Many waters, or: A renga partnership, III

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 thirty 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]

21 ~ 30

Skies shaded pitch-black,
Diluted soon, with sunlight,
Masterful painting.
[Darkness of space swirls, flowing
Inky rivers gleam with stars]

Lightning followed by
The melody of thunder,
Clouds dance to its tune.
[I'm carried along at night
By revealing Dream River]

Memories relived,
As I lie listening to 
The patter of rain.
[Salt tears swirl down shower drain
Opaque steam walls contain me]

Rain patterns puddles
That reflect remembrances
Of sorrow and gloom.
[Cold blows in through small window
Pushing against foggy heat]

Words cannot describe 
The pleasure of harking rain,
Pressed against warm bed.
[Syllables pounding ceiling
Verses leaking through plaster]

Young poet's mind drenched.
In a squall of poetry,
Satisfaction rife.
[Awakens, bathed in stanzas
Pajamas soaked to the bone]

Winds dancing, gleeful;
Atmosphere feeding gloom
To observing souls.
[Unheard through wind, spirits howl
Surfacing from River Styx]

Typhoeus rises,
Cataclysmic firestorms war
Poseidon's typhoons.
[Echidna calls her children
Olympus swarmed by monsters]

All submit at once
When Zeus readies thunderbolts
To punish sinners.
[Lightning strikes Maxwell Dillon
Charging Electro with hate]

Thundergod rivalled
By his own creation vile,
Rains carnage, enraged.
[Raising Stormbreaker up high,
Thor unleashes destruction]

29 thoughts on “Many waters, or: A renga partnership, III”

  1. Haha! I loved your clever responses, David. It’s fun to bring out the quirky side of poetry. It’s actually raining here right now. And it’s really cold.

  2. This one does “swirl”! The many forms of water/precipitation but my favorites so far are:
    “Words cannot describe
    The pleasure of harking rain,
    Pressed against warm bed.
    [Syllables pounding ceiling
    Verses leaking through plaster]

    Young poet’s mind drenched.
    In a squall of poetry,
    Satisfaction rife.
    [Awakens, bathed in stanzas
    Pajamas soaked to the bone]”

    These two are perfection!!!

  3. Interesting composition. In the past (on another blog), I collaborated a few times with a fellow poet, and the back and forth and blending of words and ideas was an enjoyable experience.

  4. Hi David, this is great! I love the collaboration here. I recently learned about something called a split haiku which seems like another interesting way to collaborate. Great stuff as always!

      1. Hi David, the basic idea is that one person writes a 3 line haiku and then the second person writes a haiku that somehow relates to the first and second line of original. I just recently read about this so I should be able to find the source and share it. Here is a basic outline:
        Original line 1
        Response line 1
        Response line 2
        Response line 3
        Original line 2
        R 2
        Original line 3

          1. Thanks, Mark!

            Ya know, some of the people who submitted poems to me for Poetry Partners shared haikus… I think I may attempt to respond to some of them using this form! I love new challenges 😀


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