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The Renku Sessions: Triparshva—Call for verse 18



Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.

Selection of Verse 17:

My heartfelt thanks once again to everyone who submitted. The verse we’ll place in slot 17 is Beth’s children marking of a calendar, in particular her “something different” version with the crayons. Here it is with maeku and uchikoshi:

how the setting moon
fills the garden
with darkness!
~Gabriel Sawicki

I stagger through cricket songs
impaired by Gandalf Grog
~Patrick Sweeney

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons
~Beth McFarland

We are coming from a verse with the last songs of insects in autumn and an alcoholic beverage topic that evoked Tolkien’s mythic old wizard. Now, turning the page to the final side, the setting and mood changes utterly.  I picture pre-school or kindergarten since the crayons are the fat kind for small hands, and the students seem to be doing a lesson with a calendar.  It links by drawing out motifs of childhood that were latent in the maeku.  It articulates the page break through a total transformation of setting and mood. It announces the approaching end of our renku through that imagery of crossing off calendars, while in the near-term it also sets us up nicely for our next verse, which will be seasoned winter.  Thank you, Beth!


Specifications for verse 18:

In the template as we’ve followed it, our two winter verses are split between ha and kyu.  The first was verse 10, Christopher’s #winterwedding; the second is verse 18. Although there’s a lot of room between them, please do try to make this verse different, exploring some other aspect of winter.  Here  again is the maeku and uchikoshi:

I stagger through cricket songs
impaired by Gandalf Grog

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons

. . . and specific requirements:

  • This will be a two-line verse, winter, non-person
  • It goes without saying by now, link to the maeku, shift from the uchikoshi.
  • We’re in intermission for beverages, insects, song, garden, references to days and nights
  • Since we were outdoors with the three autumn verses and evidently have moved inside with the children, we should not go outdoors again just yet
  • Check the topic charts and try to pull in more things we don’t have yet.  Good linking is most important but we still want to get as wide a variety of those “10,000 things” as possible.

How to Submit:

All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant.

The call for this verse will remain open until Monday, October  19, 2015 at midnight (EDT).  At that time I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each, choose the one that best serves the renku, and post a call for the next verse on Thursday.

Useful links and resources:  

  • If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my Introduction to Triparshva post.
  • NEW:  A full copy of the schema for the renku may be found at the bottom of the introductory page. I am filling in the verses as they are placed.
  • For the archive of previous calls and submissions, click here.


The Renku so far:

Side 1: jo

a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
someone’s name
~Lynne Rees /su

under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
~Barbara Kaufmann /su

passersby stop
to applaud a subway
saxophone player
~Karen Cesar / ns

sweet reminiscences
of our bygone days
~Barbara A. Taylor / ns

yet again
the moon lights the loggerhead
as she digs
~Paul MacNeil / sp mn

with the twittering
morning mist clears away
~Maria Tomczak

Side 2: Ha

from the mountain top
Puyallup natives trace
their lands below
~Carmen Sterba / ns

who left the doors open
to Valhalla?
~Polona Oblak/ ns

rusty roofing iron
as a letterbox
~Sandra Simpson / ns

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel / wi lv

at the Marquise
a clandestine romp
in neon flicker
~Judt Shrode / ns lv

his better half chambers
another round just because
~Betty Shropshire / ns lv

after a while
the life boat for refugees
floating hardly
~Vasile Moldovan / ns

the first pawlonia leaf
to touch the soil
~Maureen Virchau / au

how the setting moon
fills the garden
with darkness
~Gabriel Sawicki / au mn

I stagger through cricket songs
impaired by Gandalf Grog
~Patrick Sweeney / au

Side 3: Kyu

all the kids
cross off their days
with chunky crayons
~Beth McFarland / ns

This Post Has 35 Comments

    1. I really love this verse and the way it adds a wood stove to the schoolroom, Joel. It so reminds me of a one-room schoolhouse I visited in an historical part last week.
      Unfortunately, there are some pretty strong echoes of the hokku–both have a fruit or vegetable topic, sitting on something (bowl of cherbries/white plate; turnips on stove).
      Elsewhere I’ve offered other writers an extra day to work on theirs. Would you like to also?

      1. Thanks Linda – I didn’t see that connection…
        how about:

        quilts warming by
        the wood burning stove


        jackets warming by
        the wood burning stove

    1. I really like the ice skates verse–there’s a quirky kannonbiraki problem though: crickets make their noise by scraping.
      Re the ski lodge–I’d be reluctant to include “hug” since our previous winter verse was a wedding in the love run. The white Christmas verse “in Texas only on TV” is kind of a complex structure–would be better for the ha, whereas we need simpler, straightforward syntax here.
      I’ve offered a day’s extension to one other writer–would you like to work on them more?

      1. Thanks for the extension! I don’t know if these create new problems or fully fix the existing ones, but here are my remixes:
        bringing the ice skates
        up from the basement
        defrosting with laughter
        at the ski lodge
        dreaming of a white
        Christmas in Texas

    1. So cute 😀 . Both lines are kind of long, though. Did it want to be a three-line verse?

      1. It’s a better length, but in going over my resources I’ve realized that there is a more serious problem: We had “crickets” in verse 16 and there’s a two-verse intermission before we can have a “beast” (mammal). My fault for missing that when I drew up the list of specifications for the verse. Would you like an extra day to come up with something else? I can wait till Tuesday night.

  1. 18.
    the dog scratches
    at his bright red coat
    last year’s mittens
    pulled from overcoat pockets

    1. We had “winter” in the previous winter verse, Todd. Custom is that we name the season only once in a renku.

  2. I really wanted to include Jack Frost drawing on the windows to keep the link with children and crayons, Linda, but would he still be considered a person, even though he only exists in fairy tales and rhymes?

    ice ribbons on the pane
    drawn by Jack Frost

    1. Yes, even if folklore, Jack Frost is a person. There are ways to skirt the problem, though, aren’t there?
      ice ribbons on the pane
      drawn by the frost

      1. Yes, an easy way to get rid of the Jack Frost problem, thanks Linda! ?

        Sorry I am only replying to your comment now – my 14 year old daughter ended up in hospital on Monday. Thankfully she was discharged yesterday.

  3. Thanks, Linda- I’m delighted to be a part of this renku 🙂 Looking forward to how the next verses develop!

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