Laurie Greer is our selector. Here is her report:
Thanks, everyone, for these many and varied offerings! Several themes stood out right away, such as music, weddings—shotgun and otherwise—and the equation of “run away” with “escape.”
But there were also many kinds of wildness and much else, such as intriguing/enigmatic story lines:
trolls don’t always hide
So where are those trolls? And if they could be anywhere, is there really any running away?
a wink and a nod
from a wayward pixie
What is the signal here? Where has that pixie strayed from? And I love the whimsy of the scene.
anytime is ripe
to drop the truth
wendy c. bialek
Nice links with “anytime” and “ripe,” and this verse seems to point toward a specific “truth,” which raises interest in what that might be.
into the unknown
Loved the openness here—there are no guarantees with running away…
reflection of the stars
in a clear river
…however clear the path ahead may seem.
Then I noticed some intriguing trains of thought:
dreams not followed
turn into nightmares
John E Daleiden
Would these nightmares arise from any repressed dream, or only dreams of running away? And is it too late to go once the nightmare starts?
And ingenious and/or rich linkages:
plays sweet music on his flute
This one goes back to a pagan wildness, and leads one to ask if this music entices one to go or to stay? Would music be the vehicle for getting away or would it itself be a temptation to be fled from? Also, the “sweet”—which is perhaps ironic—contrasts nicely with the tartness of cherries.
Then there were verses with some notable use of language:
tango night…only the sheer
moon between us
I liked how the suggestion of closeness in “sheer” also conveyed the sharp edge of separation of “shears.”
a cluster of buds
surrender to funky rock
In this one I love the hard consonants and the gesture to teenage escape through pop music
play that funky music
And here we get a flavor, a color, and that temptation to go wild with music.
a second past midnight
outside La Fenice
Here I paused over the connection to the phoenix: in rising from its own ashes, is it running away or staying put? Transformation and reinvention pose an interesting twist on the question of escape. I also appreciate the fairy tale resonance of the midnight, and the suggestion that art can be a way of running away.
Other verses impressed me for their skillful wielding of technique:
the last petals fall
on the passing boxcar
corpse in the boxcar
These gesture to, without mentioning, the iconic runaway image of the hobo—a life that can also mean running into dangers.
wearing the wind a kite works
every shade of the blues
I’ve always been partial to the power of repeated w’s, so I loved this, as well as the lovely image and the rich resonances of “blues,” from color to music to melancholy moods one might want to get away from.
And two more by Keith Evetts make strong statements about race, power, current events, and much else:
arrested by the sheriff
a swarthy prophet
the smuggler’s truck
While this one took on climate change:
the glaciers knock in cupboards
and volcanoes spew gold coins
Other verses held surprises:
wendy c. bialek
Quite the trick!
the sky seems bluer
when viewed from a scaffold
What a way to go out—and I love the focus on the positive, which possibly offers a brief moment of escape before the condemned faces the reality.
a pickpocket caught
The color link is nicely put to use here.
Or touches of humor:
too many dandelions
Peggy Hale Bilbro
Here’s a homeowner overwhelmed by the state of the yard. No running away from the disapproval of the neighbors!
in the pit begin
the Rites of Spring
Humor and seriousness here—orchestra pit/cherry pit.
From the first, though, one verse really captured me. It speaks to the full emotional spectrum of both bonds and escapes, of freedoms that may not be welcome, and of what secures people to each other. I found this a thought-provoking look at what can mutually sustain or break us, as well as simply a powerfully moving picture of a parent trying to hold his children close, perhaps after another school shooting, or just to show them they are loved and to keep them from feeling any need ever to run away from home.
home from school
I hug them one by one
So our final verse is:
when is it too late
to run away
home from school
I hug them one by one
John speaking again:
Next, we will be taking a week off and then we will begin a twenty-stanza, nijûin, renku.
In two weeks, I will invite you to submit up to five hokku (opening verse) offers. In effect, you will have two weeks to compose and select your offers but please do not submit them until the invitation is posted.
The requirements will be as follows:
• A three-line verse of seventeen syllables or less
• Containing a spring season word or phrase from the site listed below
• Containing a single grammatical break, creating a two-part structure
• One of the first three verses will be a blossom verse, so the hokku may contain a blossom image but is not required to contain one
• Exhibiting a mood in the areas of serenity, gratitude, wonder, etc. in contrast to sarcasm, erotica, contention, etc.
• Exhibiting an open quality, suggesting much rather than stating any single idea
For this renku, we will be using this site (http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html) as the source for our season words and images. Note that some spring topics are listed as “late spring.” Since the hokku will be the first in a series of three spring verses, “late spring” topics should be reserved for verses two or three and avoided in the hokku.
This week, please use the time to comment on your experiences during our tan-renga sessions. Thank you all. I hope you have enjoyed the tan-renga experience and that you may be encouraged to continue it with partners of your choice.
See you here in two weeks,
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/