Renga: ‘As Close to Triglav’

P1150717 triglav houses medium

Evening, 9 Sept. 2018, Radovljica, Slovenia; a linked verse co-edited by Stephen Gill (Tito), Dimitar Anakiev (Kamesan) & Branko Manojlovic; based partly on a long journey made between summer and autumn. Footnotes are appended.

.

As close to Triglav1
as we could be …
a cloud or two apart

Tito

Autumn begins: my
two guests were looking for a church
but they found me

Kamesan

In the mountain breeze
a campanula2 has turned
deep gentian blue

Branko

To my pen as I write
atop the peak —
hoverfly

Tito

Very long ginko3
jotting down poetry
using a goldenrod4

Kamesan

Sun-ignited clouds
weighing into
the Julian Alps5

Branko

Lying on its side
on a carpet of grass,
a foal in bliss

Tito

Snails, cats and me —
in the kiwi garden today
friends from Kyoto

Kamesan

The slower path:
deep in forest
spindle6 berries

Branko

A sea wind
blowing through the belfry,
the bells almost tone

Tito

It’s getting colder —
next to a Communist shrine
the Crucifixion

Kamesan

Here Soča7 ran red
with soldiers’ blood …
kids throwing stones

Branko

The pale weeping tree
planted above
my white dog’s8 grave

Tito

Hard for me to grasp
the vanishing of a world:
yerba buena9

Kamesan

Imagine the bulging eyes
that first spied these
viridian lakes10

Branko

Wavering beneath me
through sun-dappled shallows,
faces of mosaic saints

Tito

My big moustache
too wild it got this morning —
the street is so steep

Kamesan

Through the hushed arteries
of ancient Piran11
to its very heart

Branko

A pair of flip-flops
left at the base of the olive —
a story awaits

Tito

Those xenophobic
mosquitoes: bite after bite
for fugitives

Kamesan

In Lika valley12
dark-eyed Syrians — a wary
herd of deer

Branko

.

Footnotes:
1 Mt. Triglav, highest mountain in Slovenia (and former Yugoslavia), 2864m, visible at rear left in the photo
2  campanula, bellflower
3 ginko, haiku composition stroll
4 goldenrod, tall yellow-flowered genus, solidago, mostly from N. America
5 Julian Alps, easternmost range in the Alps, stretching from Italy into Slovenia
6 spindle, pink-berried shrub genus, euonymous
7 Soča, river flowing to the Adriatic from the Julian Alps, scene of First World War fighting between Italy and Austro-Hungarian Empire
8 white dog, a spaniel from upland Nepal named Gabbitas, buried in England
9 yerba buena, spearmint
10 viridian lakes, Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
11 Piran, old port town in Slovenian Istria
12 Lika, region of central Croatia, bordering northern Bosnia-Herzegovina

P1150613 poets on Talež medium

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5 Responses to “Renga: ‘As Close to Triglav’”

  1. Richard Donovan Says:

    Tito and Branko, you obviously found a lot to inspire you on your long journey. Very fresh, yet universal, and a great sense of comradeship with Kamesan.

    • As Richard points out, in a way this renga is a record of a journey to meet Dimitar (Kamesan). His wakiku (stanza 2) was a riposte to my own greeting verse to him (given him on the first evening of our stay, after a Google Maps-inspired tortuous route through the mountains): ‘Does he live in a white chapel / at the top of a hill? / the Narrow Road to Dimitar’. One interesting aspect: how many place-names were introduced! No less than 5 by Branko, with 1 each for Kamesan and Tito. My ‘mosaic saints’ were the ones Branko and I had seen a few days earlier at the Eufrasian Basilica of Porec in Croatia, but I didn’t get that place-name in. Certainly, this richness of place-names, amongst other things, gives the renga a taste of travel, which was what it was built out of … for at each new stanza, the composing poet searched for existing haiku noted down along the trail just walked, or the road just driven, to fit each link. Some reworking occurred. Although I’ve done many ginko-no-renga over the decades, this was my first such experience of doing linked verse this way.

  2. The linking of these three verses is quite moving:

    A sea wind
    blowing through the belfry,
    the bells almost tone

    It’s getting colder —
    next to a Communist shrine
    the Crucifixion

    Here Soča ran red
    with soldiers’ blood …
    kids throwing stones

  3. Dimitar (Kamesan) has just published a Serbian version of this renga here: https://kamesanhaikublog.blogspot.com/2018/10/blog-post_98.html

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