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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 32

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 fellow travelers! Here’s our verse 32:

striking the hunting camp
no deer in sight

          Paul Geiger

This has just the right pace for starting our renku’s denouement. “Striking” out in a new direction; i.e. departure. Straightforward language with a distinctly physical, even muscular tone. And “striking…camp” gives it a military touch that distances it from the “drift fishing” of only two verses before.

“Hunting camp” also throws light back on the previous verse that perhaps it was a Hunter’s Moon that was eclipsed and allows moonlight’s influence to linger with its concern for what’s “in sight.” There is a twist, though, in that the verse initiates our setting up to go while its own action is to organize a space to stay. Further, the fresh clarity provided by the leaves having fallen from the trees and our residual moonlight yields yet “no deer.”

We’ve had a scanning before, on a train platform, but that was personal and charged with emotion. This looking across is over a terrain, matter-of-fact and not emotional at all. It does display a quality of autumn i find admirable though – and one rarely expressed so plainly; that of its clearing a space for strenuous activity, for a clear view; an openness to and for passing experience. Thank you for this, Paul.

What we need now is 3 lines, no particular season with the same sense of ‘quickening-towards-departure. There are so many things and activities that can’t be repeated, it is true, but i think that since, happily for me, so many of our links have been ‘out-of-doors’ and seasonal that we can find something unique to our renku now from ‘indoors.’

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

striking the hunting camp
no deer in sight

    –Paul Geiger

This Post Has 171 Comments

    1. yes, Paul, with this you have smoothed out the kireji stop of your first version -but you still can’t link with yourself

    1. second one, Mary, has the more appropriate pace for here -but not going visual with this link -and the third line adds an emphasis that is not appropriate here

  1. Hi Marshall…I think it’s unlikely that you would see my reply below, so putting this here. I can see now how you could get that impression, but just wanting you to know….
    Thanks, Judt

    1. no, Judt, i saw your reply -no accusation intended -i just thought it might be possible to take it that way and as curator-leader i gotta make sure nobody gets blindsided for something they didn’t intend -all’s fine from here -MH

    1. presents a seeming counter-factual, or perhaps an irony, Michael, that we don’t want to have interrupt our smooth denouement

    1. prefer the first one, Mary but “unusual hues” just too many open ‘u’ sounds in a line -and “seen” is unnecessary in line 2 -but i’m also looking to switch from the visual mode for this link

    1. yes, very acceptable, Mary -just that stating “squares” is too ‘congruent’ a link -or ‘too close’ to the previous verse

    1. yes, Mary, “continue” is preferable to “start” at this point -but “shuffling” already implies that -though card-playing at a campsite a good idea

    1. I’ve come back to this after thinking that we don’t want “beginnings” or new things happening at this part of the renku, do we? So, I’ll substitute this instead:
      in silence
      the Knight is readied
      for his move
      an old chessboard
      with the Knight ready
      to be played

    1. the kireji after the first line would keep this one out, Paul -but you can’t link with yourself anyway -so you can work on stopping that leak

    1. all three, Agnes, are mostly a shift to the principle of departing the renku without a link to what’s in the renku at our last verse -i must have been confusing -compose in the spirit of departure and quickening pace but don’t say or announce packing or leaving -the last one has a sense of this but i don’t want any sleeping at this point

    1. break at the question mark does this one in, Betty -no stops -the link certainly eludes me as well

    1. interesting visual aspect of the sudoku chart to a hunter’s target in practice -but competition not something we’re looking for here

    1. technically, Marietta. it would be “a myriad of buttons” -and playing on endless possibilities is not something we want to do at this point in our renku

      1. uncomfortable with the female here making herself ‘game’, Judt -however lightly intended

        1. Whooee, Marshall…that didn’t and probably couldn’t occur to me. It was meant to be a coming of age, leaving childhood behind and moving into a nascent adulthood. Not at all to defend the verse, Just want the record to show that the idea of a female as game is abhorrent to me.

    1. nice pace, Betty, and i like that it adds an amphibian reference to our renku -thanks -concerned about sleepiness before we depart, though this doesn’t actually mention sleep

      1. Had thought to say, ” next to the dresser”. Anyway, it was all a kinda sorta reference to Buson’s “comb under his heel” haiku but from a woman’s perspective of leaving her husband behind…no longer underfoot.

        1. okay, Betty, i missed that reference -and on reconsideration it just feels too much like the subject is getting ready to sleep -so won’t be using this -but it is a good haiku -especially for a reader who ‘gets’ the Buson reference right away

    1. this is a radical departure into a divergent activity, Debbie -plus it has a break between lines 2 and 3 -not what we want here in our last 5 verses

    1. this has the right touch and a sweet topic too, Marion -as the child’s sleeping may endure past the end of our renku an further on in time time our Very Hungry Caterpillar may emerge as a butterfly -thank-you

      1. decided against this one too, Marion -only because i don’t want sleep in our renku at this juncture -very nice haiku though

    2. know all about “his pillow fort” from one of my own grandsons, Betty -just don’t want the mixture of two mythologies (J Michael Fox and Robin Hood) in our denouement section

    1. much prefer this one, Marion -‘camaraderie’ just slowed us down too much -i would even suggest ‘end of season/ anticipation/ of bar billiards/ -but then you’d have a slant rhyme, lines one to two -but if we try ‘anticipating/ end of the season/ bar billiards’, we’d have another participle following a verse with two of them -i’ll keep mulling this one over, thanks

      1. hi again, Marion -decided that this was close but not enough of a poetic link with “the hunting camp”

    1. nice ‘take’, Patrick -just too much of a ‘kireji-stop’ here for the denouement section

    1. the first one is more natural and believeable, Mary -and has the right pace -but —it does have four adjectives -“tiny” is the easiest to dispense with -“fast alseep” is a nicely ambiguous phrase though -have to think this one over, thanks

    1. not really a light moment here, is there, Mary? -don’t want to ‘say’ “trip” as we’re making to leave the renku

    1. using an animal as a marker is interesting, Mary, especially as the ‘out-door’ site had “no deer” -gotta think about having two mammals in linked verse, however -but, thanks

    1. don’t need the second “the”, Vasile -this one has the right pace and touch, thanks

    1. linking hope with anticipation i’m guessing, Vasile -but the aftermath of devastation not appropriate to leaving

  2. watching at t.v.
    the last clips in the refugees’

    watching at t.v.
    the last clips in the Odyssey
    of the refugees

    1. this would go better, Vasile, as ‘watching on tv/ the last clips/ of the refugees’ Odyssey’ but you still have the problems of a loud, unwelcome rhyme of the first and third lines -and my unease at comparing Homer’s multivoiced classic of “a man” with a mass exodus of individuals sadly unheard from

    1. we want to be quicker and lighter here, Vasile -“working . . .” definitely suggests devlopment whreas were making to depart gracefully

      1. certainly changes our ‘selected space’ from a male one to a female one, Betty -probably the ‘ultimate female space’ -birthing not what i want, though, not because i think it suggests spring seasonality but because it suggests a beginning (very strongly) and we’re in the denouement of our renku -also, the next two verse are in spring, so a birthing here would be very confusing

        1. Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of (for a woman) what those 9 months and then labor accomplishes…

    1. it is quick enough, Debbie, but not in the same ‘register’ as the “hunting camp”

    1. nice comraderie, Barbara -that really could happen in any season -just prefer the “antique” one

    1. while the adults hunt deer, Barbara? Naughty, naughty -really like your previous one though

    1. this is good, Barbara -would like to consider it again witout the last word, “clock” -which would give it just the right ‘pace and kick’ i think -wonderful shift from space to time, thanks

  3. standing in the doorway
    she exclaims, “These boots
    are made for walkin’!”
    a twinkle in her eyes
    as she exclaims, “These boots
    are made for walkin’!”

      1. fun, but don’t want to make our readiness for departure and the end of the renku t h a t self-conscious, Mary -for the record, i prefer the twinkle-in-her-eyes one

    1. there’s alot, here, Carmen -as it is it’s just too long for this point in our renku -but that could be easily remedied by eliminating the first line as it is, though it makes the link less apparent by: ‘an audiobook/ leads me/ to a new universe’ -but -‘expanding to the universe’ is something i like to save for the last verse -so i have to consider whether i want to use the ‘quicker’ verse here (if you agree) or whether i should ask you to resend this for verse 36 or whther i should change my focus for verse 36 -i’ll keep you posted

      1. Thank you, Marshall. Whichever you choose is fine for me. In Japanese culture, I found out that closing one’s eyes when the speaker’s words are especially valuable shows a sign of elevated politeness. Nowadays, there’s a radio program I listen to five days a week, and I close my eyes in order to catch every word.

        1. thanks for the suggestion, Carmen -decided to forgo such items as “audio books” and “ebay” for this link though

      1. you’re most welcome, Paul -i’ve appreciated your focus and the strength of your lines right from the beginning of our renku -MH

    1. now you’re linking with yerself, Paul -off of this renku, even -who would have thunk it?

    1. methinks you’re linking with Marietta’s hunger, Paul -but the previous verse, not-so-much

      1. All 3 verses I proposed seem to have a serious linkage with “striking the camp” i.e. ending it. In this the Kyu section, wrapping up, clearing the dishes or getting to the speaker after the banquet seems to follow your call to post. About humans not more 4-footed mammals. I was not being funny in 3 proposed stanzas. Serious verses with linking technique, I thought. Good or not is of course up to you, Marshall. OK, the “scattered applause” might be funny, but a seriously proposed stanza. It was fun intended with Marietta, when I twitted her about being hungry. I’ve shared a meal with her at HNA, joked while we ate, and all that. Marietta is a hoot! Nothing to do with her hunger or my other offerings — each is independent. We have no quotation so far, nothing in another voice…. I had thought and intended that these might be in aid of Link and Shift, no season, and a summing up consistent with the Kyu.

        1. This October I have been casting back to the Schenectady HNA meeting, Paul! Was it really a year ago?? What fun It was, raising a glass to your and my celtic ancestry!

        2. sorry to take you the wrong way Paul -just that in our renku there is no food, “no deer in sight” and no banquet -the denouement is to be conducted ‘as if’ we were leaving a banquet, but the links must be to each other not to the principle of the closing up

  4. striking the hunting camp
    no deer in sight

    –Paul Geiger

    lounge cushions
    plumped ready
    for guests

  5. striking the hunting camp
    no deer in sight

    –Paul Geiger


    gas alight
    and the oven ready
    for chicken wings

    1. yeah, Marietta, you must be hungry -hope you don’t have to quit smoking “Ocsober’ sounds awlful -glad you’re having fun

  6. Paul’s verse works great here good stuff
    our collage cut
    from postcards of no where
    in particular

    1. nice response to the previous verse, Michael -just a bit too long, for here though, especially in its repeated ‘c’s and ‘p’s

    1. Not indoors, etc., I know, Marshall. But when it bubbled up, I felt affection for it. In my life I have moved so many times in a borrowed pickup with a flapping tarp. ? ? ?. TMI, sorry…

    1. this is fun, no, Judt? I was expecting “Easy Rider/ in a bathtub” -anyway, i’m glad we’re all keeping ‘loose’

    1. i’d prefer your first one, Judt -but this reminds me of the chuckle i get when a reviewer of novels or critic-at-large likes to measure novels by the heft of their opening sentence and i recall how Marcel Proust opens his most challenging of novel sequences -that should be entitled, “Recollections of Times Lost” but is known as “Remembrance of Things Past” with the simple sentence, “I used to go to bed early.” So, thanks for that

    1. this is in good fun, Judt, but my in-laws tell me it’s become much more difficult to emigrate to Canada unless you can provide jobs for Canadians

      1. Politics … digression
        – – –
        This would help your national welfare rolls Marshall, the dole, whatever term. Time was in the US, immigrants had to be healthy (TB, etc) and be able to earn a living . . . although ignored, those laws are still on the books, as it were.

        Marietta, you must be hungry!

  7. Congratulations, Paul! Nice strong verse.
    checking eBay
    for a set
    of leather luggage

    1. well, Judt, this links with four strong winds: “ebay” with the opened up space for appearance, “a set” with “camp”, “leather” possibly to the tanned hide of buckskin or another such prey and “luggage” because we are coming to an end of our visit and will be travelling on -so i’ll definitely be looking at this one again, thanks

      1. hi Judt -decided i wanted to leave ebay and technology out of this link “leather” to “no deer” felt a bit rough too -keep ’em comin’

    1. yeah, Mary, still avoiding the word, “day” -though i would like these last few, if personal, to be grounded in personal experience -so you can’t write “on election day” in the present tense since it’s not that day yet -you could write ‘on the ballot’ because you may be pre-balloting -but in a close reading the best you could genuinely write if you are waiting until Nov. 8 to vote would be “i’ll have a sure hand/ marking the ballot/ this election” since it’s a future event for you and our readers and you are in planning and hoping mode not doing -and i’d rather not introduce this election into the renku here

      1. Yes, I generally avoid political things, but here in the USA, it’s gotten crazy. I actually voted today, the first early voting day here in NC. It was worth a try, but I’m fine with leaving politics out. 🙂

    2. this one has a critical subtext, kj, that i’d rather not engage with here in our departure verses

  8. Congratulations, Paul, on making such a strong link and moving us forward. 🙂
    striking the hunting camp

    no deer in sight
    –Paul Geiger
    with a sure hand
    I blacken the oval choices
    on election day
    with a sure hand
    I fill in the oval options
    on election day
    Marshall, I wasn’t sure if we could use the word “day” again. If not, I would offer this line in lieu of L3 as it now stands:
    on the election ballot

      1. yeah, Mary, still avoiding the word, “day” -though i would like these last few, if personal, to be grounded in personal experience -so you can’t write “on election day” in the present tense since it’s not that day yet -you could write ‘on the ballot’ because you may be pre-balloting -but in a close reading the best you could genuinely write if you are waiting until Nov. 8 to vote would be “i’ll have a sure hand/ marking the ballot/ this election” since it’s a future event for you and our readers and you are in planning and hoping mode not doing -and i’d rather not introduce this election into the renku here

        1. Ooops, I replied above, but now I see your comment appears twice so I’ll repost it here:

          Yes, I generally avoid political things, but here in the USA, it’s gotten crazy. I actually voted today, the first early voting day here in NC. It was worth a try, but I’m fine with leaving politics out. ?

    1. this renku has done so well without a reference to the elections in the U.S.A. so far, betty -and i see no good reason to introduce it into our renku now as we are gathering up to go

    1. prefer the ‘comraderie’, ‘shared-view’ ones, Marion, as upbeat as opposed to this one that just seems sad

    1. don’t want “star” here -not only because the moon verse is just 2 away -but because i like the 36th verse to be astronomically expansive -and that’s only 3 verses after this one

    1. these both have the effect. Marion, of what on a controlled gingko walk would be called a ‘shared view’ as it is outside, but able to be seen, from the premisses we are walking within. it would underscore that we are looking beyond this renku -which is intriguing. However, we’d need another name for the room or the game -even if it’s just ‘snooker’ because “pool” as a word would revert to the “{anglers drift fishing’ too closely -at any rate, i’d consider something else from you along these lines without the word, “pool” in it

    1. good transfer, Marion, from the open forest space to the ‘silver screen’ -will reconsider this one, thanks

      1. “panto” for “mime” is a bit tough here, Betty -and anyway, we’re too close to the “gull’s wings” of the summer’s heat

      2. sorry, Marion and to you as well, Betty -this was marion’s verse about the “panto practice” that i was referring to -MH

    1. keeps the pace, Betty and nice tranfer from”camp” to labelled ‘digs’ -not so sure this is the tone i want here, though -but thanks

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