Renga

A few months ago I was asked to be part of a renga with Keiji Minato (a Kyoto-based poet whom I had the great pleasure to meet last year) and another Japanese poet named Hiroshi. We wrote ku in turns, with Keiji translating between Hiroshi and myself. Here’s what we wrote. The letters in brackets at the end of the first three ku indicate who wrote it – the order is preserved throughout.

hello haikunauts!
i write to you in autumn
golden leaves flying (D)

a sun’s stroke has just arrived
over the seas in three lines (K)

look! that shooting star
lets someone in love wonder
where all’s going to (H)

make an unseasonal wish
blowing out birthday candles

on penguins turning
their back to the north the snow
in spring starts to fall

unfeathered painters line up
their mouths unable to keep closed

birds sprout on the bough
their throats swallow the new sun
spring sings in the trees

all peek out and see the light
no exception, even moles

in one-sided love
you are to shoot a water
pistol at the moon

the arc of our wet passions
causes eerie eclipses

the earth’s axis
in such a lonesome ballet
leans on nothingness

yes, this is my lucky day!
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in the cold darkness
light is like a paper bag
popped between god’s hands

firework drops have turned into
golden sparkling of champagne

Pretty good, huh?

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