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Bardic Arts

Renga for Mari Alexander

Makiwara no Yetsuko
(aka Jehanne de Wodeford)
April 29, 2004

Green hills ring the field
Where honor is decided.
Birds chant their blessings
On springtime's bright arrival
Such a splendid day to come!

Mari takes her place,
Smiling bright as sword steel,
Deadly and joyous.
For Master Brocc she honors.
Such a splendid day to fight!

The first salutes her,
Another armored lady.
Beaucaire's bright blade
Not swift enough to best her.
Such a splendid day to win!

The next approaches,
Proud son of the Silver Hills
Matching blow for blow,
Honing honor with honor,
Such a splendid day to strive!

Her last challenger
She cuts swiftly to his knees.
Bold Geoffrey counters
With deadly effect: she falls.
Such a splendid day to die!

Dark hills ring the field,
Now moonlit and quiescent.
Frogs chant in honor
Of both victors and the fallen.
Such a splendid night to be.

Copyright ©2004 Lisa A. Joseph

"Waka, also known as tanka or uta is the ancestor of haiku. In my research on the arts of Heian Japan, I learned that this form was used for contests, in which one person might start the first three lines and others had to come up with the last two, or one poem must be answered by a new one. Lovers frequently sent messages using this poetic form, often using imagery from nature. As a courtly entertainment, it is extremely well suited to spur-of-the moment topics, in fact, several of the poems below were written in response to topical challenges. I have included the occasional note to provide context."

"April 9, 2004. It is traditional for the Bard of the Mists to ask members of the populace to write poems for each fighter who enters the Coronet Tourney. Countess Mari is one of the first people I met when I arrived in the West. Renga is a sort of linked tanka form. The repetition in the last line of each link is decidedly non-Japanese, however, I felt it captured the joyous spirit Her Excellency displays in everything she does.)" -- Makiwara no Yetsuko

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