Skip to content

The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 15

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, happy linkers! For our renku verse 15 I’ve chosen:

I sit in silence
behind the steering wheel

              –Paul Geiger

because it gives us a new perspective on the previous verse. We’re now inside a parked, single-driver vehicle but our subject, having been thus situated, is now immobilized by the feeling of loss from the platform and the train disassociating and no loved-one in sight. He or she is right at the helm but cannot steer in any direction.

“Wheel” suggests a cycle and the hope of a re-emergence but the feeling of sitting at this wheel until all the chugging sound has died away “in silence” overrides that mechanical suggestion of hope and then reinforces our despair with one simple, common word, “awhile.”

This last line subtly amplifies the “il” of “silence” while sounding a blues note on the “eel” of “wheel” as its full “wh” also augments the heavy stillness of that steering device. We’re left just sinking slowly into the moment of loss without knowing its extent and with no indication of closure. It’s for “awhile.” Very good verse, Paul. Thank you.

What we need now is 2 lines in the season of spring with no blossoms or flowers or scents (blossom verse is next after this one) and no repetitions of reflections, windows, doors or, dare i say, loss in love. But cheers for the revolution of the seasons at solstice: into winter in the Southern Hemisphere and into summer in the Northern.

Seasons’ Greetings to all!


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

scanning an empty platform
as the train chugs off

      –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

I sit in silence
behind the steering wheel

    –Paul Geiger

This Post Has 188 Comments

    1. giving an event a functional attribution not an advantage in a renku, Betty

  1. lambs troop across the pasrure
    on spindly legs


    on spindly legs
    lambs troop across the pasture

    1. no, Aalix, prefer lambs that are nudged as in an offering before, to ones that are trooping

    1. be more comfortable with “push through”, Aalix, though even this when read with the “I sit in silence” make these two events seem simultaneous whereas the beet root emergence is much more slowly accomplished

    1. “delicate” could probably de deleted here, Mary -as it is, the first line is way too heavy for what it wants to connote -“flow” hedges on explicit metaphor -which really slays it

    1. Easter and easter eggs great for invoking spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Mary, but in the Southern one it would be autumn -‘cultural’ celebration not a global one

  2. spotted koi wend
    through pond thaw

    or maybe:

    spotted koi meander
    through pond thaw

    1. apt enough for spring, Theresa and “meander” is a great word for here -“pond” is a loaded one for haiku-related writing but works here with “thaw” for a breaking out of the depression of the previous verse -i’ll have to think about this one, thanks

      1. Thank you, Marshall, for your insight. I really appreciate your comments and thoughts. I’m pleased and humbled to participate here!


    1. sorry, Marion, “suddenly” is a dead horse to my vocabulary -just used too often and too easily

    1. “preserved” as in frozen, Michael Henry? I think i can do without a “selfie” in this renku

    1. hi again, joel -this one has hints of the “balls of moss” and of the bales of the “second haying” well written though it is

    1. this is lovely, Susan, but the connective, “as” keeps our subject in the same place and same emotional state -i’m looking for something that shifts the subject or deepens or changes her or his mood

      1. Thank you Marshall,

        I am new at this and I was wondering about using “as” now I see why the verse is stronger without it. I love haiku, and I am excited to learn more about linked verse. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this group.

    1. hi Marilyn this is fine – just that i’m trying to keep attention to or notation of sound out of this link

    1. certainly pleasing to the eye, Judt -but not as good a link as your lambs under the cromlech

    1. first line, Amanda, has the thudding clink of billiard balls -’cause-and-effect’ observation to be avoided in renku if i can help it

      1. Missing hyphen Marshall – should be ‘raindrops’ – don’t know if that’s an improvement?

  3. Just read your comment to Mary- “would like to maintain if not silence at least an inaudible observation for at least another link “. So I have removed the sound from my submission.

    wide circling
    of woodcock wings

    1. but now, Sue, we need another element -without any stated sound and without the half-rhyme

    1. prefer the “in” one, Judt, to “nibbling at” which i find cartoonish -“cromlech” a deft deepening of the train station scene -now i have two ‘lamb verses’ to consider

    1. Hi Vasile…I logged on to post a lamb verse, and there was yours…so, not being a copycat :-). (Your verse is very nice!)

        1. No, no, Vasile…yours was before mine, which is why I wrote the note. But really, I guess we don’t need to worry about this kind of repetition. Cheers! :-)

    2. this is nice too, Vasile -just trying to keep attention to sound out of this verse if i can

      1. Sue, I’m so new to this that I’m trying to find my way. Marshall gives such good feedback. Thanks so much.

      1. Thanks, Judt. Go ahead and post yours… Room enough for all our offerings. I love seeing your postings. ?

    1. this is nice, Mary -“twin” is problematic though -how could we know unless right beside them? -but ‘two’ wouldn’t do because it would rhyme with “ewe” -so i’ll just keep it for later consideration with “twin” deleted if that’s okay, thanks

    1. this is good, Mary, just that the four ‘w’ sounds after the previous verse ending in two make it just too much ‘w’ -and i prefer your ‘lamb’s verse’

  4. wide circling twitter
    of woodcock wings

    …edited so there would be no kireji :)

    1. yeah, i’ve heard these, Sue, and you write it well -just trying not to have the sound ‘iterated’ after two verses with such sound follow a first line “I sit in silence”

  5. reposting the verse with a fix so it doesn’t get lost…
    early storks descend
    on freshly tilled earth
    my thoughts about linking were that the field wasn’t tilled manually so somebody must have steered a tractor or, less likely, oxen across that patch of land. i didn’t want to name the vehicle as that, imo, would link back to the train leaving the platform.

    1. thanks, Polona, and i appreciate how you see this verse’s link but going from a train to a car to the suggestion of another vehicle isn’t really the progression i was looking for, though it is well done

    1. “overlook”, Aalix, in one of its senses repeats the “scanning” of 2 verses before

    1. with a wry sense of humour you might add, Michael Henry-don’t really need an ironical evaluation in a renku

    1. ah, Michael Henry, -from train to car to boat -don’t want that progession

  6. I sit in silence
    behind the steering wheel
    –Paul Geiger

    the nursery walls dry
    into robin’s egg blue

    1. sounds as if you’re referencing the old cliché ‘watching paint dry’, Liz Ann, though you probably didn’t mean it that way; doesn’t cast a positive ‘grounding’ back on the ‘sitting in silence’

      1. No, I didn’t mean it that way. I was trying for a more positive tone – a sense of new life in the nursery, something good coming from the musing.
        a glint of blue
        from the robin’s nest

  7. Marshall and fellow poets: being new to renku, I’m wondering if a verse offering can be repeated. I would guess it’s rare, but I can’t find an answer.
    On the off chance it is acceptable, I’d like to offer this verse because I think it links:
    rivulets of pollen
    meander down the drive

    1. yes, Mary, but remember i didn’t include it because we already had “seed packets” and “balls of moss” -so it won’t be here either -and ‘down the drive’ is too much of a ‘narrative extension’ as a link to a parked car

    1. please ignore previous…

      I sit in silence
      behind the steering wheel

      quite unprepared
      for the rush of goldfinch

      1. hello, Rose -to see your offering as part of a 5 line poem and test it out is a good way of writing possible links for a renku -but you have to watch that you link elliptically or by tone and don’t steer the poem into a narrative with ‘bridges’ such as your first line, “quite unprepared” -we’d like to continually and deftly surprise our reader, not ‘set them up’ or ‘lead them on’ to the asked for perception or element of your link so that it feels like a clincher -and least of all do we want to characterize the human subject

  8. admiring the rainbow
    an April fool without a coat


    an April fool without a coat
    admires the rainbow

    1. I like this one, Marion, though it’s been often pointed out that Westerners who write haiku seem to be hooked on this image of the absorbing shadow -the link may be the returning into their place as an extension of our subject’s lingering in the silence of her or his loss -so i’ll have to look again at this one -right now that seems a stretch too far -but thanks

    1. seems to me, Marion, “fledgling gulls” could ride the breeze in any season but winter, depending on which coast they’re coasting along

    1. “New Year” has its own season section in this renku, Marion -so, not here

    1. not crazy about the word “duelling” here, Marilyn -but maybe they were -and pulling each other towards destruction -but more importantly, just can’t see a link here

    1. “old stable” links back to the bales of the “second haying” in verse 4, Vasile

    1. we’ve already had the winter solstice in verse 2, Vasile -don’t want to repeat the use of the solar exstases

  9. I sit in silence
    behind the steering wheel

    – Paul Geiger

    birds don’t seem to notice
    the days growing shorter


    1. Just having second thoughts that my verse may tip over into summer.

    1. again, Aalix, the adjective “last” makes this an abstract declaration rather than an observation -need a particular location or an unstated necessary connection to the previous link -that the ‘icicle’ here doesn’t have

    1. don’t know how we’d know it was the ‘last stick’, Aalix -and you’ve hit a button with me here -in birdland the male attracts the female and often does as much nest-building and sitting as the female -alos, “mother robin” sounds like “mother nature” -nature is both female and male -what Blake, a thoroughly Western poet would call part of its ‘fearful symmetry” but for me is an asymmetrical duality that perpetually rejuvenates the ‘relay’ without need for stasis

    1. no flowers or blossoms til the next verse, which is one of two only, ‘blossom verses’, Diane -lovely layering of white though

    1. for me, Aalix, the phrase structure “standing under a tree” repeats, without the circumlocution “sitting … behind the steering wheel” and this i try to avoid in successive verses

    1. I’ve seen storks in Amsterdam and they’re very aggressive and imposing birds -just feel i’m stretching to make the link here -and a more minor problem: “first storks” has a back-to-back “st” structure in the first two words that i find unattractive I say ‘minor’, Polona because i think it’s a problem that could be easily ‘fixed’

      1. hmmm… imposing perhaps, but i’ve never heard of (white) storks being called very aggressive… you must have been unlucky. they usually mate for life and make clattering sounds with their beaks to refresh and strengthen their bonds. they build large nests, often on objects like telephone poles. people here are happy to see them (you may have heard of the myth about storks bringing babies) and often help by building artificial platforms for their nests.
        as to the link, my trhinking was that the field probably wasn’t tilled manually so somebody must have steered a tractor or, less likely, oxen across that patch of land. i didn’t want to mention the vehicke as that, imo, would link back to the train leaving the platform.
        i have no problem replacing “first storks” with “early storks” or even “a few storks” if that would fix the issue

    1. certainly original, Marilyn -not sure if i wouldn’t prefer a real bird but i’ll keep this one around

  10. The honor of joining the renku I very much appreciate. The learning going on here is just outstanding for one like me relatively new to oriental forms. Renku is quite a demanding genre! Thank you all. Particularly thank you Marshall.

    1. you’re most welcome, Paul -I appreciate how consistent your offerings are and that you’re willing to ‘work at it’ -thanks again, MH

      1. I was there once in the 70’s when they swarmed in the churchyard, Judt -didn’t know for sure they no longer returned there -again, the verse seems too ironic to signal spring in this renku with something that no longer is physically present

        1. Hi Marshall…yeah, they don’t return to the mission, though people still hopefully gather. They have even set up loudspeakers broadcasting swallow calls, trying to lure them back. Theory is it’s built up too much around the mission at the expense of the grasslands the swallows need. This is all Google info, so you know…grain of salt, and all that.

    1. second line feels too much like a ‘language trick’, Judt, for this renku

    1. hi again, Eamonn -this observation is neither here nor there -though it may be your personal link the sinking feeling of the previous verse -too internalized to ‘relay’ our renku’s energy

    1. this is appropriate, Betty, though it could be taken as an extension of the love verses to include a ‘paternal affection’ one -have to think about it -would like some colour in it -thanks, though

  11. I sit in silence
    behind the steering wheel
    –Paul Geiger
    young vultures soaring
    on early thermal winds

    1. the second line could be just, “on early thermals”, Mary -don’t like the feeling of our subject being taken for carrion, but have to think about this one, thanks

      1. Perhaps a different bird would work better?
        young falcons soaring
        on early thermals

  12. I sit in silence
    behind the steering wheel
    –Paul Geiger
    from a nest box the peeping
    of featherless chicks

    1. would like to maintain if not silence at least an inaudible observation for at least another link, Mary

    1. sounds a little too much like a ‘love connection’, Diane -and we just passed that section

      1. oh, I actually watch them fly in an out of the birdhouse constantly. Such energy,lol.

    1. this reads more like an updated summary of our renku, “A Day of Snow” than a link within it, Barbara

    1. sounds almost Biblical, Barbara -i think you mean ‘the immensity of reality” -“sudden” is also a now hackneyed word

    1. certainly ‘touchy-feely’ enough, Michael Henry, but can’t cats can have litters in any season?

      1. there are typically three kitten seasons per year April-May
        July-August & October-November in my provincial world the birth of most animals is reminiscent of spring, perhaps that’s only me
        if there is anything to be gained from this attempted verse it might be PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR ANIMAL COMPANIONS

    1. watched one of the videos, Lorin -don’t think i want our subject identified as in surveillance mode while sitting “in silence”

      1. I wasn’t linking to the subject of Paul’s verse. Marshall. but panning out from the man who’s been disappointed to a wider scene which includes the beady-eyed magpie, waiting in a nearby tree. In contrast to Paul’s subject, the magpie has been successful in mating but if he doesn’t actively defend the nest from potential robbers, the female magpie will leave him for another male. I believe this is a valid way (one of many) of linking in renku.

        And swooping magpies are a certain sign of spring where I am, :-) They start breeding early because their young take a long time to mature. Clever birds!

        – Lorin

    1. not really anything springlike here, Patrick -“cool breeze” would more likely be thought of as suggesting autumn

  13. I sit in silence
    behind the steering wheel

    –Paul Geiger

    a head start for the sparrows
    in nest building

    – Lorin

    1. you probably mean on one of those modern sundials, Lorin, but I want something much more ‘touchy-feely’ than that

    1. hi Betty, i like this one, but will have to consider whether it is too soon after the ‘glasswing butterfly’ to include another insect

      1. Hi Marshall… was referring to toy spinners and didn’t realize there’s a whirligig beetle, too.

      2. And lambs under consideration after horses and coyotes not a problem? I’m confused.

    1. hi Polona -this is natural enough, but there’s a feeling of unease towards the polliwogs that i don’t want to share in this renku

    1. hi Mary Lou -too general a statement -we need specifics with this light a touch

Comments are closed.

Back To Top