Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ring Around The Rengas (Part 2)

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Cherry Blossoms

Read Ring Around The Rengas Part One.

By Karen Shenfeld

Here, as promised, is the second of the three rengas that Cobourg Ontario’s James Pickersgill sparked the writing of. Note that the renga is being presented twice: one without, and one with, the name of the contributing poet below the haiku verse that he or she contributed.

Renga #2

air has transported
its new-borne weight
onto twig & bough

*
its nascent coldness
white against the bluing sky
spring’s cold last effort

*
snow knows its own mind
a wintry wind takes its shape
freeing everything

*
between the snowflakes
it seems only emptiness
it is what is there

*
many names for snow
drift in the darkness
silence is one

*
whiteness and silence
shadow prints on moonlit field
a jackrabbit

*

morse code tracks on snow
thank you notes from birds and mice
bird feeder empty

*
Silent too he sits
Buddha-man in garden
Snow-capped watchfulness

*
you gone for ten months
snow, rain, ice, sun, cloud, snow, ice
the heart's hard weathers

*
winter upon us
hindering arboreal
acrobatic squirrel

*
Ice under water
Thirty-three on the old scale
Truth has new language

*
sky falling down white
earth thickening upward white
vitamin D, birch

*
Truth is a season
Often spent seeking shelter
From its cold harsh winds

*
wind sweeps snow from branch
twig and bough again spring up
their snow burden gone

*
under snow, earth waits,
like an actor rehearsing
her next maiden bough

*

precipitous thaw
raises its eyebrow at snow
unshoulders the bough

*
Snow out of nowhere
across the black highway
a billion white bees

*
last lone icicle
spears frozen earth releases
warmth waiting wakens

*
But what have I save
these lines with which to press against
that deeper quiet?

*
winter bleak window
cardinal on bird feeder
transforms mundane day

*
sun rises golden
fresh snow sparkles, blushes pink
milkweed stalks shiver

*
universe below
where seeds like stars breathe in, out
no plans; readiness

*
all night bitter snowfall
hounds the homeless
burying unknown soldiers

*
winter winds crack birch
limbs leave deadfall on the path
new homes for insects

*

last night's thunderclap
shook the elderly snowmen
back into childhood

*
cold sparrows inspect
ice crust for signs patiently
flush and fester wait

*
snow there never was
nor cold except in hot minds
all is illusion
*

Annotated Version of Renga #2

air has transported
its new-borne weight
onto twig & bough
          Allan Briesmaster, 5:00 p.m. Friday, January 14, 2011

*
its nascent coldness
white against the bluing sky
spring’s cold last effort
          Jill Battson, 11:25 a.m. Saturday, January 15, 2011

*
snow knows its own mind
a wintry wind takes its shape
freeing everything
          Edward Carson, 3:45 p.m. Sunday, January 16, 2011

*
between the snowflakes
it seems only emptiness
it is what is there
          Gary Barwin, 12:11 p.m. Thursday, January 20, 2011

*
many names for snow
drift in the darkness
silence is one
          Ted Amsden, 7:31 p.m. Saturday, January 22, 2011

*
whiteness and silence
shadow prints on moonlit field
a jackrabbit
          Dorothy Sjoholm, 10:03 a.m. Sunday, January 23, 2011

*

morse code tracks on snow
thank you notes from birds and mice
bird feeder empty
          Linda Hutsell-Manning, 8:43 p.m. Monday, January 24, 2011

*
Silent too he sits
Buddha-man in garden
Snow-capped watchfulness
          Glenda Jackson, 11:28 a.m. Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*
you gone for ten months
snow, rain, ice, sun, cloud, snow, ice
the heart's hard weathers
          Catherine Owen, 12:56 p.m. Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*
winter upon us
hindering arboreal
acrobatic squirrel
          Sharon Knap, 8:05 p.m. Wednesday, January 26, 2011

*

Ice under water
Thirty-three on the old scale
Truth has new language
          Eric Winter, 7:59 a.m. Thursday, January 27, 2011

*
sky falling down white
earth thickening upward white
vitamin D, birch
          Karen Houle, 9:08 a.m. Saturday, January 29, 2011

*
Truth is a season
Often spent seeking shelter
From its cold harsh winds
          Roy Kempton, 10:45 a.m. Saturday, January 29, 2011

*
wind sweeps snow from branch
twig and bough again spring up
their snow burden gone
          Patrick Gray, 4:50 p.m. Saturday, January 29, 2011

*
under snow, earth waits,
like an actor rehearsing
her next maiden bough
          David Calderisi, 10:29 p.m. Saturday, January 29, 2011

*
precipitous thaw
raises its eyebrow at snow
unshoulders the bough
          Lara Bozabalian, 10:26 a.m. Sunday, January 30, 2011

*
Snow out of nowhere
across the black highway
a billion white bees
          Ken Sherman, 11:02 a.m. Sunday, January 30, 2011

*
last lone icicle
spears frozen earth releases
warmth waiting wakens
          Doug Langille, 12:45 p.m. Sunday, January 30, 2011

*
But what have I save
these lines with which to press against
that deeper quiet?
          Johanna Skibsrud, 6:46 p.m. Sunday, January 30, 2011

*
winter bleak window
cardinal on bird feeder
transforms mundane day
          Steve Kennedy, 12:17 p.m. Tuesday, February 1, 2011

*
sun rises golden
fresh snow sparkles, blushes pink
milkweed stalks shiver
          Bridget Campion, 10:42 a.m. Thursday, February 3, 2011

*
universe below
where seeds like stars breathe in, out
no plans; readiness
          Ann Marie Cross, 12:41 p.m. Thursday, February 3, 2011

*
all night bitter snowfall
hounds the homeless
burying unknown soldiers
          Phoebe Tsang, 4:15 p.m. Thursday, February 3, 2011

*
winter winds crack birch
limbs leave deadfall on the path
new homes for insects
          Bren Simmer, 10:25 p.m. Friday, February 4, 2011

*
last night's thunderclap
shook the elderly snowmen
back into childhood
          Lea Deschenes, 11:54 a.m. Saturday, February 19, 2011

*

cold sparrows inspect
ice crust for signs patiently
flush and fester wait
          Fran Figge, 1:51 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, 2011

*
snow there never was
nor cold except in hot minds
all is illusion
          Wayne Schlepp, 10:00 p.m. Thursday, February 24, 2011

Karen Shenfeld has published three books with Guernica Editions: The Law of Return (1999), which won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry in 2001, The Fertile Crescent (2005) and My Father's Hands Spoke in Yiddish (2010). Her poetry has also appeared in well-known journals and anthologies published in Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Bangladesh. It has been featured on Canada’s CBC Radio and CKLN, and on 39 Dover Street, a short-wave radio programme produced on the Isle of Wight, England. She has been awarded Canada, Ontario and Toronto Arts Council Grants. In March of 2010, she travelled to Linares, Mexico to participate in the first Festival Internacional de Literatura. Shenfeld has also brought her poetic sensibility to the writing of feature magazine stories, for publications such as Saturday Night and The Idler, and to documentary filmmaking. Her personal documentary, Il Giardino, The Gardens of Little Italy, was screened at the 2007 Planet in Focus Environmental Film & Video Festival. Shenfeld lives in the heart of Toronto’s Little Italy.

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