Senryu 川柳つばめ

Sorry it took so long. April: Revenge


s most of you probably know, this past semester has been rather hellish. The amount of work we do to run a successful program is exhausting. Hope you will forgive me for being a little late… Okay, a lot late. But after grading and grading and grading during the spring semester, I needed a break. I’m grading in the summer too, but that’s okay. I have a really good group of kids, and to be honest, it doesn’t really feel like work because they are eager, studious, and therefore easy to teach, circumstances under which I rarely complain about my salary or the amount of work it entails.

Anyway, on to senryu.

The pool of poems were fewer than any previous salon. I think that may be because of the topic. Revenge was perhaps a bit difficult. It seems that many thought of the actual moment of revenge–graphic, some violent, some funny–and many were very effective. But some did not provide a context without which the act of revenge becomes hard to understand or emphathize with. Some submitted verses that seem to stretch the definition of revenge. I always thought of revenge as an intentional, proactive act, not a feeling that one felt upon seeing someone “get his,” even though the person “getting” the revenge did nothing to effect it. But if context was provided, I basically accepted them as this was a hard topic to begin with.

The rankings in Japanese are: 天 ten (heaven), and 三客 sankyaku (three guests–honorable mentions). There is no 地 chi (earth) and 人 jin (man) this time. Okay, so I’m a hard ass. Sorry…

So here are the poems with my comments…

I won’t take revenge
Knowing she’ll break your cold heart
Satisfies me now

by imahima

 First impression: Nice. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Ohh…revenge as a theme will turn up some interesting senryu, I’m sure! Comments: Pretty good. Indeed, exacting revenge through someone else’s actions is perhaps just as satisfying, especially if you feel that the pain of the revenge is likely similar to the one the speaker experienced. A guy dumps you for another girl, but you know that THAT girl will dump him in the same fashion. While Imahima did not exact the revenge, she clearly states that she didn’t have to in this case. Also, her goro (rhythm) is solid; the verse, although 5-7-5, reads like natural a sentence. This is something to strive for and emulate. Good going.

ready, aim, fire!
it smacked her right on the head
snowball, i thank you!

by Eechim

三客 First impression: Snowball fight! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: i can imagine doing this to someone I hated. not now, maybe back in primary school. nowadays words would be my weapon of choice Comments: Ah, according to your comment, this is more of a “get-back-at-you” snowball, perhaps thrown at a nemesis you had been lying in wait for. Kinda wish it was a snowball fight between friends, a kind of friendly revenge. And I think I’ll read it as such, since it is my privilege to read poems as I see fit.

Stupid tailgater.
Speed off! Red and blue lights flash.
License and reg. please~

by msbLiSs

三客 First impression: Finally. Technical foul: None. Comments: Nice set up. A tailgater is buggin’ the heck out of you, then speeds off as if to suggest how slow you are driving. But suddenly, the lights of a patrol cars cherries go off and the guy gets pulled over by the cops. I think the last line should have been you, however. I would get a sense of “revenge” if you said something like “I wave as I pass”. Still, pretty good.

just one table left
pushing by, he failed to see
he sat in bird crap.

by cgran

三客 First impression: Oh yuck! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: ah, the mad dash outside abp. go karma go! Comments: The imagery is solid and the general context is funny. Different people looking for a place to sit, one rudely pushes by the other, and in his haste to sit down first doesn’t realize that there was a reason no one was sitting there: bird droppings. There’s something about the goro (rhythm) that is throwing me off: there’s something about using “he” twice that doesn’t sound right. Hmm…

Secretly rejoicing
seeing a fake front he put
up come crashing down

by gyjcwang

First impression: Making fun. Technical foul: Extra syllable in the first line; split verbal phrase. Poet’s Remark: I don’t know if there is any technical errors with this one but I am just attempting it. Comments: I can relate to this poem on many levels. You see someone who is obviously a phony, and when that fake front comes down and he is exposed, you secretly rejoice. Unfortunately, the technical fouls are a bit glaring.

memories don’t fade
as easily as does blood
from a sharpened blade

by shi

First impression: *gulp* Technical foul: None. Comments: Wow, what a scary senryu, especially from one who is seems as cute and cuddly as you–well, cuddly until someone tries to rip you off, of course. In any case, revenge can be a strong emotion, and a bloody blade can be representative of this. For some reason, this reminds me of Kill Bill. Anyway, the reason for revenge would have been nice.

Nearly a decade
smiling and shaking his head—
now they are all dead.

by TheWaterJar

First impression: Oooh? Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: O_O Um…yeah. Keep it copasetic. Peace. Comments: OKay, I’m not really sure what’s doing on here. Whose shaking his head? Since “they” are dead, the one shaking his head is not the one dead, which suggests that he is the one who sought revenge. I think the reason for revenge might have been helpful.

the bride, his revenge
bullet through her head, four years…
hers, kill bill. kills bill.

by aznquarter

First impression: A movie critic. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: muahahahaha…sorry so cliche, but just one of the best revenge films out there and it’s been released internationally too. *rubs hand together* i hope you get it, if not, go-go’s going after someone. winks. Comments: Interesting approach, but if someone had not seen the movie, it would be impossible to decipher. Too fragmented, dont you think? I mean, there isn’t a verb until the last two utterances… Although the movie Kill Bill is pretty much a staple of modern pop culture.

in her misery
she struggles to find reason
while i laugh inside

by devjome

First impression: Ah, another one. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: hello there onigiriman! this is jome, thanks for reading my blog! you’re like the 3rd non-hangout friends that read my blog. 🙂 my first try for a senryu Comments: I’m not exactly sure of the circumstances, but let me take an educated guess. Your girlfriend has cheated on you… no, she broke up with you… wait, she was late for a date. Hmmm. Well, whatever the case may be, she is trying to provide you with an escuse of some sort, but you laugh inside because maybe you caught her red handed? But then why would you laugh. Maybe a bit more detail might have helped.

My name is Taku
You kill my family, so
Vengance shall be mine!

by takunishi79

First impression: *shudder* Technical foul: Awkward conjunction. Poet’s Remark: … okay, that was a rip-off… I’ll be back……… so said the Terminator……… this is rip-off, too… because the Terminator is a vengeful machine… ? iono… okay, I’ll think of something better. Comments: Dude, this is scary. Has someone killed your family? You often mention your “parental units” so I presume this is fiction, right? Then why use your name? Unless you are doing a “nanori” (declaring your name before battle). As with some of the previous ones, a bit more context would be helpful, I think.

They all laughed at me –
I slip on the latex gloves…
Quiet!! No more words!!

by iiSoNySoUnDii

First impression: OH MY GOD! Technical foul: None. Comments: Hahahahaha! The image is funny, and the cavity probe, I think, is pretty obvious. But there are only two people I can think of who would put on latex gloves: a doctor or a policeman. Why would anyone laugh at these two. I wouldn’t laugh at a doctor, and if I knew a policeman was gonna arrest me I definitely wouldn’t be laughing. Unless I’m missing something….

I deserve payback
He moans inside the closet
I’m holding the key

by whonose

First impression: Uh, oh… Technical foul: None. Comments: This sounds kinda scary too. Now who the heck would you put into a closet, particularly one with a lock on it. And why is he moaning? And what is the pay back for? Need a bit more context, I think.

her cold eyes meet his
as her gun aims at his heart;
he who killed her love.

by JustBeingV

First impression: Girls are scary. Technical foul: None. Comments: Would this be another reference to Kill Bill? At least we have context here: a woman confronts a guy who has killed her lover… with a gun. Her cold eyes suggesting the a thought out, calculated murder of revenge.

the ghosts of my past
haunt the youth of a new age
guilty for my crimes

by ikerton

First impression: Haunting. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: I had to review how to make one of these senryu, it’s been awhile… Comments: The verse seems rather moody, quite atmospheric. But I’m not sure what the ghosts are or what youre crimes are, so it’s difficult to grasp how you’d haunt the youth of a new age. And I’m not sure how this ties in with the topic, revenge. Of course, it could be me. I’m not as bright as I used to be…

Consumed by vengeance,
each blow burns hot with fury,
his fists stained dark red.

by SunJun

First impression: Kung fu. Technical foul: None. Comments: The imagery is stark and vivid, certainly a necessity in senryu, but I’m not sure about the context of this one as well. The violence of the imagery is overwhelming, which is not necessarily a bad thing if there is a reason behind it.