The hot days and cool nights marked
by garden tiger lilies and roadside rogues
and early cherry tomatoes that I pick
and eat here in my shaded chair –
book, pencil, paper, iced tea, these words.
There are several poetry forms that use a linked sequence of poems.
A crown of sonnets or sonnet corona is a sequence of sonnets, usually addressed to one person, and/or concerned with a single theme. Each of the sonnets explores one aspect of the theme, and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line. The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet, thereby bringing the sequence to a close.
Renga, which means “linked poem,” goes back seven centuries in Japan. It was created in order to encourage the collaborative writing of poems. Poets sometimes worked in pairs or small groups and took turns composing the alternating three-line and two-line stanzas.
Finished renga could be hundreds of lines long, but the most common length was a 36-line form called a kasen.
It was several centuries after the renga that the opening stanza of the renga became its own short form, the haiku.
The ronka poems that appear on this site are 5 lines, but I started several this week that overflowed, so I think I will try at least a “double ronka” of two linked poems. The evolution of the ronka form continues.
Some poets fear the blank white page.
I like books of blank white pages.
I have a small shelf of them,
waiting for careful words to complete them.
Even unpublished poems, leather-bound, it’s a book.
Counting beats of five, jackdaw or raven,
cawing insistently outside this window all day.
I can’t finish a line, stanza, page.
My wife says nothing is out there,
but its shadow is on the page.
(Note: With a nod to the crow as described by Maria Mazziotti Gillan in her book Writing Poetry To Save Your Life: How To Find The Courage To Tell Your Stories.)