Many waters, or: A renga partnership, II

Poetry in partnership

My first taste of writing poetry in partnership with another poet has been the composition of a hyakuin (a renga comprised of 100 tankas) with Sangeetha of ‘Mindfills’, titled ‘Ripples’. This whetted my appetite for further creative collaborations, leading me to launch the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative, which is an open invitation to all writers to publish their poems at the Skeptic’s Kaddish. Every submitted work gets posted, along with a personalized poem of mine inspired by the submitted work.

Quaranjavirus submitted a series of four haikus, and I published his series, extending each haiku into a tanka in an attempt to paint an image of the young poet himself writing the original verses. Not long thereafter, the two of us took to composing a renga together, the beginning of which you may read below.

We’ve decided to call this new collaboration ‘Many Waters’, inspired by Song of Songs (8:7) ~

מַיִם רַבִּים, לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת-הָאַהֲבָה, וּנְהָרוֹת, לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּהָ… Many waters cannot quench love, nor rivers drown it…

Every tanka verse begins with a haiku of Quaranjavirus’, followed by two lines of mine. Thus far, we’ve completed twenty verses… and we’ll see how far this goes – maybe this collaboration will eventually become a hyakuin!

Many waters flowing

1 ~ 10

Monsoon arriving,
Bringing tragedy and joy,
Both sorrow and glee.
[Streets flood into canal routes
Mind floods with uncertainty]
The rivers in spate,
Swallowing all in their way,
Showering their wrath.
[Nāgas ascend to surface
Soar into the air and dive]

Swordfish ascending,
Their hearts singing merrily,
Relishing the storm.
[Potamides saddle sturgeons
Riding their rushing rivers]

Boats carried away,
Currents tossing them about,
Lie battered by rain.
[Truth undulates with algae
Macroinvertebrates buzz]

As do tranquil ponds,
Buzzing with tranquil beings,
Yet in immense spate.
[Meditation in water
Brings our heart rates down, calming]

Feel the cold water,
Attacking with cold fury,
Yet calming your mind.
[Sinking into frigid depths
Letting go of mortal coil]

Heart freed of harrow,
Hugged genially by cold,
Rinsed clean of troubles.
[Cold water cycle spins tale
Created out of whole cloth]

Onlookers watch, shocked,
At nature's wrath unleashed,
The destruction wrought.
[Sirens sing seductively
Smiling smoothly at sailors]

Hoping to tumble
Into the land of mermaids,
Or seas of treasure.
[Davy Jones' Locker sparkles
Beckoning to mortal men]

Grindylows await,
Their presence oblivious
To ships steered by greed.
[God of ~Elusive Sea Change~
Proteus foretells downfalls]

11 ~ 20

Thousands thus pursue
The Weed of Eternal Life,
Never to succeed.
[Seekers dive through kelp forests
In quest for enchanted roots]

Only to perish,
Consumed by dark energies,
Guarding vile secrets.
[Deep calls deep through cataracts
Waves and billows sweep away]

The undeserving,
Corrupted souls seeking fame,
Black-hearted mortals.
[Among golden chalices
Stands the simple Holy Grail]

Guarded for aeons,
Its holy water, if drunk
Grants eternal life.
[Monsoon waters swirl within
Like tempest in a goblet]

Sparkling like diamonds,
Reflecting bearer's image,
And the evil within.
[Dorian Gray stares, aghast
Ghastly evil returns gaze]

Clairvoyance channeled,
By chalices, to predict
The future of foes.
[Fates foretold by Kassandra,
Unheeded by feckless fools]

Dire monsoons summoned,
To shower devastation
Upon thoughtless thieves.
[Deluge purges wicked Earth;
A lone wooden ark rises]

Vast vessel of God;
Amidst roaring thunderstorms,
A lone speck of life.
[From B 612
The Little Prince watches Earth]

Should wickedness rise,
Sends his destroyer angel,
Yrcom Ylventus.
[Immortal Connor MacLeod
Readies his sword for battle]

'Neath skies black with rage,
Indra smites ruthless demons,
As clouds weep with joy.
[Indra decimates Vritra
Mankind celebrates sunshine]

18 thoughts on “Many waters, or: A renga partnership, II”

  1. Thoight provoking and Beautifully arranged,
    Meditation in water, also the wrestling with the kelp forests I find interesting.
    You are welcome, yes I couldn’t miss it.
    I marvel at the discipline required to pen this wonder work.

  2. Wow, unique streams of powerful haikus and deeply researched responses.

    Simply amazing…
    Starting out here…
    Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
    If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it[a] would be utterly scorned.

    I’m in awe of the collaboration and the journey the poets undertook. It will take sometime for me to connect all the rivers, the waters and the floods steeped in mythology and history.

    So impressed that the sacred word, from a book least read and spoken about, inspired the poetic exploration.

    Breathtaking navigation.

  3. Wow. Beautiful poem. I love it. Looking forward to reading many such poems and
    interesting posts from you. May this year bring all the success, happiness and good health for all. Keep writing.

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