Monday, February 13, 2006

Kigen Haiku

Midnight. No waves
No wind. The empty boat
is flooded with moonlight.

-Dogen Kigen, Zen Master

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Consciousness that does not look back

In kasen, there should be no desire to retrace even one step. As the series progresses, it brings renewal to our hearts, and this is only because of the consciousness that does not look back, that pushes the movement forward. --Basho, The Essential Haiku, p. 306

Renga Rules?

For some of us, it is necessary to establish rules at the beginning of a journey. Perhaps it is like charting a map so that we may have some guides about where to go, what to search for, what to do. Questions may arise, such as: Are we looking for a destination? Does it matter the length of time it takes to make the journey? What are the possible pathways we may choose? Where do these pathways lead? Does it matter which path to travel on?

Others of us may resonate more fully with Antonio Machado, who said, "Sojourner, there is no path. The path is made by walking."

In context of our renga writing, do we want to consider establishing basic, preliminary ground rules? Or do we want to go with the flow? Perhaps we want to just Begin and then see where our creative impulses lead us.

We may want to remember some of the basics from Renga 101:
Hokkus are sometimes chosen by random from a pile submitted by participating poets.
5-7-5, 7-7
Non-linear, non-narrative
Changing seasons
Traditional season words

Where do we begin?

Seven Poets in Contemplation II

A long good-bye--
The man's suitcase
Casts a shadow on the pier. (rm)

Hands fold into themselves
Inside pockets, to walk away (dj)

The woman lingers
As the ship vanishes
Into a cloud (egf)

Anchors away!
Gray clouds settle in. (lm)

A flop of mist and
Last star disappears behind
The Earth's thickened atmosphere (sz)

No light
Candle plays shadow games. (ab)

Winning smile of the darkened
Field--settling lowly on
A deserted football field (ht)

A young birch near the parking lot--
I bend to reach you. (rm)

A dark animal shadow
Moves on slippered feet. (dj)

Funny-footed writer
watches through window
Waiting for words. (egf)

"I don't have them," the man says,
He slides art behind the scriptures. (lm)

A drop of dew slides
Down the cold stone wall, onto
My shoulder. Chilly! (sz)

December--window open
Palm tree breeze. (ab)

On the patio, pink
Flamingoes and tiki torches
Snuffed and faded in the dusk. (ht)

The mayor pretends to speak from a podium.
Defeated. Disconcerted. Drunk. (rm)

Words fumble for place--
The bus bumps steadily
Down a narrow road. (dj)

Outside the bus window
Lone farmhouse--abandoned (egf)

A child drinking coke
Spots a spider and sprays him
Runs & laughs. Cruelty. (sz)

Feeding the baby
Pen tucked behind her ear (ab)

Imagining life in Kyoto:
Full moons and warm sake.
Milk and applesauce in the eye (ht)

The brothel lights switched off earl.
One pair of eyes reflects starlight. (rm)

Narrow street of stars
Heels clinking on the walk
Small constellations (dj)

The air cracks with chill
And she pulls her coat closer (egf)

What is that moving?
Squirming in her left pocket--
Spring yawns and turns over (lm)

Close the engine. It's all right.
Fumes stay while we reap the miles. (sz)

Seven Poets in Contemplations

Red leather gloves--
The oak dresses for winter
--soon Eden's truth, revealed (lm)

A carriage passes us by--
Horses' hooves kick dirt and leaves (sz)

Through the curtained
A solitary tear. (ab)

The truth of desire: January winds
whipping through her hair (ht)

Jagged glass--
Broken light illuminates
A forgotten dinner (rm)

Heart core of wood, curling
Into the new leaf of Spring (dj)

March rain sends
Stray rabbit under
Bush--momentary shelter (egf)

Deer! No, rabbit--what is
It? - A jackrabbit stirs summer (lm)

Holding a twig
The child prepares mud soup (ab)

Dawn brins a hint of
freshness through the screen. Asleep,
he lfts his head up (az)

In Japan, little girl dreams
Of sailors and moons (ht)

Red leather gloves

The seven poets who participated in the renga writing party in Dec. 2003 included:
Andrea Barilla
Emily Gorman-Fancy
Darby James
Lisa Mackender
Robyn Morgan
Hoang-Anh L. Tran
Snezana Zabic

The "red leather gloves" hokku which began the renga written by Seven Poets in Contemplations was written by Lisa Mackender.

The couplet which follows Lisa's hokku was written by Sneza Zabic.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A carriage passes us by--
horses hooves kick dirt and leaves
Red leather gloves--
The oak dresses for winter
--soon Eden's truth, revealed
In December of 2003, seven of us from Robert Siegel's class at UNCW gathered together at a Renga writing party. It was a chilly night, the food was plentiful, the spirit high. We were all squeezed into a tiny apartment on the second floor of Campus Walk, feverishly writing lines of poetry that have long been forgotten. At times, it seemed like the night was endless, and the words were not going to come. I've created a space--it may have already been there and I just answered its call--for us to gather once again across the long distances in order to write rengas. We return to poetry over and over again simply because...