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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 34

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 enthusiasts and contributors. We’ve now completed 34 verses of our 36 verse kasen renku. Verse 34 is:

the scent of rain wafts
among peepers

              Theresa Cancro

At first sight this verse enacts a straightforward shift in sensory appeal from sound to scent. It happily resumes the quickened pace but there is an added complexity—the falling rain gives rise to a scent that “wafts”—while “peepers” though sounding as a word that would be semantically visual, actually refers to a kind of frog; probably invisible to the casual look at a natural setting, whose presence would be noticeable for its distinctive sound.

So besides helping our renku include the amphibian phylum within it, these frogs, a most haiku-laden animal, also make this a sound to sound link, with the main shift being from an indoor sound of something already aged and getting older that marks a distinct interval of time to an uncultivated, out-of-doors sound that is unpredictable and expressive. And what it expresses is the opening up of earth towards a renewed fruition as it does in the spring.

That there is not just rain but “the scent of rain” mixed with the chirping croaks of these frogs gives this verse a further tactile sense of the rough though wet body of the frog inhabiting this welcome smell. Thank you for this, Theresa.

So, the major blossom verse is next: 3 lines, blossoms or flowers of spring. This is our ‘designer’ or ‘showcase’ verse and it doesn’t have to be quick-of-pace like the preceding ones. In the analogy of departing a party for home, this is where you pause and let the hosts know how much you’ve enjoyed your attendance. But nothing of goodbye in this verse, for here we welcome fresh life.

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

every quarter
the gentle chimes
of our antique

    –Barbara A. Taylor

the scent of rain wafts
among peepers

    –Theresa Cancro

This Post Has 173 Comments

    1. Way too late, but I would have said
      a branchlet
      of apple blossoms
      at each place setting

    2. no, found out as i was reading earlier that i was looking for uncut blossoms or flowers, Judt

    1. this one though, Judt could have the blossoms still attached t their natural setting -and it is beautiful -however, “cradle” would bring us back to your “dust caked child” of verse 26 ah well, what a set of lovelies at the end

    1. these are both lovely and appropriate, Mary -but they are both gatherings of petals or flowers and -i wish i had of thought to say this earlier- i want the blossoms or flowers in their natural setting
      -thanks for your efforts and some fine haiku as well

  1. fans of iris
    splayed across
    a garden bed
    iris fans
    splayed across
    a garden bed
    fans of iris
    splayed across
    the soil
    ** traditionally, tall (or bearded) irises are cut back to about 5 inches after blooming. The resulting plant looks like a ‘fan’ and actually serves to provide shade for the rhizome of the plant.

    1. i realize now that i read this, Mary, that what i want for this verse is uncut flowers -to give our renku more of the naturally ‘uncultivated’ feel

    1. i might think of “nodding/ in the wind”, Mary -but “to” seems to at least partially afford some purpose to the flowers’ nods -which i don’t like

  2. My revision of an earlier verse:
    in morning stillness
    a hint
    of gardenia
    in morning stillness
    the hint
    of gardenia
    in morning stillness
    the whisper
    of gardenias

      1. good try, Mary, at indicating the flower ‘off-foreground’ without writing of its scent -but still lacking something to be this link

      1. ugh, I can’t get this placed right…
        please delete only this one since Marion used “whisper” already:
        in morning stillness
        the whisper
        of gardenias

    1. like this last one, “under the moist fern” the best of these, Judt -still feel the emphasis is one the discovery and the discoverer and not on the trillium however -which doesn’t diminish it as a haiku but does lessen my enthusiasm for it’s being used here

    1. naw, Carmen”petal-shaped” doesn’t make it for me as a culminating blossom image for this renku

    1. yeah, “nod” is a little less anthropomorphic in general, Marion -but to write that they “nod” to a specific thing such as traffic puts it over the line

      1. Ah, it was the traffic whizzing past that was making the daffodils move (nod) in their wake, Marshall.

    1. would have preferred “are open” for a third line, Marion -but would be concerned with how predictable it would seem to follow a ‘frog’ link wit a ‘pond’ one

      1. To be honest, it was an ornamental fountain in Italy, Marshall, but it sounded a little odd as I guess all fountains are ornamental, so I replaced it with ‘pond’ without thinking about the frogs.

        all the lilies
        in the Italian fountain
        are open

      1. seems like a ’cause-and-effect’ poem, Marion, but actually it isn’t -so thanks for this, i’ll look at it again later

    1. sort of a haiku with a twist at the end, Marion -but “upended” just too rough a word for our concluding blossom verse

    1. just too long, Judt -concerned about “wending” after the previous verse’s ‘waft” too

    1. so, Marilyn, “saucer magnolias” are one of my favourites, and bloom early, so they’re perfect for a spring seasonal -but paired with “wide” and ‘burst” the verse’s crescendo is just too loud and augmented

    1. sort of like the summer grasses being soldiers in Basho’s famous haiku -too personified here, Mary

    1. oh nonono, that -’cause-and-effect’ rag (to paraphrase T.S. Eliot) and his Shakespearian, Mary

    1. yes, i know they’re often “muddy”, Mary, but the diction of that word just wrecks the verse

    1. ugh, I used “scent” right after Theresa’s lovely verse…sorry
      for that. Let me rephrase this one:
      in morning stillness
      only the hint
      of gardenias

      1. this is nice, Mary -i’ll have to read it again without seeing it after “the scent” -my only problem with it at this point is “only” -but right now don’t have any suggestions -tough to indicate a sense of something ‘off-fucus’ 9especially for a flower) without using an olfactory appeal -so,thanks

        1. “hint” i prefer to your later version with “trace”, Mary but it just isn’t diffrent enough from “the scent . . .”

    1. nope, Mary -pansies jumping is just too anthropomorphic -just because a phrase is commonly accepted in everyday speech doesn’t mean it’s acceptable poetic language -in fact i try to avoid everyday speech and syntax as much as possible in my own haiku in order to indicate that common sense tends towards insensitive sense

    1. sensitive image, Judt -“coolness” seems a bit out-of-place here -but not a ‘fatal’ flaw -“touching my face” is certainly enigmatic -i’ll return to this later, thanks

      1. Hi Marshall. If it needs explanation, I reckon it doesn’t work, but trying for tactile/zoom in. In my experience, fresh flowers always have a coolness…water content maybe? I don’t know.
        This verse: kneeling to experience them more closely, or holding cut lilies to my face…the texture and fragrance…ahhh.
        touching the coolness
        of wild lilies
        with my face
        or to my face
        Enough already! 🙂

        1. thanks, Judt -i didn’t realize you would be bending down to experience them more fully -certainly more considerate of them then just picking them and lifting them up -thinkyou need to indicate how your skin got to experience them however

        1. so Betty -the flowers this sounds like is a ‘begonia’ -“pogonias” are a kind of fish, i believe -is there another flower i don’t know about?

          1. “nodding pogonia” is a rare and endangered wild orchid in wooded dunes area around the great lakes region

    1. had no idea, Betty -and the Great Lakes is my home region -the one beginning “wooded dunes” is beautiful -thanks very much

      1. so Betty – i went to the link you provided (didn’t work Monday night) and found that the ‘nodding pogonia’ blooms in august -which won’t do -has to be a spring bloomer -so i looked through our flower books and found that the ‘Indian paintbrush’ blooms as early as May, in clumps and in sandy soil -so i would like to use
        “wooded dunes/ in dappled light a stand/ of indian paintbrushes”
        for our blossom verse

    1. have to think about this one, Michael -i think i’d want the vase to compliment the flowers -but thanks

    1. first line just too rough, Aalix -“bolts” sort of references a lightning bolt, but also sounds like a thick screw -would rather not have a canine after an amphibian, especially since we had a coyote in the complementary second verse to begin with -as we’re one verse from closing here

    1. hi Betty -this one touches me because i love irises and you managed to not state a colour and, thirdly, it seems as if you are referencing the ‘wrought iron”-like motif that The Haiku Foundation is using as an icon for our “Renku Sessions 4” -seen that way, “irises” also can refer to our collective visual experience during the making of this renku -that in turn is printed out as if in a scroll-like manner on the “Troutswirl”-so, intensely visual and cerebral if you want to take it that way -i’ll have to think about whether i want it here for those that don’t see it in that fashion -but thanks alot

      1. Hi, Marshall…whew! Love your interpretation so thank you for delving so deeply! No matter what verse you go with, it’s all good and I greatly appreciate your skill and thoughts on all of our offerings!

        1. Thanks, Betty -i’ve decided not to use this verse -it’s a great summary of seeing nature blossom into worldhood through the lens of a renku -but leaders should avoid self-interpretive links -at least for the climax verses -but i am going to use your other verse of “wooded dunes . . .” but had to change “nodding pogonias” because they bloom in August -changed to “indian paintbrushes” -so i’m taking your “no matter what verse you go with” as agreement to this -thanks alot-MH

    1. don’t know if i fully understand this one Barbara -why isn’t it “a peach blossoms” as in the tree or just “peach blossoms” as if they could be just the petals on the ground? -and “dainty” seems totally needless unless you mean to indicate their frailty -and then using “circle” followed by “around” feels out of place in a haiku

    1. certainly empahsizes the beauty-in-impermanence, Judt -does link the human world of apparel to the natural realm nicely though -will consider again, thanks

      1. yes, Judt, “the” is better that “a” -uneasy with “throat’ though -i know it’s used in reference to the lilies’ passage down the flower to its pistil and stamens -but it not only resonates loudly with something human but it also gives the verse a ‘clinical’ touch that we don’t want here

    1. flower’s “posture” in the mind of the beholder here, Patrick -i’m looking more for something where the mind absorbs the scene than super-imposes upon it

    1. emblematic of Australia, no doubt, Barbara -of course i would put “of” at the beginning of the third line -“sprig” to “picnic’ interesting but not obtrusive slant rhyme -have to think about whether i want the flower of our second blossom verse to be emblematic -so, thanks

    1. again, this emphasizes the love-bond above and beyond the experience of the flower, Vasile -not terrible in itself, but the reverse of what i’m looking for for here

    1. ‘inquiring minds’ are fine, Vasile -and though i am one of those who believe trees have consciousness, i don’t believe their buds make enquiries

    2. ‘inquiring minds’ are fine, Vasile -and though i am one of those who believe trees have consciousness, i think this crosses the line into personification

    1. “catkins of willow/ burst one by one” would fit the mood very nicely here, Vasile -but the “breath” brings in an agency, probably a human agent that in turn brings in cause-and-effect; something we emphatically don’t want here

    1. the peepers’ sound in the previous verse is enough aural experience for here, vasile

    1. “antennas” just too hard and un-sensual to link here with scents wafting in the frog-voiced darkness, Vasile -but plum blossoms would be welcome

      1. “wisteria” with “well worn” really won’t do, Judt -have no problems with “ancient” but i’m wary of the hint that the wisteria are leading us by their scent -which we already have mingled with the peepers’ chirping

    1. don’t want to have tulips again for this blossom verse as well, Liz Ann -lovely though they may be

    1. not crazy about “filled” here, Liz Ann -then realized we’re linking to “the scent of rain …” -so we’d be way too wet with this link

    1. gives the blossom a bit of an accessory function, Michael -and i don’t think we want “evening” and “night” in the same climactic haiku to our renku

    2. nice, light touch, Marietta, singing the “Daisy Song” while riding a bicycle built for two -i feel though that this would diminish the impact of this link as a blossom verse if its ‘love verse’ aspect overrode the flowers’ presence so completely

    1. gives the blossom a bit of an accessory function, Michael -and i don’t think we want “evening” and “night” in the same climactic haiku to our renku

    1. not a fan of functionality in any kind of haiku, Marilyn -but especially here, it’s not about the labour or the ‘fruits of the labour’ but about the beauty of the blossoming moment; transitory, but beautfiul nonetheless -or even moreso for that

    1. never really liked the word “nosegay”, Marietta -but besides this prejudice of mine, we don’t want to mention “scent” in any way after the last verse

  3. If this goes haywire, I’ll quit…which is no doubt the best idea I’ve had all night.
    daffodil princess waving
    as fez tassels bob
    and the drum major struts

    1. not crazy about “daffodil princess”, Judt -wary of encouraging the idea that when something’s really great it has a human component or character to it

  4. Help! I’m stuck in Groundhog Day! One post just came up as a reply AND a comment! And my latest post, meant as an original verse, came up as a reply to another. We’ll see where this ends up.

    Frustrated in Seattle

    1. like the first two lines, Betty -third line pre-empts, for me the last verse where i like to open out the renku to the universe

    1. visualizing their pristine whiteness, it didn’t occur to me that even so, “orange” probably counts as color.

      1. yes, Judt, it does whether intended or not -and would probably be okay if we hadn’t had colours so often -your earlier “orange blossom” verse was still very nice though

    1. yes we do Barbara -i saw a chance for a parallel exit -verses 2 to 3 were “coyote song’to “scent” and so verses 33 to 34 go from “the gentle chimes” to “scent” -these blossom verses are all such a plenum of life in bloom, i’m just going to wait and see for a few days if something really stands out -but so far, any of three already would be great to have in our renku -can only choose one however

    1. would probably prefer the “wild orchids” to this one, Marietta, because it’s so attractively tangible

    1. don’t really like the “squares, Marietta, right after the “every quarter” of verse 33

  5. Thank you, Marshall, for selecting my verse. What a nice surprise. I’m truly honored!


    1. you’re most welcome again, Theresa -glad to have an inclusion from you with us -MH

  6. Yes, Theresa, lovely verse!
    orange blossom garlands
    on the heads
    of praying children

          1. Wow, just carried away, I guess, with exultation from the thought of flowers and spring! But how could I write “children” when my own verse says “child”?!?

    1. yes we do Barbara -i saw a chance for a parallel exit -verses 2 to 3 were “coyote song’to “scent” and so verses 33 to 34 go from “the gentle chimes” to “scent” -these blossom verses are all such a plenum of life in bloom, i’m just going to wait and see for a few days if something really stands out -but so far, any of three already would be great to have in our renku -can only choose one however

    2. don’t really like the “squares, Marietta, right after the “every quarter” of verse 33

    3. hi Judt -this is my fourth attempt to tell you that your verse is lovely as well -as i said to Barbara, i’m expecting many beautiful offerings this week and will look at most of them again and again -thank-you to all for the fine comments and lovely offerings

    4. Wow, just carried away, I guess, with exultation from the thought of flowers and spring. But how could I write “children” when my own verse says “child”?!?

  7. Hi Mary…just testing…I’m only getting a “reply” option, but would like to “comment.”
    If this posts as a comment, all is well. Thanks, Judt

  8. Theresa’s offering really stood out from the rest. I think this is one of the most perfect sensory images in our renku. Congratulations, Theresa! 🙂 A perfect choice, Marshall.
    the scent of rain wafts
among peepers
    –Theresa Cancro

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