Friday, September 19, 2014

Carpe Diem Soliloquy No Renga (an introduction), "purple shadow"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have a new challenging feature for you all ... (thank you Jen). As you all know haiku came from 'hokku' the opening verse of a Renga or chained verse ... Renga was a collaborative kind of poetry in which several poets were participating. Basho, one of the four greatest haiku-poets (next to Buson, Issa and Shiki) transformed the 'hokku' into a poetry-form on itselves, the haiku ...
I love to bring you back to the roots of our beloved haiku and created what I will call 'Soliloquy No Renga', a Renga written by one poet. Soliloquy means monologue and is a synonym for it.

The goal of this new feature is to write a Soliloquy No Renga, a Renga composed by one person. With this new feature it is possible to help you to be more associative, because you have to compose an all new renga with at least six (6) links.
As you all know a renga has stanzas of three and two lines. The first verse "hokku" gives the title to the renga and sets the entire image of your renga. By association on the verse before the verse you have to write you can make the renga a complete story.
This new feature is just for fun and I hope it will bring you the fun and inspiration as I had in mind. You can choose on your own how much links you use, but at least (as I said above) six (6) links. The last link has to make the "circle complete" and in that way has a link with the first verse. That last verse is called "ageku".

I will give you the "hokku" for the Soliloquy No Renga and than it's up to you. That "hokku" can be a haiku by a classic or modern haiku-poet.
As you all know this month we have all wonderful haiku by Jane Reichhold based on her saijiki "A Dictionary of Haiku", so to honor her I have chosen a nice autumn haiku composed by Jane as the starting verse of this first episode of Carpe Diem "Soliloquy No Renga". So our first "hokku" ever for this new feature is the following haiku:

blue autumn skies
folded into mountains
purple shadow

© Jane Reichhold

So you have to start with this opening-verse or "hokku" and in your closing-verse or "ageku" there has to be a link or association back to this "hokku". Why? Well ... it's because of aesthetic reasons ... by linking or associating from the "ageku" to the "hokku" you make the "circle" complete.

Here is my first "Soliloquy No Renga" (a 10-stanza renga):



the autumn skies
folded into the mountains
purple shadow

fresh breeze brings new sounds
I have never heard earlier

nightingale sings-
a serenade for, her, the moon
hidden behind clouds

leaves, colorful and bright
fall one by one as was planned

after the rainstorm
reflections of blue sky and clouds
in muddy waters

Credits: reflections on water (moon and aurora) © Robert Berdan

raindrops - rhythmic art of nature
in the pond circles fade

in faint moonlight
shadows of bare branches
move like humans

fireflies lightning my path
to the top of the mountains

high above the clouds
the thin air crystallizes


everywhere around me I see
blue sky and everlasting snow

© Chèvrefeuille

It's a great way to learn how to associate on themes to make this all new kind of renga "Soliloquy No Renga" and I hope you all like it and will try it. 

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until October 20th at noon (CET). Than I will decide if I will do this feature again. Have fun!


  1. I guess since I didn't know that I could not do this - I have been more or less been writing this way for years. So I shall have a go at this - even if I am starting with another's verse :)

  2. A beautiful journey to a mountain peak. The view is lovely, Chev. Well done. I especially like the "in faint moonlight" verse.

  3. Ooh -- this will be fun Chèvrefeuille!

    Really loving your "raindrops - rhythmic art of nature // in the pond circles fade" -- really brought back the experience of being mesmerized by raindrops in puddles and ponds. This will be a wonderful new feature. :)

  4. That was tough! Nice verse, Chevrefeuille - and very cleverly planned and measured challenge to all.