Ripples, or: A renga partnership, VI

“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, ~6½ 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)! We are continuing ‘Ripples’ and shall be exploring further opportunities for collaboration. For me, this has been an incredibly fun and fulfilling new experience.

Not so long ago, we arrived at our 50th verse (a Gojūin)… and we’ve now completed our 70th which means that we are well on our way to 100 verses (a Hyakuin)!

Spreading ripples

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
[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]


ensconced in one skin
eyes entwined in eternity
~each, the other
[passions ~inflamed~ ~scorch~ reason
~flames~ ~roast~ our marshmallow s'mores]

hot chocolate follows
a zephyr swirls our futures
in a single mug
[cuddling together ~ taking
sips of steamy, sweet, thick love]

molten melded love 
sluicing from primal springs 
in a splash of life 
[~ deep, mountainous confluence
~ whole souls, gold nuggets sparkle]

sparkling souls ignite
enchanting earthly embers
~ heavens fan fires
[red rivulets flow forth from
fervency's fierce fiery forge]

fervent fingers find 
forbidden forgotten flares 
flaming fantasies
[feverishly frisky friends
full of fond fascination]

fascination flows 
sultry skins soak in summer 
burning through the breeze
[gossamer hairs and goosebumps
demanding due attention]

a shiver ripples
setting both hearts aflutter
tender touch travels
[lips locking in longing love
Your heart pounding in my throat]

thirsting wantonly
a tempest of desire
swayed by your soft sounds
[pregnant potential pulses
~ poetry procreating]

tender thoughts tangle 
our forevers mingling souls 
~ words weave warp and weft
[newborn song wrapped, warmed in quilt
eyes closed, hearing world's music]

nestled in new song
we hum to just made up lyrics
~ sublime symphony
[soft soulful strains suffuse us ~
~ Melody opens wise eyes]


melody of minds
serenading new seasons
~dandelions dance
[wind whipping manes, lusty roars
terrify timid tulips]

rushing after winds
a flurry of pink petals
~ infatuation
[zephyrs chased through jungle gym
amidst flirtatious titters]

fragrance flirts freely
just born spring brushes blush pink 
on nature's fingertips 
[pert currents tightly tangled
to titillating results]

tingles travel up
lighting up secret spaces
in shy resplendence
[receptive neurons sparking
signalling suggestively]

a whirlwind of sparks 
firing up barefoot desire
to walk on water
[toes, tingling, test the surface
breams bubble in amusement]

soda pop bubbles
giggling up from limpid lake
burst out laughing
[reed straws send sweet syrup shoot-
ing straight up into the air]

air is tickled pink
breeze brings perfumed love letter
'I's dotted with hearts
[chortling cherubs chasing hearts
fondly fashion arrowheads]

drawing a rainbow
cherub's arrow curves a smile
striking pot of gold
[clatter creates confusion
~ lazing leprechauns alarmed] 

jumpy djinns in joy
jiving to jabbering jays
just to jest a jot
[grumpy gremlins look for lamp
to trap too jovial djinns]

lamp lights up magic
stars and spells scintillate sky
heavens watch fireworks
[resplendent sparks exploding
searing Icarus' wings]


I’ve said it before, and I still stand by it: ‘Ripples’ is a fantastic name for a renga!

29 thoughts on “Ripples, or: A renga partnership, VI”

  1. Oh my godly goodness!!! I never thought I’d encounter such a looooong read when I came across this page…70 stanzas? Woww :0 this was honestly… I can’t even describe it! I’ll probably have to read it another couple of times to tell you how I felt about it… 😀 and in the meanwhile, here’re a couple short reads from me, you certainly won’t find these tiring!

    I’m curious…have I given these before? I forget easily… hehe

  2. David!!!!
    Utterly thrilled to reach our 70th verse 😀 Thank you for being the most amazing writing partner.
    And dear readers… the 6 1/2 months taken to reach here is entirely my fault. David responds within minutes and I take….oh don’t ask 🙈
    Thank you all so much for reading and sending in your thoughtful thoughts

  3. You’re my bro from another mo. That’s it. Settled and done. But I’ll bet there are many who feel like that. :)) I love this gorgeous conjoined po!!! I love how you put your responses in bold with square brackets. That’s easy on the eyes.

    But if I might be so bold… what I had a very hard time with was reading the yellow-backgrounded text. I saw in on a shorter one of yours and thought it added a certain saffron something that was perfect, but this was too long of a section for the reading to be easy, for me, at least… is it on purpose or is it an accidental formatting… and please forgive me if I’m putting my foot in my mouth dear friend… again, lovely lovely lovely collaborative poem!!!!

    1. 1) Thank you! ❤ ❤

      2) Where is the yellow-backgrounded text? I am definitely concerned about readability – so all feedback is very much appreciated!


      1. 1) You’re welcome :)) :))
        2) In WP reader view, for me at least: the following is yellow-highlighted:
        – “[response]” in the second paragraph of the post
        – the entire collab poem, but not the title of it, nor the numbers (of the verses) (e.g. 1~20), and the body text of the post script (but not the heading “P.S.”)

        1. by the way – I think the “backgrounded” text is a WP glitch – I wasn’t trying to “background” it – only to make the words themselves different colors… I’ve been in touch with them regarding this.

          1. Ah ok! I was just sending screenshots, but you fixed it already. Back to easy reading, I am happy :)) Nice work sorting it out so quickly!

  4. it’s absolutely wonderfully fascinating when two different poets decide to collaborate – each bring something of their own voices to the table, while also trying to work with each other – and in this case, as you’re writing to a specific form, it’s all the more so challenging; I suspect the rewards though overcome any difficulties.

    these are wonderful, insightful, playful …. and on and on – lovely little gems, pocket poems, and yes, a longer conversation too – definitely a pleasure to share in both your efforts and skills, creativity 🙂

    one note though: David, you might want to reconsider your colour choices for the fonts – because anything on a “dark background” usually is hard to read for most people, and then when you start using other colours? it all becomes a bit blurry and smeared; this also has to do with the front choice, but mostly, it’s the colours …. so perhaps you might want to re-think the presentation a bit? fiddle with it and see what appears “clear and sharp” – not so boldly contrasting …. it’s a shame to not easily be able to read the words (this is just my opinion, others may disagree about the colour scheme – so maybe ask about it?)

    1. WC47, are there specific colors that are hard to read? All of the colors I use are part of the theme itself, but this is definitely something I am concerned about. Thanks for bringing it up ❣️


      1. it’s hard to be specific, because everyone will view it differently, but generally – the higher, harsher the contrast, the more difficult it can become to see clearly – so even as you choose colours related to your theme, what you have to consider is that most “word” blogs, i.e. where writing – lots of it – is the featured content, tend to stick with the boring – white background with either dark grey or black – because it’s the easiest to read. That being said, some of the colours from your theme actually “smear” a bit – like the coral-orange, or the “algae green” – but it also has to do with font choice, so something that is say, not italicized may read clearly, or sometimes, using “bold” as a choice, also causes a subtle blurring effect. What you have to remember is that most of any theme’s complimentary colours tend to be used more as “accents” – for links or headings etc. So sometimes, even for the best of reasons, like trying to distinguish “one voice” from another, like in a collaborative poetry work, the choices we really have at our disposal are limited. For me, the golden standard is this: a poem or flash or even a personal write *should* be easy to read – clear, simple font – whether on a dark or light background. I know I’ve monkeyed around with it enough throughout the years – sometimes it’s hard to find the right combo. But as I said, you can ask your readers for their input – see how they’re able to read the “page” – and here’s another “consideration” – on what devices are people reading – mobiles, traditional computer screens, through the “reader” feature, in an email subscription? Because remember this, no matter how “snazzy jazzy” you make a post – in the different formats it’s “read” differently, i.e. the WP reader is straight-up white background. Hope this helps some.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s