Archive for the Rensaku Category

River Song

Posted in News, Rensaku, Spring with tags on April 16, 2014 by Tito

I am very sad to have to report that the body of my friend, the haiku poet Martin Lucas, has just been found on a beach near the mouth of the Ribble, a river he deeply loved. How this happened we do not yet know. He had been missing for more than three weeks. Martin has long been the editor of one of the world’s finest haiku journals, Presence. When Martin visited Japan in March 2003, he had presided at a kukai held by Hailstone in Osaka; and again, in May 2005, Hailstone had linked up with Martin’s ‘Roses’ group in the North of England for the world’s first international synchronous kukai (conducted ‘live’ via the internet). He had only just published, in the latest issue of Presence, his review of our new book.
The following haiku sequence (or rensaku) – what he simply called “River Song” – was read by Martin in a BBC Radio programme featuring his Yorks-Lancs haiku group (broadcast Dec. 2003).

Dear Martin, always energetic, pure and true. We will ever appreciate you through the art you have left behind. Missing you so much.

into the swirls
of the spring river
the cormorants dive

where the clear river
clouds across the stones
eight swans

as far
as the eye can see
the river song

between the rocks
and the river breeze
the dance of light

evening by the river
the spurt of red flame
beneath a hot air balloon

high tide
when I return to the river
the swans return to me

a quiet stretch of river
the gull’s little kick
into flight

as far as the river
a river of lights

first catkins
in the riverbank trees
the tide turning

Martin Lucas


Arashiyama Flood Rensaku

Posted in Autumn, News, Rensaku on September 17, 2013 by Tito


A rensaku is a longer poem by a single author comprising haiku-like stanzas, each containing a different poetic image. I was down at the Oi (Katsura) Riverside this morning seeing what could be done to help…

Her kitchen now coated
With dark river mud –
The anguish behind her smile

Tamba timber flotsam
Crumpled about the piers
Of Moon Crossing Bridge

For hours
It stood against the flood –
A Kyoto lamp post lowered

Here are the buckets
Here is the mud
Here comes Rob* …
And off we go!

Brother and sister
Bail mud from the shop –
Flash visit from the mayor

The mulligatawny river
Now slinking past
The ornate tearooms
It has fouled

* Rob Mangold, director of the disaster relief charity, IDRO , with whom I got stuck in for a while. The Saturday 21 Sep. PTO workday will be partly or entirely devoted to helping the clean-up by the river at Ogurayama’s foot if there is still something we can do. Otherwise, it will be path maintenance on the hill above. Dep. Saga-Arashiyama JR at 9:45.