“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 impressed with Sangeetha’s (‘Mindfills’ blog) writing, which magically and seemingly effortlessly weaves multiple poetry prompts together. If I had more time, I would attempt to complete all of her haikus, out of sheer excitement. In any case, on April 4th, ~4½ 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 renga partnership (previous to that I hadn’t even known that rengas existed); and we completed our 40th verse just today! We shall be continuing ‘Ripples’ and exploring further opportunities for collaboration. For me, this has been an incredibly fun and fulfilling new experience.
1 ~ 20
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?]
21 ~ 30
soaring beyond skies on the wings of a whisper ~imagination [carried beyond the Kármán line dreams softly sparkle in space] dreams softly sparkle stardust scattering magic enchanting angels [hallowed halos humbly heal humanity’s horrid hate] healing human hearts slowly soothing seething storms ~ a drizzle of peace [people, awash, cleansed with love regret’s tears flow into rain] flowing into rain forever flees to freedom time watches…silent [wet mist sprays eternity from infinity’s grand stage] infinity sighs ripples shiver fleetingly water wonders why [touched by familiar moonbeam tranquil silver lake of time shimmers] lake of time shimmers stars stop a second to swoon night skies reset clock [Chronos begins once again Aion amused to no end] gods of time giggle shuffling seas, stars and seasons ~future presents pasts [ribbons bright are pulled undone miracles beneath the lid] miracle makers muse cherry blossoms spring open ~ unwrapping present [beckoning futures contract floating out on sparkling dust] beckoning futures baby buds blithely blossom into tomorrows [pollination’s powerful potential persevering] preserving prayers paradise plants seeds of hope in every dew drop [daffodils drawing diet from damp delectable dirt]
holding on to earth daffodils reach for the sky stretching all that’s real [twisting tesseract appears folding nature on itself] tesseract unfurls new seeds of infinity merge in a moment [seconds conceived so quickly multiply into minutes] minutes make magic melding my memories melted in moonlight [mystical meanings emerge manifesting magnetism] mystical moorings ~ toes of trees dig into earth arms reach out to sky [the unanchored tilde floats through lush branches to the sky] lush branches start life swinging on maybes earth and sky await [syllables swing down from above seeking new bough to rest upon] syncing syllables songbird stumbles on poetry simply profound [peeping, warbling, chirruping, trilling chirping to own beat] birdsong in the breeze winds in my heart howl Hush! I know the lyrics [flows chamber music, full of soul feathers settle on music sheets] feather-note on keys hushed hymns float over forest soothing baby’s breath [steady syllables soften sleeping suckling’s disquiet] dusk draws the day’s drapes softening sounds of sunlight ~ a lullaby yawns [twilight nestles newborn in night transformed by tender tunes] a tender night hums fireflies mimic starlight dreams drift on ~ seeking [Polaris paving phantasms projecting paths pellucid]
pellucid pathways ferrying northern lights to the astral lighthouse [Great Nebula clouds starbeams Argo Navis sails off course] a cloudburst of stars concocting constellations coruscating skies [Orion shoots from the hip Sirius guides arrows bright] horizons hold hands rainbow star travels all night on a trail of light [tranquil lake shivers silver rippling as starlight dissolves] a touch of starlight waking up wanton waters ~ earth and sky mingle [wrangling, willful water witch wrests wish from wild elements] wild elements whirl winds dance to songs from heavens joy begins new day [dreaming gives way to daydreams wish washed away by real world] sun spins out of hand real world tries tethering stars ~ fortune flashes by [forgiving fortuity ~ foredoes foreboding fortune] universe aligns shards of time tessellate unfurling presents [~ all united, sharing tea time for long conversations] evening sky blushes curling pink whispers of cloud into silent words [cirrus clouds spell I LOVE YOU for juicy peach setting sun] sighing so softly trailing tender tremors my soul surrenders [touched by thin, teasing tendrils you’re sweetly, softly seduced] beyond the brink melting moments and lifetimes ~ I sleep into you [forms fading, dreams displacing ~ souls slowly slip together]
I’ve said it before, and I still stand by it: ‘Ripples’ is a fantastic name for a renga!