Ripples, or: A renga partnership

“The more you know, the more you grow”

Before I began writing poetry online last year, I’d never heard of a tanka, let alone a renga. Once I came to understand the concept of a tanka, I started responding to other poets’ haikus on their blogs occasionally, to show my appreciation.

I have long been incredibly impressed with Sangeetha’s (‘Mindfills’ blog) writing, which magically and seemingly effortlessly weaves multiple poetry prompts together. If I had more time, I would probably attempt to complete all of her haikus, out of my sheer excitement. In any case, on April 4th, ~1.5 months ago, I responded to a particularly enchanting poem of hers, which she wrote as follows (my [response] is bracketed & bolded):

touched by a moonbeam
tranquil lake shivers silver
~ripples reach my ears
[listening closely, I hear
lowest hanging clouds murmur]

To my surprise, Sangeetha responded to my response, thereby launching our 1st renga partnership (previous to that I hadn’t even known that rengas existed); and we completed our 20th verse just two days ago! We shall be continuing ‘Ripples’, and we’ll also be exploring further opportunities for collaboration. For me, this has been an incredibly fun and fulfilling new experience.


Spreading ripples

touched by a moonbeam
tranquil lake shivers silver
~ripples reach my ears
[listening closely, I hear
lowest hanging clouds murmur]

hanging clouds murmur
mischief firing up some fun
~pillow fight follows
[sudden unexpected kiss
below falling down feathers]

falling down feathers
caressing cherry blossoms
~April rain showers
[shivering streams of silver
matting our hair as we dance]

as we dance all night
starlight splattering on souls
~ summer sighs softly
[as time's tender tendrils tug
temptingly towards autumn]

autumn always clicks
photographs in sepia
~ I'm thinking of us
[thoughts flurry in photographs
like snow in the negatives]

a flurry of snow
when wayward winter winds whoosh
in a gust of glee
[off-grid up in the mountains
renga partnership on pause]

partnership on pause
winter ice and summer sun
~ melt to meet again
[rivulets rush rapidly
flowing freely together]

rushing rivulets
rumba in rugged rhythm
~ rapture on the run
[grrrowling in utter delight
bear cubs wrestle on the banks]

wrestling bear cubs laugh
catching snowflakes as they fall
~ into each other
[mama bear splashes nearby
~ looks like fish for lunch again!]

splashes nearby
squirrels run helter-skelter
bushy tails must dry 
[skittish fawns sip crisp water
wise doe eyes big mama bear]

fireflies flitter
festive forest fairy lights
fire up furry friends 
[finches flip-flapping for fun
friendly ferrets frolic forth]

tickled by a prank
hedgehogs roll over laughing
spraying pins on pines
[distracted by silliness
they struggle with their renga]

waterfall of words
wrapping wild winds of wonder
~ nature's poetry
[animals caper through falls
painted rainbow by the flow]

through the waterfalls
fireworks of colour sparkles 
rain rainbow showers
[blue bear cubs, scarlet squirrels
dance with dandelion deer]

delicate dewdrop
settles on slumbering sloth
~ waking up can wait
[while white rabbit rushes by
LATE for an important date]

bouncing up the slopes
bubbly bunny spots his date
boldly beckoning
[brown-eyed doe awaits white buck
brunch first, followed by breeding]

calling all creatures
crickets rub their wings in glee
commotion ensues
[rabbits get separated
date delayed by disturbance]

wild winds whirl westward
sweeping willow off her feet
~ bending all the rules
[long leaves largely lie lengthwise
tree trunk uprooted and torn]

snow white owlet wakes
perches high on broken branch
eyes wide open now
[violet voles, mauve mice hide;
lavender lizard makes haste]

slowly the skies clear
streaming sunbeams serenely
soothing nature's soul
[silence, anticipation,
shall subsequent stanzas soar?]


Now that I think about it… isn’t ‘Ripples’ a fantastic name for a joint renga?

42 thoughts on “Ripples, or: A renga partnership”

  1. Personally I realized that staying in touch with fellow writers makes one understand the concept of others writings, so you have a good idea to write more poems

  2. I’ve been working on a Renga too! But this is the last week before my Renga partner leaves for North Carolina and has bowed out of the collaboration (new job, new home, new life – and a possible wedding to arrange = no time for poetry). Love that you found a collaborator!! Are you going to continue this Renga to the 36 verse standard of the Edo period or end at 20 verses for the Nijuin or maybe go for the Gojuin at 50 verses???

  3. Wow wow wow! That was an enchanting read! I especially loved
    “fireflies flitter
    festive forest fairy lights
    fire up furry friends
    [finches flip-flapping for fun
    friendly ferrets frolic forth]”
    It’s a richly descriptive verse and the alliteration here is mind-blowing! โœจ

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