Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get Ready to Renga!

David Irwin, a poet, writer, musician and longtime friend (I hate saying old friend, even though we're both getting there) read one of my haiku poems and invited me to Renga with him.

Renga is an ancient style of Japanes poetry wherein two or more poets collaborate to create a poem by writing alternate stanzas. It is also the original source of the haiku. It uses syllable counts of 5-7-5 and 7-7. In its strictest, original form it goes to 100 verses. We didn't get quite that far. Maybe David will pick it up again. Me I just have fun with words.
Google it for more information.
Here is the result of our initial foray into this form of poetic conversation (which, apparently, is only 1/3rd finished). I'm calling it:

The Gardeners
White blossoms push out
from the wood. Wet dirt wisps steam
almost all morning.

Nothing worse than too much time
on one’s hands while the ice melts.

The forest dances.
Blossoms fly from meadow trees.
Tall grass undulates.

Seize the moment to watch this
in the mists before the storm.

A clutch of young grass
falls from your hand. Did the wind
take it as it fell?

Ahead, summer's horizon;
Today, sweat and more planting.

Baskets on the porch
filled with trailing spring flowers
will bring summer joy.

Dirty hands, satisfaction,
Sense of zen captured in now.

The dirt hands you your
meal - this is where we first taste
the too-young tartness.

Berries, when ready to fall,
are different, not better.

When plucked before ripe
fruit and berry are less sweet.
Taste is the victim.

Life must fully gestate
or bitterness will prevail.


  1. I've tried my hand at haiku but had never heard of renga until just now. What a wonderful form. You'd think people would rather get an email asking them to write one verse and pass it on than one of those endless requests to add a recipe or change the letters around to make a new word and send a copy back to the originator and on to someone else. You know the things I mean. Internet renga would be much more fun. Thanks for the introduction.

  2. P.S. About the photo - I decided I'd like this blog before I read a word of it, just based on the great portrait. That is not a grumpy face. The expression reminded me of the great illustrations of the walrus in Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter. Particularly apt for your blog."The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And why the sea is boiling hot--
    And whether pigs have wings."

  3. Hello Bill

    I'd never heard of a renga either!Congratulations to you and David. This is filled with gorgeous images.