Senryu Tsubame 川柳つばめ吟社: May

Nice start….


kay, I lost the post where I commented on your poems, but fortunately, not the post in which you submitted the poems. So I recreated it from scratch… You can pat me on the back later…

The all poems submitted had good points, and for those of you with little or no experience in senryu, it was a very good showing indeed. Traditionally, at any meeting, 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.

If you are interested in composing more, be sure to read the poems and comments below. The more you read, the better you will grasp the point of senryu. I must confess that it took me quite a while. My Dad would only tell me that senryu is like a snapshot. I would ask if he would elaborate, but he just repeated himself and told me to compose and read the other poems. *sigh* I guess this was the only analogy he could come up with. He was, afterall, a photographer by trade. The fact that I had to do this with my limited Japanese made it even harder. Well, I’ve tried to explain the concept of the “snapshot”, and even given the Norman Rockwell analogy. His paintings are contemporary, funny, a slice of life. It captures a moment in time of a scenario you can understand from the images. On the other side fo the spectrum would be someone like Ansel Adams whose photgraphs were vast and timeless. His would be akin to the more esoteric haiku of Basho. Anyway, read and contemplate… or not. hehehehe…

Locker room silent
Tears fall from a grown man
End of the season.

by tim00

First impression: This is a first try? Technical foul: None. Comments: The image is of a player who has lost a close playoff game or a hard fought pennant race. Or he may be a player who is near the end of his career and will never have a chance again. Either way, the imagery is solid. Sound–or lack of it–and the image of a tear. If I were to make a suggestion, perhaps an image suggesting the end of the season–October, cleaning out the locker–rather than saying it straight out would make for an even better poem. Remember, poems should evoke ideas from the reader, not give them. Still, well done, Bruin bro’.

Who’s that batting now?
Dad and I drink beer and cheer
It doesn’t matter.

by imahima

First impression: Sunday afternoon. Technical foul: None. Comments: This is a straight forward poem describing the simple pleasure of being with your father. It’s not the game that matters but the time spent together.

last line of defense
sure defeat drops from the sky
outstretched glove must hope

by crotchety_old_man

First impression: Little league. Technical foul: None. Comments: A poem that seems to me to be about little league: a parent suddenly worried that his/her kid is going to drop the ball, and if not, then the game is lost. Perhaps the first line could have been a description of the parent–mother cringes–but still a fine poem.

the bench behind him
his cap turned, dust covered feet
the crowd is waiting

by detachable

First impression: Suspense. Technical foul: None. Comments: A good poem that conveys the tension of a player approching the plate–“bench behind him.” The “cap turned” suggests, again, little league. Perhaps, if the first line was “sliding into home”, then the image would be of a player frozen in time with the crowd waiting for the umpire to make the call. But this is picking nits.

indignant fans boo
as the player limps bravely
to assume first base

by msbLiSs

First impression: Booooo. Technical foul: None. Comments: I like the use of sounds and imagery. It is a good way of bringing life to poetry. In this case, the crowd boos… at whom? The player limping to base? Probably not, but that would mean I would hae to read too much into the poem. Maybe “cheering” would have been more interesting: the juxtoposition of fans cheering a player who is obviously injured is a significant commentary of our sports obsessed, win-at-all-cost society.

Smell of clean, cut grass.
Crack of a bat starts season.
My Hornets, FIGHTING!

by SunJun

First impression: Play ball! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Comment: Greensboro Hornets, the minor league baseball team I watched as a kid. Comments: Again, the combination of different senses gives poety life. Here, we have the smell of grass and the sound of a bat. This could be a slogan for the Greensboro Hornets.

nobody watches it
two canadian teams suck
bring on the hockey

by sputtum

First impression: Hockey? Technical foul: 6 syllables in first line. Comments: Nice try, but the topic is baseball. Of course, this is a comment on Canadian attitudes on baseball, I suppose, which is of course a valid point. If you could have expressed it through specific imagery, like “attendance dwindles” or “hockey scores on the scoreboard / over centerfield” or something like that. Imagery… But if you can convince the Montreal Expos to come to Northern Virginia, we’ll call it even. What do you say?

Thrown into the air
Mind and soul strive for glory
Swing away my friend

by pallyatheart

First impression: From the heart. Technical foul: None. Comments: I really like this poem. It expresses the commaraderie of teammates ;and the love of the game… But it is too abstract for senryu. Be sure to capture a moment in time. What action or facial expression can you describe that would convey “strive for glory”? If you could find the write words to conjure these images, you’d be well on your way.

Seven already?
Groundskeepers work, people stand,
and stand, stretch, and sing…

by SammyStorm

First impression: Is it last call at the beer line? Technical foul: Repetition of “stand”. Comments: This is a poem that expresses surprise, of how immersed the fans are in a game. The Seventh inning arrives quicker than expected and they stretch as they try to get the kinks out of the body. Perhaps if the poems were a bit more focused on one feeling. Either the immersion or the stretching (relaxation).

breaks bats but dont swing
get blinded by the pinstripes
someone stole my seat

by ddsb2000

First impression: *Scratching head* Technical foul: Grammar uneven. Comments: This poem is actually quite challenging. It is a collage of of images from bats broken although not swung, blinding pinstripes (Yankees?) and a seat in the stands. All these images are interesting, but you should focus on one point. I did get an image of Reggie Jackson in his Yankee uniform after striking out looking and walking back to the dugout and breaking his bat over his knee, which he has did once, I think. So yeah, the images are evocative and interesting, but just need more focus…

Hear the ohhs and ahhs
Ball flies above clear blue sky
Homerun, it goes by

by RieLin

First impression: So cute! Technical foul: Repetitive: “flies above” and “goes by”. Comments: Another good combination of sounds and images: the crowd’s “ohhs and ahhs” and ball flying overhead. Pay attention to your diction. Be sure to avoid repeating images, and you’ll do fine.

Tumbleweeds rolling
Rotting saloons, rusty spurs
Obsolete baseball.

by bane_vixen

First impression: The not-so-wild West. Technical foul: None and too many. Comments: I love it. Images of an anachronistic pastime: Tumbleweeds, rotting saloons. Obsolete baseball… hahahahaha. To bad the topic wasn’t basketball. Then the “spurs” could refer to Tim Duncan et al. I’m sure they feel pretty obsolete after Derek Fisher’s shot with 0.4 seconds left!

A need to promote.
So they choose the Spiderman?
Whats up with that, yo!

by globalguy007

First impression: Political comment. Technical foul: None. Comments: haha. yeah, What’s up with that? This is so current–well actually I think they decided against it–and your sentiments surely reflect the feelings of many baseball fans. But you are expressing an idea through a single image. Senryu is about drawing a complete picture, that when taken in its entirety expresses something insightful.

the new yorker grins
everything is in its place
Boston lost again

by gt_ninja

First impression: Oh no, not a Yanker! Technical foul: None. Comments: Oh no, not a Yanker! Oh no, not a Yanker! Oh no, not a Yanker! Again, this a a bit abstract. There is no real concrete image in this poem, well except for a grinning new yorker that others might want to slap. I do find very interesting, hoever, your decision to leave NY in small caps but captalize the B in Boston. A freudian slip?

White ball flying high
lands painfully on girl’s head
homerun is on tape.

by nefarious_hatter

First impression: Ouch. Technical foul: None. Comments: The imigery is funny, and this is often the essence of senryu. To be insightful and comical at once. Indeed, netting a baseball/homerun but at the cost of a bump on the head is ironic. But I’m not sure about the “tape”. Who recorded the event? Not someone with the person hit on the head, or the person himself, right? Was it on teleivison. Did the VCR record it? Senryu must also be logical…

So there you have it. Anyone interested in another topic?

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