With eighteen poems shared, Between Thistles is almost at an end… one selection remains, and again, I have been deliberating between a handful of the poems, reading each as the ageku to see how the image not only breaks new ground but allows us to briefly circle back to Ashley’s hokku, the evocative title poem, ‘between thistles’.
But before I go into detail about the 5 poems that have been sharing the place of the ageku, I want to thank everyone who has read and participated in our New Junicho. It has been one of the most exciting writing projects that I have taken part in. The energy and creativity that you have brought to the composition of this poem has been (in the most positive way) overwhelming. It has been a highlight of my day to check in with your responses and to watch this poem take shape. I will miss it, but there is still room for exploration… To everyone who participated, check your inboxes as I will be emailing you with an invitation to curate your own version of Between Thistles from the links submitted. I think it will be exciting to go back through each of the call outs and see where you may have taken the poem and to consider the many paths a poem like this can take.
Now, to the four poems that I have been considering for the ageku. The poems are, Lee-Anne’s ‘in the fading light’, Trish’s ‘songs-many-tongued’, Chloe’s ‘wind slips a tune’, Chris’s ‘in rifle sight’, and Andy’s ‘beneath bare feet’. Each of these poems leap daringly from John’s ‘Battle of Brighton’ and link us back to”between thistles’ and in doing so shift the feeling of the hokku; allowing us to read the poem with new insight.
Lee-Anne’s ‘in fading light’ gives closure to the battle we have left behind and in reading on, welcomes us to take a deeper look between the thistles where the Egyptian crane steps; the closing line ‘we study all that is’ singing with a deep sense of wabi.
Trish’s ‘songs-many-tongued’ offers such warmth; the idea that a diversity of voices singing in harmony can mend the sun enchanted me on first reading.
Chloe’s ‘wind slips a tune’ has a wonderful sense of lightness; the song beneath her feet adding music to each step of the crane.
Chris’s ‘in rifle sight’ refocuses the menace of the battle and leaves us eye to eye with an enemy. In reading on, the force of the word ‘enemy’ shifts the tone of the hokku, giving the crane a darker edge and bringing into focus another being between the thistles, hunted by the crane.
Andy’s ‘beneath bare feet’ gives the senses a real slap, as it is not only the feel of the mud that hits us here, it is the smell, the sound and the visual of the feet disappearing. This, like Chloe’s poem, connects us to the crane as it steps between thistles.
Each of these poems make a wonderful addition to the Junicho, but it is time to make a choice… to close, I have selected the poem that creates the greatest shift in the tone of the hokku; ‘in rifle sight’ by Chris Lynch.
But as I said before… let’s not view this as an ending. I look forward to posting multiple versions of this New Junicho over the coming days.
I would love for you to share this poem widely, as it is the keeper of many riches.
Between Thistles: A New Junicho
Started: 12 April 2013 – Finished: 30 April 2013
Written between: Ashley Capes, Simon Kindt, Chloe Callistemon, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Lee-Anne Davie, Andrew Phillips, Cindy Keong, Phillip Ellis,
Link #1 (3 lines) – hokku / shasei
Link #2 (2 lines) – waki / cultural (literature)
the noose of a circling skein
called down by Carver’s barreled goose
Link #3 (3 lines) – daisan / cultural (film)
fan rotors beat
to the smell of napalm
Link #4 (2 lines) – verse / shasei
recycling at 2:30am
moonlight on bitumen
Link #5 (3 lines) – verse / shasei
moth seeks out
only dark spaces
tired I turn off the light
Link #6 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (art)
Caravaggio fades in from black
is that a pallet knife?
Link #7 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (religion)
he makes the sign
with crossed fingers
Link #8 (2 lines) – verse / gendai
Link #9 (3 lines) – verse / gendai
Link #10 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (politics)
a new man rises
such rough beast
Link #11 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (music)
the Mods won the
Battle of Brighton Beach
Link #12 (2 lines) – ageku / shasei
in rifle sight
my enemy’s eyes
* shasei – sketched from life – lived experience, observational, uncontrived.
* gendai – modernist – atypical structure, tone or content.
Responses to Link #11:
The call for music went out and four poets came to play! The offerings from Chris, John, Andy and Chloe continue the energy of previous links and approach the concept of music from some wildly different viewpoints.
Chris looks out from the moshpit as the collision of bodies sends sparks flying skyward; John’s three poems move from the apocalyptic movement of ‘valkyrie ride’ (with a surge of Wagner) to the battle of Brighton Beach and the balls-out soundtrack of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon; Andy takes us to the crossroads where the finger-picked blues of Robert Johnson ‘herald the beast'; and Chloe takes us on a discordant musical odyssey where we clap along with Freddie Mercury, break with the beautiful force of Elgar and wake to Beethoven’s cannon.
Such a diverse musical trip! One that has enriched my Sunday afternoon and taken our Junicho on one last turn before we reach our destination. So where did I leap to? I couldn’t resist the Battle of Brighton Beach, as it’s quite possibly the most playful take on a battle I have ever encountered. This selection welcomes John back into the poem and opens the call for the ageku, link #12.
For the ageku, we are looking for 2 lines of natural imagery / lived experience that continues the movement of the poem and in some way connects us back with the opening image. I plan to leave this link open for submission until 6pm Tuesday April 30 to give everyone ample time to pen their final offerings.
This poem has provided such a wonderful sense of community, so I hope that you all come out to play one last time.