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The Renku Sessions: Tan-renga – Week 4


Wendy C. Bialek is our selector this week. Here is her report:

“thank you for this opportunity to select the capping verse.

i was quite taken by the extraordinary quality of the literary lines you all have offered to cap off our winter opening verse. here are the guides that i followed to help refine my choices:

verses offered on and by the listed time constraints and having a strong linking image with either winter kigo or non-seasonal verses that supported, (went along with) the winter theme.

 I found all these interesting:


all day clouds stream
across the mountain tops

   John Daleiden


poor snowman
never had a boyhood

     Dan Campbell


under the footbridge
koi follow sunlight

     Alfred Booth


we warm our hands
on porcelain cups of tea

  John Daleiden                                              


our glancings unlatching
a secret novella

     Michelle Beyers


another flight credit

     Sandra St-Laurent

your gloved hand
in mine

     andrew shimield

running hot and cold
about inviting the ex

     Dana Rapisardi


’embalmed but not forgotten’
King Tut’s mummy

    Dana Rapisardi


a gap-toothed grin as
the puck swishes through

     Betty Shropshire 



I found these interesting and would like to comment briefly on them:


almost feeling safe enough
to tell the truth

     Debbie Scheving

a private sketch of the soul so hard to shed the layers, the walls that were built overtime….like the layers of icy waters engulfing the leaf….a lie yearns to be set free…as debbie reminds us how we need to feel safe enough to tell the truth.

a few strands of her hair
in my locket  

     Lorraine A. Padden

so like the icicle holding last year’s maple leaf. lorraine’s “locket  holds  strands of hair, possibly belonging to a young daughter. I can imagine the hair to be in the red family.  can you?


my husband asks
who am i again

     Betty Shropshire

how betty sees the maple leaf as memory data and the icicle as the mind. the link is a mind “frozen” in time in the form of memory loss perhaps due to the progression of  Alzheimer’s disease. it gives me chilling goose bumps from head to toe…everytime i read it.


blackened snow clumps
behind all four tires

     Debbie Feller

i can feel the car only going deeper and deeper into the snow, i can hear those tires getting buried…blackening the surrounded piling snow. a very powerful, winter verse, conjuring feelings of isolation, helplessness…entrapment, etc.

two soldiers in full dress
knock on my front door    

     John Daleiden

‘leaves’ are often used as metaphors for ‘pages’. here, perhaps the link to “last year’s maple leaf” is a ‘note’ containing a chilling message being delivered by the two soldiers. catching the numbing chill when i read this, john. resonates well with the opening verse.

after the door slams shut
candles curtsey

      John S. Green

a wonder image….to see a candle “curtsy” from the quick swish of a door closing. though no winter kigo have been used….this can fit nicely into a winter verse….the candles may be used when a power outage occurs….and the door is closed swiftly to keep the heat from leaving the home. image links well and caps well with opening verse.


once enwoumbed pearls
now warm against the skin

     Jackie Maugh Robinson

jackie uses tactile imagery and metaphor comparing the raw pearls in the oyster shell then becoming warmed/cultured against  the skin, (touch) eloquently hung as a necklace


an egg tooth tap away
from the liberty to fly

     Jackie Maugh Robinson

enhancing the opening verse with the audible tappings that resonate in both icicle and shell. imagine freedom being just “an egg tooth tap away”? is this spirited image, prompting us about the joy to come out of our shells?


a hint of woodsmoke
clings to her hair

     Jonathan Alderfer

jonathan has craftily used “woodsmoke” to link to “flaming” and “clings” like the leaf is being held to the icicle….a great image that enhances the opening verse balancing the olfactory haunting, a who done it, drama scene….maybe a found female whose hair has been exposed to a fireplace, a fire pit….a house or forest fire?… is she dead or alive? or is this a tender encounter between a couple who have warmed up by the fireplace?


the first slips of green
up from the irises

      Peter Newton

yes, peter has noticed that when there are several warmer winter  days in succession…some spring plants may begin to emerge. a great link opposite-contrasting (using a mirror imaging technique) the new growth of green blades symbolizing what will come in spring contrasts with the autumn leaf that got trapped inside the winter icicle.


schrödinger’s cat
has breakfast at tiffany’s

     princess k

i love the playful, serendipity and sound of pk’s verse! somehow our princess k has delectibly linked this atomic theorum to the dead or alive fate of maple leaf… “the cat” and left it a plate of unlabeled syrupy substances???? or is this a statement on bad treating a nameless cat?


the once passionate girl
still visible

     Carole Harrison

i love the simply stated, mirrored reflection of the opening verse here. a perfect capping! has carole linked the icicle with a girl clearly, locked up from feeling?

our completed tan~renga with its capping verse is:

last year’s
flaming maple leaf
sealed in the icicle                        wendy c. bialek

my husband asks
who am i again                             Betty Shropshire

an ice chilling. naked verse….that cuts through every atom of my synaptic soul!

wendy c. bialek”


John speaking again:

Betty, please let me know if you are willing to make the next selection.

This week, you are again invited to offer an opening verse, for which we will be offering capping verses in the following week. Your offers, this week, should be three line love verses.


Please enter your verses in the comments box, below. Betty or I will review them until midnight on Monday, February 22 (Eastern US time). On Thursday, February 25, there will be a posting in which Betty or I will comment on some of the opening verse suggestions and select one of them to be offered for tan-renga linking in the following week.

Looking forward to seeing your verses! 






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 137 Comments

  1. Good selection this week, Wendy. Your’s and Betty’s verses made a lovely pairing. And thank you for the kind comment on my verse.
    young love
    dot of the I
    heart shaped
    knees touching
    on the school bus
    band trip
    the radio playing
    their song

  2. my love twines his legs with mine
    as rain drizzles through the leaves
    our glistening skin

  3. every time you drove past
    my heart
    did that skippity thing

    after sixty
    has no agenda

    a man who flutters
    his eyelashes at you
    cannot be trusted

  4. on the wing sofa
    dreaming about
    our first kiss

    © 2/22/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    dreaming about
    our first kiss
    on the wing sofa

    © 2/22/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    our first kiss
    on the wing sofa
    was i dreaming

    © 2/22/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  5. the taste of salt
    on your tongue . . .
    and the pinch of winter

    a curve in the road
    home to you
    . . . scimitar moon

  6. pink moonlight
    on our veranda…too
    much love to contain

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/21/21

  7. our love grows strong
    despite winter doldrums
    blossoms emerge
    neither night sirens
    nor brazen divas of song
    detour our love

  8. brothers and sisters:
    behold–strong as oak trees
    our rooted love

    your unending love
    sweeter than cherry blossoms
    fading on the grass

  9. after our Skype
    he sits at my feet


    summer nights
    hand in hand as starlight
    captures mountains


    twenty years
    and my heart still melts
    every time you speak


    wanted: yarn
    to wrap her tight
    in my love

    1. thank you, john, for correcting my omission.

      John, i wonder if you
      can say…(and or state)
      if this tan~renga “love” verse
      follows the same definition
      of love verse we use for renga?
      (that the love is to be between
      humans only?
      (no animals, hobbies, or interests!)

      1. “John, i wonder if you
        can say…(and or state)
        if this tan~renga “love” verse
        follows the same definition
        of love verse we use for renga?
        (that the love is to be between
        humans only?
        (no animals, hobbies, or interests!)”
        Yes, I so say and state. I had been contemplating saying so earlier but it does no harm for people to write verses that won’t be the final selection. This is true of almost all the verses, after all, and needn’t spoil the fun.

  10. looking at watch
    longing for more time
    with you

    2) rotating parrots
    our mood of chirp
    swing around
    3) joy unbounded
    galloping horse
    his ladylove

    4) dawn to dusk
    writing love songs


  11. red, green, silver,
    gold, and blue fireworks explode–
    your smiles capture me
    thunder in the land–
    strong beneath the branching oak,
    our embracing love
    we kiss
    at the company clambake
    the evening brightens

  12. beneath a harsh sun
    in the face of fierce strife,
    I say, I love you
    in the Milky Way
    our eternal love twinkles
    for all to see

  13. the way
    she takes
    the moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

    the way
    she moves
    the moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

    the way
    a woman
    takes the moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

    the way
    a woman
    moves the moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

  14. I am an owl
    singing you enchanting songs
    in the forest
    our love endures all–
    neither snow, rain, wind, nor man
    lights brighter candles
    when our lips touch
    sad songs of old transgressions
    fade in the wind

  15. oops . . . typo:

    crickets’ courting songs,
    constant on the evening air–
    please, be my cricket
    our everlasting love
    outshines the brightest gold coins
    in Elysium
    six feet apart
    in the spring garden, we throw
    each other red roses

  16. happily, he hands me
    a wild orchid he plucked
    from a neighbor’s yard

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

  17. laughing at each
    other’s flaws makes
    our pearl glow
    on different
    continents yet sharing
    the same moon
    it sounds
    sexy when she calls
    me cabron

  18. the billowing brine
    of the moon scuds the shore
    come my dear

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

  19. pastel heart
    burnished a deep purple
    the soldier’s jacket


    hearts suddenly


    attaching a wing
    to his valentine
    room for one more


    faded paper hearts
    promises we made
    in kindergarten

  20. looking south
    to those I love . . .
    a flock of winter geese

    flood of spring tide
    we mingle
    salt and sweet

    again that sapphire sky
    but a skim of ice as you cut
    sprigs of bittersweet

  21. Betty, your capping verse was so understated yet heartbreaking. No wonder it was irresistible! (I’m keeping you and all your fellow Texans in my thoughts. Hurry, Spring!)–Wendy, my thanks for your considering two of my verses worthy of the short list.

    Here are my love-themed offerings to open the next tan renku.

    downwind of the lilacs
    conversation turns
    from words to kisses

    urn of ashes
    alongside a photo
    a bride and groom

    gray-haired husbands
    toasting their
    sixth anniversary

    zoom weddings
    love in the time
    of covid-19

  22. Congrats Betty, and prayers for all you are going through right now. Your verse keeps echoing through my mind . . . .so good!
    Thank you Wendy, for commenting on my offering!

    she buys him
    an electric blanket
    for cold nights

  23. total eclipse of the sun
    your curves sweeping
    into twilight moon

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/20/21

    1. total eclipse of the sun
      his curves sweeping
      into twilight moon

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/20/21

    1. more precisely:

      at home
      after our first date
      the (anise seed)

      © 2/20/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  24. the light
    that makes the moon glow
    in her eyes
    he smiles I hear
    let me take you home
    kindred spirit
    blossoming acacias
    shade lovers
    in the cool grass

  25. last year’s
    flaming maple leaf
    sealed in the icicle — wendy c. bialek

    my husband asks
    who am i again — Betty Shropshire

    Oh my, Wendy! You had quite a task choosing among the many worthy writings this round. Well done. Thank you for commenting on mine as well. Betty, yours was a poignantly beautiful and sensitive capping verse.
    My offerings for the three line poems of love:
    love so new,
    more to figure out
    than remember

    we dance the salsa

    engagement ring
    handed down handed down
    gradients of love

    thrilling her
    from heart to toes,
    he hums Bolero

    1. ty! yes, jackie, many, many that would work!
      but i must admit…..betty’s verse….for me,
      was “love at first sight”

  26. she says the first
    thirty years together
    are the hardest
    under the wrong
    holes in our
    thatched roof
    honeymoon suite

  27. trading heirloom rings
    of evergreen
    how they won each other
    back with sad love songs
    on All Hallows’ Eve
    building a bubble for two
    under a rainbow

  28. our completed tan~renga with its capping verse is:

    last year’s
    flaming maple leaf
    sealed in the icicle ………………………………………….. wendy c. bialek……..(week 3)

    my husband asks
    who am i again ………………………………………………….Betty Shropshire……(week 4)

    1. this paired for me in so many ways.
      one test it passed with flying colours is:
      i read line three twice.
      once with the opening verse and again with the capping verse.

      so in this case:

      last year’s
      flaming maple leaf
      sealed in the icicle

      sealed in the icicle
      my husband asks
      who am i again

      1. Good choice Wendy. I love the poignant completed tan-renga and all your comments on many other verses which are very insightful. Well done.

          1. Great fun, Wendy. Feeling connected to people around the globe is the best. Plus learning of course….

      2. Yes, Wendy, the capoing verse by Betty furs your verse well. It is a poignant verse that reminds me of my favorite poem by Stanley Kunitz, poet laureate from Worcester, MA called “Touch Me.” It is about a married couple in the latter years of their romance. it begins with the lines “Summer is late my heart… and the last lines are these:

        “Darling, do you remember the man you married? Touch me. Remind me who I am.”

        It’s a lovely poem. Just thought I’d share.”

        1. “Touch Me” wow! i love this poem!…..probably the one that betty spoke about in her verse.
          thank you, michelle for sharing this poem and poet.
          (it all makes sense, to me, now….probably why betty didn’t appear to appreciate my commentary on her….specific verse)
          i was the one who saw the mind in the icicle…..and the memory in the maple leaf…..etc. not betty!

          1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Wendy! What a great writer Kumitz is indeed. That poem speaks to my soul on so many levels.?

  29. leaking pipes & all
    wheelchairs stroll
    down the isle

    senryu © 2/19/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  30. broken pipes
    and almost a broken heart
    when he left for cancún

    senryu © 2/17/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  31. a hummingbird hovers
    the years still wave by wave
    the lake

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/19/21

    1. this one is a little awkward…it’s about my dad who lives by the lake and has hummingbirds…

      wave by wave
      a hummingbird hovers
      the years still… the lake

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 2/19/21

  32. .
    stroke after stroke
    the river
    of heaven
    stroke after stroke
    the slow
    stroke after stroke
    a lungful
    of waves
    stroke after stroke
    a peony
    stroke after stroke
    his name
    stroke after stroke
    the mid
    summer moon

  33. this moment always
    moving always still
    our newlywed love

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 2/19/21

  34. a lifetime
    of love held
    in arthritic hands

    OR (same theme):

    arthritic hands
    still holding each other
    in the care home

  35. Could you please start or end each commentary with the full tan renga? Without going back to last week, I have no idea what the opening verse was here. Would love to see the complete pairing. Thank you!

    1. thank you, kristen, you are so right…..the tan~renga should be there in full, you or anyone else should not have to go back to the week before!
      so sorry, my bad, speaking about memory problems!
      i will request that john include this line:
      john, can you replace:
      our next capping verse is………….:
      our completed tan~renga with its capping verse is:

      last year’s
      flaming maple leaf
      sealed in the icicle wendy c. bialek

      my husband asks
      who am i again Betty Shropshire

      an ice chilling. naked verse….that cuts through every atom of my synaptic soul!

      wendy c. bialek”

      thanks in advance, john, for your continued help!

      1. I am extremely busy this week. Will get to it if I can. In the meantime, glad it’s in the comments.

  36. John, asking before I enter composition mode, are there any seasonal requirements for our opening verses?

    1. Thanks, John. I’m for any season but winter. Living in the northeast I’ve had quite enough of that one.

  37. getting harder
    to whisper sweet nothings
    with a dog on each lap

    © 2/18/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  38. Powerful vs Betty
    fifty shades of
    nothing could be further
    from my mind

  39. brilliant cardinal
    in dormant fig branches
    his mate-fertile rust
    the bride whispers
    what happened to all the ways
    tv taught us to kiss

  40. senior valentines
    my new iphone enlarges
    his love poem text

    © 2/14/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    senior valentines
    we share kardiamobile
    on one iphone

    © 2/14/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  41. bachelor show
    why bother holding up a rose
    you are not giving?

    love? senryu © 2/18/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    yes, i must confess, i often what this show on tv.
    don’t know how universal it is….but….
    the message, offered for fun, i believe, is.

  42. their deep heart-to-heart
    in a beech tree
    sharing a chest of drawers
    from heartwood
    grown incessant
    their habit
    of finishing each other’s stories

  43. Congratulations, Betty and well chosen, Wendy!! What a quintessential verse for not only each individual but for all humanity to ask at this stage in earth’s history. Betty, here is hoping Texas heats up again real soon. Being in massachusetts, I empathize with you. ps thanks for mentioning one of mine, Wendy?

  44. Thank you, Wendy, for choosing my verse and the thoughtful commentary for so many other selections! I am honored.

    John, I won’t be able to participate this go round…we’re still on our generator for our rv here in the boonies of frozen central Texas and I have to use my phone and not my laptop. Frozen pipes busted in several spots so that’s become our priority for the weekend when the temperature finally allows a thaw.

    1. Betty–congratulations on the fine capping verse! Please stay well out there–things WILL get easier. My thoughts are with you–as we go through a snow/ice storm ourselves,

    2. Betty, congrats on being selected .. good choosing, Wendy .. ☺
      and Betty, I hope your power gets restored soon .. frozen pipes, both the ones that deliver the power and the ones that carry your water .. not fun ..

    3. betty….hoping the warming praise and members here gathered around you and your touching verse….helps to get you through these hard, cold times.

    4. Well done Wendy, enjoyed reading your commentary, and thanks for stopping on one of mine – always interesting to read what a poem invokes. There were many compelling verses last week and Betty’s was an excellent choice. Here’s hoping for a spring thaw soon for you Betty!

      1. princess k……i must confess:

        fallen for
        a poem
        i hardly know

        i would love to hear
        your elaboration

    5. Oh Betty, thinking of you and others in this extreme weather. Must be so difficult. Hope your troubles are sorted soon.

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