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The Renku Sessions : A Day of Snow 6

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 fans. I’ve chosen:

faded jeans, school colors
and granny’s specs to match

        –Betty Shropshire

as our 6th verse.

I immediately liked “faded” as associated with moonlight, and that word with “school colors” made me think of a university homecoming weekend; very definitely an autumn activity.

But two other aspects of this offering i wanted to include in our renku are: 1) how “granny’s specs,” being something we use to provide sight are here presented as something to look at–which is the inverse of the moon that is something we primarily want to see, to look at, but that provides light to see by. 2) Up til now all the verses were written from the standpoint of observation, standard third-person presentation of nouns. Here for the first time, the subject could be carrying the observed; wearing it it fact, so in some sense, embodying the ensemble of nouns.

This makes for a delightful transition from the disciplined processional of the first six verses to the more playful expansiveness of the next twenty-four links. Thank you very much, Betty.

For verse 7 we need 3 lines in the mode of the phantastical, mythological or surreal.

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

This Post Has 261 Comments

  1. chocolate gelato
    licked from the lips
    of Federico Fellini

    * try saying that after a few wines renku lovers!

    1. afterhours in the gelato rain -say-on -ce -was he wearing a bowler hat? thanks, Jennifer

  2. Horus going pale
    at the news
    he’s half ghost
    I just keep playing for the joy of it…feel a bit guilty for all the non-starters : /

    1. yeah, and you’re after-hours deadline too -sometimes guilty pleasures are among the best -and best to you, Judt

    1. whoa, Lisa, you’ve been hanging out with 9 year-old boys! What we used to do before we burned those critters -anyway, you didn’t even say you were spinning them, thanks

    1. connotes a certain crudeness, Marietta but doesn’t really terrify me -maybe i need a direct hit

    1. better than the Kraken struggle or the limping Dali, Paul; a dancing Basilisk -looking forward to your next offerings, thanks

    1. ah, yes, Polona, the guy with two heads from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” -this would be a wonderful set-destroying scene for a movie -maybe trash a solar-system or two -but the only sensual appeal here is from the sound of Thor’s drinking partner’s name

    1. you know, Marion, if this were being done live and this was offered in the first 2 or 3 minutes, i’d probably take it just for the levity of it that speeds us along -but i have the luxury of 5 days previous of offerings -will consider this again though, thanks

      1. maybe zombies can talk, Marion, but about the one thing likeable about them i’ve never known them to complain – but no, not enough imagery for inclusion with these

    1. and declares, “ceci n’est pas un chapeau’ -this is not a hat -cheerfully flippant but doesn’t fit for me -“crowd” was used not too long ago too

    1. hi again, Aalix -yes, he does that a lot, but i’m looking for some dramatic imagery here

    1. hi Marietta – ‘boot scooting’ is a kind of dance, right? -ap is Sanskrit for ‘water’ so this is some kinda hoedown with scores of water sprites and an elephant at the squaredance -stunning multicultural mix but only the elephant is palpable enough to be included here

    1. but do they have video replay, with 4 officials watching, that delay our major sports event 20 minutes so they can fit 12 more commercials in? This connects with many of us on a life-lived level, Polona, but this is too cerebral for here and wants for sensual imagery

    1. prefer the first one, Cristina -though the dog-like Cerberus resembles too much the coyote of verse 2

    1. hi again Agnes, must be missing something here -unless this is a paper-bag dragon

    1. “my ghosts” is pretty intriguing, joel -what about everybody else’s ghosts? Or ghosts that have no living relatives? Or have you already determined that these ghosts are figments of your imagination? Hide-and-seek in a cemetery sounds appropriately ghoulish to the phantastical -maybe i just need more information

      1. Marshall – I was thinking “my ghosts” belong to the reader. Don’t we all have “ghosts” or memories (good and bad) that tend to haunt us from time-to-time that we entertain or play hide-and-seek with? Aren’t they usually “dead” issues thus the cemetery? The words “faded jeans, school colors and granny’s specs” from the previous verse made me think of such memories that we can’t or don’t let go of. For me “faded jeans” are my young adulthood days and all those ghosts, school colors are high school and college and those ghosts, and granny’s specs are childhood days spent at grandma’s and there are many ghosts from that time! I’ve probably over thought it all. 🙂

    1. “sound” seems pretty muted for the growling and brimstone that must’ve been going on, Agnes -and why would you end a line with “a”?

      1. Yes, I meant to go back and get rid of sound. Commotion is much better. Dangling “a” was a clumsy mistake trying to make L2 longer. Just went camping this weekend… here are a couple of retries & a third entry:
        such commotion
        outside the tent must be
        dragon vs. cougar
        such commotion
        outside the tent must be
        a dragon fighting a cougar
        under the oak
        a grubby little knight
        jabs his stick

  3. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    – Betty Shropshire
    déjà vu
    in a 3-D matrix
    without a quarter

    1. hi Betty -when i use a ‘foreign word’ i want it to be less familiar than “deja…

  4. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    – Betty Shropshire
    dost thou question

    1. nope, don’t know who “Unun…” is -doesn’t really matter since you can’t link with yourself -though i encourage you to keep it flowing in your mind to contribute

      1. Hi, Marshall. Why you’very not heard of the latest heavy element UUO??…118…which is what ununoctium stands for until they come up a permanent name. Its designation as a noble gas was in queston until recently. Yeah, just for grins being here now.

  5. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire

    which replicant
    will pass all the tests
    for empathy?

    – Lorin

    1. yeah great scene for “Bladerunners” my favourite is early in the film when the replicant can’t come up with any memories for his job interview, so just pulls out a revolver and shoots his interlocutor -got my empathy right there -too abstract for my purposes here though

      1. ah, Marshall, much as I liked the film, the original story (‘Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?’) is much better in its penetration of what it might be to be truly human. A brilliant, if sometimes a tad strange, writer Philip K. Dick was, )

        (I do enjoy your comments! on all the submissions They’re what’s keeping me coming back 🙂 )

        – Lorin

        1. thanks, Lorin -thinking about and writing poetry are what i most like about life -I once had a business partner who said, “Even Charles Baudelaire couldn’t work 8 hours a day at poetry” to which i replied, “that’s right, he even wrote that statement down” then, waiting until he was nodding with reinforced self-satisfaction, added, “but i could”

    1. naw, Judt, this is what I call ‘requited love’ though i won’t be going there this renku -‘dancing mania’ = ‘tarantism, originated in southern Italy (associated with being bitten by a tarantula) -i read it as “tantrism” first -but that’s another Pandora’s box

    1. I realize “because why not” is commentary, but stuck it there anyway because it came to mind (why not) and seemed kinda existential-y.

      1. hey Judt -you replied to yourself before i got here -not deep enough into the anguish to wait for Godot here but great shift -“because” would be unacceptable anywhere else in this renku -so good try

    1. ah, Liz Ann, maybe this is why nobody goes for walks by the water-tower -‘nagas’ are semi-divine creatures in the Hindu cycle of religions -also ‘snake’ in Sanskrit

    1. yeah, it did (I would write: “remained”) -but see my comments about struggle on your previous offering, which, by the way, i prefer

    1. hello Suraja -very pleasing image -though the use of “song” in verse 2 precludes any “dripping notes” this soon after and “shades of blue” too closely replicates the “faded jeans” of the previous verse

  6. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match

    a loose parrot
    circles over us
    reciting Howl

    1. yes, this is really good, Lisa -makes me wish we had 2 or 3 renku going at once, or a variant strand, thanks

      1. upon more thought, Lisa, i can’t use this link so close to the ‘coyote’s song’ of verse 2

    1. it occurs to me, p j, that you might be referencing the grey graphic of contorted struggle that’s the icon for the “Renku Sessions 4” header, both here and in the ‘combat’ of Poseidon and the Kraken and i don’t want to further tie in ‘struggle’ with this renku -great use of the word, “agony” though, thanks

    1. can’t really imagine either Poseidon or the Kraken risking any kind of mortality -want drama here, p j, but not necessarily a stand-off

    1. hi again, Claire -too close a connection to the dressing of the person in verse 6

    1. wow, Colleen -instead of a “bullet with butterfly wings” (Smashing Pumpkins) you’ve written of exploding jet wings to a butterfly -and with a half-stop after the first line and then a full one -can’t use it here -appreciate the intensity though, thanks

    1. somewhat benign, Jennifer, an entourage for the savagely symboliste poete -but, thanks for the memory -i used to refer to him as ‘author rhymeboat’ -then the “Rambo” series took over the cinemas and his name wasn’t fun anymore

    1. sounds like the ‘Tardis’ of “Doctor Who” -not as delightful as your others, though

    1. surrealism at one remove, Jennifer -nice touch – though “down” is too near to the “descent” of verse 5

    1. this is merry, Marietta -just when I’m convinced we need some high drama, i receive something delightful as this, thanks

  7. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire

    for his mermaids
    the professor’s discourse
    in pig latin

    – Lorin

    1. sorry, Lorin -just averse to the phrase, “pig latin” -and i guess i could add that it’s animal word too close to “coyote” that was used in the wakiku

    1. very cheerful and open, Albert -repetition of the chasing verb problematic however

    1. naw, they’ve only gained control of the global economy, Michael Henry -good that this is in the present though -will consider agin later, thanks

  8. after we grok
    i feel like a stranger
    in a strange land
    me and Atlas
    shooting dice
    on Beale and Main

    1. pleasing nonchalance, steve -looking for something more ‘mounted’ here, however

    1. this is fun, Marilyn -like the link of “football” to “school colors” though it does sound too much like a video game in the making -but thanks

    1. nice link of “the game” to “school colors” of the previous verse, Mary -will have a look at this one again, later – thanks

    1. very enigmatic, p j, -might be more likely to look for something like this later in the ‘development section’ but not right at its beginning

    1. nice allusion to the Pleiades, Diane -little too quiet for what i’m looking for though

    1. certainly more active, p j, but this verse still needs some tangible link to verse 6

      1. probably scary enough, Michael Henry -but more for the ‘unrequited love’ section than the phantastical-mythological one

    1. Yes, Marilyn, this is a good poem -just seems a bit long here -and i’m not sure i want a poetic allusion here -but thanks, i’ll keep this under consideration

    1. nice allusion, Aalix, to Keats’ “but unheard melodies are sweeter” but feels too silent for here, when we’ve just left the solemn procession of the first 6

  9. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire
    another attempt
    at hiring a writer
    for Frankenstein’s memoirs

    1. hi Polona -perhaps this ‘interprets’ my instructions for this verse -but not enough direct action to be included

    1. hi again, p j -“admonishes” just not active enough for me right now -though sea-monsters from Norway’s coast would have been fun to include

    1. not bad, Maureen, just that i’m wanting action, drama etc. to mive us along right now

    1. hi Jennifer -bit too much of a break after the first line -though when you did this you probably didn’t feel it at all -thanks

    1. I appreciate, Jennifer, you writing this in the first person -but i’m looking for something with action or drama to move us along

    1. still pretty staid in the action department, Maureen -third line probably unnecessary

    1. fine enough as is, Marietta -just that i want something with some action or drama

  10. Christ
    takes a brush to his loafers-
    Persephone huffs

    tips the shine boy-
    Persephone huffs

    1. hi Brian -yeah, the first one has a slant rhyme that’s too heavy -of the second, i’d say “Christ” in a line by itself and the term, “shine boy” could be seen as offensive by some and we want to include everybody as much as we can

      1. Marshall,
        First, thank you for all you do. Apparently
        I’ve missed the mark once again. I wanted to show Christ shaking the dust off his feet from a conquered hell and also by inference looking for the next work. Persephone, the false god, is miffed, and out of work. The connotations that arise from the words “shine boy” are in a way the point. Hell is conquered, the world still corrupt. I try too hard perhaps.
        If I offended I offer my sincere apologies. Please forgive me. With that said, I humbly submit this:

        Gregor Samsa
        takes a boot to the rostrum…
        click of the lock

    1. hi Barbara of these two scary creatures; yowi and bunyip, from down-under, i prefer this offering and had to look up “point the bones” as Australian for ‘laying a curse upon’ -so though I like this one, I would like it a whole lot more as, “facing me/ a hairy bunyip/ points the bones” -thanks

    1. hi Patrick -much prefer your earlier one -though thanks for trying out the arcane word, “aliphatic” which has to do with the carbons in fats

    1. hello, Marietta -many words here without much imagery -probably means you’re trying to accomplish too much in a haiku-like poetry frame -the 3 ‘c’s in the middle line a little ‘heavy’ as well

    1. sinister and naughty, Claire -i’m just uneasy about the sound of “witch” two lines down from “match” of the previous verse

  11. faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire

    at the fun house
    all my clones pregnant
    with clowns

    – Lorin

    1. I like it, Lorin -has a light touch and immediate word-play -i’ll look at this one again, later -thanks

    1. hi p j -this has a subtly ominous tone -I like it better with the ‘as’ moved to the third line: “as stone figures stand by” and I think this still avoids any stoppage to the flow -will look at again later, thanks

    1. hi Rob -can’t have any more kireji in our renku, Rob -the big stop after the ‘-‘

    1. hi Aaalix -too much going on with this one in terms of proper names and religious holidays for me to use here

    1. Another version which eliminates the rhyming:
      goddess Nike
      as she poses for photos
      at a football game

      1. hi Maureen -this still has a bit of a stop after “Nike” – might be better as “goddess Nike/ posing for photos/ at a football game” -but even this leaves me uneasy about the goddess being in ‘granny’s specs’

    1. no, we can’t have the word, “moon” so close to verse 5, Todd -though it is a well-rendered fantasy

  12. Congrats, Betty! Love the look. A great choice, Marshall.
    a chipped tooth
    as the Cyclops smiles
    for his portrait

    1. bit of a stop after “a chipped tooth” -still want to avoid breaks in or brakes on the flow of our renku

  13. gone ’round the stone circle
    the green dragon child
    bears the megalith


    1. hi Patrick -that’s more like it! I’ll keep this one for further consideration, thanks

    1. yeah,Lorin, better than below, but still too eeire for me right here, especially with news of Prince’s death

  14. a poke to my side
    tickles me right out
    of platform 9¾
    — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

    1. hi Shrikaanth -this is wonderfully expressive but still rooted in our assumed reality -something phantastical is needed here -but, thanks for the fun

  15. . . . probably anything with the word ‘down’ (as in my ‘wrote down’, even) returns to ‘descent’, so trying again:

    faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire

    among the trophies
    a photo
    of John Lennon’s head

    – Lorin

    1. hi Lorin -I like the later “John Lennon’ one better -just a personal aversion to having his head considered a “trophy”

    1. seems fairly grounded in everyday reality to me, Lisa -we’re looking for the phantastical here for verse 7

    1. this one, Marietta, feels more like it’s still about the moon than a shift into another range of phantasies -we can’t refer back to previous links but just step or ‘leap off’ of the very last one

    1. hi Marion -yes, minimalist is allowed now -but “midnight” too soon a use after “moonlight” in verse 5

  16. First thought. The mythological, and the surreal too, but not the fantastical: the real.

    faded jeans, school colors
    and granny’s specs to match
    –Betty Shropshire

    all we were saying
    while the FBI wrote down
    his song lyrics

    – Lorin

    1. . . . but perhaps we can’t repeat the word ‘song’, as it takes us back to those singing coyotes?

      all we were saying
      while the FBI wrote down
      his lyrics

      – Lorin

    2. hi Lorin -appreciate you trying to bring in a person’s name right away in the ‘development stage’ but yeah, any reference to music is just too close, too soon after the wakiku

    1. 🙂 … a kire, p j. .. a cut.
      . . . the ‘ji’ part of ‘kireji’ denotes the ‘cutting word’ in Japanese haiku, which is expressed verbally. The EL substitute for ‘kireji’/ ‘cut marker’ have been dashes, colons and ellipses, but a cut/ kire can be done without a kireji, and Basho praised this.

      – Lorin

    2. yes, p j, this is more acceptable, but i find it a bit too quiet for the first verse out of the processional -and I would place “but” in the third line -but then again if it were a haiku by itself it would be better with the subtle kireji as you wrote if at first

    1. hi joel -“wigs” a little too roughly close to “granny’s” in the previous link -sounds like fun, though

    1. hello again, Claire -like the break from the solemnity in having “chimera” so close to “shimmering” here -concerned, though that the extension to the breath is too close to the” dust from travelers”

    1. hi Carmen -yes, this is the kind of link i’m looking for -I will look at this one again -there’s going to be many good ones to choose from, i think

  17. Fun verse, Betty…so redolent of “home”. A good kickoff into the new uncharted territory!

  18. Hi Marshall…Are proper nouns OK here? Any exclusions besides backlinking? Thanks.


    1. hi Judt -glad you asked -actually, renku aren’t just about restrictions. We need to include: 1.a proper name and 2.a proper noun other than a person’s name, 3. a numeral, 4. a foreign word (with explanation added below, 5. an arcane or almost obsolete English word, 6. a feast or holiday or ceremony that is foreign to English-speaking countries and 7. a holiday-ceremony that is common to primarily English speaking countries. We want to be as inclusive and imaginative as possible while still making sense and poetry throughout the rest of the renku. But once we have one of these 7, it will have to be a terrific verse otherwise to have these items repeated

      1. Thanks, Marshall…it’s great to have these guidelines. Rather daunting, though!

    1. hello Skaidrite -we can be much more playful now but still no repetition; as here of ‘song’ in the second verse in your “music”

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