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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 31

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 to all of you moonlighting in renku. We have our verse 31. It is:

this eclipsed moon
suddenly the colour
of fallen leaves

        Marietta McGregor

Original moon verses are difficult to come by, and i’m happy to have found this one of an eclipsed moon.

It links with fishing in its undetermined ‘wait time’ when ‘out of the blue’ you have what you’ve been waiting for. I know i said i didn’t want any more colour in this link but the poet has cleverly controverted this by not stating a colour, but we know that the tone of the eclipsed moon matches with that of a classical salmon colour and that of many fallen leaves. The leaves in this state indicating autumn.

Were someone to ask me when i thought “suddenly” should be used in a haiku i would probably reply, “never, anymore.” But it works on the ‘n’ consonance level here; “oon” in the first line, then “denly” and “len” in the second and third lines. I also appreciate the four repetitions of the liquid consonant ‘l’ sounds that roll through this verse to give us the savour of a moment that will be shortly lost to the further flowing of the earth’s shadow away from its cover of the moon. Thank you very much, Marietta.

What we need now is 2 more lines, autumn, but with the added twist that we are now coming to our renku’s denouement. So we need to pick up the pace as if we were gathering our belongings preparing to say goodbye to our host with a final blossom verse in #35. So no flowers yet, nothing moon-like or round but lines that read quicker, with less ambiguity, without a loss of subtlety.

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

skiers debate
violet wax or blue special

    –kj munro

twelve breaths
moving as one
hour of tai chi

    –Michael Henry Lee

along the Sheboygan
salmon anglers drift fishing

    –Betty Shropshire

this eclipsed moon
suddenly the colour
of fallen leaves

    –Marietta McGregor

This Post Has 150 Comments

    1. so this would be a second planting, Marilyn? we’ve already had a ‘second haying” way back in verse 4 -so, in a way it’s far enough afield to be stated again -but i just don’t want two ‘seconds’ of anything -let alone of a food item so close to “salmon drift fishing”

    1. “faces” interpretive here, Lorin -not a fault of itself -but beside a ‘moon verse’ it’s just the wrong time for this interpretation

  1. a splotchy Ptarmigan
    prepares its new white coat
    Ptarmigan in mid-molt
    ready for its white coat
    Ptarmigan in mid-molt
    ready for its coat of white

      1. no birds, Mary -too soon after the “gull’s wings” of verse 24 -but “splotchy” with “matching” too jaggedly sounding for this verse anyway

  2. this eclipsed moon
    suddenly the colour
    of fallen leaves
    –Marietta McGregor
    the last tooth
    lost in the final raking

    1. “last” and “final” shouldn’t be in the same verse, Liz Ann -and it would foreshorten our renku’s ending as well

    1. first line deliciously mysterious, Marion -but “long road back” has no referent for me at all unless it could end ‘back home’ -which makes the line too self-conscious of being in a a renku

      1. It was thinking of all sorts of things when I wrote this one, Marshall – but in particular a child carrying some sustenance for a long walk back after visiting Grandma, perhaps cinnamon cookies or cake. But I see what you mean about it being self-referential in terms of the renku – hadn’t thought of that. 🙁

        Glad you enjoyed the smell of the cookies though 🙂

    1. line break should probably be after “imprints” -but, Betty, it’s too long for here any way you cut it

  3. four Queens and a Viceroy
    closer to Mexico

    yeah, I know, but we’re anxiously awaiting the bigger migration of Monarchs after the recent inundation of American snouts

    1. okay enough, Debbie -but i’ve been very happy to keep personal human purposiveness out of this renku to this point, so don’t want to ruin that tenor at this juncture

    1. is that like a lawyer assuming the robes of a judge, Judt? -but i’d guess you meant the changing of the same animal’s fur colour for winter -too hard a link with the moon’s changing colour in such an abrupt link, though -certainly has a quick pace but too close

      1. or:

        wood frog, en pointe,
        edging between lichens

        –(wood frogs seek crevices for their winter hibernaculum)

        1. so, Betty, instead of our frogs turning into princes, they become ballerinas -too much of a stretch for me, i’m afraid -though thanks for the info about their hibernacula -such a fine-sounding word in itself

  4. hungry possums
    go bump in the night


    hungry raccoons
    go bump in the night

    (yeah, well 🙂 … I like the American raccoons. Their behaviour around urban & suburban areas much like our possums, s far as I can ather)

    – Lorin

    1. yeah, Lorin, we have possums too -and they have much worse sight than raccoons -when i lived on Long Island NY for 14 months virtually any morning i cared to look at the curbs on our highway drive to work, especially in summer, i’d see a dead possum, and perhaps some younger ones -only seen a few around Toronto -but our raccoons are especally well-feeding in the summer

      1. Your opossums (your only surviving marsupials) though related to our possums a long, long time ago when the continents were joined, are different to ours, Marshall.

        – Lorin

    1. we could have “bulbs” and not be floral, Lorin -but for me, in my interpretation of the Japanese renku traditions i decide to abide by, just saying or in fact, writing “hyacinth” even if as a writer you don’t m e a n the flower is still restricted to a flower or blossom verse

    1. or cuts 30 pieces of timber just as we’re sitting down to eat on our patio -i appreciate the feeling in this one, Lorin, but around me the sound of this happens 365 days a year -we live in reno+city -nothing particularly autumnal about this

    1. “last mosquito” a fantastical phrase to me, Lorin -every time i think i’ve heard or seen the last one, about two dusks later another one appears -often in my bedroom ‘-“whine” is a good description of their sound, but in such a short poem its own phoneme immediately bring,s to my mind at least, ‘wine’ -which we can’t have

    1. not only is there a comic strip called “Sally Forth” in North America, Judt, but when i was a sales rep there was even a rookie blonde saleswoman who WAS that character day in, day out, totally infused with her client at even casual after-business meals -and one of the more droll reps just called her, ‘Sally’ -so i can’t seriously consider this, and hope it was meant in fun as is my response -the smell would be my or your ‘old spice’ of course

    1. the days would be getting longer if we could include this one, Betty -looking for quicker

    1. hi Patrick -no, can’t have more shadows -dragonflies going the way of all chitin notwithstanding

    1. so where’s A. Hitchcock when you need him? scary swarm of fruit bats, Lorin -one way of saying goodbye -but, seriously, after an eclipse, no blotting out of the sky

      1. 🙂 …they do use them in ‘scary’ movies. Who’d know, except Australians, that those giant ‘vampire bats’ are really our rather sweet, totally vegetarin marsupial ‘fruit bats/ flying foxes’? (The real ‘vampire bats’ are such tiny things)

        ok, yes I get it…no blotted out sky. 🙂

        – Lorin

    1. whoops! wind farms is not one word. . . again:

      this eclipsed moon
      suddenly the colour
      of fallen leaves

      –Marietta McGregor

      wind farms visible
      on the nearby hills

      – Lorin

      1. thusly, Lorin not “fallen” as the leaves are in the previous verse but “holding on” to their partially fungal greennness -as you’ve probably noticed, i spontaneously resist this kind of linking ‘by contrast’ but there might be a place for it here -“boulder” also sounds a pun as a being stouter, ‘bolder’ than the leaves – but i’d like it better either without “still” or as “boulder lichen/ still clinging” -i think what i resist in these kind of links is that you’re letting the previous verse carry all the seasonal ‘doping’ -relaying it finely, but without any fresh seasonal info or content independent of that verse -will look at it again, thanks

      2. would be much more agreeable about this link, Lorin -though there is a slant rhyme to it -and by itself, it could really be in any season, but it links so firmly to fallen leaves; both because the wind would be an agent in this and the leafless trees would add visibility -my only problem is that we had “the goddess of wind” just 9 verse ago -this is going to be a tough one to chosse -but thanks

      3. o, duh… it slipped my mind, of course no more wind after Patrick’s (superb!) verse.
        No wind, no food, no fruit, no fog, no rivers , no sky, no alcohol, no trees, no flowers, no scent . . .
        or maybe?

        – Lorin

    1. thusly, Lorin not “fallen” as the leaves are in the previous verse but “holding on” to their partially fungal greennness -as you’ve probably noticed, i spontaneously resist this kind of linking ‘by contrast’ but there might be a place for it here -“boulder” also sounds a pun as a being stouter, ‘bolder’ than the leaves – but i’d like it better either without “still” or as “boulder lichen/ still clinging” -i think what i resist in these kind of links is that you’re letting the previous verse carry all the seasonal ‘doping’ -relaying it finely, but without any fresh seasonal info or content independent of that verse -will look at it again, thanks

      1. Marshall, in autumn through winter I’m more familiar with the orange-coloured lichen on boulders and also on some exposed trees, though there’s a type that actually blooms on my roof slates in winter that’s grey-green. Thanks for going into detail, though. I understand what you’re getting at. Just can’t think of what might come after “fallen leaves” apart from winter, apart from spaces and lichen.

        – Lorin

      1. cheers, Judt -i’m drinking an organic wine from ‘d’Abruzzo’ -yeah, “cider” too close to the “wine cellar” however, appropriate

  5. Yay Marietta! What a wonderful verse!
    field of dry corn stalks
    facing the combine

        1. naw, Debbie, think we should steer clear of even the mention of fruit or food -even for its lack -and be careful in a short two-liner that you don’t have consecutive lines of alliterative consonants; the ‘b’s of the first line (each beginning a word0 and the ‘p’s of “empty” and “apples” -makes it too heavy

      1. and so for the rows of corn, Debbie -though i also don’t support the idea that a cornflower ‘faces’ anything -i like the natural realm as an inhuman one and don’t belivee making it appear ‘human’ is an ‘upgrade’ for it

    1. again, Betty, for our pace’s sake, this could be ‘unwavering bugler/ as frost rims the pond’ -though with the bugle-call there needs to be an answer to it in the next verse and i don’t like a ‘drama-setter’ verse in the closing section -have to think how ‘wintry’ “frost” is as well -lots to consider, thanks

      1. Yeah, was thinking late Autumn though right now weather here still in the 90s…butterflies and snakes still about…having to rely on old old old memories of living in the northeast.

    1. yeah, i like these shiny mushrooms too, Barbara -and “toad -stool” would reference an amphibian; something that we haven’t had in this renku -but, alas, “… shadowed” after an “eclipsed” can’t ‘do’

    1. sounds like snow or snow-pellets, Barbara, to walk through (it might be leaves or corn-stalks, but i think of snow) -just too wintry for our last autumnal verse

    1. could lose the definite article at the beginning, Barbara, because of where we are -good stuff, but artist as a painter would probably be too many trips to the visual spectrum’s well, for this renku

    1. hi Barbara -to give you an idea of how we need to quicken our lines now, this could be ‘seeking the warmth/ of woolllen sweaters’ though that has too many ‘w’s -but we need more pace

  6. tree squirrel busy
    planting oaks
    probably no room for another creature….but at least we haven’t yet had a rodent…and they do actually help with proliferation of oaks 🙂 🙂

    1. yeah, but don’t like squirrels seen as ‘planters’, Judt-seems like a surrogate human

    1. has the right pace, Paul -and lets the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ be implied as it would still be with us -this would be a ‘shoe-in’ except we already had a “empty platform” scanned -so thanks, i’ll have to thinb about that

    1. not a perceptual experience, Mary -unless your clockpiece can levitate -twilight doesn’t know what time it is -and humans move the hands of the clock

      1. I’ve always heard the expression, “clocks move back” in the newspaper, on tv, and people saying it the day when time shifts back an hour in autumn. I was using that expression to contrast with ” on the rise” as moving forward in the year when “twilight” increases between day and night. I rather liked the image, but I defer to your expertise as Sabaki.

  7. the old wood stove
    with cranberries popping
    old wood stove where
    cranberries bubble & pop
    ( i know I have two verbs in #2 but it makes it more lively and we want the verse to ‘quicken’ at this point)

      1. two verbs not necessarily wrong, Mary, if they carry the sense in their sound -but i’m wary of cranberries because of our New Year’s verse with passionfruit -and “where” is absolutely unneeded in the closing section

    1. at this point in our renku, Betty, i think this should be ‘glazed’ “at the edges” -nice touch but concerned over throwback to food plus the continuance of pink-red to yellow-red in colour

  8. great verse Marietta / thanks Marshall for the kind thoughts
    first in line
    for the free flu vaccine

    1. this is quick, Michael Henry -and the action in the verse seems prompted by alacrity as well -will consider again later, thanks

      1. upon reconsideration, Michael, the “for the free flu . . . ” is just too many ‘f’ sounds and a bit of a tongue twister

    1. we’re quickening the tempo here, marion as we turn for a goodbye blossom verse, Marion -qualifications that begin with “despite” are for the ‘devolopment section’, not for here

      1. even for fun, Mary, don’t understand how you could split “teach” from “me” by a line break

    1. okay, Mary the first one is good to reject because words like “appear” belong to the ‘development stage’ -feel how quicker it feels as “a spider zigzags/ across bare twigs” -especially well linking with “suddenly” of line two of the previous verse -if later, i woulod even prefer “spider zigzags/ across bare twigs” -every verse or at least every group of verse in a renku has or have their own particular needs of nuance -so we can’t just always know how to write each verse before actually composing and linking it in its particualr place -so, thanks -i like the second one with the “the” out of the second line

    1. not terrible -just that, Mary, “The antiphony of birdsong” could never be ‘quickly spoken’ and to up the tempo, it should go in one unbroken phrase, as in ‘the anitphony of birdsong … ‘ no complex clauses or ‘qualifications written first’

  9. Thank you Marietta and Marshall.
    this eclipsed moon
    suddenly the colour
    of fallen leaves
    – Marietta McGregor
    a row of witches’ wigs
    marked half price

    1. you know, Liz Ann, you’re the first one to actually offer a linking verse to Marietta’s glowing example -and it’s a riot -talk about how the leafy have fallen! -but we’ll have to wait and see, but thanks -and what a cheery group! Thanks to all of you -and special thoughts for Michael Henry in St. Augustine, FL

      1. i do really like this one, Liz Ann -but from the first moon verse we linked with “faded jeans . . . and granny’s specs to match” -so, women’s apparel -but also after the “balls of moss … ” exited us from the throes of the bunyip we linked with “the garden shop …” so, both distant enough if there were just one of them -but i don’t want to have two ‘reminder’ half-links in our renku, especially when one of them was just after a ‘moon verse’ as well

  10. I woke up to this happy news! Thank you very much for the honour, Marshall, and for your comments about my moon verse.

    1. You’re most welcome, Marietta -again, the originality and the cadence of the verse were both of the first order -and i’m very happy to see the praise you’re receiving from our other very dedicated renku poets -kampai

  11. this eclipsed moon
    suddenly the colour
    of fallen leaves

    –Marietta McGregor

    Congratulations, Marietta. I hoped this would be the choice. It’s perfect in every way. Cheers! 🙂

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