Skip to content

The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 31


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


Most of our links so far have emphasized ‘shift’ with just a hint of link’, but this one fits in as a lovely extension of the previous verse. It is ;


just as the moon reaches
its frost phase

Laurie Greer


This conjoins the quietly flowing creek with a sky presence, at the same time as it switches from an expected daylight scene to a nocturnal one for both verses. It picks up the motion of the water until it is frozen still and there is no sound at all.

What is really wonderful with this verse are the words, “frost phase”, implying at once both an end crescent or new sliver of moon as “frost” in a single moon’s cycle about the earth and the beginning of cold’s incursion into the solar seasons of the earth; autumn. It could even suggest ‘first phase’.

“Phase’ itself also suggests, ‘face’; the un-human face, and amid all the soundlessness, even the pure death-mask that coldly but stunningly reminds us of our own personal mortality.

A two-liner designer moon-verse! Thank-you very much, Laurie Greer



What we need next is 3 lines, no particular season. Sense appeal of aromas and touch are still available.

Happy linking





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


next door’s dog
at our snowman

Carol Jones


the mailman’s breath
faintly white

Keith Evetts


Jacques Brel singing
“in the port of Amsterdam”
on the radio

Alfred Booth and Marshall Hryciuk


a whirligig of leaves
sweeps the deck clean

Wendy C. Bialek


evening begins
with a gift of opal

Marion Clarke


beachcombers trade shells
as the tide comes in

Jonathan Alderfer


a morning glory
the hummingbird

madeleine kavanaugh


stepping from the change room
in her prom gown

Laurie Greer


her scent
on the pillow
the morning after

Andrew Shimield


some vows
break easier than twigs

Dan Campbell


happy new year postcard
smudge and all

Pamela Garry


hard to forget the party
and my off-tune singing

Biswajit Mishra


a blackbird tapping–
smiles and thanks me for
the seed

Melissa Dennison


sewing up an open wound
on the dragon’s flank

Tracy Davidson


blue dashers
skim the surface
of a still pond

Betty Shropshire


twitching of a cow’s tail
in the shade of an oak

Andrew Shimield


the endless
night of a Las
Vegas casino

Eavonka Ettinger


wyndes level snow-stacked tables
in the sea-front caff

Dick Pettit


sipping on hot chocolate
after an afternoon
of ice skating

Nancy Brady


skimming recipes
for Oaxacan mole sauce

Wendy C. Bialek


crinkle of leaf
behind me on the path
quietly the creek

Marshall Hryciuk


just as the moon reaches
its frost phase

Laurie Greer





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 158 Comments

  1. These are all so beautiful… I dropped off after Week 17. I was sick with Covid and my Dad passed away… I haven’t been able to write anything. I just read all the final selections up to this week… it feels good. I’m happy to be back…

      1. Like Pamela, we’re happy you’re back, Diana!
        Our condolences on the loss of your father

  2. the child snuggles
    his worn teddy
    against a warm cheek

    a bubbling pot
    softens the vegetable soup
    and steams the window

      1. His woods are lovely… as is the simple and haiku-like:

        I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
        I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
        (And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
        I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

        I’m going out to fetch the little calf
        That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
        It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
        I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

        Which reminds me of Basho’s:

        summer rains
        let’s go and see
        the grebe’s floating nest

        1. very kind of you keith to share this,
          especially endearing words by mr. frost…

          can’t resist posting this pre-april fools:

          if animals held a poetry reading

          i know why the caged bird sings
          (read by a. parrot)

          to his koi mistress
          (read by c. carp)

          stopping by woods on a snowy evening
          (read by p. p. hound)

          1. Rob: “i know why the caged bird sings
            (read by a. parrot)”

            A few years ago I did actually read ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ to our parrot. When I asked “What d’you think of that?” she commented somewhat brusquely: “daft!”

            She’s part of the family flock and spends much time out, but likes her cage which is her home and place of safety, and with the door open will often choose to stay in it. But then, she is not a poet…

          1. Again, I am in agreement with Carol! :) And, Basho’s “summer rains” is a perfect choice!:)

  3. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    drifting through
    this one-horse town
    ocean scent

  4. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    border on foot
    touch of eau de parfum
    for random silence

    come off your honkadori and answer marshall’s request with an okey-doughey!

      1. thanks pamela….but i can only take credit for their combined application/usage….all these words preexisted me! LOL!

        honkadori’s been ’round
        since the 12th century
        during the Kamakura period

    1. entering
      in GPS

      (Inspired by Dan)

      1. Thanks for expanding my geographic knowledge amiga! I had to google this one and hope I can stand atop this hill in beautiful New Zealand one day.

  6. Congratulations Laurie, on all your wonderful verses!

    brushing the
    stars from
    her hair.

    spelling out
    Ana Maria Gonzales Fernandez de Valencia
    with sparklers

    1. Riotously funny poem, Dan, but we can’t use it because it would be such an obvious back-link to the Oaxaca mole recipe verse. But keep’em coming

      1. A large touch of humor with your second verse, Dan. Love it :)
        One to keep in your pocket for another session (which I hope will not be too far away)

        The weeks have gone by so very fast and this Renku session has helped with the stress of it all. A place to come and chill-out.

        1. The use of the Spanish words, “Oaxaca” and “mole” just 2 verses before really stand out as there’ve been very few foreign-sounding words in this renku

    2. Yes! On every one of many readings it sparks my laughter and delight! If only Ana’s name had one more syllable, reaching 17!

    3. dan
      these are pure love… have finally arrived!
      even standing on my head reading these, (bookend) verses they are a delight!

      by placing them, where verse 2 becomes verse 1, and verse 1 becomes verse two…
      then i come off with the illusion of a woman brushing stars from her hair as the remnants of the sparklers falling down from the sky.

      BUT then we loose the beautiful shine in her hair allowing the stars to be reflected on her hair’s surface……which i believe is your wonderful intention.

      verse two made me lol my rib hurts!

  7. early morning
    to the bakery

    fresh apples
    make a
    donkey smile

    thanks dear
    grandma for all those
    pumpkin pies

    hot pupusas
    and a stump
    for a table

  8. Just for fun–don’t want to get rusty!

    her first sweater
    smoothed down
    for blocking
    as the smell of sweets
    pours from a piñata
    trading the bells
    for a piñata
    whacked by a stick

  9. Congratulations, Laurie, for another outstanding verse. So evocative.

    just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase
    –Laurie Greer

    a barista inhales
    the aroma
    of fresh beans

  10. the fridge door
    unable to block
    his stinking bishop *

    even the new puppy
    turns his nose up
    at my post-gym toes

    the burnt bits
    from my homemade pie

    (* for anyone who doesn’t know, ‘stinking bishop’ is a particularly smelly cheese)

    1. thanks for the explanation tracy…i had pictured a rather powerful bishop in an aggressive game of chess….great to hear it is only an aggressive cheese odor!
      i like this very much…and i find it everything it is smacked up to be… lol!

  11. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    laurie’s gem of a verse threw me for a loop,
    because it is a “frozen” moment in time
    that begs to be completed–a lunar
    cliffhanger. it also filled me with dread,
    a portent of the doom of winter and cold.

    once again marshall, just when i thought
    your reviews couldn’t get any better…

    thank you both for the step into 31.

  12. I would be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a Happy World Poetry Day! :)

    1. I like this one the best! :)

      the black canopy
      of the broken umbrella

  13. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    old man lies
    back in a barber’s chair
    shooting the breeze

  14. Thank you, Marshall, for selecting my frost phase! Thanks also to the kind words people have sent my way–and most of all for the wonderful verses I’ve been reading here today. Feel very privileged to be part of such a great, talented group!

  15. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    a vanilla scented
    beeswax birthday cake
    goes missing

    congrats laurie on an ingeniously linked and shifted verse, that is ‘fully’ written by yourself.

    marshall i enjoyed your reasons for your choice and agree that this verse is most fitting.

    like yours, marshall, before it….with its three, open-air sections, possibly representing the past/beginning, the present/midlfe and the future/end of life, which brought in a vast array of wonderful, responses….laurie’s verse too is open-ended, more of a phrase….and i believe will receive a very big and diverse response.

  16. I just adore the progression in these last 4 verses, Marshall. Congratulations, Laurie!

    just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    Laurie Greer

    a mystery
    flutters through
    chirping trees

  17. just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase

    tough day
    she keeps folding
    into her dough

  18. skimming recipes
    for Oaxacan mole sauce
    —Wendy C. Bialek

    crinkle of leaf
    behind me on the path
    quietly the creek
    —Marshall Hryciuk

    just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase
    —Laurie Greer

    So lovely, Laurie and Marshall!

    absorbing sunlight
    on the cutting board

    floss fiber
    in chipped nail
    all hands on deck

    the dung beetle’s ball
    under foot
    prints in the foyer

  19. Congratulations, Laurie! Very evocative.


    a loaf of bread
    splitting open on top
    in the oven

        1. When I was a child, my parents, sister, and I lived for a few years across the street from a small bakery that was two doors down from the elementary school my sister and I attended. A strong smell of baking bread would greet us every morning, especially when we left our windows open.

          My renku contribution, however, attempts to evoke not only this pleasant olfactory memory, but also a sense of touch. I confess that these three lines are based in a honkadori fashion (almost plagiaristically so) on a passage written almost 2,000 years ago by one of my favorite writers (I love the allusionary aspects of honkadori haiku):

          “We should remember that even Nature’s inadvertence has its own charm, its own attractiveness. The way loaves of bread split open on top in the oven; the ridges are just by-products of the baking, and yet pleasing, somehow: they rouse our appetite without our knowing why.”

          — Meditations: A New Translation, Book 3, Chapter 2, by Marcus Aurelius (Modern Library, 2002, translated by Gregory Hays)

          1. Absolutely marvelous, Richard… your poem and your writing of your experiences as a child growing up near a bakery!

    1. hi Richard
      Nothing says, ‘home’ like the smell of bread on the bake. But the last line, though very important, falls flat as it is. Could we change it to: ‘in the oven/ a loaf of bread/ splitting open on top’ -more evocative of the heat
      and the aroma rising
      cheers -Marshall

      1. Your revision does sound better, Marshall. What’s lost in sight (short-long-short) is gained in sound (like a reverse Doppler effect?). Thanks, Richard

    2. Please see my comment below, Richard about switching the order of the lines (Don’tkno why it got posted so afr away from your offering)
      Thanks -Marshall

    3. Please see my comment below, Richard about switching the order of the lines that i posted earlier today
      (Don’t know why it got posted so far away from your offering)
      Thanks -Marshall

  20. 31
    crinkle of leaf
    behind me on the path
    quietly the creek
    just as the moon reaches
    its frost phase
    hand over hand
    on the thin staircase rail
    pulls himself up

    shut the front door
    and quick through the inner
    to keep the heat in

    four slow beats
    then baton and left arm
    come down together

  21. Laurie, this is such an etheral and exquisite poem, adding much brilliance to our renku. Marshall, your explanation is perfect… a joy to read.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top