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The Renku Sessions: New Calendar 32

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.

Sally Biggar was unable to make this week’s selection, so that task fell to me and I must say that you made it difficult in the very best way. Tempting verse offers came in from the very beginning and continuing to within an hour and a half of the deadline.

I want to thank those of you who have already had one or more verses selected for continuing to participate, despite somewhat reduced chances of an additional selection. You offered some great verses this time around. But there were also tempting verses from three poets not yet included and I focused most intensely on those, finally making this selection:

searching for candles
in the back of the drawer

        1. –Carol Jones

First of all, I will acknowledge two criticisms of this choice. By presuming that the word “draw” in the original means the same thing as “drawer,” I may have altered the intended sense of this verse. I see that Karen Cesar asked for clarification of this point but did not, so far as I can see, receive a reply. Had this been a live session (or had I an email address for Carol Jones), I would simply have asked and made sure. In the meantime, I like the verse so much with the assumption that “draw” and “drawer” are the same thing, that I have taken a chance.

Another objection might be that “searching” is too close to the “guess” that is featured in the leap-over verse by Peter Newton. This is a valid point. I acknowledge it and, where we writing for publication or a contest, this would have to be “fixed.” But I still select this verse, without alteration beyond the “drawer” business, because I like it so much. I’ll just have to hope that I can convince some of you to like it as much as I do.

The act of folding clothes naturally leads to the act of storing them. There will be a bureau or closet space for that.  And there are places that are reserved for storage of other household items. Perhaps a linen closet, pantry shelves, a china cabinet. It seems that most households also have a drawer or two that are devoted to the miscellaneous. If something like a linen closet is analogous to a renku verse that must contain a certain image (a love verse, for instance), these drawers in which odds and ends come to rest may be compared to a non-seasonal (or all seasonal) verse.

It’s open to speculation as to why someone is searching for candles. There may have been a power failure, which would intensify the meaning of “searching.” Or they may be needed for a special dinner. Perhaps they are birthday candles, for a cake. If they are for a birthday, is it a child’s birthday or someone older? When I consider that they may be for someone older, and perhaps much older, another set of ideas comes into play. I think about how we older people will often put something “somewhere safe,” only to discover later that it is safe from our own memory. A candle is, potentially, useful in a search. So, we have a search for an instrument with which to conduct a search, which is also a reflection of the nature of “elder thought.” And it seems to me that thinking of older people gives additional character to the phrase “in the back of the drawer.”

Thank you, Carol Jones!

Carol Jones will be offered the opportunity to select the next verse. Carol, 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 (August 16, eastern US time) 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 thirty-three will be a non-seasonal verse, written in three lines. While the lack of constraints on this verse provides us plenty of latitude, it remains a part of the “kyu” and, as such, it should avoid the sort of topics and tonality typical of the ha. This will be our final non-seasonal verse before the renku concludes with a series of three spring verses, including the final blossom verse (thirty-five).

Verse thirty-three must link to the thirty-second verse (and only the thirty-second 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

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

the tension of the needle
piercing linen

    —Carmen Sterba

Dutchman’s breeches
sprout along a cliff’s
ragged edge

    —Maureen Virchau

six pairs of boots
by the pilgrim shrine

    –Polona Oblak

in full flight
fledglings skim
through the archway

    –Barbara A. Taylor

my toddler puts her milk glass
on the kitchen counter

    –Paul MacNeil

on the store’s intercom
comes a cleanup request
for aisle thirteen

    –Michael Henry Lee

recalling where they were
on Jerusalem Day

    –Debbie Feller

falling north and south
of the peace wall

    —Marion Clarke

Tolstoy in Russian
by a roaring fire

    –Michael Henry Lee

could it be
that women prefer
a room with a view?

    —Karen Cesar

absinthe and “that look”
as they suck on sugar cubes

    –Betty Shropshire

date nights
for conversation

    –Marietta McGregor

all the agar plates

    –Polona Oblak

lunar maria
resolving into
the rabbit

    –Lorin Ford

one last guess at
the weight of the Blue Hubbard

    –Peter Newton

the scarecrow’s
clean clothes

    –Sally Biggar

searching for candles
in the back of the drawer

    –Carol Jones

This Post Has 55 Comments

    1. Not to worry, Marion, I can only think it would have made a nerve wracking task even more so.
      It’s been a great opportunity, and one I could have refused, but I’m in to learn and I’ve certainly learnt a lot with the correspondence and guidance.

  1. Carol your chosen verse can be linked in so many ways. I see a person opening their drawer to find a candle for a night vigil.

    searching for candles
    in the back of the drawer
    Carol Jones
    a quick dash
    on the way
    to a prayer vigil.

    1. Many thanks Carmen.
      Yes, candles can be a guiding light for so many events in a persons life.

    1. Many thanks Barbara.
      A lovely tranquil verse, Barbara. ‘silent prayers’ …if only.

    2. I really do like this Barbara, and your verse presses all the right buttons, for me…however, the safety and care of our planet is a massive issue and maybe at this stage in the session it is a bit too big. As was suggested, a calm and peaceful passage at this stage.
      I still love it 🙂

  2. Delighted for you, Carol! 😀

    I think everyone has a drawer into which they put stuff such as candles, pens, paperclips etc. I’m convinced they get eaten by the drawer because they never seem to be there when you need them 😄😄😄

    1. Thanks Marion. Ah, a greedy draw, so it’s not my forgetfulness after all 🙂

      It was quite a shock to see my verse in large bold letters, then a moment of inner pleasure 🙂

  3. Congrats, Carol! Very happy for you. I really enjoy the open-endedness and rhythm of your verse. The jumble of sounds which results from rummaging through a junk drawer immediately comes to mind. And perhaps the sound of someone grumbling in his or her attempt to find those candles! Glad you’ve joined the renku party. Wishing you lots of fun in selecting the next verse.
    Wonderful commentary, John. I especially appreciate your insight into “elder thought” here. Hope your wife is recovering well.

    1. Thank you, Maureen. Yes, my wife is coming along nicely. She’s been back to work part-time for two weeks and will try it full-time this week.

    2. Thank you Maureen. I too like the ‘elder thought’ as my own top drawer has always been a bit of a shambles 🙂 and this was my first thought, and it’s quite awesome to read the depth others see and feel in a verse.

      Good to read your wife is making a steady progression, John..

    1. Thanks Debbie. I was excited to see my verse had been chosen, also a little nervous for some reason, but such a boost to get on with the process of learning more about the subject.

  4. Congratulations, Carol. A very nice verse indeed! 🙂
    searching for candles
    in the back of the drawer
    –Carol Jones

  5. Some problems getting on the THF (Troutswirl) site today. All seem to be resolved now, though!

    1. This is lovely, Marietta, a gentle nostalgia which could refer
      to a man or a woman, I think.

    1. Thank you Marietta, great to be part of the session…still a long way to go, though 🙂

  6. Congratulations, Carol. 🙂 Good to have a verse by you in the renku!

    (… ‘draw’ for ‘drawer’ is a very common misspelling. The way I pronounce both words is exactly the same. And spellcheck isn’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between them. Editors/ proofreaders aren’t likely to be replaced by AI quite yet. )

    – Lorin

    1. Thank you Lorin. I’m absolutely delighted, I was always more than happy to potter about in the wings, and I know this maybe the wrong section to say this, but, ‘I’m over the moon’ 🙂
      It’s not the first time I’ve gone sprawling over such words.
      Just a side note: The renku reckoner has arrived, a lovely big book.

    1. Thank you Karen. I was more than surprised, yesterday evening, to see my verse staring back at me.

  7. John, thank you so much for choosing my verse, and the amendment of ‘draw’ I really need to take issue with these similar sounding words this is not the first time they have caught me out 🙂
    I’ve sent an email,
    Many Thanks.

  8. congratulations Carol, Don’t burn the house down
    another garage sale
    full of over priced junk
    just like our own

    1. 🙂 I’ll try my best, Michael, but if my grammar is anything to go by…I can’t make any promises.


      Nice verse. The stuff we think we need, eh.

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