Shisan: My Aching Back (Links #1 – #2)

Responses to Link #2, the wakiku:

What an exciting beginning! Let me extend a hand of thanks to the seven poets who took the leap and offered their words for the wakiku. It is in the offering that we build community and I look forward to being a part of this dynamic community as the poem builds. Thank you also to the readers… without you, our voice remains unheard / unread. You are a vital part of this shisan and I hope you stay with us as the poem grows.

Now, to the offerings.

There is such a diversity of images on offer, which makes the job of making a selection all the richer. From the lyrical shimmer of Mal’s ‘golden sentinels’ and John’s ‘scythe’ to the sharp brevity of Chloe’s ‘goosebumps’, the words on offer add their own dimension to the colour and ache that is at the heart of Matt’s hokku.

Lyndon (El Norto) adds a sense of time (and slaving) and places the pain inducing rake squarely in hand; Ashley adds a mystery to the falling leaf, with her fine first line ‘the message in code’ which links beautifully back to the leaf and on to the movement of the bird; Trish introduces a drunk uncle and their shadows; and Andy adds an ache to the eyes as breath leaves the chest.

Such riches to leap into… Where did I land?

For its tightness of link, I have chosen Lyndon’s ‘the sky darkens’ with one minor edit – the addition of ‘as’ at the beginning of the second line to strengthen the run on effect of the lines. This now means the call is open for link #3, the daisan.

This is where the playfulness begins, as the daisan is seen as the first big leap and functions as a break away poem in the shisan. What we are looking for is a verse that takes us in a new direction, without fracturing the spell of the poem. So dream big and leap boldly.

Happy Friday to you all,


My Aching Back: Shisan
Started: 15 May 2013 – Finished:
Written between: Matt Hetherington, Lyndon Norton

Side 1jo – preface

Link #1 (3 lines) – hokku (autumn)

my aching back
a leaf falls
from a branch

(Matt Hetherington)

Link #2 (2 lines) – wakiku (autumn)

the sky darkens
as I put down the rake

(Lyndon Norton)

Link #3 (3 lines) – daisan (non seasonal)

Side 2ha part one – development

Link #4 (2 lines) – winterΒ  moon
Link #5 (3 lines) – non seasonal
Link #6 (2 lines) – non seasonal

Side 3ha part two – intensification

Link #7 (3 lines) – spring blossom
Link #8 (2 lines) – spring
Link #9 (3 lines) – non seasonal

Side 4kyu – finale

Link #10 (2 lines)- non seasonal, love verse
Link #11 (3 lines) – non seasonal, love verse
Link #12 (2 lines) – ageku (summer)


After the inventiveness and energy of the New Junicho – Between Thistles, I have decided to experiment with another form, the shisan, and open it up to anyone who wants to participate.

Here is a link to some reading on the shisan and a fine example composed by Barbara A Taylor and Vasile Moldovan.

To begin the poem (and give it its name), I have invited the soon-to-be Brisbane based Matt Hetherington to write the hokku (opening verse) and from there on in, the poem is wide open to contributions from anyone, anywhere. All you have to do is write a comment on the post with your suggested link. To make things easy to follow, I ask that everyone begins each comment with the number of the link they are writing, for example, link #2.

I will leave each link open for submission for roughly 36 hours before making a selection and adding it to the poem. Once a link has been added, you can then begin posting suggestions for the next link.


So with Matt’s poem burning in the hokku position, the call is now open for link #2, the wakiku. The role of the wakiku, otherwise known as the flanking verse, is to closely support and amplify the hokku. It may examine the wider backdrop against which the action of the hokku is set, or focus in on a particular detail so as to provide further depth and tangibility.

I am already looking forward to reading your suggestions, so now… it’s over to you.

Leap boldly!



Filed under poetry

21 responses to “Shisan: My Aching Back (Links #1 – #2)

  1. Mal

    OK, I’m leaping boldly (or is it tumbling??). My wakiku (autumn) attempt is:

    harbouring warmer dreams
    golden sentinels drift into the night

  2. Sorry that was for link 2. Forgot to add that.

  3. misswoodhouse

    Link 2:
    the message in code
    birds leave with

  4. very cool idea once again..looking forward to see how it develops

  5. link 2
    Uncle comes drunk
    two shadows

  6. Andy Smerdon

    link #2

    breath mists
    before grey eyes

  7. I’ll need a moment to digest this information πŸ˜‰ hahaha

  8. #2
    a scythe, a scythe
    all my sickles for one scythe

    borrowed wings depart
    finger the north wind

  9. #3
    in the shed
    removing a dropcloth
    from old paintings

  10. ladpoetry

    venetian blinds
    in the darkness
    there are many moons

  11. Andy Smerdon

    lizards sprawl
    on warm bitumen roads
    no future awaits

  12. Mal

    A siren lightly
    Kisses the ripples
    As the cold metal burns

  13. Cindy

    # 3
    cold night
    our words
    left hanging

  14. #3
    the phone rings
    waiting to see
    if I answer it

  15. Pingback: Shisan: My Aching Back (post 1500 on Another Lost Shark) | Another Lost Shark

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