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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 10

renkuchainWelcome to The Haiku Foundation’s Fifth Renku Session: New Calendar. I am John Stevenson, leading my second Kasen (36 verse) renku on this site. We will be trying something a little different this time. Instead of making all of the selections myself, new verses will be selected by the poet who wrote the preceding verse. This will be on a voluntary basis and I remain ready to preform this task for anyone who prefers to pass up the opportunity.

This week we have the selection and comments of Judt Shrode:

after the picnic
some spirited croquet

            –Michael Henry Lee

Michael’s verse is very appealing to me because it is fun and funny—with “attitude.” The scene, subject and tone shift nicely. “Picnic” places it solidly in summer. The verse pokes gentle fun at the “passion” of the elders kissing (though as an elder, I could wax eloquent on that point :-).

Even though “spirited” and “croquet” may seem mutually exclusive, the verse does subtly bring to mind the point that it isn’t uncommon for older people to find a different level of appreciation and take joy in simple pleasures that young and middle-aged folks don’t have the time or inclination to engage in. Maybe picnics and croquet await us all…if we’re lucky.

Well done, Michael, and thank you everyone for your contributions, which made this such a rich process for me. Many thanks, John, for your support and for encouraging me to take part in the relay. I have thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the learning experience. Renku will be even more interesting and fun for me because of it.”

Thank you Judt. And congratulations, Michael.

Michael Henry Lee will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Michael Henry, please contact me, either in a reply below or by e-mail ( to let me know whether you accept this offer. If you do, I will ask you to choose the next verse in accordance with the requirements listed below and to write a paragraph or two about your selection and send it to me on Wednesday morning (March 15) so that I can incorporate it in the next posting, which appears on the following day. If you would rather not make the selection, I will do so, but I would prefer to know that I’ll be doing that as early as possible

Verse eleven will be another summer verse, in three lines this time. These two verses (numbers ten and eleven) will be the only summer verses in this renku.

Verse eleven must link to the tenth verse (and only the tenth verse) but it also must clearly shift away from it in terms of scene, subject, and tone.

You will have until Tuesday night to make your offers. The Haiku Foundation site has been busy lately and the link to our renku session has not always been obvious on the home page. There is a permanent “Renku Sessions” button a little further down the home page and you can always reach the current session via this route. We will continue to check for new verse offers through each Tuesday.

With best wishes to all,



New Calendar to Date

new calendar
a year of
“Natural Wonders”

    –John Stevenson

a clownfish offers
the first greeting

    –Peter Newton

taking a fistful
of freshly tilled earth
to my cheek

    –Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

café aromas
on the warm breeze

    –Maureen Virchau

sound of a flute
slowly rising
with a hazy moon

    –Dru Philippou

flickering light of a bike
from the side road

    –Marina Bellini

under the bed-sheet
tales of bold highwaymen
and horse-drawn coaches

    —Lorin Ford

has the lord executed
his droit du seigneur

    —Polona Oblak

Jimmy Carter
and Rosalynn
on the kiss cam

    —Judt Shrode

after the picnic
some spirited croquet

      –Michael Henry Lee

This Post Has 80 Comments

  1. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    every petal
    on her daisy chain
    romances the wind

  2. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    ants in a
    two way flow
    clean a wrapper

  3. after the picnic
    some spirited crouquet
    a man who looks like Nostrodamus
    reading quatrains

  4. Boo-ya! Michael Henry Lee.

    I offer:

    lithesome girls
    shake a cocktail of
    iodine and baby oil

  5. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    MHL ?
    the filtered hops
    tossed into
    the hog trough

  6. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    Great verse Michael- so casual, even though it excites in some way. ?
    a venerable oak
    with the lightning

  7. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    MHL ?
    the slow drift
    of a butterfly
    by a yard gnome

  8. after the picnic
    some spirited croquet
    MHL ?
    bees in and out
    of wildflowers
    in a woven basket

    1. Dear Angiola, there are no full breaks, or fragments in the verses, due to there links with the verses before and after each one ?

  9. Congratulations Michael Henry! What a fun verse!
    two turkey vultures
    circle above the meat market
    pork chops on sale

  10. Michael Henry, well done and congratulations! I, too, loved the double meaning you presented. Judt did well in selecting it. This renku is both lively and fun. I love reading all the comments throughout the verses. So many skilled and experienced poets here are great teachers.

      1. Thank you, Mary!
        I thought something like this might have the potential to open the way to new topic possibilities for the next verse.

        – Lorin

  11. river’s edge
    children chasing
    a flock of kites

    under the oak
    from elder to elder
    a bottle shared

    tea by the pond
    a gathering of
    unusual hats

  12. nicely done, Michael Henry.
    and Judt, i think you did an excellent job.
    since every verse so far had humans implied if not directly present, perhaps a pure nature verse may be in order (then again, there’s the moon position two verses or so from here)
    once again
    thunder bings no rain
    to the valley

  13. Congratulations, Michael Henry! So glad your verse was chosen. It was my favorite. “Spirited” is a fantastic word. The other implication immediately came to mind. Eat, drink, and be merry!
    Excellent job, Judt! Glad you decided to select the next verse, and glad you had fun. I enjoyed your engaging commentary.

  14. roqueted into the next county,
    I’m pegged out
    Note: not a reference to cribbage

  15. “Even though “spirited” and “croquet” may seem mutually exclusive … ” Judt

    Not really… “spirited” is great because it also calls up another aspect of traditional lawn croquet as played by the Irish and then the English, . . the summer drink of choice to accompany a leisurely game: gin & tonic. :-)

    It’s a fine verse.

    My only qualm is the use of a loanword from the French (croquet) when we have a French term in the last- but- one verse:

    has the lord executed
    his droit du seigneur

    —Polona Oblak

    B. (Judt’s verse)


    after the picnic
    some spirited croquet

    –Michael Henry Lee

    – Lorin

    1. I thought of both of these things – that “spirited” might invoke potent refreshments and that croquet might be looked upon by some as a “foreign” word. I mentioned neither thought to Judt; the first because it was just my thought (interesting to see that you also thought of it, Lorin) and the second because, upon consideration, I concluded it was not a problem. English is a language that reflects a history of repeated invasion and domination up to 1066 and wide-ranging borrowing as a result of the centuries of the British Empire. At this point, it makes perfect sense to talk about “English languages.” The way I look at it, I have known the word croquet since very early childhood and I learned it at the same time I was learning many other words commonly used by English speakers in my part of the world, but the phrase “droit du seigneur” is sufficiently foreign to me that I had to look it up to be sure that it meant what I thought it meant.

      What Lorin is mentioning here is a real consideration in renku, especially when we are talking about the last-but-one verse (or leap-over verse, as I was taught). But I think the question of how stringently to apply the principle of “foreign word” or “loanword” is an open one for English speakers. However loosely or stringently we apply the principle here, it is good information for everyone to hear about this. Thanks, Lorin.

      1. Thanks, John. Interesting that we both caught both possible senses of “spirited”. :-)

        You’re right about loanwords in English. Of course they come from many languages. Our pyjamas/ your pajamas is of Indian origin (Hindu, I think, not sure) And anyone who was exposed to the Alice books in any way as a child would’ve learned the word ‘croquet’. . . which, indelibly in my mind, was played with flamingos. :-)

        Just so everyone is on the same page as John and I here, we are not talking about “backlink”, whatever that might be. We’re taking about “return to last-but-one/ leap-over verse”,

        – Lorin

        1. well, i also caught both meanings of “spirited”, and i think so did Judt.
          crocquet is virtually unknown where i live but the game always seemed very british to me. yes, a loanword, but so are countless others.

          great discussion, btw :)

      2. ps. I deeply suspect, after reading Paul’s verse, that the other implication of “spirited” occurred to him, too. :-)

        – Lorin

        1. I love this verse from Michael.

          I too read ‘spririted’ as tipsy and mischievous, Lorin. I must admit, I don’t believe I have never seen croquet played here in the north of Ireland (I obviously move in the wrong circles!) For me this instantly evoked an image of English gentry picnicking on the lawn of their country estate, where the tipsy old landlord with his handle bar moustache is flirting with one of the lady guests. :) :) :)

          1. And, Marion, croquet can be very aggressive (at least when I was young) when you place your wooden ball next to a competitor’s and smash it far away. Take that, WHAP! ha . . .

    2. Didn’t know about the traditional drinking, Lorin. I’m a provincial American :-(

  16. Awesome what a honor. Yes i would be happy to select the next verse.
    John, thank you in advance for your guidance in this process,
    still very wet behind the ears and may need your direction.
    My goal is to maintain the high standards our renku enjoys thus far. Great poets, great company, great fun

    1. Good news, Michael Henry! Will be glad to hear your thoughts as the verse offers come in.

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