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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 34


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


Now we’ve reached the climax of our renku with the second blossom verse: It is:


its wings fringe
a lilac blossom
swallowtail butterfly  

madeleine kavanaugh


Gorgeously replete with the fullness of Spring seasonality. It links in an almost too direct way with the “rising” of the “blackbirds” in the previous verse, but just as that verse doesn’t make flight an explicit word, so this one doesn’t either.

In my imagination, and from experience, swallowtails don’t hang from a bush’s blossom without fluttering their wings and pulling their legs from position to position. In fact, at the moment of a lilac’s being in bloom, a black swallowtail itself may just be newly hatched from its cocoon. Freshness of both flora and fauna.

And not only does the swallowtail have fringed wing-tips, but it adds a deckle, a rough but spectacular edge as off of paper-cutting, to the lilac blossom as well.

Further, the blue of the lower inside wing of the female black swallowtail can be very close in hue to that of a blue lilac and while the male is a continuous yellow in the lower wing as in its above one, there is in lilacs the variant of a white blossoming bush.

Thank you madeleine kavanaugh for this beautiful haiku with which to crown our renku.


What we require now in a concluding verse in 2 lines concerning solar eclipses; the recent one that just happened across North America on Monday or any other celestial eclipses.

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 black bird 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


in the oven
a loaf of bread
opened at the top

Richard Straw


rising from the marsh
a chorus of red-winged blackbirds

Jonathan Alderfer


its wings fringe
a lilac blossom
swallowtail butterfly

madeleine kavanaugh



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This Post Has 132 Comments

      1. partial to the eclipse
        through cloudy glasses

        ~ ~ ~

        white tracks in a pinkening sky
        a blue angels show

  1. Just for fun:

    to the eclipse
    through clouded glasses

    ~ ~ ~

    white tracks
    in a pinkening sky
    after a blue angels show

    1. I like the concept of your verse, Melissa, quite exciting.
      After reading your second verse . . .

      a werewolf’s teeth red
      as the blood moon

      1. Very lovely verse, Melissa. I love the alliteration in the first line…and the surprise contained in the second, a sun flower!

  2. the totality
    of her leaving

    the Pac-man sun
    sent packing

    the sky’s diamond ring
    flashier than mine

    an overstuffed moon
    spits out the sun again

  3. during the solar eclipse
    bad bosses drop their whips

    my 600 pound cousin
    also caused a solar eclipse

    1. A very wonderful verse, Carol, and very meaningful as we all grow older on this journey of life… very meaningful to me especially as I am losing a very dear friend and I was able to say my last good bye to her last week. 🙂

  4. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    and all too soon the sun
    is over the moon

  5. the sun’s eclipse
    beyond the sarsen stones

    (We’ve had our moon verses, #5, #15, and as recently as #32, but it’s a little inhibiting to do without that planet in a solar eclipse verse!)

  6. picnicking on fish and chips
    during a solar eclipse

    people long ago said apocalypse
    during a solar eclipse

    even aliens in starships
    stop to watch a solar eclipse

  7. Despite having experienced this, I am having enormous difficulty writing about it. Here it goes…

    leaving as it arrives

    the spring peepers and I

    1. Well done. Joshua! Both verses are quite inspiring. I love the play on words tinged with humor…the contrast of the two ideas in the first line–the contrast of the two lines with each other. You accomplished a lot in just a few words. And I also love the second poem… It’s wonderful, too!

  8. during totality
    the fun of looking at the sun
    a child’s drawing seen
    in the solar flares
    the fun of looking
    directly at the sun
    pearls glowing red
    on the coroner’s edges

    1. Seriously, autocorrect?! It’s corona, not coroner.

      pearls glowing red
      on the corona’s edges

      1. hi Nancy -i really like this offering, but we’ve had a stated ‘red’ in “red-winged blackbirds” 2 links ago. Doesn’t make it impossible to use as that’s the bird’s name, but i’d prefer another tone such as ‘scarlet’ or ‘magenta’ or ‘pearls glowing fire . . .” for the first line. Of course, “pearls” is overly metaporical, but i like that you’re describing exactly what you saw. So, you choose another revision for line one. And don’t show it to spellcheck (little, low-key laugh)
        cheers -Marshall

        1. Some colourful suggestions, Marshall, all very nice.

          When I started composing verses for renku it was said the final verse ‘could’ revert back to the hokku, in some way.
          One of your suggestions of revision ‘pearls glowing fire’ how many hues do we see within fire?
          And a line, in my personal opinion only’ that would link to your hokku perfectly.
          That said, you certainly have your own delightful way of leading a renku session.
          Many thanks for this, its been wonderful.

      2. beads glowing crimson
        on the corona’s edges

        They are known as Baily’s beads although I prefer pearls.
        So I offer also

        pearls glowing crimson
        on the corona ‘s edges

        Will either of these work, Marshall?

        1. Yes, “pearls glowing crimson” works very nicely. And thanks for the information on Baily’s beads. I didn’t know there was a specific term for this phenomenon or that it happened consistently enough to be given one.
          Cheers -Marshall

          1. Nan, I want to wish you an early congratulations for your stunning and beautiful haiku!

    1. Keith,
      I really like the first one. It makes me smile to think of the sun escaping this time although as They Might Be Giants sing, “we need its light, we need its heat,…” ( and so on).

  9. almost deaf dentist
    watching out for a molar eclipse

    almost deaf eskimo
    watching out for a polar eclipse

    shaman drums echoing
    during the solar eclipse

  10. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly

    madeleine kavanaugh

    madeleine, this is an exquisite crown to all
    your beautiful contributions to this renku,
    in both verse and comments.

    marshall you did it once again, thank you for
    choosing such a jewel.

    the best compliment i can make on
    your role of sabaki in this renku is–
    you had better come back for another,
    and very soon!

    1. same for me, just like seeing a total eclipse, people can’t wait for the next time!

    2. Rob, this means so much! I have been so inspired by your poetry through out these past months. I am so honored to be part of this marvelous poetry community.

  11. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh

    on the same renku page

    earthlings pinned
    with a first prize button

    holding up the wedding
    a flower girl’s sky

    swallowing day sky pixels
    a belch of splash flower

  12. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    suddenly easy to see
    the stars by day
    a few planets come out
    to view the eclipse

  13. ooooh yes, madeleine… did it again!!!!
    taking my very breath away! what a masterful writer of mother nature you are!
    you have delighted this renku party with all your friendly communications as well as the best of the best haiku!

    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh

    thank you, again, marshall, for placing this masterpiece into our fabulous renku!

    1. Dear Wendy, that is so wonderful of you to say. Thank you for continuing to inspire us all in our poetry adventures with your lovely and positive commentary. 🙂 I have always found your poetry to be absolutely amazing, the best of the best, as well! I enjoy reading them all each week.

    2. Please forgive me Wendy, for my late reply above… I wanted to say that your comments are such an honor and very encouraging! 🙂

  14. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh

    bright in our eyes
    the emerging sun

    1. Pamela, this one is lovely! So succinct and powerful. It’s what I’ve been aiming for and missing.

      1. Thank you muchly, Laurie! (My aunt of blessed memory often told me she loves me muchly. I save the word for significant occasions!)

  15. its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    no room to move on the path
    of totality
    the diamond ring reaffirms
    our vows to the universe

    1. Thank you Carol, it means a lot. I particularly enjoyed reading your beautiful verses.

      1. For me. madeleine, it is a superlative verse. I have taken many pictures of butterflies on their food source and environment.
        Your verse has taken me closer to the phenomena of both description.
        I also have to say your, overall, comments throughout this session truly embraces the spirit of renku.

        A low bow from me.

          1. I have felt the same way about your commentary throughout Carol…so much peace in your words. A low bow from me. 🙂

  16. It has been an exciting adventure. I am very grateful for this community of talented poets and for all the support I have received over the months.

  17. Thank-you Marshall,
    I am absolutely delighted and honored to have my poem chosen! This is such a lovely time in our renku and I have loved reading all of these glorious poems. Thank you for your insightful commentary and I enjoyed learning more about the black swallowtail butterfly!

    1. Yay, Madeleine! Your verse is so beautiful, and I’m so happy Marshall selected it. It truly fills the senses.

        1. Eavonka, I wanted to thank you also for your encouragement and for gracing us with your beautiful poems! I am glad that you and Nan were part of this exciting journey!

    2. You’re most welcome, madeleine -it was a pleasure to receive this verse and write about it. And what a gracious groundswell of support from our fellow travellers. Each of you made this process a series of exciting choices for me as well. Thank-you -Marshall

      1. I am so very honored. Thank you Marshall. This means so much to me. (I don’t know how I missed this.)

        1. Yes, there has been so much support from our “fellow travelers. 🙂
          And the poems each week from our renku community have been absolutely amazing.

  18. Thank you Marshall for bringing me back to Madeleine’s beautiful blossom verse. Well deserved Madeleine!

  19. Congratulations, madeleine, on a beautiful link. Great choice and comments, Marshall.


    the tinier the pinhole
    the finer the eclipse

    one of my floaters
    or a solar eclipse

    a moon-shaped cloud
    chilling the beachgoers

  20. rising from the marsh
    a chorus of red-winged blackbirds
    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly MK
    nature and winds are hushed
    as a motley crowd chatters

    colours are dimmed and grey
    as distant stars the look on

    a black spot’s bright halo
    b the light in all eyes

  21. *
    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    joined for a totality
    of four minutes of peace
    eclipse glasses tell the sun
    its appreciated

  22. *
    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    all of us baying
    at the midday moon
    totality in the jaws
    of a golden retriever
    a golden retriever
    snaps back the sun

  23. Beautiful verse, Madeleine! And Marshall–another big thanks. Hard to believe this is closing in on its end!
    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    madeleine kavanaugh
    prayer plants folding and re-
    opening without amen

  24. Congratulations, madeleine, on Marshall’s selection of your verse. 😊

    its wings fringe
    a lilac blossom
    swallowtail butterfly
    –madeleine kavanaugh

    swallowed by the moon
    our sun

    totally swallowed by the moon
    the sun

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