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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 25

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 contributors. Here’s what I’ve chosen for verse 25:

if only I could fit
an arm chair
into my wine cellar

            Liz Ann Winkler

This verse presents a counter-factual to the “heat” without trying to show a resolution by human agency. The arms of “arm chair” link to the “barely moving” wings of the gull and transport us to a ‘below-the-surface’ succor of coolness and the intimation of both intoxicating beverages and a choice of vintages.

All this, yet it maintains a tone of wistfulness and personal imagination. It has both an “I” and a “my” but doesn’t ever become a reality and it still has more the feeling of elation than defeat.

“Wine cellar” not only removes us from the overbearing heat at the world’s surface but brings us underground and ‘above-it-all’ at the same time in both a literal and a culturally figurative sense. Thank you very much, Liz Ann.

And now we need, for verse 26, 2 lines, no particular season. Remember we need to link in an oblique way, avoid a narrative extension, stay away from words or actions already used and also to shift into another openly inclusive realm. Tall an order as this sounds, you’ve all been doing this remarkably for 25 verses. I salute all who have offered!

And continued 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

beaming with joy
the first visitor presents
a tray of passionfruit

    –Barbara A. Taylor

the commuter car full
of personal devices

    –Michael Henry Lee

with a touch of her finger
the goddess of wind
marcels the tall grasses

    –Patrick Sweeney

a gull’s wings barely moving
in the midday heat

    –Polona Oblak

if only I could fit
an arm chair
into my wine cellar

    –Liz Ann Winkler

This Post Has 150 Comments

    1. feels like you’re responding to Judt’s offered link, Aalix -otherwise there’s no context for this at verse at all

    1. two liquids too concentrated, Aalix -and don’t like the mention of “haiku” in a renku -makes it too self-absorbed

      1. “night air” is better, Marion but this suggests a turn from day to night that i don’t want to have here (the moon verse is still a little away) -last verse begins with “if” that makes “sniffs” dodgy here as well

    1. sounds lovely, Marion -but could lead us into a comparison of each of our favourite bridges and a game of nursery rhymes rather than verses that link into an elegant poem

    1. hi Marion -from the “if only” to science fiction isn’t where i wanted this renku to go now

    1. ah, open-air painting, Betty – I used to do most of my ‘first draft’ writing out of doors -but “heavenly hued” overdoes the ‘set’ theme here -I like the word ‘hue’ but always worry that, by context, it could be heard as the quarried, ‘hewn’ -the double “h” feels that uncomfortable to me here

    1. too long in the words and syllables, Vasile -“fire …anything” is off for the rest of the renku as well

    1. ah, Vasile, looking into the virtuality of another person’s mind -somewhat pretentious as it portends evil deeds -but “the shade” is too close to the “cellar” anyway

    1. no, joel, going from under in the “cellar” to “up” on the “lift” too predictable here

    1. interesting again, Marietta, in that this could either be a person preparing a highly dignified welcome or, conversely, a rug salesperson -but “mint tea” right after the hint of “wine” just too great a concentration of drinking fluids in one part of our renku

    1. so the “red” relates to the” wine” and “the port hole” to the cellar, Barbara? I guess i’ll say again, i’m looking for more complexity in the images or in t heinterpretations of the activity

    1. flips bottom to up, Barbara, but keeps the wine; actually on a higher keel -still reads mostly like a re-focusing of the previous; not a deep enough shift

  1. even the bloody* gnome
    travels more than we do
    Marshall, I wasn’t sure if words like “damn” or “bloody” are acceptable in Renku. I could substitute “blasted” of course. Is there a rule to follow?

    1. sure, Mary, “bloody” and “damn” are “acceptable if they’re appropriate -but a verse of self-denigrating attitude, however light-hearted is not -mangles our renku towards self-evaluation

    1. want to move on from the “wine cellar”, Mary -not into its own ‘proper’ associations, however lovely

    1. I have seen links in other renku, not led by me, that go back in the process of one of the elements in the previous verse, Mary -but it’s not for ‘my’ renku as it suggests ’cause-and-effect’, narrative and explanatory reasoning that i think work against the play of haiku-related poetry

    1. repeats too much of the previous verse’s condition, Marilyn, so as to bring stasis into our renku where we don’t want it

      1. hi Betty -don’t know what “cernettes” are -but do know i don’t want to follow an imagined possibility with a romp into virtual space

    1. very ceremonious, Betty -and takes us to London town -just doesn’t ‘work’ here for me

    1. nice oblique “up” from the cellar link, Lorin -but don’t want to suggest genealogy here

    1. the straight ’cause-and-effect’ here, Marietta, to be avoided in renku and in haiku-related poetry in general

    1. a little less of a ‘narrative run’ to this one Marietta -but still slightly predictable from the subterranean origin in the previous verse

    1. going up in the opposite direction, Marietta is a good shift -just feels too much like it’s either summer or spring

  2. just because, I guess, here’s one I had culled from this last offering:
    dust caked child
    turns the dry spigot

    1. this is great, Judt -i’d forgotten it was the child that was “dust baked” -the “dry” might seem a bit overwritten but i’ve thought about it and it’s the best way to say ’empty of fluid’ so i’d let it stay as it is, in place of my previous adjustment -thanks

      1. I don’t know why I can’t stop picking at things; and you, of course, are the one who knows what fits. But somehow the cadence here seems sort of flat. Probably no improvement, but wondering about:
        a dust caked child
        turning the dry spigot
        Over and out!

    1. ironic adjustment of the technology changing the setting on the human, Mary -but i’m not looking for any irony here (i know you’d have no way of knowing that) but you should know the practice of people working for machines i find deplorable

    1. this simply creates conflict without leaving the house, Marion, when we don’t need conflict or reversal (Aristotle on Tragedy) to proceed and we do need to leave the house (i’ve decided only after i received some offerings)

    1. interesting play on the “arm chair” in the cellar, Marion but the third line is just too much of a ‘breath-full’ for one line

    1. links with the “if only” of the previous verse, Marion -and the “incense” we had previously is far enough away -just don’t want too ‘subjective imaginings’ in a row

    1. ‘he’s vintage’ would be an even stronger statement of the link, Marion -though I’ve seen a lot of music performed in a cellar, i don’t want our renku to stay indoors at this point

  3. if only I could fit
    an arm chair
    into my wine cellar

    –Liz Ann Winkler
    Dad’s bathroom break
    reading War and Peace
    – Karen Cesar

    1. could be read as a continuation of the previous verse as though we’re on the brink of a narrative, Betty -don’t want to do that

    1. intriguing link, Betty to the “wine” and with steps to and from the cellar -though not what i’m looking for here

  4. if only I could fit
an arm chair
into my wine cellar
    . –Liz Ann Winkler
    a mystery ingredient
    in the priest’s chalice

  5. Liz, congratulations on a truly delightful offering.
    if only I could fit
an arm chair
into my wine cellar
    –Liz Ann Winkler
    an iceberg melts
    as seals swim ‘round

    1. yeah, Barbara, i know about the prizes -“jig-saw pieces” sounds too self-referent to our renku -“this Paleo diet” too personal for what i’m looking for here

    1. sorry, Marietta, to keep harping on this -but the breath break on the first line would be “pirates choosing sides/” which leaves “allow their youngest mate to join” too long and adds the feel of a kireji here where we definitely don’t want it -just running lines on over their natural cadence is no solution

      1. I don’t every time, but I should ALWAYS say a verse out loud not just in my head, for the breath break! Don’t worry that you may be harping, Marshall, it’s a learning process for me.

  6. if only I could fit
    an arm chair
    into my wine cellar
    – Liz Ann Winkler

    Thank you, Liz!

    she loses her balance
    at the news

    1. this one, Debbie, just too vague -unless you relate it to your previous offering -which we can’t do within our renku -so readers not reading all the commentaries would have no idea how this linked to the previous verse or what “the news” were

      1. don’t necessarily want to continue going down through the cellar, “beneath earth’s crust.” Dianne -did you really mean to put a period after “crust”? -also, thousands of activities are going on below the crust to focus on the “maggots” seems like a strained attempt to evoke our mortality -which we do at a leisurely pace in our renku, especially in our ‘moon verses’ -don’t need this abrupt reminder

    1. very witty, Debbie -the river’s crest in flooding season would see its banks ‘outperformed’ -so it would be like a money bank demanding collateral cashed in when you need your assets most -have to consider this link for its humour again later -thanks

  7. THRILLED to learn my offering will be part of this Renku. Every time I read the whole, I am impressed by the choices. Thank you Marshall and to those who keep contributing and inspire us all to stay in the game.

    1. winning athletes linked to award-winning wines, Barbara? This is so short it would speed up our renku -that we don’t want to do until verse 32 or so -‘moving quickly to conclusion’ -one like this then maybe?

    1. certainly has a dramatic effect, Marietta -in terms of renku flow, “a wombat rambling/ near the electric fence” would be better -but when I read this, i have the impression of the heat or flame of electricity surging into the wombat if it hits the fence -and we have to move on from heat or flame here

    1. repeats both the liquidity of “wine” and the enclosure of “cellar”, Aalix -one repetition might have been okay -two is just too much

    1. yes, Judt, it is tough without the word, “heat” -what about “a child in Time (italicized)/ by a dust-caked spigot” -“photograph” has a great sound here but makes it too long and i feel the ‘child’ is an essential part of the pathos, even if we can assume the locale could be anywhere -not worried about the ewe and her lambs either

      1. Hi Marshall…yes, my previous post included a child turning a dry or dust caked spigot. I like the idea of combining the child with the Time magazine thing. Thank you!

        1. Hi Marshall,
          Not sure, but have been wondering if this might flow a bit better…
          in Time a child
          by a dust caked spigot

  8. Trying “Gaza spigot” without using the word “heat”…hmmm.
    dry spigot
    in Gaza dust

  9. if only I could fit
    an arm chair
    into my wine cellar

    –Liz Ann Winkler
    counting the cost
    of provoking Montresor
    – Karen Cesar

  10. if only I could fit
    an arm chair
    into my wine cellar

    –Liz Ann Winkler

    muttering under his breath:
    measure twice cut once
    – Karen Cesar

    1. thanks, Maureen -yes, Liz Ann’s has an uncanny sense to it -this offering is good too as far as it goes. In some US cities poor men collect soda bottles for food money while in my Toronto legions of mostly men and some women collect left out beer cans and wine bottles whether they’re derelict or not

    2. sounds like the worker is continuing the action from the previous verse, Karen -something we’ve been avoiding in this renku where the emphasis has been on ‘shift’

  11. Congrats, Liz Ann! What an intriguing verse. It lingers. Brilliant choice, Marshall.
    the homeless woman
    collecting cans

    1. so, Betty, this would be a psychoanalyst’s couch down in the wine cellar? -very underground -and the “complex” may account for the multitude of ‘uprisings’ in our world -but maybe you’re just commenting on my repeated requests for ‘complexity’? yes, “explore further”

    1. well done, Michael -relates to the wine and sets up the next verse very nicely -i’ll consider this one again later -thanks

    1. can’t go back to “daylight” after escaping the “heat”, Marietta -mythology also a good idea, but I don’t understand your use of “Mithras” here, whom I only know as an obscure Roman deity

      1. Yes, a Roman god, Marshall. There’s a church in Rome, the Basilica of San Clemente, which is several churches one atop the other. The deepest holds a shrine to Mithras. The verse was sort of struggling up out of there, but I forgot ‘daylight/ heat’!

    1. Come on down, Marietta! We don’t get a lot of overly oppressive heat where I live in the Pacific Northwest but any excuse to sit back and sip a few cold ones will do.

    1. politics another possibility, Barbara -finding i have an aversion, though, to any more 8-or-more syllable lines

    1. would like this better, Paul as “walking to work/ with reflections on time travel” -removes the flirt with ’cause-and-effect’ -but is still on the ‘too straightforward’ side for this verse -and when you smooth out the breath breaks, the second line is too long

    1. didn’t even think of a tv, Betty -interesting suggestion -i’ll consider this one again later -thanks

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