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Hokusai. Portrait of Matsuo Basho. Wikimedia.

At Carpe Diem Tan Renga #87, our challenge was to add two lines in approximately 7/ 7 to a hokku written by Basho.  But – before I give you the hokku, here is some background information:

On the seventh day of the seventh month, now celebrated on July 7, is Tanabata (“Star Festival”). This is the night once a year when the crow herder, the star Altair, crosses the Milky Way on a bridge of magpie wings to meet the weaver-girl, Vega, for a night of celestial love making. On a summer night, considered by the Japanese as the beginning of autumn, in this hemisphere, these are the two brightest stars seen directly overhead. If it rains the lovers cannot meet. Traditionally, on this evening people gather for outdoor picnics. Children of all ages make wishes by writing them on strips of paper to be tied on bamboo bushes. The word uchuten is a compound word made by Basho incorporating “rain in the middle of heaven” and “ecstasy.”

Here is the original hokku:

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet
rainy-rapture                                                     (Basho)

and here is our host’s tan renga:

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet
rainy-rapture                                                     (Basho)

after a while the clouds move
finally the lovers can meet each other      (Chèvrefeuille)

and here is my offering

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet
rainy-rapture                                                     (Basho)

words and wishes, interwoven
bridging the Milky Way                                   (Paloma)

waterfall

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14 thoughts on “star festival / words (tan renga)

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