Two Renga with Jane

In 1986 I started the first English-language magazine devoted to the Japanese poetic form called Renga. It was called APA-Renga and was a very amateur affair. I really didnít know anything about Renga at the time, except that no one seemed to be focusing on it, and so I decided to initiate the magazine on my own, in spite of my lack of knowledge and experience.

Soon after the magazine was launched, I received an inquiry from Jane Reichhold who, it turned out, lived just up the coast from where I lived on the Russian River. Jane encouraged me in this endeavor and regularly contributed to the magazine. She was inspiring, thoughtful, and by example showed everyone how to do Renga in English effectively.

Jane and I formed a friendship which has lasted to this day. Jane is a prolific poet, writing in a variety of Japanese poetic forms. In 1989 she published a volume, Narrow Road to Renga, which collected the Renga she had written with a wide variety of other poets. Two of the Renga we had written together are contained in that volume and they are the two offered to visitorís of Dharmajimís Sutra Salon below.

Pine and Pond

A Renga written by
Jim Wilson and Jane Reichhold

pine and pond
shadow across the water
lengthening the days

jw

pampas grass plumes
color the wind autumn

jr

pampas grass plumes
color the wind autumn

jr

brushing her hair
before the party --
and motherís advice

jw

brushing her hair
before the party --
and motherís advice

jw

static electricity
garbled introductions

jr

static electricity
garbled introductions

jr

the evening news; but
touching the windowís edge
septemberís full moon

jw

the evening news; but
touching the windowís edge
septemberís full moon

jw

lace curtains tremble
light on the wall

jr

lace curtains tremble
light on the wall

jr

earthquake!
not knowing
whatís up

jr

earthquake!
not knowing
whatís up

jr

the owlís silent song
starshine on a moonless night

jw

the owlís silent song
starshine on a moonless night

jw

on the porch
mold-speckled pine needles
my waiting for you

jr

on the porch
mold-speckled pine needles
my waiting for you

jr

turning on the lamp
winter sunset

jw

turning on the lamp
winter sunset

jw

his dog watches
girls on the street
watch the guy

jr

his dog watches
girls on the street
watch the guy

jr

a new goldfish
joins the aquarium

jw

a new goldfish 
joins the aquarium

jw

a widow
taking swimming lessons
from the life guard

jr

a widow
taking swimming lessons
from the life guard

jr

airplane skimming the clouds
full moon satin sea

jw

airplane skimming the clouds
full moon satin sea

jw

who sat in the sea?
Snoopy the bomber-pilot pup
drinking root beer

jr

who sat in the sea?
Snoopy the bomber-pilot pup
drinking root beer

jr

wide-eyed on her fifth birthday
giggling bright colored ribbons

jw

wide-eyed on her fifth birthday
giggling bright colored ribbons

jw

a Christmas cactus
bought the day she was born
blooms early

jr

a Christmas cactus
bought the day she was born
blooms early

jr

folding the last diaper
for her last child

jw

folding the last diaper
for her last child

jw

knitting a sweater
while leaves are still green
winter memories

jw

knitting a sweater
while leaves are still green
winter memories

jw

of snow-covered fields
manzanita blooms

jr

of snow-covered fields
manzanita blooms

jr

hidden valley
pine trees
slowly growing

jw

hidden valley
pine trees
slowly growing

jw

dirt on the birdís foot 
flys into the sun

jr

dirt on the birdís foot
flys into the sun

jr

shit in his hair
she really tried not to laugh
at natureís dignity

jw

shit in his hair
she really tried not to laugh
at natureís dignity

jw

raccoon faces
watching oursí sleep

jr

raccoon faces
watching oursí sleep

jr

perched on a bare branch
under pizzicato stars
an owl blinks

jw

perched on a bare branch
under pizzicato stars
an owl blinks

jw

predawn darkness gathers
people protest oil drilling

jr

predawn darkness gathers
people protest oil drilling

jr

a yuppie watches
the instant replay
on his v.c.r.

jw

a yuppie watches
the instant replay
on his v.c.r.

jw

still in her wedding dress
clenched fists and no shoes

jr

still in her wedding dress
clenched fists and no shoes

jr

the waning June moon
reflected in a tear drop
broken promises

jw

the waning June moon
reflected in a tear drop
broken promises

jw

graduation at massage school
theyíd vowed to keep in touch

jr

graduation at massage school
theyíd vowed to keep in touch

jr

letters
in letters
let herís

jr

letters
in letters
let herís

jr

ribbon-wrapped in an old trunk
finding grandmotherís voice

jw

ribbon-wrapped in an old trunk
finding grandmotherís voice

jw

at dusk
calling out childrenís names
carved on stone

jr

at dusk
calling out childrenís names
carved on stone

jr

while the ocean waves croon
their saxophone memories

jw

while the ocean waves croon
their saxophone memories

jw

datura flowers
reality folds up
at night

jr

datura flowers
reality folds up
at night

jr

countless stars
endless starlight

jw
Notice: Copyright 1989 by Jane Reichhold. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Narrow Road to Renga with permission of Jane Reichhold. AHA Books, Gualala, California. No part of these Renga may be dowloaded, copied, or reproduced in any manner without permission from Jane Reichhold. Those requesting permission may contact Jane Reichhold at ahabooks@mcn.org

Ocean/River

A Renga written by
Jane Reichhold and Jim Wilson

low clouds
squeezing earth
into a river

jr

into blueing sky
a bird rides the wind

jw

into blueing sky
a bird rides the wind

jw

out of breath
the jogger clutches
his side

jr

out of breath
the jogger clutches
his side

jr

august morning cool
watering the potted plants

jw

august morning cool
watering the potted plants

jw

from the spring
a pretty face drinks
the moon

jr

from the spring
a pretty face drinks
the moon

jr

the warm word processor
secretaryís station

jw

the warm word processor
secretaryís station

jw

the crammed mailbox
amidst contests and ads
one letter

jw

the crammed mailbox
amidst contests and ads
one letter

jw

renewing a friendship
the bookcover also faded

jr

renewing a friendship
the bookcover also faded

jr

february dawn
the telephone ringing
dreams end

jw

february dawn
the telephone ringing
dreams end

jw

dancing stones turn
in flooded waters

jr

dancing stones turn
in flooded waters

jr

toddler in diapers
laughing at sunlit waves
litter floats by

jw

toddler in diapers
laughing at sunlit waves
litter floats by

jw

after the heat wave
cleaning the stove

jr

after the heat wave
cleaning the stove

jr

three days of rain end
a sunset walk with you
autumn colors

jw

three days of rain end
a sunset walk with you
autumn colors

jw

our blushing
the moon pales

jr

our blushing
the moon pales

jr

secure in shadows
children of enemies meet
in spring grass

jw

secure in shadows
children of enemies meet
in spring grass

jw

leaping up in surprise
Romeo in a modern ballet

jr

leaping up in surprise
Romeo in a modern ballet

jr

well kept window box
some stray wildflowers
greet a sunrise

jw

well kept window box
some stray wildflowers
greet a sunrise

jw

under the cityís Christmas tree
a bag-lady sleeps in peace

jr

under the cityís Christmas tree
a bag-lady sleeps in peace

jr

winter solstice
traffic lights flash
red and green

jr

winter solstice
traffic lights flash
red and green

jr

dreaming on a crowded bus
his stop slips by unnoticed

jw

dreaming on a crowded bus
his stop slips by unnoticed

jw

windless days
surround the islands
deep sleep

jr

windless days
surround the islands
deep sleep

jr

boulders at the oceanís edge
moving waters, shifting sands

jw

boulders at the oceanís edge
moving waters, shifting sands

jw

rising again
the sun brings
a new year

jr

rising again
the sun brings
a new year

jr

stretching under the covers
morning yawn delays the chores

jw

stretching under the covers
morning yawn delays the chores

jw

tea leaves
clog the drain
such a party!

jr

tea leaves
clog the drain
such a party!

jr

with a long blue sigh
she faces the cool morning

jw

with a long blue sigh
she faces the cool morning

jw

last day of frost
buying the bride
a bread box

jr

last day of frost
buying the bride
a bread box

jr

white cake with purple frosting
and rusty altos singing

jw

white cake with purple frosting
and rusty altos singing

jw

midnight
the hazy moon
is also tipsy

jr

midnight
the hazy moon
is also tipsy

jr

in the middle of the block
a pause of gray/blue shadow

jw

in the middle of the block
a pause of gray/blue shadow

jw

the bathroom light
shines briefly from the fifth floor
red silence

jw

the bathroom light
shines briefly from the fifth floor
red silence

jw

a hush of air
the elevator stops

jr

a hush of air
the elevator stops

jr

a wave of gray dust
the deserted avenue
september shadows

jw

a wave of gray dust
the deserted avenue
september shadows

jw

blending sad colors
a homeless man moans

jr

blending sad colors
a homeless man moans

jr

childhood memory --
a field crammed with wildflowers
occasional oaks

jw

childhood memory --
a field crammed with wildflowers
occasional oaks

jw

an endless blue sky
fills with warmth

jr

an endless blue sky
fills with warmth

jr
Notice: Copyright 1989 by Jane Reichhold, AHA Books, Gualala, California. All rights reserved. Permission to copy, dowload, or reproduce in any form must be obtained from Jane Reichhold who may be contacted at ahabooks@mcn.org
Dharmajim hopes that you enjoy his Sutra Salon. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to post them at the Dharma House Blog.
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