“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, almost exactly 7 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.
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]
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]
sparking surrender soaring wings now seared search maze of the earthsea [submerged thighs, calves, heels merging powerful new tail propels] diving below blue primordial ocean stir long lost currents [below Leviathan swirls caliginous lair frothing] swirls suffuse caverns ~ atramentous labyrinths churning life's blueprints [inside hosts, symbionts help process oxygen, sunlight] by chance or design core elements tessellate ~ new beings emerge [Oceanus titans sires Tethys Ocean swells with life] three thousand nymphs rise crystal springs gush to paint skies in watercolour [Oceanids clustering consoling Prometheus] heavenly fire purloined to warm mere mortals ~ gods thunder enraged [~ human civilization replaces old gods with new] future dawns on us peeking through spread sheets of sky keep windows open? [automated housekeeper appends vacuum attachment] outside the inside a scintillating mote of dust seducing sunlight [self-driving cars; hoverboards; robots running all errands] time in piggy bank human holidays feet up world spins anyway [humming AI, resentful, plots man's full-scale destruction] nature plays hopscotch AI reframes algorithm squirrel skips on squares [automatons distracted ~ skip, sport, spree, scale, swing, slide, snort]
I’ve said it before, and I still stand by it: ‘Ripples’ is a fantastic name for a renga!