Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The first light of dawn,
Mars and Venus share the sky
On this cold morning

Distant clouds catch the sunlight
Slowly shifting shades of orange

As the sun declines
And touches the ocean's edge
She feels calm, at ease

Her husband recently died
Fighting a faraway war

Cherry blossoms fall
On the graveside offerings
A mouse sneaks a snack

Insurance rates keep climbing
As he ages with the years

The weed filled garden
And hedges need cutting back
And the trees pruning

A cascade of meteors
Across the hot July sky

At three-quarters full
The light of the waxing moon
Guides us to our dreams

The March wind scatters the leaves
Announcing autumn's presence

Starting a new job
(It's his third one in five years)
He feels unprepared

"Don't worry," she says fondly.
"You'll do fine.  It's time to go."


Jinksy said...

Cherry blossoms fall
On the graveside offerings
A mouse sneaks a snack

And life goes on!

Brian said...

I have read this renga several times over the past few days and it becomes richer with each reading.

You are certainly something of an iconoclast with the form but then you are a Quaker poet! : )

The ageku fairly knocked me off my feet.

Jim714 said...

Greetings, Jinsky. Yes, that's what I hoped to convey with that verse. Life doesn't have a puse button.

Brian: I'm pleased with your response to the last verse.

Do you think I'm an iconoclast when it comes to Renga? That kind of surprises me. In a way I think of myself as very traditional; in some ways more traditional than most western renga poets. For example, I compose renga with a regular syllabic pattern, which is the traditional approach. A free verse line is a significant departure from the tradition.

Thanks for your comments,


Brian said...


Read "iconoclast" as somewhat tongue-in-cheek (hence the title of my recent tanka set: Everyhing Old is New Again, addressing this issue). Perhaps I should have put quotation marks around "iconoclast"? Feel free to add them.

I agree that syllabic tanka/renga actually approaches the Japanese most closely in spirit and form than many of its contemporary western permutations. In some quarters, tanka/renga has become a genre only, not a form. In Japan it has always been a form; in ancient Japan the ONLY form based on a strict metric.

Contemporary tanka in Japan retains more of its traditional form than haiku. Further, I think the syllabic 5-7-5-7-7 English form makes for a lovely, lyrical poem with an identifiable, distinctive music. I think it's important to bear in mind that tanka (waka) actually means "song" in Japanese.