A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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page 6  

Four Movements: The April Night


a mobile phone call
much to my surprise
the April night

scribbled on a beer mat
absent moon

a single swift
ghosts off the screen
at 13,000 ft

Bin Laden's smile
compared to that of Christ


Captain Scarlet
off to Vietnam
with Agent Orange

global warming
good news for the shrimp

crawling slowly
down his favourite glass
a leg of malt

John Barleycorn
astride the noonday sun

her skin the texture
of her scent the colour
of her kiss

a fag end left to smoulder:
ash to ash


for once this smudge
between my eyes
a sudden urge to wash

Confucius he say
haiku maeku shmyku

the conversation drifts
from Kant to Camembert

a quantum state
defining both the

a particle of snow
becomes a wave

the slopes of Gstaad
beneath the cosmic nose


and still he dreams
of distant seas
and creatures of the deep

a rainbow nation
all decked out with flags

the linnets weave
through tattered leaves
and acid yellow gorse

the carcass of an air bomb
soaked in dew

April 20 - May 14 2004

air bomb - a firework, an essential part of any Bonfire Night (5th Nov. UK)

Afterword: The April Night

Elsewhere in these pages the fictional Vinnie labours away at a few otherwise good points (see Explaining it all Away) . Probably the best is about the need for experimentation in renku. And yes it's true: John Carley is a pain.

At first glance the structure of the present poem says Nijuin. But other than the 4/6/6/4 verse division the piece doesn't really follow any of the associated criteria. The seasons appear in an order and with a duration that, if anything, has more in common with the Rokku. Spring blossom is usurped by the sour tang of gorse in autumn. The single moon verse is notable for its absence of moon. Above all the piece has little of the spirit of a Nijuin which its originator, Higashi-sensei, saw as being a sort of pint-sized Kasen.

But, with the 20/20 hindsight one gains from revisiting a forgotten piece, what strikes me as most is the regularity of the verse form I use. This is about as thorough an exposition of proportional accentual metrics as I ever warranted the acronym PAM. And it predates my agonising about supple stanzas et al by a good four or five years. So the whole episode looks very much like an instance of The Scientific Method: one simply advances an assertion, and then spends x amount of time looking for evidence to support it.

John Carley

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