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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 2

renku_300

Greetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s current Renku Session entitled, ‘Timber Smoke’. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto, Canada and will be leading this session through a 36-link kasen renku.

 

So we have the first link in our renku:

 

one by one
I pick plums off of the ground

Alfred Booth

 

The best way to appreciate the link is to read this verse with the first verse together as a complete poem.

This link continues the mood of the first verse, in that things are slightly off-kilter. Forest-fire season is usually summer, plums are usually plucked from a tree. Further, the plum blossom appears, in the Japanese tradition at least, earlier than cherry blossoms but here they are not the blossoms but the trees’ fruit; harvested but not in autumn. So a slight un-ease, but not eerie and a smooth relay of muted motion and emotion.

Where the hokku was primarily a scent verse, here we have the sensual softness of the plum being carefully salvaged in a way that emphasizes its tactile quality as a connecting verse. Which brings me to three things: first, don’t enounce the season; ‘winter’, ‘summer’, ‘autumn’, even ‘spring’ and ‘fall’ i find to be meaningless verbiage in a renku where we are trying to show as subtlely as possible and tell as little as possible.

Secondly, we don’t want any narration to enter our relays of energy and subsume that energy into a logical sequence. Thus anything with fires or dawn were not acceptable for the first link and heavenly bodies will be out-of-bounds for this one since the moon verse will be in verse 5.

For verse 3 then, cooking and insects will also be out since they would relate directly, ‘narratively’ to the plums.

Thirdly, forget about the hokku. You may have just thought of a fabulous link back to it -but i won’t take it -i want you to link only to the very previous verse and leave the overall quality and direction of our renku to me.

 

So for verse 3 we need 3 lines, no particular season.

Other leaders may say, ‘no season’ but i want to encourage people to look for events that may happen in any season and are not ‘season-heavy’ or indicators; as for instance birds that don’t migrate.

 

I’ve been asked by Dick Prittit (sp?) to not only name my choice of link but also 3 runners-up, but i think this is unnecessary given that i will explain my choices with each added link but also because i don’t have a rigid criterion for what i accept as a link (nor do i have a template for the sequence of seasons). I respond intuitively and then examine in reflection why a particular link worked so well for me.

So worry not, i’ll have plenty to say and if you’re joining in, just concentrate on the most subtle and poetic link to the previous verse only.

 

Lastly, the first 6 verses are meant to lay a reserved and stable foundation for the rest of the renku, which allows for its greater improvisations later on. Thus, no violent activity or boisterous or foreign language can occur in these first 6, which also must be by 6 different writers.

So, 3 lines, no particular season and steer clear of fires, cooking or dwellings –

 

Happy linking -Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

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This Post Has 125 Comments

  1. a huge catfish
    sends up a chain
    of tiny bubbles

    a gull picks its way
    along the foam-flecked
    strands of seaweed

    the strains of
    everybody must get stoned
    drift down the alley

  2. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    in a flock they arrive
    seagulls to squabble
    over every last chip

  3. third
    after
    shock

    ancient stone wall
    tumbles
    for the first time

    satellite
    careens
    out of orbit

    led numerals
    stare up
    from the carpet

  4. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground – Alfred Booth.
    .
    news reporters
    arriving at the scene
    by parachute

  5. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground – Alfred Booth.
    .
    the squelch
    of the gamekeeper’s
    new gumboots
    .

  6. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    Alfred Booth
    .

    a river stone
    rolls down to the sea
    for a thousand years
    .

    two goldfish in a bowl
    slowly orbit the confines
    of their glass world
    .

  7. So excited to stumble again into another Renku party. It’s been a while.

    in the bay
    kayakers rest their paddles
    and listen

    the soft rumble
    of an oncoming train
    before the whistle

  8. Congrats Alfred – a nice verse to follow Marshall’s hokku.

    nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house

    Marshall Hrycuik

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    .
    .
    writing
    a fairy tale
    just for the heck of it

  9. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    *

    jumping over
    yoga ropes as a
    hurriquake came

    1. probably too boisterous so revising:

      shoulder to shoulder
      the draft horses’
      flanks quiver

  10. dog face
    in a cloud
    running on the grass
    + + + + + + + + + + + + +
    on my terrace
    a full bowl
    of white stones

  11. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    hoping the ends
    may justify
    the means

    slipping
    and sliding
    in a purple haze

    the jury
    remains out
    on a trespassing

  12. beads of river
    from the blade
    of a feathered oar

    the smoothness
    of sea-washed pebbles
    below the crag

  13. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house
    *
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    *
    checking out
    from the library
    a ukulele

  14. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    –A!fred Booth

    a troupe
    of tuxedo cats tumble
    over the grass
    .
    in the cemetery
    mourners walk
    to the gravesite
    .
    in the cemetery
    a family walks
    to the gravesite

    she takes
    some books about gardening
    back to the library

  15. helping the clown
    gather dropped
    juggling balls

    mimes climbing
    invisible
    ladders

    banjo busker
    counting coins
    in his hat

  16. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    every fence
    on the ranch
    back in true

  17. —-

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    —Alfred Booth

    —-

    the librarian
    files haiku
    under misc

    a life coach
    forced to seek work
    in construction

    the broker’s advice
    to buy shares
    in the slump

    wrinkled balloons
    the morning after
    poll victory

    a zen garden
    on the van’s rear doors
    figured in dust

    the rise and fall
    of a jellyfish fluther
    at the equator

    1. Whoops again, considering ” no. . . foreign language can occur in these first 6 ”

      umeshu is a word from a foreign language.

  18. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house (hokku)
    .
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground – Alfred Booth.
    ————
    newbies
    playing ping-pong
    in the off-leash park
    .
    the roar
    of a jet plane
    crossing the sky
    .
    all thumbs up
    for our umeshu
    on the rocks

  19. dreams
    of collecting seashells
    with mermaids

    drying
    off coins
    from a wishing well

    watching my
    castle disappear
    in the.tide

  20. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    – Alfred Booth

    memories
    of wilted roses
    on her desk

    windy day
    a wilted scarecrow
    waving goodbye

    train station
    slow motion
    waves of farewell

  21. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    ping-ponging hail
    lands in
    the bird’s bath

  22. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house
    *
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    *
    a silver pendant
    found amid the bric a brac
    of the market stall

  23. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth —

    juggling
    two in the air
    one in hand

  24. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    early morning
    and mirrored reflection of trees
    in lake water

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    the diamond
    disperses light
    into a rainbow

  25. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    that moment
    when the airplane
    leaves the tarmac

  26. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    .

    after bathing
    all three crows adjust
    their black coats
    .

    the abandoned quarry is quiet
    except for the random pings
    of dripping water
    .

    rainwater collects
    in every blasting hole
    at the granite quarry

  27. carting life’s essentials
    to the landfill
    the cathedral of castaways

    landfills
    monuments of discarded desires
    and faded passions

    wildflowers
    blooming
    in the debris

  28. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    memorizing
    the native names
    of native grasses
    *

  29. in sunlight
    a rooster shows
    his true colors

    the shining
    cuckoo calls out
    to her mate

    a fantail flits
    from peaches
    to apples

  30. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    a kaleidoscope of colors…
    kittens playing and chasing each other
    in the field grass

    1. Correction:

      a kaleidoscope of colors
      as kittens play and chase each other
      in the field grass

      Thank you!

      1. Actually, I offer both 🙂

        a kaleidoscope of colors…
        kittens playing and chasing each other
        in the field grass

        a kaleidoscope of colors
        as kittens play and chase each other
        in the field grass

        Thank you again,
        Diana

  31. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    those horses
    galloping along
    a stony beach

    her favourite pearl
    held in the suns’
    halo

    on the dark street
    an urge to hide
    her diamond charm

  32. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    cries of “good boy”
    from all corners
    of the dog park

  33. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    contrails cut the blue
    early morning
    mind full of jobs to do

  34. Excellent start and thank you for your clear explanations! I too, love it!

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground
    Alfred Booth
    ***

    saving money
    for a watch
    without hands

    Grandma’s box
    her traveling blog
    in postcards

    stepping
    on his foot again
    dance classe

    an old cast
    signed
    on eBay

    highlighting
    a town named Destin
    on our map

  35. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    a friendly wager
    that ends
    in a draw
    *
    the win-win of a bet
    when it’s too close
    to call
    *

  36. the cobbler
    mends
    another shoe

    the driver speeds by
    so many
    middle fingers

    Grandma logs on
    to the thing
    she still calls Twitter

    1. Uggh Marshall you did say stay clear of dwellings and I guess that includes windows too !!

  37. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    cobalt skies
    commanding the breeze
    to freshly pegged sheets

  38. First of all , thank you to all (so far) who have expressed congratulations on my first link.

    Although Marshall has explained why my new offering can’t be selected, here is where I would go from here.

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    gazing beyond
    the ache in my feet
    Qi Gong

  39. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    a basket
    overfilling
    with fruit flies

    a nip now and then
    from the flask in
    my pocket

    without regard
    to race religion
    or sex
    in

  40. a dream
    dancing in a tutu
    to the celesta

    a file of cars
    overtake a tractor
    on the mountain road

    the river
    becoming darker
    in the city

    tiny figures
    in the baskets of balloons
    against the blue

    a young man’s
    yodel-a-ee-doo
    halfway up a hill

  41. nothing dimmed yet
    timber smoke scent
    sifts into the house (hokku)
    .
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground – Alfred Booth
    .
    new earphones
    after deep purple
    and all that jazz

  42. Sorry Marshall,
    I’ll have to withdraw mine:

    sleepless night
    the rustle of clouds
    when they race

    As it triggered a haibun I’d like to work on.

  43. the beat-beat-beat
    of a rusting barge
    heading upriver

    such a nice note
    our guest left
    on the fridge door

    whether or not
    to let Dad win
    shooting pool

    a quiet burble
    of city pigeons
    around the fountain

    holy moly
    our soccer team
    hits a purple patch

  44. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    (Alfred Booth) —

    above cloud cover
    in the thin air
    sound tracks

  45. Congratulations, Alfred.

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    beneath spotlights
    the mannequin shimmers
    in a two tone suit

  46. As this is my first renku, I am so grateful for your careful instructions and reasoning as a guide through the process. I am already learning so much.

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    echoing
    through the wind
    a peacock alarm

    Eavonka Ettinger

  47. Congrats Alfred and thank you Marshall

    confession booth
    whispering my sins
    under the waterfall

    twilight
    listening to the silence
    between hoots

    ales and lagers
    liquid poetry
    for the soul

  48. Congratulations to Alfred for starting us off so well.
    *
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    the anhinga’s dive
    takes him out of sight
    in the pond out back

  49. Congratulations, Alfred! A lovely verse!
    Thanks for guiding us, Marshall!

    My offer:

    trying
    each gown
    on the mannequin

  50. Congratulations Alfred! And thank you , Marshall, for guiding us!

    sparrows
    peek inside
    the rain gauge

    *****

    the flash of blue
    just our mailman
    moving fast

    *****

    sparrows dot
    every other
    fence post

  51. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    making good time
    with an old fashioned
    atlas
    *

  52. Congrats Alfred!
    *
    the über driver
    speaks to his fares
    in sign language
    – Betty Shropshire

    1. Guessing über may qualify as foreign language so revising to:

      the driver speaks
      to his fares
      in sign language

  53. *
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    a believer
    despite the lack
    of reasons for faith
    *
    the selective memory
    of the daily
    diary
    *

  54. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    a passer-by
    perhaps was going to speak
    but turns away

    a wicker basket
    is left our on a bin
    without a note

    They all need washing.
    So do your hands and face –
    and your shoes.

  55. Thanks for the guidelines, Marshall. A quick question: do you want this and succeeding verses to avoid grammatical breaks, and to have a juxtaposition only with the immediately preceding verse, not within the verse itself?

    1. hi Keith, juxtapositions are okay at any time as long as they don’t interrupt the energy flow or act as a kireji. Verses with total breaks within them (or kireji), i like to save for the 5 ‘designer’ verses: 3 moon and 2 blossom; but sometimes i take a ‘flow’ verse or ‘groundstroke’ verse (=no break within) for the moon and that frees up a haiku-like surprise among the groundstrokes.
      But i’d caution against trying to understand why i accepted a verse’s style. I look for various kinds or styles of verses at various times and am dismayed when suggestions come in that try tomimic a previous verse’s tone or style. Just respond and write it. The looser we get the better in the long run the whole renku will be.

  56. Marshall—Thanks for you hard work with this. I am enjoying reading our renku already. Here are two verses to consider for verse 3:

    globes of dew
    shivering
    on the clubmoss

    between specks of loam
    ten thousand lives
    too small to see

  57. Thanks, Marshall–I did not see all the subtleties of this verse. Congratulations to Alfred for starting us off so well.
    *
    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth
    *
    raking the stones
    this way
    then that

  58. reposting….(sorry, somehow i pasted more than i thought i copied!)

    congrats Alfred on such a special ‘off ‘ verse….!
    I can see now how this is the most perfect wakiku verse for Marshall’s hokku.
    Thank you
    Marshall for your clear evaluation for deciding on this fitting choice.

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    wearing gloves
    we count the puzzle pieces
    before donation

  59. congrats Alfred on such a special ‘off ‘ verse….!
    I can see now how this is the most perfect wakiku verse for Marshall’s hokku.
    Thank you
    Marshall for your clear evaluation for deciding on this fitting choice.

    The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 1

    August 17, 2023
    John StevensonRenku Sessions

    renku_300

    Greetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s current Renku Session entitled, ‘Timber Smoke’. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto, Canada and will be leading this session through a 36-link kasen renku.

    So we have the first link in our renku:

    one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    wearing gloves
    we count the puzzle pieces
    before donation

  60. Congratulations, Alfred, thinking outside the box with your lovely verse. Something to keep in mind.

    Hello Marshall. Please would it be possible to have the verses placed together each week, to make for an easier reminder when composing the next verse.
    Kind Regards
    Carol

    1. Carol -i hesitate to do this for 2 reasons: first, i only want you to link with the immediately preceding verse and secondly, if you’re really into this as a whole poem by the group and not a personal test i think you would write out your own copy of the whole renku as it progresses so you would know what i not to repeat, above and beyond my reminders. When i lead in person, i do not use an easel or a blackboard; people, i think, spend too much time gazing at and analysing what’s gone on, hoping, i’m guessing to predict what’s next. I want contributors to concentrate on just their immediate impressions of response to just the last verse and not concern themselves with the ‘whole renku’ -that’s only up to me

      1. Thank you for your explanation, Marshall.

        You have a very open leadership, this session is going to be interesting.

  61. one by one
    I pick plums off of the ground

    Alfred Booth

    sleepless night
    the rustle of clouds
    when they race

    Sébastien Revon

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