Web of Life

I’m inviting contributions to another shared poem.

The Lewis Carroll biography has been a blast, all 600 pages of it! You certainly don’t need to share his religious beliefs to appreciate his generous, rational and inclusive philosophy of life.

Good deeds, he suggests, transcend any particular religious affiliation. Good includes ‘all that is brave, and manly, and true in human nature’ and ‘a man may honour these qualities, even though he own to no religious beliefs whatever’.  This kind of good that transcends religion, he calls ‘reverence’.

His language may sound a little quaint to modern ears but his message is crystal clear. He was a born communicator who cherished the innocence of childhood. He loved the natural world and campaigned against all forms of cruelty, including animal experiments. He would surely embrace the ecological movement with its powerful scientific understanding of – and deep reverence for – the connections between all living things.

Now it hardly matters whether all this came about by divine intention or just glorious happenstance if we can all agree that life is sacred. And as the creator of the Alice books believed, we live in a fabulous wonderland whose mysteries we are only just beginning to unravel:

A truth … is becoming more and more clear to me as life passes away – that God’s purpose, in this wonderfully complex life of ours, is mutual interaction all round. Every life … bears upon, or ought to bear upon, the lives of others. (LC)

                                                                   Image: thedogmuseum.com

Using this idea as a starting point, in tribute to Lewis Carroll, I would like to invite contributions to another renga. Below is the poem so far …

A renga is a shared poem which begins with a haiku (an unrhymed poem of 5-7-5 syllables) to which are added 2 more lines (each one 7 syllables) to form a tanka (an unrhymed poem of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables). Another haiku then starts the process again.

So each new contributor adds 5 lines, converting the previous haiku to a tanka and then writing a new haiku for someone else to convert. This continues until I decide to bring the poem to a close by completing the final tanka and adding a concluding haiku. The finished poem will then be published with my co-authors credited.


Each life bears upon
Or else ought to bear upon
The lives of others

Symbiosis of the web
A spider spins intricate

In shoots of fine silk
Like the pearl net of Indra

Connections breed fair patterns
Of symmetry and fractals

All bound together
Universal complexities
Nature can breed life

Sun, moon and seas sing in tune
A chorus to greet each dawn

Falling on the earth
Within white flesh, five ripe seeds
The fragrant orchard



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