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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 10

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

 

Wow, what a week for ‘Current Events’. The link i’ve chosen for our renku’s verse 10 is:

 

attempted murder
by the morality police                                       

Rob Barkan

 

Certainly, the “landmines” of the previous verse are an indiscriminate attempt at homicide; no distinction made as to whether you are soldier and civilian or even what side in the war your’re on.

What this link pivots on is the specific attempt “by the morality police” in Iran, who have ‘disappeared’ another young woman who disobeyed that country’s rule of the status quo by not wearing a hijab in the subway.

And it comes just as Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian freedom fighter, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her over 30 years work in organizing people against the relentless oppression of women both in her country and worldwide. Her work helped galvanize the Iranian people’s protest against the ‘death-in-custody’ of Masha Amini in 2022 for wearing her hijab “too loosely”.Last week it happened again! And Narges Mohammadi received news of her accolade while serving a 12 year sentence in a Tehranian jail.

But what this link also suggests is that we; you and me. on a day-to-day basis need to reconsider what ‘moral behaviour’ really is. Could there be or can there be understood to be an inclusive morality that can be implicit in relationships between people that could be independent of a specific country’s or of a specific religion’s norms and be respected by all citizens of the world.

Yeah, heavy stuff; but what could morality be if it’s not a compassion for people who are unlike myself and my own culture?

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the renku, what we need for verse 11 is 3 lines and the seasonality of winter. This is wide open; it could even be inside.

Happy Linking
Marshall

 

 

 

 

Timber Smoke (so far)

 

nothing dimmed yet
timber smoke scent
sifts into the house

Marshall Hryciuk

 

one by one
I pick plums off of the ground

Alfred Booth

 

a file of cars
overtaking a tractor
on the mountain road

Keith Evetts

 

drawn out deer notes
echo in the coolness

Betty Shropshire

 

even paler
than the clearing fog
day moon

Mary White

 

handprints  and crumbs
I would miss them

Pamela Garry

 

giving pollen
a lift
on the bicycle bells

Laurie Greer

 

the tiffany blue
of 3 eggs in a nest

Eavonka Ettinger

 

scattered spores
following a random trail
through landmines

John Hawkhead

 

attempted murder
by the morality police

Rob Barkan

 

 

 

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This Post Has 174 Comments

  1. attempted murder

    by the morality police

    — Rob Barkan

    the elder owl
    makes his long flight east
    earth holds its breath

  2. attempted murder
    by the morality police
    ——-Rob Barkan

    winter’s scalpel
    reveals
    a still blue sky

  3. ten thousand
    emperor penguin chicks
    lost in slush

    four feet of snow
    the slow heartbeat
    of a hedgehog

  4. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    the lingering breath
    of a caroler’s cold
    peace on Earth
    *
    carolers disappear
    in a puff
    of peace on Earth
    *
    carolers hide
    behind a puff
    of peace on Earth
    *

        1. I agree Rob with Carol… This is great…Alfred Hitchcock vibes with maybe a twist of Tarantino!

  5. Congrats Rob – a chilling subject.

    attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan
    .
    extra virgin
    snow crowns
    the buddha’s belly

  6. trusting in deliverance
    the light lasts
    for longer than a day

    a game of dice
    children learn
    the Torah

  7. star of David
    comforting shepherds
    and their little ones

    a house lizard
    the color of the poinsettia
    delights the child

  8. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    so easy
    to shovel
    conversational snow

  9. attempted murder
    by the morality police
    — Rob Barkan

    the North Star
    still shines on icy nights
    a new exodus
    **

  10. .
    the bramble thicket
    offers shelter and frozen berries
    to a lost bird
    .

    far from home
    a forest erratic broods
    in icy silence
    .

    even at midday
    frost lingers in the shadow
    of a desert rock

    1. the bramble thicket
      offers shelter and frozen berries
      to a lost bird

      just incredible Jonathan, so touching.

  11. rivulets stream
    down my window panes
    once tiny snowdrifts

    feeble sun
    through my iced windows
    barely warms my room

  12. bitter winds buffet the door
    inside the school of dreaming
    is in session
    .

    the coffee got cold
    the talk got loud . . .
    crows in the leafless oaks
    .

  13. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    blur of plush red seats
    and gilded plaster
    under crystal chandelier

  14. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan
    *
    butting vainly
    against the window
    a winter fly

  15. a strange set
    of snowshoes
    lying under the bed

    now for
    a game of cat and mouse
    in the seeping snow

    a snowball fight
    turned
    deadly serious

    snow angels
    on the high road
    to heaven

    1. The second entry should read:

      and now
      for a game of cat and mouse
      in the deepening snow

  16. 9
    scattered spores
    following a random trail
    through landmines
    10
    attempted murder
    by the morality police
    11
    Winter comes early
    chilling condemnation
    hits the streets

    Winter clampdown
    political incompetence
    thwarts itself

    a hard winter
    arrives early with all
    blaming each other

  17. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    kids
    watching chimneys
    for signals
    *
    busted piñata
    kids palms up
    catching snowflakes
    *
    first snowflakes
    Bruges disappears
    from her shawl
    *
    threading lighter
    car keys on hooks
    for a tire change
    *
    failing none
    of the multipoint
    winter inspection
    *

  18. sharing festival of lights
    and Christmas
    families come together

    St. Francis and Buddha
    sharing laughs together
    in heaven

  19. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    getting through the long night
    with a recipe
    for mulled wine
    *
    mulling wine
    while we contemplate
    atonement
    *

  20. wrapping up
    the novelty handcuffs
    on Grandma’s naughty list

    snow-covered yard
    blackened
    by crows

    no chocolate
    behind the doors
    of my advent calendar

    not asking
    for permission
    beneath the mistletoe

  21. angry and disappointed
    behavior of legal entities
    wolf in sheep’s clothing

    Nani Mariani – Australia

  22. Congrats Rob on a powerful verse and thank you Marshall

    stoic snowman –
    standing in a puddle
    of tears

    colder
    than ice –
    the human heart

    lonely scarecrow –
    standing in a field
    of snow

  23. hunter’s moon
    droplets of blood
    trapped in ice

    hunter’s moon
    bright blooms of blood
    spread through snow

  24. Thank you for such a perfect verse, Rob . . .and thank you Marshall for guiding us and helping us!
    *******

    little ones dressed
    in grown up’s clothes
    for the pageant

    1. sorry….i’m working though something until i get it better…maybe still a work in progress.

      avalanched ski lodge
      eyes drift
      to snowbabies display

  25. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    letting snow
    bring out the angel
    in all of us
    *
    how snow reveals
    the better angels
    of our natures
    *
    spelunking
    the gleaming caves
    of ice stalactites
    *

    1. letting snow
      bring out the angel
      in all of us

      Laurie Greer

      This poem is so endearing Laurie!

  26. A wonderful, profound verse and just right for this point in the renku. Thanks to Marshall for another perfectly gauged selection.
    *
    attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    *
    the silent snow
    holds its secrets
    with its breath
    *
    the silent snow
    holds our secrets
    with its breath
    *

      1. ,,,a need to say how lovely this poem is!, Carolyn:) I am moved by your haiku and so many of the poets’ writing…I am really enjoying the season, lol:)

  27. Thank-you Rob, a poignant verse on narrow mindedness and Marshall, a heart-rending explanation.

  28. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    snow-filtered light
    a child reaches out
    for handfuls of stars

  29. Sabaki has honored me beyond measure! My heartfelt thanks Marshall for choosing my haiku and also for recognizing the hypocrisy of those who wish to do harm in the name of religion instead of spreading the love that emanates from their God.

    And much gratitude also to every one of the talented poets on this renku who have inspired me to write better haiku with their incredibly excellent words.

    1. You’re most welcome, Rob. I’m looking at the first suggestions for verse 11 and they’re so sensitive, we can tell how appropriate you link was.
      Cheers for linking -Marshall

  30. attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    all zipped-up
    in her snowsuit
    like a gingerbread boy

  31. Congratulations! Rob.
    Rob and Marshall: Such an astute observation of irony in the world, a well placed current event pick that goes to the heart of so many problems causing wide spread chaos, harm and dissonance on the global stage. Perfect linkage and just the right amount of shifting.

    attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

  32. a tree in snow
    the coldness of a sweater
    when first put on

    a pond in winter
    dimples from the perch
    not the rain

    childlike sign
    on a telephone pole
    a pet missing

    gray afternoon
    for the millionth time
    folding clothes

    end of a year
    in the miser’s mail
    no free calendar

    interrupted sleep
    toes keep finding ways
    to be exposed

    cracked, dry skin
    the well fingers take care
    of the hurt ones

    bare feet
    on a bathroom floor
    the sun’s rays

    warm air
    from the register
    cookies baking

      1. Thanks! This is a honkadori-like haiku and is based on a prose passage by Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite authors. I hope that the haiku’s origin doesn’t disqualify it as a candidate link for the renku. For a definition of honkadori, see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honkadori.

        The prose passage first appears in Henry David Thoreau’s Journal for December 5, 1852, paragraph 3.

        “I saw some dimples on the surface, and, thinking it was going to rain hard immediately, the air being full of mist, I made haste to take my place at the oars to row homeward. Already the rain seemed rapidly increasing, though I felt none on my cheek, and I anticipated a thorough soaking; but suddenly the dimples ceased, for they were produced by the perch which the noise of my oars had scared into the depths. I saw their schools dimly disappearing.”

        This passage was subsequently revised and incorporated in his Walden, or, Life in the Woods, in the “The Ponds” chapter, at the very end of paragraph 21, all of which is worth reading.

        “The skaters and water-bugs finally disappear in the latter part of October, when the severe frosts have come; and then and in November, usually, in a calm day, there is absolutely nothing to ripple the surface. One November afternoon, in the calm at the end of a rain-storm of several days’ duration, when the sky was still completely overcast and the air was full of mist, I observed that the pond was remarkably smooth, so that it was difficult to distinguish its surface; though it no longer reflected the bright tints of October, but the sombre November colors of the surrounding hills. Though I passed over it as gently as possible, the slight undulations produced by my boat extended almost as far as I could see, and gave a ribbed appearance to the reflections. But, as I was looking over the surface, I saw here and there at a distance a faint glimmer, as if some skater insects which had escaped the frosts might be collected there, or, perchance, the surface, being so smooth, betrayed where a spring welled up from the bottom. Paddling gently to one of these places, I was surprised to find myself surrounded by myriads of small perch, about five inches long, of a rich bronze color in the green water, sporting there, and constantly rising to the surface and dimpling it, sometimes leaving bubbles on it. In such transparent and seemingly bottomless water, reflecting the clouds, I seemed to be floating through the air as in a balloon, and their swimming impressed me as a kind of flight or hovering, as if they were a compact flock of birds passing just beneath my level on the right or left, their fins, like sails, set all around them. There were many such schools in the pond, apparently improving the short season before winter would draw an icy shutter over their broad skylight, sometimes giving to the surface an appearance as if a slight breeze struck it, or a few rain-drops fell there. When I approached carelessly and alarmed them, they made a sudden splash and rippling with their tails, as if one had struck the water with a brushy bough, and instantly took refuge in the depths. At length the wind rose, the mist increased, and the waves began to run, and the perch leaped much higher than before, half out of water, a hundred black points, three inches long, at once above the surface. Even as late as the fifth of December, one year, I saw some dimples on the surface, and thinking it was going to rain hard immediately, the air being full of mist, I made haste to take my place at the oars and row homeward; already the rain seemed rapidly increasing, though I felt none on my cheek, and I anticipated a thorough soaking. But suddenly the dimples ceased, for they were produced by the perch, which the noise of my oars had seared into the depths, and I saw their schools dimly disappearing; so I spent a dry afternoon after all.”

        1. thank you for sharing your source Richard–fond memories of high school english reading came flooding back. summers growing up I often visited the solitude of a mountain pond and all its inhabitants breaking surface. you certainly have explored this topic Thoreau-ly.

  33. Congrats, Rob, on your verse.

    attempted murder
    by the morality police

    Rob Barkan

    in the ski lodge
    hands are cupped
    around hot chocolate
    .
    in a ski lodge
    mugs of hot chocolate
    raised in a toast
    .
    conifer limbs
    encrusted
    with snow

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