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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 18

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.

Greetings, renku participants. Verse 18 is:

another soul in the limelight
of #blacklivesmatter

        –Agnes Eva Savich

Normally, i would find “limelight” much too close to the “sunlit border” and the “green” of the blossom verse that was previous. But these are not normal times. And so here, “limelight” is a charged word, its transgression taking us over the borders of “normal renku” in two ways. First, it marks the passing of a soul–death, a particular human death–not as a symbolic one as in a moon verse. Secondly, it is a marker for change in public opinion and observance; changing from a reliance on broadcast media for “what’s news” to a preference for the grass roots personalized communications of social media such as twitter here, and a video taken on a cell phone.

This light shines yet again for no good reason: the gratuitous killing of a black person by a white police officer. But its glow means that this man’s passing will not go unexamined; both reinforcing the fact that everyone of us alive is part of and needs to be protected by  a new social fabric and sharpening our focus on a passionate critique of our “normal” institutions of law and order and more generally on how much we trust in the status quo of authorities.

Thank you Agnes for this remarkable verse, lovely in its own right for the perfect cadence of the first line, but also for challenging me as leader to rethink how offerings to our renku section, “Current Events” should be evaluated.

We’ve reached the half-way point in our Kasen Renku, travelers. Congratulations and thanks to each of you for offering and contributing. Now we begin to loop back with 3 lines, Current Events. And i will not be stressing the rawness of broadcast news for this link though i am again looking for content of global significance.

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

scanning an empty platform
as the train chugs off

      –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

I sit in silence
behind the steering wheel

    –Paul Geiger

the ewe gently nudges
her lambs to move on

      –Mary Kendall

one white tulip
in a sunlit border
glows against the green

      –Marietta McGregor

another soul in the limelight
of #blacklivesmatter

      –Agnes Eva Savich

This Post Has 94 Comments

  1. Marshall, I just wanted to say thank you for choosing and connecting with this verse! I’ve only just seen it, as I started a new job and then was gone in the mountains on vacation; it’s been a whirlwind few weeks. I’m very honored to be included in this renku, and am glowing from your comments.

    1. thanks for working on this, Paul -this is an image from peace marches that has now been made salient by these outlines -going “white tulips” to “blacklivesmatter” to chalk outlines won’t do however with its white-black-white -still a strong poem on its own

    1. very well-written, Marilyn and worthy of inclusion if only the Nice massacre wasn’t such a sudden jolt to our confidence in the world’s security for innocent people -so, thanks

    1. Capital keeps on flowing, Paul -has to go somewhere -like our attention, i guess -want something more compelling to remember these “so many fallen” by

    1. yeah, Michael Henry, CNBC is running the speeches side by side on-line at this moment -i guess i would say, ‘right from her mouth’ 8 years ago -what a ‘campaign’

    1. good, raw emotion felt in this offering, joel -though just too metaphorical for our renku

    1. Using a foreign term complicates things. Of course it’s part of the Marseillaise and the events leading up to the French revolution. Here’s an alternate version if you feel ‘sanglant’ doesn’t fit this renku:
      Bastille Day
      another bloody

      1. yeah, this is better than “sanglante”, Mary, but we already have one like this from Marion Clark -but thanks

    1. this one could be a headline, Michael Henry -maybe social media have so much visual content that offerings like this need a picture to be fully appreciated

    1. again, poetic observation, Michael Henry, not a headline repeated pointedly

    1. yeah, Michael Henry, ‘all too common’ I think he called them once -still this is a summary, not a headline

    1. a poetic observation, Patrick -what I want here is the bald statement repeated in verse

    1. yeah, paul, that’s more like a headline -though, to be fair to you and others as contributors, the Bastille Day horror is the topic i’m leaning towards -how it’s written is still open to all -but thanks

    1. hello Hazel -this offering arrives out of the blue -we’re attempting to link into our renku another verse of ‘Current Events’ or activities that have global repercussions -this verse could be of perpetual help in a section on ‘Greenhouse Gas Effect Reversal’ -but that’s not what we’re looking for right now

    1. too close to ‘rabble rousing’, Michael Henry -early America wasn’t easy on women accused of adultery either

    1. have to look this one up, Michael Henry -can’t imagine it’s worse than his hairdo

    1. understand that this is outer space, Carol -but it sounds like Roman mythology doesn’t it? -anyway, i can’t see how we can overlook the Bastille Day massacre -unless something even more horrific happens in the next few days

    1. which is too funny for this section, Judt -we can’t ‘opt out’ of climate change any more than we can ‘opt out’ of living on earth -we opted out of climate change prevention in 1967 -but it’s too bad the scientists didn’t demand the terminology stay correct; it’s the greenhouse gas effect that’s affecting life on earth to a dismal effect -‘climate change’ could be a good thing if it reversed desertification, provided more land for cultivation, etc.

      1. Too silly, to be sure…apologies. Just sarcasm about May closing the climate office after Brexit

    1. sorry, Barbara, don’t know the reference for this -Ceaucescu was the closest i can think of -and the revolutionaries in Romania killed him first and then announced their coup

      1. sorry, Barbara -missed the reference to the coup attempt in Turkey in your verse -will look at it again, thanks

    1. From the current journal of Science

      In the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, when one of a trio of bungling prison escapees angrily asks another, “Who elected you leader of this outfit?” his buddy smugly quips, “I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought.” Indeed, abstract conceptual thought is held to be so central to being human that the idea of someone being incapable of this kind of thinking is a subject for (sometimes rather cruel) humor. Interest in understanding the capacity for abstract thought has been a matter of serious consideration that dates back at least three centuries to the famous English philosopher John Locke. Locke confidently contended that “brutes abstract not” (1) and insisted that exhibiting abstract thought definitively divided humans from all other animals. However, no science then existed to confirm or refute Locke’s contention. On page 286 of this issue, Martinho and Kacelnik (2) put the claim that animals are incapable of abstract thought to a strong behavioral test.
      Science: 353 (6296)”

    2. I don’t think, Betty, this a time to be touting the superiority of the human species

      1. actually, it’s just the opposite, Marshall…the study is how birds (in this case, ducks) are able to discriminate thus putting our supposed superiority to shame

    1. not going along with this one, Judt -the “headsman” would have some consensual authority behind him and the crowd would know what was coming -this looks like a totally ‘surprise attack’

      1. Actually, referencing the public executions in Saudi Arabia…but maybe the crowds are more blase’…?

    1. a more muted offering, Marion -but kinda tough after you’ve seen the video footage of the wrapped-up bodies just left on the streets awaiting pick-up

    1. not the truck driver -he’d just got out of jail, Marion, for assault with a weapon -first line is appropriately acrid

      1. Yes, Marshall, I was referring to a report from the Financial Times that suggested he was not known to have had links to terrorism. It said that Lahouaiej Bouhlel was known to police as a petty criminal and had a conviction for assault but that he had not come to the attention of the intelligence services that monitor terrorist threats.

        1. yeah, okay, i guess i thought 6 months incarceration for assault with a weapon by a man with such a name after what happened in Paris in November would raise a flag -guess not

    1. understand you’re summing up -but this would be a horrible amount of waste Marion -is this from one country or area? it’s alarming even a year’s waste from anywhere would be “buried”

      1. Marshall, this is from an article in the Financial Times entitled ‘Nuclear Waste: Keep out for 100,000 years’. It described a maze of concrete tunnels in France which, If final approval is given from the French government, will be used from 2025 to store the most destructive and indestructible waste in history, the residue of more than half a century of nuclear power. I was truly shocked by the information.

        1. okay, Marion -i guess they think in for an ounce, in for a million years -humans should never use something they don’t know how to recycle -never bothered us before -many of these decisions have already been made and we don’t hear about them

  2. it should have read
    the bull fighter’s death
    with mixed reviews

    1. yeah, Michael Henry, this is more grammatically correct -his timing was doubly bad though, when compared to the magnitude of the Bastille Day massacre

    1. “remains”, Marion, does take some of the bite out of this one -more recovery than rescue mission

    1. can’t have “black” two verses in a row, Michael Henry -even in this section

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