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The Renku Sessions: Way of the Wind – Week 20

Wayrenku_300

I am John Stevenson and I am your guide for a twenty-stanza, nijûin, renku.

I have just completed a nourishing four days of live renku composition with Yu Chang, Mary Stevens and Hilary Tann. The Haiku Society of America has cancelled their Einbond Renku Awards for three years running, based upon a small number of entries and concerns about the Covid pandemic. They are hoping to resume next year. I hope you will join me in encouraging them in two ways: sending a message of support for their continuing sponsorship of this contest and writing multiple potential entries with the partners of your choice. If the contest is reinstated in 2022, we need to make sure they have sufficient entries!

Now, to consideration of our current efforts.

As usual, there were some very attractive offers from poets already included. Among them:

 

soft twittering
as the night sky
begins to twinkle

                            Betty Shropshire

 

our pilgrimage
begins with
comfortable shoes

                            Keith Evetts

 

a dimple where
the rising carp
closed on a crust

                            Keith Evetts

 

a Cherokee
arrowhead shining
beneath the plow

                            Dan Campbell

 

joyful shouts
as their fish kite
loops the loop

                            Marietta McGregor

 

the iridescence
of whitebait
in the pail

                            Maxianne Berger

 

for just so long
young grasses keep
the imprint of a sandal

                            Keith Evetts

Although, with green barley in the hokku, we probably should  avoid “young grasses.”

 

her afternoon nap
with a cumulus pillow
and sheets of soft rain  

                            Jonathan Alderfer

 

This is an attractive and imaginative verse but it needs help in establishing itself as a spring image. Neither cloud nor rain is a kigo without the addition of “spring.” Unlike “moon,” which is presumed to be an autumn image unless modified to specify another season, clouds and rain are not considered seasonal at all unless they are modified.

 

 

the eaves
of the onsen
twittering

                            Marietta McGregor

 

the high spirits
of henro setting off
around Shikoku

                            Andrew Shimield

 

I had to look this up. The results were rewarding but my feeling is that the necessity of looking something up tends to work against the forward motion of a renku. Of course, many other readers might not have had to look it up. As writers, we always have to be using our best judgement about who we imagine our readers to be.

 

 

miles of threads
make up those
silkworm’s cocoons

                            Betty Shropshire

 

just listening
to the bird trills
from my pillow

                            Debbie Scheving

 

I am guessing that the poet has considered “trills” to be an acceptable extrapolation on the listed kigo of “twittering.”

 

 

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are fewer offers at this stage from poets not yet included. But here are five contenders, from which I will make a final selection:

 

 

she laughs
at the soap bubbles
she can no longer chase

                            Tracy Davidson

 

Soap bubbles is a spring kigo and laughter may be very welcome in the closing section, so long as it is joyful, as it seems to be here. If one considers this a continuation of the scene in verse seventeen, “She” may be unable to chase because her feet are soaking. But the fact that “she” can no longer chase the bubbles might also introduce a sense of aging and infirmity. That would be unfortunate in our closing section and might suggest a more rueful sort of laughter.

 

 

 

the crackle of
seaweed pods
underfoot

                            Ann Smith

 

The gentle sensuality of this verse would be just the ticket here. The poet has, I presume, seen some examples of seaweeds on our list of season words. But seaweed, by itself, is general rather than season specific and our list also has a seaweed listing under “New Year” kigo. The topic of acceptable levels of variation on a kigo was raised this week. It could be discussed at some length but I’ll just say here that an explanation that “nori,” for instance, is “a kind of seaweed” does not make “seaweed” a kigo.

 

 

 

herb-gathering
keeps eyes and toes
on the ground

                            greenrhythm

 

A close link to pedicure. This “looking down” verse could be a very good setup for our closing verse, which might well have a “looking onward or upward” quality.

 

 

 

little fingers
stretching upwards
to catch the butterfly

                            Pauline O’Carolan

 

And here we have the “upward” quality, enhanced by youth. There is, it seems to me, a suggestion of suspense over the possibility of unintentional violence, should these little fingers actually close over the butterfly.

 

 

 

the farrier measures
a colt
for his first shoes

                            Nancy Brady

 

This is both a direct and redirecting linkage. There are feet in verse seventeen that are hooves in this verse. I wonder if these shoes are firsts for both the colt and the farrier. The words “farrier” and “colt” would be pleasant additions to our text.

 

 

 

 

Here is what I have selected as our nineteenth verse:

 

the farrier measures
a colt
for his first shoes

                            Nancy Brady

                           

 

 

 

Here is what we have, so far:

 

Way of the Wind

 

 

green barley—
we follow the way
of the wind

                        Lorin Ford

 

kids playing pooh sticks
with plum blossoms

                            Linda Weir

 

the long day opens
with a chime of pots
on the kitchen island

                            Laurie Greer

 

a coin in the cap
of a street busker

                            Andrew Shimield

 

summer moon
low on the hips
of the horizon

                            princess k

 

mosquitoes know that my wife
has sweeter blood

                            Dan Campbell

 

still drawn to him
after all the bumps
along the line

                            Wendy C. Bialek

 

queuing up to enter
the Escher exhibit

                            Carol Judkins

 

do you think
they discovered chaos theory
by chance

                            Keith Evetts

 

three-martini lunch
with old pals from sigma nu

                            Betty Shropshire

 

wolves
in relentless pursuit
across the frozen tundra

                            Sally Biggar

 

pidge porridge hotter
than the fires of hell

                            Michael Henry Lee

 

that delicious fillip
of excitement
from a sidelong glance

                            Marietta McGregor

 

Rick and Ilsa
in the airport fog

                            Christopher Patchel

 

taking leave
of the harvest
moon

                            Kanjini Devi

 

the scarecrow reluctantly
turns in his badge

                            Maxianne Berger

 

cultivating
the pebbled waves
and island stones

                            Jonathan Alderfer

 

a warm soak
before the pedicure

                            Debbie Scheving

 

the farrier measures
a colt
for his first shoes

                            Nancy Brady

 

 

 

The requirements for verse twenty will be as follows:

  • A two-line verse of fourteen syllables or less
  • With a spring image (kigo) but not a blossom
  • Without a grammatical break
  • Linking in some way to verse nineteen (and in no obvious way to previous verses)

Our final verse should not have the sense of “the end.” This is, rather, the point at which we part as friends from our renku, imagining it going on in another direction, as we go our ways.

 

For this renku, we will be using this site (http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html) as the source for our season words and images (kigo).

 

I will be reviewing your offers until midnight on Monday, September 13 (New York time). On Thursday, September 16 there will be a new post in which I will announce my selection of the final verse. There will then be one final post, on September 23 to summarize and celebrate the inclusion of this work in our archive of Haiku Foundation renku and to announce our next renku session.

 

Keep up the good work, everyone!

John

 

 

 

 

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy https://thehaikufoundation.org/about-thf/policies/#code-of-conduct

This Post Has 90 Comments

  1. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    constellations wheel
    in a serene sky above it all
    – Betty Shropshire

  2. a ten year old’s Tarzan yell
    in a tire swing
    *
    swings beat ladders
    for going over border walls
    *
    chandeliers make better
    swings than tires

  3. Love the lyrical image of the colt and farrier, Nancy.
    Thanks for the comments on my verse, John. I saw twitter on the kigo list, but I couldn’t help myself, I liked the Ls in trill with pillow and listen.
    *
    spring thunder
    calls us inside
    *
    a pinwheel spinning
    out the car window
    *
    the spring clouds
    are nearly still
    *
    legs pump up and back
    on the swing set
    *
    watching the spring tide
    return to shore

  4. in the buzz of bees
    the noise of time

    ******************

    from the green mountains
    scent of freshly milked milk

  5. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    a glow in the forge
    as we set off at larkrise

    spurred on by the glee
    of wheeling swallows

    our last pheasant sandwich
    saved for the stableboy

  6. a balloon rising
    above the fence

    an avalanche animates
    the mountainside

    heat shimmering from
    a well-polished .45

    tilling the paddy
    with a new machine

    rereading a brief
    history of time

    1. Hmm, it seems a kigo has somehow escaped me lol A bit rusty, I guess…

      using an old magazine
      to make pinwheels

  7. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    *

    worn sandals retired
    after our long pilgrimage

    *

    is the spring thunder
    clapping for us or laughing?

    *

    the morning sun
    shoos away the spring haze

  8. her first cup of tea
    in colorful mug

    **
    her joyful smile
    at very thought of last frost
    **
    east wind on her face
    a romantic blow
    **
    tilling a field
    his family tradition
    **
    cannot forget serene
    smile of that boss of seventy
    **

    plow field in early
    morn is his mantra

  9. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    *

    our laughing voices
    echo through the willows

    *

    beachcombers trade shells
    as the tide comes in

    *

    a clap of spring thunder
    blesses our last meal together

  10. Sorry ( again)
    Oh no …. verse 2 should be on two lines – it was when I wrote it – ho hum it should read

    nailing our throwaway oversways
    under the willow

  11. tea leaves pickers
    tracks in the late frost

    Cha-musume baskets
    for a delicate harvest

    new offerings collected
    in chamusume baskets

    following a delicate trail left
    by Tea Daughters

    tea pickers passing
    a cup of last year’s harvest

    gathering all tea pickers
    for the rolling

    tea pickers
    slowly starting to roll

  12. a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    only skylarks see us
    mount the stile

    nailing our throwaway oversways under the willow

    this nagging wish
    to nudge tranquility

    a skylark’s flightsong
    above the stirrup cup

    a rare old time
    dancing strip-the-willow

    happy canterers
    overtake the beach comber

    the energy we’d harness
    in a thousand pinwheels

    the tranquil sleep
    of baby in the swing

    guessing by eye
    how high skylarks go

    a pair of herons joust
    in the last frost

    1. Sorry ( again)
      Oh no …. verse 2 should be on two lines – it was when I wrote it – ho hum it should read

      nailing our throwaway oversways
      under the willow

      1. John for some reason I am unable to keep this on two lines. Hope this third attempt nails it

        nailing our throwaway oversways

        under the willow

  13. A lovely verse, Nancy, that instantly reminded me of taking my children to have their feet measured for their first shoes! Here are a few verses I’ve come up with…

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    across ploughed fields
    we run into the morning

    our children galloping
    across beds of fiddleheads

    in the muddy field
    tadpoles galore!

    tadpoles galore
    in each water-filled print

    arriving in the flick
    of a tadpole’s tail

    our tadpole pots swinging
    in time with our stride

    the clang of the gate
    as we set off with our kite

  14. eased restrictions
    on this serene day

    *
    kite strings kept
    strictly in balance

    *
    each day now
    the tadpoles’ growing legs

    *
    social distancing
    between the temples

    *

    free to walk
    with butterflies again

    ~~~

  15. willow panniers
    carry all we need

    far stars lead cowboys
    from the tranquil grove

    balloons race their shadows
    up the hill

    let’s go tilt at windmills
    Rosinante

    we plow the fields
    and scatter the good seed

    radiating spokes of sun
    shimmer on far hills

    yippee aye o
    we’ll set the hills ablaze

    as the days grow longer
    Dobbin goes on ahead

    send for the cavalry
    as the balloon goes up

    kicking over the traces
    to plow our own fields

    choice of Buddha’s Birthday
    or the rodeo

    we nail the pheasant plucker
    tongue twister at last

  16. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    “yay!” and “watch me jump!”
    heard from swings atop the hill
    – Betty Shropshire

  17. Nancy — when I read your verse my heart skipped a beat. So glad it was John’s choice.

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    rodeo riders release
    red balloons to the sky
    .

  18. we walk away laughing
    in the spring night
    ***
    greeting us on the threshold
    in the warming air
    ***
    we walk away chatting
    in the spring mist
    ***
    laid the plow
    the quiet patter of the evening

  19. a flick of her mane
    when the bugs come out

    she revamps her old saddle
    into a swing

    how tranquil the day
    she hands the reins over

    her spirit harnesses
    the east wind

    a bush warbler
    hammers out another tune

  20. #5

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    rainbow and balloons
    has created more than 100 poems

    Nani Mariani

  21. #2

    #4

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    the woodpecker doesn’t stop making sounds
    so the horse thief ran and entered the dam

    Nani Mariani

  22. ……

    an anvil ringing
    in the tranquil dawn

    the going’s easy
    for a skylark

    riding to our rendezvous
    at the mulberry tree

    from time to time dismounting
    to hear the bush warbler

    just stop and listen
    to the frogs kemosabe!

  23. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    pilgrims pass by
    whickers from the meadow

    we bolt the stable door
    and go beach-combing

    and each baby bird’s
    a thoroughbred flyer

    glimpsing tranquil office life
    we bolt

    a hundred bucks
    Bush Warbler comes in first

    careful to plow clear
    of the skylark’s nest

    what hopes ride
    upon a rising skylark!

  24. Nice verse, Nancy. Congratulations!

    Verse 1:

    last chance to go beachcombing
    through flotsam and jetsam

    Verse 2:

    see the butterflies
    disappear into the distance

  25. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    .
    a balloon bobbing along
    in a paddock
    .
    a balloon found bobbing along
    the paddock fence
    .
    the mud kicked up
    tilling the fields
    .
    releasing helium balloons
    during the party
    .

    Thanks for all the kind remarks from everyone, and my apologies for causing controversy, John and Lorin.

  26. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady
    .
    a primrose also
    eaten by Basho’s horse
    .

    . . . ’tis a common flower, not a blossom. 🙂

  27. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    *
    finishing touches
    on the classic diamond kite
    *
    cheered on as we launch
    the rokkaku kite
    *
    launching the kite
    from a full on gallop
    *
    another frisky kite
    to put through its paces
    *

  28. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    tiny cracks letting in
    the bright bits of a serene sky
    – Betty Shropshire

  29. #3
    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    today is September 11
    have you heard from your uncle?

    Nani Mariani

  30. #2

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    a beautiful day
    we are going to cinema 21 all the family

    Nani Mariani

  31. #1

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    this is really awesome
    while counting his fingers, looking up at the sky

    Nani Mariani

  32. sowing wild oats
    in an Amsterdam houseboat
    *
    sowing wild oats
    under a Brazilian banana tree
    *
    sowing wild oats
    in a Thai gondola

  33. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    dandelions showing us
    the way to let go
    – Betty Shropshire

  34. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    dandelions poised as if
    wlilling us to let go
    – Betty Shropshite
    – Betty Sheopshire

  35. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    *
    Nancy Brady
    *
    beachcombers fresh from their moment
    with living fossils
    *

  36. Congratulations, Nancy!

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    *

    tired beachcombers
    carry their treasures home

    *

    the lingering day
    varnished by the sun

  37. An ideal verse, Nancy – measured, young, optimistic…. so many linking possibilities! Congratulations. And another convincing commentary.

    John’s opening comments on the Einbond Renku: count me in, if wanted.

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    some say the best way to spend
    a long day is in a dray

    firm friendships forged
    by tilling fields together

    giddyup and go
    beyond the minted willows

    all night long frogs give
    full rein to their desires

  38. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    all the time in the world
    for running with butterflies

  39. Nancy, lovely verse! And thanks, John for your comments.

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    mulberry splots scrubbed off
    before our family trip

  40. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    a white pansy blooming
    in a landfill’s pawmark

    Milan Rajkumar

  41. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    Congratulations, Nancy. It’s a lovely verse and ‘colt’ is listed on the ‘500 Essential A Season Words’ so you’ve written the verse according to John’s instructions and in good faith. Also, you seem to know what a colt is. 🙂

    John, I need to bring up the issue of ‘colt’ (and also ‘pony’ !!!) supposedly being kigo in Japanese. I have no idea how this not only got into ‘The 500 Essential Season Words’ and ‘Haiku World’ in the first place but why it seems never to have been questioned and either explained or corrected. ‘Colt’, in fact, may be a kigo for late spring (as filly may be . . . ) but, as far as I can find, only in relation to horse races held annually in spring such as the Japanese equivalent of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and similar races around the world. (The participating colts and fillies should be 3 or 4 years old) After all, colts, like fillies, are around all year for several years before they’re referred to by their designated adult names, so logically, ‘colt’ and ‘filly’ can no more be kigo than can ‘tree’, ‘cat’ or ‘mountain’.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_(horse)
    ” . . . a colt is defined as an uncastrated male from the age of two up to and including the age of four.[3]”
    .
    The only context I’ve ever been able to find that connects ‘colt’ + ‘wakagoma’ is this horse race held in Kyoto, where ‘wakagoma’ seems to translate as ‘colt/ filly’ . . . “youngster” )
    .
    “Wakagoma Stakes
    Kyoto-JPN
    Former Name(s):
    1989 – 0: Wakagoma Stakes (Youngster Stakes) 若駒S
    Sponsor:
    Wakagoma Stakes (Youngster Stakes) Open Class, Listed Restricted Stakes(upgraded 2014) : 3yo, 2000m turf Special Weight.”
    .
    In another saijiki, also available on the www, colts (and fillies) don’t even get a mention, though foals do.
    http://jti.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/haiku/HTML/Var1Hai.html

    春【はる】:動物 【どうぶつ】
    haru: dōbutsu, Spring: Animals
    仔馬 【こうま】 kouma, foal (late spring).
    馬の仔 【うまのこ】 uma no ko, foal / baby horse.
    馬の仔生まる 【うまのこうまる】 uma no ko umaru, a foal is born

    Editor and Translator :William J. Higginson
    Creation of machine-readable version: :William J. Higginson

    Do you have any views on this subject, John?

    .

    1. As you say, the offer was made (and accepted) in good faith. “Colt” is identified, perhaps incorrectly, but without doubt, in the listing we are using. I know that this has been an on-going concern of yours, Lorin. I did remember your concerns about “pony” but not the rest. Thanks for the reminder.

  42. if…..’gallops’ may be too close to foot in “pedicure”….in verse 18….debbie’s

    last frost grows off
    the door knocker

    9.09.2021 by wendy © bialek

  43. Congratulations Nancy and thanks for the mention and the comments John

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    plowed furrows stretch
    to infinity and back

    so many birds
    wheel round the plow

    birdsong above
    the fresh turned field

    a gallop in the gloaming
    of a glorious long day

  44. oooops! i ‘walked’ too soon…on “thin ice”
    thanks for the reminder….andrew!

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    last frost gallops off
    the door knocker

    9.09.2021 by wendy © bialek

  45. thank you for another round of fitting tips and commentary from john!

    nancy…great going…love your careful, wordsmithing!

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

    thin ice gallops off
    the door knocker

    9.09.2021 by wendy © bialek

  46. Congratulations to all dear selected❤️
    special congratulations to dear Nancy Brady 🌺

    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes

    Nancy Brady

  47. Congrats Nancy, I enjoy your verses and thank you John
    *
    many tadpoles and Buddhas
    celebrate the same birthday
    *
    some princes croak hello
    when they see tadpoles
    *
    you know why some

  48. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    *
    Nancy Brady
    *
    a bubble for luck
    and another to grow on
    *
    holding the record for bubbles
    with the luckiest wand
    *
    lucky bubbles pitching into
    and out of sight

  49. Thanks, Betty, for your kind comment. Your understanding of renku verses is well developed obviously, and I am learning from you and the poets who participate regularly throughout the twenty verses.

    1. Nancy…I try to get my head wrapped around all the nuances to this form but it can be crazy-making…for me, anyway! Am always learning, too!

  50. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    love the colt verse.
    But I have a question for John:
    as ‘colt’ is listed as a late spring kigo, does this mean that the following verse should not have an early or mid spring kigo, but either another late spring or all spring one. We are not supposed to go backwards in the renku. Or am I being too pedantic?

    1. Thank you for mentioning this. I should have done it myself. We are confined, in our final verse to kigo designated “late spring” or “all spring.”

  51. Congratulations Nancy! I love your verse even more after reading your comments! And thanks John , for your guidance which always help us keep,learning!

    this spring dawn leaves
    a lasting impression

  52. I agree– a beautiful and perfect choice.
    And I, too, am slowly making sense of renkus, piking up more each time. This is my third and I owe everything I know to John and the great community of THF.
    **
    the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    *
    Nancy Brady
    *
    its serenity lingers
    long after the last frost
    *
    the special patience to till
    fresh, unbroken fields
    *

    1. Thanks Andrew, Debbie, and Laurie for your kind remarks. That I am not alone in this learning curve
      makes me feel hopeful. Now to contemplate a two-line penultimate verse; good luck to you all.

  53. the farrier measures
    a colt
    for his first shoes
    – Nancy Brady

    tall tales and laughter
    as a light snow begins again
    – Betty Shropshire

  54. Congratulations, Nancy. The status of perpetual student is more to be envied than lamented, in my opinion. I consider myself a student of renku.

    1. John,
      I am a pharmacist, now retired, yet I continue to do continuing education programs as well as read pharmacy journals to keep up so I definitely understand being a perpetual student in a subject. Haiku and all its forms seem to be the same way, or as Michelangelo said, ” Ancora imparo,” at age 87. That translates to: I am still learning. As a pharmacist, poet, and (hopefully) life long learner, I am still learning.
      Nan

  55. Thank you, John. Frankly, I am surprised, even shocked by your choice, but thank you nonetheless. I have been playing to try and understand the renku form; I still don’t, but I will keep at it. Again thanks.

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