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The Renku Sessions: Tawny Jacket – Week 6

 

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-fifty-three offers from thirty-five poets.

Before I begin to highlight some of this week’s offers, I want to share a thought about the difference between renku verses and haiku. The following comes from The Penguin Book of Haiku, by Adam L. Kern.

“…meaning is scarcely limited to individual verses. Rather, the link (tsukeai) is the thing. The art resides less in any individual verse that in how that verse links or will come to be linked to its surrounding verses. A player needed to pick up on some aspect of the previous verse, either latent or superficial, riff on it, cast it in a new light, thereby changing the perception of that verse itself.” (pg 3)

 

Here are a few of the verses that caught my fancy this time:

the strong grip
of his thighs over hers
on the toboggan

Liz Ann Winkler

This one brings us down to earth. The “strong grip” contrasts with the light touch with which one plays a glass harmonica.

 

a toast to the
inventor of snow shoes
and condoms

Michael Henry Lee

The glass armonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin. The inventions of snow shoes and condoms are harder to credit to a single individual (as is the case with a renku), but Charles Goodyear is mentioned as contributing to the modern form of the latter.

 

hypnotized
by my ski instructor’s
rhythmic hips

Maureen Virchau

There is a connection between the glass armonica and “Mesmerism.” But ethereal sounds are not the only gateway to hypnotic suggestion!

 

sharing my first
anything with a man
as the snow falls

Berry Shropshire

Interesting how suggestive evasion can be at times.

 

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

Laurie Greer

I appreciate the way in which Laurie has gotten around my note that we won’t be able to use a calendar reference to establish season. “December” in this instance is not a time of year but a time of life. A similar thing applies to “the cold.”

 

I’ll be looking
at the snow fall
but I’ll be seeing you

Maureen Virchau

This is beautiful and very poetic. The reference to a popular song is an interesting linking strategy.

 

their romance
revolves around
ice fishing?

Chris Patchel

I enjoyed the idea of this so much that I couldn’t help playing with it a bit, myself. I also like the idea of adding a question and the inflection it denotes.

 

he offered me
oysters but I wanted
champagne

Pauline O’Carolan

Written in the past tense, this recasts the previous verse as a result; as if to say he offered me something physical but I wanted something lighter – and that’s how I got the seraphim song.

 

 

Our fifth verse is:

ice-skating
with my hunka hunka
burning love

Lorin Ford

Music is the link but what a shift! I think of a skating rink and the popular oldies they sometimes play. And, as a love verse, I might either think of this as an older couple, perhaps being careful about falling, or as a suggestion about how young people look for ways to be together that are less intensely specific than “dating,” preferring, instead, to “hang out” together.

 

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

  • a two-line love verse
  • without a season reference
  • connecting in some way to the fifth verse and in no obvious way to any of the previous verses
  • transforming our sense of the fifth verse
  • an indoor image, perhaps nighttime

 

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

 

 

Please enter your verse offers in the comments box, below. I will be reviewing these offers until midnight on Tuesday, December 24 (New York time zone). On Thursday, December 26, there will be a new posting containing my selection for our sixth verse, some discussion of other appreciated offers, and instructions for composing the seventh verse.

I look forward to seeing your offers!

John

 

This Post Has 268 Comments

    1. Season’s Greetings to you and everyone, Robert.
      .
      I can’t help wondering if you might mean a sloe gin?
      .
      “Sloe gin is a British red liqueur made with gin and sloes. Sloes are the fruit (drupe) of Prunus spinosa , a relative of the plum.”
      .

      Or whether you’re punning? Sloe gin certainly seems like a Christmasy thing to me. We had our refreshing but normal gin & tonics yesterday, a sunny, hot day in the shade of the Gardens. 🙂 (now it’s the morning of Boxing Day, cooler but and overcast and smoky)
      .
      —-

      1. We had a couple of sloe gins with ice and soda water last night—very pleasant they were too!

        “Slainte”, “Cheers” and best wishes of the festive season to all!

  1. the new hound dog puppy’s
    oooOOOOOOooooOOOoo
    *
    😀
    *
    I know, it probably connects back to the deer via four legs. But we just brought home a little vision-impaired Red Merle Aussie pup, our one and only Holly jolly Christmas present to one another (we’ve named her Holly of course), so I couldn’t resist. How good it is to have the great big complicated world shrink down into one furry little bundle of unconditional love, even for a moment.
    *
    Wishing each of you whatever brings you joy and fills your heart with peace…
    *
    Autumn
    *
    P.S. Thank you John, for donning the Santa Suit to bring all of us the gift of the next verse!

    1. as holly’s world just got big and warm…with a family that will take care of seeing all her wants and needs.

      enjoy this special winter with her/or him.

      1. Many thanks Wendy and Carol for your kindness and warmth. I will be sure to give Holly pats from both of you…
        *
        Merry Christmas!
        *
        ~Autumn

    2. What a lovely thing, Autumn. I’m sure you’ll make Holly’s life a joy.
      .
      I wondered what the breed was , so I looked it up. By the photo of the adult dog (standing up, catching a shoe in mid-air)
      .

      https://thehappypuppysite.com/red-merle-australian-shepherd/
      .
      I can tell that the breed has a mainly Border Collie lineage. Border Collies are the cleverest sheep dogs, love to be trained to do things. I’ve known Border Collies in suburban areas who’d go down to the shops alone with a basket and return with fresh bread, the newspaper or whatever) athletic , very energetic, active and lots of fun, very lovable. They are usually black & white, but some are red & white. (We think of them as Australian dogs but they actually came from the UK, the border in the name being that between Northern England & Scotland.)
      .
      beach cricket —
      a border collie
      at silly mid-on
      .
      – Lorin Ford (Windfall 2, 2014)
      .
      Border Collies are excellent fielders, once trained to bring the ball back. 🙂
      .
      Oddly, the so-called ‘Australian Shepherd’ breed, which seems to have mainly Border Collie lineage, too, isn’t Australian at all but was bred in the USA in the mid-nineteenth century.
      .
      🙂

      1. Merry Christmas, Lorin!
        *
        Holly is already making MY life a joy–the happiness quotient has skyrocketed since she came home (despite sleep deprivation, squeaky toys underfoot and being out under the cold stars at 3 am!). She is sooooo funny and mischievous (a breed characteristic, by the way–one of which I am oddly fond). And she’s a quick study, too. She found her way down the hallway to my office by herself today (even though she’d not been that way before), I think by following the sound of my keyboard (and maybe my scent). She can see a little out of one of her eyes, but just shadows, we think. She puzzled over her own shadow as the sun was dropping outside this afternoon. The angle made her into a very big dog indeed. She kept cocking her head and sniffing, as though looking for the mysterious canine whose dark outline she perceived.
        *
        My husband was just reading that genetically, Australian Shepherds (which were indeed developed here in America) are most likely descendants of Basque and German herding dogs (like the Great Pyrenees). Some people think they were called “Aussies” after a breed of Australian sheep which were imported here. They are stockier than border collies, and more calm (in my experience); and most, including Holly, have docked tails. They have amazing coats that just shed water and mud and dust and resist burrs and other clingers-on. And they are one of the few dogs that will take on and kill coyotes, which is one of the reasons they were so popular here in the West during the late 19th century.
        *
        All that to say we are extremely lucky to have come by her, and that her other senses are more than making up for her lack of vision!
        *
        Thanks for your interest! The story about the border collie running the shopping errands is just astounding!! We are considering getting Holly certified as a Therapy dog down the road, and taking her to our library for their Paws to Read program (they have kids with reading difficulties read aloud to dogs, because they tend to feel less intimidated than when they have to read to people). I think it would be great for kids with disabilities to meet a dog with a disability of her own! Thanks for sharing your sweet haiku, too!! “Silly” is the perfect word to describe Aussies as well (another trait I’m oddly fond of…).
        *
        Hoping some of our chilly mountain air reaches your scorching neighborhood soon…
        *
        Big smiles,
        *
        ~Autumn

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah Peace and Love To You All
    *******************************************************

    their season decided
    by fourth and inches

    1. Hello Mary, I did a post this morning and pressed the website bar instead of the post comment, and tried again, bingo, maybe this is the reason.

    2. I, too, had problems getting my post to work a few days ago. Tried over again a few times and then it worked. I suspect (but don’t know) that it might happen when more than one person is trying to post at exactly the same time.
      .

  3. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    *
    Lorin Ford

    *

    TCB
    from top to bottom

    .
    wendy c. bialek

    .
    or
    .
    taking care of business
    from top to bottom

    .
    wendy c, bialek

    1. TCB
      24/7
      .
      wendy c. bialek
      .
      or
      .
      taking care of business
      24/7

      .
      wendy c. bialek
      .
      or

      taking care of business
      twenty four/seven

    1. Could kisetu be a backlink to Autum’s armonica, as it’s music related?
      .
      Just a thought Wendy, not a criticism.

      1. hi carol, i used this term to mean “the climate changes”

        where did you find it as a reference to music?

        1. Ah! I can see where you are coming from, Wendy with the link you have provide, I never seem to get my links to work, I was looking at the free live streaming on Amazon.
          The joys of searching 🙂
          .
          Interesting link, I’ll be having a closer look at that, thankyou.

          1. this can happen so easily, carol….and i bet it won’t be the last of it.
            .
            when i don’t know a word…i use google and ask for definition….otherwise….i am flooded with all things trending.
            .

            this does bring up an interesting point when it comes to renku.
            .
            when i lived in ny, we had a restaurant called “shiki”. now, if someone was not familiar with the poet….and i used it in a verse….they might think i was talking about the quaint, japan. dining place…..what makes it more interesting is that there is also a perfume named, shiki.
            .
            context may be helpful in discerning verse meaning….but iy may not always be clear.
            .
            since i am new to renku writing….should i always include a link or definition for anything that may be less commonly known?

      1. Certainly is cute. Sounds like a small child sneezing, made me smile.
        .
        As there’s no more ‘post’ to answer you, Wendy, I’ll pop it in here.
        .
        I don’t know if you look through the archives, but there are many links to words the participants have use. Some may say it detracts from the flow of reading, yes I can see that, but I for one also think it enhances the depth and learning of each session.
        .
        We have the answers of new found words at our fingertips so I don’t feel a link to accompany a verse is necessary, and a link Lorin has posted above is great.
        My reaction ‘ah, clever girl/boy’

  4. .
    .
    thirty bees short of tupelo
    a grist of priscillas
    .
    let me hang you
    in black velvet
    .
    4 ½ lesbians
    groovin’ up slowly
    .
    his stated preference for hi-fi
    on the b-side
    .
    full of french ticklers
    the ducktail served on a platter
    .
    who in their right mind would sip
    three fingers of vintage wax?
    .
    .

    1. a silk parachute to hang from
      “silent night”
      ..
      thirty pieces of dried grist
      space is real black
      ..
      it doesn’t matter what you eat
      with eyes closed shut
      —-
      the beats had a way to stay
      Jack is back

      ohkaaay, now I am bored…

  5. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    *
    Lorin Ford

    *
    even basho
    scratched them off

    .
    wendy c. bialek

      1. thank you pratima….smiles are welcomed, and contagious…so i am smiling back a you.
        .
        i like “shook” better…..past tense of shake.
        shook….one of the things that elvis did when he preformed.
        .
        however….basho is associated with specific season(s)…so it may not qualify here.

    1. this is so “ouch, holy smokes!”…Really, really, well done (burnt) Betty! LOL…I keep coming back to this one. Great link and shift.

  6. Hi John
    it occurs to me that your usual day for selecting the next verse will be Christmas day (uk time anyway). I hate to think of you missing out on any festivities with family or friends and spending the time instead sifting through 150 or so potential renku links.
    If your posting is a day or 2 later than usual, that’s fine by me and I hope everyone else. That egg-nog won’t drink itself.
    Happy Christmas all.

    1. Thank you, Andrew. That’s very thoughtful of you. It won’t be a problem, though. I do some of the work each day; compiling a complete file of verse offers, marking those that seem especially interesting and thinking about what I might say about them. Today and tomorrow I will begin a draft post, leaving me a chance on Wednesday morning to add in any late Tuesday entries that I wish to comment upon and possibly select. The selection of the next verse and a few comments on it will be the last missing pieces. Then I will log into the THF site and actually enter the post for a next day release. In all, I should have less than two hours of work on Christmas morning. All of it pleasant.

    2. Thanks, John. It looks like you have everything organized.
      .
      I wish you and everyone involved in this renku a happy and peaceful Christmas with lots of relaxation and ease.
      .
      Today is Tuesday/ Christmas Eve morning for me in Melbourne. It’s late Monday afternoon in New York and almost 10:30 pm on a Monday in London. I enjoy checking out the World Clock. 🙂
      .
      https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

      1. It’s Tuesday, Christmas Eve morning 6.50 am here (in my kitchen) in the UK.
        .
        Thank you for the seasonal greeting, Lorin.
        Wishing you all Pease and Goodwill.

    1. ashes I can’t give up
      on the closet shelf
      .
      Grrrr. those cuts. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I have just re-read every post for the third time. Thank you all for your comments and the back and forth that has been going on between the contributors and with John. I know nothing about this form and have been very confused (not hard to do) but I think I am seeing things a little clearer. Someone (Autumn or Lorin, I think) mentioned taking notes….ahhhh. I’ve started that now. Great idea, thank you!!

  7. I’m just joining in, nice to see the return of the renku sessions and seeing this renku unfold. So many lovely offerings. Here is my first contribution:

    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love

    Lorin Ford

    foggy windows
    the car begins to sway

    1. Sorry forgot to add something to make line breaks online…
      *
      ice-skating
      with my hunka hunka
      burning love
      *
      Lorin Ford
      *
      foggy windows
      the car begins to sway

  8. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    *
    just when he thinks
    he’s got her figured out
    *
    full points for difficulty
    and well executed components
    *
    earning bonus points
    for difficulty
    *
    scoring high
    for fluid transitions
    *

    1. uninspired perhaps
      something will come later?

      you wrote it and did not see it? what are you feeling so quiet for? cheerup it is Kissmousse

    2. Thanks, Princess. Just have a go, with your tongue firmly in your cheek if need be. 🙂 You’ve got nothing to lose. This is actually the first “love” verse I’ve ever had accepted in a renku, and I assure you it was unexpected, so you never know.
      .
      John Carley is down in history for saying that Basho passed the love verses off on his mates and co-writers. Also for saying he, himself, was crap at them and preferred to avoid them. (Yes that is the word he used 🙂 )
      .

  9. ice skating
    with a hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    cross words melting
    under his soft lips
    .
    Spring kigo?
    .
    cross words dissolve
    with his soft kiss

  10. no words can describe
    what she’s feeling inside
    *********************
    so let’s cut to the chase
    and put this to bed
    *******************
    she who hesitates
    is lost he said

  11. when he asks who I’m texting
    I read him my renku verses
    .
    Totally true — happened just now! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. 🙂 Great linking, here, imo, Marion. “Pelvic thrusts” indeed. It may be the full thing, or it may be the fully clothed, dance-type thrusts that the younger Elvis was renowned for. The ambiguity is just right, in my view.
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Thank you, Lorin— I was hoping it wouldn’t be read as being too crude. Yes, you are correct. I was thinking of the nickname, Elvis the Pelvis and his moves in addition to the art of lovemaking itself, but also those pelvic floor exercises you are encouraged to do after giving birth lol.

    2. It doesn’t come across as crude to me, Marion. For me- your verse actually made me think of teenagers gathered around the TV imitating the King’s famous moves. Whole lotta shakin’ going on! You can guess what song I’m listening to now. haha

  12. Nice one, Lorin — it made me smile. 🙂
    .
    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    I ask him to turn the photo
    before canoodling on the couch

    1. Marion…this was certainly a laugh out loud moment! Many giggles here. Love the word choices of “canoodling on the couch”.

      1. Hahaha glad you like it, Paula — canoodling is a great word and I do like a little alliteration for fun! 🙂

    2. Good one, Marion! Gave me a laugh. hahaha And “canoodling” is such a fantastic word. I haven’t heard/read it in a long while.

      1. Thanks, Maureen— neither have I! I don’t know why it came to mind. That’s what renku does, I guess…it makes you search your memory bank for an appropriate word or turn of phrase.

  13. Cool verse Lorin
    .
    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    his warm fingers
    raising goosebumps
    .
    her silk slip sliding
    over her hips
    .
    her cross words
    melting under his lips

  14. What a week! Your verse certainly stirred things up, Lorin. I enjoyed it and it was fun to try and shift away while still referencing love.

    dizzy with lust
    at Le Jules Verne

  15. drops two hamilton’s
    and off to rome

    .
    wendy c. bialek
    .
    hamilton = (us first secretary of the treasury) his photo appears on the ten dollar bill.
    .
    thanks to Lorin, we found the mystery train….

    1. ah! Is that when the Italian woman says to the creep trying to pull a ridiculous scam on her “I’ll give you ten dollars for the good story and another ten to go away.” ?
      .
      (Great that you found Mystery Train. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it again some time, as I believe it’s a classic.)
      .

      1. yup! And we really had a good time…..watching it and afterward…. it’s still resonating with us.

        Very much like renku….only this is three stories linked by one theme, (hotel) .

        i even enjoyed that sweet
        uchikoshi at the end, when the girl from japan was on the train, and misheard what the girl going to natchez was saying.

        1. Yes, the linking in the film is certainly interesting, right from the beginning. Remember the seemingly vagrant black bloke who asks the Japanese couple for a light for his cigarette when they first get off the train? Quite unexpectedly, he thanks them in Japanese : “Arigato”. If you blink, you miss it. So much is understated and droll.
          .
          There is a sense of the mythical and everyone in the film is somehow engaging with the myth of the place.

          .

          1. yes, exactly…..i didn’t blink there!
            yes, she felt at home with him….hearing her home language! but her jo never quite wanted to be out of his country…then she uses all that reverse psychology!
            you did get the match vs natchess at the end?
            her knee jerk reaction?

            i did though blink after the love-making … what did they fight over?

            and why did the lady going to rome not carry any baggage until the end?

            BTW: are you safe from the fires?
            i have had some success re-rooting
            tomato plants in water inside home, hydroponically.

    1. 🙂 🙂 🙂 !
      .

      Hyperion
      (haɪˈpɪərɪən )
      noun
      an irregular-shaped outer satellite of the planet Saturn that tumbles chaotically
      .

      1. Hi Lorin
        If I could have picked up the wikipedia link I would have posted it.
        Below is part of the reading I came across researching Keats.
        I trust you’ll see the link.
        .
        Hyperion is an abandoned epic poem by 19th-century English Romantic poet John Keats. It is based on the Titanomachia, and tells of the despair of the Titans after their fall to the Olympians. Keats wrote the poem from late 1818 until the spring of 1819, when he gave it up as having “too many Miltonic inversions.” He was also nursing his younger brother Tom, who died on 1 December 1818 of tuberculosis.
        .
        Robert

  16. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    slipping into white sheets
    our legs tangle together

  17. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    *
    all the right laces
    undone
    *
    ~Autumn

    (or would laces count as clothing and therefore “tie” back to that tawny jacket…?)

  18. you tarzan
    me jane


    no cut in there as I see it, no uppity case in there, and not original but it is okay, fun factor high, boredom low, time to go

  19. I hope this won’t be perceived as overstepping any marks but i can’t but notice quite a few offered verses with reference to music.
    .
    just a reminder that we are shifting away from the glass armonica verse, and anything music-related would automatically link back to it.
    .
    as shift is what drives a renku forward and essestially makes it what it is, i think it’s important to avoid uchikoshi, which is just a fancy word fot the verse before last as well as linking back to it. 🙂

    1. Hello Polona, thanks for the hint! I guess that would include song lyrics which would be sung by voice as well. Oh, this is fun! More knots to untie. 🙂
      .
      cheers from Australia
      .
      — Marietta

  20. Couldn’t resist picking up on the humor–hope it’s okay to play along from the sidelines. I think I’m safely disconnected here…
    *
    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    *
    Lorin Ford
    *
    first time
    on a zamboni
    *
    (Criteria-wise, I decided it’s an indoor ice rink… ; )
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. great to see you keep posting, Autumn. 🙂
      i know ice rinks are in function year-round but for renku purposes they remain a winter reference (just as frogs are spring)

    2. Autumn, I had no idea what a zamboni was! It sounded like some sort of Italian carousel. Now I know! 😁 — Marietta

  21. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    – Lorin Ford
    *
    candlelight’s warm glow
    on our naked bodies
    *
    we laugh on cue
    at sitcom reruns
    *

  22. for better or worse
    the groom on crutches

    Hope bringing up the burning/smoke issue didn’t hinder John’s first objective (fun). Glad to hear his second objective (renku ed) is being served by such discussions.

  23. two names scratched
    on the oak’s face
    .
    co drawn dream house
    on the ecth- a – sketch
    .
    leaving a record
    on they’re hometown tree
    .

  24. 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

    of all things
    your cowlick

    nancy liddle

  25. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    *
    a)
    cat fight, but oh,
    the make-up sex
    .
    b)
    in candlelight
    she Zamboni’s after each bite
    c)
    playing strip poker
    by candlelight
    d)
    they floss their pearly whites
    before making love
    .

    1. Um, maybe not. ‘briefs’=‘jacket’=clothing
      .

      two hearts entangled
      on spin cycle
      .

      I nearly wrote ‘sin cycle’ but caught myself. 😆

      1. “briefs” could be a reference to lawyers–two pairs of attorneys tangled on spin. Maybe it’s a key party. Or maybe they’re playing Twister. OR maybe their too-clever rhetoric has them all tongue tied…
        *
        Just playing, but with a purpose. All things can be construed as being attached (see Indra’s Web); but we can just as easily detach them, with a little imagination.
        *
        Fun verse either way!
        *
        ~Autumn
        *
        P.S. I loved your “Italian Carousel” interpretation of zamboni–made me smile, especially as that is exactly what it sounds like (though it could have been a kind of gelato, too)! Good for you for looking it up! (May have mentioned this before, but I’ve been fussed at in the past for using “too specific” words in haiku that “readers might be unfamiliar with…”. My thought, especially in circumstances such as this forum, has always been, ‘Really–you’re already online; how hard is it to Google it?!’ Plus, what writer doesn’t want to add to their vocabulary…?)

  26. Fun verse. Congrats, Lorin.
    .
    Here’s my offer through the yellow choking murk of bushfire smoke that we’ve woken up to, yet again, in my city. It’s a struggle to conceive of winter, I agree. Glad this verse is seasonless!
    .
    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    – Lorin Ford
    .
    we’ll get it on
    even with your cast
    — Marietta
    .
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_It_On_(T._Rex_song)

  27. for John re. being all fired up about smoke:
    *
    Being that we just had a house burn down to the frame across the street last week, I can certainly see the connection between smoke and fire. But I can also see the possibility that if it’s visual smoke and there’s no fire present (as lingering implies), then there is not a connection. Similarly, if it is only the scent of smoke, as fire is odorless in and of itself, there is not a connection. There are even colloquial meanings for smoke–such as B.S. (as in “blowing smoke”) which would result in a disconnect with fire (perhaps there were politicians blowing smoke in that room, and their B.S. still lingers…).
    *
    Would I be correct in assuming that it is YOU alone as Sabaki who gets to determine whether or not there is a connection between smoke and fire? If that is indeed the case, it seems to me that you’ve indicated to all of us by selecting Lorin’s excellent and entertaining verse that, in your interpretation of smoke, there is not a connection to fire.
    *
    To continue this line of inquiry, if smoke was taken to be an indication of scent, would that then negate any possibility of perfume or pheromones or even flowers later on?
    *
    I just noticed an edit intended to eliminate the ending “ing” (presumably because it connects to the “ing” in Lorin’s “iceskating”). Do we go so far as to never repeat endings? What about beginnings, like “unspoken” and “understand,” for example–do the “un’s” connect these two, such that one must be eliminated? How far does the connection/disconnection go? Are we only permitted one “the” or a single “and?” It seems to me that, taken to its extreme, this would result in only being able to use each alphabet once. Which would make for a short renku indeed.
    *
    I realize I need to read up on these things on my own, but I am interested in how YOU interpret these notions here, since you are the one guiding us through this particular renku.
    *
    Finally, it seems to me that the spontaneity is part of the fun. As a newcomer to renku, I’m glad that you are erring on the lighter side of the experience, rather than tying our hands with competition standards from the get-go. I don’t know that I’d be learning much–or even participating–with a noose of rules around my neck. Thank you for that!
    *
    ~Autumn

    1. Hi, Autumn…for me, personally, I strive not to repeat the phrasing of the verses that we are linking & shifting away from so hence, the self edit. Becomes too repetitive and/or sing-song, in my opinion. And, yes, it can make one crazy but, hey…it’s part of the fun to come up with unique phrasings. Patrick Sweeney is masterful at this. I adore his offerings.
      Betty

    2. Hi Autumn,

      These are all valid questions. As you can imagine, there are endless possible permutations. I think you realize that a prohibition against repeated use of any letter of the alphabet is an extreme and absurd level of “no back-linking.” And perhaps it is clear that the opposite extreme, a theme that runs through all of the verses (as is the case in rengay) would also be wrong for renku. So, there is always the question of where, between such extremes, to draw the line. The session leader must take that responsibility and it is always a matter of art, rather than science.
      .
      I think I said, in an earlier posting, that my renku practice has lead me to believe that all entities (including entities of the imagination) are connected, either directly or indirectly. Do you know the game “Six Degrees of Separation?” I doubt that I would need anywhere near six degrees in order to “link” any pair of images. Again, how many degrees is too close for renku is a matter of art.
      .
      A little story: My first renku teacher was Ion Codrescu, then it was Fay Aoyagi, then it was Christopher Herold. After a while, I realized that they all learned from the same Japanese renku master: Shinku Fukuda. So, I studied with Professor Fukuda. He taught me that, “First, it has to be fun.” And I take that to be the first rule. Any other rules come after that one for me.
      .
      Other renku leaders learned from other teachers. That they would have a different first principle does not seem surprising or wrong. That is one of the reasons I have wanted these sessions to have as many different leaders as I can recruit.
      .
      Your participation in this session is delightful. I think you are having fun and, as far as I’m concerned, that means you are doing it right.

      1. Hello, John–
        I’d like to thank you for sharing your renku ethos. I, too, am a raw beginner; I’ve followed earlier THF renku sessions, but they left me completely baffled, though intrigued. Now, renku makes sense, and if I realize more about its challenges and strictures every week–as indeed I do–these build from the “first, have fun” foundation, so my appreciation and determination only grow. Without the fun part, I’d stress out over allowed/disallowed linkages and probably be too intimidated to post anything.

        1. I’m glad to read the word ‘fun’ if we get it wrong no offence has been committed, as this is the season of ‘goodwill’ let’s just enjoy the moment and connect.

      2. Thanks for this response, John (and thanks to Autumn for raising the questions clearly).
        .
        After the fun part, which I totally agree with, I think what you say here is important to note:
        .
        “I think I said, in an earlier posting, that my renku practice has lead me to believe that all entities (including entities of the imagination) are connected, either directly or indirectly. Do you know the game “Six Degrees of Separation?” I doubt that I would need anywhere near six degrees in order to “link” any pair of images. Again, how many degrees is too close for renku is a matter of art. ” – J.S.
        .
        I don’t know the game you mention but I do know there’s nothing on this planet that isn’t connected to everything else on it both at present and in the past and yes, it’s a question of degree. How close is too close needs to be decided by the sabaki (though he/ she may confer beforehand) just as how a symphony is played is up to the particular conductor. And there will be differences: that’s art.
        .
        Would an extra week at the end of THF renku sessions, to allow sabaki to tweak and fine-tune a ‘concluded’ renku, be a good idea?
        .
        – Lorin

        1. “Would an extra week at the end of THF renku sessions, to allow sabaki to tweak and fine-tune a ‘concluded’ renku, be a good idea?
          .
          – Lorin”
          .
          I think it would be a good idea in many instances but, in this session, I have said I plan to do a minimum of revisions. This is because I am looking especially to be encouraging to newcomers. And I think they might be put off by the breadth of the session leader’s right to rewrite, looking upon it as a rejection of their work.
          .
          In my live sessions with very experienced players, there is hardly a verse that is not the collaboration of several poets, whoever’s name is on it. But I have led many sessions in which everyone was a beginner, sometimes a first time poet, and it seems to me that it’s best to keep it simple in those instances. I usually tell people in those sessions that I’m going to tell you the requirements for each verse (for learning’s sake) but we aren’t going to let that spoil our enjoyment of what actually comes to us.
          .
          Reminds me of a time when I was giving a reading/lecture and in the Q&A someone asked, “What’s more important, inspiration or craft?” Of course, I replied that a good poem requires both. But, for me, there is a temporal difference. Inspiration almost always comes first, after which I apply my craft. Relating this to renku, fun is the inspiration for me and all of the other things are matters of craft. I would like this particular session to emphasize inspiration.

      3. Thank you for all of this, John, as well as for the post below Lorin’s detailing renku revision. Yes, “extreme and absurd level of ‘no back-linking'” was exactly what I was trying to convey. And yes, I am familiar with the game “Six Degrees of Separation,” (aka Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, which can be played linking anything and everything Hollywood back to the actor Kevin Bacon). I’m also a big believer in everything-linked-to-everything, a la Indra’s Web. Here on Earth, it all comes down to carbon and water–in more ways than one, these days! But I also love musing on all the possible word associations, some of which might link, and others of which might not; that’s a big part of the joy of writing, for me.
        *
        Deep Bow to Professor Fukuda for “First, it has to be fun,” and to you for enforcing that as a “first rule.” I played in various symphonies up until my 30’s, and I was always a bit put-off by how seriously symphony musicians take themselves. There was an unspoken prohibition against having fun while playing classical music. I think we can be prone to that same unspoken prohibition in the Short Form world. In both cases, it’s handy to know a good barn-raising fiddle tune to liven things up a bit, wouldn’t you agree? ; )
        *
        I feel very fortunate to be learning such a serious form with someone who wants it to be fun!
        *
        ~Autumn

  28. Enjoying the flow! Congrats, Lorin!

    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    – Lorin Ford

    figuring take-out chinese
    for one once again

        1. “Chopsticks and piano playing… ” – Betty
          .
          Now that’s what I’d call being overly forensic! 🙂 “one pair of chopsticks” takes me to prawn dumplings and not at all to piano ‘chopsticks’.
          .

  29. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    *
    she comes back
    to tell me she’s gone
    *
    from Paul Simon’s Graceland

  30. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    *
    better than ideal
    their reading of Petrarch
    *
    resolving their differences
    in a Petrarchan sestet
    *
    their game of crazy eights
    taking a serous Petrarchan turn
    *

  31. something in the way
    she moved that got things rock’n
    *****************************
    odds are that we’ll
    make it tonight
    ***************
    after the debates
    the big concession

  32. Nice selection John.
    Nice verse Lorin, congratulations.
    .
    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    .
    Slipping between
    salt and lime

  33. it’s a wonderful verse, and i like it very much.
    .
    however, as Chris has already noticed, ‘burning’ does link back to cigar smoke in the leap-over verse which is the one we should shift away from. the context may be different but the associacion remains.
    .
    of course, this is only meant as an observation and perhaps a reminder of just how many things one must consider when composing a renku. and the verse will of course stay (though it should have been reconsidered if we were writing for a contest)

    1. Yes to your comments, Polona.
      .
      The problem with communicating within the “stream” of replies is that some people see what is said and some don’t. I will repeat here something I have said before. My second objective, in this one session, is to educate newcomers about aspects of renku. By raising this question, and a similar earlier instance, that objective is being served. Were we writing for a competition or publication, this would be a flaw that requires attention. It would be easily fixed by rewriting the third verse to feature something else in the air (e.g. the scent / of ozone / in an empty room), which would answer the earlier concern, as well. So, that is good to know.
      .
      My first objective is to present renku as joyful, something that a newcomer will want to do again. So, you might notice that my comments have only been about the assets of offered verses and not about their liabilities. And I have done, and plan to do, a minimum of rewriting.
      .
      A word about education: one of the things that spoils the fun for newcomers is to promote the idea that one can learn all about renku in a single session. Put that way, of course, it seems obvious that a limited number of factors (from an extraordinarily long list of them) should be selected for emphasis by the session leader. My wish, this time, is to focus on the difference between a haiku and a renku verse. Pretty much everyone who comes to renku in English comes there by way of English-language haiku. Long experience of writing haiku in English tends to create certain habits. Promoting alternatives to those habits is my main educational goal for this session. That does not mean that others are wrong to point out concerns with back-linking or other matters, which have been discussed in every THF session before this one and will surely be discussed in future sessions. For this one session, I am limiting my personal educational goals to something that has received less emphasis. You can easily find published and even “award winning” English-language renku in which many of the internal verses are written like haiku, with cuts and with the sense of being a complete, stand alone poem. So that will be my main consideration regarding education this time.

      1. ah, well, John, I was writing my reply to Polona, below, while you were posting (obviously)
        .
        “Were we writing for a competition or publication, this would be a flaw that requires attention. It would be easily fixed by rewriting the third verse to feature something else in the air (e.g. the scent / of ozone / in an empty room), which would answer the earlier concern, as well. So, that is good to know.” – John Stevenson
        .
        You raise a good issue, John. As far as renku revisions go, it seems Basho as sabaki-cum-haiku master revised a lot…but always after the concluded renku. Things that need to be tweaked are tweaked so that the whole flows well.
        .
        – Lorin

      2. John, your point, “My first objective is to present renku as joyful, something that a newcomer will want to do again” echos what I have come to believe is an base principle of teaching: to create situations in which students have fun long enough to be initially successful—and want to continue study. Thank you for guiding this renku.

    2. Hey, Polona, I respect your judgement in general and I’ve always liked being in conversation with you, but please see my comments below (below Chris’s post, and below your “me too”, further down on this thread.)
      .
      Yes, there are many things to consider when in the role of sabaki, however, for this renku, I think you should speak for yourself and not for John as sabaki, unless John has deputized you to speak for him (and if he has, he hasn’t informed the rest of us) It seems to me you’re overstepping the mark when you write: “. . . and the verse will of course stay (though it should have been reconsidered if we were writing for a contest) ”
      .
      As far as I’m concerned, if John wants to change my verse or ask me to withdraw it. I’d be happy to comply. I’d simply continue and see what I could come up with for later verse spots.
      .
      However, I do not think your “me too” to Chris’s ‘question with raised eyebrows’ amounts to anything even close to a reasonable or convincing argument, let alone the glaring assumption in your “however, as Chris has already noticed, ‘burning’ does link back to cigar smoke….”
      .
      Does it? Why?
      .
      Because “Chris has already noticed, …” it? Something is so because someone has queried in a certain tone? That won’t wash with me.
      .
      If you think it does return to uchikoshi , say why, instead of just declaring it on the basis that someone else has “noticed”. Why does “hunka burning love” return you to cigar smoke in the last-but-one verse? Neither Chris nor yourself have managed to do even that yet.
      .

      Also, I don’t believe it’s up to you to make any apologies for John, Polona. Given a chance, he might have something to say himself.
      .
      ooh ooh, I feel my temperature rising. And it’s more than 40 Celsius outside. My tomato plants are wilting and developing burnt spots in the heat of the sun , which never stops burning. (I wonder if “sun” would take you back to “cigar smoke” then back to fire, too?
      .
      – Lorin

        1. Polona, please see my response below your previous (which is immediately below Chris’s query-comment) to which you didn’t respond before launching into your subsequent post, above.
          .
          I don’t think my question was difficult to understand: why, in the case of the preceding scenario of cigar smoke lingering in an empty room, is a metaphorical ‘”burning” a case of return to uchikoshi/ last-but-one? I think if we’re objecting to something, we need to say why we’re objecting.
          .

          Carol’s query re the possibility of ‘cigar’ returning to our hokku isn’t irrelevant here. Cigars are made from leaves of a plant. Can we say there is a return to “leaves” in the hokku when there is no cigar, no thing made from a leaf, actually in Pauline’s verse,? just lingering smoke from it after it has gone ? Similarly, since there is no burning tobacco leaf in that verse, quite what is my/ Elvis’s (metaphorical) “burning love” returning to? The (no longer present) cause of the smoke?
          .
          Perhaps causes are included in ‘backlink’ and/or return to uchikoshi. But if so, why assume that everybody knows? I don’t. I haven’t considered it before.
          .
          – Lorin

          1. Lorin,

            what i (still) do not understand is your attack on my – and John’s – integrity. i wrote the comment at 7am when i should have already been on my way to work, and i should have phrased it more carefully.
            .
            the linking you object to is not in the context but, much more obviously, in the phrasing. the words ‘smoke’ and ‘burning’ were explicitly used in the respective verses. you can’t deny the fact that words in themselves represent a method of linking. in the case of cigar and leaves the connection is not at all obvious and requires certain knowledge as well as a degree of lateral thinking.
            .
            imo, the examples you gave under Chris’s comment are exactly the thing John Carley warned against and fall into the category – i paraphrase – “we can’t have rooster because we already had mansion, and they both have wings”

            .
            i rest my case.

          2. I object to your calling my response to your presumptuous and condescending post as an “attack” of any kind, Polona, and I fail to have any idea of why you might consider it an attack on your integrity, let alone John’s. I do consider this response of yours an attack, though.
            .
            As you might recall, in the past I’ve been actually verbally attacked by a sabaki for a lot less than what you’ve written on this week’s thread.
            .
            “imo, the examples you gave under Chris’s comment are exactly the thing John Carley warned against and fall into the category – i paraphrase – “we can’t have rooster because we already had mansion, and they both have wings”

            .
            Precisely. Which is why I gave them. The bird/ mansion example was but one of JEC’s examples of the absurdity of focusing on “backlink” (which word itself could start him up. 🙂 ) Having any kind of cooked food after “smoke” (because “smoke” implies fire even if context makes clear that no fire is present, is just another absurd example. John Stevenson’s “degrees of separation” is an equally considered and useful concept. Things are connected, on this planet. How close is too close in a renku may be speculated on by participants, but judgements and pronouncements (such as you gave) are best left to the sabaki.
            .
            Please do rest your case, Polona, and let’s just get on with settling down and enjoying the rest of this renku and these few days toward Christmas. Peace be with you and with all of us.
            .
            – Lorin

      1. just this: are you saying you don’t see a direct cause and effect connection between fire / burning and smoke? goodness, the heat must really be getting to you! 😅

    1. Will be interesting to see if you have a reply to this, as my thoughts on a backlink earlier in the session was totally ignored, all I can say is….Thank you , Lorin 🙂

    1. Chris, i don’t know the answer to this, but if we take the context in to account…it was the smoke lingering in the room….not an actual burning object present…maybe?????

    2. I leave it to John to answer you properly, Chris.
      .
      This is my (quite possibly inadequate) defence:
      .
      While we might agree with the adage “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” in general, smoke also may remain as residue after fire has gone, as in bushfire/ wildfire smoke, as in smoke from a volcano, as in cigar smoke lingering in an empty room. Fire, it’s true, is a cause of smoke but there has been no fire in this renku to date, whether literal or metaphorical. Just smoke.
      .

      In Pauline’s verse, as I read it, the cigar has left the room with the cigar smoker (or plural cigars and smokers), or has been put out. No fire of any kind has been evoked literally or (as in the Elvis song) metaphorically.
      .

      However, because Pauline’s verse is uchikoshi to this one, you may have a point. (It would mean, though, we couldn’t have a flower verse if we had rain or water in the last-but-one, because we all know that plants need water to bloom. And we certainly couldn’t have bread, cake, cookies or any cooked food in verse C after cigar smoke in verse A (the uchikoshi), because cooked food implies preceding fire quite as much as lingering cigar smoke.
      .
      Let’s see what John says. I’m open to having it scratched and another verse substituted if need be.
      .
      Meanwhile:

      .
      ice-skating
      with my hunka hunka
      brrrrr-urning love
      .
      🙂 Speaking of burning, it’s 41 Celsius outside here at present! I’m staying in my cave.

      .

      1. Congratulations, Lorin–I for one am thrilled to have your verse following mine! Although my inexperience here may lower the value of my opinion, I think it’s a really fun verse that injects some welcome humor and lightheartedness into what was becoming a very serious renku. I’m not sure what uchikoshi is (sounds like something that should be responded to with “Bless you” and a tissue, or maybe a chuck under the chin), but WOW–the controversy here is “eyebrow raising” for sure! Remind me not to participate in a renku competition any time soon….For what it’s worth, I would not necessarily have definitively linked the idea of “burning” with wisps of lingering smoke myself–especially since burning has other associations beside fire (rashes, flushed cheeks, emotional passion). But that’s just me.
        *
        Whether or not it was intentional, I think you’ve hit upon a wonderful work-around with your “brrrrrrrrrr-ning.” It ups the humor quotient, while still referring to Elvis’s lyric. And speaking as someone currently shivering with snow outside her window, there is no way that “brrrrrrrrr” can possibly be associated with smoke or fire or uchikoshis or anything or the sort! 😀
        *
        Sending you some 20 degree Fahrenheit mountain air and a virtual snowball to help you cool off…and saving you a seat next to me on the fun train!
        *
        Autumn

        1. Sorry I missed this before, Autumn.
          .
          uchikoshi (japanese word) in renku = A in any sequence of verses A B C.
          .
          When writing the current verse, C, we link to the previous verse, B, and shift completely away from A, the uchikoshi.
          .
          The issue raised by Chris is whether this ‘Elvis’ verse commits the ‘renku crime’ of returning to the uchikoshi, the current verse A of the sequence of three. This is something that can be discussed (politely) by renku participants but decided upon only by the sabaki.
          .

  34. Congrats, Lorin! It’s been a crazy day. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to post earlier. Thanks for such a fun & rhythmical verse. And thanks for bringing Elvis into the renku. I adore him. Of course, Graceland comes to mind as yet another link to the heavenly aspect of Autumn’s verse. Great choice for the first love verse, John. Time to listen to the King’s “Blue Christmas” on my holiday playlist now!
    .
    a kiss for luck
    at the STD clinic

    1. Thanks, Maureen. I’m happy you like it. 🙂 It’s suitability is being contended at present (re “burning”) so I’ll be interested to read John’s view and anyone else’s views (preferably, views that go at least a little beyond raised eyebrows questions and “me toos”.)
      .

      Things get crazy around this time of the year. Here it’s too hot to do anything outside.
      .
      – Lorin

  35. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford

    *
    so little time
    to mess a pompadour
    .
    wendy c. bialek

  36. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love

    Lorin Ford
    *
    with the ring in his pocket
    it’s just a matter of time
    *
    shift change
    at the firehouse
    *
    they tally up their score
    on the Graceland Trivia Game
    *
    his feeling theirs is
    one for the record books
    *
    her ex arrives
    but they’ve left the building
    *

    1. Yep, that’s the song (with the “hunka hunka” towards the end. 🙂
      Now it’s a bit unusual for me to be recalling Elvis songs, so it must’ve been this film by Jim Jarmusch that I just happened to watch on dvd a week or so ago, now:
      .
      https://www.acmi.net.au/events/mystery-train/
      .

      That song isn’t in it (that I can recall anyway)
      .
      – Lorin

      1. Thanks for the link…lorin…love the trailer….my husband, a huge elvis and train fan, is looking now for the full length feature so we can watch it together soon.

  37. ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford

    *

    or ?

    the curl of elvis
    posters on the wall
    .
    wendy c. bialek

  38. hunks of love for this next verse! lots of fun to play on… . congrats lorin and again a fabulous choice john. am learning so much more as you provide highlights and excerpts.

    ice-skating
    with my hunka hunka
    burning love
    .
    Lorin Ford
    *

    the curl of elvis
    posters off the wall
    .
    wendy c. bialek

  39. oops fire may be a little too close to smoke
    *************************************
    by the way nice vs Lorin
    *********************

    sharpening our skills
    in the Kama Sutra
    *****************
    a little hot sake to see
    how things shape up

  40. Thank you again John and congratulations Lorin. This will be a fun week. I found this others reference when I googled hunka hunka.

    A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › A_Hunka_Hunka_Burns_in_Love
    “A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love” is the fourth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network on December 2, 2001.

    1. Thanks for the link, Liz Ann. An extraordinary read.
      In this instance, Lorin’s verse certainly makes the link between heaven and earth, in more ways than one.

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