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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 15

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.

Since Sally Biggar was traveling this week and spent most of that time without access to a computer, she has asked me to make the selection. Once again, you have given me a hard choice and there were several tempting verses. Though I prefer to include new poets as much as possible I have selected this verse, by Lorin Ford:

a neutrino
passes through the chestnut
and the worm, too

              –Lorin Ford

I just love this. Some might have qualms about, it based upon the prominence of reflected light in the leap-over verse. Even so, I am simply unwilling to pass up this wide-eyed and quite unprecedented take on an autumn kigo!


Lorin Ford will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Lorin, 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 (April 19) 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 sixteen will be non-seasonal, in two lines. It will be followed by our first blossom verse. Presuming that Lorin accepts the offer to choose the next verse, she may make some suggestions about non-seasonal topics for our sixteenth verse.

Verse sixteen must link to the fifteenth verse (and only the fifteenth 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 other 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

    –Debbie Feller

each time I wake
the moon lights
something different

    —Gabrielle Higgins

the whir of dragonfly wings
in the remaining heat

    —Sally Biggar

a neutrino
passes through the chestnut
and the worm, too

    —Lorin Ford

This Post Has 81 Comments

  1. Congratulations Lorin! Your fantastic verse has sparked our imaginations!


    dust motes fall
    heavy as rain

  2. Lorin,
    Thanks. I figured it still wouldn’t work as a proper noun, but nice to know for sure. It was just such a surprise to stumble on the name of that experiment I wanted to share it. Your wonderful verse has inspired me to do a little research.

    1. Yes, ALICE is certainly a serendipitous name for the project. 🙂 Those physicists do have a sense of humour. I remember a long time ago when they found a new particle that seemed to hold other particles together and named it the ‘gluon’!

      – Lorin.

  3. no charge
    for the boys who sneak in

    I wanted to say:
    no charge
    for the boys on the boxcar

    but I assume I’m not allowed a train since we have had a bike and a coach.

    1. Anything is allowed, but some things might make a verse less likely to be the one selected. 🙂 And it will depend on who is doing the selecting, too …their varying understandings of where the poem has been,

      – Lorin

  4. Barbara A. Taylor has been unable to get this site to accept her comments / offers for several verses. Pending a solution to that problem, she has asked me to enter the following for her:

    frowning, the child laments,
    Only three flavours!

    — Barbara A. Taylor

  5. Having (also) had to look up ‘neutrino,’ I found a source that said neutrinos were often called “ghost particles.” That caught my imagination so I hope these read ok.
    without fail the ghost
    appears at 4:30 am
    what strange ghostly movement
    in the attic each night
    memories of a past life
    intrude upon today

  6. Congrats to you, Lorin! Yours is a very impressive verse. It’s wonderful to bring such a fascinating subject into the renku. Love the reference to Basho. Thanks for sharing the links and for your advice along the way.
    A perfect choice, John.
    And congrats to you, Sally, on your previous verse. Love your dragonfly. I think every renku should contain one. I imagine yours to be a red dragonfly.

  7. “Presuming that Lorin accepts the offer to choose the next verse, she may make some suggestions about non-seasonal topics for our sixteenth verse.” – John

    ok, I’m biting the bullet 🙂 Below are some possible topics, by no means an exhaustive list, that might inspire. Mostly taken from here:

    Scroll down until you find the two “CHECKLIST OF TOPICS AND MATERIALS”.

    Some topics

    Art (eg.painting, sculpture)

    God/s, Buddha

    Instruments (not musical instruments: we already have a flute; not surgical instruments: re verse 12)

    Mechanical things

    Military/ weapons


    Famous Places


    Science & tools

    Science Fiction (cinema, tv)

    (Keep in mind both link & shift)

    – Lorin

    1. Hi Margherita,
      Try some more verse offers. We need to avoid any insect references because of Marion’s ‘last but one’ verse. That goes for an empty chrysalis shell that the moth or butterfly has departed from as well.

      – Lorin

    1. Great to see you posting here , Kyle , but, um, I’m scratching my head as far as finding any link to the ‘neutrino’ verse in your verse. Certainly ‘art’ (as in your ‘sketch’ ) could be a topic , since we haven’t had an ‘art’ verse (along with many other possible topics) but there has to be a link of some kind.
      Try some more verses?

      – Lorin

      1. I’m imagining the neutrino as a physics/science topic, and the new freshman student is not interested in the current lesson, and is sketching instead of paying attention.

    1. Hi Scott,
      There’s a great link or two in this verse of yours but ‘Alice’, being a proper name for a person (fictional or otherwise), makes for a ‘distant reincarnation’ of v. 9 … Judt’s “Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn”. This form of repetition, I’ve been advised, is best avoided.

      Consider a rewrite without the proper name? Or a different take in the same general idea of linking?

      For those of us old enough to remember, an Alice reincarnation in the ’60s:

      – Lorin

  8. Wow! What an amazing verse! Lorin, I loved reading the story behind this. Congratulations!!! You never fail to surprise and delight.
    John, a brilliant selection. I really love this renku and how it moves forward.

  9. !!! Well this is great surprise! Most unexpected. Thank you John, 🙂 I’m especially honored and happy because of the haiku that inspired this verse.

    I’m currently reading a penguin reprint of ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’ by Brian Greene, a history of physics, in plain, ordinary English…wonderful for people like me. As someone who didn’t get to go to high school, I’ve been long fascinated with the subject.

    “. . . qualms about, it based upon the prominence of reflected light in the leap-over verse.” – John

    There are no flies on John. 🙂 While I’d argue there isn’t any suggestion of light in this, what John has picked up is “moonlight” in the great haiku this verse is (rather cheekily) refers to, one I came across very early on in my haiku reading :

    in the moonlight a worm
    silently digs
    into the chestnut

    -Matsuo Basho
    (translator unknown to me)


    Autumn moonlight–
    a worm digs silently
    into the chestnut.

    Translated by Robert Hass

    That’d be the ‘worm’ of a codling moth, or similar. Basho couldn’t have seen it & he didn’t hear it (fruit worms “crying” in autumn, as was the prior cultural convention) any more than we can see neutrinos. But he knew about it, as we now know about neutrinos. Somewhere, there is sure to be a codling moth worm digging into a chestnut, and another digging into a quince. I see this haiku of Basho as a partner to his more famous “old pond” ku.

    So my verse here isn’t really unprecedented, it’s standing on Basho’s shoulders. 🙂

    I’ll be happy and honored to select the next verse, John.

    As for: “. . . she may make some suggestions about non-seasonal topics for our sixteenth verse.”
    The obvious: in your offered verses 1, make sure there’s no indication of a season. 2. make sure there’s nothing with wings or the like & no whirrings or related sounds & definitely no insects… nothing that might take the reader back to Marion’s lovely ‘dragonfly’ verse & skew the ‘forever forward’ motion of the renku 3. read through the whole renku to date & avoid repeating prior topics. 4. Link, in some way to the ‘chestnut/ worm/ neutrino’ verse.

    Topics? I have no preconceptions, no suggestions.

    – Lorin

    1. ps
      If anyone wants to know about neutrinos, there’s always Wikipedia, but this paper from the UCI is, imo, easier reading . . . it’s well written for those of us who aren’t physicists. There are several pages, via the ‘next’ link at the bottom of the pages. (Physics is all about the physical world/ universe we live in. . . nature! )

      – Lorin

      1. fundemental particles,
        least understood!

        Thank you for your great poem and the information about physics and the link you provided

        1. Thanks, Mojde.
          Would you like to try some more verse offers for this position? While some kind of link to my verse is needed, keep in mind that you can’t repeat ‘neutrinos’, or have anything which might take the reader backwards … the forward motion of the renku engine is the priority: verse by verse we progress through some of the “1000 things”. 🙂

          – Lorin

  10. Hello John —

    Is this the place to jump into your marvelous renku? I’ll offer this verse — risking the “as” simile to give a little natural speed to the poem. Thanks!

    the stars effervescent
    as an Alka-Seltzer

    1. Jose, I like the freshness of your verse but I’m iffy about ‘stars’ here. Traditionally in renku , stars are associated with early autumn, so there’s a suggestion of season and also we have a ‘heavens’ topic not very far away in Gabrielle’s moon verse.
      Rework it or try some more verses?

      – Lorin

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