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The Renku Sessions: Barely Time – Week 9


Hello again. This is John Stevenson and I will be facilitating a twelve verse renku, in the Jûnichô style. Over the coming weeks we will add one new verse each week, selected from your offers.

This week saw 186 verse eight offers, from 27 poets.

There seems to be some confusion about the verse scheme I am using in this renku. Here it is:

Verse 1 = summer
Verse 2 = non-seasonal
Verse 3 = non-seasonal
Verse 4 = non-seasonal
Verse 5 = autumn
Verse 6 = autumn / love
Verse 7 = non-seasonal /love
Verse 8 = winter / moon

From here, we will finish with:

Verse 9 = non-seasonal
Verse 10 = non-seasonal
Verse 11 = spring / blossom
Verse 12 – spring

I apologize for not immediately posting the need for this to be a moon verse. It only occurred to me after I had posted instructions that we need a moon verse here. Otherwise, we would have to add a moon image to our final two (spring) verses and they already carry the added requirement of a blossom image. Of course, this particular renku format offers a maximum of flexibility and we could have had a “winter / blossom” verse here and a “spring / moon” verse later.” That would not be my preference, however.

Nancy Brady reported, this time, that “some of the verses I have written have turned (with modification) into haiku, which have been accepted in journals.” This is frequently a benefit of renku and I hope others have reaped or soon will reap similar benefits.

A concern has been raised about the use of “barely” in the hokku and “barefoot” in verse seven. This is an imperfection but one that I do not intend to erase. It’s hard to explain why. Here is a quote from an article on Japanese aesthetics that comes closer than I can to explaining. “In the Nampōroku (1690), a record of sayings by the tea master Sen no Rikyū, we read: ‘In the small [tea] room, it is desirable for every utensil to be less than adequate. There are those who dislike a piece when it is even slightly damaged; such an attitude shows a complete lack of comprehension’.” I don’t mean the “lack of comprehension” part but I do believe that nothing is beautiful without apparent flaws.


Here are some of the verses that struck me as candidates for our winter moon verse:


winter moon
captured in clouds

Wendy C. Bialek

It was Wendy’s question, on Thursday, that made me realize we needed a moon verse here. Thank you, Wendy.


the window stolen
by the winter moon

Keith Evetts

A delightful play on the famous Ryokan verse.


gold moonlight repairs
cracks in the ice

Keith Evetts

A reference to kintsugi.


the pod of whales tows the
winter moon out to sea

Laurie Greer


enough moonlight
for every snowflake

Jonathan Alderfer


moonlight illuminates
icebound waterfalls

Carol Jones


winter moonlight
astir in tide pools

Richard Straw


this winter moon
caught in an oyster shell

Lorin Ford


a huddle of penguins
under the winter moon

Lorin Ford


withered fields bathed
by a mellow moon

Carol Jones

Many of us will think of Bashō whenever the kigo “withered fields” is used.


the full frontal
winter moon

Patrick Sweeney

I don’t feel I can follow face and feet with “full frontal” but I love this one!


penguins diving
into the winter moon

Dan Campbell


screech of a barn owl
cold as the moonlight

Chris Patchel


While all of the above have much to recommend them, my final choice comes down to two other offers:


snow moon
rests on granite

Susan Grant

This came in fairly early and stayed resonant to the end. Its simplicity is very attractive.


snow clouds
the mood of the moon

Wendy C. Bialek

On the one hand, this subverts my intention to have a verse without human presence. Rather than personifying the moon, the verse reflects a shift in the mood of a viewer. I like the way in which the meaning of “clouds” oscillates between noun and verb. Is this too close to “the fog” in verse five?





snow moon
rests on granite

     Susan Grant




Our Renku, So Far




short night
barely time
to count the stars

Keith Evetts


9/11 still fresh
in our memories

Lorin Ford


somehow forgetting
the baby
in the back seat

Tracy Davidson


a racehorse
named Tortuga

Dan Campbell


the fog
has borrowed its scent
from the pines

Polona Oblak


he licks the apple juice
on her chin

Nancy Brady


walking barefoot
we take each other

Jonathan Alderfer


snow moon
rests on granite

Susan Grant






Please offer candidates for a ninth verse, using these guidelines:

  • Three lines
  • Non-seasonal: avoiding any kigo from our list:
  • Linking with the eighth verse only (no obvious linking to any of the first seven verses)
  • Without an internal grammatical break or pause


Please enter your offers in the comments section, below. Offers should be made by midnight, eastern US time, on Monday, August 15. On Thursday, August 18 I will post a selection of the offers, with my comments, and select the ninth verse for “Barely Time.”

Looking forward to your offers,
John Stevenson




The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy:

This Post Has 117 Comments

      1. in case “trapped” brings images off prisoner in v-7 and victims of 9/11 trapped in buildings in v-2

  1. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    no boats
    fisherman leans against
    the limestone wall

    heels on tile
    staccato replies
    to your proposition

    after dinner
    thoughts fold
    like linen napkins

    last evening
    my words
    become window fog

    Sunday brunch
    reading the page he
    coffee-stained first

    foot imprints in
    worn slippers

    chai tea
    the song ends with
    changing topic

    running late
    a skip to avoid
    closing train doors

    insect legs
    carry fallen debris
    across granite

  2. munchkin’s propensity
    to make mountains
    out of molehills

    08.15.2022 by wendy © bialek

  3. Lovely concise verse, Susan. Congratulations.
    they say hello
    to long lost ancestors
    at the grave markers
    the heirloom plate
    holds a celebratory
    coconut cake
    the mortar and pestle
    passed down another

  4. john, now i am wondering if i have evoked images too close to 9/11 with some of my words/phrases like: pavement, drop to the ground, etc. if so, delete from my offerings for this renku.

    1. and john, i am wondering too, for the sake of learning…..would i be going too far out on a limb…if i saw a connection between “9/11” and “granite”? the dust debris from components of office and building supplies, people and vehicles fleeing on the streets covered in cement-looking powdery soot???? that has also stayed in my memory. { i had to cancel a surgery in a hospital a few blocks away…afterwards…as the air quality was still too unhealthy to breathe.

  5. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    the lilting strains
    of an oboist
    across the way
    – Betty Shropshire

    1. For info: The Mournes are among the best granite mountains in Ireland, and granite quarries were a huge part of the Kingdom of Mourne economy. Mourne granite can be found throughout Ireland and England, including Belfast, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

  6. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    sounding off
    how a park benefits
    the inner city
    – Betty Shropshire

  7. Good People : The horse in v 4 is now ‘Tortuga’ – a tortoise or a Caribbean island. This links it faintly to v3, but not to v5. This was the place I gave up contributing. Verses seem to be chosen for their curiosity or affective interest, but the principle of ‘significant juxtaposition’ is lost : so the choice, from the myriad suggestions, could be anything. Count me out

    1. It has been my experience that it is more difficult for poets to not see connections than to see them. As I have said, I believe I could find links between almost any set of images. There is no need to provide a definitive link between verses 4 and 5. There are many such. But I will share with you what I had in mind. Verse 4 suggests that naming creates expectations of reality. The horse, whether named “molasses” or “tortuga,” is presumed to have a nature that reflects the name, even though the name was probably given at birth or early in life. In verse 5 the fog takes on the nature of a scent and, immediately, is not just any fog but the fog that is imbued with the scent of pine. In the course of a renku, it is desirable to utilize a variety of linking strategies. As a result, some of the linking will be quite obvious and some of it will be missed, especially if the reader is expecting some theory of linkage to be evident in every instance.

    2. dick…the connecting link may
      sometimes look
      like it is blowing
      wildly in the wind
      but for me
      it can be the aha moment
      yet to come
      or the eureka effect
      which is just one
      of the many pros
      that keeps me growing and engaged
      in the art of renku.

    3. ” . . . Tortuga’ – a tortoise or a Caribbean island. This links it faintly to v3, but not to v5. ” – Dick

      Actually, a Caribbean island named Tortuga because it has a turtle-like shape, and there it is, seeming to swim in the sea. While all tortoises are turtles, not all turtles are tortoises. 🙂

      The link from Polona’s verse #5 to it’s prior verse (‘Turtle verse’), is, in my view, a ‘word link’, and that word is ‘borrowed‘. The name of the horse (Tortuga) is borrowed from the name of the island which was borrowed from the name of a creature, the turtle , because that island looks like a turtle. Polona’s fog “has borrowed its scent/from the pines”. It’s a clever and witty link, in my view, and was so when the horse’s name was ‘Molasses’, so no changes were needed to Polona’s verse.
      (But John’s description of his understanding of the link between Polona’s verse and Dan’s is quite different to mine, it will be noted. )
      However, I haven’t a clue as to how the revised verse #4 links to Tracey Davidson’s immediately prior verse (verse #3). What has the island Tortuga to do with ‘forgetting’ or with a baby in the backseat?
      In the original, Dan’s verse linked to my wakiku (therefore committing the great sin of ‘uchikoshi’/ return to last-but-one) by it’s use of a name/ proper noun.

      John’s final solution to that problem was to dispose of my proper noun (& the ‘Earthrise’ event) and insert “9/11” in it’s place, which allows Dan’s verse to retain a proper noun, albeit a different proper noun than the original ‘Molasses’.

      Playing the sabaki role isn’t easy, and John is by miles the best sabaki in all ways that we’ve had at The Haiku Foundation. I don’t envy the sticky business he’s had to make his way through to get this renku back into balance.

  8. bone white roots
    in the anthropocene

    of laughter
    at the runoff

    greyscale news
    on color television

  9. snow moon
    rests on granite
    —Susan Grant

    the turbid river
    conceals city mud

    the seven dwarfs
    tell the boss to do
    her own whistling

  10. snow moon
    rests on granite
    — — —

    my footfalls echo
    under the angels
    my cat drops
    the garden pebble
    a successful hunt
    my flute at attention
    with bated breath
    as trumpets blare
    crimson sun dawning
    on an empty mountain tomb
    Excalibur released
    mountains shift
    and diamonds crack
    as Atlas shrugs
    I leave a stick
    for the stone dog
    guarding generations
    wax wings
    light as a feather
    falls like a stone
    wax wings
    light as a feather
    he plummets
    the Underworld watches
    as the stone rolls away
    under the bed
    she stashes her treasure
    of shells and seaglass
    brushing dust away
    from bones
    framed in stone

  11. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    a dusting
    of chilli flakes to top
    ricotta pizzas

    ( chilli / chili — tomahtoes / tomaytoes )

  12. snow moon
    rests on granite – Susan Grant
    the baker’s
    meringue pie specials
    almost sold out

  13. snow moon
    rests on granite – Susan Grant
    news of the cruise ship
    still anchored offshore
    goes viral

  14. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    sounding off
    about the ocean’s
    plastic island
    – Betty Shropshire

    1. To get rid of the link to Tortuga as an island, am revising to:
      sounding off
      about the ocean’s

  15. snow moon
    rests on granite
    ——Susan Grant


    runes lie hidden
    in the grain
    of a mountain cherry


    far from home
    a forest erratic broods
    in silence

    (* An erratic is a large boulder picked up by a glacier or ice sheet and sometimes transported hundreds of miles. When the ice sheet retreats the erratic is left behind.)

  16. Congratulations Susan

    snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant

    the crunch
    and squeak
    of her hobnailed boots

  17. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant

    the telescope
    found a planet
    made of diamonds
    the telescope
    found a planet
    sized diamond
    refugees on some
    planets weep tears
    made of diamonds

  18. Congratulations Susan! Lovely verse.

    snow moon
    rests on granite

    – Susan Grant

    the pauses
    in her words
    echo with sound
    a sudden screech
    of car tyres throws up
    a fine dust
    cleaning clay
    ornaments bit by bit
    for colour
    the broken globe
    on the table
    filling the small
    crater near the gate
    with rubble

  19. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    the kerplunk
    of a skipped stone
    making ripples
    – Betty Shropshire

  20. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant

    aborted takeoff
    on a pot-holed
    lava flowing
    across the airport

  21. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant


    how fast
    the octopus shape-shifts
    into coral

  22. vultures circling
    like kites
    above the volcano
    the harmony
    of hyena howls
    trees growing
    from cracks
    in the mountain
    more hearts
    than chimneys
    are made of stone

  23. snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant
    a little oil
    on the whetstone
    to sharpen the chisel

  24. an artist
    leaves the oil rig
    out of the painting

    a whisper
    of forgotten lines
    behind the scenes

  25. the screech
    of teacher’s chalk
    on the blackboard

    a little dandruff
    and they’re yelling
    for the chairman’s scalp

    a soppy poem
    in the hope of
    stopping tanks

    she’ll be coming
    round the mountain
    when she comes

    the woodcutter’s son
    is a chip
    off the old block

  26. Congratulations Susan.

    snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant

    dark from light
    a bird’s song

  27. a lovely verse, well done Susan!

    and already some great candidates for the next position 👍

  28. snow moon
    rests on granite – Susan Grant
    how peaceful
    until our dormant mountain
    begins to growl

  29. snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    papier-mâché props
    come alive
    as the music swells
    – Betty Shropshire

  30. walking barefoot
    we take each other
    prisoner – Jonathan Alderfer
    snow moon
    rests on granite – Susan Grant

    the huge cruise ship
    for weeks at anchor

    morning’s rhythm
    in the thuds of pestles
    hitting mortars

    an adage re stones
    for people still living
    in glass houses

    1. Whoops, not “morning” after our hokku’s “night”, I think. So, a replacement:
      snow moon
      rests on granite – Susan Grant
      waking to the thuds
      of pestles grinding spices
      in mortars

  31. snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant

    dreaming about pastures
    in a hut
    made of cow dung

  32. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    an overused
    worry stone
    the serenity
    that makes a case
    for the worry stone

  33. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    summarizing the plot
    of the Wilkie Collins
    sketching the plot
    of the Wilkie Collins

  34. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    reciting the Pledge
    of Allegiance
    on the flagstone path

  35. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    stone washed jeans
    still the height
    of fashion

  36. snow moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    reading the fine grit
    of the eloquent
    always believing
    his birthstone
    was a mood ring
    gritting their teeth
    against the whirling

  37. now moon
    rests on granite
    Susan Grant
    her agile hands
    a tablet for the almost
    gathering all leaves
    for dead

    her new mantra
    in the stuck up

    black boards’ dust
    on her head still unable
    to solve problem
    search in the heap
    of clothes and kerchief
    needle and thread

  38. I know
    it’s only rock ‘n roll
    but I like it

    I see a red door
    and I want to
    paint it black

    1. I should have checked out all the Paint It Black lyrics which include ‘summer’ and ‘love’

    1. sheep use
      to cross the river
      🙂 hey Carol, how about goats? I’ve seen this, clever devils that they are:

      goats use
      to cross the river

  39. from the eyrie
    nothing but
    a silken sea

    a bald eagle
    finds loneliness
    at the summit

    a new war
    gives the globe
    another shake

    fellow feeling
    for the squid that failed
    an ink blot test

  40. snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant
    hot stone yoga
    to soothe away
    the stresses
    the bow
    moving gracefully
    across a violin
    strands of wool
    where the goat rubbed
    against the cromlech

  41. snow moon
    rests on granite
    —-Susan Grant

    a hawk overhead
    a rabbit in the yellow gorse
    and all is well

    temple bells
    green with ghosts
    lie in the dust

    a sandcastle
    washed away by
    the incoming tide

    carpenter ants
    and dry rot attack
    the foundation

    the hollow sound of river
    rocks as they roll down
    to the sea

  42. a chiseler a cheat
    but first and foremost
    a liar

    back to the future
    for another
    box of rocks

    an object on the sofa
    on the sofa

    laying claim
    to a field
    of fool’s gold

  43. the trophy
    melted down for silver
    leaves a nameless plinth

    how to value
    the unnamed sculptor
    by a single work

    unrequited wishes
    for the fountain’s
    silver coins

  44. lichen creeps
    across the slab
    without a word

    the urge to scrawl
    I was here
    on the cairn

    hot rock
    at the herpetologists’ ball
    gets ’em going

  45. his last curling stone
    knocks mine
    off the rink

    the rock and roll
    radio station
    cuts transmission

    her old rocking chair
    still rocks
    when we’re not looking

  46. Congratulations Susan, a lovely verse. It has the classic simplicity and silence that allows your mind to wander around in it. I see the same qualities in some ukiyo-e woodblock prints of snowbound mountains.

  47. Thank you John, I am quite moved to have this chosen and thank you for the kind comments from you all.
    I started thinking of mountains and their endurance, snowdrifts then the delights of moon in snow. It came down to my image of the moon cupped in rocks, currently as snow but ready to melt into the next season.
    I also thank Jonathan for his verse that set me off on this thread.

  48. snow moon
    rest on granite
    -Susan Grant

    the relevant pauses
    in the closing

    intervals of silence
    players tuning
    the page

    in the absence of sound
    my meter key
    has changed

  49. Congrats Susan, that is such a sublime verse.

    fresh white sheets
    smoothing out the wrinkles
    on her skin


    at quarry lake
    breezes flutter
    police tape

  50. ooops!! can’t use time’s. it’s in the title !!!!!

    their chiseled features
    worn away
    by nature’s caress

  51. twisted steel
    and jumbled rubble
    their cenotaph

    their poem
    dense with
    crystalline images

    seldom notice
    the cenotaph

    their chiseled features
    worn away
    by time’s caress

  52. snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant
    apologies dear mom
    for stepping on
    those sidewalk cracks

  53. snow moon
    rests on granite

    Susan Grant

    a stream
    of consciousness
    in the rub of quartz

    08.11.2022 by wendy © bialek

  54. snow moon
    rests on granite

    Susan Grant

    silent flames
    in mother’s
    opal ring

    08.11.2022 by wendy © bialek

  55. Congrats Susan and muchas gracias John

    snow moon
    rests on granite
    — Susan Grant

    salty sea
    on a sinking ship
    singing while sinking
    is how I
    want to go

  56. Congratulations Susan, and thanks always, John!

    new countertops
    to be used


    the kitchen
    just as she imagined


    the kitchen
    after the fire

  57. thank you john, for your comments and guidance.
    and picking a beautiful moon verse.
    (yes, i knew that the mood…clouded the verse with
    human touch….but i couldn’t resist posting it and
    sharing it with group.) thank you for your feedback.

    a wonderful, eloquent edition to our renku, susan….congrats!
    will open up many directions.

    snow moon
    rests on granite

    Susan Grant

    multi-coloured mica
    marbles my
    shampoo bar

    08.11.2022 by wendy © bialek

    the multi-faceted
    talents of our renku

    08.11.2022 by wendy © bialek

  58. snow moon
    rests on granite

    Susan Grant
    urnes and
    reliques adorn
    a door
    an angel
    and her cherubs
    in shadow
    arm in arm
    shrouded figures
    guard the way
    on the walls
    the dead
    on the wind
    a dissipating

  59. Congrat, Susan!
    snow moon
    rests on granite
    – Susan Grant
    booyah scissors
    – Betty Shropshire

    1. or :

      booyah! scissors
      (unsure if inserting an “!” after booyah creates a cut so offering the verse both ways)

      or with just:

  60. Thanks, John, for the shout out, and it works. One two-liner here was converted and accepted this week.
    Congratulations to Susan Grant. Truly a lovely winter moon verse.

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