Welcome to the Renku Column of Simply Haiku. With the unseasonably
warm and dry weather we have been experiencing here in the Celtic
Isles for the last several weeks, it is all too easy to let ourselves
forget the winds, rains and oscillations of temperature which
lie close behind us, and doubtless not far in front either. But
Japanese poetry, and renga in particular, can be relied on to
serve as a stimulation for the imagination lulled into forgetting
the endless variety of joys and discomforts which our planet's
spin brings us.
And, speaking of weather, Windy Town Square
is the title of a Nijuin we bring you by two English poets. To
my ear, the poem has a definite English flavour, while successfully
evoking universal emotions with its skilful combination of themes
timely and timeless.
Heading south for several thousand kilometres, we come to the
homeland of the poet who has written the solo Triparshva, Madiba's
Smile. Look at how the hokku immediately transports us
to her locale and environment:
a pod of whales
heads for the antarctic
tails in the wind
We return to Europe, albeit its other flank, for the Nijuin,
Equinox. This poem was composed in English by
two distinctly-voiced Romanian poets. Though their approach is
quite different from that seen in much modern English-language
renku, the poem displays a rhythmic unity which is entirely appropriate
to linked verse.
It is said, with some justification, that in its variety lies
the strength of a renku; it is very satisfying to be able to present
here renku which themselves vary so radically in their music.
Bunclody, April 2007