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The Renku Sessions: A Day of Snow 8

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.

Alright, renku fans. Our verse 8 is:

balls of moss
exit the quaking forest

            –Carmen Sterba

I liked it immediately for its having tangible, natural beings behaving unnaturally as a link to our supernatural scene.

I think of moss as spongy as if from another world; something to be walked upon and thus “downtrodden.” So it’s inspired of Carmen to have them concentrate into hard and discreet balls. I see them rising up and leaving.

“Forest” is a traditional mythological symbol for the unknown darkness but here this vertical icon is given a vividly unsettling and horizontal twist: it’s “quaking.” “Exit” is such a droll verb, but appropriately out of context for our scene, letting the balls leave without fanfare and beautifully setting up our next link. Well done, Carmen, and thank you.

For our next verse we need to return to the realm of nature with 3 lines of spring. Again, no blossoms or moons, don’t repeat any of the nouns or actions preceding. For instance you could have seasonal birds but no birdsong.

Happy linking,
Marshall

 

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

This Post Has 218 Comments

  1. popping colours
    flying over park benches
    crystal balls

    portholes
    to the way we were

  2. I accidentally added a haiku as a reply earlier. oops

    blooming
    rows of forget-me-nots
    along the path

  3. I accidentally added a haiku as a reply earlier. oops
    This is what it said, but in three lines: enchantment gone / a forced march / to the boondocks

  4. I accidentally added this in the wrong place.

    enchantment gone
    a forced march
    to the boondocks

  5. the scent of beeswax
    drifting out when a window
    opens to the street

  6. the scent of beeswax
    drifting out when a doorway
    opens to the street

    1. sometimes happens at dusk as well, Marion -just have huge resistance to the word, “decorates” here though -and “branch” after “forest” too close, too -still a lovely image

    1. true, Easter’s in spring but no appeal to the emotions or senses here, paul – but glad you’re sending in without worry though -keeps the juices flowing

    1. I think we just compose differently, paul -I would have “meet” in the third line and also think there’s a bit more surprise in the third line if it’s “meet in a new garden”. Much prefer “glistening” to “shiny” here -thanks

    1. like this one, Michael Henry, even better than your “gentle showers” one -a happily accepted mistake under trying but accepted circumstances such as the imminence of rainfall -which would be a link to the “quaking forest” -which is kind of tenuous -like it as a haiku though, thanks

    1. yeah, this is plausible, Judt, but reminds me, in ite solitude, too much of the hokku

    1. certainly “within” spring instead of indicating it from the outside, Betty -“gulp/ of its worm” too brutal even for me, here, in this renku now

    1. sense of accomplishment here, Maureen parallels that of verse 4 with its “bales of hay” -don’t want to do that if we can avoid it

    1. hi Marietta -this still too closely parallels the dire circumstances of the “balls of moss” escape

    1. just over the line as an anthropomorphism, Albert -and don’t want a particular kind of tree right after “forest”

    1. this reads better it without the rhyme, Carol -but i would prefer that the activity didn’t so closely parallel the previous verse’s escape under dire circumstances

    1. Thanks for the welcome! Oops, can I delete or alter this? Did not see my post so posted twice. Sorry.

    1. “assemble” doesn’t appeal to any of our senses, paul -though it is novel to have it as an intransitive verb it still puts the onus on a mind that ‘conceives’ of the trails as ‘assembled’ -also, i’m trying to get away from “leaves” since the last verse finished with “forest” thanks for trying to work again with the first two lines, though

  7. facing me
    a hairy bunyip points
    the bones
    .
    –Barbara A. Taylor
    .
    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    .
    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    white specks
    hug tight to the grass
    new born lambs

    – Laure Yates

    1. welcome, Laure -too soon after the coyote to have another mammal included, though

  8. facing me
    a hairy bunyip points
    the bones
    .
    –Barbara A. Taylor
    .
    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    .
    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    sneeze after sneeze
    signal the start
    of allergy season
    .
    Karen Cesar

  9. …or maybe they don’t?
    ***
    a flock of chicks
    vigorously twerks
    at the prom
    ***
    or the more neutral;
    ***
    a group of girls
    vigorously twerks
    at the prom

    1. well, Agnes, proms are in the spring but i think these suggestions belong to the ‘unrequited love’ section that is still to come -no chaperones in the renku -they’re kinda like kireji to the flow

  10. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba

    a poddy lamb
    in the asparagus patch
    soft horns poking through

    – Lorin

    1. still no mammals again, Lorin -and i’m not a fan of a link ending with a preposition

  11. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba

    in swift pursuit
    of the fading rainbow
    lorikeets

    – Lorin

    1. yes, Lorin, lorikeets are on a par in variegated beauty with rainbows but “in swift pursuit” would shift too hard from the “balls of moss” and then introduce another subject via a kireji

  12. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba

    spots of sunlit
    under greening willows
    the ducklings

    – Lorin

      1. fine haiku, Lorin -problems for the renku are that “the ducklings” come in after a hard stop -though that could be solved by moving the ‘ducklings’ up to the first line and secondly that the “greening willows” might be too close to the “balls of moss” in colour and to the “quaking forest” in subject matter -but, thanks

  13. in tender grass
    lambren spring
    among grazing ewes


    – Writing this has made me homesick for my man Geoffrey:
    – “…Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
    – Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
    – The tendre croppes…..
    – And smale foweles maken melodye,
    – That slepen al the nyght with open eye…”


    – This may show up all garbled…

    – P.S….is precipitation OK now? Thanks.

        1. D’you not ken Jeoffrey, lass?

          “For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
          For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
          For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
          For every family had one cat at least in the bag.”
          🙂

          … a kind of Magnificat.

          – Lorin

      1. Winter wheat is but a fine grass and when harvested it is bales of straw. Hay is derived from other grasses and harvested green to be used as feed and the straw as bedding for the stalls.

        Just a thought.

        A

    1. hi again, Albert -well this is spring, but we’re saving blossoms and flowers for the 17th verse -talking to bees is rather novel, though

    1. nicely poetic cadence, Albert -but we had the harvest of the second haying in verse 4 and can’t repeat that this renku

    1. “sea cabbage” as a kind of algae, Claire, is too close to the “moss” in verse it’s to link with

    1. hi again Claire -don’t know about you, but “war memorial” just yells, ‘autumn’ to me; not spring

  14. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba


    dandelion seeds
    each with its parachute
    set free to the breeze

    – Lorin

    1. hey Lorin, quite the rhyme with “breeze” to “seeds” and an additional long’ee’ sound as well in each line -and a parachute to boot!

      1. That’s a negative, I take it, Marshall? I did it for variety & I personally like the cadence & the rhyme because it helps change the mood after the previous two verses. Not your cup of tea, then? ‘Parachute’ here is not fanciful, btw, that’s what the thing is commonly referred to as, by anyone apart from Latin scholars, who’re somewhat sparse on the ground these days. 🙂

        – Lorin

    1. need something other than “point to”, paul, so close to “point/ the bones” -such as ‘lead to’ or even, ‘leading away from’ -“glistening trails/ from all directions” are certainly two good lines to work with

    1. certainly a cute scene, Aalix, but I think a bear cub just the wrong-side-of-the -line close to a coyote

    1. hi again Liz Ann -don’t want to have “ancient cedars” right after “quaking forest”

  15. mud covered hikers
    slapping high-fives
    atop the Grouse Grind
    *
    end of the trail
    mud covered hikers
    slap high-fives

    1. prefer the first one, Liz Ann -doesn’t have the ‘end-stop’ after the first line but flows right into the second -very happy scene of human accomplishment here so i have to consider if it’s too soon after the “stacked to the rafters” of verse 4 to have another one -but thanks -and nice move out of Australian references to British Columbia

    1. this is good for its links, Marilyn: from forest not just to garden but “the garden shop” and from “balls of moss” to “seed packets” . I like that you wrote “arrayed” rather than ‘arranged’ as well -gives us more the visual pleasure of looking at the packet covers -and the alliterative ‘a’s in the third line make me feel i’m reading them from the start, left to right -thanks, i’ll be keeping this one in my head

      1. I like it, too, for the contrast with the seemingly ‘supernatural’ forest. Nature here is (at most) potential, completely hidden, sealed away in a man-made environment … all we have is seed packets ‘arrayed’ by name by a shopkeeper quite possibly suffering from OCD.
        So it’s a striking verse.
        But
        “we need to return to the realm of nature with 3 lines of spring. ” – Marshall

        *How could this verse could qualify as a spring verse?* Seed packets are displayed all year round (though not usually ‘arrayed alphabetically’ … cabbage near carnation, parsley near petunias near pumpkins, seeds meant for spring, summer & autumn planting all mixed together . . . )

        Right now (late autumn, here) I’m aware I’m about a month late in planting my broad beans and the hyacinth bulbs are already shooting!


        – Lorin

      2. Thanks Marshall and Lorin.
        Here’s another Canadian alternative (i.e. where I see this each year as a sure sign of spring)

        *
        in the grocery store
        seed packets
        arrayed alphabetically

        *

  16. a farm tractor’s drone
    is much more loudly than
    the wind roaring

    1. too declarative a sentence, here, Vasile. “farm tractor’s drone/ much louder/ than the wind roaring” or “than the wind’s roar” but i’m feeling “farm” and “tractor” are too close to the “bales of the second haying” of verse 4

    1. too much of a kireji, Vasile, after the first line -but nice reminder of Basho’s “doesn’t lice season come to an end?”

  17. and it’s a swing and a miss
    on the first pitch
    of opening day

    1. well, Michael Henry, this is an abrupt ‘shift’ -only “day” has been already used in the hokku

    1. this is good, too, Aalix -“pigeons” is unexpected -not sure about “wet earth” so close to “balls of moss” -but thanks

    1. this is possible, Aalix, thanks i’ll have to consider if I want this link to be this brief

    1. hi Marilyn -brolgas are the Australian equivalent of a crane and since we have an Australian reference in “bunyip” just 2 verses before i think this would be a case of ‘backlinking’ -but also, after “balls of moss” we don’t want “on the wetlands” 2 lines later -gotta move ion

    1. well, p j, this is much more to my taste than the previous version -but their still seems to be a personal interest vested in the word, “converge”

  18. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest

    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    .
    one by one
    tadpoles wriggle out
    of frogspawn

    1. this would be fabulous to see live, Polona -just that “wriggle out” after “exit” is too soon a similar action

  19. oh, i like this…
    .
    .

    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest

    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    .
    the afternoon
    house martins begin
    their nest repair

    .
    probably not what you’re looking for, but just in case… 🙂

    1. yeah, you’re right, Polona -don’t want any nests -but keep ’em comin’ and keep the juices flowing

    1. yeah, Maureen, i hope they eat them all -don’t like shrubs from the mani-pedi dept. -nice play in the ‘pillars’ of “caterpillars” though

    1. hi Carol -don’t really want “early” and “dawn” in the first line -and it’s unclear how the swan’s presence ‘broke’ the dawn -were they reflective of the first light? or was it the smoothness of their glide over the lake that made you look up to see the first rays?

    1. I like this one, Marietta as it would introduce some stillness back into our renku while maintaining some motion as well -took me awhile to understand “snag” though -but definitely will look at this one later, thanks

    1. sounds as if the “green leaves” belong to you or at least the human subject, p j -in nature, nothing ‘belongs’ to anybody -“converge” makes it sound like you’re afraid the snails will do the leaves damage -maybe it’s the best food for them to eat

    1. humans have “trials” -usually for eliminating slower performers for a final race -insects may ‘test’ their balance and try their first pushes for flight -but to call this a ‘trial’ is anthropocentric, i think

  20. fiddleheads
    unfurl
    their wings
    .
    . or
    .

    fiddleheads
    now unfurl
    their wings

    1. “fiddleheads” may be a fanciful name, Mary, so you may believe it’s consistent to call their curls, “wings” but too fanciful and close to metaphor for us here

  21. an arc of swans
    soaring high above
    plowed cotton fields
    .
    .
    an arc of swans
    soaring far above
    plowed cotton fields

    1. hi Mary -“arc of swans” too close to the moss’ implied flight

  22. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba


    out of morning mist
    a rabbit, two rabbits
    a hundred rabbits!

    – Lorin
    ps, this is true to my experience, though one stops counting so ‘a hundred’ really indicates ‘countless’.

    1. hi Lorin -seems to me rabbits have frequent litters all year round -this could be late summer or fall as well

    1. this, Marilyn, is a converted 2-liner with too obvious a cause-effect relation (and 2 participles out of 6 words) -sorry, you hit 3 red buttons in one offering

  23. monarch butterflies
    settled upon
    a Zazen-seki
    *
    “Zazen-seki is a flat “meditation rock,” which is believed to radiate calm and silence.”
    Source: Wikipedia, Japanese rock garden

      1. hi Maureen – guess you could have used another butterfly such as a red admiral or a question mark; mourning cloaks are the earliest out here -monarchs i’ve been watching for over 50 years and only twice did one make it to southern Ontario before the summer solstice -and they don’t “settle” in their hordes until late summer or fall (unless you’re in Mexico)

    1. hi again, Aalix -don’t really want walking noted after the balls of moss have escaped through the air

    1. well, joel, certainly springlike but i’m stretching to see how it would link

    1. this ‘nest imagery’, aalix, though it certainly indicates spring, appeals to none of my senses; does not make my body feel as if it’s in springlike conditions

    1. to the rescue! Judt! not for here now -though it is ‘neat’ that you act on the cat but watch the fledgling

    1. certainly a moment, Judt -as we used to say when we all concentrated on haiku as ‘the moment of awreness’ -too close to the bunyip moment here, however

  24. Ah, I certainly appreciate Marshall’s choice of this verse, which was inspired by growing up near a mossy rain forest in my state of Washington and by living with constant earthquakes in Japan for 32 years.

    1. You’re welcome, Carmen -just shows that imagination rooted in memory is just that more imaginative

    2. That’s interesting, Carmen, adding to my understanding and appreciation of your ku. Thank goodness I’ve not been present when a major earthquake happened! (a smaller quake, long ago in Indonesia though, and yes, what with the sloping changes things/ objects did take on an uncanny life of their own) It’s a spooky haiku! All the more so for me now!

      – Lorin

    1. “geometric crinkles”, Maureen harks back to much to the “… surreal” section in its jagged juxtaposition of words

    1. hey Michael Henry, you’ve got something here -could we just change “enlighten” to ‘lighten’ ?

      1. but of course perhaps

        gentle showers
        lighten each stone
        in the garden

  25. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba

    in the greenhouse
    a calico cat
    suckles her newborns

    – Lorin

    1. this one, Lorin, is the one from the three you’ve sent that i like -we are all living in a greenhouse now

    1. yeah, in Canada i like to quote Sono Uchida, one of the founders of the Haiku International Association out of Tokyo who was an Ambassador to the USA with an embassy in Seattle who said of our spring, “It’s more of an event than a season, i think” -wanted to jump out of my very formal chair and hug him when he said that -too droll a verse to be included here, though, Marion

    1. again, Marion, i think the third line should be ‘returning to nest’ -the breath-feel’ for the line should override any count of syllables in English poetry -seems that we’re still trying to perform ‘short-long-short’ that simply ain’t required -especially when “steely-blue flash” is so, well, flashy

    1. hi Marion -i had this happen the first time i went to Loutro, Krete -yellow sfakia flowers the whole ride of about 80 miles down -i would like it better with the third line: ‘all the way to Dublin’ but i’ll keep it for later consideration, thanks

      1. Ah, I was probably trying to hard to link with ‘exit’, Marshall. I like ‘all the way to Dublin’ because the three lines sound like the lyrics of a song now. 🙂

        1. and it’s not a ‘blossom verse’ so we can’t have daffodils here -got carried away, Marion, with Cretan memories

  26. balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    –Carmen Sterba

    a calico cat
    suckles her newborns
    on the neighbour’s porch

    – Lorin

    1. vivid writing, Patrick -the juxtaposition of the two images harks too much back to the “… surreal” section though

  27. I also found that verse of Carmen’s fascinating.
    .

    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest

    .

    just in from school
    she wishes our Buddha candle
    a happy birthday

    1. well, specifically, we had “school” in verse 6 -cute scene though -not a Buddhist myself, i’m always taken aback that they celebrate the Buddha’s birthday

    1. oh yeah, the spring festival of colours celebrated in India and Nepal, Maureen -don’t want a reference to ritual right after the “phantastical …” section

    1. refers to the ‘Morris Dance’ performed in England up til the 15th Century -don’t know if this was performed only in spring, but even if it were this feels to me like an offering left over from the ‘phantastical-mthological-surreal’ section -would seem that that section got extended to 3 verses -which it won’t be

      1. Morris dancing is still alive and well in the 21st century, Marshall. There are dances for all sorts of things, but this verse refers to May Day, a huge day on the traditional Morris calendar – they go out to wake up the Earth.

        1. I think i’d rather have the earth wake up humanity -at least in a renku

    1. nice image, Judt -i’m not a ‘puddles’ guy though -and have seen enough ‘reflection haiku’ for at least one lifetime

    1. think, “Northern” a little unnecessary here, Maureen -cardinals were first sighted in Canada in 1904 -been moving farther north every year -not crazy about looking in a nest after a “quaking forest’ either

  28. facing me
    a hairy bunyip points
    the bones
    .
    –Barbara A. Taylor
    .
    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    .
    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    margaritas
    to celebrate
    Cinco de Mayo
    .
    -Karen Cesar

    1. this is very welcome, Karen, thanks -definitely keep this one around

  29. at dusk
    a male cardinal’s “chip chip”
    alerts the nestlings

    1. doesn’t work for me, Marilyn -the female goes ‘chip, chip’ when she’s found food, the male has three distinct songs -and “alerts the nestlings” is too ’cause and effect’ for me here. We had a male in our yard 2 years ago who couldn’t sing but did often go ‘chip, chip’ near our seed tray -that was the name i gave him (‘chip’) -introduced him to guests as our ‘LGBT cardinal’ -i could whistle and he’d show up

    1. i’m guessing you mean, “first rainbow of spring” Vasile -rainbows are welcome anytime -and the first two lines too liturgical

    1. hi Michael Henry -this one reads like it’s a 2-liner split after “finally” -though unique indication of spring: “twenty four seven”

  30. Elegant verse, Carmen ?
    ***
    .
    facing me
    a hairy bunyip points
    the bones
    .
    –Barbara A. Taylor
    .
    balls of moss
    exit the quaking forest
    .
    –Carmen Sterba
    .
    the polished floors
    of the rotunda covered
    in muddy footprints
    .
    – Karen Cesar

      1. good indicator of spring, Karen -though this seems like a line-split two-liner -just sensitive to that since so many live sessions have people doing this when i look up and say that we need 3 lines now

    1. so this is a genuine 3-liner, Karen -to my ‘breathing test’ for line-break the third line should begin with “covered” -then i think maybe “covered” isn’t needed at all

    1. this is much more acceptable, Vasile -though i would make the third line: ‘flying to and fro’ -but having it ‘hither and thither’ would satisfy our need for an archaic English word in our renku, i.e. ‘thither’ -first line probably needs a possessive as well: ‘under the clouds’ ceiling’ -so i’ll have to consider this one again, thanks

      1. Dear Sir,
        thank you for this sugestion. It is better so?:

        under the clouds ceiling
        no end of swallows
        flying to and fro

      2. Thank you for this help. I think that this is the better form:

        under the clouds celling 5
        no end of swallows fly anew 7
        hither and thither

    1. you remind me, Vasile, of the time i was asked for a ‘white crane’ haiku and sent one i wrote about the ‘bark’ of one of a pair as they passed under a bridge -they accepted it but it was clear from every other inclusion that they were appealing for poems about folded, origami cranes. My point being thatyou’ve here done the opposite: the origami cranes do have many angles, but the ones in the sky fly in a very ‘stream-lined’ manner. Unless you mean you’re holding up ‘paper cranes’ to a background of sky, which is too contrived

    1. hi again, Vasile -this certainly is of spring but it needs more of a link and it needs to appeal to our senses as well

  31. Congrats, Carmen! A striking verse. Great choice, Marshall.
    *
    the shimmer
    of a soap bubble
    before it bursts

    1. thanks, Maureen -striking visual image here -have to think more about this one

    1. hello Mary -I feel the third line should be ‘plowed cotton fields’ -then we need more of the second line -nice start though, thanks

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