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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 12

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.

Our selection this week comes from Mary Kendall. Here is is her report:

“Thank you to all the poets who offered verses to link with my quarry verse. It was challenging and exciting to have the opportunity to try my hand at selecting a linking verse. My thanks to John Stevenson for his great help in answering my questions and offering me help this week. My selection is:

her scars stay hidden
though the neckline  plunges


I returned to this verse over and over. The words “hidden” and “plunges” linked well with the actual jumping into the deep and cold quarry. The quarry’s bottomless depths are hidden from view which makes them dangerous. Debbie provides a strong double link, but then she shifts in a completely new direction.

The dress is sexy with its low neckline, but it is artfully arranged so the woman’s scars don’t show. So many people don’t want to see scars or evidence of the struggle women face when confronted with having a mastectomy. It’s a deeply personal image of a woman both hiding and revealing parts of herself with such exacting control. The “scars” are probably physical scars, but this can also allude to the psychological scars when faced with a life-threatening illness such as breast cancer.

In Debbie’s verse, the poet has skillfully and tenderly tucked away the “unsightly scars” in order to present the type of female beauty that is acceptable to the world. It’s no secret that women are pressured to look a certain way, a look that guarantees society’s approval. But real beauty goes deeper. It is seen in the courage and strength this woman carries with her everywhere.”

Thank you Mary. And congratulations, Debbie!

Debbie will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Debbie, 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 29) 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 thirteen will be an autumn moon verse, in three lines. It will be followed by two more autumn verses. Please note that, in renku, any mention of the moon is presumed to be an autumn moon unless it is specified as occurring in another season. It will, therefore, be unnecessary for you to include a second autumn image in this moon verse. This is our second moon verse (after verse 5) and we want to take special care to make it different; not another rising moon, for instance.

Verse thirteen must link to the twelfth verse (and only the twelfth verse) but it also must clearly shift away from it in terms of scene, subject, and tone. Throughout our renku, we will also be looking for shifts of time of day, urban and rural settings, human activities and non-human images, first, second, and third person phrasing, and as many others sorts of variety as we can manage. A renku is like a miniature sample book of the universe.

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

the old quarry
so deep and cold
and daring

    —Mary Kendall

her scars stay hidden
though the neckline plunges



This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Congrats, Debbie! A striking and intimate verse. Mary, your commentary is a touching tribute to survivors. It lingers. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts.

  2. Thank you so much Mary, for choosing my offering! What a surprise to open the email and see that!
    John, I thank you for the opportunity to choose the next verse, but am going to break ranks and let you decide this time. :).

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Debbie. Would you like your full name to appear with your verse?

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