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The Renku Sessions: Tan-Renga Week 4

renku_300

Hello, everyone. We will be focusing on tan-renga for the remainder of the year, with a couple of breaks while I am traveling. While I’m not certain how deeply rooted in its history this may be, I’m going to urge you to think of tan-renga in two ways. One way is to think of it as the shortest of all renga/renku forms. This would encourage variety in the linking styles and perhaps some great leaps. The other way is to think of it as collaborative waka/tanka, which might support closer linking, bordering upon narrative.

This week produced 78 offers of capping verses for Marion Clarke’s opener, from 20 poets. In addition, we received many offers relating to other three finalists. While I won’t be covering those here, I urge you to have a look at them. Some great stuff there.

I’m going to repeat my process from last week for presenting this week’s results. There will be an initial “short list” and another list of “finalists,” before a final selection.

 

So, here is my initial “short list”:

 

a fortnight
however long it might be

Michael Henry Lee

 

a sheet of ice
slips into the sea

Richard Straw

 

tremors throughout
the spider’s web

Carol Jones

 

eyes blinking
at the subway exit

Harrison

 

all the Queen’s horses
and all the Queen’s men

Harrison

 

two by two
on to the boat

madeleine kavanagh

 

after years
of drought

madeleine kavanagh

 

the wiped window
mists up again

Andrew Shimield

 

the family tradition
of repenting at leisure

Laurie Greer

 

huddled in the bus shelter
a woman, a man

Lorin Ford

 

his last drink
was a sip of fog

Dan Campbell

 

wet
with divine dew

J R Turek

 

 

 

Here is my list of “finalists,” each displayed with Marion Clarke’s opener:

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

tremors throughout
the spider’s web

Carol Jones

The nature images of both verses give the combination a consistency and broad potential for meaning. At the most literal level, the rain drops are the cause and the tremors are the effect. I am struck by the way in which “this world” can mean both the whole world and a very specific, small sample of it. And that, in turn, informs the possible conceptions of “the spider’s web.”

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

all the Queen’s horses
and all the Queen’s men

Harrison

Normally, I would not recommend a current events reference in this kind of poem. But this one is always going to be clarified by the contrast of “all the Queen’s…” to “all the King’s…” in the well-known nursery rhyme. And I enjoy reflecting on the fact that nursery rhymes often originated in current events. Certainly, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II seems sudden to many, even if it was also expected.

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

after years
of drought

madeleine kavanagh

Many of the offers related “suddenness” to shock. This one relates it to “revival.” And the close linking, with the cap reading like a seamless continuation of the opening, is also in contrast to much of what we have been doing, so far, with linkage.

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

the wiped window
mists up again

Andrew Shimield

A lovely contrast between the suddenness of insight and then the quick, and yet gradual, almost serene, resumption of less clarity of vision.

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

huddled in the bus shelter
a woman, a man

Lorin Ford

This seems to me to be very much in the tradition of waka/tanka. By focusing on human relationships, “suddenness” becomes the sort of transformation implied in an unanticipated beginning to what may prove a lifelong relationship.

 

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

his last drink
was a sip of fog

Dan Campbell

Taken with Dan’s other offers, it seems that this was conceived as a scene from an execution by hanging. But, liberated from that context, it has an openness that matches that of the opening verse. As a pair, they put me in mind of Samuel Beckett’s, “They give birth astride a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night again.”

 

 

 

I hope I’ve made it clear from my comments that any of these combinations would be satisfying.

 

 

Here is our tan-renga, as it will be entered in THF archives:

 

rain at dawn
the suddenness
of this world

Marion Clarke

his last drink
was a sip of fog

Dan Campbell

 

 

 

THIS WEEK

Once again, you are invited to offer three-line verses that could be used for tan-renga. Please give us at least one and as many as five.

 

Enter your offers in the comments section, below, before midnight (Eastern US time) on Monday, October 17. On Thursday, October 20, I will select the opening verse that will be used for capping in the next round.

 

Thank you, all, once again,
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://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. So glad I found this site — love the tan-renga.
    Honored to be on the short list. : ) Many thanks!

    there is no remedy
    love hurts heals steals
    autumn leaves

    book falls open
    page splattered
    with lies

    a lost button
    your cardigan
    pockets full of mothballs

    summer turns her back
    dahlias bloom
    anyway

    my palm open
    to receive raindrops
    clouds drift off

    scissors glued shut
    no gossip today
    lightning on the horizon

  2. Wonderful capping verse, Dan, to Marion’s verse. Well done.

    blowing leaves…
    the south wind no longer
    warm
    .
    rainy evening…
    a feral cat slinks
    across the street
    .

  3. streetlight . . .
    her shadow grows longer
    as she walks away
    .

    midsummer . . .
    toad on the stoop
    dining by porch light
    .

    fog all night . . .
    toad in the driveway
    looking for the moon
    .

    sunny day . . .
    last night’s toad
    nowhere to be seen

  4. that first leap
    from the limb
    of a maple tree
    ****
    barbed wire
    reflection
    in the prison puddle

  5. magnolia leaves
    the large hand always there
    to hold mine
    *
    frieze of creation
    looking back
    at red light/green light
    **

  6. Congratulations Dan. A nice cap to Marion’s verse.
    Enjoyed your thoughts and selections John.

  7. a fingerprint
    galaxy disappears
    in the telescope
    ***
    a dog’s howl
    guiding me home
    in the fog
    ****
    lighthouse beams
    guiding refugees
    to a new home

  8. Many thanks to all for the kind comments and thanks John for your very helpful analysis and comments on the verses.

  9. What great offers for a capping verse! Well done to Dan and thanks, John, for your detailed notes on the selection process.

    rain at dawn
    the suddenness
    of this world

    Marion Clarke

    his last drink
    was a sip of fog

    Dan Campbell

    nd thank you to everyone who commented on my verse. I love the finished tan-renga! 🙂

    marion

  10. Congratulations Marion and Dan!

    miles away
    from the news
    you’ll hear

    sparrows
    come and go
    on the fence

    stray orange cat
    blending
    with the pumpkins

    waking
    angry
    at waking

    she still writes
    the ups and downs of life
    in cursive

  11. leaves
    strewn along the street
    autumn sunset

    full moon
    His thumb print
    upon the sky

    didn’t sleep a wink
    a yellow squiggle over
    the lily pond

    the end of summer
    I put on
    my shoes

    the holly berries
    are turning
    red

  12. Congratulations to Dan…a brilliant capping and to Marion for a wonderful poem. Thank-you very much John! Thank-you Keith!

  13. his last drink
    was a sip of fog

    Dan Campbell

    keep spirit
    at the end of the
    winding road
    there is light

  14. Beautiful … beautiful … beautifil !!
    Congratulation dear Marion and dear Dan❤️❤️

    rain at dawn
    the suddenness
    of this world

    Marion Clarke

    his last drink
    was a sip of fog

    Dan Campbell

  15. on the same corner
    every night–
    asking for change
    *
    fipple flute…
    transcribing the whispers
    of Icelandic horses
    *
    fipple flute
    the gentle tones
    that calm a nightmare
    **

  16. rain at dawn
    the suddenness
    of this world
    Marion Clarke
    his last drink
    was a sip of fog
    Dan Campbell

    Thanks Marian and Dan for the wonderful writes

    fine steps
    end of her dance
    sudden swoon

    *****

    end of squeeze
    fine aroma dripping
    with dirt
    *****
    tasty pickle
    out of orange
    peels
    ****
    dawn’s edge
    a silenced entry
    into her last days
    ***
    counts his sacrifice
    standing under banner
    others nowhere

  17. Congratulations, Marion and Dan, for a fine tan-renga. And thanks again, John, for your comments and leadership.

    +++

    empty houses
    align a dark street
    leaves falling
    *
    rusted
    the wheelbarrow
    in red leaves
    *
    acorn break
    a squirrely pair chases
    their tails
    *
    autumn coolness
    a cat napping under
    the dish towel
    *
    forest path
    a pack of humans
    quiets the birds

  18. another storm
    a swish
    of my neighbour’s curtain

    winter chill
    no shower curtain
    in this motel

    long night
    the mirror tells me
    what I’m not

    1. Tracey, I very much like the way that your ‘winter chill’ verse may or may not allude to the famous Hitchcock shower scene. 🙂

  19. Lovely verse, Dan!

    Thank you John! I’m learning much.

    My five offers:

    autumn mist –
    she remembers
    the chinese whisper

    ***

    vomiting out
    all the syllables
    little by little

    ***

    miles of snow
    the warmth in a chime
    few feet away

    ***

    rippling lake
    a stone makes it’s way
    into the heart

    ***

    her dreamy gaze
    on top of the steps
    …distant fog

  20. This is great fun indeed. Capital John

    it takes two to tango
    several more to
    line dance

    in the words of
    Donald Trump
    ” I never said that”

    it seems
    the pledge of allegiance
    has a whole no meaning

    conventional wisdom
    points to another
    conspiracy

    stockpiling
    toilet tissue for
    the midterm elections

    1. 🙂 All are both clever and humorous, Michael. At first glance, “line dancing” and “toilet tissue” are my favourites. On 2nd, the Trump person’s “I never said that.”

  21. Ever hopeful…. five offers:

    daylight saving
    the time it takes
    to change the clocks

    day moon
    my sun salutation
    not what it was

    evening downpour
    the clock set
    for the homing pigeon

    first kiss
    the signatures
    in advance

    sun on the river
    a letter of condolence
    still to be written

  22. Thanks as always, John. Dan’s creativity and humour shine through.

    It was also interesting to contemplate the sideline offers to the other poems. For me (of course…) my own:

    at the bottom
    of his toolkit
    a pink envelope

    I would choose Madeleine Kavanagh’s disarming:

    “…please take my tooth
    to the fairy…”

    Just when the reader was thinking about some lost love, secret affair, or even concealed sexual orientations….an unexpected note from his little daughter, astutely placed to find him at work, reminding her father to make sure he secures the traditional coin for her milk tooth from the tooth fairy. A charming mix of knowingness, naivety, and lightness. The quotation marks in the context of the envelope indicate the nub of a written message which one well imagines was sweetened with a loving sign-off, and probably accompanied by the tooth in evidence!

    All good fun and a relief from the daily news.

  23. dan….your talent is unless! love your capping verse.
    wonderful commentary john….glad to hear your expressive words and feedback again.

    “holy crap”
    heard down
    the fruit aisle

    wendy c. bialek

  24. rain at dawn
    the suddenness
    of this world

    Marion Clarke

    his last drink
    was a sip of fog

    Dan Campbell
    .
    Congratulations, Dan. 🙂
    I agree with John that “it has an openness…”. As I read the verse, that “last drink” isn’t necessarily the last/final drink he had in this life. To me, it could well be that he was out there in the wild somewhere dry and had run out of water, and there were no streams or waterholes to drink from either. The humour of “a sip of fog” as his “last drink” works because suddenly at dawn it rains, so he has plenty of water to drink.

  25. Congratulations, Dan, a fitting verse for capping Marion’s.
    John, I enjoyed reading all your thoughs on the finalist’s verses.
    Dan’s reminds me of the saying ‘here today gone tomorrow’

    Thankyou for pausing, and commenting on one of mine.

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