Skip to content

The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 20

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 revelers! Here’s our verse 20:

recruitment of volunteers
for the hospice New Year’s Eve

            –Gabriel Sawicki

A generous sense of sympathy links this verse to the previous, joining the killing of innocents in “Bastille Day” to the surrender to the process of death by innocent patients in a hospice. These latter ones would still attempt the celebration or perhaps only the acknowledgement of renewal in spite of their own condition and this only expands the sense of generosity.

I like how the length of each of the two lines augments the vertical jolt of the previous verse, horizontally spreading its concern for the victims; “recruitment” being redoubled by the further potential in “volunteers” who may in turn then recruit even others.

“Hospice” first brings to my mind a place of palliative care for those who are about to succumb to AIDS and the HIV virus but more generally suggests a place of calm reserved for those with no hope of surviving an affliction. And this verse suggests their own brave solidarity with those who can vigorously celebrate the renewal of human culture.

A wonderful sense of extended and expanding humanity expressed in a direct and unadorned verse at a time when this kind of attention itself feels to be under attack. Thank you. Gabriel!

And for our next verse we need 3 lines, more of New Year’s as a seasonal renewal. The cast of nouns is completely open, save for repeating “New Year’s” or references to things that burn or people in uniforms.

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

recruitment of volunteers
for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

This Post Has 168 Comments

  1. Incredible site. A great deal of accommodating data here. I¡¯m sending it to a few buddies ans moreover partaking in heavenly. Also, clearly, thank you on your perspiration!

  2. Thanks for sharing such type of great tips for the blogger in blogging. I have read your tips that help me a lot to grow my
    own business also.
    It’s help people who are new to blogging and want to grow their blog fast.
    thanks for sharing this article

  3. So far, I managed to go though only some of the posts you have here, but I find them very interesting and informative. Just want say thank you for the information you have shared.

  4. great website
    hey there visit my post for wishes and quotes for the new year 2018 in Indonesia
    in my website, I have posted wishes and image quotes in a categorized manner for your loved ones your gf/bf your relatives your family and all your friends thus there’s amazing wishes and images for this coming new year 2018 for all my Indonesian brothers and sisters, thank you

  5. Michael Henry an intriguing first offering -little too ‘clipped’ after the ‘short three line’ to ‘long two line’ of the previous two links -also, since presenting this as a season “first/ warm day”

  6. Link” refers to the connections or relations between adjacent stanzas; “shift” has to do with the diversity of topics and materials and the progression of the renku.

  7. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

    gathered by his bed
    we all inhale deeply
    Canadian weed

    – Lorin

    1. guess i prefer passionfruit to peaches, Lorin -and would rather we didn’t conceptualize a whole year in our renku, even if it holds true for some people’s lives

      1. What you will, naturally, Marshall, as far as your preferences for fruit goes, but I wouldn’t say that a traditional gift at the beginning of a year (as here) involves conceptualization of a whole year. I don’t get what you mean, but it’s not for the first time, so never mind.

        – Lorin

        1. …and next morning, I’m still wondering what you might mean, Marshall. Perhaps it’s not peaches, but someone wearing a red monkey costume on New Year’s Day that would “conceptualize a whole year in our renku” ?
          If so, would you say that someone wearing a Santa Claus costume during the Christmas period in a renku verse would also “conceptualize a whole year” ?

          – Lorin

    1. a reference to Amelia Earhart? for a New Year’s Eve verse? Betty, isn’t this a stretch too far?

      1. Yes and No…it’s that Howland Island is the last place in the world time wise for the New Year to begin…and Amelia still lives in our hearts and dreams as a strong woman who dared to think big.

    1. poignant and lovely, Maureen, but it feels that something has been left out between the previous verse and this one

    1. hi again, Marvyne -looks as if you’re trying to balance the new year’s arrival and greeting -and i’m looking for something that extends the previous verse’s spreading outreach

    1. yeah, Marion, i’m aware of different spellings of the ‘life’s water’ in different cultures -looking to step out of custom here, i think

    1. as is the custom, more or less, right, Marion? -maybe we need something a little less customary here

    1. happy enough verse, Marion -but no gaiety to the verse itself -makes me feel we’re past this part of ‘group generic feeling’ in our ‘New Year’s section’

    1. kind of a summary response to the ‘first foot’ suggestions, eh, Marion -pretty cold and usually empty lumps and promises

    1. oops – weird line break!

      a toast to Dad
      with the whiskey
      we’ve snuck in
      BTW we really did take a nightcap into the local hospice (for terminal cancer patients) in a little medicine bottle when my father was dying, so although it wasn’t New Year’s Eve, it is based on something that happened five years ago this month.
      a toast
      to our father’s health
      with illicit whiskey

      1. so very strong linking to the hospice part, none to the New Year’s, Marion -and i understand that just from reading this verse you wouldn’t know it wasn’t in fact at New Year’s Eve -but i want something ‘still spreading outward’ in this link

  8. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

    yesterday’s revels
    fade into a catheter’s
    drip, drip


    1. But it’s likely that any sign of liquids in this verse, even if they’re not water as such, takes us back to last-but-one’s “extinguished”.

      – Lorin

      1. I could see some liquids going into this verse, Lorin -just not the ones that go into a catheter -could put the whole year ‘in the tank’, so to speak

    1. very hum-drum, Marilyn -“the holidays” could group “Bastille Day”with “New Year’s” which we don’t want to do

    1. cheerful enough, Aalix -but wouldn’t the balloons be rising? -or it’s so late they’ve (the balloons) lost their buoyancy and are sinking -which is not very positive for our hospice-goers

    1. moves us a bit, Mary -but goes mostly sideways from the hospice, almost in parallel to the previous verse -gotta avoid that

      1. What about the alternate I posted that doesn’t allude to the food kitchen? Sharing Hoppin’ John with anyone who stops by is a way of wishing luck and good fortune in the new year.
        doling out portions
        of Hoppin’ John
        to hungry visitors

    1. nice wit here, Paul -but except for the tummy’s impulses, not much that appeals to the senses

    1. “genesis” seems totally gratuitous here, Marilyn -“after the storm” recalls the opening line of our renku as well

    1. this one has promise, Betty -and does address the hospice setting -thanks, i’ll consider this one again

    1. I guess you’ll know by the time you read this, Judt, i’m on the outs with calendars for this link

    1. this has a lot of ‘New Year’s’ to it Carmen -but not much of a link to our fist ‘New Year’s’ verse

    2. I thought the connection between volunteers and apprentices has a subtle link because those who volunteer and those who are apprentices often become full-timers.

      1. well, it is a link, Carmen -but these are not the kind of volunteers i’m looking for here

    1. don’t want something measured like a calendar here, Judt -looking for something moving through and out of the hospice

    1. this is much better, Marion -and we could leave out the first “the” and the “on” on line 3 and make it even more immediate -will consider again, thanks

    1. don’t need to hear about the old year, Marion -even during the party -let’s look forward

  9. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve
    –Gabriel Sawicki


    all of us gathered
    as bluewater sailors
    reach the river

  10. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve
    –Gabriel Sawicki


    all of us gathered
    as bluewater yachts
    sail in

    1. interesting, Marietta, in that it makes the speaker part of the recruited -i’ll have another look at this one, thanks

    1. once you have a simile you have too much distance from your subject in renku, Michael Henry

  11. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve
    –Gabriel Sawicki

    all of us gathered
    to celebrate
    the bluewater arrival

    1. not ‘crazy’ about these calendrical offerings, Maria -I want something that links and shifts to a possible New Year’s gathering at a hospice

    1. good to hear from you, Marvyne -refreshing cadences here, but can’t use it because it repeats “snow” from our hokku -and actually part of the title

  12. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

    missing you
    I begin the year
    in the green room of a wave

    – Lorin

  13. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

    the first day
    on pause in the green room
    of a wave

    – Lorin

    1. yes, Lorin, we can’t repeat the word, “year” but this relates to the previous verse only vaguely

    1. looking for how this links to the scene in the hospice, Jennifer -whereas in ‘Current Events’ the immediate time-line links the two verses of the section, i’m treating “new Year’s’ as an organic seasonality and the two verses still need to have some tangible link between them

    1. liked this Barbara, but my response didn’t take -but i’ll be keeping this around for another look -appreciate that you actually linked to the previous ‘scene’

    1. usually because she wins the parents prizes, Marietta -I don’t take this kind of popular culture to be a positive thing -and if you mean it that way, we’re not looking for irony or judgment here

      1. Not really meaning to be ironic or judgmental, Marshall, but meant more as a signifier of welcoming a new beginning. It’s a bit of a longstanding Aussie ritual for local papers to feature the fhe first baby born in the early hours of every New Year. I made her a girl this time. Not sure if the parents get any prizes other than a nice photo op.

          1. well the parent s do win prizes in the U.S. and Canada -but also this would link back to the ‘Curent Events’ (=news) section

        1. This is done in the states too–they publish a picture of the mom and first baby born closest to midnight. No prizes go with it, just the excitement itself. 🙂

    1. enthused relief from moral concerns, Patrick -thanks for that -I was hoping for a restatement of your neo-Neolithics banging their pots and pans and would probably have much more truck with this save for the third line -it even follows a full stop

    1. hi Michael Henry -I need help with “paper lobsters” -no idea what this refers to -please let me and us know

      1. it is a Japanese New Year’s tradition I learned of from the net
        I never have had the opportunity to visit Japan so I’m hopeful it is accurate. Apparently it is A Shinto related belief,” •Japanese make lobsters with paper and decorate their house with them. They think that they back side of the lobsters resembles an aged person, which symbolizes an earnest desire for endurance”

        1. thanks for the info, Michael -shift from hospice to a person’s house of long-living too jarring for me

    1. joining in the homilies, eh, Michael Henry -there’s no need to preach, even subtly -we need acute and palimpsest observations

  14. recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve
    –Gabriel Sawicki

    Roman candles
    I snap open a new package
    of underwear

    1. fun, Carlos, but “underwear” a bit rough linking to an AIDS hospice -also “new” here totally redundant

  15. Congratulations, Gabriel! A salient and poignant verse. Excellent choice, Marshall. Your commentary is highly affecting.
    an ancient pine
    fills with sparrows
    on the first dawn

    1. upbeat and hinting at abundance, Maureen -the link might be a bit tenuous, but i’ll consider this again later -thanls

      1. didn’t mean the New Year’s verse to be a confessional, Betty -we’re looking for a turn to the positive here -sorry but scales and calendars leave me cold

    1. I think, Maria, it needs to be ‘on the new calendar’ that would make for three articles in three lines and you’re probably trying to avoid that -but it doesn’t ‘work’ as it is

      1. Hi Marshall.
        Yes, I was trying to avoid the last article. In my native language there are no articles at all so sometimes it is problematic for me where I should write an article and where it is not necessary.

    1. still has a bit of the liturgical to it, Paul -the “joy” here feels a bit too rarefied

    1. we need some sort of emotional appeal in our verses, Mary -give us something particular in one new day to involve our senses

  16. An excellent transition, Gabriel. Congratulations!
    recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve
    –Gabriel Sawicki
    in the beginning
    death and life
    rebirth and renewal

  17. Nice verse, Gabriel,

    hmmm, Marshall: “3 lines, more of New Year’s as a seasonal renewal.” Perhaps Chinese New Year is that, in the Northern hemisphere. But by the Western calendar it’s the dead of winter or the height of Summer.

    recruitment of volunteers
    for the hospice New Year’s Eve

    –Gabriel Sawicki

    Pope Gregory’s year
    begins January 1st
    but the bears sleep on

    – Lorin

    1. yes, Lorin -i think it’s my innovation to have New Year’s considered as a season section since it’s one that the Japanese sabaki i know of don’t use but i do it because it’s such a ‘human season’ in Japan where for instance one tries to pay all one’s debts down to zero to start the new calendar year with a reconciled and clean slate. Also, so many people in Japan, poets and most everyone literate wishes someone else good luck in the ‘new year’ = next complete cycle, during this part of the year -it has a ‘physical season’ component that happens between winter and spring, so i don’t use a fall season section before it or a spring season section after it.
      So, paradoxically, i’m abstracting a specifically Japanese ‘season’ and using it in a way a Japanese sabaki would not.
      So your verse makes clear the disjunction of most natural seasonalities of New Year from the human cultural New Year but this disjunction is not what i’m looking for here

      1. Hi Marshall,
        This is my favourite Japanese New Year haiku:

        New Year’s Eve cleaning
        The carpenter hangs a shelf
        in his own house
        – Basho

        Written long ago by Basho, but just as relevant today. Some things about human nature seem common cross cultures and across time. Any tradesman’s wife, world wide, will attest that L 3 shows a remarkable situation indeed. 🙂

        – Lorin

    1. again, Michael Henry an intriguing first offering -little too ‘clipped’ after the ‘short three line’ to ‘long two line’ of the previous two links -also, since presenting this as a season “first/ warm day” would confuse this with spring for a reader of renku

Comments are closed.

Back To Top