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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 27

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 fans everywhere. We have our verse 27. It is:

week after week
the geyser spout remains
frozen solid

              Barbara A. Taylor

“Gravitas” i found defined in my Oxford dictionary as ‘solemn seriousness.’ This was certainly the tone of Judt Shrode’s verse 26. Linking to it, Barbara has contributed a link by closeness; “spout” is so close to “spigot” that it supplants it, and by distance; the magnificence of the natural realm contrasted to the moral poverty of the human one.

The “spout” is lasting “week after week,” but it too is momentary; like winter, like all life. And people, for all their failed culture, may still have the wherewithal to stop and be amazed at something so astounding. Perhaps even in the dead of winter.

“Spout” is clearly the pivotal word, bringing to mind not just the portal of a faucet and the outlet of a water spray but also waterspouts; tornadoes over the sea and too, the air holes of dolphins and whales whence they blow clean when they surface to breathe the air.

Actually, in all its magnificence, Barbara has understated this phenomenon and maintained a degree of matching reserve. “Week after week” adds a touch of levity, playing upon the weakness the frozen fountain doesn’t have while giving the measure of the spout’s endurance by the length of time it takes us to adjoin a new link to our renku: weekly. Thank you very much, Barbara.

Now on to the next verse; a 2 liner of wintry seasonality -not needing to be so spectacular but just as focused on a particular activity or scene or event that would associate us with winter wherever we experienced it.

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

a dust caked child
turning a dry spigot

    –Judt Shrode

week after week
the geyser spout remains
frozen solid

    Barbara A. Taylor

This Post Has 130 Comments

        1. they all came through here, Mary -but we’re on the road and getting wifi to get the new verse intro was a problem -so I failed to reply on Wednesday, but I can tell you now that this offering is just fine as an image -just didn’t like the sound of “sled dogs give a shake” -but thanks for all your offerings

    1. “icicles’ too close to the “frozen solid” geyser spout, joel -but keep ’em comin’ -I like that you’ve left it open as to whether it’s a human or animal that’s doing the “tasting”

      1. playing on the human need for heat to signify winter is acceptable, Maria, but i’m looking for a positive push in ‘cold’s’ direction -I do like that “outstretched” could be for both warmth and aid -though again that would ‘link back’ to the “dust caked child”

    1. I like that you’ve offered a detailed link here, Maria, in contrast to the outdoor magnificence of the previous verse -the fancifulness of the first line a little too much for here -and really, this could be done in any season not just winter

    1. nice sound and cadence to this one, Liz Ann -have to consider whether i want this link to be ‘indoors’ -but thanks

    1. Oops, I used “ice” twice in this one:
      layers of ice shards
      in the icebreaker’s wake
      let’s change that to this:
      a flow of crackling shards
      in the icebreaker’s wake

      1. after the majesty of the frozen spout, Mary, we don’t want an “icebreaker” -bit of a ‘buzz-kill’

    1. because of the significance of the Uluru World Heritage Site, Marietta, being there would match the frozen spout in magnificence -which we don’t want -also, still a ’cause-and-effect’ moment

    1. brings me back to when i used to walk my son to school, Marietta -little too sedate for what i’m looking for here though -seems that all the excitement has already happened -we’re not quite at that place in our renku yet

      1. and fairly hilarious nods they are too, Betty, comforters, blue hairs and all. Around here you’d be buffeting a ‘nor’easter’ -but not for Lent. I wonder what Jimmy Buffet does in a storm?

    1. interesting word “stars”, Maria -i’m guessing it’s how snowflakes ‘sit up’ on some fabrics -also, “down” is multivalent as in both ‘feather down’ and the opposite direction from the geyser spout -as it is though, “stars” is just too ambiguous here

    1. yes, Michael, good indicator of when winter’s here (in the northern part of the north at least) -fairly devoid of sensual appeal, though -have to reconsider this, thanks

    1. we have no way of knowing this, Mary -this is of an emotion ascribed by one person to another without knowing if it’s true of the former -gotta avoid doing this

      1. Hmmm, not sure I get it, Marshall. I can’t imagine any human being doing those long, long, ski jumps and then flowing into the air parallel to their skis. It has to be an act of faith as much as skill. I didn’t intend emotion at all.

  1. ok, I promise these will be my last two “whipped by wind” offerings, lol:
    whipped by wind
    the dogsled pushes on
    whipped by wind
    an ice boat shoots ahead

    1. hi Mary -second one gives too much agency to the wind -and the first one reminds us that there is a human who has a whip, usually hitting the snow with it -and adds a degree of sluggishness to our renku that we don’t want to incur

    1. just being in a competition would be a triumph for them, Aalix, you’re right -bit too much of a let-down though after the majesty of the previous verse

    1. guess you’re linking with the ‘strangeness’, Judt, of the frozen spout by writing “wrong foot’ or “pulled on backwards” but I find i’m looking for something with more sensual appeal than that

    1. “cardinal” would appear in winter, but it’s song reminds us more of spring than wintriness, Judt -not looking for an escape from winter here

    1. we already have one from you, Judt, with “longest” -too much reinforcement of the “week after week” as well

  2. Thank you , Barbara, for such a wonderful verse! 🙂
    outside the window
    bare limbs reach up

    1. hi Debbie -first line is one i always feel sounds clumsy in my own verse -don’t know how to improve it -second line repeats the motion of the frozen geyser -which we don’t want to add to our renku

    1. link from magnificent nature to adrenaline-high skiers well-done, Betty -have to consider whether this is too close as a parallel motion to the previous verse -but thanks

    1. liked that song better, Betty, when the cop was singing along at a ‘stop’ sign on you tube

    1. way too long and wordy, Mojde -warning signs not often looked at, let alone, heeded in our renku -but we do like to be brief and evocative

    1. ‘never seen’, eh, Patrick -could even be ‘i was loving you’ too if your French is bad enough (j’amais vous instead of je vous aime) reminds me of The Scarlet Pimpernal too -and ‘scarf” is a winter indicator though the verse has nothing to do with winter “they seek him here/ they seek him there” -the Kinks, “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”

        1. this one, Marilyn, doesn’t have enough sensual or emotional appeal to follow such a momentous verse

      1. ah, so this is the one, Marilyn, from the previous link-offerings -shifts the implied ice from verticle to explicit and horizontal -still a surprising haunting feel to it – will look at this one again, thanks

    1. you know, Mary, line-ending prepositions not one of my favourites (smile) -i’d prefer something like ‘trudging ahead/ ice on his brow, in his beard’ -“ahead” here adding a degree of complexity besides its semantic function -and this still wouldn’t be a strong enough link to the geyser spout to be included

    1. good cadence to this, Vasile -have to reconsider this one again too, for the link to the unstated ‘ice’

    1. lovely idea, Marietta, but it actually repeats the formation of the geyser spout -though the switch from outdoors to indoors is very enticing

  3. week after week
    the geyser spout remains
    frozen solid

    – Barbara A. Taylor


    for cabin fever he suggests
    a beer stein of egg-nog

    1. nice overall image, Vasile -but beginning and ending a verse with a preposition; here: “on” ‘just won’t do’ in English-language poetry

    1. oh, so something like ‘they ski a further track/ humming an old folksong” -this would be okay, just want something more than ‘okay -but thanks, Vasile

    1. intriguing, Vasile, in that the first line implies a “track” possibly of skiing or skateboarding, then, “crooning” relates it to a vinyl or digital “track” of music -“former”, however ruins it for me in its dullness -could you be a little more specific about what is being sung? -and consider whether “trace” as a verb is really needed here

    1. like this one, kj -skiers as if down the spout -the colours at the same end of the spectrum -nice mix of open and closed vowels -thanks

    1. nice response, Judt -though i can’t use it as a link because “tea” too soon after the “wine” in the “my wine cellar” -but i especially enjoyed that Barbara’s verse never actually says, ‘ice’

  4. Marshall, last round you suggested i try to use a verse by condensing it and without its awkward simile:
    the original:
    whipped by wind
    our breath now frozen
    like colorless cotton candy
    “…just don’t like the blatant simile of the last line, Mary -perhaps you could compress this for the next link of two lines -without a simile”
    ok, here goes (apologies for the multiples all in one go):
    whipped by wind
    our breath now numb
    whipped by wind
    our breath a frozen fog
    whipped by wind
    our breath a shivery cloud
    whipped by wind
    our breath a rimy mist

    1. okay, Mary, thanks for trying this out -when you have a strong alliteration as the “w’s of “whipped by wind” in your first line it is best to avoid a second one for the whole verse -so, in #1, there is “now numb”, #2, has “frozen”, as you note -#3and 4 are fine in this regard but “shivery” in #3 is a kinaesthetic sensation attributed to a cloud (which is metaphorical of breath) and “rimy” in #4 just sounds too much like the more common, ‘grimy’ -that is the opposite, i think, of the effect you were looking for -so i think we should move on from trying to line a condensation of breath to the geyser spout

  5. I’d like to congratulate Barbara on her truly wonderful verse. I thought this would be the one from the start because of its stunning image.
    Marshall, your comments on the choice were great to read. It made me see this verse as having yet more layers as part of the whole renku. I’m learning so much from everyone here in my first renku attempt. Thank you to Barbara, Marshall and all the excellent poets whose offerings always make for good reading.

    1. ecological wood-chopping, Michael, but the link is onkly ‘the cold’ -that is also unstated in the previous verse

    1. nice link, Michael, of “dome” to the frozen geyser spout, but i have to consider the summarizing of “the luxury” -but thanks

    1. note, Aalix, how in the previous verse there is stasis, but the “week after week” of the first line keeps the renku in motion -this verse, as a link, would mean our renku would stop, or at least pause, and the next link would have to ‘catapult over’ or ‘surge through’ it -and i want each of our links to ‘relay’ at an equal weight, if not an equal emotional weight

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