Renga – Jumpstart (Qbit/nosaint/Colorful/Frank)


“28 Days of Unreason, Day 29…”
– Jilly & Co.

Frog and hare on edge,
Foxtail sways, old pond’s shadows –
Jump or not to jump?

Fox’s report splits branches
Allies leap in heartquake vaults

Lily pad launches
Lively ladybug among
Aphids airing out their woes

Fox slows down and all is well
Walking through the patient trees

Bated breath of storm –
Leaves anticipate deluge,
Hold sway in the boughs

Quiet rush ’til sky gives way
Painted gray shadow wings rise

Heron thunder bird
Races cumulonimbus
Clapping lake approves

Water waving through the sky
We are now a bigger pond

Frogs croak, old pond gone,
Nature breaks the covenant –
Sea and sky are one

One million hop-lake tadpoles
Mother clouds shoosh that racket

Fish fragment the noise
Gluttonous gills gather light
arc pearlescent sky

Pond grows calmer colors rise
Rainbow over bright rainbow



Authors & Madpersons: Qbit/nosaintaugustine/Colorfulpen/Frank Hubeny

Casting Bricks Sept Challenge

Renga – Jumpstart (Qbit/Jilly/Charley/Madaket)

“28 Days of Unreason, Day 29…”
– Jilly & Co.

Frog and hare on edge,
Foxtail sways, old pond’s shadows –
Jump or not to jump?

Tortoise shows to nose the hare
Frog legs leap, avoids the soup

Frog bumps hare in Spring
Hare bounds into the tall grass
Startles bedded dear

Impertinent deer, “Oh dear!”
Fall wisdom nixed Spring fancy

Zen Master lovers
Fold paper cranes with Basho –
Order and Chaos

Learn, then break the rules, says he
Radicalizing the form

Winter eyes the cranes
They Spring into Summer flight
Faux birds take the Fall

Into old pond’s dusk waters,
Hibernation stills the beat

Fox spits paper bones,
Frogs croaking frozen dinner –
Lovers Leap gone cold

Sandhill cranes take up the call
Mates for life, return to pond

Deer at edge of pond
Drinks dusk water as sun sets
Tall grass splits, hare springs

Sunlight catches water’s edge,
Laughter leaps in Basho’s eyes.


Authors & Madpersons:  Jilly/Charlie/Madaket/Qbit

Casting Bricks Sept Challenge



Casting Bricks – Renga Challenge Overview

Hi everyone, this page is meant to be a Resource/Home page for Collaberative Renga in Jilly’s Casting Bricks Poetry Challenge.

For this Challenge, the idea is to write Renga together. Renga is a traditional Japanese poetry form (it is where Haiku orignally comes from), but at its most basic it is simply writers taking turns and writing a poem together.

We’ve done a few of these, and the results have been great.  More importantly, it is a huge amount of fun.  The poem takes wonderful twists and turns as the writers co-create.  Some examples are below — read the final poem first, and then all the comments so you can see how interesting the interactions can be.


Getting Started:

“Start” a Renga with a post for the challenge, and drop its link into Jilly’s Mr. Linky. Put the word “Renga Challege” after your name, such as “Qbit Renga Challenge”.

If people want to join in the fun, they sign up in the comments on the challenge post.  Then the author can “launch” the working Renga with a new post.  Everyone then enters their next lines in the comments of that post.  The person who started the post can move lines up to the top as things are completed.  With more than two writers coordination can be complicated, but all part of the fun.

In the top of the challenge post, put in your prompt or theme if you have one.  Then set out how strict the form will be (or not), and whether you want an open-ended free-for-all, or if you want to try and write something thematic/coherent.  Also a target number of lines or stanzas if desired, and how many participants you may want at max. Feel free to link to this page if you want others to have some reference.


There is a good definition of Renga at, good examples at The Wordshop, and more than you ever wanted to know about it from Jane Reichhold’s extensive, lifelong exploration of Haiku and related forms: Here and here.

I learned a great deal from reading Jane’s work, and recommend it if you are interested. Certainly there are very strict, traditional forms of Renga, but there are also plenty of interesting variations where the forms are minimal, or even non-existent. Jane herself published many Renga that were just two poets alternating single, free-form lines.

So when you start your Renga, decide how strict or loose you want to be. For the most strict definitions (syllable counts, season words etc.), there are line-by-line specifications you can follow if you search around Jane’s pages.

The other main thing I learned was that Renga tend to unfold in two ways: sometimes the writers make an attempt at cohesion, or the Renga may evolve like an ever-expanding kalaidescope. Jane suggests that you might want to decide that beforehand. Best also to set a target length as well if you are attempting something you want to come to conclusion.



Renga – Jumpstart

“28 Days of Unreason, Day 29…”
– Jilly & Co.

Frog and hare on edge,
Foxtail sways, old pond’s shadows –
Jump or not to jump?

[You’re Next! – 7 Syllables]
[7 – syllables]

[Repeat 5/7/5  7/7]


Administration, Thoughts, Plots, Plans &tc:

OK, this is my attempt at a group Renga, part of Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge.  Some background and basics on how I think this might work are here.

The “theme” or prompt is the quote on top.

This collaboration is 2+ person Renga in a lightly traditional 5/7/5, 7/7 (repeat) format.  Target of  12 stanzas. By lightly, I mean no need to stick with the specifications for Renga that go down to the line level (although nobody would stop you).  Feel free to use nature as a springboard (or not), use season words if so inspired. Let’s go for the most interesting, completed poem more than worry about anything else until we get better at it.  Down the road we can try for tighter rules, fewer rules, or no rules, or all in combination at once!

Jilly, Charley, Madaket and I will do a test run of the above challenge to shake out how this will all work using blogging tools.  But if people are interested, sign up in the comments below and either we can kick off the same theme/starter lines in a new Renga with others, or we can start something new, or invent your own. I suspect that it will take a bit of coordination and planning between the authors to kick one of these off, so let’s use the comments to sort all that out, then launch the actual collaboration post.

Here is the basic theory of operation: writers will copy their next stanza in the comments.  Probably best to include the line you are pivoting from.  Then the “owner” of the post will move them up to the top, so there is a nicely formatted version when done.

If anybody has other ideas or experience with all of this, please don’t be shy.  We have no idea what we are doing, which is really great. Uncertainty at its best.


July Challenge – Song/Physik

Raven q(r)uark, crassing, voicing,

mate circling a similar air.

Independent, minded, capable

of linguistic displacement, weighted

with significant information –

it was present at inception.

This new part(icle) bird, part

Gesture, a caws celebre,

Big bang of wings a flight path,

String theory applied

To its nest of black gravity,

Its entangled stare, its feathered

Dark matter.


My Physics take on Petru’s (petrujviljoen) Song. Latest attempt at Jilly’s July Challenge. 

Old Hum – True Tales of the West

OK, I took huge liberties with nostaugustines’s July challenge verse. It started me off in a direction and I thought it would be fun to roll with it. Apologies in advance if too far out of the spirit of the exercise.

Here is the original:

Memory is a prison
A refrigerator buzz
While I make tostadas
A hum over mumbling
Mobsters on the box
A-wandering, mapless
A baroque Sicilian plot

Memory is a prison

Here is the mess I made out of it:

Memory is a prison
Of the smell of scorched beans
While I make tostadas,
A refrigerator buzz
From the broken fan.
Denver, Summer, hot, 1978.
The apartment a block from Colfax
With drug dealers on the porch
And garbage trucks in the alley
At 3AM. I contemplate
The rack of Winchester .30-30’s
With lever action
At Gart Brothers.

White Bear
Kicks in my door
His voice
A hum over mumbling,
Can’t understand him so drunk.
Tired of being just another Indian
Sleeping at the bus stop
Next to the emptys of Thunderbird.
He walked and hitched from South Dakota,
Wandering mapless, shiftless, meaningless
Near madness,
Not sure who he killed –
Girlfriend, wife, cousin.
Justice in his family
Baroque, a Sicilian plot
Of honor and

But none of that matters –
Memory is a prison
Because she saw someone else’s nightgown
On the back of the bedroom door,
A bottle of eyeliner
On the sink,
And was gone.
Left me with the junkies
And mobsters
Playing cards
On top of the milkbox,
Who grabbed her ass
On her way out
the door.

July Challenge – Dark Sonnet

OK, this is my (probably ill-advised) contribution to the July Challenge.  I was in a darkish frame of mind after working on Charlie’s Raven prompt, so apologies if this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Two parts to this challenge:

1st: it is in Sonnet form.  Not strictly iambic pentameter, so don’t worry about that.  Just the abab, cdcd, efef, gg rhyming scheme and format.

2nd, and possibly more difficult: What interests me are vibrant imagery and vigorous (and imaginative) use of language.  You will notice that I tried to push the boundaries at  bit on both of these.  My challenge to you is “keep it up!”  Throw down things that sound interesting, even at the boundaries of sensibility.  Take some risks!  See if you get back jade by throwing some bricks…

Here is the first half, see where it takes you:

The Devil rolls some teeth like dice,
Says your bones are for the gamble —
Wants to know your wager price,
And if the payout you can handle:

He’ll use your ribs for a picket gate,
Ligaments to string a violin’s regret,
Skin to stretch the truth from here to fate,

Sonnet by 2

Beneath the bed a garden sits and waits
Smooth the sheets, my head upon the pillow
Asleep am I until the chaos breaks
Carrots clawed by digging armadillo

Nightmare screams from radishes upended
Oh, Stevenson! Upon this counterpane,
Your childhood verses here would be splendid,
Like lamplights bright, their shine my creature’s bane –

This naked-tailed, nine-banded coot, it prys
Into my dreams, their scenes. It’s loose! Good lord!
The chase is on! And deep and deeper tries
To run, to sleep’s deep source, to nighttime’s hoard.

‘Till dawn awakes me back in bed, my heart
Now still, my dread relieved from night’s dark art.