A Hundred Gourds 4:3 June 2015

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The Faintest Blush

crack of dawn...
a camellia bud's
faintest blush


wispy clouds drift
across the pond's dark eye


sailing paper boats
we're blinded
by our own dreams


a recording studio
transforms the nursery


Sita’s voice freezes
as she steps
onto Ravan’s chariot


the weathered silence
of ancestral rocks


moon shadows
splash cave paintings
on this chilly night


the mountain path
enters a magic glade


A Rasika renku composed on the internet between March 1 and March 14, 2015.

Verse Allocations:
Shloka Shankar – India: vs 1 & 6
Jenny Ward Angyal – USA: vs 2 & 8
Barbara A. Taylor – Australia: vs 4 & 7
Kala Ramesh (sabaki) — India : vs 3 & 5

Tomegaki: A Spring Rasika: The Faintest Blush

Rasika is just an eight-verse renku, the shortest, coming straight after junicho which consists of 12 verses. Rasika has all the ingredients that make a classical renku work. “Rasa” means the emotional essence in Indian aesthetics. “Rasika” is one who enjoys the rasa.

More extensive notes on rasika can be read in the March issue of A Hundred Gourds.

It was an enjoyable trip with Jenny Ward Angyal, Barbara A Taylor and Shloka Shankar. One very important lesson I learnt during this trip was that as much as the ‘link’ needs to be strong and rooted, the ‘shift’ has to be wide and sweeping – otherwise we’ll be hovering like a honeybee around the same blossom. The fun or rather the ‘magic’ here is how much of 'life' we can showcase in just 8 verses.

I hope more and more poets will try their hand at Rasika!

Kala Ramesh


As a writer of tanka but not haiku, with no experience of writing renku, I was intrigued when Kala invited me to participate in the composition of this rasika. Although I found the multiplicity of rules somewhat forbidding, it was fascinating to see how four minds from across the globe, most of us previously unacquainted, could resonate with each other in some mysterious space—the collective unconscious, perhaps--to create something quite unexpected, something no one of us ever could have written alone. My thanks to Kala for guiding us through this experience!

Jenny Angyal

Always a pleasure to work with creative people. I enjoyed the speed with which we worked on this rasika. I did enjoy the journey through only eight verses, and how one can still capture the essence of a traditional renku with moon, seasons and love. Thank you Kala, Jenny and Shloka. Let's do it again sometime.

Barbara A Taylor

I was introduced to writing haiku the "right way" thanks to Kala Ramesh. My love for Japanese short-forms has grown extensively since. Never having written a renku before, I tentatively approached Kala and asked her if we could collaborate and work on 'Rasika'. This short eight-verse form has truly broadened my understanding of the longer linked verse form, and I found it delightful that our verses have so seamlessly been welded together, all the while keeping that elusive half-circle still open. It was an honour to work in tandem with my seniors. Thank you so much for guiding us, Kala.

Shloka Shankar

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