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 seventy 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]
31 ~ 40
Battle concluding, Gods emerging victorious, Monsoon resuming. [Whirlpool swirls furiously Charybdis engulfs islands.] Hercules summoned, Sails on treacherous waters, Ready for battle. [Odysseus takes umbrage: This voyage is mine, Hero!] Battles fought o'er fame, While awaits terrible strife, A hungry Scylla. [Philoctetes sounds alarm Poisonous arrows readied.] Angry waters swirl, Greeted by raging whirlpools, The Dutchman rises. [Vanderdecken's hopeless eyes see salvation sink away.] Undying pirates Fight fearless warriors, Seas painted crimson. [Zeus sends torrential blood rain Portends slaughter in battle.] Thousands thereafter Lie lifeless in lands witness To endless bloodshed. [Pyres across the countrysides Ashes light on rolling waves] Muffled sounds echo Misery of civilians Mourning the martyred. [Myriads of young mothers Moan at pointless misfortune] Try drowning sorrows In alcoholic waters, Forget painful loss. [Women, soaking, lose themselves Bacchanalia ensues] Paying with their lives Having heinously transgressed, Drunkards shuddering. [Child soldiers forced to enlist While parents lie in gutters.] Evil recruiters Punished by the Thundergod, Little ones rejoice. [Global warming ends the joy Single cell organisms thrive]
41 ~ 50
Monera evolves, Unicellular protists Zoophagous result. [Comes Cambrian Explosion Simple sponges evolving.] Multicellular, Complex cellular system, The first of its kind. [Trilobites diversify Ichthyosaurs swim the deeps.] Age of dinosaurs Concludes as soon as arrived, Humankind is born. [Homosapiens flourish Neanderthals go extinct.] Old Stone Age begins. Hunter-gatherers prosper, Stone tools invented. [Megafauna roam the snow Petroglyphs depict the hunt.] Huge milestones occur, Polished stone tools developed, Mark birth of new age. [Anvils, cores, and flakes preserved... Artifacts at Lomekwi.] Copper creations, Enter Chalcolithic age, Throve beyond measure. [Farming culture develops Irrigated fields provide.] Age of iron dawns Supremacy of stone dusks, Era of great change. [Water rushes underground Tunnels and shafts grant access.] From caves to cabins, Walking miles to riding carts, Innovation starts. [Hephaestus forges armor Daedalus crafts great shield.] Fire flickers within Forges forging metalwork, Weapons meant for Gods. [Fire of house hearth impregnates Virgins birth both Gods and kings.] Mouthwatering feast Commemorates Cacus' birth And mysteries untold. [Demonic centaur guards thieves Fiery dragon perched atop.]
51 ~ 60
Steals sheep with Caca, Betrayed to Hercules' rage, Meets macabre fate. [Calydonian king pleads - Acheloüs has my child!] Poseidon councils, Thy children be sacrificed For the greater good! [Unwitting Deianira Poisons her hero husband] Mewling tears thus, Moved by River Achelous Drowning woes in death. [Alice swims in sea of tears Dodo convenes Caucus-Race] Cheshire cat sniggers, Hatter reveals her purpose, Slay Jabberwocky. [Bandersnatch shifts allegiance Gifts heroine Vorpal Sword] Pet dragon bares fangs, Engulfs battlefield in fire, As red queen wars whites. [Massive feathers pound the air JubJub bird swoops in to kill] Reign of Evil ends. Alice slays Jabberwocky, Destiny fulfilled [Wonderland dream melts away Awakens to kitten drool] Gushing on white floor, Like raging waterfalls gush On racing rivers. [Pocahontas steers canoe Right over the waterfall] Staring, from above, Water gushing in torrents From ancient skull's face. [Tiger Lily abducted Ferried by Smee to Skull Rock] Jack Sparrow awaits, Davy Jones demands exchange, The kid, for his life. [Charley Ross held for ransom Never to be seen again] Arrives the Black Pearl, Barbossa's undead crew wars The Flying Dutchman. [Vengeful sea witch Ursula pulls both ships Under the Sea]
61 ~ 70
Famished Kraken roars, Devouring both ship and witch, Dozes off, content. [Silent as fog, Nessie glides, Lunges, rips out Kraken's throat.] Giant squid pounces To share a delicacy; Quarrels for a slice. [Leviathan roused from sleep Seas billowing in his wake.] Maelrawn awakened, Whirlpools attack armadas, Swallowing ships whole. [Prodigious claws; narrow wings; Cthulhu's feelers surface.] Animals abscond, Dolphins forage for cover As sea battles land. [Selkies, worried, don seal skins Abandon human children.] Abyssal demons Summoned by Diabolos; Vanquish wicked fiends. [White Aura dolphins and whales Drag darkness to ocean floor.] Forgotten realms scoured, Myriads of malice wake; Maelstrom ravages seas. [Moses waves hand over sea; East wind divides the waters.] Dragons chuckle, perched Atop Shipwreck Cove, clocking Bickering pirates. [Israelites reach Sinai Reed Sea crushes vile monsters.] Sweet sepsis signalled, Noxious venoms escape Harbinger of Plagues. [Poisonous rains destroy crops Rotting fish float in rivers.] Yamuna tainted With venom of Kaliya, River reeks of death. [Robin Hood and Merida Let loose poison tipped arrows.] Piercing not skin Of villainous venomer, Bane to blameless beings. [Doc Brown arrives to change past; Mad scientist saves future!]