Archive for Linked verse

Oyamazaki Ginko-no-renga

Posted in Ginko-no-renga, Summer with tags on July 2, 2017 by Hisashi Miyazaki

May 20, 2017 (please see the preceding post, “Spring at the Edge”)


A clear sky …
sprouting green leaves
breathe with us                                                    (Akito)

The sound of ice
being dropped into a glass                                    (Tito)

Beside the hot train tracks
the old man mutters
“Don’t hog the shade!’                                           (Richard)

Three rivers join and flow –
Hideyoshi’s proud pagoda                                      (Eiko)

Only the red roof left,
the museum returning
to nature’s green                                                  (Hiroko)

Birdsong carried
by stream ripples                                                   (Akira)

At Takara Temple
recalling Soseki –
an early summer breeze                                          (Teruko)

Distilled on Mt. Tenno
“Angel’s Share”                                                      (Kyoko)

The girl counts out
twelve visitor cards at reception –
cool interior                                                            (Hisashi)

in the western window                                            (Kayo)

A black swallowtail
visits the Siberian irises –
afternoon heat                                                        (Eiko)

Until the liquid turns amber
long way to go                                                        (Noriko)

Enma and his fierce men:
heaped before them
fruits, jellies, just desserts                                        (Eiko)

Slippery on this steep slope
pilgrims’ straw sandals                                            (Noriko)

A mayfly lands
on my handlebars –
the luminous day                                                    (Tito)


Ed. by Hisashi Miyazaki and Richard Donovan


For John

Posted in Renga, Tribute with tags on October 6, 2015 by Tito

British renku master, John Carley, who died on 31 December 2013, is commemorated in a new page here on the Icebox: “Memorial kasen for John Carley”. Please click this to read the linked verse composed by 10 international poets led by Eiko Yachimoto using a haiku of John’s as its lead verse. If you have any comments, you can either leave them beneath this announcement or at the foot of the kasen page itself. Enjoy it, please!

“Fire & Water” ginko-no-renga

Posted in Ginko-no-renga, Summer with tags , on August 22, 2015 by Tito

dedicated to the memory of Ken Jones (1930 – 2.8.2015)

As its last event of the summer, Hailstone Haiku Circle held a ginko-no-rengakai (‘stroll and scroll event’) at Arashiyama on Daimonji Night, 16.8.15. Sixteen attended. On this, the last day of the O-bon season, multiple bonfires are lit on the hills around Kyoto as a way of seeing off the spirits of the dead who are thought to have been invisible guests in the homes of relatives these past few days. The first fire to be lit, and the largest, is shaped like the Chinese character for ‘big’ and dominates the eastern side of town; the last, overlooking Kyoto’s western side, is shaped like the ‘torii’ or sacred gateway leading to the Fire God’s shrine atop Mt. Atago, which is ‘the mountain’ alluded to in the hokku (first verse) here. The ageku (final verse) thus links back to the hokku. We climbed the steps up to Hōrinji Temple to get a better view of the bonfires. Rain is mentioned once, and once only, as it turned out to be but a heavy shower.

Arashiyama renga Micah 1a

Ken Jones gave a reading to Hailstone 12 years ago in Osaka and news of his passing had just reached us. On the night he was in the sabaki’s mind. This linked verse is what we managed to get down. Each verse has become a picture in a kaleidoscopic narrative poem.


….. Thunderhead looms
….. behind the mountain —
….. the same silhouette

(Tito) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Over the river, dusk
….. ….. with dragonflies

(Peter) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. Where three rocks jut
….. from the green water
….. no ripples to be seen

(Masako) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. People crowd the bridge
….. ….. egrets cooling down

(Eiko) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. Greater China
….. takes over the street —
….. the flash of credit cards

(Peter) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Only special guests admitted
….. ….. to the viewing platform

(Tito) ….. ….. ….. …..  


….. Sound of geta
….. on stone steps –
….. yukata beauty

(Tomoko) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. In spite of sweet repellent
….. ….. one mosquito drinks

(Takeshi) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. Cooler air —
….. cicada chorus
….. at summer’s end

(Mika) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Treading on occasional
….. ….. yellowed cherry leaves

(Tito) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. The rain begins
….. before the lighting of bonfires —
….. etching lines

(Peter/Micah) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Light captured on the water’s surface
….. ….. tears

(Hideyuki) ….. ….. ….. ….. 

Micah Gampel_8852 c-

….. A misty blaze starts up
….. on the distant hill —
….. Ken, now rest in peace

 (Tito) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Reflection of lanterns —
….. ….. broken by a passing boat

(Kazue) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. Seeing off the souls
….. a soft wind blows —
….. still alive!

(Hiroko) ….. ….. ….. ….. 


….. ….. Gentle glow of the Torii
….. ….. to dim city lights

(Masako) ….. ….. ….. ….. 

[Participants: Stephen Gill (Tito, sabaki, rt. below), Peter MacIntosh (shuhitsu, lt. below), Masako Fujie, Eiko Mori, Tomoko Uemura, Takeshi Saito, Mika Nakamura, Micah Gampel, Hideyuki Jitsumasa, Kazue Gill, Hiroko Nakakubo, J.P. Thomas (Hakama), Aya Hotta, Vera Ishiyama, Yushi Yanohara, Manoha. Photos: Micah Gampel.]Arashiyama renga Micah 0a

The Wooden Tub

Posted in Event report, Renga with tags on May 26, 2013 by Tito

shisan renku consisting of twelve verses that follow the progress of the seasons: 春-夏-秋-冬.
P1190709a- This linked verse, the last in our Four Seasons series, was composed on 3 May ’13 in a roof-top tearoom (川 Sen) at the Tatsumi Building near Kyoto Station on a bright and breezy spring day. As we worked, we enjoyed a sample of rare imported teas and took lunch outside on the patio roof with its views of Mts. Hiei and Atago. Ten poets took part and most had at least one of their offered verses chosen.

The wooden tub
suddenly overflowing
with violets

Stepping out
in my new sneakers

One of the cans
kicked by the youths
still rattling down the road

Swallows refashion
the rim of their nest

A barque by the shore
ready to take us to
never-never land

Drops from the paddle
form a stream of stars

No cow
in the slightly frosted meadow,
a low moon in the east

Worms eating into
the apple’s core

November wind
blows through the streets –
miniskirt assassin

Boston Marathon bombing
green card applicants’ despair

Curled up for warmth
offering winter prayers –
hungry ghosts drink in the Light

Interwoven hopes,
fabric of a linked verse.

participants (in random order): Ursula Maierl (sabaki), Tito (shuhitsu and host), Hitomi Suzuki, Peter MacIntosh, Haruka Hasaba, Toshi Ida, Kyoko Nozaki, Mayumi Kawaharada, Keiko Okumoto and Richard Steiner.

Other renku in this Four Season series can be read here:

Snowflakes Wander

Posted in Event report, Renga with tags on March 3, 2013 by Tito

A shisan renku consisting of twelve verses that follow the progress of the seasons: -冬-春-夏-秋. P1190042a-The linked verse was composed on 24.2.13 in an 8-mat room upstairs at Murin-an 無鄰菴, Okazaki, Kyoto on a bitterly cold late winter day of sun and passing snow flurries. Some enjoyed a stroll around the watery, Meiji-period landscape garden we could see from the window. Twelve poets took part and most had at least one of their offered verses chosen.

Snowflakes wander …
grey down snagged on juniper
from the goshawk’s kill

With one brush stroke
the frozen river

the boatman’s monkey

Irritable lady
explains over and over again

Pink plum blossoms
bursting on the bough;
the skirt tighter this year

Rainbow-patterned curves
of painted Easter eggs

My wish to be in Hawaii
attending a wedding –
dreams come true

Sudden showers
lovers run for cover

Since the nuclear meltdown
no more swimming
in the turquoise sea

A candle burns on
changing shadows of itself

Foxes approach:
the harvest moon keeps her eyes
on the rice-cake offering

Ripened fields stretch
to the world’s end.

participants (in random order): Tito (sabaki and host), Jiko (shuhitsu), Mari Kawaguchi, David McCullough, Hitomi Suzuki, Ursula Maierl, Keiko Kurumizawa, Kyoko Nozaki, Michael Lambe, Kazuko Miyazawa, Masako Fujie and Peter MacIntosh

Crimson Tallow Leaves

Posted in Event report, Renga with tags on November 17, 2012 by Tito

A shisan renku, consisting of twelve verses that follow, through the process of shift-and-link, the progress of the seasons: 秋冬春夏.

The linked verse was composed on 4 Nov. in an 8-mat tea-room at Yasui Kompira Jinja Kaikan on a fine, still autumn day, which included a lunchtime stroll to the Kamo River in eastern Kyoto. Eleven poets took part and most had at least one of their offered verses chosen. The ‘tallow leaves’ are those of the  ナンキンハゼ nankinhaze tree (candleberry). Subhadassi, a visiting British artist with a passion for renga, had visited Mt. Ogura the previous day.

Crimson tallow leaves
light up the paths
towards smoke blue Ogura

from somewhere
the smell of mackerel

singing children
disperse for home
with the temple bell

a stone thrown far
into the moat

after washing my face
at a service station
winter full moon

she cycles through
each season

cherry blossoms
have fallen
into the maiko’s kimono

the newborn arrives
ahead of schedule

on the riverbank
somebody touched my shoulder
weeping willow

echoing down the phone line
his loneliness

they punch back
sturdy sunflowers
holding their ground

the elevator goes up
but doesn’t come down.

participants (not in order of their contributions): Subhadassi (sabaki), Tito (shuhitsu), Mayumi Kawaharada (host), Jiko, Mari Kawaguchi, Hisashi Miyazaki, Ursula Maierl, Gerald Staggers, Kittredge Stephenson, Masako Fujie and Peter MacIntosh.

Shimmering Pavements

Posted in Event report, Renga with tags on July 29, 2012 by david mccullough

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.