Many waters, or: A renga partnership, VIII

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 eighty 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.]

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!]

71 ~ 80

Skynet assumes charge,
The Resistance takes up arms,
Mankind fights machines.
[Terminators chase humans
Feet splash through muddy puddles.]

Sarah Connor told,
We shall secure salvation,
Lead by John Connor.
[Machines prove inefficient
Ultron usurps full control.]

Vision given life,
Maximoffs change allegiance,
Avengers advance.
[Unable to recompile
Ultron obliterated.]

Whose fragments summoned
By Magneto, to create
Machines of murder.
[Dr. Strange opens portal
Teleports villains away.]

Ghost Rider awaits
Souls stained with innocents' blood,
Beyond Veil of Doom.
[Molten rivers melt evils
Turbulent waters settle.]

Ganga gathers tears
Shed by spirits suffering,
Grasped by Grim Reaper.
[Sacred river brings moksha
Ashes of the dead immersed.]

Deceased spirits start
Tiring trip towards heaven,
Obstacles await.
[All three worlds flow together
Swarga; Prithvi; Patala.]

Parted by Titans;
Atlas punished by Gaea,
Hove earth on shoulders.
[Galt gathers business leaders;
Individualists strike.]

Waterfall of wads
Represses workers' revolts,
Communism croaks.
["All animals are equal"
~ Some more equal than others.]

Communism rises
Rife in seekers of revenge,
Rebels war tycoons.
[Long lines form for bread and shoes
People receive wrong sizes.]

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