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RENKU: linked collaborative verses: TRIPARSHVA 8

Sabaki (lead poet) - Linda Papanicolaou




25th JUNE 2022

We are beginning the second side, called the Ha. It will have 10 verses, and two seasons: Monsoon, then Autumn, with non-seasonal verses interspersed. The autumn verses will include the major moon verse, and there will be some special topic verses about Love, We will be linking and shifting as before, but we will want to differentiate the Ha from the Jo. Returning to that analogy of a renku as a party, we are now past that early stage where everyone was still being polite and formal. In the Ha, things have warmed up. Topics that we would not have introduced in the first side are now what we want. This includes proper names of people and places, topics such as foreign travel, illness, politics, religion, disaster, etc.,


For the first verse slot on this new side, the requirement was a three-line, non-season, person verse. I had added that we were overdue to get animals into the renku, and it would be really nice to have one. People responded with variety, including a nice selection of dogs, elephants, squirrels, a horse, goats, mice, and a raven.

Referring to those Topic Checklists I gave you, the Tokyo Renku clubs checklist breaks the animal category into sub-sections—birds, beasts, fish, and insects. It’s a traditional perception that doesn't align with modern biology but makes sense in terms of human experience. Mammals are beasts, though whales—which we now understand to be marine mammals—go in the fish category. Insects include worms and snails— agricultural helpers or pests. Except for Robert’s raven, all the animals submitted this time were beasts. We’re going to take a beast verse for the slot, which means that within a relatively short renku such as Triparshva, any subsequent appearance of animals should be birds, fish, or insects.

Once again, everyone’s thinking has helped me to sense what the renku wants next. We had two verses with animals on parade. One was a delightful feat of imagination featuring Queen Elizabeth’s corgis. The other was elephants in gold, jeweled caparisons and village music with a strong rhythmic beat. For me, both were as if the pieces on the verse 6 chessboard had come to life, like something out of Alice in Wonderland or an M.C. Escher print, and I realized that a parade was just the right thing to segue from the chessboard to the beginning of the next side. Considering the relatively short length of our Ha, that we’re using the subcontinent saijiki as context, I think it best that we stay close to home with the elephant's verse, which is Lakshmi’s. Here is the verse with the two previous, so you may see how it sits with them. Crackling silence of a chessboard to a loud, colorful parade— it links very well and gives us not only animals but a religious topic as well. Thank you Lakshmi, and thank you, everyone!

so close

the snow moon

envelops the field / Angiola Inglese

crackling silence as we bend

over the chess board / Sushama Kapur

caparisoned elephants

raising their trumpets amid

the village prayer beats / Lakshmi Iyer

As I’m North American, my experience with elephants is in circuses and zoos. In my profession as a historian, I know that the elephants were used in warfare as the fearful equivalent of a modern tank, and I have learned a bit about their importance in the art and culture of India. Here’s a favorite 17th-century with Mughal miniature painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where I used to work. It is from a manuscript called the Padshahnama, and depicts Shah Jahan in the Red Fort in Delhi, watching an elephant combat. A ferocious sport!


At first, I thought that the caparisons in Lakshmi’s verse might be the armor worn by war elephants, but I researched further and realized that she is depicting a temple festival, with elephants decked out in gilded and jeweled headgear. I would imagine that most of us outside of India have seen photographs, and it makes for an exciting topic. But on a website devoted to wild Indian elephants, I read that these festivities are hard on the animals. The trend in recent nature documentaries about elephants is to show that they are sensitive creatures with complex social structures, and the conditions in which we keep them in captivity can, all too often, qualify as animal abuse. Thus, in addition to the joyful celebrations of the villagers, there is also a dark side to the image. You could link to it in several ways in your offers for verse 8, and I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.


Two lines, non-seasonal

Your choice: person or place (non-person)

Link to the elephant verse, shift away from the chessboard verse.

Syllable count/line length should be what is comfortable for you.

Topics not to be repeated at all for the rest of the renku: no naming the season as part of the kigo, no more references to dwellings or food (i.e., avoid anything in the hokku) Topics in the leap over verse: chess, silence.

Topics that have appeared in recent verses, including vehicles (airplane, bicycle), clouds, heavenly bodies (moon), sky phenomena such as snow or clouds, and time of day/night, these are strictly prohibited by the rules of avoidance, it would be better not to use them at least so soon in the renku because that would be a sign that we are going in circles and not getting enough variety in the renku.

Topics that are possibilities for consideration include different kinds of animals (bird, fish, or insect categories).

Consult those Topic Category lists in Renku Home’s “Link and Shift” article. What other categories do you feel we’re lacking?

Before you post, do a bit of self-critique. Have you checked (as best you can) that your verse is non-seasonal? How does it link to the previous verse? How does it shift away from the leap-over verse? What new topics or things does it introduce to the renku?


1. Jo

house warming …

all the flavours of summer

on a dining table / Firdaus Parvez

a dozen ripened mangoes

from the neighbour next door / Kala Ramesh

the gleeful shouts

of street kids rolling

a bicycle tyre / Priti Aisola

an airplane through the clouds

in an indigo twilight / Margherita Petriccione

so close

the snow moon

envelops the field / Angiola Inglese

crackling silence as we bend

over the chess board / Sushama Kapur

2. Ha

caparisoned elephants

raising their trumpets amid

the village prayer beats / Lakshmi Iyer


Each participant may offer two submissions, posted together in the same comment, with your name as you would like it to appear in the renku. Instructions for submitting remain as last time.

We follow Indian Standard Time (IST). This POST will go up on 25th June at 6 A.M. So on 27th June at 6 A.M, the window closes (IST). All 8th verse offers must be posted on this thread BEFORE 6 A.M on 27th June.


The schema for our triparshva:

URLs for online saijikis:

Kondo and Higginson, “Link and Shift, A Practical Guide to Renku Composition”:

Ferris Gilli, “English Grammar: Variety in Renku”:

................................... ADDING THE SCHEMA HERE: Side one - jo hokku summer

wakiku summer

daisan non season

4 ns

5 winter moon

6 ns


Side 2 - ha

7 ns

8 ns (we are here!)

9 monsoon

10 monsoon love

11 ns lv

12 ns lv

13 ns

14 autumn

15 au moon

16 au

Side 3 - kyu

17 ns

18 monsoon

19 ns

20 spring

21 sp blossom

ageku - sp

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