Saturday 17 February 2017

IMG 3231On a wintry, crisp day in February, a small group of gallant souls gathered at Clayfield Copse, an area of ancient woodland in north Reading, to embrace the ancient Chinese form of Renga poetry, creating a carefully crafted communal poem in the space of a day. With the trees bare and the ground crunching underfoot, we walked the woods, and wove our stanzas together, as the low sun faded early into night. Huddled around the wood-burning stove in our borrowed yurt (thank you, Nature Nurture), the joyous skills of our facilitator, Jon Randall, teased from each of us a poetic response to the experience we were immersed in - the taste, the smell, the sound, the sight, the feel of it all. Interwoven with fun, food, and copious cups of tea, we emerged in the dark with a poem we were all proud to call our shared work. 

 

the yurt small

dragon roars after the sun

last knockings of the day

evening eats the active sky

land settles into gloaming

candles flicker on canvas

beer cans in the undergrowth

dog shit bags dangle on twigs

log fire offers up smoke

pencils scratch on smooth paper

noisy cars with fumes afar

darkness descends

which way is north?

 

We are hoping to repeat the Renga workshop throughout the year, creating poems subtly different in their seasonal response to the changing seasons. They will be collected and shared at the end of the year. 

jim in the dark smalljon in the dark small

 

Best feedback:

"Guided by a gifted Renga leader (Jon Randall) who clearly introduced us to Renga and nurtured our offerings, I was surprised how enjoyable creative writing can be. Sitting together in the yurt with the warmth and scents of tea and wood burner our senses were enlivened to the elemental world that we are so often too busy to experience.And it was the collaboration and the camaraderie engendered that was a big part of the fun. We made good use of the woodland setting at this seasonal turning point, to draw on for our word images." Jim McGuigan

"It was a magical day spent amongst wonderful people, creating something that I never thought I could be a part of. Jon’s kind and caring leadership helped us throughout the day, describing and explaining the concepts of Renga, and helping us find our inner poets. The beautiful location of Clayfield Copse, with all that it brings, and the safe haven of the yurt, enabled our thoughts and imagination to connect with our inner selves. A greatly rewarding and contemplative experience." Paul Scrivens

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