Senryu Tsubame 川柳 September

F

rom msbLiSs: “See, you can observe how your online students’ poetry is evolving with the feedback you provide and the model of others to follow. =o)” Well, I’m glad you appreciate it. Although, work has prevented me from keeping up lately. It is truly time consuming. Maybe if I charge tuition? Should I open a PayPal account? Hehehehehe. If only life were that easy.

Anyway, the topic, Beef, seemed to be a bit more difficult than I had imagined. There were really no poems that shined as with the previous topics. Perhaps the essence of beef was a vague concept. I thought it would be a delicious and satisfying image, with perhaps a touch of the carniverous urge in us. But expressing this in an snapshot-like image might be difficult, although Sunjun’s imagery seemed to reflect this quite well. Anyway, here are the poems below. A reminder of the rankings: the best eight poems are chosen and given a rank. The rankings in Japanese are: ten (heaven), chi (earth), jin (man) and 五客 (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.


Fingers all greasy
stripped beef rib bones before me
Contentment achieved

by SunJun

First impression: Texas style! Technical foul: Poet’s Remark: I think back to all the time I ate Korean spareribs. Unfortunately, I had to strip down some of the more colorful cultural details for the non-Korean crowd: the explicit Kalbi references, the line of empty, green-glass soju bottles, sesame leaves, and hot chili paste (Gochujang). Comments: Good job. The image is a nice snapshot of a satisfying meal: greasy fingers and bare bones. The most basic essence of beef in this carniverous world, I think, is the joy of eating it, and what better place to enjoy it than at a BBQ? I would have caught the Korean reference you mention, but you correctly composed a poem for public evaluation that must be understood by all. Indeed, my first impression was Texas beef ribs. Everyone should take heed of your exceptional understanding of place. While poems are a private matter, composition for a poetic salon is specifically for public consumption.


Sizzling tenderloin
slips off the spit, to the floor.
Not well done at all.

by RachelsMommy

First impression: Oops! Technical foul: None. Comments: Pretty good. The image is very clear and distinct, a snapshot of an accident at a BBQ. The verse suggests a betrayal of expectation: a sizzling steak, its mouth-watering aroma teasing the olfactory sense. But the steak slips off the grill, and that sight alone is enough to disappoint anyone. The last line was clever, if perhaps a bit too punny. Senryu can be comical, but the image is supposed to convey it, not a play on words.


I can taste the steak,
as my eyes read the menu;
but Wallet says no.

by onigiri

First impression: I feel ya. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Yeah, i name my wallets Wallet 1, Wallet 2, etc., by the way, being specific is so … difficult! You have a limited amount of space to state the what,why, where and whens of a setting. maybe i’ll improve the 10th time around… Comments: The image is good: sitting at a restaurant and tasting the steak from the menu–maybe rib eye, maybe prime rib. But reality sets in as you realize your wallet cannot afford the price of a jucier cut. Not bad, kiddo.


Disgruntled bovines:
meeting today to discuss
the Atkins issue

by msbLiSs

三客 First impression: Funny, man. Technical foul: None. Comments: This is an amusing poem and the image is striking: a group of cattle making a ruckus in the stockyard, imagining them discussing the issues of being even more likely to be on someone’s dinner plate thanks to the Atkins diet. The only thing that keep this from being rated higher is its absence of “reality”. While the image of cattle is real enough, cows discussing the Atkins diet is more “Far Side” than senryu. Still, worthy of a sankyaku.


Hoping for beef stew,
But the wife used pork instead,
“it’s better for you”

by SammyStorm

三客 First impression: Oh, I get it. Technical foul: None. Comments: At first I was going to toss this aside, as I didn’t really grasp the essence of beef at first. but upon closer reflection, the desire to eat beef but being fed something else because it is better for you, touches a couple of aspects, I think. First is the betrayal of expectations, an idea that others touched on–wanting to eat beef, but not getting to, for various reasons. But what makes this betrayal interesting is the fact that it is good for you–perhaps hinting at the dangers of mad cow. Or even more revealing may be a wife who prefers pork to beef, and resorts to the tried-and-true “it’s better for you” approach. Hahahahahha. I get this a lot, actually, which may explain why I was able to read it this way. *gulp*


Vegitarian;
A foreign word when scarfing
Juicy Cheesburgers

by ChiisanaHoshi

三客First impression: Oooh… Technical foul: Watch your spelling. Poet’s Remark: This was a hard topic! Vegetarian and cheesburgers were the first things to come to mind when I thought of beef, so I ran with the idea. =) Comments: Yes, this was a hard topic, but that is the challenge, isn’t it. But the image you present is interesting. The tension between eating meat and the idealism of the vegetarian dissipates as you begin to eat–no, devour–a juicy hamburger. The imagery here is a bit vague here, although I can imagine a discussion of vegetarianism among friends eating beef, and the interesting juxtaposition of these disparate ideas is insightful.


steak, minced, jerky
lots of protein indeed
so what now mad cow?

by Fongster8

First impression: (@_@) Technical foul: None. Comments: A laundry list of beef products. But I’m not sure what essence you are trying to convey. Different tyhpes of meat that you enjoy? Do you like protein? And what does “what now mad cow” mean? This could be construed a rant against beef. You hate steak, jerky, and now what do you give us? Mad cow. Focus on an essence that you can convey through a snapshop image.


Beef: One bite boosts me –
Like the magic mushroom from
Mario Brothers.

by SleepingCutie

First impression: Uh oh… Technical foul: None. Comments: Hahahahaha, at first glance, I thought this was mixing beef with drugs. But then the Mario Brothers game is a serious tongue-in-cheek play on words. Magic mushrooms would boost anyone back in my days in the 70s, and the only video game we had was Pong, so you can imagine what kind of mushrooms I’m talking about… Not that I have first hand experience, of course. Lets stick to the topic…


hm…dinner tonight?
beef bourgignon, what delight!
I smell and I bite…

by Eechim

First impression: Bourgignon? Technical foul: Is “hm” a word? A syllable? Poet’s Remark: i love beef and I love beef bourgignon… Comments: If only I knew what beef bourgignon was. But the sentiment is easily grasped. It is a delight to eat anything you like, and certainly smell is a large part of the culinary experience. Perhaps expressions such as “hm” should be left out. You have so precious few syllables as it is…


the queen of talkshow
once encountered some bad beef
named mad cow disease

by aznquarter

First impression: Oh goodness! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: hi. this is my first time trying out, but couldn’t resist contributing another mad cow…sometimes we’re just sick like that. winks. Comments: To be honest, my mind went wild imaging this verse. Since Oprah–queen of talkshow–doesn’t have spongeyform encephalitis to my knowledge, I figure you were talking about her weight! Hahahahahha. Oprah’s body did look like a cow and when she gets excited, I guess she might resemble a mad cow. Or maybe some of her guests had mad cow. Anyway, next time focus on something more universal, something we can all easily relate to.


One inch thick rib-eye:
peppercorns and salt to taste–
rare if you would please!

by Simply_Lynne

First impression: I’m drooling. Technical foul: None. Comments: This is a nice straight forward verse. The expectation of eating a steak is always a great image, especially a one inch thick rib-eye. But the expectations would have been heightened had you provided a steak that was cooking or done. The smell or sound of a steak cooking would have provided more specific imagery of place. But a good first submission!


The Pope’s Last Supper–
Lucky for Catholic cows
Today is Friday.

by jcangel311

First impression: Are you fasting? Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: My senryu debut! Behold… Comments: Interesting. Like the other poem on Atkins, you took the viewpoint of the cow, and I laughed upon reading it. The last two lines were great. But I’m not sure how the “Pope’s Last Supper” fits in. Is the Pop gonna die? And does he die on a Friday? And when I think of it, even if the cows are Catholic, what’s to prevent non-Catholic humans from eating them? The underlying concept and images were funny, just got to work on the locgic a bit…


drunk cows in kobe
massaged and happy make good beef
stuff MCD fear.

by silvermyst_ashke

First impression: How brave! Technical foul: Eight syllables in the second line. Comments: Kobe beef gets its name from Kobe city–not the basketball player–in Japan near Osaka. The cattle is fed beer to add calories to it diet, thereby creating fat. It is then massage to force the fat into the meat, giving it its marbles effect. All this makes for good beef that could make anyone forget Mad Cow Disease. But there are two problems, MCD is generally no associated with cows in Japan, so there would be no fear to begin with. Perhaps the last line should have been dircted to the image you created: drunk cows, happy cows. Something like: “If you gotta go”.


Oh, Mad Cow Disease,
and Ebola. Why must you
Ravage my dinner?

by XanthochromeSum

First impression: Runaway from beef! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Comments: This poem takes the opposite postion of Silvermyst_ashke. Instead of ignoring the dangers of MCD, XanthochromeSum worries about it. And I must admit that I have previously worried about MCD, and it ruined my appetite. But I’m not sure about the Ebola. Is Ebola transfered by beef? Is there something I don’t know? Should I have a whole new thing to worry about?


Oh, philly cheese steak
I’m so happy to be the
Top of the food chain

by imahima

First impression: Funny. Technical foul: Split Article. Comments: This would have been in the top three if not for the split article–“the / Top” Don’t do that! It makes for an awkward rhythm. All poems should should sound smooth in its entirety AND when recited with pauses after each line.


To all those people
Who give me beef, take your foot
Put it in your mouth

by whonose

First impression: Do we have issues? Technical foul: None. Comments: While this is a snappy poem, I think it takes away from the essence of the topic, as complaints is more of a metaphor than the “essence”. Further, while I’m sure anyone who reads this will get the gist. the beef people give you is unclear. Senryu deals in specfic and/or easily identifiable–hence concrete–images and sentiments. Still an interesting poem.


I slice through a piece
Of a medium-rare steak
…It’s all brown inside

by kizyr

First impression: Poor baby! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Ok, I don’t eat regular meat, I keep to halal except in certain circumstances. But back when I used to eat meat regularly, I always had a problem ordering steaks when I went to Ruby Tuesday–to this day, I hate going back to that place unless I’m getting nothing more complicated than a salad. This senryu expresses my usual experience. Comments: Okay, now that you tell me its a Ruby Tuesday experience, its all clear. But the fact that you needed to explain it suggests that it needed more work. Indeed, I think I might have enjoyed the poem more without your extra commentary, because the idea of having your expectations betrayed is typically senryu. But your explanation suggests that the betrayal is a frequent occurence, and so predictable


If Xanga is beef
I’m a vegetarian
The taste does not please

by shiroi_norite

First impression: Well, we can’t all love Xanga. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: I never much liked my writing to begin with, and so that is reason enough to pull the plug in my eyes, but the culture of comments isn’t something I ever felt entirely comfortable with (and led to conflict on some occassions, a point I will not elaborate on), and checking the site to see if I had recieved comments just ate up my time ( it was pretty depressing too since you were my only regular, which is not meant to imply anything bad about your comments). For the time being I’m done, maybe just with Xanga, and maybe with blogging in general. I’m glad that you managed to find a social community that fit you here though. Comments: Unlike Whonose, who used beef in its metaphoric sense, you use it as a simile, comparing it to Xanga, and an awful tasting one at that. You’re poem conveys less about Beef and more on a dissatisfaction of Xanga. Focus on the topic. Try to express what the topic itself is trying to express–does that make sense? But don’t use it as a vehicle to express something else.


Should it be that dark?
Another stirfry wasted.
McDonalds ahoy!

by tinkarrific

First impression: Go Big Mac. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Haha, we’ve actually never *burned* any of the teriyaki we make, but my boyfriend tends to be too critical of his cooking. He always worries that he’ll cook the meat too long or too short, so I end up doing that part. Comments: I get the gist of the poem and it is pretty funny, but the first line threw me off at first. What is “dark”? Is it an expression of meat bein overcooked? Or as your comment suggests, burnt? Then that raises the question, if you burn a stirfry, do the vegetables get burnt too? I think sentiment is funny–McDonalds, indeed!–but the imagery setting up the last line was a bit too confusing. Focus on consistent imagery. Remember that you are providing a snapshot of a moment in text form.


i’m a carnivore,
hear me roar. it’s the raw, red,
juicy, meat i crave.

by SweetLilV

First impression: Me, too. Technical foul: None. Comments: My sentiments exactly, but the poem lacks a bit of imagery. As I said previously, a senryu is a snapshot of a moment in time. This, my dear fellow carnivore, tells me you like meat, but it doesn’t tell me what kind a beef I’m lookng at, or where it is, or in what situation I would feel this way. Be sure to provide a photo with more detail.


hot dogs and chili
silence even the loudest
tailgaters… for now…

by cgran

First impression: Football season. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: We all know the bigmouth who can’t stop bragging about how great his recievers are, or how intelligent his defense is… Except for when his mouth is full of food… Viva football! Comments: Geez, you have your own commentary. I guess you don’t need mine? But, yeah, I get what you’re saying–poems should speak for themselves. If you think you have to explain it, then something might be missing from the verse.
Anyway, this would have been great if the topic was picnic or football even. But if memory serves me right, most hot dogs have more than just beef. More like pork, no?


3 hours later,
the once magnificent cow
now floats in a bowl.

by iiSoNySoUnDii

First impression: How savory. Technical foul: None. Comments: Since senryu is supposed to be a snapshop of a moment, I’m trying to figure out what I’m envisioning here. A magnificent cow? And I presume beef floating in a bowl? Floating? Hmmm… I think the only time I see beef “floating” is in Pho (Vietnamese noodles), no? And, three hours? Is there something I’m missing? A mere 3 hours from living cow to dinner? Maybe a chicken, but a cow? Good try, but I think there has to be more consistency in the poem, although I can really grasp your attempt at humor. And this is always a good thing! Keep trying.


a magical phrase
yakiniku ikou ka?
host families rock

by gt_ninja

First impression: I wanna go too. Technical foul: Use of Japanese. Comments: This is great, but only to those with host families who “rock”, and those who can speak Japanese. The poems are to be read and understood by all who visit here. Although I must admit, I used to love gong to eat yakiniku (Korean BBQ), but it’s as expensive as hell in Japan.


Postscript:

Meat was a difficult topic but many came up with funny stuff. Mad cow disease seemed to predominate but there were many other ideas as well, but my essence of beef–perhaps my years in Japan have influenced me–was its pricey-ness. To be able to eat beef in Tokyo means you gotta have some cash in the pocket. And what better way to present this than to try to impress someone else.

To impress a date
on a humid Tokyo night
Korean barbeque

by onigiriman

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