frost on hinges – a winter kasen renga

               by Ashley Capes & Graham Nunn


frost on hinges
by the letterbox
a thin shadow

every pine needle

the powerline
raven’s claws

your black skirt
drying in the wind

on the verandah
first wood-smoke
only the fire
warms his old hands

two moths
circle the lamp – fighting
or fucking or both

the click of a light switch
swallowed by black
in bed
my coffee and I

flipping through vinyl
ancora tu

old cat
watching the kite
chase its tail

wind flings leaves
into water

rising moon
a mango stain
on my t-shirt

cicada husk
grey in the moonlight

morning drizzle
the blonde’s
exposed roots

watering the pot plant
even the birds hushed

spring moon
each hibiscus flower
flooded by light

a gentle tread
grasshoppers scatter

on the hillside
a riot of flowers –
bee sting

young boy streaks
past the swing set

in the park
the ibis flees
echo of laughter

two sugar ants
share our blanket

on the swing set –
nosebleed spots

a red scarf slashed
across her throat

the white butterfly
folds its wings
I am very still

just the two of us
crushing dry herbs

lover’s quarrel
from the train yard

so much longing
in the owl’s voice

in the electrical storm
me and the moon
who is thinking of who?

gathering leaves
shaped like tear drops

one seat
between us
and not a word

the fence posts
make perfect bookends

leaning further
into dusk –
old poinciana

black against the sky
the farmer’s hoe

before sunrise
colour the fields

against the back step
boots covered in pollen


* for those of you who would like to find out more about renga, or even get invloved in writing one, head on over to Issa’s Snail and check out what is happening there.


Filed under poetry

10 responses to “frost on hinges – a winter kasen renga

  1. It’s like a movie, with evolving scenes, different types of fades and crosses, and I love the delayed rhymes and the changes of rhythm synched up to the changes of scene. If I was next all I would do is make longer lines and get rid of all the imposed structure without changing any of the words but then that is just me, messy. Haha, it is fabulously beautiful.

    • gnunn

      Glad you enjoyed it Paul… had never thought of it as filmic but reading it again I have found an even deeper appreciation for it. It became like a dance, with the links pulling each other close, but then quickly changing partners.

  2. This is beautiful Graham, yet again. So exact, specific (the moths fight-fucking, the blood spots on the swing) yet, as Paul said, the wider camera pan is still there. Beautiful. BEAUTIFUL! I can’t write things like this. I miss the everyday, mostly at the expense of engaging an audience I sometimes feel, so I’m very envious. VERY.

  3. ashleycapes

    Thanks, Paul and Maxine! We had a great time doing it – took a while but it came out in a highly visual manner, as you’ve noticed. It’s almost like 36 short films.

    • ashleycapes

      sorry, should have been short, short films there I think 🙂

    • gnunn

      Yeah thanks heaps Paul & Maxine. The real thrill of the renga is bouncing ideas of someone else… it takes your writing places you may never otherwise have gone.

  4. “every pine needle

    Lovely stuff. 🙂

  5. Claire

    Time is on its way from winter to spring – a stroll in time from event to event – each event entering either human life, or animals, or miscellanous events… So, the world in 36 ku with feelings all along them, so poetry…

    … so much longing
    in the owl’s voice

    … gathering leaves
    shaped as tear drops

    A sample to fellow…

    Thanks to you both !

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