I’m Lorin Ford. I’m your sabaki for this Jûnicho renku.
“The word sabaki means handler or guide. . . . It is pure chance that the German word Führer also translates as guide.” (John Carley, Renku Reckoner)
Please join me in the making of a Jûnicho and in making this collaborative poem an enjoyable experience for all involved.
John Carley’s ‘Introduction to Renku’.
THF renku archive here.
We’re off and running!
There was an avalanche of hokku submissions! My thanks to all. Fifty renkujin (renku poets) submitted up to 3 hokku each. I’ve counted a rough total of 120 verses! I’ve wished I was compiling a ‘Winter Moon’ haiku anthology rather than selecting just one hokku for our 12 verse renku. My first ‘shortlist’ was very long. There were some delightful ‘wild cards’, for example:
snowy yard/our house shadow/followed by moonlight – Paul Macneil
(Haunting. A sense of mystery combined with visual clarity. Essential stillness in a quiet observation of movement over time.)
moonset . . ./an icicle lengthens/letters home – Betty Shropshire
(Cold stillness, solitude and isolation. Loneliness and heart-warmth in long letters to distant ‘home’.)
snowball fight…/the amount of times/I crumple the moon – Praniti Gulyani
(An energetic play-fight. Action! Awareness in the keeping track of a running total of times the moon is ‘crumpled’ along with snow into one quick snowball after another. A fresh and lively take on the topic.)
My Top Ten
But I wanted a more traditional beginning, one with an implied/metaphorical, auspicious greeting or reference to the company about to begin this renku. Among the hokku submissions that fulfilled all requirements were these, my final shortlist of 10 (in order of post date and time). Any one of these would give this renku a good start, each in its different way:
sleigh ride/the road ahead shimmers/in moonlight – Marta Chocilowska
snow moon…/a porchlight gathering /footprints – Brendon Kent
the last guest/takes off his boots —/snow moon – Susan Constable
snowbound-/a moonshine glow/on every face – Carol Jones
cold moon —/a mug of mulled wine/greets each guest -Judt Shrode
tiny moons/dance in hot chocolate—/a pile of ice skates – Agnes Eva Savich
moonrise/a pack of wolves/begins its pursuit – Polona Oblak
opening the door/to an unexpected guest –/winter moon – Sandra Simpson
such a gathering/the moon lighting icicles/under the eaves – Simon Hanson
a sparkler/lit with another…/full wolf moon – Tzetzka Ilieva
The Road Taken: Our Hokku
the road ahead shimmers
– Marta Chocilowska
This hokku has continued to enchant me since I first read it. Sleigh rides (kulig) in Poland have a long history of tradition and to this day are a celebratory outing for locals and tourists alike. Thank you, Marta, for taking me there. I can imagine being on this moonlit sleigh ride, gliding through the countryside, all rugged up and warm in the fresh open air, seeing the white breath of the sturdy little horses, hearing the muffled sound of their hoof beats in the snow, the sounds of their well-polished harness ,tinkling harness bells and a snort now and then. I imagine chatting sometimes with my fellow passengers as we glide through the crisp air and the indescribable scent of snow, but mostly just feeling the exhilaration and excitement of being there. And the anticipation! What lies ahead on this shimmering road of snow?
Metaphorically, it’s the rest of our renku that lies ahead. Marta Chocilowska’s hokku invites us all along for the ride. Very nicely done, Marta.
(Note: L3 of Marta’s hokku as given was “in the moonlight”. I’ve taken the liberty of editing out this 2nd definite article.)
Call for Wakiku
For our Jûnicho , we’ll be following this schema from John Carley’s Renku Reckoner:
hokku — winter moon (long verse)
- wakiku — winter (short)
daisan — no season (long)
verse 4 — no season love (short)
verse 5 — no season love (long)
verse 6 — autumn (short)
verse 7 — autumn (long)
verse 8 — no season (short)
verse 9 — summer flower (long)
verse 10 — no season (short)
verse 11 — spring (long)
ageku — spring (short)
- is a two-line verse without a cut or turn. It is not like a two-line haiku. It ‘runs on’.
- links strongly/ closely to the hokku, supports or ‘buttresses’ the hokku and brings a new perspective.
- this wakiku will have a winter reference or kigo, as does our hokku. It needs to have a different winter reference or kigo than our hokku.
The link is the connection or relationship between any current given verse (maeku) and following verse (tsukeku), in this case between hokku and wakiku. There are many traditional ways of linking. For an overview, see sub-header ‘Link—Principles of Relation’ in the essay ‘LINK AND SHIFT—A Practical Guide to Renku’ Composition’ by Tadashi Shôkan Kondô and William J. Higginson.
But nb. If your wakiku responds to the hokku from a sense of ‘being there’ in the world of our hokku, with empathy and goodwill and bringing something new, you’ll most likely have created a good link anyway.
The hokku, having no previous verse to link to, must ‘stand alone’, must be complete in itself like a haiku. But within renku, the hokku is not intended to stand isolated for long. The hokku calls for a response. The wakiku responds to the call. The wakiku confirms the hokku in some way. The wakiku does not contradict or challenge the hokku. It brings a new perspective whilst being harmonious, supportive or complementary in relation to the hokku.
Historically, the hokku was written by the most important guest, (i.e. usually, the Renku Master) and the wakiku was written by the host (i.e. the one who supplies the venue, the snacks and the booze.) Only when we have the hokku and wakiku in place can we say the renku party has truly begun.
(As for shift in renku: the daisan, the 3rd verse, is the first verse that can really be said to utilise shift. We go there next week.)
- Please use the ‘‘Leave a reply’ box down at the bottom of the thread to submit up to 3 of your winter wakiku for consideration. (Since the Jûnicho has 12 verses only and we have many participants, a verse by a different person will be selected each time. I hope that those with a verse selected will continue to follow our renku as it unfolds. )
- Please, if you wish to post a revision of any verse you’ve posted previously , use the ‘reply’ function at the bottom of your original post, NOT the submissions box at the bottom of the thread that reads ‘Leave a reply’.
Please post your submissions before midnight Monday 22nd January, Eastern USA time. (New York time)That’s the deadline. I find the World Clock handy.
Happy writing! I look forward to reading everyone’s wakiku submissions. The selected wakiku and instructions for verse 3, the daisan, will be posted next Thursday morning: January 25th, New York time.
Our Jûnicho to date
the road ahead shimmers
– Marta Chocilowska