“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, some 8 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, and it led me to launch ‘Poetry Partners’ here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish, which has been amazing.
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]
31 ~ 40
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]
41 ~ 50
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]
51 ~ 60
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]
61 ~ 70
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]
71 ~ 80
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]
81 ~ 90
on a lucky spree today swings from tall tree tops sun beams in her smile [today's charm tantalizes teasing Tarzan who gives chase] jungle life triggered rough reeds rustle, roars rumble, ~ a whiff of the wild [bees, birds, beetles, butterflies festively flower forest] creatures, colours, calls creation in candescence ~ cosmos celebrates [cornucopia explodes with crepe paper confetti] confetti showers canopy of forest green ~ it's raining rainbows [Sir Roy G. Biv polishes kaleidoscopic dance shoes] dance shoes tippy tap blooms and bees do the tango happy high on mead [Middle Earth hobbits carouse bars stocked full with ales, wines, meads] Mirkwood elves peer out sounds of drunken merriment slicing through nightshade [Ents receive invitations handed out at Derndingle] an entmoot ensues voices boom at the hollow who stays and who goes? [Gandalf's dragon-shaped fireworks distract revelers from feud] sparklers in the sky mesmerising middle earth ~ river enchanted [bursting rockets rain flowers Brandywine's currents aglow] glinting golden brown between Shire and the unknown magic waters flow [myth of El Dorado spreads enticing adventurers] runes on treasure map luring winds and wanderers to seek the precious [winding weaving worming ways descending down to darkness]
I’ve said it before, and I still stand by it: ‘Ripples’ is a fantastic name for a renga!