Sunday, September 12, 2004

Senryu Tsubame

川柳つばめ吟社: August


ith every kai (meeting) we have, the poems get better and better. I am having a hell of a time choosing the best ones. Some poems that would have easily made the top six a few meetings ago no longer rank. I am completely impressed with you guys. But then, I think the readers that come here are pretty special. Most are pretty serious students or people who, like me, love to read and write. I hope that didn't sound too arrogant...

A reminder of the rankings: the best eight poems are chosen and given a rank. The rankings in Japanese are: 天 ten (heaven), 地 chi (earth), 人 jin (man) and 五客 gokyaku (five guests--honorable mentions). However, since there were so few submissions, I will limit the honorable mentions to three 三客. The following are this month's ranking. The other poems are listed in order of receipt.

August's topic was waiting.

Stomach in tight knots,
white corsage in trembling hands,
Waiting at her door

by SunJun

First impression: Prom night! Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: At first, I was going to write about my experience at the airport, but someone beat me to it. Then I remembered one of the most anxious waits in my lifetime... Comments: Nicely done! Who can forget the nervousness of a first date or that great high school event, the senior prom. The verse captures the moment of picking up his date and those few moments of waiting at the door, so long and yet too short. The corsage is a great image to use, as it guides the reader perfectly. If I had one thing to say, it would be that I would have switched the first and last lines. The stomach in knots would have been the emtional and physical summary of the previous images. Still, good job.

little foot pressing
nine months' anticipationi
wish you were here

by msbLiSs

First impression: Pregnant Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: double entendre since my due date is the 18th with no sign of contractions in place and since john had to leave to start law school on friday. he won't be able to catch the birth unless the baby's born on a random weekend when he tries to fly in. Comments: First things first: Congratulations. Hope you and your baby are doing well. As for your poem, you do, as usual, a good job of conveying both sides of the topic. No one can argue the happy anticipation of an impending birth, but you also suggest the discomfort of waiting as well by providing a specific moment: the foot pressing against your stomach. The tension between the good and bad sides of waiting is done well. Good job.

Eyes up and butt down,
staring at the master's hand,
when will the treat fall?

by SammyStorm

First impression: Down boy! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Comments: Incredible! This is the first poem ever submitted by a dog! While senryu is a view of humaninty, I suppose the view from man's best friend can lend in interesting perspective. The verse is suggestive of man's control over domestic animals, especially as reflected in hi ability to make a dog wait patiently and politely. The dog, sitting down but looking up expectantly, waits for the "master" to provide the treat. The interesting thing is that not only does the man know and exert his dominance, the dog--by waiting obediently--manifests his acceptance of this relationship. What a poem. Good boy!

dinner is ready
clothes folded, a cup of tea....
And I wait for him

by eechim

First impression: Domesticity. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: since getting married less than a year ago, I find waiting involves, waiting for my husband to come home each evening....i cherish it xoxo Comments: This is pretty nice, simple but effective senryu. The speaker is waiting for her boyfriend/husband at home. The imagery is very loving--of course, this may be due to my male sensibilities--with a woman patiently waiting for her man. The waiting as an expression of affection is manifested in the domestic chores expressed: the laundry is done and dinner is ready. I bet my father would have enjoyed this poem.

Flat bag jumps to life
peer through glass, drumming fingers...
microwave popcorn!

by RachelsMommy

First impression: Impatient! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Impatience with the 21st century is that? More, more, more- Fun stuff./Once a month is not enough/for writing senryu (just practicing the format there. I assumed senryu is a two syllable word, was I correct?) Comments: This is pretty good for a first attempt. Indeed, it is light and imagistic and, of course, about FOOD! But seriously, it is a really good expression of modern life. Not only is the microwave popcorn representative of our current lives, that fact that one would wait impatiently--drumming our fingers--for, what? Something that will be ready in 2 minutes? Ah, waiting is something we modern people can no longer tolerate! Hahahahah, Nice verse.

Waiting after school
Mommy forgot me again
Guess I'll walk home

by imahima

First impression: How sad. Technical foul: Read comment. Poet's Remark: Yeah, she really did forget me all the time. Once she forgot to pick me and my sister up from sleep-away camp. Her best friend remembered us that evening (pick-up time was in the morning) and came to get us before our mother even remembered! I feel like I spent half my childhood waiting for her to come get me from somewhere! Ahhh...I love her but damn is she a space-cadet sometimes! Comments: The poem is relatively simple, but moving at the same time. The image of a little girl waiting to be picked up is cute but a bit sad, particularly since we know that the girl believes that she was forgotten by her mother. Technically speaking, it would have been better to express the idea that the parent forgot the girl through physical images rather than a mental expression. Indeed, the only image we have is of a little girl and a school. But the Pathos evoked by a small child waiting futily for her parent and ulitmately walking home was just too powerful an image for me to ignore.

Life is torn to shreds.
Defacing my wrists with cuts,
time awaits death's kiss.

by XanthochromeSum

First impression: Kinda dark. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: TEXT Comments: Waiting for death is one thing. But waiting for a death at one's own hand is perhaps too dark for a senryu, which is supposed to be a snapshot of a moment in time rather than an expression one's dark thoughts. What happened? Lets get back to your previous style...

Stares across the room
Numbers scrawled on body parts
Hands itch on first ring.

by bane_vixen

First impression: How suggestive! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Waiting is the hardest when something you want is right in front of you, like you miss the first ring of a call from that gorgeous guy that just seems too perfect to be true (you know it's him via caller ID) and as you wait for the second ring the 0.5 seconds seem to stretch into a minute. hehe Comments: Perhaps too broad. Stares across room refers, I believe, making first contact with someone that you find hot. Then after getting to him/her, you scratch a phone number on the palm of your hand or wrist, so you won't forget. Then, your hands begin to itch as you wait impatiently for the phone call, presumably on a subsequent day. Yes, I think the moment is

Glancing at my watch
Terminally waiting for
Her late flight to land.

by cgran

First impression: Airport 2004! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Typically I get a little overzealous when picking up my girlfriend and end up at the airport a half hour to hour early? Hope you enjoyed the bad pun! Comments: Yes, it was a bad pun. But your sentiment is right on. We wait at airports for loved ones, and when the flight is late, it seems as thought we are waiting forever--or terminally, as you put it *gag*... Oh well, you did try, and it wasn't a bad attempt. Just stay away from the puns. You could use kakeotoba--one word with two meanings--but that's pretty hard to accomplish in English. Come by the office for a lesson...

Waiting and yearning,
When shall I see you again?
Time can be so cruel.

by ekin

First impression: Separation anxiety Technical foul: None. Comments: A nice exression of waiting, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, senryu should be a snapshot of a moment in time. There are no concrete images for the reader to visualize. Next time, consider concrete images that represent the sentiments you want to express.

Quiet through the room
When will her eyes see me here
Staring into them?

by Link_Strife

First impression: Anticipation... Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: There you go. Served up from the depths of my soul. Waiting isn't as bad as the reason one must wait. Comments: Good first attempt. It is nice expression of your aniticpation of a meeting. The room is vague--perhaps a restaurant, or even a classroom--but it is a place where you are supposed to meet her, and hopefully, just stare into her eyes. Pretty romantic. Now if only there were more imagery. Or better yet, an image that would convey the actual senitments you want to express. Perhaps, an image of you glancing at the seat she's supposed to sit in, or occasional glances at a mirror to see if you have the right look...

spring always returns
so as to not waste its breath,
the bear still slumbers...

by crotchety_old_man

First impression: Nature boy! Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: rereading my senryu... how important is it to reveal the specific image in the first verse (vs the last verse like in mine)...? Comments: Funny poem. To answer your poem, the specific image can be put anywhere, as different positioning gives different effects. The image first will set up the vers. The image at the end is to provide a sense of surprise or contradiction, a kind of naruhodo (Oh, I see...) moment. Perhaps your first line and last line should have been switched: bear is still hibernating suggesting winter is still here, but then you provide a spring image--warm sun strikes blossoms--thereby suggesting a lazy bear, a reflection of on of our most human of foibles.

Fidgeting students
feel knowedge drain from their ears--
The exam room wait

by LaMangust

First impression: The ear? the EAR?!? Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: Comments: This is pretty funny too, although the diction could have been better thought out. Exam room sounds more like a hospital room so I was confused--only momentarily mind you. But I love the sentiment. I know it happened to me when I was a student, and I know the sentiment still exists as I see students waiting impatiently for my quiz so they can write in before they forget the kanji/vocab they had just crammed into their head.

Usually ignored,
Until made significant,
A watched clock ticking.

by whonose

First impression: Tick tock. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: We usually ignore the ticking of the clock, merely regarding it as background noise, until we're waiting for something and then all we can do is look at it. Comments: Indeed, when we anticipate something, time seems to slow down, and we can't keep our eyes off the clock. This is universal, it would seem to me, and seems to strike at the essence of waiting. But I seem to miss a sense of the moment. What are you waiting for? Anything in particular? Even a hint at what you're waiting for would have made this a better senryu.

mouse clicked here and the
restaring at the monitor
still no new e-mail

by dawn_1o9

First impression: Waiting for e-mail? Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: here's my first try at Senryu... (don't laugh :P) Comments: Okay, Dawn, not bad for a first try. Certainly, you got the syllable count right, which is better than many first timers. You also did weel to convey a sense of waiting. Woo hoo! The poem also tells me how much time you must spend on your computer. Waiting for an e-mail? Wow... That's like waiting outside for the postman for a letter--something most people may not do. It might have been more interesting had you used AIM, because you know the other person is online and you are waiting, perhaps cruising on the internet as you wait... Still, a good verse. I expect you to continue to participate :)

My stomach's fierce growl
Gets louder as it sizzles
COOK! Damn, BBQ!

by simply_marie

First impression: Gurgle, gurgle Technical foul: None, sorta. Poet's Remark: I'm still a senryu virgin. Comments: Well, it looks like you just popped your cherry, now doesn't it... Anyway, as you probably knew, anything about food will always get close scrutiny from me. Indeed, this was what I felt yesterday as we had our Labor Day BBQ--Rain was forcasted for Monday, so we did it on Sunday. Your verse captures perfectly the moment of cooking. The only problem might be the last line: Short verbal interjections might suggest frustration at the cooking process as much as to "waiting." But still, an acceptable senryu... for a virgin... hehehehehhe.

waiting for tony
feeling excited yet shy.
i know i'm in love

by SweetLilV

First impression: Alright, everyone all together now: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Comments: The feelings you manifest when you're waiting for your boyfriend--is there a reason why you typed his name in small caps?--is interesting. Not only is there anticipation, but the sense of being excited and shy spells out a realization of your feelings for him: L-O-V-E. This is a pretty good senryu... except--and you knew it was coming--that the inclusion of you boyfriends name makes the verse obscure. I know your boyfriends name, but someone else would not, and so poem becomes less universal and too personal. Of course, I'm sure most people would presume it was your boyfriend, unless you were 6 years old and waiting for a bowl of sugar-frosted flakes....

-_- 0_o 0_0;
=) =P =D =O,
<_< >_> >_< !

English translation:Frustrated... Huh? Shock!;Happy. Tounge-smile. Yeah! Whoa!,Look left... Look right... Doh!

by fyzle

First impression: Woah... Technical foul: Where do I even begin? Poet's Remark: rhyming - It ends with rhyming couplet. symmetrical - Each line is 12 characters long, including spaces. symbolic - It is made out of symbols. haiku - It follows the 5,7,5 syllable format. The poem encapsulates the moment in time when you encounter an especially difficult, perhaps even impossible, puzzle, (A mathematical proof was my inspiration.) and suddenly think you've solved it, only to realize that you did not. It may have other interpretations, such as seeing something shocking, then learning to enjoy it, then hoping no one noticed you, and finally - getting caught. Or perhaps you've spotted that oh-so-desireable item in the shop window, but it's way out of your price range. However, you see the price drop once, then twice, and finally cave in and purchase it, you are happy with your purchase, until you learn that you have no money left over for food. Then you beg people for money, only to realize that begging is a sucky way to make money. There are a ton of different interpretations... feel free to post your own. (Ok, perhaps this isn't strictly senryu... but keep an open mind.)Comments: Whew, what a comment. I'm not even sure I understand all of it. But I will say that it's an amusing approach to senryu, and I should make up a special category for X-treme imagination... NOT! Hehehehehe. Anyway, I am pleased that anyone would go to such lengths to dreate a senryu, and I appreciate your effort, humor and imagination. The only problem is that senryu is based on human verbal language--without it, we could not count the syllables--and I can't count the syllables in your poem as there is not yet a prescribed way of reading your text... Next time, let's try English, okay?

Their lips locked, hips glued
Male hands roam past her backside
I wait for his call.

by bane_vixen

First impression: How sensual. Technical foul: None. Comments: Again, your poem fails to focus on a moment. Waiting for a call suggests and event that occured long after the locked lips, glued hips and roaming hand--Um, are you speaking from personal experience? If the the last line was something like: "I wait for a squeeze" or somthing like that, it would have been funny and perhaps a reflection of the anticipation or dread of the male hand by a women...

Heart pouding, palms dank,
Finally the flag is raised.
Here's my chance to shine.

by Momo5

First impression: An Olymipic moment. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I'm trying to express the nerve-wracking anticipation you feel before competing a beam routine. (You know, the 4-inch wide and 5-foot high one?) The judges keep you waiting alone, staring at the beam, until they raise their little green flag and you can begin. Sometimes as long as 10 minutes. There's nothing in the world that I find more excruciating to wait for than that flag!! And wow, senryu are so much harder to write than I thought. Comments: Holy, moly. For those of you who don't know, Momo5 is a gymanast at the school I teach. Yeah guys, that's right. I have actually have athletes taking Japanese, although most of them take the film class. Anyway, the verse does a good job of conveying your feelings at the moment before your event... but if I didn't know you were you, then I might be lost as to what you were refering to. A flag? Well, I would have guessed a race of some sort, certainly some kind of competition--maybe an eating contest? Oh well, there I go again... food, food, food. Anyway, next time try to compose a verse that conveys the situaiton without having to explain it. It should be self-explanatory... But a good attempt for another first-timer.

Time ticks by slowly
Eyes glued to the chat window:
When will he respond?

by SleepingCutie

First impression: Right. Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: DUNNO what if you can tell my senryu... but this feel when am waiting a reply while chatting with someone I care for deeply. And there is some sort of anticipation and longing that accompanies waiting, eh?=")" from>Comments: Good. This is exactly what I was thinking when I read someone else's poem about waiting for someone while on the computer. Perhaps there might have been a better way to express the slow passage of time rather than to say it outright: cruising the Internet, longer than a misic file to download. But regardless, I like the concept. I have often waited for someone--not a girlffriend, mind you--to answer on AIM. I have learned it is best to ignore it, and continue whatever I was doing. Better make someone wait rather than to wait. hehehehehhe.

Sitting in my seat,
My heart beating in my throat
As test scores are shown.

by onigiri

First impression: Students dread! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: meh, i was gonna try to write another one, but i dunnoe when the deadline is and i'm too lazy too look. >__> i tried to be detailed, but its oh-so hard. WHOO~! i'm a second-timerr! XD Comments: Not bad, second-timer. I think your poem does a good job of expressing the woes of a student anxious to get her grade. There is one thing that pazzles me. Are test grades shown publicly where you go to school? Or are they posted on a bulletin board with your student number or something? That part was a bit confusing, and if you cleared that up, it would have improve the poem. Keep tryiing. Think about how a person who knows nothing about you would read your poem. It might help you be clearer.

Relentless pursuit
One million resumes sent
money dwindling

by sekura81

First impression: Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I actually composed that on my way home on the fwy, trust me, not the smartest thinig to do! Comments: Indeed, you should keep your eyes on the road! Anyway, I'm sure that many jobless people can relate to job searches where one's saving's account dwindles as she desparately sends out resume after resume. Perhaps the lines could have been a little more cohesive; as is they sound a bit disjointed. Maybe you just happend to hit a couple of bumps in the road back as you were thinking of the poem. hehehehehe.


Waiting as a topic ellicited a variety of expressions. the most successful ones above, often showed two sides of waiting. SunJun and msbLiSs presented the joyous side of the prom and childbirth, as well as its drawbacks--waiting nervously for a prom date and uncomfortably with a belly ful of baby. Sam's verse provided us the unique view of master and servant--or in his case, master and dog. There is something intriguing about seeing both sides of this relationship in one shot: the dominant master withholding a treat and the expectant dog accepting his role obediently as he remains seated. Eechim's senryu was touching, a picture of a wife who truly loves her husband and is willing to fulfill her "traditional" role of waiting--perhaps a bit old-fashioned for many how might read my site, maybe even sentimental, but such sentiments exist nonetheless and it was expressed very well. RachelsMommy did a fine job of expressing modern man's waning patience, even for a two-minute microwave popcorn. All these poems were exceptional. I can't wait to read more!

I try to ignore
the buzz of the dentist's drill
with old magazines

by onigiriman

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