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Priory Students Follow in Renshi Writers’ Footsteps by Dr. Joan Perkins

A reading by Mavis Hara and Ann Inoshita touched off a renshi-writing craze at St. Andrew’s Priory School.


A reading by Mavis Hara and Ann Inoshita touched off a renshi-writing craze at St. Andrew’s Priory School. After hearing selections from No Choice but to Follow, seniors decided to write their own renshi sequences.

Despite their heavy end-of-year workloads, students in each of the twelfth-grade English classes volunteered to participate. They posted their poems to a shared Google doc, using the last line of the previous poem as a title, first line, or refrain. Hara’s daughter Reverie contributed a poem to one of the sequences.

Priory teachers were delighted by students’ interest in writing local literature. Here are a few of their poems.


Always wishing for us to be free,
my mother was born in the wild.
Swirled skies,
Waves of jade,
Unrestrained, uncontrollable, unreserved.
Always wishing for us to be free,
we are surrounded by locks.
Colorless roofs,
Unbreakable walls,
Inanimate, inferior, in despair.

Always wishing for us to be free,
I pace the cage and look to my mother.
Her head is bowed without dignity or pride.
My mother was born in the wild.
The light of an unknown land still burns in her eyes.

- Erica Lee


The light of an unknown land still burns in my eyes
While I stand next to his lifeless body
Where is heaven?
Are you there?
How did this happen?
Tears continue to fall as these questions flood my mind.

They tell me he is in a better place
He is free from all pain and suffering
He is happier
But why now?
Why did he have to leave?
His life wasn't suppose to be cut short.

I may never find answers to these questions
But I know he is never truly gone
The memories, the laughs, the tears
They will never be forgotten
And till the day I see him again
I will truly miss him

- Jaymee Kau


I will truly miss him,
or at least who I thought he was.
Was he really the "Prince Charming"
I thought I'd have a happy ending with?
Or was he just the ugly frog
that I had mistakenly picked up?

Maybe he really was that
shooting star I wished on
years ago when I was a little girl.
Or was he just an average airplane
flying through the night sky?

What if I missed out
on something so special and rare,
like a school of dolphins
swimming next to me at the beach.
Or maybe he was just a beached whale,
who had run its course and was ready to die.

He could've been real,
or I could've been fooled,
by the shiny facade
of the troll who I thought
was my "Knight in Shining Armor."

-Reverie Hara


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