Renku with Plums

Five plums on three tables,
Six poets hunch over pens
To start their renku

My pen shakes with fear
The silence calms these thorns

My voice echoes in harmony
But the words are garbled
And confusion reigns

A storm blows in from the west
Thunder and wind shake us

Shatter of tree trunk
Now even the breath is old
The end comes too soon

But the middle blooms hyacinth and rose
Aspen embrace and feed each other

Their roots hold hands deep in the earth
Send up new-barked bodies
That bears mark with claws

That laces eyes with scars
Steadily willing to see

Seeing is overrated
Sometimes it is good
To close eyes and be

Ears bring in the news
Delicate and slender or wide and wild

If good news, beware,
As bad news is hiding somewhere
If bad news, cheer, good news is near

Your dear hide and tan
Hide beneath life’s skin

The skin of this plum
Is already dreaming of teeth
It wants to know its inner color


(Made at Ziggies Poetry Festival, July 2016, with Jimi Bernath, Valerie Szarek, James Steele, Cathy Casper, and a woman whose name escapes me, my apologies. Learn more about the Renku form here.)

Leave a Reply