POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.

INFORM POETS – RENGA

A while back, Robert Lee Brewer posted the Somonka Challenge which sparked a tremendous outpouring of collaborative work amongst the poets. It yielded some wonderful imagery and poems. Today, we will delve into a similar endeavor as our form exploration is the RENGA.

Renga, meaning “linked poem,” began over seven hundred years ago in Japan to encourage the collaborative composition of poems. Poets worked in pairs or small groups, taking turns composing the alternating three-line and two-line stanzas. Linked together, renga were often hundreds of lines long, though the favored length was a 36-line form called a kasen. Several centuries after its inception, the opening stanza of renga gave rise to the much shorter haiku.

To create a renga, one poet writes the first stanza (three lines long with a total of seventeen syllables.) The next poet adds the second stanza (a couplet with seven syllables per line). The third stanza repeats the structure of the first and the fourth repeats the second, alternating in this pattern until the poem’s end.

The themes of renga are perhaps most critical to the poem’s success. The language is often pastoral, using words and images relating to the seasons, nature, and love. In order for the poem to achieve its desired goal, each poet writes a new stanza that leaps from only the stanza preceding it. This leap holds both the theme as well as maintains the connecting component.

The form has been used as a tool for teaching students to write poetry while working together; a lesson in cooperation!

Poets are asked to choose partners (or small groups) and compose RENGA poems. (Of course, you can write the chain on your own if you must!)

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5788#sthash.hQGQcmVn.dpuf

WALT AND PAULA’S RENGA CHAIN:

LOVE TREADS SLOWLY

Love walks in beauty,
gently stepping into hearts.
A journey two share.

A shared trip around the sun
turns tide and time; hearts are one.

From the fallow ground,
signs of new life have been found.
Love’s new beginning.

In renewal, love springs forth;
a new season to embrace.

Soon, temperate and full,
life with outstretched arms seeks warmth.
The heart of summer.

The fullness of life and love,
a steady passage of time.

Love bears fruit in a
season of maturity.
Beautiful harvest.

Reaping a wealth from our toil,
a trove, more valued than gold.

And in winter’s drear
two hearts that are warmed by love
journey side-by-side.

Two hearts walk in love slowly,
hoping to cherish each step.

Photo Credit: Cindy Barrick

Photo Credit: Cindy Barrick

Collaboration between Paula M. Wanken and Walter J. Wojtanik

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60 thoughts on “INFORM POETS – RENGA

  1. The great feature of a good Renga is that we feel there is more to come, even if the theme morphs into something else.

    I wrote a renga with three other people once, but one of them was intent on making mischief, and the theme became alarming.

    Here is one I wrote with Tillybud, http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com/. about 3 years ago – an honest collaboration!

    Remembrance day Nijuin Renga

    Time to remember,
    salute those who went before –
    vain sacrifice.

    Heroism personified
    achieved nothing in the end,

    yet their names are still
    remembered; grateful strangers
    honour those long dead.

    Freedom has its fee: men and
    women fall in foreign dirt.

    Time to make a stand:
    arms aslope in attentioned lines,
    receive the fallen.

    Our gratitude is not misplaced:
    honour them for what they did.

    Shun those who say their
    noble deaths are wasteful: each
    loss buys our freedom.

    Each sacrifice is a gift.
    Democracy demands it.

    Shun trigger-happy
    warmongers, and voracious
    business interests

    whose greed sends other young men
    to do their fighting for them.

    Weep for those people
    whose dearth of oil makes ‘rescue’
    unnecessary –

    for every Iraq there is
    a Zimbabwe, a Tibet.

    Days of long ago
    saw brutal ethnic cleansing
    in the colonies

    to usurp lands, steal assets
    with ne’er a twinge of conscience.

    Days not long ago
    saw brutal ethnic cleansing
    by civilised men,

    to usurp jobs and assets;
    make the economy grow.

    Refuse to hear those
    politicians’ weasel words
    to justify war.

    Churchill said ‘jaw jaw not war’
    and history proves him right.

    Each war is a cheap
    Armageddon. Remember
    this, if nothing else:

    Death wipes his scythe, and smiles: he
    knows – men will always kill men.

  2. Ok, who wants to couple up? (that sounds weird, I know)

    Take Heart

    Take heart, little ones
    Smile at whatever may come
    Life is but a dream.

    • William Preston on said:

      a little bit of a grin
      laced with much loving within

      • ejparsons on said:

        William: This should catch us up.

        Take Heart

        Take heart, little ones
        Smile at whatever may come
        Life is but a dream.

        a little bit of a grin
        laced with much loving within

        Grin within your heart
        Let it glow from inside out
        That others might see

        • William Presston on said:

          and you might then be surprised
          at the glows that come to you

          Thanks, Earl. I suggest we post everything as replies to your original, so they stay together here. I’ll let you decide when you think the poem is finished.

          • Take Heart
            (An Earl and William collaboration)

            Take heart, little one
            Smile at whatever may come
            Life is but a dream.

            a little bit of a grin
            laced with much loving within

            Grin within your heart
            Let it glow from inside out
            That others might see

            and you might then be surprised
            at the glows that come to you

            or that others see
            glowing bright from deep within
            your heart, little one

            William – To keep the verses even, you should finish this one up.

          • William Presston on said:

            Thanks for the chance to collaborate with you, Earl. Here is the whole poem, with the ending as it came to me:

            TAKE HEART

            Take heart, little one
            Smile at whatever may come
            Life is but a dream.

            A little bit of a grin
            Laced with much loving within;

            Grin within your heart
            Let it glow from inside out
            That others might see

            And you might then be surprised
            At the glows that come to you

            Or that others see
            Glowing bright from deep within
            Your heart, little one.

            The world has many wonders,
            None the least of which, is you.

            Copyright © Earl Parsons and William Preston, 2014

    • I’ll play, Earl.

      Take heart, little ones
      Smile at whatever may come
      Life is but a dream

      A dream of dragons, flying
      Amid clouds of your making.

      • Take Heart

        Take heart, little ones
        Smile at whatever may come
        Life is but a dream

        A dream of dragons, flying
        Amid clouds of your making.

        Make well, little ones
        Once made, your dragon dreams will
        Follow you through life

        • Soaring o’er magic mountains,
          Sweeping past troubles galore.

          • Take heart, little ones
            Smile at whatever may come
            Life is but a dream

            A dream of dragons, flying
            Amid clouds of your making.

            Make well, little ones
            Once made, your dragon dreams will
            Follow you through life

            Soaring o’er magic mountains,
            Sweeping past troubles galore.

            • Take Heart

              Take heart, little ones
              Smile at whatever may come
              Life is but a dream

              A dream of dragons, flying
              Amid clouds of your making.

              Make well, little ones
              Once made, your dragon dreams will
              Follow you through life

              Soaring o’er magic mountains,
              Sweeping past troubles galore.

              Hear this, little ones
              Keep hold of your youthfulness
              Dream forevermore

  3. ejparsons on said:

    Grin within your heart
    Let it glow from inside out
    That others might see

  4. glad to have found this poetry site… would love to participate… anyone wanna hookup?? ms pie

  5. And share a smile heartily
    Joy shared exponentially

    • FYI, I was trying to add the 4th line with Ejparsons line of:

      Grin within your heart
      Let it glow from inside out
      That others might see

      Claudsy beat me to it! Love your dragon take on things–wings, fun 🙂

  6. HIDE AND SEEK
    By Debi Swim and Sal Buttaci

    Hiding in sycamore leaves
    crimson cardinals
    outwit cats below

    ally, ally, all in free
    he yells, tiring of this game.

    A wind gust rustles branches
    Bright wings fluttering
    Red and green kaleidoscope

    a teasing flash quickly screened
    childish play of hide and seek. 

    Gray June skies invite
    Frightened birds to soar from trees
    Toward comforting clouds

    and that is life good or bad
    we seek what we cannot see.

    #

  7. having all within
    clearly kindness knows no bounds
    watching wonderful

  8. Mention which Renga you are attaching to, and I can join them into a fluid poem when the chain is done and credit the authors together.. It will keep the string easier to follow and make sense of things! Walt.

    • ejparsons on said:

      Thanks, Walt. I think I may have gotten mine organized. But, never know.

      • William Preston on said:

        I got sidetracked with a snow shovel (and will again), so I lost track. Several have added to your beginning, and I can’t tell which you think fit what you started to do. I’m going to refrain from further postings in this sequence, therefore.

  9. (continuing Ms. Pie’s chain)

    in kindness, hearts will flourish,
    nurture and nature conjoin.

    Truth is found within.
    Unions of both heart and mind
    find a blessed home.

  10. I roped–oops–recruited my daughter to write with me. I explained the rules, wrote the first stanza, and she responded a little differently than what I expected and then just went with it. Not exactly correct form, but, hey, we had fun.

    Winter fest

    Awaiting with joy the winter fests
    Our Mother/daughter
    playtime jests.

    Mom—Friday night I have a date.
    I thought you’d want to know.

    But, what about our
    fishing fest? Our mittened
    shanty? Snowy catfish?

    They’ll still be there Saturday.
    I’m not ditching you, I swear.

    Your father will have a say
    in this, young lady, how
    we love you so.

    Love, shmug. JK. Love you,
    too. I’ll bring home some fishy food.

    Pass me a pole. Pass me
    a flask. I’ll be on the ice
    casting for bass.

  11. oops it appears just as I was responding to “take heart” I did not refresh and others popped up… but I do appreciate finding a someone who hooked up with me… ms pie

  12. William Preston on said:

    SNOWFALL

    As snow flows slowly
    across the rolling drumlins,
    the land falls silent;

    the aura of resting brown
    segues to dustings of white.

    Gradually, white
    upon the land melds with white
    in and of the sky

    till all about is whiteness
    of a uniform brightness

    and the land and sky
    bear no horizon and bear
    but one boundary:

    the cusp of infinity;
    the edge of eternity.

    The creatures all share
    in the great silence, aware
    of its majesty;

    they, too, join in the quiet
    blanketing the earth and sky;

    they, too, are as one,
    indivisible with snow
    in this great white world.

    Silence is its sepulchre
    as its mighty heart lies still.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  13. (To continue Ms. Pie’s):

    Having all within
    Clearly kindness knows no bounds
    Watching wonderful

    In kindness will hearts flourish
    Nurture and nature conjoin

    Truth is found within
    Unions of both heart and mind
    Find a blessed home

    Illumined truth heats heart, rests mind
    Only then is true peace found.

  14. (For Ms. Pie’s):

    dreamscape will reveal
    a wisdom that knows no bounds
    wholeness and healing

  15. Finding Bearings…

    After the snowstorm
    the moon silvers the whiteness
    as it peeks through clouds;

    a still and quiet witness-
    birch slivers on pale parchment.

    Cold communicates
    across bounds of space and time
    with warmth it whispers…

    Spring’s subtle call is rising
    stirring in bud-node and seed,

    even in moonlight;
    life, in its brooding powers,
    proffers heat to night.

    This consuming distant glow,
    it’s merely sun’s memory

    living forever
    as life cycles on and on,
    seeding even snow.

    Source is nearly audible;
    it’s rhythmic in its giving,

    music ever flows
    from one seed to another,
    through eternity.

    After storm – still moon moments,
    breath and direction are found.

    Copyright © William Preston and Hannah Gosselin 2014

  16. Pingback: Finding Bearings… | Metaphors and Smiles

  17. Wild applause – I esp. love “seeding even snow” what a lovely concept.

  18. connielpeters on said:

    Seasons of the Bride of Christ
    Connie Peters and Darlene Franklin

    The world wears white lace
    Underneath a steel gray sky
    Speaking the Lord’s grace

    Icicles weave silver thread
    Winter’s gown for snow-cleansed bride

    Bright colors abound
    Life bursts forth in trees and fields
    Air quickens with sound

    God’s love spears bridal prism
    Rainbow shards contagion spread

    Earth, water and sun
    New growth and activity
    Labor, joy and fun

    White no longer, earthen arms
    Toil ‘til every tongue sings praise

    Mature red orange leaves
    Beauty adrift on light wind
    Patiently the ground receives

    Creation slumbers, the bride
    Keeps watch. See! The King is come!

  19. how simply beautiful these all are…. bright with so much hope… sigh

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