Renga with Basho #5

Wren, courtesy of


In this Renga with three haiku of Matsuo Basho, translated by Jane Reichhold, the three line stanzas in bold italics are written by Basho and the regular typeface responses are mine.

what kind of tree

with the unknown flower

such a fragrance


is that a brown-headed crow

snapping air for flying fare?


with a fan

drinking wine in the shadow

of scattered blossoms


wren on the pedestal bath

sipping flower-flavoured tea


melting away

the brush draws up the water

of a spring


swift strokes over rice paper

unveiling a waterfall


blossoms at their peak

the mountain the same as always

at daybreak


floral scents infuse the dawn

bird songs trill to greet the day


©️2018 Ontheland

Carpe Diem Renga with Basho #5

14 thoughts on “Renga with Basho #5

  1. Thank you for your lovely linked verse. Is your goal to unite the Bashō with your linking wakiku? If so, I find myself wanting more unity, especially between the hoku and your first wakiku.

    In “Introduction to Renku”, John Carley states “there are very few things in any form of renku that are obligatory.” Thank the linked verse gods! Carley does suggest the roles the various verses: “The daisan is the ‘break-away’ verse. Whereas hokku and wakiku might read as a unit, with the arrival of daisan, the sequence begins to unfold.”

    Holding both these thoughts in mind, please accept my humble inquiry. I am new to renga/renku and most likely am misinformed, misaligned or merely confused. But I love your linked verse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. Thanks for your thoughtful commenting. I don’t claim any expertise at linking… have read a little but not much. The link between the first and second stanza in my mind is the stance of observing and appreciating nature without knowing the labels. My first response about the brown-headed bird is about a beautiful bird that I saw in the front yard which looks like a crow except for its plumage. If you’re wondering about any of the other links I’d be happy to share. There is method to my madness…even if hard to decipher at times 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do understand you method, Janice. After a few times through I came around to something close to what you describe, “observing something, not knowing the label”. I am glad to be able to discuss it with you.

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      2. Well writing is an interesting challenge between speaking from within and communicating…between being obvious and expected and being obscure to most. I think about these things…I don’t aim to be obscure so I’m happy you drew some meaning…I have found some of the Renga samples I have read (in articles about Renga) sort of jarring and I am still figuring out whether it’s my headspace or cultural moment not catching the links or something else…anyways I like talking about it.

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    1. I haven’t tried that yet myself. In the past Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (the website which hosts these Basho challenges) has had Renga parties. I enjoy these Basho challenges as a way to become more familiar with his haiku and to explore linking. Come to think of it, The Haiku Foundation runs an online Renku challenge. I haven’t jumped in but anyone can and it’s very informative. The host guides the linking process and chooses one submitted link to be next in the collaborative Renga making.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I took a look at the Renga Party at
        I bristle at the number of rules. Perhaps I’ll just start one of my own and see what happens; set out some basic guidelines [not too much shifting], and declare myself the “sabaki”. See what my “friends and followers” are made of. To me, the main thing is to have an aesthetic conversation in verse. #Collaborate #BeCreative #HaveSomeFun

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  2. Wow Janice what a wonderfully created renga together with the master. I like the choice of your line-up. The Guern is right all stanza in a renga have certain rules, but for this special feature those rules are not important. It’s just for fun and to learn more about the haiku by Basho and ‘play’ with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is fun and an opportunity to learn, write and savour Basho’s work…this challenge has its own unique flavour as their is no real back and forth and even 12 ‘stanzas’ is very short. I’ve been reading Reichhold’s e-book about Renga (offered on your site)…and find it very interesting…much to consider there 🙂


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