Senryu Tsubame 2004


he top scorer last year was a young Korean man living in St. Louis. I think he’s an engineer of somekind, something that just blows my mind. How can an engineer have the sensitivity of a poet? Hahahhaha. Just kidding, of course. Anyway, SunJun has placed first twice. His poetry is rarely contrived. He is straight forward–in Japanese, sunao 素直–presenting images that also convey a great understanding of the moment. The following on the topic “waiting” is a good example.

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

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 conveys to the reader to precise occasion and setting.

Right on the heels of SunJun is msbLiss. Her senryu often capture the moment in an insightful way, as she did with the topic, “air conditioner”.

thighs fused to vinyl
even the cat is panting
U-haul’s AC dead

The image is great, and illustrates our dependence on a cool environment in our modern world. The U-haul underscores modernity, reflecting how we often must move around in this busy world–the cat particularly reflects pulling up roots and moving to a new place. And the thighs fused to the vinyl seat? Doesn’t that almost put you right there?

In third place is Sammy. He has consistently submitted senryu that place him somewhere in the top. Whenever I read his submissions, I get the sense that his words are directly from his own experiences, a snapshot of his own life.

Diploma in hand,
Under the gaze of parents,
Tears fall from their eyes

This is a nice moment in time when parents shed tears when they see their baby graduating. Of course, the tears could be shed for a number of reasons: joy at seeing success, sadness at seeing the child take another step toward independence, or relief that they will finally be able to afford that second honeymoon to Tahiti. But only Sammy would know?

Okay, so there you have it. I’m not sure if I will continue doing these senryu salons. They are fun for some, but not for all, apparently. Today, a former student of mine IMed me, saying that when he comes here and sees the word senryu, he automatically goes to another site. Oh well, can’t please all the people all the time. Personally, I enjoy doing them, but it is time consuming, and I have enough things to grade for class as it is… We’ll see…

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