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

underconsciousness


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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