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The Renku Sessions: Tan-renga – Week 10

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Our selector for this capping verse is John Hawkhead. Here is his report:

“Over the last week I have been fascinated to see the diverse and interesting responses to the opening verse of this renku session appear in the THF portal. Congratulations to everyone for your creative inputs.

When I set out to choose a capping verse, I approached my selections looking out for the link and shift expected in the response. In particular, I was looking for responses that followed on from the original sense of the opening verse and then shifted the reader’s attention to another image. I looked for verses where the response opens a new ‘door’ in the mind of a reader, but where the original imagery is not entirely discarded by the capping verse.

My intention for the opening verse was to follow the initial guidance to write about the moon which has, for me, an almost pagan symbolism in nature. So I hoped the cape of owl feathers took on an almost shamanic role while still retaining a strong natural sense of imagery as you might find in a modern ‘fairy tale’. I looked in the capping verses for images and descriptions that linked to that starting point and then shifted the reader somewhere else.

My shortlist starts with a clear link to the sense of spoken word storytelling:

a spark of fire from
the storyteller’s eye

Ellen Compton

This succinct use of just eight words transports us to a campfire tale with, perhaps, a hint of danger. I could have highlighted three capping verses from Ellen who captured the ‘feeling’ of the original verse, but I also wanted to include this one in particular, which shifts the reader’s focus while retaining the connection with nature and mystery:

the barn door locked
with a spider’s silk

Ellen Compton

Another verse that links to the sense of mystery and fills my imagination with images of light and shadow is this:

the seventh sister
conceals her face

Terri French

Why does the seventh sister conceal her face; who is she? I suspect we can all come up with our own answers and, for me, that’s a good thing.

And then there’s this verse that also plays with darkness and light, and carries a sense of foreboding and omen:

sirens sing darkness
to the shipless ocean

Michelle Beyers

Seven words to fill imagination with an ocean of encroaching darkness.

But there’s room in the submissions for love too, even if that emotion comes with a sharp edge:

how slyly
love hides its talons

Maxianne Berger

Indeed, love can grip the heart in icy talons…

Finally, my selection for the capping verse is this dark and resonant piece of succinct writing:

the beaked shadow
of the plague doctor

Marion Clarke

This clearly links to the owl feathers and moonlit shadows of the opening verse and then shifts us dramatically into the current world during the Covid-19 pandemic ‘plague’. It retains the sense of mystery and storytelling through that chilling image of plague doctors stalking medieval streets in their beaked masks, but with a fully modern relevance. Great stuff!”

witching hour
moonlight dons a cape
of owl feathers

the beaked shadow
of the plague doctor

 

Marion Clarke will be offered the option of choosing a new opening verse from among those offered in the coming week. Marion, please let me know if you are willing to make the next selection. As always, I am ready to make it if you would rather not and ready to consult with you, if you do want to choose.

This week, you are all invited to offer three-line opening verses. Let’s do blossom verses this time.

Please enter your verses in the comments box, below. Marion Clarke or I will review them until midnight on Monday, April 5 (Eastern US time). On Thursday, April 8, there will be a posting in which Marion or I will comment on some of the blossom verse suggestions and select one of them to begin our latest tan-renga.

Looking forward to seeing your verses!

John

 

 

 

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/code-of-conduct/

This Post Has 93 Comments

  1. incoming tide . . .
    an unmoored blossom
    drifts home

    red ants probe
    the meaty center
    of the tulip

  2. even outside
    the court buildings
    chokeberry blooms

    4/04/2021 by wendy © bialek

    cherry blossoms
    shower the hearse
    goodbye kisses

    3/08/2021 by wendy © bialek

  3. hiacinth in bloom
    two gulls flying into
    the rising sun

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 4/4/21

  4. *
    cherry blossoms
    there, where he leaned
    the rainbow
    *
    white flowers
    in the night
    moonless
    *
    a butterfly lingers
    on embroidery
    of the flowered dress
    *
    intense pink
    in the first flowers
    of rhododendron

  5. the circles
    of sakura petals
    with each sip

    4/05/2021 by wendy © bialek

    sakura petals
    circling
    in the birdbath

    4/05/2021 by wendy © bialek

      1. glad you like it, maxianne….this is the scene, now, outside my kitchen bay windows, where i am always enjoying, while washing dishes.

  6. very nice job with your commentary!….john h.
    congrats marion! a fitting cap verse.
    i thoroughly enjoyed participating in both parts,
    such a wonderful pairing of verses!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    greeted by new
    cascading floral masks
    spring blossoms

    4/04/2021 by wendy © bialek

    blossom inspired
    sewing up a new
    batch of masks

    4/04/2021 by wendy © bialek

    blossom inspired
    a basket of masks
    hang by the door

    4/04/2021 by wendy © bialek

  7. dandelion
    in the wild
    spot of sun

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 4/4/21

    wild blossom
    on a vine
    in dawn light

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 4/4/21

  8. sad song in the first step
    of cherry petals her story
    of gloomy past
    **
    2) blossoms’ spell
    short-lived for grandpa
    breaths his last

    ****
    (3 counting spell of loss
    after catch up with
    bloom of blossoms

    blossoms after pain
    into her bag of beauty
    and recollection

  9. wild cherry
    when is it too late
    to run away
    *
    cherry blossoms
    the chalkboard
    thick with equations
    *

  10. Congrats Marion! And thanks John H. for your commentary – interesting to read about your approach to choosing a verse.
    .
    .
    a cherry
    exhales
    nautical twilight
    .
    triple masked
    no chance of catching
    blossom fever
    .
    the moon and stars
    race
    for pinks
    .
    any ol’ barstool
    for the elephants
    in the blossom district
    .
    a babbling brook
    takes the measure of
    a wild cherry
    .
    .

  11. Congratulations to John and Marion for a perfect pair. Very atmospheric.

    in Afghanistan
    the almond trees blossom
    in both peace and war

    hard pruning in autumn
    for bounteous blossom
    in the spring

    only the Japanese
    will see their cherry blossom
    this year

  12. a thousand suns
    spilled on the meadow
    dandelion yellow

    verse by verse
    swayed in the haiku bed
    blossoming daisies

    circling morning . . .
    scattered rose petals
    a new flock of birds

    cherry petals . . .
    our dance in the rain
    after break up

    Ivan Gaćina

  13. bird foot violet
    everyone out
    for a walk in the park
    *
    four leaf violet
    my luck
    about to change
    *

  14. Nice choice, John and I enjoyed your commentary. Congratulations, Marion. pa. thank you for pausing on one of mine. I don’t know if there is a way to correct the spelling of my last name but I would appreciate it if you can, John S. onto blossoms we go!

    into my dream
    the floating of
    soft white petals

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 3/29/21

  15. plague morning
    those yellow blossoms
    outside my window

    covid dawn
    yellow blossoms knocking
    on my bedroom window

  16. serviceberry in bloom
    all the catching up
    at weddings and funerals
    *
    tulips…
    borrowing a cup
    of cherry petals
    *

  17. yes to the witchiness of the plague doctor! Nicely done, Marion .. and enlightening comments, John H. .. thanks, too, for pausing on mine .. am looking forward to the blossom verses .. am more comfortable capping, so this week shall read and enjoy .. ☺

  18. Congratulations, Marion. Your capping verse seems the perfect one.

    My efforts at a blossom hokku:

    spring snowfall
    pink drifts beneath
    the crabapple tree

    cherry blossom park
    settling for
    a drone’s-eye view

    cherry blossom petals
    in the same breeze
    the virus too

  19. the egg moon
    cupped in a magnolia
    a blackbird’s song

    blossom
    they call the old mare
    with many foals

    choose
    rose or lily
    pistils at dawn

    a few red drops
    blossom in the ditch
    underage driver

    blossom
    no time for regret
    as yet

  20. John and Marion–You two together have created a marvelous verse! The image is clear and crisp and utterly memorable. I love it!

    Now, on to the blossoms….
    *
    Sakura
    three sisters walk in circles
    under the pink top
    *
    March winds
    a stream of cherry petals
    blows after the flutist
    *
    March wind
    a stream of cherry petals
    pours from the flute
    *

  21. Well chosen, John Hawkhead, and congratulations, Marion, a great image to complements John’s verse.

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