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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 13

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.

Greeting, renku fans. We have our 13th verse. It is:

horses’ foggy snorts
lead our morning jaunt
along the track

            –Marietta McGregor

The first line sets us right into autumn, with the onomatopoeic sound of “foggy snorts” wonderfully producing the sensory experience of being in the saddle on such a large and willing a beast as a horse.

Also, in “foggy” i hear “foghorn” – as a kind of clarion through the woods as we ride.

The second line secures our link to the previous verse but with the added “skip up” to the saddle implied; the rider doesn’t actually touch the ground with her or his own person. And it’s free and easy; a “jaunt.”

“Alone the track” could be just down a parallel row of beaten back grasses from previous horses but i took it to be railroad tracks we’re riding over, with the iron of the rails in their greasy rust adding to the chill in my bones of the crisp, morning air. So sensual and open-ended. Thank you, Marietta.

What we need now are 2 lines of unrequited love. This means verses of desire, devotion or affection that have not or are not being acknowledged to our subject’s satisfaction.

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

horses’ foggy snorts
lead our morning jaunt
along the track

      –Marietta McGregor

This Post Has 249 Comments

  1. mooning over Bogie she misses
    her companion’s ardent glance

    Marshall, I know I’m out for this round, but I just couldn’t resist!

    1. And, belatedly, I realise I used ‘mooning’, which would be struck out anyway!

    1. again, Patrick, relays the “morning jaunt” nicely, but the “Wilhelm scream” is something like a prototype for use in a movie soundtrack to express disaster -sort of like its opposite for TV, ‘canned laughter’ -this puts a slightly sardonic tone to it for me and not what i want here

    1. good continuation of the previous “morning jaunt”, Patrick -doesn’t even suggest, of itself, a relationship of people though

    1. at least links with the “cab” to the “morning jaunt”, Marion -“closer” repeats from the daisan verse however

      1. Thanks for all your comments on my offerings from last night, Marshall, they are really educational.

        For the next verse, I really must print out the renku so far before attempting to write. With all the flipping up and down on a screen I tend to paste the verse in the comments box and rely on my memory of previous verses. I will be better behaved in the classroom next time. 🙂

    1. back to the seer’s reversal and “granny’s specs” after the moon becoming the bunyip’s “facing me”, Marion – this is a fine verse just don’t want to repeat any allusion to the seen/unseen/mirror equation

    1. very striking and original, Marion -a manipulative mother’s redoubling of the pain -have to think about whether it links at all, but thanks

      1. This used to happen to a friend of mine when we were young. Every year her mother would post a Valentine card to her, but she knew it was really from her. She didn’t write a name though as it was the norm to put the letter x for each letter.

        Re: a link, I was thinking of ‘leading someone on’ or ‘leading someone up the garden path’, but perhaps this isn’t obvious enough? I’m pleased you liked the suggestion anyway. 🙂


    1. okay, Marion, the subject’s ‘all in’ here but “sniffs” linking to “snorts” is a bit ‘off’

    1. more a characterization of the object than an expression from the subject, Marion

    1. lots of women who read poetry don’t like rhymes, Aalix -sounds Victorian -as would this here

    1. romantically fanciful, Aalix, since this is only the subject’s wishful thinking continued -a little too contrived for what i want here however

    1. fresh and with a twist, Betty -didn’t expect “trolleys”, and “uncoupling” ending with “alone” brutal and to the point, thanks

    1. direct expression of frustration great, Agnes -just don’t feel a link to the “horses’ . . .”

      1. yes, Michael Henry, this is much better -be nice to connect Chagall’s dreamlike canvasses to a new moon -have to think about this one, thanks

    1. painful for sure, Carol Ann -just don’t want to invoke the “facing me” turn around of the moon from “granny’s specs” again

    1. a reward for overthinking it, Michael Henry -as Phillip Sydney’s Muse put it “Just look into your heart and write”

        1. Well, the whole unrequited love thing is a hard swallow…big girl panties are simply de rigueur where I come from! More of a old Calamity Jane type, myself…but we know what yer sayin’ !

    1. still effective (and affective) Judt, but i like the previous one better and still can’t use it

    1. hi Mary -Shrikaanth already has a nice one about scanning the empty train platform

      1. Yes, I liked his verse very much. I thought mine showed the love was unrequited by her/him turning and walking away, a more deliberate rejection. Sorry it didn’t work.

    1. this has merit, Judt, in that the subject is feeling remorse at a second remove from the object of his desire, but the feeling is immediate to the reader. Have to stretch to find a link to the “horses’ . . .” though

      1. Hi Marshall…the link is “photo” as in photofinish in a competitive race.


        1. Well, should be photo finish (where’s autocorrect when you need it)?

          And I meant sporting race. All races are competitive, n’est-ce pas?

    1. seems that the subject is reconciled to the idea -not exactly what we want here, Mary -but thanks for working on having your verse actually link

    1. tough about “daybreak” partly repeating part of our hokku -and i don’t think ‘dawn’ has the same force of feeling here -the immediacy and loss are right in pitch though -thanks, Mary

  2. horses’ foggy snorts
    lead our morning jaunt
    along the track

    –Marietta McGregor

    between sobs, she cries
    “He just threw me off!”

    – Lorin

      1. nope, want some personal emotion here of the subject, Lorin -this is ‘raw’, but an observation

    1. maybe you hear “shredding” near “pledges” as onomatopoeic but i find it too discordant for here

    1. hi joel, good to hear from you -think we had something like this before, where i had problems with “bundle” and “bound” starting consecutive lines -think of something fresh from your experience

    1. seems self-deprecating, Betty, without the expression of desire -though maybe it’s understood we need both an object of love and a subject who is abject about being left out

    1. ‘course’ maybe too ambivalent a word here, Michael Henry, when i’m straining to find the link

    1. no Shakespeare for a reference, Betty -you’ll end up in explicit metaphor

    1. again, Marilyn, more of an observation at a distance -this is one of those sections where we can get ‘up-close-and-personal’

    1. okay, paul, you accept responsibility for whatever happened but this is the opposite of ‘unrequited’

    1. this one has emotional appeal, Carol Ann -but the link is tenuous and the first line ends in a full kireji -don’t want that here

  3. Very evocative verse, Marietta. ?
    horses’ foggy snorts
    lead our morning jaunt
    along the track

    –Marietta McGregor
    dialing his number
    just for the voice message
    – Karen Cesar

    1. hi Vasile -still an observation and not an experience as our ‘love verse’ section would require

    1. hello Gijs -i think we would say, ‘tossing horseshoes’ -but too narrow a link to “horses'” -and we don’t know from your verse that it’s bad luck ‘in love’

      1. again, Betty, the ‘calculation’ behind this kind of link distances the emotion instead of bring it closer to the reader

      2. ‘going for baroque’ one of my favourite phrases, Betty -“the remainder of my heart” reminds me of arithmetic

      1. “ticking off” has other connotations i don’t want to include here, Lorin -also, you seem to have started a ‘numeration’ steam, as above, posted later (not your fault, but …oh well) -second line is even more clever (depending on your figure) but no, not here

    1. looks like Lorin’s earlier post, Betty -could you have posted this by mistake

      1. my mistake Betty -Lorin’s appreciation just came to me sooner -you’re the clever one

    1. “wanders” better than “walks”, Aalix -but still not enough here to be a link to the “morning jaunt”

    1. interesting, Patrick, how ‘blood’ and ‘hood’ don’t quite rhyme -more a surreal conjecture than a link possibility, though

    1. still in observation, when this is the section for subjective feeling, Betty

    2. Hi Betty…just hit me after I posted that I’d used ‘dropped’ right after you did…just wanted you to know I was blissfully unaware at the time.


          1. funny, Betty, but yeah, the focusing in the first line to control how the reader takes in line 2 (though not aggressively) is not what i’m looking for in alink

    1. yeah, sorta like a ‘love-koan’ eh, Michael Henry? no connection to the foggy horses

    1. well, Michael Henry, if you’re going to transgress into the ‘blossom/flower’ verse you may as well do it in style

    1. right register of emotion, Michael Henry, but we did have “incense lit” in verse 3

    1. more subtle play of “trace” to the “horses” here, Paul -though the love mood here feels more ‘nascent’ than unaknowledged

    1. a little bit pf ‘pathetic fallacy’ eh, Judt -now it might be possible in a renku, but it’s certainly not what i’m looking for here

    1. whoa, Betty -this is either too fanciful or this fellow slurps as he sighs!

    1. I hope there’s some tennis involved, Betty -I do want it to be the subject who’s ‘unrequited’

    1. has possibilities, Barbara -still relies on the next verse to declare that this is a ‘love loss’ and not a panic attack

      1. this is at a huge distance, Betty, from the feeling i’m hoping these verses will bring to the renku

    1. “retrace ,my steps” a bit heavy on the horses’ jaunt link “along the track” and though evocative as is we wouldn’t know it was a ‘unrequited love’ verse unless we were told beforehand

    1. “cricket” too close to “glasswing” and “butterfly net”, Marilyn

    1. kinda saucy, Aalix -and “flips” could link with the manes of the horses but “walks” jangles too awkwardly with “jaunt”

    1. need some sensual realities to make the loss more palpable, Michael Henry

    1. this one does link, Mary, with “aubade” -i’ll look at it again, thanks

    1. hello Rose -kind of a stoical bent here -but it 1. suggests conclusion which we don’t want to do and 2. needs to link with the previous verse. Very fine minimalist poem though

  4. Congratulations, Marietta. Your verse puts me right there…I can almost smell the leather 🙂

    1. yeah, I thought so -and the “foggy snorts” leading reminded me of the old pictures of steam-powered trains as well

  5. Oh my goodness, I forgot to congratulate Marietta MacGregor on her wonderful verse! It’s such a great contribution to this renku. Congratulations, my friend!!

  6. Thank you, Marshall. I’m honoured to have a verse (my first ever) in the renku, alongside much more experienced poets.

    1. you’re most welcome, Marietta -I look forward to receiving more offerings of verses from you after this one

    1. ‘glimmer of hope’ been overused in English, especially by sportswriters -so not your fault, but this reads to Anglo-American ears as cliche’d

    1. “sad” shouldn’t be stated in this section, if ever, in a renku, Vasile -but also, second line too positive

        1. seems to me, Mary, one could wake up anytime expecting a partner in amour to still be there

          1. Hmmm, maybe, but if he has gotten up and left without a word or note, I’d say her love is unrequited, but you are the sabaki. I accept your decision. I have so much to learn. Your patience is appreciated.

    1. jealousy as a measure of rejection? not really sure about that, Mary -but we do need a thread that links to our “morning jaunt”

    1. yeah, joggers only smile when you get out of their way -no points for playing longshots, Marion

    1. plausible, Vasile, but i’m not wanting ‘Prince Charming’ as our proper name noun

    1. little too much human contrivance here, Vasile for a renku -but as a poem in itself possesses a lovely cadence

    1. we’d probably say ‘for you’, Vasile -but you’ve reminded me of a line from the archaic Greek poet, Pindar referring to mortal life as “the dream of a shadow” -so thanks for that

    1. has the right tone, Polona -i’ll give this another look, later, thanks

    1. this is good, Agnes -except i’m much more familiar with the woman staring -if it’s guy, he usually interrupts instead of staring in anticipation -but also, in a renku, even the love verses have to link somehow

    1. ah, a kind of replay, Agnes -but it’s not about becoming the unrequitable, it’s about the subject’s unacknowledged desire or affection -so are women that do this called ‘twerks’ by other women?

      1. ah, the tristesse of having to take less as more, Judt? -quite the proper name to choose for a love verse -“strays” is fine too -but no, not him, here

    1. this one has promise too, Shrikaanth, thanks -“feigning” would fulfill our ‘archaic word’ quota as well

      1. . . . ‘feigning/ feign’ is an archaic word in Ontario, is it. Marshall? That’s surprising to me . . . are you certain?

        – Lorin

        1. yeah, people here rarely ‘feign’ -they just ‘fake it til you make it’

          1. and dust…already in the travelers’ verse…or is that far enough back to not matter?

    1. little hypersensitive on the subject end if this really hurt, i’d say, Shrikaanth

    1. this section seems to have inspired you, Shrikaanth, -ironically, this one’s just a bit too ‘aknowledged’ by the desired one

      1. sure is from a move: “To Have And Have Not” with Bogart, written by Hemingway. Lauren Bacall in the movie is flirting hard (refused at that point).

        I had no idea, of course you didn’t want move, theater form of Art. Or “pasted” references. OK.

      2. want to hear it? … google: Ezio Pinza “South Pacific” and Some Enchanted Evening. Might bring a tear listening to his unrequited love. 3 minutes on you-tube.

    1. links both to being in the saddle, “platform” and “along the rails” -“train”, Shrikaanth, so i’ll be keeping this one around, thanks

    1. again, Paul, no matter how evocative, i don’t want something pasted in here -we’ve 5 days to come up with an original ‘love verse, unrequited’ – i would use italics for it as a link if it were

    1. pleasing in contemplation, Paul, but feels like a ‘cut-and-paste’ from a movie (something i’m not looking for)

    1. little rough, Shrikaanth, considering the long ‘forehead-to-nose’ of a horse

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