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The Renku Sessions: Rasika Renku, Week 6

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 – 5th verse

21 renkujin have submitted 42 candidates.

Slot # 5 was about *the coming of love*, with just a hint, a suggestion of love. It needed to have a summer seasonal reference too. Love verses are never easy. Surprisingly many offers revolved around dancing and bodies of water.

he slowly unravels
her sari
unhooks her blouse

Giri Ramanathan

I really liked this verse, for it brought in a cultural reference situated in the *Ha* section of the renku, which is for elaboration. But neither the sari nor the type of sari (pochampalli) signifies summer. Of course, we can add *cotton* and add an *and* to L 3 to make it sound like a proper in-between renku verse.

he slowly unravels
her cotton sari
and unhooks her blouse

But again, the focus is more on *love making* rather than *the coming of love*, and also, as Betty Shropshire pointed out, because the waki is about a white silk hat, there is no way this sari verse could be chosen for this slot.

* * *

in glaring sun
her landscaper reads
D. H. Lawrence

Carmen Sterba

I feel this verse is more suited for a longer three-verse love sequence with beginning, middle & end. It is almost too subtle for this trip, which has space for only two love verses.

Mulling over all the candidates that were written for this slot, I now strongly feel that since rasika has only two love verses, we need to jump into the middle of it all on verse 1 itself. With this view in mind, I liked Polona’s late entry, with a surprise twist coming in the end.

I return
from the holiday
no longer a virgin

Polona Oblak

In the end, however, I settled on Brendon’s verse:

how it all began
with a barefoot kiss
behind the bandstand

Brendon Kent

*barefoot* is a lovely seasonal word for summer and we’ve seen it in the candidates offered by kjmunro and Barbara, also.

I find the alliteration effective with the sound of *b* running through the lines – almost linking it to the previous verse through rhythm.

that rhythmic swish
of water on pebbles / marion

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

With such strong leaps the renku does not remain as a mere linear narrative but becomes more like a mosaic, with the images coming together as in a montage.

* * *

Now we move on to the 6th verse:

The 5th verse tells us how it all began – now 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* happen naturally within this framework.

A 2-line love verse of 11 sound units or syllables.
The presence of human beings, using 1st person *we* might work well here.
Avoid images and words that have been used in the verses above.
Please avoid blossoms, for the following verse will be all about them!

* * *

As I mentioned earlier, each new verse that is added recontextualizes the way we understand the previous verse/s. I would like to focus your attention on how a given renku breathes and develops with each verse and how the participants must be open to how each verse can change the way we see the whole.

As much as I previously argued for having the waki begin with ‘Look!’, now, with the love verses coming into the picture, it appears that the word ‘Look!’ needs to go … otherwise it seems as if the protagonist in the love verse is connecting up with the human voice in the wakiku.

Karen – I hope you don’t mind this minor edit to your 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

* * *

Rasika Schema: Revised

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, 13th November. The next posting will be on 16th November, next Thursday morning (Eastern US time) along with the instructions for submitting the 7th verse. Keep a close watch on this space!

Keenly waiting to read your candidates for verse #6.
In renku spirit and friendship,
Kala Ramesh

 

 

This Post Has 76 Comments

  1. sorry to be last minute, Kala… I’ve been out of town

    ***

    ***

    my lasting memory includes
    her grave set between others

    ***

    1. “undo my bra” but
      only to scratch her back
      ***
      what he’d give to smell
      that awful face cream again
      ***
      so many years his loudest
      farts don’t wake her

  2. how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon
    .
    .
    walking arm in arm on
    thousands of daily strolls
    .
    .
    even now a shiver
    as you whisper in my ear
    .
    .
    your deep grey eyes
    still make my heart flutter

  3. even now
    walking everywhere hand in hand
    ***
    you find the word down,
    I find the word across
    ***
    slipping through a crowd of couples,
    I hear our song

  4. our grandson’s smile
    reflected in his eyes
    .
    thirty years
    and we were still strangers
    .
    oolong tea for him
    chamomile for me

  5. taking our honeymoon
    twenty years later
    *
    not knowing it was their last dance
    golden anniversary

  6. Just copy pasting what I’m looking for in this love verse – which we call the *end* of love verses.
    .
    The 5th verse tells us how it all began – now 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* happen naturally within this framework.

  7. Dear Kala,
    How beautifully each verse hangs on to the other without being repetitious or superfluous!
    Learning how the haiku world works:)
    Thanks for giving me this opportunity to learn this beautiful art form.

    1. Dear Giri,

      Thank you so much for your offers.
      Even without knowing much about these genres I appreciate the way you’ve participated …
      Waiting to read your candidate/s for slot # 6 :))
      _k

  8. lifesaver for ring
    40 years ago

    after the mastectomy
    her chest still her


    her rings on the counter
    washing auntie’s dishes

  9. how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon
    *
    keeping secret
    our baby’s name

  10. how much fonder in death
    must hearts in absence be
    ********************
    on her death bed still
    getting the last word
    *****************
    in the course of human events
    married for half of them

  11. John,
    When you get the time, please make these changes to this renku:

    .
    So it will be:
    .

    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
    .

    **

    Marion,
    I’ve changed your article *the* into *that* for we had 3 verses beginning with articles. . . and that sets a monotony. Variety and freshness is essential in renku.
    I hope you are ok with this minor change.

    .

    1. I’m fine with it if you are, Kala 🙂

      ,,,on second thoughts, might ‘this’ be better than ‘that’ alongside ‘swish’ – in terms of sound ?

      marion

      1. I considered ‘this’ too …
        But somehow felt ‘this’ refers to the sound of water, where as ‘that’ refers to the ermine and thus the *link* is stronger.
        I could be wrong :))

        After the trip is over we’ll once again look into ‘this’ or ‘that’, ok?

  12. the rhythmic swish
    of water on pebbles / marion
    .
    how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon
    .
    .
    A wonderful choice, Kala. Brendon, congratulations…I think many of us fell in love with your verse right away.

  13. Oh, I’m so glad your bandstand made it in, Brendon! Congrats.
    .
    (For me the bandstand is just a stone’s throw from the pebbles of my verse – in fact, you can see it from the shore wall. 🙂 )
    .
    marion

    1. Thank you very much Marion!!
      I thought you’d be pleased after your comment about the bandstand!☺

      B

  14. an ermine
    dashes out from under
    a granite boulder / karen
    .

    Sorry, this is the version, John.
    There is no hurry.
    .
    Yes, I noticed verses 2, 3 & 4; begin with articles.
    Need to fine tune them :))
    .

  15. I think I’ve made the requested change. Let me know if it’s still not right. It may be tricky for me to make changes for a few hours. I’m on a cross-country train, in mountains and a snow storm, and my internet access comes and goes.

    I notice that verses 2, 3, and 4 all begin with an article. This is an easy bit of fine tuning if you think, as I do, that we would do well to change that

    1. “I’m on a cross-country train, in mountains and a snow storm,” – John

      Wow! What fun! I wish I was there. It’s wonderful for me just to imagine.

      – Lorin

      1. Was just about to say the same thing, Lorin – as long as it’s not Murder on the Orient Express! 🙂

        marion

  16. John,
    Can you please change Karen’s verse in my notes?
    Thanks.
    .
    .

    Rasika renku:
    .
    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine / lorin
    .
    a white silk hat left
    on the hat stand / sanjuktaa
    .
    an ermine
    bolting out from under
    a granite boulder / karen
    .
    the rhythmic swish
    of water on pebbles / marion
    .
    how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon
    .

    1. John, Kala means this version 👇
      .
      Thanks,
      .
      🙂 karen
      ***
      an ermine
      dashes out from under
      a granite boulder / karen
      .
      lovely, Karen
      .
      I’ll request John to change your verse accordingly.
      .
      Thank you so much
      .

      _k

    2. For what it’s worth:
      Though I understand the revision in the light of Brendan’s verse, I still like the immediacy of “bolting/ dashing” . . . prefer it to simple present tense . . . and in my view the suddenness is enhanced by the pointing to a particular boulder (among more than one boulder, perhaps) with “that” rather than “the”. (“the” indicates the only boulder in sight, but “that” is particular, whether or not there is one boulder or more)
      Also (since most boulders and rocky outcrops are granite) the addition of “granite” seems superfluous and seems to draw attention away from the surprise and the focus on the ermine. When we notice something sudden like this happening, would we usually take the time to check whether all of the boulders in the area are granite or not? That’d be more likely an addition we might make in a detailed report, later.

      What do you think of:

      an ermine
      dashing out from under
      that boulder / karen
      ?

      – Lorin

      1. Thanks Lorin,
        I read your comment and did think about it …
        but again I had to add ‘that’ to Marion’s verse.

        .

        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
        .

        I love the way these verses sound when read aloud .

        .

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

      A fine point: I like the reminiscing point of view very much; a nice change… but wonder about “how” + “with”. The emphasis on “how” is comparable to an expression I so often find in haiku, “the way” , as in “the way it all began/ with (whatever) . . .”

      It seems to me to be an awkward compromise between

      how it all began:
      a barefoot kiss
      behind the bandstand

      and

      it all began
      with a barefoot kiss
      behind the bandstand

      I’d prefer “it all began”, here, the simple beginning of a reminiscence, the introduction to a story, but I realise there just might be a regional dialect/ usage in play. I’d be happy if someone could set me straight about this.

      Brendon? John?


      – Lorin

      1. Thanks Lorin.

        I read your reservations but I like Brendon’s verse as is …
        .

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

        .

        There is so much going on here and *how* strikes a good conversational tone for the poet who is coming next with the 2nd love verse.

        .
        Waiting to read all your offers for the next slot.

        1. Kala, this is not to do with your choice of the verse as is, and your response doesn’t answer my query. I really would like it if Brendon or John (or both, or anyone with more familiarity with the vernacular in the USA (?) regional England (?) usage) would clear this usage up for me. . . part of my ongoing education. It’s something that sticks out to me in haiku, when I see it. 🙂 (not just renku)

          – Lorin

      2. Hi Lorin, I take your point on board about the excessive use of ‘the way’ in haiku!
        When I write I obviously choose each word carefully and ‘how it all began’ seems to me to fit in better with the previous verses especially as they started with articles ‘a’ ‘an’…
        In my part of the world saying ‘how it all began’ is the way I would say something has led to bigger things rather than ‘it all began’ which is just an explanation of the event.
        I hope that clears up any dialect problems!
        Thanks for your comment Lorin, I like to see each word being scrutinised…it can only lead to a stronger end result.

        B

        1. Hi Brendon, and thanks very much 🙂
          Yes, I see your point.: “how” , in context, does add a stronger sense of wonder, even delighted amazement, to the reminiscent tone. I’m so used to inferring that I saw & appreciated the “from little things big things grew” aspect anyway, without it, and it didn’t seem to me to be “just an explanation of the event” but an intriguing beginning, waiting for the context of the following verse, but you’re right: “how” cues the reader in more emphatically.

          My (admitted) prejudice about the seemingly never-ending occurrence of “the way the something does the something” in haiku was getting in the way of the voice in your verse, I think. 🙂

          – Lorin

          1. . . . and an embarrassed ps to Brendon:
            Looking for something else among my own published haiku, I’ve discovered the “how” in this:
            .
            ear infection
            how the world
            wobbles
            (Modern Haiku 48.2, Summer 2017)
            .
            !!!
            .
            How to do the ‘blushing’ emoji?

            – Lorin

          2. Hi Lorin

            Thanks for your comment and the smile you gave me in your ‘p.s’ ☺
            I also have written a fair share of ‘how’ and ‘the way’ too but to be honest, I try to avoid them in haiku now as they are over-used. In any linked verse however, I always try to leave an entry point for the next verse and ‘how’ in this context seems to do it.
            I also love challenging each word’s usage for the bigger picture so thank you for this discussion.☺

  17. Great selection, Kala and congrats Brendon! From the beginning I had loved the two verses By Polona and Brendon Kent. Brendon’s verse links so perfectly and seamlessly with Marion’s, at the same time taking a leap!

  18. John,
    Can you please revise Karen’s verse in my notes?
    Thanks.
    .
    .

    Rasika renku:
    .

    tonight’s moon –
    eight champagne glasses
    catch the shine / lorin
    .
    a white silk hat left
    on the hat stand / sanjuktaa
    .
    an ermine
    bolting out from under
    a granite boulder / karen
    .
    the rhythmic swish
    of water on pebbles / marion
    .
    how it all began
    with a barefoot kiss
    behind the bandstand / brendon

    .

    1. John, Kala means this version 👇
      .

      an ermine
      dashes out from under
      a granite boulder / karen
      .
      lovely, Karen
      .
      I’ll request John to change your verse accordingly.
      Thank you so much
      .
      _k

  19. Very nice, Brendan and Kala.
    .

    I agree about the change in the daisan. In light of the love verse, it is much better without *look*.
    .
    Might I suggest a couple of other changes to the daisan? Both the love verse and the daisan have noticeable alliteration with *B* sounds.
    .
    Also *that* in the daisan seems to stick out to me without *look*.
    .
    How about:
    .
    an ermine
    dashes out from under
    a boulder
    .
    Or:
    .
    an ermine
    dashing out from under
    a boulder
    .

    I prefer *dashes* as it seems more immediate to me.
    .
    If you think the change makes the verse too short, we could add an adjective to *boulder*.
    .
    an ermine
    dashes out from under
    a granite boulder
    .

    ❤️ karen

    1. an ermine
      dashes out from under
      a granite boulder / karen

      lovely, Karen
      I’ll request John to change your verse accordingly.
      Thank you so much
      _k

      1. 🙂😘❤️
        .
        an ermine
        dashes out from under
        a granite boulder / karen
        .
        You accidentally typed an earlier version with *bolting* in your request to John.
        .
        🙂 karen

  20. That’s wonderful Kala thank you so much; I’m honoured to be a part of this rasika renga, it’s shaping up well!
    Good luck all with the next verses, I’ll keenly keep popping back to see how it progresses!☺

    1. Congratulations, Brendan. 🙂
      I like very much that your verse is in the form of reminiscence, a nice change in point of view from all of the previous.

      – Lorin

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