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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 19

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.

Many well-written verses were offered for this link this week. I’ve chosen:

Bastille Day

          –Marion Clarke

This is  a strong statement of celebration and its abrupt silencing. It gives witness to an event in a non-Anglophone culture that has worldwide ramifications. It also technically marks a “clean slate” of references as we begin the second 18 verses with a repetition of the word, “Day.”

For this verse, i still wanted something of the broadcast appeal element that this first line immediately carries. But i also wanted to continue the nuance of social media comment within it and felt this was achieved in the poignant ambivalence of the one-word second line, “fireworks.”

The third line, only the fourth word, has the finality of mortality to it; both for the festivities referenced and for the killer of many of its innocent participants. “Extinguished,” however, also brings to my mind the physical fire extinguisher that i’ve had occasion to use, a procedure that i each time felt was an artificial, momentary solution to a longer prevailing problem.

This was a verse whose link was its timeline coordination with the previous and one that needed a salient semantic force to it rather than poetic improvisation. And that’s what you gave to our renku here, Marion; three lines that pack a solid punch to our sense of vigilance. Thank you very much.

What we need now is 2 lines, New Years as a seasonality, both in our preparations for New Year’s Eve celebrations and/or in our resolutions for the new, solar calendar year. And unlike the previous verse, this one should link and poetically shift to and from our 19th, “Bastille Day” verse.

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

Bastille Day

      –Marion Clarke

This Post Has 104 Comments

    1. hi again, Carmen -this one’s after the Tuesday midnight EDT bell too -but “drown out” too close a parallel to “extinguished” anyway

    1. after the closing bell, Barbara -but can’t have “burning” link to “fireworks” anyway

    1. nice reminder, Marilyn, that this link can be about New Year’s Day and not just the eve -and they don’t have to be in sequential order -but sparrows, though they can be loud and certainly numerous just don’t plumb the depths of pathos that i think this link needs

    1. I like the defiance and celebration in this, Jennifer -and of course, ‘power to the people’ en francais locates this in France and for France but i think a whole line in French raises too many complexities in linking for this renku -but thanks

    1. this is an improvement, Mary -but you’re still using two particples too close together and there is no salient thing for a reader to meet your grief over

    1. appropriate sentiment here, Paul, but “father time” as you would well know puts this out of bounds from a renku

  1. Bastille Day

    Marian Clarke

    last day of the year
    a place set for the departed

    New Year’s Eve dinner
    a place set for those passed on

    year’s end
    candles light the empty spaces

    1. hello Mary -you don’t have to send two submissions as one email -in both versions the first and third lines restate an image that could already be understood: “last day” and “New Year’s Eve” in the first and “a place set” and “the empty spaces” in the second -when we ‘re trying to avoid any restatement within 18 verses, it blares out when there’s one in an offered link -ironically, we were looking for just 2 lines, that could have been in another version of yours, ‘candles light the empty settings/ for New Year’s Eve dinner’ -though I wouldn’t have chosen it for its having “candles” after the “fireworks” / “extinguished”

    1. too much of a shift of mood and feeling from the previous verse, Jennifer

  2. * correction *

    not one for resolutions
    let’s light another cigarette

    1. no, Jennifer, though i like the sentiment, not after the “fireworks” have been “extinguished”

    1. naw, Marilyn -“litter” while the memory of the bodies in Nice left wrapped up on sidewalks and tarmacks is still with us is just too rough

      1. wouldn’t New Year’s Eve be spent in dissolution, Mary? It’s the New Year that would, as a concept, house the resolve, and its memory -so the ‘punctuation mistake’ actually camouflaged a more expanded problem

        1. What you are saying is what I meant. On the first day of the year the things we have promised ourselves are already abandoned or questioned. The first line means just that. In reading it aloud it feels right to me. Clearly I’m wrong. Not sure I see another fix.

          1. I guess rephrasing it to the more familiar words works but maybe loses my link with Marion’s verse?
            New Year’s resolutions
            gone but not forgotten

    1. this is fine, Marietta, in that it links in sympathy with the previous verse and has many ‘in’, ‘ni’ and ‘mi’ sounds of solidarity -seems a bit too muted to me though for the happiness that might be boisterous at midnight time

    1. this is getting better, joel; nice link, just a little bit of overwriting still to weed out: “silent vigil”, “life and peace”

    1. quite droll of you, Aalix -and appropriately out of poetic cadence -not so light with the ones who didn’t “make it” through bastille Day though

    1. this one has potential, Patrick; a prehistoric ritual paired with an ‘arcane word’, “klieg”, implying studio lighting from across the universe -thanks, will reconsider tomorrow

      1. not using this here, Patrick but like how cosmic and ancient this is -the next link will be ‘New Year’s -3 lines’ -perhaps you could devlope this with the same sense of mystery into a 3 liner for the next one? thanks

      1. yeah, Betty, gotta watch out for them ‘green-collared workers’ -understand this is an ‘early American’ tradition for the New Year’s dinner but don’t like “back burner” linking with the ambivalence of the “fireworks” of the previous verse

    1. and the next one will be AFTER the next US Presidential election -much prefer your ‘hospice’ one, Gabriel

    1. okay, Gabriel; we repeated, in the last verse “day” from the hokku, as all was renewed -but to repeat, “snow” in the very next verse would be too much for me

    1. almost a ‘love-verse’, Marietta, for the Scots -and way too joyous to be linking with the “Bastille Day”, and the “fireworks”

      1. I wish we could delete here, but since we can’t, may I simply this further (and apologize for the previous versions):
        a welcomed cup o’ kindness
        on this New Year’s morn

        1. no need to apologise, Mary -just keep in mind that we have to link as well as shift on topic -the abbreviated ‘of’ to ‘o’ though perhaps colloquial adds a quaintness to the link that is really ‘off’

          1. Marshall, you mentioned you were looking for actual words from Auld Lang Syne and that is one of the lines. I don’t actually speak like that, which is why I shouldn’t have attempted this.

    1. hi Mary -we want to try to keep things flowing, as, for example ‘and now the customary calm/ of New Year’s morning’ though this would be too unfeeling after “Bastille Day”

    1. still trying to find a link, Marilyn -and a bit too much of a stop-kireji between lines for here

    1. Awww thank you so much, Mary. That’s so nice of you.

      I must say I loved your Bastille Day offering and suspect mine would not have been up there if I hadn’t posted it first! 🙂


  3. Auld Lang Syne trailing off
    as revelers head home
    sorry for clogging the works…all done with this

  4. i’ll try again -the blog posted my reply in a wonkie area-and Karen and i just drove for 5.5 hours for what should be a 3.5 hour drive -and it was 100 F -i’ll look at this one again, Michael Henry and in the meantime let my replies land where they may -cheers to all

    1. I hope you have both recovered from that automobile ordeal, Marshall.

      Thanks so much for choosing my verse – my husband thought I’d won a lottery when he heard my reaction earlier! And thank you again for your inspirational leadership in this renku. 🙂


      1. yeah, Saturday, the next day, Karen had to drive the 500 miles from Northampton to Toronto after we visited her mom in the nursing home (i don’t drive) -and it went fine -tolls are very high for trucks and vans on the thruway -but still mucho tired -glad you’re so happy to be included -you’ve had many that were good -this one was special -and you’re very welcome -MH

  5. assuming you meant, “oysters”, Michael Henry, i’d like to consider this one again -so thanks for this offering and thank-you for the kind words as well

    1. Yes I did mean oysters ( surprised spell check missed the goof up)
      I just returned from a visit with my grand kids, my grandson turned
      13 on 7/22 and 7/23 was my 63rd . Kanpai All

    2. Yes I did mean oysters ( surprised spell check missed the goof up)
      I just returned from a visit with my grand kids, my grandson turned
      13 on 7/22 and 7/23 was my 65th . Kanpai All

    1. hi Maria -first line a nicely succinct statement but as a link to the Bastille Day massacre in just too rough -your second one, with the “holly sprigs” is most refreshing, but too gleeful within this same context -sorry to condense comments, but i’m having trouble posting replies -MH

    1. thanks, Judt, i was hoping for an ‘Auld Land Syne’ reference for its line “may auld acquaintance be forgot” for instance -so, we’ll see if this holds up

      1. Thanks, Marshall…it’s nice to be back in the ballpark at least. I don’t have a TV or subscribe to a newspaper.

      1. yeah, pretty run-of-the-mill Eeyore at that -not even ‘in days of Eeyore’ Judt, but we know you can and will do better

    1. could be a wildly psychedelic blasting in the New Year – but though Canadian, i was not a fan of them and this verse is just too ‘phantasy-mythological’ for where we are right now

  6. Well done, Marion :-). . . and I second Michael on the rest.

    Bastille Day

    –Marion Clarke

    in the New Year’s heatwave
    resolutions melt away


    1. nice reminder, Lorin that ‘Down Under’ it would be a after-summer-solstice’ New Year and probably even hotter than it is here right now -be a twist on “extinguished” from the previous verse too -thanks, i’ll consider this one again

      1. Yep, Marshall 🙂 … the New Year (like Christmas and Ramadan) is a calendar date, not a “season of nature” if we’re including the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere. It’s been a long time since Christopher Columbus found Sth. America.
        (Wish I was in Canada right now… I’ve never been so cold in my life as this winter! )

        – Lorin

        1. only 28 C today, Lorin -was 32 or so yesterday -we came home to a lot of long-drawn faces

  7. @ this our half way point i would like to congratulate all the previous contributors and thank marshall for his creative leadership *********************************************************
    forgoing any resolutions
    for champagne and oystes

    1. Yes, Michael, I also really look forward to Marshall’s comments and observations every week as I learn such a lot. Congratulations to all who have had work selected to date: I’m delighted and honoured to have finally had a verse selected.

      Sláinte, Marshall! 🙂


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