line since all the writers are physically separated and a great deal of time elapses between one verse and the next.
      Regarding references in the verses that have to be looked up: it certainly should be a consideration in the verse choice. However, this forum invites writers from around the world and that is pretty fascinating–the different perspectives they bring, the phenomena they’re familiar with, the verbal expressions common in their lexicon, and even the spelling differences. On the one hand it is a challenge to keep up with; on the other, it can often be invigorating.
      I don’t think the final verse has a link back to the hokku. If there is, it would be the velella velella; these jellyfish gather in huge collections on the open sea. This might be considered a nod to “rendezvous.”
      Thank you, for your thoughtful response to the process. I’m glad to have gotten to read your verses here.

      1. Patricia, since Barbara hasn’t yet replied:
        “Were you writing with Carley on-line or in person?” – Patricia

        Online, since JEC was in England. Also, both Barbara and I both wrote with Eiko Yachimoto (introduced to us by John) also located in England I think, and the degachi verse offers were likewise limited.
        It was a different way of working, though, more intimate, more relevant discussion, always a limited number of participants and verses chosen by a mixture of degachi and hizaokuri. It’s much harder , in my view, for sabaki to work with a limitless group such as is usual for the THF renku and which you have recently experienced.

  11. I’m humbled to have my verse between the final choices , and I appreciated such a kind comment! In a dramatic moment like the one we all experienced, even in Italy we were hit hard, the presence of such a lively group to get involved in was a great help. I found the whole trip very stimulating and I find the result of our collaboration very nice. The title “Rendezvous” was a happy intuition of Patricia and as such I still see it today-
    I apologize for my elementary English, but between google and me only this we can produce.

  12. Dear Patricia,
    kudos to you for all your diligence and insightful comments and guidance throughout this marvelous renku journey.
    As far as the choice of the word, Rendezvous- yes very apt for a select gathering avidly interested in contributing to this. Amidst the painful news killing/or inspire of raging wildfire, writing as a passion goes on. In your interesting analysis renku verse – group or individualized concern- eastern or western attitude, spring new ideas for readers. Thank you for selecting mine . It is an interesting,educative process
    Special Thanks to Alison for I learnt a new word ‘velalla ‘ added to my learning dictionary .

  13. .
    Congratulations Alison for sending us off with your lovely ageku, and to all poets who participated in this renku – thank you. Thank you to Patricia for your patience and guidance throughout the process.
    There is one comment that I have regarding the final poem – and this is a personal opinion, not a criticism of anyone’s verse – there are 5 out of 18 verses that contain obscure (to me) language, in other words, terms that I am not familiar with, and that I have to look up in order to understand the verse. In my casual reading experience a poem with this many obscure references would really have to pique my interest in order for me to spend the amount of time necessary to enjoy the poem.
    Looking forward to “seeing” everyone at the next renku.

    1. Your point, Princess K, is well taken. I will admit, I learned many new things myself along the way Thanks you so much for participating–I think we all enjoyed your clever wit.

  14. I just found this site after reading about renku in an article by William J. Higginson. I didn’t know what a renku was and that search led me to all of the talented people here. I am in awe and think that Patricia has guided all of you into creating something so beautiful it takes my breath away. I have loved reading everyone’s contributions and love the title, “Rendevous.”

    Where should a newbie start to learn, besides this amazing weekly renku site? I ordered The Haiku Handbook and the Renku Reckoner and would appreciate any other recommendations.

    Thank you so much for the beauty of your art and collaboration during these harrowing and divisive times. I think you are all so gifted and look forward to future renkus!

    1. Hi Mona
      You’ve made a great start with those two book. Personally, I have found reading a wide variety of this poetry form in books (and there is plenty to be had) and on-line is of immense value.
      One site could be of benefit, you may have already been there reading the sessions ‘graceguts’
      there’s a lot to view in there, as there is in many other sites.
      All the very best with your endeavours to learn this genre.
      Look forward to seeing your verses in the next session. Don’t be shy, more the merrier.
      Be warned, it is addictive 🙂

      1. Thank you so much, Carol, for your kind words and advice!! I will check out “graceguts” immediately!

  15. Thanks, Patricia, for all your hard work leading us through this renku.
    Rendezvous seems a fitting title. Well done everyone.

  16. First of all, congratulations to Alison for a perfect ending to this wild renku ride. I was hoping something water related would come up before we finished. I’ve been impressed from the start with everyone’s creative images. Thinking often “how did they think of that one?!”
    Thank you, Patricia, for leading us. This was my second renku and I am appreciative of all that was learned here. When I read linked verses I will have more understanding now. Your comments today re the group vs the individual mindset were very special. I hope we can do this again, after you take a much earned break!
    Re the title, I’m for keeping Rendezvous.
    It seemed fitting from the start.
    Thank you everyone! It’s been a positive experience during stressful and unexpected times.

  17. ‘Rendezvous’ has seemed to me to be the perfect title all along. 🙂
    Thank you truly, Patricia, for volunteering as sabaki to guide all of us, many of whom would’ve been complete strangers to you, through a 19-week, on-line renku . . . no easy task, it seems to me, and an endurance test for anyone, very experienced or not.
    Hearty congratulations to you. You certainly deserve a round of loud applause.
    A shout-out to Betty S. . . . I hope all is as well as it can be with you. Contact me if you like, via my email address in the THF Registry.
    And a deep thank-you to to those kind souls who were supportive when I found myself (on more than one occasion) subject to a particularly snide form of verbal abuse, the likes of which I have never seen and which I hope never to see again at THF.

  18. Congratulations, Alison. Your ageku has shown me some new things. 🙂
    Though I’ve been familiar with some kinds of jellyfish (stingers and non-stingers) since childhood, I’d not seen nor heard of ‘vellela’/ ‘by-the-wind-sailor’ .
    Also, I suspect you might be a knowledgeable sailor: you’ve led me to find out the difference between ‘true wind’ and ‘apparent wind’. ‘True wind’, in context of the poem, seems to carry a resonance beyond its literal meaning.
    Somehow, I like very much that that the final verse of our renku is set out at sea.

    1. I do have one query, though. Last week, Patricia, you asked specifically for a spring ageku. As far as I’m able to tell, the velella is listed as a summer kigo (it is ‘summer’ in the Yuk Teikei Haiku Society list, anyway, as ‘jellyfish’ are listed elsewhere as summer kigo.
      Patricia, I understand that the ageku is exempt from many of the restrictions that apply to the other verses, and I do think Alison’s ageku works very well… my only concern is the seeming disparity between what was asked for and what was selected.

      1. Good question, Lorin–jellyfish are subject to currents and tides, and, in general, are designated as summer. But velella velella ride on top of the ocean where the winds have greater influence on their movement. They often appear on northern coasts when strong spring winds wash them ashore. I don’t know if they appear in the southern hemisphere. I do know they are berthed in the middle of the Pacific along the mid-Pacific ridge and their little “sails” are cocked, some to the left and some to the right. This causes some to be driven east and some to be driven west.

        1. Lorin writes: As far as I’m able to tell, the velella is listed as a summer kigo (it is ‘summer’ in the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society list, anyway,
          Lorin–you are right that the Yuki Yeikei Haiku Society list on the web has Velella listed as summer, but in the “San Francisco Bay Area Regional Nature Guide and Saijiki” which they publish, it is identified as spring. Also on the web is a description by the Monterey Bay Aquarium of thousands of velella velella washing ashore. They describe this phenomena as occurring in spring.

      2. Thanks, Patricia. Looks like these fascinating creatures do visit our shores, too. And yes, while I was looking to see if they did, I found other websites, such as this one:
        . . . which helpfully gives the season as ‘late spring’ for Oregon in the USA:

        “The Oregon Coast Aquarium reports the “blue tide” is upon us, as beaches all along the Oregon coast are strewn with an aquamarine layer of jelly-like organisms especially apparent at low tide.

        These are the innumerable bodies of by-the-wind sailors, formally known as Velella velella, and their strandings are a regular, yet fascinating late spring phenomenon in coastal Oregon.”

  19. “Rendezvous “ seems like a perfect title.
    Patricia’s suggestion to read through the Renku substituting in each of the recognized links makes for a wonderful appreciation of the variety of choices and the beauty of them all.

    *Thank you to all for your kind comments. Though I have written renku for some years, I have never written it online. It is a different experience to be sure, and I learned new things and was inspired by all of you!

    Thank you,Patricia, for your thoughtful insights and your ever generous spirit.

    Look forward to writing Renku here again.

    Many thanks.

  20. Thank you, Patricia, for guiding us so well and so openly through this collaborative process. I find the end result fascinating, and have enjoyed seeing each turn from verse to verse.

  21. Dearest Patricia, thank you for all your guidance and inspiration, and for including my strawberry verse in the long list this week.  My first sabaki ~ you have shown true crafts-womanship and deep caring, I will carry with me always.
    Dear fellow poets, thank you for welcoming me in this incredible renku ride!  Your company and many, many verses have kept me buoyant through some of my most challenging weeks.
    Congrats, Alison!  I have learnt a new word, and what a wonderful verse to end this renku with.  Well done, indeed 🙂
    Re title, I actually really like Jonathan’s ‘True Wind Rendezvous’, and I’m also happy with ‘Rendezvous’ 🙏🏾
    au revoir

  22. What a wonderful way to end, a new beginning.
    Just like life, as one candle extinguishes so another is lit.
    I can honestly say I have enjoyed the journey Patricia, and I thank you for your wisdom to the end.
    Alison’s ageku is beautiful, the title of rendezvous I believe is fitting, we have come together for what equates to a moment in time. A time, as you mention above, that has been trying for us all, a time when I’m sure people’s moods have swung with what is happening in their personal surrounds.
    Thank you everyone for making it a rollercoaster journey of fun.
    Best regards

  23. another special thank you for Patricia!
    i so much appreciate having the opportunity to be guided by you, with your many years of wisdom and exposure to the Japanese temperament….certain that you have opened many writer’s mind with your emphasis on artistic vision. who could wish for more in a sabaki ? I hope you will consider doing more groups…in the very soon moon. i am already missing you.

  24. congrats to Alison for “catching the true wind” .. and thank you, Patricia, for guiding us there.
    because where I live the common language is French, “rendezvous” is an everyday word for date of appointment, for appointment and related concepts .. rdv in my personal agenda .. (in French, say, “rdv chez le coiffeur”) and because I joined the renku quite late, I believed that “rendezvous” was the name for all renku sessions .. even despite its being the first line of the first link .. to me, the gathering of the poets .. as, in, let’s all meet at the renku and write a collaborative poem .. so yes, it’s a lovely perfect title .. and thank you to all the poets whose company I’ve enjoyed at this rdv ☺

  25. i love the original title, RENDEZVOUS RENKU.
    and i love every verse picked by Patricia to create the final piece.
    this was a great experience for me and my fondness for the form has deepened in understanding a little bit more.


    the lucky Alison Woolpert
    catching the last true wind

    a beautiful end cap for our wonderful RENDEZVOUS RENKU !!!!!

  27. Congratulations Alison, a wonderful verse especially after I looked up velella and found out about by-the-wind-sailors.
    Patricia, thank you for your guidance and obvious deep caring for the renku form. It was a pleasure to participate and, like Dan mentioned, I looked forward to reading everyone’s contributions. I hope that you won’t think it too critical of me to suggest an alternate renku title. “Rendezvous with Destiny” sounded a bit heavy to me and when I searched it, I found it has been used for many book titles, often about politics from Roosevelt to Reagan. I got to thinking about tying the first verse with the last and came up with “True Wind Rendezvous.” Just a thought.

    1. I see that I misread your title suggestion as Rendezvous with Destiny instead of just Rendezvous, which works very nicely. Mea culpa.

  28. The title Rendezvous and Alison’s verse wrap up a selection of events, insights and images that offer me continuing wonder. Congratulations Alison. Sally warmed us up from snow to steam and you leave us light and lucky, each following our own heading across saltwater…all of us half-water creatures changed by our interactions. Patricia I love how I can better see the links and the pure poetry of the final renku thanks to your explication and ability to see the big picture. Your respect to us beginners as well as many accomplished poets shows not just mastery of the form but also a welcoming and deeply caring Weltanschauung. I was completely lost in my first renku seven years ago. This second experience here online was much different. My appreciation to all participants. Part of it is that the process is slowed down so there is time to comprehend, inquire and explain and everyone sees every offering which makes for richer verses. Better together. I feel my true wind is heading me to a future renku!

  29. Congratulations Alison on your beautiful verse and thank you Patricia for your open-mindedness and encouraging us novices to participate. I looked forward each week to reading the contributions from all of the participants.

  30. Congratulations, Alison! I love this verse, and love that the renku ends with a continuing journey–not the end, just a change of venue. I also love learning the word “velella.”

    Patricia, this renku reads beautifully. I’ve always thought of it as Rendezvous, and now that it is complete, that still seems the perfect title. Thank you for all your guidance–and daring!–throughout these weeks. This project made the uncertainties of the world a little easier to face. I already miss having a verse to roll around in my head as I go about the daily stuff! I probably don’t have to say that I’m completely hooked on renku.

    It’s been great getting to know everyone this way, too. Let’s do it again soon!

  31. Congratulations Alison, and well chosen, Patricia, this is a truly beautiful image to end with.
    Thankyou you also for considering one of my verses, as always, appreciated.
    This has been an interesting session, to say the least 🙂 and I’m looking forward to the next one.
    Till we all meet again – da boch chi

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