Renhai Reflections 9: Introduction #9

Renhai Anatomy: The First Verse

In this Renhai the last verse written was actually the first verse in the Renhai:

Still autumn night —
each patch of the forest,
full of darkness. /vs

Blanket of velvet-gray fog — /zr
a crow pierces the silence. /vs

Coffee aroma
permeates the morning air —
sudden rain... /zr

This creates a balanced alternating pattern of authors: /vs, /zr, /vs, /zr. However, this is not an essential requirement of renhai and sometimes the writers will find that after writing a renhai that it reads better having verses 1 & 3 switched around.

The theme in verse 1 above is supported by the darkness permeating the forest. The link from verse 1 to the middle verse is the concept of stillness/silence, i.e.:
  • First verse: still autumn night.
  • Middle verse: Silence.
And the link between verse 1 and verse 3 is morning/night, i.e.:
  • First verse: autumn night.
  • Middle verse: morning air.
It isn't necessary for a reader to understand the season, theme, and linking aspects of Renhai but these elements pull the three stand-alone haiku into a intuitive, unified whole.

Here is the associated worksheet for this renhai:

One last note about Renhai is that, like Rengay, the verses show a linked series of stand-alone haiku which all reference a common theme. There is no need for them to be narrative, although writers are free to do so.

Next: Another Renhai Example


J. Andrew Lockhart said...

"each patch" makes that perfect!

Borut said...

Enjoyed you 'hours' of Anatomy!:) I especially like the 'organic' aspect of the renhai. And the fact that it consists of three verses. In some traditional ways of thinking 'three' stands for 'change'... Also, three is said to symbolize the three basic forces working in the universe: the active, the passive and the balancing, (mediating, linking) force...

It's only natural! A powerful renhai to start with!:)

John McDonald said...

well explained vaughn

Masago said...

Andrew: I agree. Thanks.

Borut: Thank you very much. Three does seem to be just "right". It is by definition about the shortest rengay-like poem possible.

John: Thank you!

jem said...

Thanks for this great explanation of a new form. I've waited to comment until the whole thing was up. I need to go through it a bit more to truly get it, because rengay in itself is quite new to me.

I think seeing the form in action will further help me get it, but I love the way its written in an unusual order as I think writing often comes about that way.

I don't really do any collaborative writing so I also love hearing about the way people jointly create.

Thanks for being educational and entertaining.

Janice Thomson said...

I echo Jem's thoughts above. I will enjoy the challenge of figuring these out referring back to previous posts if necessary.

Masago said...

Jem & Janice: I am pleased you are enjoying the form. Perhaps we may be interested in trying out the form in the near future (let me know).

Labella Labella said...

Thanks you for tips and advices.Really it useful .
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