Ohara Ginko-no-renga

Hailstones and friends met in Ohara, Kyoto on Sunday June 6, 2010 for a ginko (nature walk), which concluded with a renga (linked-verse composition) session. Ohara is a rural town located in the northern part of Kyoto. It is surrounded by forested mountains. Those who participated in this event contributing verses to the renga were John Dougill, Tito, Mayumi Kawaharada, Akira Kibi, Shigeko Kibi, Ursula Maierl, John McAteer, David McCullough, Hisashi Miyazaki, and Gerald Staggers.

The Ginko-no-renga was organized and hosted by David, who guided us part way up and around one of the forested mountains where we passed a number of small rustic shops, as well as Sanzen-in Temple, before heading out into a stretch of ricefields in the valley. After the walk, lunch was provided by David and his family at his home. The renga session, which featured a 3-2-3 sequence, took place in David’s backyard by the river, and was later edited via e-mail.

Ohara Renga

Warm blue sky
the ricefield flooded
& ready for seedlings

Chattering friends pass by
a frog’s eyes hidden in silence

At the end of a street
three figures of Jizo
in this breeze

Shall we allow
the Takano River to talk?

Farmer’s market
a row of knife sharpeners
swish the whetstones

Billows of afternoon smoke…
fresh-grilled sweetfish

Two mandarin ducks
leave for the sky;

A well-tanned old lady
selling ice-cream

After exchanging bows
he slows down his tractor
to pull over

Tall poppy rising
above the hill line

Into green shade
the lingering taste
of sugared citron peels

Reaching past the dry stone wall
ーa striped kite’s feather

Summer moon
a broken scoop net
in the paddy water

sabaki: Gerald with Hisashi

4 Responses to “Ohara Ginko-no-renga”

  1. Nice work, Gerald! I particularly like the way you began and ended with the flooded rice-field. The first has the blue sky of midday; the second, the evening moon. The beauty of this form of renga is that it has the integrity of real experience and unified season. It is in essence a longish poem made by, in this case, ten people! It scrolls past us in a pleasing way, with little surprises and captivating details which can be read again and again. It is indeed ‘stroll-and-scroll’ art. It always amazes me how a good sabaki (editor) can bring out the best of our scribblings and present the reader with a full 5-sense unscrolling of a walk.
    There is surely room in the modern haiku world for this sort of unconfined, unstrictured poetic elegance.

  2. Akira Kibi Says:

    Thank you Gerald-sensei for your enduring work on editing our scribbles. We remember well the blue sky and breeze and the vivid tadpoles in the rice-field. The way each one’s passage has been woven into a story is amazing, well depicting the events of the day.

  3. Hisashi Miyazaki Says:

    In the picture, we were looking at friendly frogs in the paddy water. No! The frogs looking at us! It was a nice day. Thanks, David and his family.

  4. Beautiful! I second Tito’s comments. And I particularly love the way you engage not only with visual beauty but also with the often-neglected other senses: the sound of the talking Takano river and the knives on the whetstones, the smell of grilling sweetfish, the lingering taste/of sugared citron peels… delicious!

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