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RENGA: Sixteen days around the solstice

Sixteen Days Around the Winter Solstice is a westernized senryu / haiku renga (linked poem) composed in English as a collaboration between two poets, Antony Di Nardo and James Pickersgill beginning Wednesday, December 15 and ending Thursday, December 30, 2021. Antony's are the "hokku" and odd-numbered parts; James' the even-numbered.

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” ~ Joan Didion Regents’ Lecture, June 15, 1975 delivered at the University of California at Berkeley

[hokku] the past, unforeseen—

no place for a time machine

in future versions

2 we wait for people

who wait for other people

who wait for people

3 a decade later

a dozen years older, time’s

lack of existence

4 concerned cognizance

this cursed self-apprehension


5 that fear of being

done then dismissed, forgotten

by time and yourself

6 squirrel scampers live

by crowded funeral door

no intent to mock

7 the sky trembles gray

melancholic raindrops fall

some words are all wrong

8 changed wind reins rain’s reign

breeze moves weather patterns east

bitterness storms off

9 under the great dome

tick tock tick tock thinking why

oh why must it stop

10 fabricated hours

we conjure what is untrue

what is not is real

11 the allegory

of a bruised and purple truth

made up as we write

12 we should evoke much

understood is quite a trick

we convey something

13 if 5-7-5

contains all that we contain

time to write it down

14 expression in words

this world is not our construct

rite is what some do

15 spring in December

rearranged to open minds

nature’s syntax too

16 grown violaceous

it is never behind us

it becomes as breath

17 to conceive, receive

writing makes it real that way

but not without you

18 that word used these years

three hundred and seventy

lips gliss the note’s skin

19 eclogue for a dawn

there’s a word for everything

drinking morning’s brew

20 that key we lost then

later someone there found it

it is no use now

21 wonders never cease

here where wonderland recurs

any better word

22 nature ravels lace

dresses what is important

then little we see

23 brave new morning light

the spirit sits wondrous still

goes without saying

24 cone we inherit

retina from a long line

to tell us of light

25 dancing to the light

to Bach and Glenn Gould

old-fashioned airwaves

26 rock shoulders bear tons

stair friends urge us up when down

warm more than they warn

27 moonskin on fresh snow

the solstice minutes away

daylight recovered

28 air moves uniquely

the weight of wind born again

the lake gives a wave

29 snow compositions

a forge where wind meets the trees

eyes cradle the birth

30 promised white-outs now

today weather covers us

no longer sun spoiled

31 sunset @ 4:10

dark darker darkness and more

nature’s erasure

32 corn field blanket tells

deer snow prints beside wolf tracks

which passed here second?

33 moonlight trapped in limbs

where the trees abandon shade

darkness untangled

34 each white-veiled branch lifts

xylem welcome daytime melts

forest cover waits

35 burnt orange umber

autumn’s colours under snow

winter’s detritus

36 treetops bare of leaves

except compacted as nests

squirrels face cold winds

37 gong-tormented sky

bluster of clouds whipping winds

thought bubbles darkened

38 light changes colour

three hundred and fifty-five

sunsets through this year

39 fee fie foe fire

burning brightly in the sky

gone by four p.m.

40 furnaces kick up

we project hibernation

through glass on wildlife

41 at sunsets perhaps

but tell me who stares at fire

to understand it

42 stone steps shift ascent

scale while never moved themselves

being soars with them

43 a home a poem

stairs to climb to the bottom

to open a door

44 chewed-wood entry hole

opens into attic space

formerly empty

45 who are these songbirds

ten below and still singing?

I’m the feather-weight

46 this day mimes and stirs

it is never behind us

always yet to be

47 Winter’s under song

mud and blood a poem’s ooze

the words imagined

48 once cold rain new ice

all this snow jackets all that

our slippery walks

49 much a/d/o about

Alpha Delta Omicron

what’s Mother up to?

50 heavy skies drop now

glance near our lake horizon

touch here when hours call

51 the sky is falling

I blame the moon, wintry clouds

the children at play

52 snow paths show fox tracks

tree to tree mouse hunt revealed

learn other secrets

53 juncos in batches

black and white contrasts to snow

patches of wonder

54 scab-thin harbour ice

if thickened, these birds’ surface

melted, the boats’ place

55 birds by the dozens

finite feathers in a flock

although I’ve lost count

56 there is no number

tally sweets after each feast

more as well before

57 fear of missing out?

what for? how we spend our day’s

how we spend our lives

58 this dog feels day warmth

it would be good to go swim

frozen lake air check

59 snow globe all shook up

Elvis has left the building

or this is winter

60 such racket geese make

so others know they are here

ready to fly there

61 scarlet or crimson

red by any other name

cardinals in flight

62 the sun hews gray clouds

there is a hole in the sky

gold light streams pour down

63 blades across the pond

ice reflects the moon at noon

cuts a day in half

64 forty-five minutes

in sun, rain, slush, not on ice

exercise regime

65 a tree touches birds

multitudes of fingertips

old as a hemlock

66 sub-zero waters

we can never be these ducks

so light on thin ice

67 shores are jagged lines

mountaintops rimmed at the peaks

knuckles in a fist

68 not as cold as there

why is exhaled breath seen here?

polar air arrives

69 here in my absence

some poems were left behind

think of them as doves

70 milked insulation

this spectre in cloud landscape

shadow haunted light

71 snow drift creek gurgle

pine bough dropped dead in its tracks

caught between the two

72 winds force clouds to race

weather speeds southwest to east

no storm after all

73 what’s that carol say?

marshmallow world in winter?

let it snow! snow! snow!

74 streaked and dipped to earth

the sky sleeps as a rock ridge

calendars don’t sell

75 twenty twenty-one

the year somersaults in place

the sky’s still the same

76 dream vulnerable

nude, we walk toward a place

where this is okay


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