Shimmering Pavements

A shisan renku consisting of twelve verses that follow the progress of the seasons. The linked verse was composed at ‘Kaze no Ma’ (Room of Breezes) after a composition stroll through the heat and squalls of early summer in the eastern hills of Kyoto. Eleven poets took part and all contributed to this linked verse.

Shimmering pavements –
forgotten stones of the city
reflecting the sky

The rickshaw man
just waiting for a heavy shower

Birdsong rings
over the poet’s hut,
dripping eaves

Lifted on a breeze
the scent of boiling mushrooms

At nightfall
a gang of trolls comes forth
to worship the moon

Rabbits hide themselves
among the pampas grass

Seeking the meaning
in this shared cup
of steaming chocolate

Couples along the river
snuggle beneath frozen stars

The highest branch:
tenderly preening each other,
two crows

No traces are left
on the softening path

Ancient marble statues
reveal their eyes:
blue veronica

Deep in meditation
the reading lamp fails.

participants (random order): David McCullough (sabaki), Tito (shuhitsu), Keiko Yurugi (host), Toshi Ida, Mayumi Kawaharada, Michael Lambe, Masako Fujie, Kittredge Stephenson, Hitomi Suzuki, Yoshiharu Kondo, and Peter MacIntosh.

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6 Responses to “Shimmering Pavements”

  1. The hokku reference to the ‘forgotten stones’ must include the obscure, partly mossed-over poem stones and assorted monuments we found scattered around the Saigyo Hut site in Higashiyama. Whereas the nearby Basho-do, founded by the haiku poet Ranko in the C18th, has recently become a staffed, commercial venture, the Saigyo-an site is obscure and leaves almost everything to the imagination. The thatched hut there is celebrated more overtly in stanza 3. Thereafter, the actuality of a summer ginko rapidly moves into things imagined.
    Thanks to all for supplying so many verses from which D. could choose!

  2. ”Shimmering Pavements” sounds poetic and beautiful.
    Proceeding of editing was facinatimg.
    Thank you so much for letting me participate in Renku.

  3. What I like about this shisan is that it consists of twelve beautiful poems.Very often, renkists pay more attention to the rules and linckage and forget about the beauty of individulal poems. In this shisan, though, every poem seems to have achieved a high level of poetical beauty. There is one thing, however, I missed in this shisan. I would have liked a larger variety of topics. There seems to be no poem about politics, or news, or sports, and so on. Shisan is a very condensed form of linked verse, so each poem should have a different topic. This may have something to do with combining ginko and renku. What you see on your ginko trip is perhaps too limited for writing renku, since renku requires a broader vision. There is another thing I felt slightly uneasy about is the lack of names after the poems. Renku is an art of collabortion, but each poem should belong to someone. Otherwise, the whole piece seems to be the work of a single person. It is true that sabaki often rephrases the original proposals so much that it is hard to say whose work they are, but even in such cases the name of the poet who made the original proposal is very important, I think. Apart from these, I think you have made an excellent work. Next time, I hope you will make more daring experiments both in subject matter and style. Best wishes, Nobuyuki Yuasa (Sosui)

  4. The work is well collected and edited from the renga point of view. Each verse progresses beautifully with faint connectedness and moderate detachedness, especially from verse three to verse six. The eighth and the ninth are a bit too connected, it seems to me.

  5. A comment on our comments perhaps, David?

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