Welcome to our ninth renku session under the sponsorship of The Haiku Foundation. This will be a Jûnichô (twelve verse) renku, under the guidance of John Stevenson.
Wow. Just wow. Twenty-five of you responded, offering eighty-two candidates for verse three. I am going to have a long list of favorites and will still be leaving many good offers out of my comments. Here, in the order they arrived, are some especially interesting ones:
the disco ball
reflecting in every corner
of the gymnasium
From the sharp directional focus of the bee, we have the contrast of an intentionally disorienting (if low tech) special effect. And the setting suggests to me the world of possible directions that young lives may take. An invocation of youth could be a lead into the love verses to follow.
on French toast
in the sunlit kitchen
A lovely slant linkage. No punning on honey. Rather, the verse is suffused with a sympathetic glow and sweetness.
from her 80th
I suppose the “thinking” part of this link relates glitter to pollen dust. But what works best for me is the thought of a link between the waggle dance and the possibility of a slight tremor in the hand of the eighty-year-old birthday girl.
cries the canary-colored
Another laugh out loud verse and we certainly could use it here. But we might want it later.
please listen carefully
as our menu options
This one says something wry about our communication skills. I don’t have room here to describe all the directions this sends me. One of them is the way it makes me squirm (rather than waggle) in my seat when a phone contact starts in this way.
this amber pendant
once adorned royalty
This one links lightly but persistently, in each line. The first line links to the image of language and acts of communication. The second line to the color of honey (and maybe pollen), the third line to the monarchy of a bee hive. This multiple linking is not always a good thing but I do like this particular instance.
for mother’s visit
this long weekend
Barbara A. Taylor
Nicely carries the energy of verse two into a new realm.
Audrey was so elegant
in her little black dress
This is a word link that reads like something subtler. I must have read it and enjoyed it about eight times before the phrase “bee-hive hair-do” came to mind. Before that, I thought that the idea of “elegant” was being retro fitted to the society of bees and I love that kind of linking.
a new mother
rocks her little girl
in her arms
Perhaps the obvious link is the motion of rocking, in contrast to waggling. But what makes this interesting to me is the contrast between the tender nurturing of human motherhood and the queenship in the hive. There, the first female to hatch, when there is a vacancy for a queen, begins immediately to kill any other young females.
the dog’s glee
behind the door
as the key turns
Agnes Eva Savich
Well, yeah. One link is a characteristic motion. And one contrast is between intra and inter-species communication.
a Rosetta Stone
needed to translate
the office politics
A solid link relating to communication and a mildly humorous invocation of the collaborative processes of linked verse.
he interprets the joy
in her hands
Carol Ann Palomba
I like this a lot and I’m not sure that I literally understand it. It could relate to touching. It could relate to palm reading. It could relate to characteristic and endearing gestures. It would make an effective opening in the love verses.
OUR THIRD VERSE (DAISAN)
her china cups
filled with oolong
Liz Ann Winkler
So, here is one potential destination for the honey that bees and only bees make. The word that makes this stand out for me is “memories.” We don’t think about bees having memory but of course they do or this process of communication would not work. A bee has to remember where the flowers are in order to tell others. The others have to remember what they were told in order to follow the directions. So, this word “memories” actually looks back at the previous verse and sheds new light on it for me. It also offers some good possibilities about where to go in the next verse, an initial love verse. Though we have to be careful that we don’t inadvertently link to both this verse and Polona’s.
I made some significant alterations in the original version of this verse (her china teacups / filled with sweet tea / and memories) because I didn’t want to so prominently carry the long “e” sounds into a third verse. I removed “tea,” “tea” and “sweet” and added “oolong.” But I kept “memories.” (Don’t’ we all?) If, upon final review, we feel that those “e” sounds are still too prominent, we can possibly remove “bees” from Polona’s verse without losing its clarity. But let’s have it this way for now.
There is another linkage that appeals to me here. From the waggle dance, there is a faint suggestion to me of the shifting of a china cup in a china saucer as it is being served to a guest and the characteristic sound that this makes. If I were writing in this renku, that’s where I would start in trying to compose a first love verse.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OUR NEXT VERSE
- A love verse
- Non-seasonal (no kigo)
- Two lines
- Linking with verse three but not, in any way, with the first or second verses.
- An indoor image. Perhaps a night image but no moon (we are saving that for later)
- No long “e” sounds
A few words here about love verses, once again, from Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton University Press, 1979). “For renga love is essentially one-sided, loving or longing without having the affection returned. (Sometimes a brief time of happiness is presumed or allowed, so that subsequent change may have the greater effect.)”
This is a short session we are engaged in, so we will have just a single, two-verse love sequence (verses four and five).
OUR RENKU, SO FAR
scent of new growth
in the trees
a pollen-covered bee’s
her china cups
filled with oolong
Liz Ann Winkler
Please use the “Leave a Reply” box, below, to submit your verse four offers. I will be reviewing them until the submission deadline of midnight, New York time, on Monday, September 24. My selection and commentary, together with an invitation for the fifth verse will appear here on Thursday, September 27.
I look forward to seeing your offers for the love verse!