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The Renku Sessions: Tawny Jacket – Week 5

 

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.

This week featured one-hundred-sixty-seven offers from forty-one poets. And our comments continue to be constructive, informative and encouraging. Great work, everybody!

Over the past couple of weeks, robust activity on The Haiku Foundation site has resulted in The Renku Sessions being pushed off of the home page before the Tuesday deadline for your offers. Should this happen again, please note that there is a link to “Current Renku Session” just below the currently featured posts. Clicking on this heading will take you to a page that offers, among other things, “Renku Post Archive.” That will allow you to have access to the current posting (and older ones).

Once again, we are blessed with many more comment worthy offers than I have time to present. So many good ones. Here are just a few of them:

playing a game of chess
on my phone

Maureen Virchau

This verse, and several others, suggested for me the “empty room” of the virtual world, in which we spend so much of our time.

the doctor knocks
a second time

Robert Kingston

Is the room empty because the patient has gotten tired of waiting and left? Or perhaps the patient is in there, experiencing a dreadful emptiness in anticipation of bad news.

one tile short
of a triple word score

Michael Henry Lee

The mention of tile suggested, for a moment, that the room may have been a bathroom. But then we are taken somewhere quite different. Games and sports are frequent renku topics.

can you see
the rings of Saturn?

Betty Shropshire

The empty room becomes outer space. The suggested but perhaps no longer visible wisps of smoke are in contrast to the well defined but extremely distant rings of Saturn.

your cologne
makes me weep

Victor Ortiz

Sensual in so many ways, this is very close to being a love verse. In fact, I am tempted to change my plan and start the love verses earlier. I won’t do that, but this sets a good example of the level of sensation we can achieve in our next two (love) verses.

a morning fry-up
lures them from their tent

Marietta McGregor

This is a good setup for love verses. And I like the suggestion of a regional English in the term “fry-up.”

the fire alarm dismantled
for my night to cook

Mary Stevens

The humor is very welcome. We don’t have any humor yet and I have opted for beauty, once again, with my fourth verse selection. So we will want some laughter quite soon. Note how Mary has avoided “smoke alarm” – a bit of renku specific humor there!

chandelier earrings
tickling my shoulders

Liz Ann Winkler

Also beautiful, sensual and an excellent potential setup for the love verses.

 

Our fourth verse is:

seraphim song
of a glass armonica

Autumn Noelle Hall

Beautiful. Musical.

I have taken the liberty of deleting the opening article, just to reduce the repetitive quality of verses and images that say “the this, the that.”

Seraphim are angelic beings, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardor, and purity. My hope is that this will be a perfect setup for bringing us down to earth for our love verses.

 

For our fifth verse, these will be the requirements/considerations:

  • a three-line winter love verse
  • connecting in some way to the fourth verse and in no obvious way to any of the previous verses

A few thoughts about love verses in a renku: they are about love between adult human beings. They are not about love of pets, love of food, etc. They can be romantic, earthy, even explicit. This renku will feature a short sequence of two love verses (fifth and sixth verses). While they will not be written as a narrative, there is a principle of forward motion involved. So, the first of these should not be about the end of a love relationship. Otherwise, we leave ourselves with fewer options for the next love verse.

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

 

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Tuesday, December 17 (New York time zone). On Thursday, December 19, there will be a new posting containing my selection for our fifth verse, some discussion of other appreciated offers, and instructions for composing the sixth verse.

I look forward to seeing your offers!

John

 

This Post Has 223 Comments

  1. a flicker of candlelight
    on fallen snow
    outside the lovers’ window
    *
    heat rises
    as lovers ignite
    the winter candles

  2. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *
    how organized
    this winter tornado
    appears
    .
    wendy c. bialek

  3. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    .
    (a)
    young lovers
    bundled up in grandma’s
    winter quilt
    .
    (b)
    two godfathers
    raising a toast to
    the happy pair
    .

    – Lorin

    1. Yikes, no seasonal reference in (b) ! The winter mood evades me. Today is expected to be 40 Celsius.

      .
      seraphim song
      of a glass armonica
      .

      Autumn Noelle Hall
      .
      all I can hear
      as he lifts me from the ice
      is my heartbeat
      .

      1. i very much like your, “all i can hear” verse, lorin….and maybe it helped you to cool off when you wrote it!
        i do identify how difficult it is to write about something that is so different from what your body is sensing currently.
        .
        when i’m posting poems with brightly coloured flowers and others are talking falling leaves. in az, my garden is still producing herbs and morning glories late in november and october. back in new york, where i spent most of my life….the last morning glory never went beyond the 11th of september. however, with global warming who knows if any pattern will remain as we knew it.

        1. Ah, Wendy…Arizona, close to New Mexico, home of the most comprehensive haiku data base that exists. 🙂
          .
          And I’m from the Deeper South: Melbourne, Australia. Where I should emerge from my ‘cave’ about now and water whatever’s left of my beans and tomatoes.
          .
          I’m happy John has brought renku back to THF. Renku tends to attract participants from all over.
          .
          cheers,

          Lorin

  4. i totally enjoyed autumn’s verse and the education (via the links she supplied) i researched about the instrument invented by franklin…i have always been mesmerized by the sounds that came off individual glasses filled with water but never heard such dynamics coming from this horizontal instrument. i knew of seraphim as they are referenced to in hebrew history.

    “Seraphim are angelic beings, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardor, and purity. My hope is that this will be a perfect setup for bringing us down to earth for our love verses.”

    this quoted by john from intro to this fifth verse.

    because of this last line:

    ” My hope is that this will be a perfect setup for bringing us down to earth for our love verses.”

    i did not offer any verses that brought us back up there…..and my mind had many ideas that included departing…. lovers.

    i very much love the new offer patrick has made…..
    my question is one of clarity?
    should i follow the wishes of the renku leader, John…. should we allow the cherry picking of verses that flow with the same spirit as autumn’s ethereal verse, ….should we shift the theme to branch out and grow in spontaneous fashion as my understanding of renku do, or are partial influences directing this renku to be more of a haiku sequence? i have very limited experience with structured renku.
    other than a recent, poetrypea pod renku….my other experience was over twenty-five years ago, and i knew nothing about this art form. i was quickly kicked out of the group because i refused to honour the leader’s rules for insisting on a shift of subject matter….which i now understand is necessary and distinguishes renku from haiku sequence. i want to learn this form, and learn to work within the rules of the leader….but i’m getting very mixed messages within and among the dynamics of group members, with most likely more experience than i have….do group members have a say in the direction the renku takes…beyond their own verse offering?

    1. Hello Wendy. In my very limited experience with and understanding of renku, it is the sabaki who guides. I’m sure John will have a more definitive answer. The Haiku Foundation did run a very interesting session some time ago, New Calendar, where each successive verse was chosen by the participant whose offer was previously chosen. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it. https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/2017/09/07/the-renku-sessions-new-calendar-36/
      .
      —Marietta

      1. Thanks for your iinut on my post….marietta i await more details as well.
        and i will look at that link you shared…thank you for your reply.

        wendy

      2. Hi Marietta and Wendy and Lorin,

        Thank you to Wendy for posing some excellent questions and to Marietta and Lorin for the informative responses and links. I look forward to following them and learning more about this form.
        *
        I realize I have been (overly, perhaps) prolific in my comments here. It stems from two things–first, my excitement and enthusiasm as I watch other poets respond in so many excellent and intriguing ways to my verse; and second, my personal learning style, which is to comment and question, and then to listen and process any responses to my comments and questions.
        *
        I also really appreciate and learn from other poets’ comments and questions, whether directed at me and my writing, or at other poets and theirs. That John has been so open and encouraging of a free-flowing, in-depth dialogue here is one of the things which has made me most grateful for this unique opportunity. This type of live discussion is rare-to-non-existent in the tanka world (in my personal experience); and it is a privilege to participate.
        *
        I absolutely understand that I in no way have any say–or even input– into which verse is eventually chosen. That is entirely John’s prerogative–and thank goodness for that, as I have little or no idea what makes for the best direction for a renku! We are really fortunate to have John’s experience, expertise and leadership.
        *
        My intention in my communications here has always and only been to make the most of this incredible educational opportunity and to put what I am learning into practice. I am not trying to cherry pick or direct attention to any particular verse; I am merely responding to those that sparked my interest or moved me in some way. I’m very sorry if that has lead to any kind of confusion or aggravation.
        *
        I am happy to refrain from further comment if that is the case for anyone here!
        *
        ~Autumn

        1. Hello Autumn, please keep up the questions and comments! Renku in Japan may have originated as a fast-and-furious game between experienced players, but I’m certainly not in that league. Yours and others’ comments and questions elucidate very useful responses, for me at least. We’re responsible for our own verses ultimately, but I believe we can learn so much from comment about other responses from participants as well as from the responses themselves and from our sabaki’s choice and summing up. It’s such fun to get an inkling into how people’s minds work! I used to read renku scratching my head until I participated in the whole game. I understand your enthusiasm and it’s great!
          .
          — Marietta

        2. autumn you deserve all the accolades for putting forth an exquisite verse and sharing the links to this otherworldly musical instrument. And i am most happy for your work to get included in this renku. you write beautifully, and have a good handle on understanding various meanings in the verses we are sharing here. you are a valued asset to this renku experience….i would never want you to stop sharing your insights here.

    2. Hi Wendy,
      Marietta’s example (that she cites, below yours) was fun. It was based on John’s excellent idea of giving a taste of what it takes to act as sabaki to as many of us as possible. I believe it was an experiment.
      .
      The norm is that there is one sabaki per renku session. In my experience, the sabaki always has the last say as to which verses he/she selects and that’s even among the most understanding and tolerant of them, who aim to teach as they go and encourage questions and comments.
      .

      “….should we shift the theme to branch out and grow in spontaneous fashion as my understanding of renku do, or are partial influences directing this renku to be more of a haiku sequence? ”
      .
      John will be resisting any “partial interests” that might turn this renku to anything even remotely resembling a haiku sequence, as I hope anyone acting as sabaki would.
      .

      Sabaki does the best that can be done in verse choice and has the task of looking backwards and forwards as the renku progresses. Though participants may write their verses spontaneously, renku is not in any sense a spontaneous form: each kind of renku has its stated requirements. John has said that this is “a 12-verse renku”, so it’s likely to be either a Shisan or a Junicho (examples of which I’m sure could be googled up)
      .
      There’s a good introduction to renku by the late John E. Carley, here:
      .
      https://poetrysociety.org.nz/affiliates/haiku-nz/haiku-poems-articles/archived-articles/introduction-to-renku/
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Wow! thanks so much for that wonderful presentation, lorin.
        started reading carley’s words and got so inspired….i wrote about 15 verses. one i just posted.
        i love how carley writes….i did order his book, Renku Reckoner,
        don’t know yet if this same info in your link is also included in the large black and white…numbered covered one. but i just started from the first page. don’t see an exact model the john is doing…here, among the 12 verses….but thanks so much for pointing me this way. and for reassuring me.

        1. Hi Ladies
          Thank you for your comments. I too am new to the form. I have dabbled previously but never grasped it. John’s spoon feeding along with peoples comments and questions is making a huge difference this time. It is also nice that people are laying their cards on the table. Please keep it coming.
          .
          Autumn
          Re conversation on tanka.
          It may not be as detailed as this, but when on FB I belonged to Katha Bella Wilson’s tanka poets on site page. I found the site useful for several other Japanese forms too.
          .

      1. Hi, Marion! Glad that verse gave you a laugh. haha Remembering my downhill skiing days now. No chipped teeth, but lots of bruises along the way!

    1. Hello, Patrick,
      *
      I wanted to applaud your use of the word “visitation,” which has a ghostly quality about it. The glass harmonica has a history of supernatural associations (Mesmer used it to hypnotize his subjects, for example). I wondered whether anyone here might pick up on that. Of course, “visitation” carries other associations, such as funeral wakes and custody arrangements.
      *
      The supernatural and funereal angles especially bring added meaning to your follow-on lines:
      *
      the contours
      of her body
      *
      It allows us to wonder whether this is a spiritual or corporeal being, whether she is hovering midair or laid out in a casket? Is the speaker seeing her curves, or feeling them physically? Love affairs can certainly continue beyond the grave (just ask Heathcliff).
      *
      Because your placement of “visitation” and your ellipses combine to create a pause/break, I’m wondering whether you might be able to come up with an alternative arrangement in order to keep your very powerful conceptual connection in the running.
      *
      Even if not, it’s a hell of a senryu–visceral enough to give me chills. Thanks for sharing it here!
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Bloody autocorrect added the “h” to “armonica” even after I retyped it three times!! Grrrr.
        *
        Would that we could edit posts!!
        *
        ~Autumn

        1. I suggested moving renku to the user-friendly THS Forums, but I’m guessing they want these sessions to attract readers to this site.

      2. This is a humdinger of a verse, and it would be a shame to be out of the running. As John as requested a verse to depict the start of a relationship could this be read as a vision of his wife to be before a proposal of engagement or marriage.
        I’ve seen ellipsis used in many sessions could this be used as an extension to take the reader into his thoughts/dream?
        Loved reading your thoughts on this one.

        1. Hi Carol. I’m interested that you have seen the ellipsis used in renku chains. I’m confused now, because I thought only the hokku of a renku was meant to have a clear grammatical break/pause.
          .
          —Marietta

          1. Hello, Marietta
            When I read the various forms of a renku session within the Late John Carley – renku reckoner, Not only are there M dashes but also ellipsis.
            I find this confusing as it is recommended, as you say, the hokku only has this break or pause.
            .
            in the shisan example- page 65 verse 9 by frank Williams
            .
            train approaching…
            through the narrow gorge
            white rapids roar
            .
            junico example- page 71 verse 7 John Carley
            .
            snow, they say,
            is falling thickly—
            moxa on my skin

            also verse 10-
            .
            early plumb—
            a petal bathed in moonlight
            .
            If these aren’t seen or read as breaks please can anyone explain why, they seem like pauses to me.
            .
            I’ve read the book from cover to cover(and back again) trying to understand this difficult form.
            I’ve also read quite a few session on other sites, it seems they have their own rules 🙂
            I may never truly get the hang of it, however I do enjoy the participation and want to get it right.

    1. I thought the pivot line made it continuous? Maybe more so as a statement:

      jumping your car
      in an ice storm
      the spark between us

    2. i like this one, chris, it checks all the boxes…it’s winter, it’s beginning a romance and links to forth verse….just the break needs to be ironed out…don’t give up!

      1. this went to the wrong place…chris….i was saying this about your post:

        jumping your car
        in an ice storm
        a spark between us?

  5. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    so snowed in
    they turn on
    the hallmark channel

    wendy c. bialek

  6. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    under his lips
    her alabaster white throat
    begins to flush

    deaf to the priest
    goose bumps after saying
    I do

  7. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    music of the spheres
    hand in hand beneath
    winter starlight

  8. coal light-
    she hides the TV remote
    under her side
    .
    they flick a coin
    for the log store run
    silver moon
    .
    sealed lips
    he adjusts her lip gloss – after
    tunnel of love ride

  9. .
    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    .
    .
    eye to eye
    connecting the dots
    on the longest night
    .

  10. .
    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    .
    .
    you have the right to remain silent
    she said in a cold voice
    as she placed him in handcuffs
    .
    (a tribute to the silent h in armonica)
    .

    1. A chilling verse, princess k–one which leaves us to puzzle, “Role play, or reality?”
      *
      There’s no silent “h” in “armonica;” that is the actual name Benjamin Franklin gave to the version of the instrument he invented (see link in comments below). It stems from the Italian for “harmony,” which is “armonia.”
      *
      Tribute appreciated, nonetheless!
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Hi Autumn, and many thanks for your comments. Here is the direct quote from your web page reference that I based my verse on:
        .
        Glass ‘Armonica’ vs. ‘Harmonica’
        These are different spellings of the same instrument…
        .
        Whether or not it is written or pronounced, my mind considers the letter h as a “silent partner” to this word.
        .
        I do agree with the sentiment expressed later in the paragraph, “I think it’s only right to use the name chosen by its inventor for his invention, especially when the inventor is no less than Benjamin Franklin.”
        .
        In any case, just looking for different ways to “link and shift” from the previous verse. Cheers!

        1. That is actually a really unique way to “link and shift,” and one I might not have considered. Thank you for explaining your thought process, as it helps me to expand my own notions of what is possible in renku.
          *
          I hope you didn’t feel fussed at. Many people respond to what appears to be a misspelling of the word, or perhaps a missing apostrophe in an elision, ‘armonica. Since you’d already read the info in the link, I realize that was not the case here. Sorry for overstepping in my desire to clarify.
          *
          ~Autumn

        2. um… Princess, re:
          .
          ” just looking for different ways to “link and shift” from the previous verse. ”
          .
          You may not have intended that “… link and shift from the previous verse”, but I have, this year,come across misinformation regarding ‘link & shift’ in renku so I want to clear it up:
          .
          We link to the previous verse. But we shift completely away from the one before that.
          .
          Though in short renku it can seem that we both link to & shift from the previous verse, “shift” from the verse before the previous verse is the major thing that keeps a renku moving ever forward until the end.
          .
          – Lorin

          1. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this further, Lorin. It seems as though linkandshift is often compressed into a one-word concept, which can certainly cause confusion. I appreciate your straightforward clarification:

            “We link to the previous verse. But we shift completely away from the one before that.”
            *
            Just to make sure my own understanding is accurate: When we “shift,” are we shifting away from only “the verse before the previous verse,” or are we shifting away from ALL the verses before the previous verse? Just based on some of the dialogue here, I’m gleaning that we’re not meant to connect to ANY of the verses before the previous verse (for example, we probably couldn’t reference holly in verse 5, because it might connect to the leaves in the hokku; similarly, we couldn’t reference Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, because they would all connect back to the deer in verse 2).
            *
            If I were to spell what I’m asking out symbolically, it might look like:
            *
            AA
            *
            AB
            *
            BC
            *
            CD
            *
            DE
            *
            EF
            *
            etc.
            *
            with each verse connecting only to the verse immediately previous, but not to any other earlier verses.
            *
            This pattern would then continue on until the very last verse, which if I recall correctly, connects back to the hokku (which, in the unusually short 7 verse renku example above, would make it FA).
            *
            Is that right? (That is if my rendering even makes sense to anyone besides myself!)
            *
            We’re so fortunate to have you here to join John in guiding us through the process!! Some of us would be floundering about in the backwaters of our renku river without you two!!
            *
            ~Autumn

  11. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    sharing favorites
    in a game
    of name that tune
    *
    litmusing
    with a round
    of name that tune
    *
    the off-key
    harmony
    of their carol duet

  12. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    —Autumn Noelle Hall
    .

    twin marshmallows
    toasting into melted
    lusciousness
    .

  13. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    —Autumn Noelle Hall
    .

    his lame excuse
    he was waylaid by
    a will-o’-the-wisp
    .

  14. Oh my, Autumn. Armonica. An instrument I was unfamiliar with. Enjoyed researching it, Lovely verse. Thank you for both.
    .
    .
    resigned to life
    in this earthbound snow scene
    …until our first kiss
    .
    reflected
    in tall frosted windows
    the wedding party
    .
    icy street corner
    the timbre of your voice
    saying hello

    1. Thank YOU, Jackie! I’m so thrilled to have introduced you to such a unique instrument–good on you for researching! Hope you had a chance to listen to an armonica, too!
      *
      I am very partial to “the timbre” of certain voices myself, so I am drawn to your third offering. I’m guessing it would be easy enough to toggle the images around a bit, in order to eliminate that break after L1–if you were of a mind! It’s such a strong sound connection.
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Thank you for reminding me of the renku convention, Autumn. I’ve been too long away from The Blog!
        .
        Not sure I can get away with this play on words (and being too technical may spoil the image) but here’s another version:
        .
        icy winds harmonize
        with the timbre of your voice
        saying hello
        .
        Or :
        (I know a comma will create a break. So does merely eliminating one at the end of L1 achieve the desired effect ?
        .
        on icy air
        the timbre of your voice
        saying hello

        1. Hi, Jackie,

          I am brand spanking new to renku, so I am no authority. But based on what John explained to me in an earlier verse session, if we could put a comma after a clause, it counts as a break. Since we could/would put a comma after the prepositional phrase “on icy air” in a sentence, there is a break whether the comma is included or not. (Please correct me if I am wrong, John!!).
          *
          I’m guessing if you reversed your order, you could easily eliminate the break:
          *
          the timbre of your voice
          saying hello
          on icy air
          *
          Even if you strung that into a sentence, there would be no comma:
          *
          I recall the timbre of your voice saying hello on icy air.
          *
          Since “timbre” and “hello” already imply “voice, ” you could even pare it down further to:
          *
          the timbre
          of your hello
          on icy air
          *
          Hope all this is not overstepping–I am talking myself through this as I go, and your wonderful verse offered a perfect opportunity to consider possibilities that might fit within the renku criteria.
          *
          Thanks for helping me learn the renku ropes!!
          *
          ~Autumn

          1. Well, I’ll be, Autumn! You have put your finger on the perfect solution to the problem with this analysis. I adore “the timbre/of your hello/on icy air.” It is a rewrite that I’m so pleased to see posted to this round. Of course,I won’t submit it for consideration, as it’s an iteration I don’t believe I would have come to without your input. Haikudos to you (my coined word, by the way, hehehe) for your keen observation and lovely suggestion.
            .
            Write on.
            —Jackie

          2. Hi, Jackie–thanks for the haikudos (love that!). Just wanted to say that “re-write” is entirely yours–they’re all your words, I just nudged them a little. I find it harder to “tell” some of my methods of rethinking things than to “show” (especially in a post). I’m guessing you would absolutely have come up with that iteration on your own, if I were a bit better at guiding.
            *
            ~Autumn

            P.S. Hope this ends up somewhere in the vicinity of your post–seems we’ve run out of reply buttons! 😀

  15. Autumn, congratulations on a beautiful verse! I’m enjoying your commentary too.

    he offered me
    oysters but I wanted
    champagne

    he smiled
    and my frozen heart
    shattered

    winter rain on the roof
    and you and I
    drunk with love

    Mimi and Rodolfo touch
    as snow falls
    on Paris

    1. Many thanks, Pauline! I appreciate your reading my (probably all-too-chatty) commentary!
      *
      I love your third offering, which I can only assume is a reference to La Boheme. That Rodolfo is a poet seems particularly appropriate here! It would also make a beautiful haiku in reverse:
      *
      as snow falls
      on Paris
      Mimi and Rodolfo touch
      *
      I realize that order wouldn’t work here, but it seems to not just synchronize the events themselves, it compares the beauty of that touch to the sublimely ethereal scene that is Paris in falling snow. Lovely.
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. You are on the money, Autumn, I was referring to La Boheme which is one of the most romantic and sad of operas. And Paris is the most romantic of cities!

        To be a haiku it would need a break so be written:

        snow falls
        on Paris (–)
        Mimi and Rodolfo touch
        (–) =break

        I’ve been chuckling about our first verse – just change a letter and it reads:

        Autumn leaves
        she sets out in
        her tawny jacket

        1. Hi, Pauline!
          *
          I was actually considering “as” in its simile sense of comparison:
          *
          Mimi and Rodolfo’s touch is as snow falling in Paris
          *
          In this sense, there would be a break, especially if it was written “snow fall” vs. “falls.”
          *
          I really appreciate the chance to have this back-and-forth, as it gives me a glimpse into the different ways we can each interpret the same phrase; this in turn helps me to examine my own writing more carefully for alternative interpretations.
          *
          My husband chuckled at the hokku when he read it as well. One of the no doubt unforeseen bonuses my parents afforded me when they chose Autumn was the incredible number of Asian Short Form poems written about me…HA! XD XD XD
          *
          But hey, sharing my name with Akiko Yosano…? Not too shabby!!
          *
          ~Autumn

  16. *
    matching toques
    and empty snifters
    on the fireside hearth
    *
    his touch
    as light as the falling snow
    on her cheeks
    *
    two hearts etched
    on the frosty morning
    windshield
    *
    ice dancers
    m…e….l……t
    into each other
    *
    a young couple
    hold each other tight
    on the icy sidewalk

  17. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    .
    cousins under
    grandma’s winter quilt
    just warming up
    .
    – Lorin

  18. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    – Autumn Noelle Hall

    a)
    on the mountainside
    we listen to
    the raven’s mating call
    .
    b)
    with her hand on my thigh
    I miss another
    shooting star
    .
    c)
    moon glow
    on our shoulders
    as each robe slips off
    .
    d)
    under a starlight sheet
    she sleeps
    naked

  19. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    ..
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    ..

    melting snow
    where they pause
    to kiss

    ..

    an icicle
    breaks the spell
    of a first kiss

  20. lovely verse Autumn. Am I the only one who thought you’d misspelt harmonica!

    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    *
    carol singing
    with a long scarf
    round both our necks
    *
    ‘Happy Christmas’ she says
    as her zip travels
    down her back

      1. Thank you, Andrew–love that traveling back zipper!
        *
        –and YAY for initiative, Carol! Here’s to looking things up!
        *
        For others who might not have the time:
        *
        “In 1761 Benjamin Franklin was in London representing the Pennsylvania Legislature to Parliament. Franklin was very interested in music: he was a capable amateur musician, attended concerts regularly, and even wrote a string quartet! One of the concerts Franklin attended was by Deleval, a colleague of his in the Royal Academy, who performed on a set of water tuned wineglasses patterned after Pockridge’s instrument. Franklin was enchanted, and determined to invent and build ‘a more convenient’ arrangement.

        Franklin’s new invention premiered in early 1762, played by Marianne Davies—a well known musician in London who learned to play Franklin’s new invention. Initially Franklin named it the ‘glassychord’, but soon settled on ‘armonica’ as the name for his new invention—after the Italian word for harmony “armonia”. Apparently Franklin built a second instrument for Ms. Davies, as she toured Europe with hers, while Franklin returned to Philadelphia with his own.”

        from: https://www.glassarmonica.com/

  21. have we crossed
    from friends to lovers
    under the Ursids?

    are we friends
    or something more
    under the Geminids?

    1. I forgot about Geminids being summer in the southern hemisphere. Apparently Ursids do in fact only appear in the northern hemisphere, but I’m not sure if that qualifies or disqualifies it.

      have we crossed
      from friends to lovers
      in midnight snow?

  22. Congratulations Autumn – a lovely verse.
    .
    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
    .
    .
    searching for plum blossoms
    i chew the yellow
    off of a no. 2
    .
    until it entered my temple
    no thoughts of charcoal
    as a weapon of mass destruction
    .
    the hunger moon
    breathes liquid nitrogen
    into my octopus pot
    .
    .

      1. Hi Pratima, nice to see you here at renku, and thanks so much for your kind words. The verse is of course a reference to Basho’s famous octopus pot hokku (although in the opposite season):
        .
        Octopus pot—
        evanescent dreams
        of the summer moon

        — Basho, Haiku: An Anthology of Japanese Poems by Stephen Addiss and Fumiko Yamamoto
        .
        There are volumes written on this hokku, its various translations and interpretations. Check out the world kigo database for starters, if you are interested: https://wkdkigodatabase03.blogspot.com/2007/03/octopus-tako.html
        .

          1. btw …someone wrote about squids and twisted it a little, wonder who, good one though … very like this one and very not like this one…

            oh, …my mind is a monkey… thanks again though

  23. not the Geminids
    she falls for
    that twinkle in his eye
    *
    Revision:
    the miracle
    of December-December
    cutting the cold in two
    *
    our breath caught
    in unison as Geminids
    streak by
    *

    1. not the Geminids
      she falls for
      that twinkle in his eye
      *
      Laurie Greer
      *
      This is my favorite iteration of this twinkling verse, Laurie! I love the way the second line pivots between the upper and lower lines, and the way the verb “falls” captures the motion of the meteorites as well as the swoon. Really a sweet offering.
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Thank you! I was also after the “twin” in “twinkle” to suggest the Gemini twins. That’s really what started it. The rest was luck.

    1. I love the deceptive simplicity of this verse, Carol. It could be a glimpse of breakfast prep the morning after, which is a clever way to shift time. Or, it could be an oblique allusion to “sowing his wild oats.” In that doubling, it asks us to ask: sweet gesture or steamy scene?
      *
      Makes me look anew at the possibilities of words under words…
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Thank you for your thoughts on this, Autumn. I’m not the cleverest of people when it comes to words, but I do try to portray a double meaning when the mood hits me 🙂

  24. Congratulations, Autumn, such an ephemeral verse, and one that is fitting as a shift from one season into another, short-lived and beautiful. Well done.
    I look forward to reading the responses to your verse.

  25. An interesting comment, John, re Marietta’s
    .
    a morning fry-up
    lures them from their tent
    .

    “This is a good setup for love verses. And I like the suggestion of a regional English in the term “fry-up.” – John
    .
    It’s primarily “regional” to England, Ireland, Scotland. Naturally, regional vernacular travels with immigrants to the new country so it’s not surprising that it should be used by some in Australia and New Zealand. But I’ve never heard it spoken here in my ordinary life, so I don’t think it’s regional in the sense of being an example of Australian vernacular speech.
    .

    – Lorin

    1. You’re quite correct about fry-up’s being a regional English expression, Lorin. And the aroma is the same when cooked by a Welshman in Tasmania. 🙂
      .
      — Marietta

      1. ah, well there ya go. I would leave Wales out. For no other reason, be assured, than it felt like overloading. 🙂
        (Do we still say ‘The British Isles’? I wasn’t sure what was politically correct nowadays. )
        .
        – Lorin

        1. ‘The British Isles’ haven’t seen us referred to that for a long while. After yesterdays voting results I think we can begin to put the ‘U’ back into the UK… hopefully.
          .
          I quite like Welshman in Tasmania 🙂

        2. The British Isles is a geographical description, Lorin, used to describe England, Scotland, Wales and the entire island of Ireland, as well as some smaller surrounding islands.

          The United Kingdom is a political description and includes England, Scotland and Wales only the six counties of Northern Ireland, as Southern Ireland is an independent republic.

          “Great Britain” is the mainland only, comparing England, Scotland and Wales.

  26. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    .
    ice-skating
    with my own hunk
    of burning love
    .
    – Lorin
    .

    1. . . . of this, of that, of mice and men. I’d better do something about my all-too-obvious repetition of Autumn’s 3rd line “of”
      .
      revised to:
      .

      seraphim song
      of a glass armonica
      .
      Autumn Noelle Hall
      .
      ice-skating
      with my hunka hunka
      burning love
      .
      – Lorin
      .

  27. Congratulations, Autumn! These instruments certainly have an unearthly sound and your “seraphim song” is a stroke of genius, imo. 🙂
    .
    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    1. Thank you so much, Lorin–that’s high praise coming from a renku pro like you! What a fantastic learning opportunity this is for me!!
      *
      I like the image of your hunka burnin’ love out there melting the ice–and hearts. Very amusing!
      *
      ~Autumn

  28. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    catching our breaths
    in unison as the Geminids
    streak by
    *
    or?
    catching our breaths
    as the Geminids
    streak by
    *
    This does get harder!

  29. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    frozen rivers
    we’ve etched on each
    other’s faces

    ^^^^^

    champagne flutes
    cracked
    ribald Christmas

  30. I’ll be looking
    at the snow fall
    but I’ll be seeing you
    .
    .
    My winterized version of that famous song.

  31. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *
    the miracle
    of a December-December romance
    cutting the cold in half

  32. Well done, Autumn — so many contenders!
    .
    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    he presents her
    with a champagne diamond
    at the bus stop

    1. Thank you so much, Marion!
      *
      I’d never heard of a “champagne diamond” before–I appreciate your prompting me to seek out some info and pics. I like the contrast between the high-end diamond and the bus stop–very unexpected. Makes me want to know why he chose that spot to present the…ring? Is that where they met, perhaps?
      *
      I was wondering whether it might open the poem and up the intrigue (as well as eliminate the “her” pronoun, which might connect back to the hokku?) to pare your verse down to:
      *
      he presents
      a champagne diamond
      at the bus stop
      *
      It lets that unique diamond stand alone and sparkle for a moment, too!
      *
      Lots of promise here!
      *
      ~Autumn

  33. Indeed, a lovely sounding verse!

    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    – Autumn Noelle Hall

    sharing my first
    anything with a man
    as the snow falls
    – Betty Shropshire

      1. Hi, Marion! So glad to see you posting again. Thanks so much for letting me know. Been trying to tap into some renku humor over here. haha Hope all is well. Happy reading & writing & painting!

        1. Yes, all good, thanks, Maureen. I’ve been busy editing a book, so I kept missing the renku deadline — but that’s finished now, so fingers crossed. 🙂

          1. Ohhhhh good- glad all is well. Editing a book? Impressive. Yes, fingers & toes crossed!

      1. Oh wow- thanks so much, polona! Thanks for letting me know it gave you a laugh. That verse took many forms along the way & I’m so glad this version works. haha Hope you are doing well. Thanks for all your enthusiasm you bring to the renku party. Happy writing!

  34. Congratulations Autumn
    ***********************
    our snow day
    interrupted by
    various children
    ***************
    our snow angels
    intersecting at all
    the right angles
    ***************
    a toast to the
    inventor of snow shoes
    and condoms

    1. Thank you, Michael. I like your snow angel image a lot. Every couple years, I’m compelled to flop down and make one, just because…I left the last one at the base of one of our mountain waterfalls.
      *
      Your word play between “angels” and “angles” is really fun and interesting, too. I especially like that it’s a “right angle,” or 90 degrees. From the perspective of lying on the horizontal ground, that would make for a perpendicular intersection with the sky-realm, which a couple on their backs would naturally be looking up into. It’s sweet to think of the seraphim looking back down on them in that moment.
      *
      ~Autumn

  35. .
    she reads a sign
    in the halo of snowflakes
    on his hair
    .
    the strong grip
    of his thighs over hers
    on the toboggan
    .

  36. his fork winds
    spaghetti while he perfects
    their death spiral

    wendy c. bialek

    *death spiral is a figure-skating technique done in duo/pair ice skating.

  37. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *
    his blown kiss
    melts a snow flake
    on her lower lip
    .
    wendy c. bialek

    Starting over, still new at this….hoping this respects the rules to keep things universal.

  38. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *
    his blown kiss
    melts a snow flake
    on her lower lip
    .
    wendy c. bialek

    Starting over, still knew at this….hoping this respects the rules to keep things universal.

  39. John, just a quick question, please. I’m just wondering about how local our renku will be. Christmas and winter don’t go together for Aust, as of course you know. We’re two weeks out and it’s high summer and 39°Celsius! 😁 We do have deer and autumn leaves down here, although they’re both exotics! — Marietta

    1. I’m glad you mention this, Marietta. During our third week, I said, “We have a special challenge here because we are writing as a world-wide group and northern hemisphere holidays associated with autumn occur during spring in the southern hemisphere. While we are going to have images that reflect local flora or fauna from different parts of the world, I would like to keep the season references as inclusive as climate variations will allow.”
      .
      The same applies to all seasons, which are one thing north of the equator and the opposite south of it. I won’t be selecting a winter verse that uses a calendar date as a season reference (e.g. Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day) but I will consider using winter images relating to things that would be wintry, whether occurring north or south, even if they do not occur in all climates. So, for instance, snow, ice skating, mittens, etc. are fair game for our purposes.

  40. Very ethereal, Autumn! How to come down to earth? 🙂

    twirling their forks
    they feed each other
    angel hair pasta
    .
    Or:

    just like Tom Jones
    only this time
    with angel hair pasta
    .

    1. I LOVE this, Marietta–angel hair pasta is such a clever and fun way to connect to seraphim! And, synchronistically, it is also my very favorite pasta (next to ancini de pepe, which is basically angel hair strands cut into tiny little balls). I really like the dizzying motion of your twirling forks and the mutual feeding in the first iteration. This verse is so charming and sweet, but also so humble and real. Relatable, down-to-earth romance tugs my heartstrings so much more than the Prince Charming fantasy variety…
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Hello Autumn, I’m so glad you like the pasta and the verse! Thanks! And thank you for giving your thoughts. It’s great to know how an offering hits the spot and why, as it’s a bit of a struggle to think my way into winter right now!
        .
        Cheers from warm Australia, Marietta

  41. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *
    his eyes sparkle
    upon caroler’s
    porcelain skin

    .
    wendy c. bialek

  42. Congratulations, Autumn and thank you, John. I love such an ethereal and fragile link to our first love verse.

    1. Thank you, Liz. I loved your chandelier earring verse, too. When I read it this again morning, I was certain it was our 4th verse (especially as it was the last one in John’s line up), and I immediately started musing on how to connect to it. I kept reading, anticipating the instructions for verse 5. So I was more than a little surprised to find my own verse in their place!
      *
      Your toboggan verse is a very strong offering, in every sense. I like the rugged sensuality it brings in, as well as your choice of the word “toboggan,” which comes from the Micmac tongue in Canada, and “grip,” which is a nice, muscular verb. It’s fun to read aloud, too!
      *
      ~Autumn

    2. Hi, Liz Ann! Just wanted to say that I adore your “chandelier earrings” verse as well. It lingers with me, and I hope you can find a way to include those lines in a haiku or any other poetry form for publication. Take care, and happy writing!

  43. seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    fingers meeting
    on the Advent calendar’s
    glittery window
    *

    1. Laurie–I really like the tactile nature of this verse. I can feel the scritchiness of the glitter when I read that last line. I also like the tentativeness of just fingers touching, which does a good job of conveying the earliest stages of romance. There is also a nice sense of anticipation as we wait to see what’s behind that window!
      *
      A fun, lighthearted offering!
      *
      ~Autumn

    1. This was my husband and I on one of our first dates–arm-in-arm, him having just arrived in Colorado from Hawaii in slick-bottomed penny loafers, and me in some of the last high-heeled boots I’ve ever owned, trying-and-failing to walk in two feet of fresh snow in downtown Denver. We could not stay upright, and we could NOT stop laughing; it was utterly ridiculous. And it’s also one of my most joyful memories of us.
      *
      Thanks for reminding me with your happy snap-shot capture of just such a moment; I love the internal rhyme of “slide” and “ice”, the enjambment of “two”–and the last line is PERFECT.
      *
      Question for John–we could technically put a comma after “ice,” but it falls in the middle of a line (rather than at the end)–does it still count as a cutting-word type break? Just wondering…
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Autumn,

        Yes, that would constitute a break. But I am trying to impart information here without harping on it. If we were writing for a competition, or even for publication somewhere else, I might want to do more than mention these things. As it is, my primary objective is fun, with education being the immediate second objective.
        .
        Patricia is a renku leader in her own right and each of us has different aspects of renku that we wish to emphasize. There are so many to choose from. One of my goals for this entire series is to present a number of different renku leaders and the differing focus each of us brings. The thing I am personally interesting in imparting (after “first is has to be fun”) is that a renku is not a haiku sequence. The verse that resembles a haiku, as we practice haiku in English, is only the first verse (the hokku). And one of the things that makes that so is the fact that it, and only it, has a cut within it. Since almost everyone who comes to English-language renku comes to it through English-language haiku, it can take some reminders for haiku poets to forgo the cut or break in verses after the hokku.

        1. Thank you for all of this, John. I think your emphasis on the fun is what has pulled me in and piqued my interest in a form I had previously avoided–much appreciated! It has also given a long-sought jump-start to my somewhat stalled creative impulse–even more appreciated!!
          *
          Because I am so new to renku, I am in the “learn the rules” phase; I know from experience with other forms how important it is to do this first, in order to be able to break them well later! 😀
          *
          I love Patricia’s slippery verse–it has great rhythm, and the giggles are contagious. Because she is the consummate haiku poet, I figured of all people, Patricia might know where the wiggle room was regarding sneaking a break in here or there. So I just wanted to clarify for my own edification.
          *
          I don’t mean to be running with scissors here…:D
          *
          ~Autumn

  44. Congratulations Autumn.
    Thank you John for including one of mine in your write up.
    Congratulations all, I enjoyed reading everyone’s and found the many journeys interesting .
    .
    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
    .

  45. wonderful poem selection….John and gorgeous creation autumn!

    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica
    .
    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *

    heart reverbs
    under a mistletoe
    kiss
    .
    wendy c. bialek

    1. Thank you so much, Wendy!
      *
      I like the classic image here–who doesn’t want to be kissed under the mistletoe?! I hope you won’t mind my sharing a notion here: what would happen if you replaced the double syllabled “reverbs” with something shorter, like “skips?” I couldn’t help thinking about all those “sss” sounds sizzling through the lines, and how the read-aloud rhythm would mimic the heart skipping-a-beat. It also might lighten the mood of the verse, as “reverbs” conveys a sense of heavier vibrations (think wobble bass in dub step).
      *
      It’s your kiss–you decide!!!
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. hi autumn,

        not sure this poem even qualifies for this renku…since john said he wouldn’t be taking things that are christmasy for winter season word….since it is not universal.
        *
        but here are more versions: for you to entertain….( know you must be super snowed in by now & have much time on your hands)

        to connect to the music:
        *
        hearts sync
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        *
        hearts spin
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        *
        to connect to the winged ones:

        hearts fly
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        and

        hearts flutter
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        *

        hearts flare
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        *
        hearts flirt
        under a mistletoe
        kiss
        .
        wendy c. bialek

        1. heart skips
          under a mistletoe
          kiss
          .
          wendy c. bialek and autumn collab

          and not to skip out on this….marv. collab.

          1. HI, Wendy! It is indeed snowy here tonight, so your heart-warming offerings are just the thing! I particularly like “hearts flirt” and “hearts flare.” Isn’t is something the difference one little word shift can make in the sound and mood and meaning? I also like the phrase you used to introduce your second connection: winged ones. How else might that one fly? 😀
            *
            Thanks for the nod to the “collab”–so fun to write with you here!
            *
            ~Autumn

    1. This is a beautiful image, Maureen. I always admire motion in poetry, and you have captured both the falling snow and tender hand movement here. I very much like the way “our” in the second iteration conveys the sense of sentimental possessiveness we have for those “firsts” in any intimate relationship (first romantic kiss, first baby steps). I also like how tactile your verse is–I can feel the snow on my face and the hand in my hair. Lovely.
      *
      ~Autumn

      1. Hi, Autumn! Thank you so very much for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness. So glad it touched you. Your verse is most inspiring. Take care, and happy writing!

  46. wonderful poem selection….John and gorgeous creation autumn!

    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall

    *

    heart reverbs
    after mistletoe
    kiss

    wendy c. bialek

  47. congratulations, Autumn–a love-ly verse.
    seraphim song
    of a glass armonica

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    looking in
    at the tree
    stranded in lights

    *
    hands and hearts
    warm
    with mulled wine
    *

  48. Congratulations, Autumn! Such a beautiful verse. An excellent setup for the love verses, John.
    .
    .
    your devilish grin
    as you make
    another snowball

  49. Wow, John–I was not expecting such a lovely wake-up surprise this morning! Thank you so much for including my seraphim verse in our renku. With so many amazing possibilities among the contributions this time, I am very honored that mine was chosen.
    *
    I am actually glad that you dropped “the,” as I was wondering about articles piling up. I wrote it that way just to follow suit. But I think the verse is stronger and more ethereal without it. Thank you for that astute edit!
    *
    There are a number of glass armonica videos available on YouTube, for anyone unfamiliar with this astounding instrument. I had in mind the spinning bowl version invented by Benjamin Franklin. But there are other versions that use wine glasses. There is even one video of a Philip Glass duet that features both types. The sound is quite haunting, and at one time was thought to drive people insane.
    *
    I can’t wait to see how everyone will connect to that sound!
    *
    Many thanks and congratulations to all the other favorites this round!
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. a beautiful verse, Autumn, and wow, that is a fascinating instrument!
      isn’t it great that one can have fun and learn new things while participating in a renku composition! 🙂

      1. Thank you, Polona! Isn’t that armonica sound otherworldly?! And YES, it is amazing to be able to participate and learn on so many different level–and from so many fantastic poets all over the world. Best Christmas gift EVER!
        *
        ~Autumn

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Pratima.
        *
        Your “kissing a cold fish” offering above makes me curious–is that a literal tradition? If so, I’d never heard its like before! I was thinking that “cold fish” can also have the double-meaning of someone (usually a woman) who is neither receptive nor prone to sensual/sexual expression; it’s another way of saying “frigid.” I was wondering whether you used it intending this innuendo?
        *
        ~Autumn

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