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The Renku Sessions: Tawny Jacket – Week 12

 

renku_300

 

I am John Stevenson and I will be your guide for a twelve-verse renku, in which we will compose one verse per week until completion. A longer session, with a different leader, is being planned to follow this one.

Two hundred sixty-one offers from thirty-eight poets made this selection the hardest yet. Opening the blossom verse to something other than cherry blossoms seems to have created a strong stimulus. I learned about many flowering plants that had not previously come to my attention, as well as taking in new perspectives on some old favorites. Here is a bouquet of colorful and fragrant examples:

 

live simply
so others may
view the blossoms

Carol Jones

 

every hair
of a pasque flower
through the macro lens

Polona Oblak

 

that plum
at the bend of the river
has just started to bloom

Polona Oblak

 

clover already
loaded
with bees

Laurie Greer

 

Indian Paint Brush
bloodstaining
the mountainside

Autumn Noelle Hall

 

detours have
the best views of
wildflowers

Dan Campbell

 

toddler on the march
through a field
of bird-root violets

Laurie Greer

 

many selfies
from fields of narcissus
poeticus

Lorin Ford

 

the old tree
produces few cherries
but lovely blossoms

Debbie Scheving

 

in Belfast
they celebrate hanami
in the botanic gardens

Marion Clarke

 

the scent
of apple
in the blossom

Mary Stevens

 

mango blossoms
bring out the Cacofonix
in every koel

Pratima Balabhadrapathruni

 

the messages
shared among
mariposa blossoms

M. R. Defibaugh

 

if only
I could touch them,
cherry blossoms…

se solo
potessi toccarli,
i fiori di ciliegio…

Angiola Inglese

 

 

Our eleventh verse is:

 

under a cherry tree
a thousand things
come to mind

Marion Clarke

 

The soft focus and diffusion of this verse make a strong contrast to the “aiming” of the two previous ones. And it offers a tonality that will help us reach our final verse, this week. At the same time, it takes advantage of the conventions of renku to achieve its status as a blossom verse. We have cherry trees all year but they are blooming for just a few days. This is the same situation as that of the moon verses. The moon is around all year, too. But for renku purposes, any mention of the moon is presumed to mean the harvest moon unless otherwise specified. So, unless otherwise specified, the cherry tree is here because of its blossoming. I like the interplay between the idea of “a thousand things” coming to mind and the single temporal vision of the cherry tree that renku encourages us to take.

A technical note. One of the things that distinguishes my approach to renku in English is my emphasis on confining internal breaks in verses to the hokku. As I have said a couple of times during this renku, beginning a verse with a prepositional phrase is likely to create a break; explaining something before revealing what is being explained. But there are harder and softer breaks. This verse seems to me to contain a soft one. And my other renku principle is “don’t let the rules spoil the fun.”

 

For our twelfth and final verse, these will be the requirements/considerations:

  • a two-line, spring verse
  • connecting in some way to the eleventh verse and in no obvious way to any of the previous verses
  • transforming our sense of the eleventh verse

 

Note: Professor Fukuda said, of the final verse, “The…ageku, which comes from makiageru, or roll up [in English]…should be a bright or relaxed verse that expresses the joy of completing the work. Sorrowful topics must be avoided.”

 

Our renku, so far:

 

Tawny Jacket

 

autumn leaves
she sets out in
her tawny jacket

Andrew Shimield

 

the still-warm hollow
where the deer slept

Kristen Lindquist

 

cigar smoke
lingers
in the empty room

Pauline O’Carolan

 

seraphim song
of a glass armonica

Autumn Noelle Hall

 

ice-skating
with my hunka hunka
burning love

Lorin Ford

 

a kiss for luck
at the STD clinic

Maureen Virchau

 

rediscovery
of the starry night toad
after all this time

Linda Weir

 

summer day moon
almost there

Wendy C. Bialek

 

the horseshoe player
chugs the rest
of his beer

Patrick Sweeney

 

aiming is easier
than pulling the trigger

M. R. Defibaugh

 

under a cherry tree
a thousand things
come to mind

Marion Clarke

 

 

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Tuesday, February 4 (New York time zone). On Thursday, February 6, there will be a new posting containing my selection for our final verse, some discussion of other appreciated offers, and an invitation for some final discussion.

I look forward to seeing your offers!

John

 

This Post Has 358 Comments

  1. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    .

    Marion Clarke
    .
    pink shrimp and snow peas
    in our bowls of osuimono
    .

  2. Rooster crows
    have the best echos
    ##
    Roosters crows
    have no accent
    ##
    Old roosters cough
    more than they crow
    ##

    1. under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      the tax declaration
      has to be filed

      the summer clothes
      must be prepared

      the rose bushes
      have to be untied

      when spreading pellets
      calibrate the fertilizer menu

  3. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    the mix and match
    of pasta primavera
    *

  4. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    a second garden of delights
    in the pasta primavera

    *
    the endless interpretations
    of Botticelli’s Primavera
    *

      1. in case..”.tawney” is disqualified for an ageku here because it may be too close to the hokku. “tawny jacket”

        groundhog phil
        blind to his shadow?

        .
        wendy c. bialek

  5. a thousand things
    come to mind

    ~ Marion Clarke

    —————————-

    Holi* noon, on the courtyard
    patches of colors

    (‘Holi’ is festival of colors, celebrated in India during Spring season.)

    ~ Kanchan Chatterjee

    1. Sorry, the first line of Marion Clark’s verse got deleted somehow. It is:

      under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      – Marion Clarke

    2. Sorry, the first line of Marion Clarke’s verse got deleted somehow. It is:

      *
      under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      – Marion Clarke

  6. a thousand things
    come to mind

    ~ Marion Clarke

    *
    a Valentine candle
    flickers on the table

    ~ Kanchan Chatterjee

    1. Sorry, the first line of Marion Clark’s verse got deleted somehow. It is:

      *
      under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      – Marion Clarke

  7. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    ~ Marion Clarke

    *
    a monk with a jingling bell
    goes into the morning mist

    ~ Kanchan Chatterjee

  8. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    ~ Marion Clarke

    *
    at the airport
    a hug and a daisy

    ~ Kanchan Chatterjee

  9. picking wildflowers
    a bee lands on my hand

    + + + + + + + + + +

    in a wildflower
    how many small seeds ….

  10. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    .
    Marion Clarke

    by the stream he picks
    an azalea blossom from her curl
    .
    the mother picks an azalea
    blossom from her baby’s hair
    .
    the child throws a fist
    of azalea blossoms into the breeze
    .

  11. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    the tremolo
    of a Stravinsky breeze
    *
    a Danse Sacrale
    to end Stravinsky’s Rite
    *
    Nijinsky’s maidens
    all a-whirl
    *
    *
    and on an entirely different “note”:
    *
    *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    don’t think of polka dotted
    Heffalumps and Woozles!
    *
    😀
    *
    Many thanks to ALL for a wonderful renku romp!! So much fun making creative connections while connecting with creatives!
    *
    Autumn

  12. clouds obscured by kites
    and smiling faces
    ***
    running along the beach
    with our kites
    ***
    Mother’s Day depends upon
    a lawn chair by the pool
    ***
    a Mother’s Day
    breakfast in bed
    ***
    decorating pancakes
    for Mother’s Day

    1. “Mother’s Day” may be too close to the “Summer Day”
      ***
      decorating pancakes
      to celebrate mom
      ***
      decorating pancakes
      for our mother
      ***
      mom celebrated
      in a lawn chair by the pool

  13. Late to the party this time but I wanted to say I like this classical touch!
    .
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    – Marion
    .
    the perfect spot
    for picking wild asparagus

  14. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    rejoicing in the numbers
    at the great blues’ heronry
    *
    the three-jointed peace sign
    of a blue heron’s footprint
    *

  15. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    REVISION:
    tired but happy
    when the big clean-out is done
    *
    Ok–no “spring.” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, eh? Will give it more thought. But the tangible “things” is such a natural after the thousand mental “things.”

  16. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    a mix of climbers and sprawlers
    in the new tomato garden
    *
    tomatoes soon taller
    than the fledging toddler
    *

  17. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    gardening with gloves half pollen
    half dirt
    *
    ordering seeds by priority
    snail mail
    *

  18. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    the tzin tzun tzan
    of a skittering hummingbird
    *
    Don Miller

    1. WONDERFUL, Don–What a bright and zippy verse offering!! Great use of the Spanish name, too! AND, you beat me to it! Seems only fitting, since the tzin tzun tzan arrive at yours ahead of mine each Spring! At least these little feathered migrants can still make it over that ridiculous wall… Fingers crossed their numbers are on the rise this year!
      *
      ~Autumn

    2. under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      Marion Clarke
      *
      the skittering tzin tzun tzan
      of the first hummingbird
      *
      Don Miller

    3. under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      Marion Clarke
      *
      the skittering tzin tzun tzan
      of the first hummer
      *
      Don Miller

  19. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    .
    striking a match
    on the blue tits love for roses

        1. Oh no. My phone messes it up again … In comes on the same line as fill

          and the eyes, satiated
          with watching colours fill in

          1. Awwww
            .
            .
            and the eyes, satiated
            watching colors fill in

            ——
            Last try bye bye

  20. a bit of slap and tickle
    in the candy stripe tent
    .
    a fresh coat of paint
    for Punch and Judy
    .
    blowing the cobwebs
    from the professor’s swazzle

    1. All these made me smile, Robert, especially the ‘professor’s swazzle’ 🙂
      .
      That’s a lovely sequence of verses.

  21. Thank you, John, for leading another fun and educational renku. I so appreciate your reflections, commentary, and explanations of your decisions. I have learned so much!
    .
    Much gratitude, too, toward the participants. I learned a lot from you, as well, and enjoyed the moments of camaraderie, support, and mutual appreciation. Plus a ton of really cool poems!

  22. her surge of spring cleaning
    just before the birth
    .
    .
    Or if we don’t want both the first and last verses of the renku to feature female protagonists, maybe this version:
    .
    a surge of spring cleaning
    just before the birth

          1. Indeed! Pratima
            .
            another slither
            cuts to the light side
            .
            a late spring dream pauses
            for a selfie in Stonehenge

    1. Yes, we have made a mess of her, haven’t we.
      I’m reading this as if she wants to hide the scars
      we have inflicted.
      .
      This could be the beginning of a good protest banner.

      1. I’d rather hoped the opposite Carol. I see why you see what you see though.
        Man will destroy himself. Earth will be here long after.
        .
        a splash of colour
        lost in a wave

        1. Well, it’s been here for a few billion years and survived catastrophic events, she’ll brush us aside when she’s had enough of us 🙂

  23. Only turtles in their prime
    pass me on the jogging path
    ###
    Spring is a very active time for turtles especially after a rainfall

  24. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    snowmelt running
    rill to rill
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. We’re on the same wavelength, Betty! For me, I was reminded of the thought bubbles in comic strips which led me write about soap bubbles! Ha Plus the fact that they are listed as a spring indicator, of course. Your ‘beachcombers’ verse is still lingering with me. Hope you are having a good day!

      1. 😊 Yep…the cartoon bubble definitely comes to mind! Trying to come up with an ‘all spring’ or ‘late spring’ kigo is daunting when the days here in central Texas are already up in the high 70’s. Loving this weather at least! Took my mother-in-law (who’s 92) down to the coast to see whooping cranes by boat last week-end…was great fun. Life is still good…hope you are enjoying yours as well!

        1. Hi Betty! Ohhh good- glad to hear that you are finding peace & joy along the way. Those Texas temps sound good to me! That’s wonderful that your mother-in-law is able to enjoy such things. Whooping cranes by boat? What a gift. Hope you are able to write some verses featuring those majestic birds. There is a Great Blue Heron here along the creek that has snuck its way into my poetry. ha Take care of yourself & keep on writing.

    2. well, true, … Betty, I had obe for my puppy and he tried to eat them and threw up … i was stupid…I am stupid …

      1. No, no, Pratima…you are definitely not stupid!! Puppies and small children are most curious creatures and into all sorts of trouble! Gotta love’m even when they scare the beejeezus outta us! 😊

  25. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    knot work ribboning
    ’round the Maypole
    *
    ~Autumn

      1. Non-the-less, a lovely image, can see this as an illustration for a child’s book.
        A no doubt with your artistic skill you could paint this picture and add a poem, or prose.

  26. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    pollen adds its touch
    of chartreuse to the sills
    *
    sweeping a few clothes moths
    out of the closet
    *
    koi flashing their tails
    as the sun wakes them up
    *
    (or is this too close to where the deer slept? Probably can’t have the sun warm up the koi, either…)
    *

  27. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    a growing pile of grasses
    where the sparrows will nest
    *
    staying later in the park
    that closes at dusk
    *
    suddenly not enough benches
    in the park
    *
    giving the houseplants
    a day in the yard
    *

  28. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    all the traces of winter
    scrubbed from the windows
    *
    a soft lining of pollen
    on the patio furniture
    *
    welcoming the first patrons
    of the pollinator garden
    *
    the smell of ozone returns
    on the light spring rain
    *

  29. Mounds of fleece
    sprout in pastures
    ###
    Shearing is a sheep’s
    favorite season
    ###
    Read an article that sheep are sheared in March or April which cools them off for Spring and Summer and allows enough time for their fleece to grow back for Autumn and Winter.

    1. This depends on where you live, Dan, here in the UK, we usually start this about June time.
      Yes, the sheep are relieved, but once that wool is off, we cross our fingers and hope for good weather for them.
      .
      I like your first verse, as that is exactly what we get if sheering takes place late, because of the weather- not a good idea to shear a wet sheep 🙂

  30. .

    .

    far and wide i follow a monarch

    north as well my desire path

    .

    one metrical foot after another

    along the yellow brick road

    .

    waves swell in a red tide

    that washes my weary feet

    .

    so much yellow sand

    in those ruby slippers

    .

    .

  31. shigatsu baka every day
    the same trump card

    *

    *
    maybe not the best subject for ageku….but i couldn’t resist the fun.

  32. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    .
    Marion Clarke
    .
    velella velella
    purple the green sea
    [note: velella velella (by-the-wind sailors) should be in italics]
    .
    a sudden breeze and
    the pinwheel comes to life

  33. Hi everyone.
    .
    Just thought I should mention something at this point, since so many of your verses are offering additional blossom images.
    .
    The “blossom verse” is a special topic in renku, like the “moon verse.” It has a special position (or positions in a longer renku) and should not appear in any other locations. Sorry that I didn’t think to mention this in my original instructions for this verse.

  34. garden peas, butter skating
    around grandma’s skillet
    ####
    I think both of my dear grandmothers must have spent a majority of their lives in kitchens, cotton fields and gardens.

    1. nice one…dan….hope it isn’t disqualified…..as garden peas have lovely flowers…..also it is disqualified as skating is already mentioned…in ice skating.

      john…when it is used as food is it considered differently???????

  35. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    I’m Alice
    down the rabbit hole once more
    *
    or
    *
    like Alice
    down the rabbit hole once more
    *
    grafting
    one wonder to another
    *
    mycelial networks
    connecting them all
    *
    but for now
    this one petal will do
    *
    or maybe just
    *
    for now
    this one petal will do
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. So, per John’s “just say no to more blossoms,” scrap those last petal offerings!
      *

      in their place, perhaps:
      *
      new potatoes eyeing a way
      out of the compost heap
      *

      ~Autumn

        1. Thanks, Wendy!
          *
          Our compost heap is a cave-of-wonders much explored by foxes, coons, and (when they’re awake) bears!
          *
          I got a kick out of your “need-less” wildflower how-to book, too! 😀
          *
          ~Autumn

  36. Each and every May I give a bouquet
    of poison ivy to my mother-in-law
    #########
    In February cherry trees
    are filled with stars

      1. Dan, you have an amazing image, here, with regards to the robustness of the flower and the delicate clock seed, and our ever changing weather.
        That wonderful cloud of seed against dark clouds on the horizon, a great contrast, referring to- -its only a matter of time –
        ,
        Thankyou for the idea 🙂

  37. an amendment to my last verse
    ******************************
    from our room with a view
    something’s always in bloom

      1. We are allowed to offer what comes to us and will find it welcomed. But I should point out that we already have “room,” in verse three.

      1. thank you….pratima and dan

        this combines spring cleaning/ garage sale/ donation of items with
        the biology of wild flowers.

    1. Your verse made me smile, Wendy! Thank you. I’m in the middle of the oh-so-fun process of decluttering over here & coming across lots o’ books for donation to the library. Those in the ‘why did I every buy this?’ category. haha Poetry collections are staying on the shelves, of course.

  38. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    .
    a first for grandma’s stocking
    at the three legged race
    .

    .

  39. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    edited:
    .
    transferring a kite string
    to a small, pudgy hand
    .
    checking the mailbox
    for the wagtail’s return
    .
    spying the bright blues
    in a bowerbird’s nest

    **********************
    transferring my kite string
    to his small, pudgy hand
    .

    checking the mailbox
    for wee willy wagtail’s first visit
    .

    spying bright blue
    to find the bowerbird’s nest

      1. Thank you, Pratima. Some of the things I look forward to in Spring. When writing about the kite I realized I might be on my last small, pudgy hand, as no more grandchildren are likely!

        Apologies, everyone. I see now I should have replied to my first post to change my entries rather than making a new one.

  40. Thank you, Marion, for a profound and lovely verse.

    I see perfection
    in a butterfly

    we lift our eyes
    to the tranquil mountains

    release some balloons
    to mark the occasion

    1. Thank you so much, Pauline.
      .
      I like the sense of joy and celebration suggested in the possible colours of those balloons!
      .
      marion

  41. John, I appreciate the mention of the old cherry tree, which actually belongs to a friend. And just above Lorin Ford’s clever “narcissus” made me smile.
    *
    Speaking of vanity, would you mind correcting the spelling on my last name? It is Scheving, with a hard sch like school. Thanks!

    1. Hi Debbie! I love the fact that your ‘old cherry tree’ verse is a tribute to your friend’s tree. A wonderful sketch from life.

  42. Such a ‘traditional’-feel haiku in among so many ku that are definitely not that! A nice touch and a wonderful echo of Basho and his famous poem: how many, many things / they call to mind /
    these cherry-blossoms! Good to acknowledge our roots sometimes.

    **
    I’m sorry I haven’t had the time to contribute, but watching the poem develop has been fun.

  43. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    tumbleweeds of pollen
    blowing through town
    *
    every glance out the window
    a meditation on spring
    *

  44. Tawny Jacket

    autumn leaves
    she sets out in
    her tawny jacket

    Andrew Shimield

    the still-warm hollow
    where the deer slept

    Kristen Lindquist

    cigar smoke
    lingers
    in the empty room

    Pauline O’Carolan

    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love

    Lorin Ford

    a kiss for luck
    at the STD clinic

    Maureen Virchau

    rediscovery
    of the starry night toad
    after all this time

    Linda Weir

    summer day moon
    almost there

    Wendy C. Bialek

    the horseshoe player
    chugs the rest
    of his beer

    Patrick Sweeney

    aiming is easier
    than pulling the trigger

    M. R. Defibaugh

    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke

    my fingers trace
    the melting rivers of your face
    *
    we wander through
    the cicada choirs
    *
    turquoise sky thrums
    our beating blood
    *
    our hands linked
    watching the lambs prance
    *
    I hear my name
    on the bright green air

      1. Thanks so much, Robert! It’s amazing how many drafts that little verse went through. I’m glad that this one seems to work. Take care.

  45. Springtime yardsales feature
    disposable memories
    #####################
    Summer sizzles, Winter whistles,
    Fall flashes, Spring sings

  46. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    .

    transferring my kite string
    to his small, pudgy hand
    .

    checking the mailbox
    for wee willy wagtail’s first visit
    .

    spying bright blue
    to find the bowerbird’s nest

  47. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    tired but relieved
    when spring cleaning is done
    *
    keeping clutter in check
    with the annual yard sale
    *
    OR:
    an annual spring yard sale
    to keep clutter in check
    *

  48. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    thinking out loud
    while the sparrows squabble
    *

  49. Congratulations, Marion, on a gentle verse. I love the way it draws us in, even as it blossoms outward into myriad possibilities! 😀
    *
    Many thanks, John, for including my Indian Paint Brush verse in your hand-picked bouquet! They were a favorite of my father, who taught me their name when I was very little; I always think of him whenever they bloom–which just happens to coincide with the time of his passing.
    *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    *
    Marion Clarke
    *
    my blind puppy’s boundless sense
    of no direction
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. Ah, Autumn, I like this verse but as dogs have a sensitive nose I’d be inclined with the scent of blossom-
      .
      my blind puppy’s boundless sense
      in the right direction
      .
      as is a person with limited vision, we may not see something, but so often we sense it.

      1. Hi, Autumn and Carol–
        I was just thinking that dogs navigate more by smell than anything else. Cats, too–and I know a blind cat that won’t relax until the the window is opened, delivering the smells of the day, however cold it is.

        Nice to keep following the puppy adventures!

        1. Lovely contribution, Laurie. I, for one, love reading, and listening to people’s doggy stories, and other animal related tales.

          1. Hi Carol. I highly recommend Mary Oliver’s poetry if you love nature & animals as much as I do. And it seems that you do! Take care.

          2. Thankyou for the recommendation of. Mary Oliver’s poetry, Maureen,
            I’ll be having a search for that one in just a moment sounds a good read,
            I do like observing the flora and fauna about me, and the way animals interact.

          3. Hi Carol. Ohh good- I’m glad you’re open to reading her work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. You’re very welcome!

        2. Hi Laurie. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never had a blind pet before. It’s amazing how they adapt. Take care.

          1. yes, puppies,
            I like your poem because, it shows how one modifier can show case an inherent trait, that the puppy is blind is true, but also very much a puppy given its antics…

          2. I see Mary Oliver has quite a few collections to choose from, My first purchase ‘Why I get up Early’
            Thanks again, Maureen.

        3. Hi, Laurie,

          That is EXACTLY right! As she’s grown, Holly’s eyes have improved slightly, such that she now has limited vision in daylight (she probably sees light and shadows, plus movement). But at night, she’s nose to ground sniffing her way along. Which I find incredible–I certainly couldn’t navigate around the mountains that way, even though I have a half-way-decent sense of smell. She certainly recognized that the “cookies” I was taking out of the oven were hers (I’d given her a little ball of the dough as I was forming the pretzels). For the first time ever, she put her paws up on the cabinets to try to get as close to the countertop as possible! I have the sense I’ll be rewarding her with plenty of those cookies for keeping OFF the counters in the future…; )
          *
          ~Autumn

      2. Hi, Carol!
        *
        Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree that a sight-impaired dog makes up for the “deficit” with a keen nose and ears. I’d read something somewhere that a vet had written regarding a Dog’s Top Ten List of things that are important–sight was nowhere on the list!
        *
        With “no direction,” I was aiming at the sense of freedom inherent in NOT having to head on one particular direction or another. Or maybe “aiming” is the wrong word choice, as goal-free “aimlessness” was what I was after as a link to the thousand possibilities in Marion’s verse.
        *
        It’s that incredible openness to possibility–the hunger for life and the spontaneous bounding from one wonder to another–that has re-awakend a sense of joy for me. Interesting that this renku with it’s own “thousand things [coming] to mind” has had a similar affect!
        *
        I like your suggestion! But at the moment, I’m considering that our ideas of “right” can sometimes be a form of limitation in themselves…
        *
        Autumn

        1. Ah, yes nothing, like a good adventure in the great out-doors.
          Good to read your puppy’s eyesight has improved, even if it is a little.

    2. Hi Autumn! I am sorry to hear of the loss of your father. I hope those flowers can bring you some comfort. I’m so glad to hear that your precious pup is happy & healthy & loving life! Your verse is so fun & beautiful & uplifting. You should publish a collection of your writings about her. Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, was a great lover of dogs. She wrote a collection of poetry called Dog Songs. Just wanted to pass it on in case you haven’t heard of it. Thank you for sharing. My beagle is staring me down for a treat at the moment. ha Take care.

      1. Hi, Maureen!
        *
        Thank you for your kind words re. my Dad. It will actually be 11 years, come the end of May. (He and my Mom both died comparatively young). His love and respect for nature inspired my own, so the landscape is as much a source of solace and connection as it is a reminder of the loss.
        *
        I LOVE Mary Oliver’s poetry! I actually read/re-read every single volume of hers available at our local library this past year–including Dog Songs. I also used one of her poems to close a memorial we held for a good friend this past spring.
        *
        For Christmas, a poet friend/fellow dog lover gave me a copy of Dog is My Co-Pilot (a compilation by the editors of The Bark magazine). If you’ve not read it, you’d probably enjoy a number of the essays by well-known writers about their canine companions!
        *
        I made a batch of pumpkin peanut butter pretzel treats for Holly yesterday. This is me handing you one virtually for your beagle!
        *
        ~Autumn

        1. You’re very welcome, Autumn. I’m sorry you lost your parents at a young age. And I’m sorry for the loss of your good friend. I’ve lost my best friend, and I write poetry about her often. I am glad your love of nature can bring you some comfort. I find it therapeutic as well.
          .
          I am so glad to hear that you have read so much Mary Oliver! I have read all her works. I can’t remember the first one I read now. I was deeply saddened by her death, and it inspired me to write a tribute poem. I may or may not send it out.
          .
          Thanks for your recommendation! I’ll look it up & pass it on to other dog lovers.
          .
          Finally, thanks for the dog treats! Holly is a very lucky dog. Take care. Happy reading & writing!

      1. Nice suggestion, Wendy! I probably wouldn’t have headed that “direction,” only because I tend to have more negative associations with the word “endless.” Think “endless chores.” Or “endless tweets.” ; ) And while Holly is certainly sentient enough to make “choices,” what I love best is the way she lets the world lead her in unexpected ways to unforeseen discoveries!
        *
        I guess I was hoping to capture some of that sense with the (possibly) unexpected “no direction.”
        *
        Your take is appreciated nonetheless!
        *
        ~Autumn

    3. Thank you for your Spot-on (pun intended) observation about puppies, Pratima! Precisely what I was muddling my way to–the antics of a joyful pup bounding from petal to petal with no particular destination in mind.
      *
      After an achievement-oriented lifetime of driving towards specific goals and crossing off To-Do List items, I’m finding this time of puppy-inspired “intentional aimlessness” a refreshing and welcome relief!
      *
      ~Autumn

    4. Thank you for your lovely comment, Autumn. I was thinking of a particular afternoon a few years ago with my daughter, Taryn when I wrote this. I had taken a photograph of her standing beneath a cherry tree in my friend’s garden, holding her cat as Taryn had been feeding it while the family was on holiday.
      .
      I came across the photo recently and the moment came back to me, and I thought how many things had happened since then. My friend has moved to France to live, her house has been sold and a new family is enjoying the cherry tree, my daughter is off to university in Belfast and poor old Gizzy cat was run over by a car that summer. Perhaps ‘a thousand things’ is an exaggeration, but the photograph of the blue sky through the blossoms certainly made me think!

    1. just want to share my thoughts here with you, nicholas:
      .
      ‘but’ is not sounding to my ears as poetry….and seems too contrived and obvious to be a “narrated” link to above verse….to make it more subtle…..
      .
      “as millions of petals” or even “millions of petals” for line 1
      and
      .
      because this final verse is supposed to be happy ending and to keep it in a “fresh” moment:
      .
      line 2 could be:

      “on the ground”

      this would make it into “a snapshot of nature” (shasei) without imparting your own predictions.

      .
      i know what you are saying here….and i believe in your idea.

      1. i’m glad that you are working to whittle your ideas down…as you might have read….john announced that flowers are not to be included in this last verse….this ageku…..as such any of our poems having to do with this subject would not be elligble into renku…..but you have great potential….i believe….you have a great future here.

  50. Hi Marion, I really like your verse

    ***
    a swallow mends
    its old nest
    ***
    leafing through a daisy
    he loves me… he loves me not

    ***
    a pot of basil
    for homemade pesto

    ***

  51. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    filling in the blanks
    with pachysandra and ivy
    *
    the whispery voices
    of the first sparrow nestlings
    *
    painted turtle sensing
    the best spot to dig
    *

    1. pratima….so sorry both chimp and ice cream gone!

      pratima: these just came to my mind, (after spending several months of my life living and working with a chimp early 1970’s ):

      my cone of ice cream
      makes the chimp happy

      the chimp gladly takes
      my happy ending cone

      *

      and here’s one from walking down a main street in port jefferson harbour, ny….1980’s inside a trash can:

      squirrel flattens himself
      retrieving my discarded cone

      .
      wendy c. bialek

      this i caught on a slide film series, ( maybe ecktachrome)…so cute….upside down….amazingly, holding on with his tiny back feet……he was determined and successful. then he proceeded to eat the ice cream cone….holding it between his two hands and chipping at it little by little. ( … think it was one of my first sold/published images)

  52. the splash of frog
    alongside fireworks

    —–
    it is CNY and there are fireworks, everyday for 15 days. Today is the 7th…

    1. We have a next session planned already but there is definitely the possibility that we may do another twelve verse session in the future.

  53. A lovely verse! Thank you, Marion.

    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    *

    a bloom of green
    in the incoming waves

    *

    the resurrection
    of last year’s parsley

    *

    a yellow warbler
    follows the wrack line

    1. love this one kristen:
      .
      a bloom of green
      in the incoming waves

      .
      and the parsley one….kristen, did not know they could “resurrect”….as they are annuals….are you referring to self-seeding?????

  54. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    a story behind every name
    on the life list
    *
    life list filling fast
    with spring on a roll
    *
    life list coming along
    with spring on its roll
    *

  55. On advanced planets
    roses not dandelions are weeds
    ###################
    Roses are red, violets are blue, dandelions
    travel more than flowers in vases do
    ###################
    dandelions prefer sidewalk cracks
    over vase prisons for a home
    ###################
    My kites always land
    on roofs, steeples or in cherry trees

      1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Pratima. I was hoping to tap into that bright quality. Thank you for your kind words. Take care.

  56. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    .
    awakening the spring
    in a dead leg
    .
    awakening the spring
    in his dead leg

  57. Excellent verse Marion !!!! & Thank you John for all your effort
    *****************************************************
    flat out with the top down
    for the full blown affect
    ***********************
    now with longer days
    to mull things over
    *****************
    pennies from heaven
    to fill the change jar
    ********************
    between a winter rye
    and summer wheat
    ********************
    running from our shadows
    beneath the hazy moon
    ***********************
    airing out a house
    full of grievances

    1. Hi Michael Henry! airing out a house/full of grievances. I’m thinking that you could add another line & transform that into a senryu if you haven’t already. It lingers with me. Wishing you a happy day in St. Augustine! We’re heading out to Florida in February. Can’t wait! I think it has something to do with the cold & the snow here. ha Take care.

        1. You’re very welcome, Michael Henry. I tell ya- I’m still thinking about your ‘airing out old grievances’ verse. It’s really special. It makes me laugh. It also causes me to reflect on the complicated nature of human relationships. And oh- I’m one of ‘those people’ not on FB or any other social media. ha Thank you though. Happy writing!

    2. michael—that last one is a keeper….i agree with maureen!
      haiku quality….
      but maybe not up beat enough for this last round of renku.

  58. Congrats, Marion! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to post sooner. ‘Tis a wonderful verse. I am reminded of a thousand things! I love that you brought a literary reference to the renku. It’s one of my favorites. Thank you, John, for another excellent commentary. Your words help me to appreciate each verse even more. Take care, and happy writing & reading to all!

  59. Congratulations, Marion. Very fitting. It’s subtle, and it was an inspired idea of yours to bring in a shade of the old Master. (The other cherry blossom haikiu by Basho I really like is the one where they’re falling in the fish salad and everywhere else , too. 🙂 )

  60. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    .
    romping home first
    at the cheese race

  61. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    spring full of two-fers
    like cilanto-coriander
    *
    giving the lemon balm carte blanche
    to run wild
    *
    counting the days
    to the first sweet basil
    *

    1. i love growing herbs, and adding them to cooking and fresh salads and using their scents in homemade heat/cooling pads, too! Laurie….

      your two-fer is also a three-fer….some people eat the roots, as well as the leaves, as well as using the seed of coriander for flavouring/spicing. Amazing how the entire plant is used!!!!

      .

      and yes, lemon balm is in the mint family and as such will take-over with out a hint.

      1. Thankyou, Pratima, alas, it my be too close to the ‘starry night toad’ for such a short session,
        but a thought, nonetheless 🙂

        1. Funny- I didn’t even think of that. So many connections to keep track of with this poetry form. I say set it aside for a future renku. It just might be the perfect fit. Or add another line & transform it into a haiku! It’s certainly a great snapshot of the natural world.

          1. I like the idea to transform it to a haiku, Maureen, this linked verse certainly makes me see things in many different ways.
            As we’re having a mild winter, so far, I’ll be keeping an eye-out for the spawn next month. I have seen some many years back in January.

        2. Hi Carol. I’m so glad you are open to transforming your verse into a haiku. I can ‘see’ it already. I hope to read it in a journal someday. It also reminds me of that famous frog splash in the pond! Yes, writing renku verses is very helpful in many ways- in writing other poetry forms & in paying even closer attention to the natural world. And frog spawn in January? Wow, that’s something special. Take care.

          1. As always, I’ll have help via a workshop with this, Maureen, I’ve had help with a Haibun on the same theme 🙂

            Heat at that time of year is unwelcome in the agricultural calendar, even nature’s. It gives a false impression that Spring has arrived, and we know full well what ‘could be coming’ That year the temperature plummeted in March, the plants and hibernating animals had such a shock. But this is nature way, cruel, but still a novice by human standards.
            You too, take care.

  62. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    * *

    kites in a tangle
    the display team practice some more

  63. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    fountains springing up
    with a burst of applause
    *
    a bee in the bonnet
    and more in the field
    *
    smoothing the ground
    with the best cedar mulch
    *

    1. REVISION:

      under a cherry tree
      a thousand things
      come to mind

      Marion Clarke

      My mind enjoys wandering
      slowly down Memory Lane

  64. Grazie per la menzione del mio versetto, John.
    Complimenti a Marion per la sua bellissima immagine di primavera .

    1. The option of including a verse in another language (with an English translation) was, and is, tempting.

      1. Not wanting to jump on the band wagon, John, would you allow me to add a welsh version of my last post.
        Welsh doesn’t have the allure of Italian or French, mind.

  65. What wonderful contributions there were, and Marion’s is a truly perfect choice! Congratulations, dear Marion!
    .
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    .
    Marion Clarke

  66. *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    saying it all
    with a loveliness of ladybugs
    *

  67. A lovely verse, and a true and inspiring one! Congratulations to Marion, and thanks to John.
    *
    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke
    *
    no need for lessons
    in how to see auras
    *
    robins’ egg blue
    no longer just metaphor
    *
    finalizing the plans
    for the pollinator garden
    *
    moving the thyme from the window
    to the garden
    *

  68. Lovely, Marion…

    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind
    – Marion Clarke

    how gingerly young beachcombers
    hold up each broken shell
    – Betty Shropshire

      1. betty…i really like this one!
        to me it speaks to the enthusiasm of children in discovery.
        perhaps they will be the future archeologists?
        embedded in verse is an automatic comparison between old and young.

        1. Thanks, Wendy! That was my thought, too re: the young and old. But, the rhyming of ‘mind’ and ‘find’ may be a problem as I read through the renku…I usually hit ‘submit’ a mite too soon. 😊

    1. Hi Betty! I hope you are okay and having some better days. I hope the renku is still helping you get through it all. Just wanted to let you know that your first version especially touches me. I adore the idea of an appreciation for brokenness, for imperfection. In ourselves & in the world.

      1. Hi Maureen! Thank you! I’m so grateful for your thoughts and concern. Am still a week away from finding out what kind & how many radiation treatments the docs will recommend. So, this renku has been an absolute godsend in keeping my mind occupied…love participating and following everyones’ verses…it’s such great fun!

        1. You’re very welcome, Betty. I’m always glad to see you posting. Thoughts & prayers are with you. I’m very glad that this renku continues to be a godsend. Yes, keeping the mind occupied is a good thing. Yes, it is great fun. Addicting! ha

  69. Congrats Marion! For me, I like how the “thousand things” alludes to the many blossoms that may be your focus in that moment or that are what are focusing your thoughts. I think a truth like “aiming is easier/than pulling the trigger” could be contemplated there. Maybe a WW2 veteran comes to mind, reflecting on the horrors of that truth under a tree? The thousands of fallen blossoms could themselves each represent one passing thought. A thousand things come to mind …
    ***
    On another note, it appears my M. has gone missing, leaving me with one lonely, lonely R. lol (M. R. Defibaugh vs. R. Defibaugh) … Blossoms are inspiring apparently. Great writing, everyone!

  70. under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke

    *
    dozens of easter eggs
    for the lawn party

  71. YEAH!!!!! congrats marion for a beautifully soft and thoughtful verse. Another wonderful pick, john….and clear commentary. congrats to the poets who were mentioned…as well.

    under a cherry tree
    a thousand things
    come to mind

    Marion Clarke

    1. Thank you so much, Wendy—and of course to John!

      Rather than post lots of thank yous, I’ll do it in one fell swoop if that’s ok. So thanks also to Robert, Betty, Carol, Matt, Laurie, Mary, Angiola and Dan. 🙂

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