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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 12

renkuchainGreetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Fourth Renku Session: A Day of Snow. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto Canada and i will be the leader of a 36-link Kasen renku. I’ve led over 40 of these linked-poem gatherings and my latest book, from Carleton Place, Canada is a selection of 15 of them, called petals in the dark.

Hello renku linkers and readers around the world. For verse 12 of A Day of Snow i’ve chosen:

trick-or-treaters skip
under a new moon

          –Maureen Virchau

“Trick-or-treaters” establishes us in Halloween in a kinetic way; in costume and improvising on the “rolling dice” of the previous verse. They also maintain the indeterminacy of spilled dice but with a youthful anticipation as they “skip” up and back down the steps to a house.

This twists on the sense derived from “a gypsy’s forecast” that the future is already determined and we feel our duration on earth is fluid again; the future has become the futural aspect of the present. “Under a new moon” simply and beautifully underlines this feeling that the cycle is renewed and suggests that without mortality there would be no life. A growth cycle begins under the auspices of an icon for death.

And, thanks to Maureen Virchau, we can skip to the next verse. What we need now is 3 lines in autumn, still without blossoms or moonlight but also avoiding the repetition of suggestions of harvest, windows, or reflections, for example.

Happy linking,


A Day of Snow to Date

a day of snow
no one else
has come to the door

    –Marshall Hrycuik

coyote song closer
this longest night

    –Judt Shrode

incense lit
the scent of sage
lingers in a crowd

      –Maureen Virchau

bales of the second haying
stacked to the rafters

    –Paul MacNeil

dust from travelers
makes its slow descent
in the moonlight

    –steve smolak

faded jeans, school colors
and granny’s specs to match

    –Betty Shropshire

facing me
a hairy bunyip points
the bones

      –Barbara A. Taylor

balls of moss
exit the quaking forest

      –Carmen Sterba

in the garden shop
seed packets
arrayed alphabetically

      –Marilyn Potter

glasswing on the handle
of my butterfly net

      –Karen Cesar

a gypsy’s forecast
uttered to the sound
of rolling dice

    –Lorin Ford

trick-or-treaters skip
under a new moon

      –Maureen Virchau

This Post Has 240 Comments

  1. woops , I am rusty .. can’t repeat * sound from Lorin’s verse ..

    try again..

    a juicy apple
    in my pocket
    for my headstrong mare

  2. at the sound of hooves
    mice scuttle out from beneath
    the haystacks

    1. sorry, Barbara, renku bar closes at midnight Tuesday, EST in North America -seeyah, next link

    1. ah, trout ain’t nothing like a salmon, anyway, Mary -don’t know how this links but hey …

  3. from dead leaves
    a circle of mushrooms
    emerges overnight
    a circle of mushrooms
    emerges overnight
    on the lawn

    1. again, Mary, I think you are fusing the action in nature with the action of that activity coming to your attention -i’m thinking of something like ‘ right here at dawn/ a circle of mushrooms/ on the lawn’ or if you have suspended a time-lapse camera over the site ‘watching mushrooms/ emerge in a circle/ on the lawn’

  4. probably too destructive for our renku but here goes:
    in the morning
    pumpkins smashed
    on every porch

    1. yep, and Smashing Pumpkins was a pretty good rock band as well, Mary -let alone an old David Letterman Show stunt

    1. so we can characterize the motion as a dance, paul, but i think this reduces its impact as a spontaneous and natural event

    1. verb should be ‘weave’ -or just leave “curls of”out -“on the hills” is a flat-out letdown though to the quality of the first two lines

    1. probably put there by his admin. asst. on his 7th attempt -imagine this happening at a World Series baseball game in November, Michael Henry -great prank -but not here

      1. Lorin it’s another word for snorts…kinda of a warning they make when disturbed. I hear them sometimes when sitting out late to see the Milky Way. I volunteer as a state park camp host in the Spring and Fall and now through most of the Summer. It’s interesting seeing just how close to our campsite they’ll bed down for the night.

        BTW, a red State is Republican controlled politically and blue is Democratic. I’m 3 miles from the border with Mexico in west Texas…fun times. Did learn from a state archeologist how to survive the zombie apocalypse by making use of just one type of yucca…the sotol. It’s all good!

        1. hey, Betty, thanks! … got it! I had it arse about. The buck is a male deer, yes? Similar ecological niche as our kangaroos. How lovely to know you’re a state park host and so closely connected with the animals there. (I so often feel, with Walt Whitman, “I think I could go & live with the animals”)

          ah, the names & colours of political parties, here , there & world-wide, they’re so misleading. Personally, I’d like to be a citizen of a democratic republic. 🙂 I dream.

          hmm, that cactus/ yucca thing reminds me of my (long ago) youth. I’m no longer confident we would survive the zombie apocalypse, by whatever means.

          – lorin

          1. Yep, male deer. You don’t see them until late Fall when they start hanging around the does when the rut kicks in…at least in my part of Texas. I see does with their young in the early mornings and close to sunset. Otherwise, it’s that chuffing noise in the dark when they’re disturbed that is the telltale sign they’re nearby.

            I love it here. 360° view of the sky unimpeded by buildings. The park is home to 4000 yr old pictographs (unique and not replicated anywhere else past a 50 mile radius)..accessible only by guided tour…puts life into perspective as it’s inconclusive who they were and what possible relations they have with any known race in the US and/or Mexico. But human presence dates back at least 10000 yrs ago here. One site that sits near the confluence of the Seminole tributary and the Rio Grande River is being considered for a possible World UNESCO site!

            And I would dearly love to visit your country!!


    1. hey, Betty, and i would love to visit your country. I’ll be dong my best to get to the next HNA in New Mexico,, not very far from you, I think.


      1. Aaah, Santa Fe…too rich for me but maybe I can swing a day jaunt. Hope you get to come!!

    2. hi Betty -“as the twig snaps” reminds me of James Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans” where this phrase and its variations were used as much as most pulp fiction uses ‘suddenly’ as an intro to dramatic action -this immensely frustrated D.H. Lawrence, who of course wanted writing about natives peoples in their own element to be so much better than formulaic -makes for good movies though

      1. Dang, Marshall…it’s not lions, tigers, and bears out here but damn near close…mountain lions, snakes, and black bears plus the occasional ‘person(s) of interest’ crossing the border do make me a tad twitchy. Waxing poetic about a twig snapping,? Tell old D.H, sorry…I was too busy hightailing back inside the trailer while trying to not drop my camera gear in the dark…
        Major Wuss
        PS …did get some nice Milky Way shots

    1. not really concerned here with how cold the breeze is if there’s no link, Shrikaanth -‘sagger’ i only know as the ceramic coating around clay when it’s bein fired

      1. Sagging is wearing jeans and pants real low so as to show underpants and butts (moon)- and there is your link Marhsall. Too bad you didn’t see it 🙂

    1. ah, a reverse on the Halloween “trick-or-treaters” -nicely done, but not what i’m looking for

    1. this is more like it, Marion -the link being the morning after a new moon -but i think it might more likely be just before or after the full moon -but thanks

    1. and they grow on ‘caramel corn trees’ too, Marion -all the earth is already for everyone and owned by no one

    1. ah, now here’s a perception, Shrikaanth -though don’t really need “our” and we need to reconcile “listless” with “wind” which would probably be tossing it at least sideways regardless

      1. Thanks Marshall- listless because there are no kids to play on it anymore 🙂 “our” to personalise it. I am happy to say “a rope swing”, if that works

    1. seems like a Halloween link, Marion -something I’ve been trying to resist here

    1. I don’t remember any icons of the Buddha with “gap toothed smiles” -if there were this would be a fresh perception -but this reads more like a conceptual preconception, certainly well-intended, that there is ‘Buddha-nature’ in everything -which is a fine sentiment but more of a sermon than a poem

    1. “wondering” unnecessary here, Marion -improved 2 liner would be ‘where will the bonfire spark/ settle?’

  5. oops should be three lines isn’t it?

    lading out
    a bowlful of love
    as pumpkin soup

    1. way too metaphorical, Shrikaanth, almost liturgically so -something you risk when you observe/describe human actions

      1. I didn’t think metaphors were disallowed in renku Marshall. Even haiku uses it, no?

    1. says a lot more about the woman than it does about the experience of autumn, Marion

    1. interesting, Marion, in that it plays on the dual and different meanings of “truffle” as both an underground mushroom and a chocolate confection to link to the “trick-or-treaters” -not sure about having “the old sow” so close to a gypsy -and we’ve already had a granny in her specs -have to think about this one, thanks

  6. Not sure a dog is allowed yet, but here goes:
    a pile of squirreled away
    hickory nuts

    1. in my experience, Mary, squirrels unearth anything just to see if it could be edible -but yes, no dogs and “squirreled away” not a happy phrase for our renku, here

    1. does it have to be “the last” ones, Mary? -closure not appropriate here

    1. hi Agnes -the “onto” followed by “on” would be okay in a solemn occasion -but this is a light one -and i think the effect is doubled by having “zig zags” in the first line

  7. trick-or-tweeters skip
    under a new moon – someone else
    too humble
    to ‘speak for the world’
    the scarecrow is mute

    * hi Marshall, I know this is more for the politics section, but as others are commenting, I thought I would add my comment as someone who voted for Donald Trump in the Primary and plan on voting for him in the General.



    1. Sorry for the ‘someone else’. I use that designation in my ‘working’ Renku to distinguish verses by others while I am noodling out my own verses. SO:
      trick-or-tweeters skip
      under a new moon
      – Maureen Virchau

      too humble
      to ‘speak for the world’
      the scarecrow is mute
      Karen Cesar
      * ??? Maureen

      1. No worries, Karen. I completely understand. Thank you, and take care.

    1. Sigh…again nevermind…I think this probably backlinks to seed packets!

      1. yes, it does, Betty, but this could be underwater, and i’ve never had an underwater link suggested before -still can’t use it here

    1. so here comes the fun with politics, eh, Marilyn -we’ll wait for the ‘Current Events’ section

    1. hi joel -nice reversal, as instead of watching the air puff out as mist, the observer here is watching or at least commenting on people as they take in air -little too wordy though

    1. bit of a philosophical approach, Carol with too much of a mental conclusion -though i know keen and empathetic observation are tough in heavy fog

  8. sharks ETs geisha
    vying for room
    at the Fete du Vent

    the first e in Fete needs a circumflex accent

    “Festival of the Wind”

      1. I know, it isn’t worth all this. Still…

        sharks and ETs
        vying for airspace
        at the Fare du Vent

        1. hello Judt, wasn’t looking for another festival here -especially not in costume, but happily playful

    1. “end of season” is problematic, Vasile as some deer hunting seasons continue after the winter solstice -but also, though playful it has a heavy kireji and strongly suggests closure

    1. little awkward, Vasile, having the beginning of a Shakspearian soliloquy; his most famous, applied to another being’s existence

  9. ok, Marshall, I’m trying to rework “the old blind” into something that works better:
    in a dense thicket
    the hunter anticipates
    a leaping stag
    behind a tree
    the hunter anticipates
    a leaping stag

    1. thanks, Mary, I can see you’re working very hard at this but neither of these improves your link suggestion -“in a dense thicket” reminds me too much of a Charles Olson poem

  10. Hi Marshall…I have a couple more renku questions. From what I think I’m picking up in your comments, the interdictions might tend to ‘fade’ with distance as the renku progresses. For example, at first “precipitation” couldn’t be repeated, but later it was OK if not too wintry. And now I’m guessing that perhaps the “no mammal” may have lightened into “no canine”?
    Also, I’m wondering where we are in the progression of tone. For example, I’m seeing proper nouns and current events popping up. Are these used in a certain series of verses, or is it perhaps also a kind of blending in a general direction?
    Certainly, I’m aware that your aesthetic sensibility and deep experience, not only ‘rules’, are the guiding forces here. Just wondering how it works ‘in general’.
    Thank you again for your patience, insight, and accessibility in this fascinating process!

    1. yeah, Judt, they do become modified with distance and then at 18 the slate is relatively cleared -i say ‘relatively’ because i don’t want snow and day moons and canines to pop up immediately in offerings starting at verse 19 -but yes, no mammal has been lightened to no canine. Proper noun places and names in caps are two things I like to include in every renku -but not by section -though the ‘Current Events” section can often include these. Other specificities we need are a numeral, a foreign word, an almost obsolete English word and a ‘not English speaking’ festival. The seventh is a word in English in Roman type spelling that i think ‘bunyip’ fulfilled. That is, we don’t need another one but suggesting another one would not eliminate it as an offering for that reason alone. And it is a process and i’m confident I’ve never repeated the same sequence of ‘sections’ in any renku I’ve; like leaves and snowflakes, they all have the same molecular formula but no two are exactly alike. That gives a renku, to me, its organic feel. I appreciate that you appreciate my accessibility; i really believe Basho saw renku as a way of leading what we would now call a workshop about writing out of the attitude of non-attachment and the appreciation of both the ‘un-created’ as natural and impermanence as a way of life. Thanks to you and everyone else who’s been participating for being so accessible to me and not taking my recommendations personally. On with the process

        1. Thank you both Judt and Marshall. Judt has been asking some wonderful questions. These questions and answers are really excellent for those like me who are quite new to the form. I know many here are long time veteran renku writers, and I appreciate the patience with which all offerings are considered.

          1. This part of the renku process has been fascinating! I’m learning lots. Thanks to question posters and Marshall for your exposition.

    1. nice connection with the Trump thread, Michael Henry, but not a link with all that Halloween candy around

  11. scaring the world
    the spectre ( apparition?)
    of Donald Trump

    – Lorin
    yeah, I know, though it’s true & though it certainly links with Halloween (in my view), it doesn’t have an nature-autumn reference for season, though it certainly does indicate a human season of decline,

    1. Lorin, US election, first Tuesday of November — IS — an autumn event. Not a “nature” connection, though … but your stanza is seasonal. Our 4th of July is summer; Canada Day is Summer (July); Australia Day also summer (your January). Not nature, but a season reference.

      Up to our fearless leader, but a kasen often has room for a political or current events stanza.

      1. Ah,yes, of course, Thanks, Paul! 🙂 Next weekend is a long weekend here because of the official Queen’s birthday on Monday (her real birthday is in May) This is probably a seasonal reference for Canada, too . . . different season though, winter here & summer there,

        I posted this ku off the cuff, as a comment, but perhaps I could shape it up a bit for Marshalls consideration after all:

        the world trembles
        at the spectre
        of Donald Trump

        (We do! We’re aghast! )
        – Lorin

  12. A dust devil
    Blows her hat
    Into the fading leaves

    Please ignore the caps,my tablet does that

    1. “Black Friday” way too American, Betty -retailers in Canada -mostly owned by Americans have tried it for 3 years now and it’s a total flop -our Thanksgiving is the second Monday in Oct. and it’s just another long weekend -and “skeleton” works on the Halloween link that i’m trying to discourage

      1. Just for interest, Black Friday (or Tuesday, or any other day of the week for that matter) is the newspaper headline descriptor usually given after devastating bushfires in Australia.

    1. “leaping” here then, Mary, would be the link to the previous verse’s “skip” and that would seem contrived except that stags can hardly run without leaping and the verse does evoke “Hunter’s Moon’ when read with its previous verse -blinds are usually sunken areas, so it would be natural to anticipate the prey being above the hunter at first, but i just don’t feel i’m down in the ditch in anticipation -maybe we need another characterization of the blind than “old” -but, thanks, i’ll keep thinking about this one

    1. naw, Mary, can’t have “bare” and “reveals” in the same verse, referring to two separate entities

    1. very close, but not over the line close to the “rolling dice” and the implied crystal ball of our gypsy ball -the minimalist motif is part of the strong effect here, paul, but i do believe we need a second element of contrast or juxtaposition to make this a complete link to the ‘just previous’ verse and not remind us so much of the one ‘two-previous’

    1. ah, Paul, “window” got you again -enough glass, specs and reverse angles already (even darkly)

        1. Dunno what red & blue mean in the US, but let me tell you that I recently changed my hair colour because that Trump spectre/ caricature of a human seems to have been using the same L’Oreal colour as I used to, Wouldn’t want to be associated in any way whatsoever!
          Cripes! Talk about apparitions of horror! The world hasn’t had the likes since Hitler!

          – Lorin

    1. commemorating the dear departed in battle, Michael Henry? -has a strong ring to it but i just can’t read it with the “trick-or-treaters” and hear or feel a link

      1. I was thinking seasonal door decoration other than Halloween and alternate as a loose link to skipping
        i’ll give it another go

    1. hello Marilyn -uncomfortable with the bears’ destination given before they are -or their camouflage -the effect of this is a distancing from the action that gives it a ‘cartoon-y’ or story-telling woodcut feel -that again, we are trying to avoid

    1. naw, i know it’s no accident but I don’t like the rhyme and “stillness” here has a slightly negative connotation -as in going into dormancy or hibernation

    1. i’ll take this as surrealiste, Patrick -Aomori, i know only as a city in Japan that’s the capital of the prefecture of the same name and “tiger-striped wasp” draws a blank -hypothetically this would ‘snap’ the wasp at its waist = lay it to waste, then we’d all be ‘Charlie hebdo-men’

    1. nice appreciation of impermanence here, Judt -first line has a bit too much of a full stop -though of course that halt is effectively characterizes the leaf condition -this is better as a poem by itself then as a link in this renku

    1. effective alteration of assonant ‘i’s and ‘o’s, Todd -connect to the eeriness of Halloween without repeating it -i’ll reconsider this one later, thanks

    1. we have a pub here in Toronto called “The Foggy Dew”, with the Gaelic for it across its main outside wall on ‘King St.’ -not for here, though

      1. “we have a pub here in Toronto called “The Foggy Dew”,” – Marshall
        yeah, well, interesting to know 🙂 I guess you’d stagger out of ‘The Foggy Dew’, not into it. 🙂
        – Lorin

    1. I think, Marietta, around here we’d say, ‘tocques’ rather than “beanies” -“ready” is extraneous, but i applaud you for being the first to attempt a link to the sky and the moon -I like your other verse offering better though

  13. after salted salmon
    draining river water
    from the Kappa’s head


    1. hi Patrick -don’t know how you are using “Kappa” -it is a river in Japan and don’t know if you mean after we’ve eaten the salmon or after the salmon have brought salt from ocean water into a freshwater river -find this as a link to skipping “trick-or-treaters” plausible though tenuous, and probably not exclusively autumnal -certainly distinctive though

      1. . . , these water figures of folklore are interesting. Japan has the Kappa, Mexico & thereabouts has La Llorona, and we in Australia have the bunyip, All seem to have served to warn children of the danger of drowning.

        “A kappa (河童?, lit. river child), also known as kawatarō (川太郎?), komahiki (駒引?, lit. horse puller), or kawako (川虎?, lit. river tiger), is a yōkai demon or imp found in traditional Japanese folklore.[1][2][3] The name is a combination of the words kawa (river) and wappa, a variant form of 童 warawa (also warabe) “child.” In Shintō they are considered to be one of many suijin (水神,“water deity”), their yorishiro, or one of their temporary appearances.[4] A hairy kappa is called a hyōsube (ひょうすべ?).[5] In Japanese Buddhism they are considered to be a kind of hungry ogres.”

        – Lorin

        1. thanks, Lorin -so the ‘hungry ogre’ aspect would be the link -too much Halloween, too much wikipedia

    1. more Halloweenreference, Mary -and “daybreak” reiterates part of our hokku

  14. Maureen, congratulations on a very fine verse. I really like this one.
    three Jack O’Lanterns
    discarded in a pile
    of fallen leaves

    1. yeah, I guess you know by now, Mary, we’re not extending the Halloween scene

      1. sorry Marshall, for several offerings connecting with halloween. As a newcomer to this form, I have trouble grasping how to LINK to the previous stanza effectively. I’ll try to do better in future.

    1. welcome back, Polona -strong autumnal feel here, but “the scent of sage” in verse 3 too strong a backlink

    1. wow, totally functional with the remedies, Lorin -keep the juices flowin’ but i think you know human improvement projects are something i’m not going to include in a renku

    1. again, Michael Henry, i would put “of” in the third line -great ‘extension-link’ of the Halloween scene here -but i’m not including those kind of links in this renku

    1. suggests school preparations well, Joyce -just don’t like the 3 flat ‘a’ sound within 4 syllables of the second line

    1. nice bit of a conceit here, Marion; the magician conjuring up his own disappearance -concerned that magicians are just as likely at a birthday party as a Halloween event but i’ll think on that, thanks

    1. hi Marietta -this one has an ‘autumny reek’ to it -i’ll keep it around -thanks

    1. “race”, Marion just over the line as being ‘self-motivated and intentional ‘ and therefore anthropomorphic -had “school” in verse 6 as well

  15. on field mushrooms
    and the stone circle
    morning dew

    ie. after Halloween/ Samhain night. The one derives from the other. Everything & everyone passes but the cycle continues.

    – Lorin

    1. well, Lorin, to my way of composing these things, if a verse refers to ‘Samhain’, you’d better write “Samhain” somewhere in it -but we’ve already referenced Halloween so don’t want to repeat, continue or redefine its presence here -that to me is the essence of Western writing -which, though this is an English language renku with a ‘Western’ leader i am striving to avoid -guess here is the place to say it; i don’t write haiku because i want it to join and expand the Western mainstream audience for poetry but because i want to chop down the rhetoric of Western, ‘human-first’ prejudicial writing in favour of an honest and inspired approach to nature as the source of our being -I think haiku, and its linked forms such as renku are a ‘way away’ from everyday thinking and not a vehicle for redefining them

      1. “I think haiku, and its linked forms such as renku are a ‘way away’ from everyday thinking and not a vehicle for redefining them” – Marshall

        I wonder if Basho would’ve entirely agreed? The bodhisattva concept, which he seemed to embrace. . .something like “attain the high, return to the low” . . . put to use in poetry. All those illustrations of the enlightened man back in the marketplace, having a beer (so to speak) with everyone else.

        – Lorin

    1. the sight of an owl maybe, makes us think of being warned, Kathrrine -I saw one perched outside a university building on a cold, still, autumn morning and wasn’t warned at all -just thought it was marvellous

    1. hello Kathrrinr -I believe owls may protect their young but that any warning we receive from them is our projection on to them as if they’re part of our human world -which they’re not

    1. hi Babara -continuation of Halloween them -nocely done, but I want to avoid restatements of theme

    1. seems to me, Mary, that they make cider all year round -though, if we were playing by kigo, I guess ‘apple’ would be aan autumn indicator -doesn’t ‘work’ for me

    1. hi Paul -prefer “screeches” to “screams” in the verse -“screams” might more likely link to the Halloween scene -but “chainsaw” still has too much cultural baggage in view of the multiple shootings and knifings not just across the U.S. but in my city in Canada as well -as in ‘massacre’

    1. wondered, Lorin, how this linked to our latest moon verse -unless you were playing off of the ‘left out ladder’ and the ‘bobbing-and-coming up empty’ offerings earlier today -then i wondered if you were slyly referring to a book of haiku of mine entitled, “Persimmon Moons”

      1. No, Marshall! Slyness, or flattery, for that matter, aren’t attributes I’m known for, If in doubt, ask around, 🙂

        I didn’t know about your book, nor do I see any relation to ‘apples’ (which are harvested earlier in autumn than Halloween, to my knowledge), I believe that persimmons are a traditional kigo for late autumn . . . ie, later than Halloween, and I wanted to make sure my offered verse was appropriately later than Halloween . . . and when I checked in Higginson’s ‘Haiku World’ to make sure the reference accorded with your American seasons, it proved to be so. (Page 214, first edition, 1996)

        While I was browsing through, though, I did find your haiku:

        twigs and leaves crackle
        wind rising on the hilltop
        a flaming oak
        (page 221)
        . . .also given as example for “late” autumn)

        I thought mine linked to Maureen’s moon verse via “all that’s left” — after the (pagan, in it’s origins, btw) Halloween night which features ‘sweet things/candy splurge for kiddies in demonic costumes’ ( I imply) all that’s left of sweet things are a few drying persimmons, which are not very sweet until they’re dried and their sugars have concentrated, It might be a poorer person’s house, and the last of sweet things have been given to the annual candy splurge’. Time to pull in the belt is implied.

        So there ya go. 🙂

        – Lorin

        1. thanks, Lorin -pulling in the belt just seems a tad apprehensive to me -not something i’m known for and don’t want to include here -but happy to entertain your responses

      2. btw, my favorite haiku/ senryu about Halloween is:

        no way out
        Death’s at the door
        demanding candy

        — LeRoy Gorman, The Heron’s Nest, Volume XII, Number 1: March, 2010.

        – Lorin

          1. well, you know, i’ve known LeRoy for 38 years -no surprise one of his haiku is a favourite -he’s a been a great poet for haiku and great to have as a friend

  16. a world so sweet
    yet only seeing scuff marks
    on his oxblood shoes


    1. first line, Patrick, reads like a summary or a platitude -which we don’t need, even if it sharpens the tone of your verse -unclear to me, as well, whether “oxblood shoes” are a type of shoe or a deep colour of red on the shoe

      1. “sweet”, “sweets/candies” relates to the annual American kiddie ritual of Halloween. “oxblood” is a traditional dye colour for (mainly) men’s shoes’

        “The word oxblood originated around 1700 but research reveals that the color refers not to the blood of oxen but is an abbreviation for “oxygenated blood” which turns a deep dark red color when it is exposed to the air. This shoe color has long been a cobbler favorite but was particularly popular with preppies on college campuses following World War II. In his menswear book entitled Elegance, G. Bruce Boyer, who is co-curator of the upcoming exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City on the fashions of the 30s, states that, ”There was virtually not a middle-class young man or woman in the United States who did not own a pair of oxblood penny loafers in the 50s.”

        – Lorin

        – Lorin

        1. hey Lorin, thanks -“sweet” was still used in the context of a generality here -but ‘oxygenated blood’ makes a lot more sense -makes me think of a ‘blood moon’ -but still can’t use his link suggestion

      1. funny, Judt, i was just trying to remember the word for “leaf rake” yesterday and couldn’t -they always have bent tines -both the first and third lines here feel ‘out-of-whack’ with the second for the boredom they evoke

    1. little more upbeat, Judt -but i think we need a complementary image added in place of either line one or three

    1. hi Joyce -nice fall feeling here -we had incense lingering in the third verse though -too soon to repeat this motif

    1. this is more positive, Michael Henry, though how it links to the moon verse is lost on me -would suggest ‘last leaf/ on the street’s last maple/ holding on’, though -maybe if instead of ‘street’ you wrote something that would link to the “trick-or-treaters” more firmly

    1. hey there, Michael Henry -I know i would write this ‘bobbing for apples/ at the county fair/ and coming up empty’ to make it one continuous series of motions -the second line occurring while your head was under water -the third line in parallel to the rising back of your head -don’t know if this works for you though -“empty” has a negativity i’m still trying to avoid and even if it weren’t i’d have to consider how close the “bobbing” game is to extending a narrative from the “trick-or-treaters”

    1. a lovely reference, Agnes, to the Japanese custom of bringing out the warmer bed coverings with the beginnings of colder weather, Agnes -but i think the ‘uneasiness’ of “snags” and a process broken would work better as an independent haiku than as a link here, where we’re still spreading out in positive relays

      1. ah, I was also trying to link to the skipping with a broken thread (skipped stitches)… although that signals an imperfection. Unless it’s a well-loved imperfection, which gives it a more positive spin. Or another link altogether with the quilt idea! Let me try with:
        out of storage
        the familiar zig zags
        of grandma’s quilt

    1. again, Paul, this is original, simple and autumnal -the 3 ‘l’s and the 3 ‘a’s a bit heavy for a ‘one-image’ verse though -either need to change “left” and write ‘by’ for “against” or maybe add another image of juxtaposition so your words can work along a wider amplitude

    1. “morning fog” together with “scarf” good indicator for things autumnal, Paul -and “variegated” also evokes the shades of the foliage that time of year -not sure about “holds” in that place or for its meaning -certainly nothing obscure here -i’ll consider this one again later, thanks

    1. problem with “investigates” Paul -just a little too human-centred a word -though the way finches move to and fro for food is a good link with “skip”

  17. Thank you very much, Marshall. I’m so glad this verse works well for the renku, and I sincerely appreciate your kind words. Thank you for your detailed and insightful commentary here, as well as throughout this fascinating process. I look forward to everyone’s verses.
    With gratitude,

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