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4 Stations Hyakuin Renga Midsummer Hyakuin Renga The Hidden Gardens Hyakuin Renga


Summer feet enter
hover at varying heights
above stone chippings

__the murmur of children
__building bird boxes

hearing aid feedback
cymbal sounds
go on and on

__the cat’s and the dog’s noses twitch
__reading each others minds

a lunar eclipse
draws a russet curtain
on summer’s plans

__viewing the apple orchard’s
__transient constellations

why try so hard when
our words fall into silences
and so will the leaves?

__starting to speak at the same time
__eyes glance down

it doesn’t matter
yet truly I did think
he would be interested

__a bouquet of crocuses
__on balance, a bad idea

so a blue tree
there in the top corner
en plein air au Barbizon

__Paris in Springtime without

across the table
the children exchange
arguments and kisses

__there’s a face you’d leave home for
__he says of the waitress

pulling her mink tighter
fur buttons too fat
for their holes

__bored by the long break in play
__they throw snowballs at the spectators

teeth gritted
then the song that gets everyone
up on the floor

__dazzled by the glitter ball
__over silent fields

a famished wasp
charges its ring tone
on the last bramble

__that waterdrop sparkling web
__invisible? anything but

ignoring the blind spot
and pulling out, the passenger’s
right foot twitches

__smoke, wrote Brecht, while you drive –
__if it goes out, something’s wrong

in late summer
closing the door of her mother’s house
for the last time

__a flat palm
__smashes open the garlic

an angled lemon
the chopping board

__green tea and Qigong on the long haul
__prevent jet lag

in the quiet
the monk offers the traveller
a blow-job

__after the ceremony
__there’s nothing to do but eat

early potatoes
already sprouting
but there’s lead in the soil

__salt ‘n’ sauce? both hesitate
__unsure of the others tastes

forgetting herself
a mother on day release
cuts up her lover’s meat

__after breakfast they send out
__for more oysters

whether with or without
our noticing
the sun’s almost gone

__the night was made by Provost MacTavish
__and his good lady

boxes crammed
with bread, vegetables
and cans of mixed fruit salad

__floating amongst it all
__a big dollop of vanilla

the Lismore ferry –
vehicles, and fattened calves
heading for market

__stuff your bloody correctness
__you’ll lick arse if you have to

sixteen shirts every week
they don’t iron themselves
you know

__flat white drifts
__crunched in footprints

dog shit melts
a hole
in fresh snow

__his paintings emptied
__till they were all sky

two stars
tell us the night is cleared
for darkness

__some theorists forget
__that thinking is a bodily function

he throws the beach ball higher
so she’s forced
to stretch

__the lines of labour
__written on her belly

in the loft
the last train to Partick
runs all night

__fumbling through his euros
__at the Skye Bridge toll

at Sligachan we trace
the first and last of the snow
on Sgurr nan Gillean

__Meg asks can she see Sorley’s room
__the window that looked to the west

now the weather’s warmer
she shortens her skirts
for Blythswood Square

__after the demo paper everywhere –
__another man’s job

hosing down the corpses
pale human flesh –
Che, Marat, Christ

__I am the lamp
__which guides me

even when you can’t see
beyond your nose
follow the smell of smoke

__lighting cigarettes in the rain
__hunched together

the callgirl’s nickname
for Henri Tolouse-Lautrec
was teapot

__reading the leaves
__marriage, briefly

an out of tune piper
lamenting the dead
at the gates

__marked Private
__she can just see bluebells

Spring Bank Holiday
everyone hits the road
signposted Solitude

__too many cooks
__spoil the pancake race

in the evening
nodding off on the sofa
startled by the phone

__father in Australia
__talks mostly of cricket

dew freezes the outback
radar is ranging
the moon

__commuter’s day –
__leave before sunrise return after dark

catch nothing

__The Waterfall of the Maiden
__icy in June

damp patches on her blouse
a mother’s surprise
supply on demand

__we’ve come to expect
__food, fuel, gratified desire

the leaves come off
a glut of green
tomato chutney

__mulch under wellies
__kicked into the porch

the cats hope to impress us
with small overnight deaths
left on the mat

__from the oak a candle
__falls down and out

we’ve brought a nightlight
for the little one’s
next visit

__leave the frogspawn alone
__you’ll get all sticky

the tadpole succumbs
to a carp –
so much for evolution

__picking the samphire
__at low tide

a selkie you say?
already wondering
how she’ll taste

__her past lovers lie
__heavily on his side of the bed

a torrid night
in the attic the moon
slips through the panes

__sweating up The Rest and Be Thankful
__wishing for a flat tyre

let down once too often
from now on the failures
will be beheaded

__clear-cutting the rainforest
__the whole tribe gets whooping-cough

from under their shrouds
feet of men, feet of women
feet of children

__at the school nativity
__the angel kicks the donkey

tempers rising
Ted slaps
Sylvia back

__even in the silly season
__poets don’t make the headlines

you miss one week
and the recycling box
takes over the hallway

__pungent wood smoke from next door
__they say he saves the ash

shrivelled little figs
that never made it
to the table

__swirling a late cup of milky tea
__what she’d like is sunshine

wedding day breakfast
coffee with whisky
then whisky

__eggs over easy
__on rye

like sprinkled pepper
these moles on your back
or stars

__after weeks of deciding
__they named her Cassiopeia

now she sets ablaze
the horizon
of his eightieth year

__new clothes for Easter
__dancing in the street

all mouth this spring
lots of flounce
but nowt left hanging

__allotments flourish
__all the way to the summit.

a hyakuin renga in Summer
(night of the full blue moon)

the hidden gardens (nva), tramway, Glasgow
(noon) 31 July – (noon) 1 August, 2004

Renga schema: Paul Conneally

nine poets
Larry Butler
Ken Cockburn
David Connearn
Gerrie Fellows
Alec Finlay
Peter Manson
Dick Pettit
Beth Rowson
Colin WillWith thanks to Anne-Marie Culhane, Morven Gregor & Linda MacDonald.

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