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The Renku Sessions: Tan-renga – Week 6


We had a great number of creative approaches taken with our capping verse offers.

Some offers matched and extended the very poetic nature of the opening verse:

on the way to you
the moon exhales the stars

                            Michelle Beyers


these last hundred steps
in candlelight

                            Alfred Booth


full moon riding
an elephant’s back

                            Dan Campbell


only the moon
reflects my loss

                            Ellen Kohn


Though, perhaps the most frequently taken approach was to deflate these qualities through a capping verse that adopts a very different, often humorous, tone:


. . .only to go
weak in the knees

                            Laurie Greer


with a blister
on my heel

                            Ellen Compton


explaining the wilted
flowers behind my back

                            Wendy C. Bialek


luckily you live
just down the hall

                            Michael Henry Lee


but I hope
you drive me home

                            Pauline O’Carolan

Some of the capping verses seem to question the wisdom of love; either reminding us that it can be blind:

through the window
I watch her kiss another

                            John S Green

Or based upon a foundation of fantasy:

the magic carpet ride
left behind

                            Sandra St-Laurent


I found particularly interesting certain verses that somehow seemed to find a middle way; perhaps bringing the poetry closer to earth but with more harmony than contrast in regard to the opening verse:


the same old suitcase
heavy in my hand

                            andrew shimield


flowers reviving
in a glass of water

                            Dana Rapisardi


The verse I have selected feels like one of these – grounded and harmonious – maintaining the disarming simplicity of the opening verse. Here is our complete tan-renga:


because of love
I came here
on foot…

                        Nani Mariani

     by your fireplace
     my shoes dry

                                    Shelley Baker-Gard


Shelley Baker-Gard will be offered the option of choosing our next opening verse from among those offered in the coming week. Shelley, please let me know if you are willing to make the next selection. As always, I am ready to make it if you would rather not and ready to consult with you, if you do want to choose.


This week, you are invited to offer three-line opening spring verses.


Please enter your verses in the comments box, below. Shelley or I will review them until midnight on Monday, March 8 (Eastern US time). On Thursday, March 11, there will be a posting in which Shelley or I will comment on some of the opening verse suggestions and select one of them to be offered for capping verses in the following week.

Looking forward to seeing your spring 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 74 Comments

  1. dandelion
    parachutes floating
    in the breeze
    coordinated tulips
    and rainbow

  2. cherry blossoms
    shower the hearse
    with goodbye kisses

    3/08/2021 by wendy © bialek

  3. the hypnotic swish
    of willow catkins
    sweeping my windshield

    3/08/2021 by wendy © bialek

  4. birds weaving nests
    with the threads
    from the lost mitten
    so many nests
    held in the palm
    of the child’s lost mitten
    the ballooning
    of spring peepers

  5. I took a step
    slower than a duck
    smell the flower pistil

    Nani Mariani – Melbourne

  6. poetry for you
    decorate a bunch of carnations
    It’s not April Fool’s Day…

    Nani Mariani – Melbourne

  7. held my breath
    preventing the
    april fool’s birth

    3/07/2021 by wendy © bialek

  8. white sky, seagrass
    the archipelago of me
    on the way to nowhere

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 3/7/21

  9. two glasses of grape
    eye to eye spring tales
    of cheers

    2) spring showers
    a vow not to fight

    3) her love verse
    in full bloom
    mood of spring
    4) window curtains
    fritter a welcome kit
    of spring party

  10. the first warm spell starts
    with the scent
    of witch hazel
    still time to follow
    Hydra through the shortening

  11. Congrats Shelley! and to all poets – I always enjoy reading the range of responses.
    his eyes can’t hold it
    the song
    of the skylark
    is it the cat’s-paw
    that renders motif?
    a tortoise cries
    high pony
    a salt breeze bleeds
    intercapillary space

  12. Congratulations, Shelley. Have fun with the choice!

    just one fisherman
    casting from a rock
    a butterfly brushes his face

    where the ruins stand
    a mulberry tree
    in fruit

    on the forest floor
    hidden from view
    a violet

    baby gull ‘peeping’
    on pristine yellow sand
    benign mountain overlooks
    (written looking at Gulaga, the Mother Mountain of the Yuin Nation, Bermagui, NSW, Australia)

  13. Hi All – thank you for the nice comments and all your efforts – this is becoming more and more difficult as there are many fine verses already to choose from, But like the little red engine said ” I think I can, I think I can…” and if I can’t I will ask John ( I will likely ask him no matter what) – so keep them coming! Shelley

    1. I know how you feel, Shelley! I was overwhelmed by the wonderful offerings when I had to choose–and shouldering the responsibility sent my imposter syndrome into overdrive. But you can do it–and it’s fascinating to read at a deeper level, not to mention the invaluable lessons of communing with John about the whys and wherefores.

  14. gathering shells
    all i know about
    mirrors in this sand

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 3/6/21

  15. playing
    tennis without
    the net
    taking off
    his overcoat
    blooming again
    on battlefields

  16. Congratulations Shelley and many thanks John
    learned my
    foreplay skills
    by studying rabbits
    brisk breezes
    on maple leaves

  17. Perfect pairing ! Congratulations to both poets for the love-inspired duet and thank you for commenting on my magic carpet ride submission!

    Spring is still far away here (Yukon Territory, northern Canada) but as we shifted from -49 celsius to 0 in about 10 days, I believe our record snow might not last long, so dream of spring is indeed in the air:

    vinegared windows
    opened wide
    for a bird song


    bird feeder’s queue
    no longer hearing the world
    in black and white


  18. Congratulations Shelley!

    trees about to bud
    throw intricate shadows
    onto street canvas

  19. Thanks, John. I’m pleased that one of my offerings merited mentioning. Congrats to Shelley for a truly fitting cap to Nani’s verse.

    Here are three spring-themed verses offered as openers for the next tan-renku.

    cemetery spring
    among the fake tulips
    honest ones

    a red cast
    to the maple trees
    spring’s first blush

    overnight rain
    the crocus hiding place

  20. Thank you Nani Mariani and John Stevenson for selecting my capping verse to the Tan Renga! I am very honored and happy to have been chosen to complete Nani’s touching love verse that took so many of us on different journeys. It will be great fun for me to work with John on choosing the next verse. Best of luck to you all!

  21. flamenco guitar
    notes dancing
    across the tulips
    fat robin
    parked on
    the bike path
    Dutch goddess
    on a

  22. colorful bougenville flowers

    along the way

    the children laughed cheerfully

    @Nani Mariani

  23. Some great verses here and a great choice with Shelley’s, John.
    by your fireplace
    my shoes dry
    unable to resist
    painting a host
    of daffodils

    1. Just in case there is a misunderstanding – we are not linking to Shelley’s verse this week. Rather, we are offering three-line spring verses, one of which will be selected to be the opening verse of a new tan-renga.

  24. an ooh ah in my breath
    fallen cherry petals
    under barefeet

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 3/5/21

    1. more of an ah than ooh…

      an ah in my breath
      fallen cherry petals
      under barefeet

      Michelle Beyers
      Copyright © 3/5/21

  25. muddy boot prints
    on the just-washed floor
    neanderthal spring

    © 3/05/2021 by wendy c. bialek


    © 3/05/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    also filtered out
    by my floral mask
    spring allergens

    © 3/05/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  26. forsythia in bloom
    that goldener nude
    by the roadside

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 3/5/21

  27. Saohime *
    over melting snow
    (* Goddess of Spring)
    at low tide
    we gather shells
    for her gift…
    a skylark
    into my consciousness
    under a hazy moon
    he proposes
    we split up

  28. porch rockers
    find their rhythm
    in the first warm breeze
    the first warm breeze
    sets the porch swing
    in motion

  29. it must be spring
    when pine pollen covers
    the surface of our pool
    those magnificent
    plum blossoms
    cut on the bias
    time to tune up
    the lawnmower and
    sharpen the shears
    cherry blossom
    haiku are popping
    up everywhere

  30. by your fireplace

    my shoes dry

    @Shel Baker-Gard
    the wind was blowing slowly

    the aroma of jasmine brings nostalgia

    this is mama’s last crop ..

    @Nani Mariani

  31. by your fireplace

    my shoes dry

    @Shelley Baker-Gard

    blooming cherry blossoms

    a pair of deer making love

    and I’m not jealous anymore ..

    @Nani Mariani

  32. lovely short list and lovely capping verse chosen ..
    looking forward to this next one .. looking forward to srping ,, which, here, is quite a ways off still ..

  33. my third offer of a three-line opening for our new spring tan-renga:

    hunger moon
    the whole block
    waits for morning mail

    © 3/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  34. my second offer of a three-line opening for our new spring tan-renga:

    something grows
    in the garden
    planted by a bird

    © 3/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

    1. alternate format:

      grows in the garden
      planted by a bird

      © 3/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  35. by your fireplace

    my shoes are dry

    @Shelley Baker-Gard

    for a moment

    You and me just stare with smiles

    in your eyes there is longing ..

    @Nani Mariani

  36. by your fireplace
    my shoes dry

    Shelley Baker-Gard

    the scant of your sweat

    make me even more excited

    darling.., i love you ..

    @Nani Mariani

  37. because of love
    I came here
    on foot…

    Nani Mariani

    by your fireplace
    my shoes dry

    Shelley Baker-Gard
    Special thanks to dear John Stevenson,
    for your attention and cooperation.

    Also thanks to all the friends who participated.
    Renku’s beautiful beauty.

    — Big congratulations dear Shelley Baker-Card
    Because of love ..
    His shoes are broken.
    What a sacrifice he has made …
    Congratulations , dear ..

  38. heirloom tomato seeds…
    anticipating the taste
    of springs past
    welcomed home
    with the roosting song
    of house finches

  39. john… all your picks and how you found neat pockets for them.
    your commentary… usual, always enlightening….thank you, too, for
    including one of mine.

    here is my first spring opening verse for our next tan-renga:

    in this wind
    whispers of tulips
    no longer secret

    © 3/04/2021 by wendy c. bialek

  40. because of love

    i come here

    on foot …

    @Nani Mariani

    the scent of your sweat

    make me even more passionate ..

    @ Nani Mariani

  41. because of love
    I came here
    on foot…

    Nani Mariani

    by your fireplace
    my shoes dry

    Shelley Baker-Gard

    john and shelly….this was my pick, too!
    i love your verse, shelly!
    the shoes, soaked with sorrowful rains….the weary journey
    and now the soles, (souls are comforted) drying
    by the burning embers, (the love being shared)
    links so well with the, ‘on foot’ journey so lovers
    can be rejoined ( from the opening verse). a perfect fit!
    congrats!!!!! shelly.

  42. I love this completed verse–both parts perfect, and perfect for each other. Thanks, John, for the commentary and for noticing one of mine.
    through warm sun and cool air
    the call and response
    of mating songs

  43. as if the pink moon
    has a thousand suns
    cherry blossom festival

    Michelle Beyers
    Copyright © 11/2/20

  44. Thank you for the insightful commentary, John. Shelley’s verse is a great fit as a capping verse; in its quietude it says much about their love relationship..already present and comforting to have shoes off and cozying by the fire. Beautiful, Shelley. Congratulations! Thank you for mentioning one of mine, too, John.

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