XIX:1, February,  2004

A Journal for Linking Poets   


Sprite, Eiko Yachimoto, Karina Klesko, Kirsty Karkow, Michael Baribaeu led by John Carley

John M. Bennett after Ivan Arguelles after John M. Bennett

Toni Davis (Aus)
Catherine Mair (NZ)

James Joyce
Werner Reichhold

Jim Leftwich and John M. Bennett

Elaine King
Karina Klesko

Karina Klesko
Cindy Tebo

Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime


Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime
Cyril Childs

allen mc gill
karina klesko

Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime

Patricia Prime
Catherine Mair

probably 2 'real' renga sorta #6
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain

probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #7
Marlene Mountain

Francine Porad
"squawking crows"

probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #8
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain
"program needed"

probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #9
Marlene Mountain

Francine Porad
"rubble cleared"

probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #10
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain
"miles of trail"

Tanka of Fumiko Nakajoo
Translated by Jane Reichhold and Hatsue Kawamura

lynne steele, betty kaplan, doris pearson, mary lee mc clure, cindy tebo, naia, karina klesko, sheila windsor, elaine king, carol raisfeld

doris pearson, sheila windsor, michael baribeau, b'oki (bette wappner), kevin ryan, cindy tebo, karina klesko, adelaide b. shaw, darrell byrd,betty kaplan

Grant Savage
Betty Warrington-Kearsley


Sprite, Eiko Yachimoto, Karina Klesko, Kirsty Karkow, Michael Baribaeu led by John Carley

green on  green two anglers climb
to the deserted  reservoir

wading through the brush  a fawn stops    to eavesdrop

the day   goes on forever
ever further   from my birth place

quietly  she lays a stone   at the crossroads

low mist  and the skirl of pipes
a falcon  sharp against the moon

behind steamed up panes  light laughter  as love yields

crushing grapes  with my fiancé
the old village  now reborn   

fireworks    burst with sulfur  and caramel corn

science classes  after lunch
they joke   about the fume cupboard

imagine  a test    for arming guillotines

a silent chill  this dark night
snow falls  in the sleepy hollow

Shawaal  gold  through the lace of bare branches

Anne Morrow Lindbergh  in profile
                 writing memoirs  on Japan

the delving raccoon    finds crayfish    under rocks

you smile  at my embarrassment
the voice-over  distracting

proudly a knight  flaunts her favour    in the jousts

roundtable  votes tallied
CEO's set   new Play Doh palette

baby fingers  peeking  from a spring blanket

               all the way  down a long lost lane
the hawthorn blossoms  blossom

campions  and buttercups  share the same field



John M. Bennett after Ivan Arguelles after John M. Bennett

sorta shiva slivered

mantric mode in toned,

tonant tonic thundered

great all heighty Move!

'tis tender shoved a god

into larder's turmoiled

whine, greet Indra drunk

of the lords, spark Dope,

neither white nor east of

when glees a gale of

force, to name a few,

but clouds of other silver

silver hovers dove loud spur

you a same dew snorts,

of yeast nor light ether

cloak, dark swords the clove

sunk tinder's meat, grime

parboiled, harder lean-to

pod's a glove ender, hiss

mood! mighty stalled mate,

plundered colonic lament

cloned, in lode canker,

shivered liver's sorter



Toni Davis (Aus)
Catherine Mair (NZ)

aiming the fly spray at the curtain

I cough and the shadow rises

feeling the flush of wine in my cheeks

fluttering downwards to old drunkedness

still zooming above our heads & the unwashed dishes

another day settles around the sink

resting her head on the old woman's crocheted rug

darkness descends and the start of a dream


James Joyce
The lines of James Joyce are taken unchanged from his book Finnegans Wake.
Werner Reichhold

(Night signals it is dressed out in software, a place where the guest may enter a horse and see through ears)

night night
of stem and stone

                             lifelong cold and hot
                                                   with stars

house of call is all
their evenbreads through
its cartomance
hallucinate like
an erection in the night

sled a movement
of catharic emulsipotion
down the slippery side
of a slaunty to tilted

                    deathdealing allied devisions

                        earth of a potter's squeeze
                                 the wet bowl
                                              and one hair

I cain     but are you able     amicably nod

I helped him to in my princeps edition which is all so much to the cut are mutuearly polarized the incompatablility of my delusional acting as ambivalent to the fixation of his pivotism

                        bringing allowing
                        stone alongthing down the grave
                        the matter fertile
                        the matrix a fax

                        allfines of greengold
                        that the Indus contains
                        overhinduce him

                        ring <> oxed
                        at the steam
                        cloud covered Inn
                        onconciously grafficking
                        with his sinister Cyclopes

crowmagnon     aunt Cesters smells the bat     of new intelligence

They demolished the peace, now they reinvent war
whorship, wardropes, warweather
that old warhead of contraband.

II (Keying by dreaming the words that insert tools)

olivegreen of onslought and the homespound over the hearth

hand me the feathered slimmer off the brim your hunter's hat

really at, this Anamite Apar of astrocity and private privysuckatary

chorus of anscissors accompanies the grilling of insisters

the hoisted in red and the lowered in black

townails  as if the genre of blond asks for bleeps in bloomers


a table on which cloth is coming closer

the goat that gafr ate the sounders bible

tales by dervish    sung by diewhitch

Aure! Cloudy father! Unsure. Nongood!

quicksand in no time of her thinking

mearbound to the marsh of a ladsmaul in half a sylb

the first one making her his absence less comfortable

give back those stolen kisses   restore those allkotten gloves

what age please would it be, let's say, green thumbed

the allriddle of it that is alruddy with us.

III (Parallel speaking to a wall so that a door intermittently may open)

a stage to set by ritual roote for the grimm
tale of the four hyacinths the deafeeld carp and the bugler dozen

appendix it by the hour of the scholar
for whom the simplified encounters the eye of the needle

there you'll fix your eyes darklet on the autocart of the bringfast
cable but here till you're martimorephysed please still face to face

shun away from the non-shivering maiden's pulchritude
see the biker? On the tank of her gas sits a clone of her neighbor

never slip your silver key through your gate of golden age
collide with men, collude with money. Ere you sail forget my price

discetterized non-beings for the discernment of the distinguished
in pairs: one for the easy and the other for the rider

never hate mer pork which is bad for your knife of a good Friday
never let a hog of the howth trample underfoot your linen

you highbunized your letter and I-i licked it
you vibrate in the lower case and may loosen a crown in the upper

and it was the lang in the shirt in the green of the wood
when obelisks rise and odalisks fall

I bet by the champain of the bestcellar, by the pumper of the nickels'
compu-freak-game; half time whistle, one : there-oh

we are once amore as babies awondering in a world made fresh
where with the hen in a storyaboot we start from scratch.


IV (The science of liquid absence, that capacity. Here it is slightly offered off-key deliberately so the reader feels a desire to correct it. At this moment you get in touch with your own netted system)

- O dear no! Instead the tragis jester jobbed himself wheywingingly sick of life on some sort of rhubarbarous maundarin yellagreen funkleblue windigut diodying applejack

Sqeezed from sour grapefruice and, to hear him twixed his sedimental cupslips when he had gulfed down mmmuch to mmmany gourds

- Enoughness of spilled smell running in octaves, a shake-by-chaque to the willcomers, Jaques Derrida's impossible possiblility, a whipe-on-the-wips empire that unveils jealousy for the hidden and siege where the objected lingers, like in front of motel / module Awe, for exfans a peace joint, Imports & Outports

- The warped flooring of the liar and soundcondactingwalls thereof, to say nothing of the uprights and imposts, where persianlyteratured woth burst loveletters, telltale stories, stickyback snaps, doubtful eggshells, couchers, flints, borers, puffers, amygdaloid almonds, rindless raisins, alphybettyformed verbage, vivlical viasses, ompitrt dictas, ahem and ahas, imeffible tries at speech unsyllabled you own mes, eyoldhyms

- Hell us, lull us, James-of-the-jams' counterfighting portrats; give it the digits, the digest of browsers, the chat room, the voice-mail of love- twisters

- Come smooth of my slate to the beat of my blosh! With all these gelded eves jilting about and thrills and ills of laylock blossoms three's so much more plants than chants for cecillis that I was thinking fairly killing times of putting an end to myself and my malody, when I remembered all your pupilteacher's erringneness in perfection class. You sh'undn't write you can't if you w'udn't pass for undevelopment

- Awake-cry to avoke-pain     only the bones of  fish     left in my lap

- Yes, if I weren't a jones in myself I would elect myself to be his dolphin in the wildsbillow because he's such a barefooted rubber with my supersocks pulled over his face which I publickedin my bestback gardenfor the laetification of siderodromities and to the iron of the stars. You will say it is most unenglish and I shall hope to heat that you will not be wrong about it. But I further feeling a bit husky in my truth

- Listen , when the charm of a Sheikh meets the vaingloriously veiled, say in a van velvetly sapphonized by the och&ochs of a fullmoon trip at Ba'qubah  one wonders why she isn't calling mine eleven

- Oh, on the third dead beat, oh! To cluse her eyes and allopen her oath and see of what spice I may send her. How? Cease thee, cantatrickee! I fain would be solo. Arouse thee, myvalour, and save for e'er my true Bdur!

- And anticks: holy blowaparts, weapons of any mass, kigo by the pond, kilo of motherwit, a preowned mary-go-drowned, an odorless devotional object, preoccupied air, silent discs, state laws and bypasses, an almost new ambush, miss used cell phones, Mr. Cellew Lloyd (a digital graph), 'loss-free flow of current', where a pair of electrons that gave up their electrostatic resistance pass  without frictional loss - a crystal lattice, a shily spoken no as a matter phor yes , the mold     of a once gained objective    petrified

- Paud the roosky, weren't they all of them each in his different way of saying calling on the one the same time

- But look at our manager disappealing under the womanager! Guinness in office?

- Where you truss be circumspicious and lock before you leak, dears never christen medlard apples till a swithin is in sight

- You close your lips, thinking -

   I see a design for that closing.


V (It seems that the strength of thinking depends upon a change of perspectives)

there is a split
in the infinitive
from to have to will be
for isolation
by a tongue

                           the pink of punk
           perfection as photography
                           in mud
         secret array of the arriviste
        mouse trip by the forefinger

that lifted the leaves
that folded the fruit
                 come pass, Hiakutake
                 bemin us
                 be plus

               ashe and whitehead
               closechop   successor to
                                           one reel
                                             all spun
                                         the sheep

                                    and the lines
                         of readypresent fire
                                when like snow 
                        you whilst lay on me
                 light fingers of the moon.



Jim Leftwich and John M. Bennett

I saw seething drink master
so run smatter bought I snared
would come wisp leper stand poor
said lump trancing ash would wear
war would wash trance lump saying
pore sand leaper wish some world
snored I bought smaller rum so
clumper mast drinking seeking raw eye


Elaine King
Karina Klesko

reflected in the window
pelting rain                                  

a firefly here and there  
one starless night

poplar leaves
pierced by a golden day
shapes of the sun      

the road's perspective
in the camera's eye                          

under the overpass
chrome on perspex                            

lucid memories
in the rearview mirror
it. . . if. . . arg. . .



Karina Klesko
Cindy Tebo

old rain and fog
deepening the pond
layers upon layers
we talk about her divorce
and then we talk about mine

on a float trip
we pass the hours
without speaking
he rows one way
and I row the other

the storm
has washed the sun's face
more vivid is this day
of separation
my eyes a darker blue

beyond the yellow leaves
of thinning catalpa
almost a year
since he rode his new bike
and disappeared

a hidden thought
our love somewhere
in between
the pangs of childbirth
and his first touch

running to the window
every time we see headlights
christmas eve
we keep asking mom
when's dad coming home

new snow
two sets of footprints,
coming and going
and nothing in the mail
again today

inside the church
to get warm|
no quarters for candles
and I've forgotten
my hail marys

masked in feathers,
they chirrup in the streets
bare-breasted men
and ruby glass beads . . . falling
shards of moonlight

a small model
of the delta queen
this wooden steamboat
still smells like the day
it came from the pine

Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime

booksales table -
behind sunglasses
I face the crowd

chasing his son
into the flax bushes
harassed father

planted in the grass
a full glass of wine

stacked beneath
deck chairs
empty bottles

to the beat
wriggling her blouse
over her hips

all evening
the same young couple

tossed into the air -
a baby

girl in wheelchair -
her one-finger control

muscles his way
through the crowd

from centre stage
videoing the audience
the compere

evening's end
still chasing
the toddler

Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime
Cyril Childs

too rare we exclaim searching for a casserole dish

leftover lamb
one ginormous onion
one carrot
one large red coarsely diced kumera (sweet potato)
sundry fresh broad beans
soy sauce
can of peeled Italian tomatoes
jar of Patak's Tandoori curry paste, ginger & mild
salt & pepper to taste
boil in the bag rice

"Wine on hand for lubrication."
elegantly Cyril flicks another broad bean into the pot
"It's worth making extra, we won't need the pizzas."
explaining the view at Port Chalmers - the "Taiko" passes
shaking a red pepper he debates his colour scheme
searching for the pottery jar of crackers, he finds peanuts
fading light - curry flavours saturate the air
leaving it to simmer Cyril vanishes



allen mc gill
karina klesko

children skip
across a sunlit playground
hand in hand
lovers stroll the tree lined lanes
whispering softly

change of wind
my adrenalin pumping
that distance between
the dogma of life and death
we stop for cappucinos

the deep rumble
of far off thunder
seeking shelter
from the storm's might
within each others arms

curled up by the fire
our new kitten purrs
as rain beats metal rooftops
the click of my heels on tile
less hollow, less alone

lightning flares
the wind whipped torrents
a deeper darkness
we share our warmth and
comfort through it all

time and again
the same skip in the record
this antique phonograph
spins anew in each groove
seeds of lasting love


Catherine Mair
Patricia Prime

wake the morning
with their song
fly into the air with a cry
why doesn't my heart take wing?

flying sparrows
rainbowed waterfalls -
is there a heart left in China
crowing in the rain

bathing at night
verbena & rosemary
in the bath
a good night's sleep
forgetting everything

play me
let the keys burn
under your touch
has a piano ever sounded
as atmospheric as this



Patricia Prime
Catherine Mair

polka accordions
beneath the pavilion
play "Billy Billy Bongo"
musicians bright in red bandanna
and cummerbunds

chinese at six
a french dinner at nine
do the player's hands
prompt questions?
the candles burn low

we walk rather than ride home
from the concert
humming old & new tunes
into the cold night air

acapela - rap – funk
bursting into
the millennium
on the edge


probably 2 'real' renga sorta #6
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain

hot hot hot the cook suggests the waitress 'take a chill-pill'

a lily a day keeps the doctor away & hummers around

two months between blood tests time to answer 'fine' to all inquiries

the sky turns blue or so it seems

traffic at a standstill US Navy Angels back again with their roar

take a wrong turn in war become an american hero


careful dubya the 'log' in your eye grows with every internal wink

repeated proposition lost in cyberspace

rain on more rain blighted tomatoes fried green like the movie

a blower creates a racket but not a leaf in sight

black-and-white warblers & chickadees a wren not to be ignored

to the geezer: take your meds; don't take up bungee jumping

scare alert for ferry boats the latest government reelection tactic

Saddam on the tape? 'glorious resistance' urged

bail hearing for 'missing girl' hoax suspect & her other personas*

psychologist's couch the multiple sides to Sybil

so much to know and more likely not to know the humidity to feel

contrail smoke fills the air with hearts


hand-holding on streets and lawns crowds playing hooky

estranged haiku the dying eyes of a baby snapper

snacks for kids can be healthy label tells the story of trans fats

dogwood berries where they once held on

names inspired by Nature two granddaughters Wren and Fern

view on the sanctity of marriage with a straight face

he'd like wife one strong and healthy wife two rich wife three fun

the power goes out while i'm out of power

hmm...something's troubling my scale my weight at zero pounds

dragonfly bends a reed and leaves

fifteen minutes times seven guests removing weeds works for me

in the kitchen sink things


thunder followed by thunder even the moss covered in moss

old friends' friendly card game the usual insults

truck trouble bridge trouble most of the water troubles fixed

with nothing to cry about tears in my ears

ahead of themselves withered blossoms empty the fallen stalks

lots of attitude lots of gratitude

15m Donna Walker

July 30-Aug 4, 2003


probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #7
Marlene Mountain

Francine Porad
"squawking crows"

deep within our humidity squawking crows from yesterday

peeling off in squadrons to follow the Blue Angels

even though it's always whole a quarter moon full of rock

circle motif patterned with a slice of potato

scraps the ground can't eat go to the neighbor's dog curly

surprise visit the car holds parents, kids, retrievers


sprinklers turn slowly watering the slowly-turning-green lawn

on the home front a raggedy edge

fluted petunia plus peach and pink begonias color the sundeck

thunder on the clothes already soaked with it

equally noisy hydroplanes piston and turbine engines compared

overnight a lightning bug moved in

all windows open a sweet-smelling breeze tickles my nose

a wall with a right-wing spin

improper touching* of married male by the gay clergyman

  will the terminator** say my wife won't let me run

almost time again for the Repulsicans and Demonocrats

    four-legged mascots of the two-legged masks


    tow truck for an old toyota that's literally put on the brakes

     excited over his BMW and then bird poop

the egg came first but try telling that to the sea-less questioner

    chicken will do but I crave spaghetti

hashed and rehashed for ratings when a woman's no means no

sweet lovin' a search for romantic comedies

morning haze some of it left over from the last thing i remember

  removing screens for a mere half hour of rain

  dr scholl's black shoes inches from a clean patch of warmth

  jackets over shoulders and long pants

  mostly ready for whatever except winter & bits of summer & fall

where has the year gone? memorial designs


    just one last trip to the cemetery for the stone's unveiling

    milkweeds without monarchs without blossoms

  second anniversary of 9-11 Americans still stalked daily

  along with the woods the sawmill in flames

      a late supper grimy firefighters take over Jacks' restaurant

    cicadas close down the day on themselves

* allegations dismissed
** allegation dismissed

Aug 4-7, 2003




probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #8
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain
"program needed"

a program needed to learn whom to hate 'friend' Gadhafi

our weapons of mass destruction are where

perhaps hidden in a spider hole like Saddam Hussein

a third term the 'supremes' could help

off to buy a couple of lamps the Dow over ten thou

unable to tell whether the day really longer


a field of snow if the field weren't covered by snow

the ie's one letter separates 'fiend' and 'friend'

orange alert a billion a week weak from a daylily thought

mental debate: research the web or watch TV

from the governor years late a nice pardon for lenny bruce

the courtly gentleman's politeness and gentle ways

another generation blyth-reading poets blythed in the dark

winter drizzle headlights would be good here

gravity thaws & flows in the old pipe toward the old kitchen

request from one charity for the third time this year

grouped separately on paper as if to resolve the iris garden

earthquake in Iran natural disasters tragic enough


25% of French Jews say they would feel safer in Israel

still in the woods tho not deep enough to be out

downy woodpecker crouches on a slick branch; rain gusts

a bit of warmth a mind defensive from yesterday

all spaces blank for unknown happenings new calendar

will that chain ever get smoked

incurable curiosity wet footprints from shower to phone

foreign to me i turn up the sound

frantic New Year's Eve celebration scenes fudge preferred

green grass reappears not on the thermometer

ice warning this morning hospital chaplain makes his rounds

more letters to michael moore from disgusted soldiers


a seventh afternoon-moon brightens dark limbs & a pale blue

maid's note: a pleasure to clean your lovely home

inside the shell of a turtle we don't seem to get cabin fever

the list of visitors grows

  sweatshirts around the abandoned stove in no hurry

    love is an action word

Dec 21-31, 2003



probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #9
Marlene Mountain

Francine Porad
"rubble cleared"

rubble cleared from another country together we've fallen in

snowplows in action more snow on the way

movies movies full of language one day might be helpful

    again in the principal's office for talking

    crowded out by everything but blue vegetation of a quilt

    museum goal: to reopen featuring regional artists


   stacks of stored art creating new paintings for the fun of it

     at arm's length whatever it takes to make spring

spokeswoman for a cosmetics firm after her facelift

since dubya the world's better off says dubya

     reminder: AOL staff will never ask for your password

     fashion statement the secret life of furry deaths

     police remove the 'partying' couple from the men's room

     thanks for canadian tv the news even-handedish

     Pasadena Parade of Roses tourist cameras slung and ready

    the trend warm except in the nearest pine

     aquarium fish among the corals seahorse nods its head

     dream-like some of the past tense


when stuff goes wrong up north they say it's gone south

   ambulance and its sound disappearing

the notebook turned out to have too much writing smeared

  washed ashore with the rain and tide shriveled jellyfish

   between the hills things snuggled in the deep mud and sun

    petrified rock for his treasure trove

    africa with its riches where right-wings could next dub evil

     recurring image of flies on a starving child

     religious contraceptives the full value of women banned

     prairie burnoff fragile-looking columbine’s deep roots

   jeez just the thought of a shoot sends a shiver up my spine

  good morning! hospital confusion I answer the TV


  a man whispers: Is your husband home? I hand hubby the phone

     swept away from the brown leaves left

storm system our family emergency plan tried and flunked

  clothes on the line to fend for themselves

golden-green rice fields workers and scarecrow wearing cone hats

   i edited myself but not the wren flown west

Jan 1-3, 2004



probably 2 'real' renga sorta  #10
Francine Porad
Marlene Mountain
"miles of trail"

three miles of trail in the woodland garden each plant labeled

beyond the mainstream almost anything

drivers warned of icy-road conditions can't seem to get a grip

sunny tenncare ride like forever and a day

a Cézanne still life in the art museum hunger pangs

      copy your fingerprints to ashcroft before asked


    sharp stuff by president al sharpton & a tickle to the seriousness

  IceCreamKiddos wait low-season fares to Tucson

  a warm snap yet a can't-do-nothing-about-it-anyway attitude

  time to break into a bag of peppermint chews

    a bit heavy thin blankets brought in just before the rains

     no need to make the bed if wrapped in the quilt

   even after several hours of darkness the porch light on too early

three hundred accidents in an I-5 corridor

    again & again the readers of how old basho did it in translation

   street mime white gloves hold the crowd

woody allen as sperm a fear to go where other sperm have gone

cemetery walk reunion with my grandparents


shriveled jellyfish the tiny transparent disks once so alive

a lull in the creative juices tho not forgotten

Bangkok tour guide exercises my brain: cón tin ue up the stree

unopened mail if there's a reply expected

kukai contest poses the question: was the kigo used seasonally

if you wait on the japanese no butterfly till summer

home from vacation a spider tags along to the beauty shop

pointed partly toward spring the old truck

bitter cold popcorn and pizza taking turns in the microwave

a full moon but just a saying of course

grabbed & tossed by an environmentalist fisherman’s treasure

did you notice mr cheney butte a disaster dump


early peek at a shadow not the smart groundhog just me

Sioux painting of sacred circles path of sand flow

immigration debate send everyone somewhere pre-columbus

question asked before I can answer he falls asleep

at wit's end maybe even what's left of the pampas grass

sanctuary flowers on the altar periwinkle-blue

Jan 4-7, 2004



Tanka of Fumiko Nakajoo
Translated by Jane Reichhold and Hatsue Kawamura

With her three young children Fumiko was considered a burden to her family. She was stigmatized in her community because at that time a couple was expected to stay together to raise their children no matter how many problems there were in the marriage. Because Hiroshi had married so soon after their divorce, and because he now only had the income of a common laborer due to his drinking, and since there was no system of child support in the society, Fumiko was completely dependent upon her family financially. So she went to work in her father's store, but when she worked outside the home to earn money, she had to depend on her family had to provide the care for the children. Still she went to work while trying to be mother to her children as best she could. This series of poems deals with her feelings of being a single mother at a time, the early 1950s, when this situation in Japan was very novel.

haha wo jiku ni
ko no kakemeguru
hara no hiru
ki no me wa chikaki
hayashi yori niou

children run around
the axis of their mother
in a daytime field
the fragrance of leaf bud
comes from a near-by forest

This poem has been carved on a stone monument and placed in the center of a wide, hilly park near her home in Obihiro. When one stands here in spring, surrounded by the forests Hokkaidoo is famous for, Fumiko’s poem relives itself for each reader of the lines on the stone. Her poem makes a connection between the sweat-smell of children and leaves newly unfurled.


At the time of the divorce, the first son, Takashi was eight years old and Yukiko, the daughter was five. In dividing up the family, it was decided that the younger son, who was then three, should be sent to live in the home of her ex-husband's father and step-mother in Sapporo. It was thought that the older children were too attached to the mother to leave her so they picked her youngest boy as theirs.

kanashimi no
minori no gotoki
ko wo daki te
sono omotasa wa
kagiri mo aranu

like fruits of sorrow
the heaviness
when holding a child
is boundless

The paternal parents wanted to have a son who could inherit the family goods and lands so they took away her youngest boy. In those days the wealth of the family had to pass to a son and therefore they wanted one of the sons to be raised in their family.


Even on a sunny day, with her children playing around her as she plants bulbs in the garden, Fumiko is aware of a kind of sadness that comes from this combination of developing children and bulbs before they flower. Though, like any mother she wishes that the sun would always shine on her children so that they will grow and bloom, yet the vulnerability of children and bulbs entering the dark earth overshadow her hope for their happiness.

hi ni asobu
waga ko to hana no
kyuukon to
onaji hodo naru
kanashimi sasou

playing in the sun
my children as well as bulbs
of flowers
both of them invite me
to almost the same sorrow

Bulbs are metaphor of her growing children. We plant bulbs with the hope of flowers and we have children with the desire that they will have a better life.

haru no medaka
hina no ashiato
sanshoo no mi
sorera no mono no
hitotsu ka waga ko

minnows in spring
footprints of baby birds
and pepper seeds
aren't my children
one of these tiny things?

Not all of Fumiko's poems about her children were dark. One feels she is truly trying to keep an upbeat outlook on their lives as she writes such a tanka. Yet, there is a certain sadness in her valiant effort to be positive, to have hope and to try to see her children in the joy that even the smallest thing in spring brings her.


Though one does not usually associate sheep with Japan, the northern climate of Hokkaido is temperate enough to raise large flocks. The time of sheep shearing passed in waves around the rural town of Obihiro. For this the sheep are penned up in a corral with a single opening. One by one the sheep are released, grabbed, flipped over on their backs into a helpless situation. While being forcibly held down, they often bleat and are very frightened as the sharp steel scissors move across their exposed translucent skin. When the shearer is done and lets go of the sheep it is often momentarily confused about what has happened and unsure about where to go. This mental state matches the physical picture as the sheep looks naked, strange and cold without its fleece.

senmoo sareshi
hitsuji ra ware no
sabishisa no
fukami ni ippiki
zutsu orite kuru

wool sheared
sheep are coming down
one by one
into the depth
of my loneliness

Since her divorce, her loneliness is increasing and she imagines her self as a sheep sheared of its wool. She sees the sheep coming down from the shearing platform and imagines that they enter the low place of her loneliness. What makes this tanka special is the fact that Fumiko makes her emotional state, loneliness, a place like that part of the meadow where the shorn sheep gather.

Looking at the many moves on the island of her adult life, the college years in Tokyo, the trip to Shikoku and back home, shows a sharp contrast to her childhood – secure in an out-of-the-way place.

mizu no naka ni
ne naku tadayou
ippon no
shiroki kuki naru
ware yo to omou

in the water
drifting without roots
one piece
of a white stalk
that I think I am

The idea of being a plant with no roots that is forced to be swished here and there by the action of the water is an old one in the tanka of Japanese women. However, Nakajoo adds a strong element to her tanka, a white stalk (which could be seen as a symbol of maleness) and indicates her basic inner strength. She must have identified strongly with this motif as she titled the whole collection from this tanka.


Like most persons, Nakajoo recognizes her need to have a mate, but she sees how her previous desires led her into a life with many sorrows, in addition to the complications and sadness surrounding the four children she has borne. Therefore she has become afraid of that which she most wants and its power to only add to her unhappiness.

hana no ka wa
kin no gotoku ni
michi fue nu
hana wo kaezaru
ware no yo no tame

the scent of flowers
as if they are germs
the flowers I cannot buy
anymore for my night

Because flowers are the mating invitations of plants, in her poem she lets flowers represent her needs. Her message is that she is strong enough, since her harsh lessons, to not try to fulfill her deepest desires.



lynne steele, betty kaplan, doris pearson, mary lee mc clure, cindy tebo, naia, karina klesko, sheila windsor, elaine king, carol raisfeld

cotton candy sunrise   shells slide over my feet /ls

a breakfast bagel with cream cheese and lox  /bk

the small kitten's nose nuzzles the mom's pink nipples /dp

his smile  so nice if it weren't for all those gums/ ml

half the fun was spitting them    seedless watermelon  /naia

pink velveteen tales  of boys in bow ties  /kk

her party dress a match for the bubble-gum in her hair /ml

strawberry Jell-O she flings a spoonful at her sister /ct

chasing leaves    the roses in a little girl's cheeks/sw

clown grins    our lips after raspberry ice  /ek

first snowflakes   on our tongues  /sw

prayer time    her garnet heart picks up the moonlight  /cr


doris pearson, sheila windsor, michael baribeau, b'oki (bette wappner), kevin ryan, cindy tebo, karina klesko, adelaide b. shaw, darrell byrd,betty kaplan

early morning mist  pink sun sparks into flames /dp

shades of barbara cartland    the bride's mother /sw

our vows in the passion lipstick I bought /mb

a silky lingerie     his cheeks flushed   /b'oki

the subtle hue of a ruby reflected in her face/ kr

rose colored frames she leaves her glasses on the night stand  /ct

peter sellers  reruns    clouseau falls in all the same places /ct

a shot in the dark  at the new club moulin rouge/kk

exposed skin raw from the wind  smokers hide in a doorway /abs

steppin' out from her fuchsia truck, he admires her hitch /db

around his neck  a faded mauve tie  leftovers from the '70's /kk

"I don't remember growing older......sunrise, sunset "* /bk

*Fiddler On The Roof Soundtrack Lyrics Sunrise, Sunset (Bock, Harnick)

Grant Savage
Betty Warrington-Kearsley

the rain ceases
robins and a few faint sounds
from the wind chimes

tipped into the sun
water drips from yellow tulips

distant cloud peaks
a woman in a white dress
takes down laundry

high up in roadside trees
 starlings gather

the cat and I sit
 and listen intently
 to the moonlight

the whoo-hoo-hoo of a great grey owl
floats across the night

after her death
he sees his mother's image
in both his old aunts

snowflakes on his mitts
he takes a closer look

his costly pearls -
she sends them back to him
with her married tears

he reads and rereads
 the love poems she never saw

his letters of old
she still keeps them in a box
close to her bed

with the pinhole camera
a five minute exposure

August full moon -
raising lanterns, maidens pray
to marry soon

dawn in the field
the pumpkins expressionless

first snowstorm
a lone scarecrow flaps wildly
above the stubble

gazing at the clear-cut
frost in the trapper's sigh

in the orchard
bees bumble in plum blossoms,
drunk with fragrance

for no reason except the sun
the squirrel dances

one by one
planting tender annuals
black earth feel

as he mends his divots
blinded grubs glare at him

reading a few lines
of Chapman's Homer -
restless and twitchy

"My kingdom for a Trojan horse?

on the dung heap
the gleam and shine
of flies without names

from his canoe
he reels in a flashing silver trout

fourth time
both think they'll never
let the other go

at dusk we slow-dance on the porch
in our old bathrobes

the dimness
even our flaws

over his birthmark
she tattoos a rampant dragon

the smell of smoke
of many forest fires
blood-red moon

beneath the blaze of sumac
he splits and stacks his woodpile

open cabin door -
a swirl of fresh fallen leaves
scurries in

in time to Elvis
jitterbugging couples

blue suede shoes -
their soles wearing thin
below my bald head

clear sky   warm day
panhandlers back in their spots

main street trees
windows frame lilac blossom
while mannequins pose

along with rain scent
a breath of robin song


  Submission  Procedures

Who We Are

Deadline for your collaborative poems for the next issue is
May 1, 2004

  Poems and comments Copyright © Designated Authors 2004.
Page Copyright©  Jane Reichhold 2004.

Table of Contents

I would like to know more about Renga.