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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 7


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.


So we have our link for verse 7. It is:

giving pollen
a lift
on the bicycle bells                                                                                                    

Laurie Greer


“Pollen” is a wonderful link to the previous verse’s “handprints and crumbs” as it could be the outline of these marks on the surface that has now in a figure/ground reversal become the subject of our renku’s motion.

The second line not only reinforces a positive ‘take’ on pollen -often viewed negatively by those of us with allergies – but is also a surprise: a human mediation which without plan, incidentally furthers a spontaneously spring activity of nature.

Normally, we can only sense pollen by scent when it is airborne but here it is stationary of itself but still in motion on the bicycle and visible. A signal of this spring, but a catalyst for many springs to come.

I wanted “bicycle bells” for the added complexity and the possible sonority as we leave the stately first 6 verses and move into the development and improvisational phase of our renku. The bells may be quiet or they may be ringing out a caution, but their sounds are a very welcome announcement that “Spring is here.”  Further there is a secondary meaning, in that the bells being rung may actually cause some of the pollen to shift or ‘lift off’ of this happy device with its welcome sounds.


So, what we need now is 2 lines in the seasonality of spring without mention of flowers or blossoms


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




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This Post Has 142 Comments

  1. mowing around
    a new bird’s nest

    suddenly sweaters
    are too itchy

    eyes wander from the teacher
    to the windows

    blades of grass pop up
    through the snowmelt

    new bulbs in the incubator
    warm the chicks

  2. Congrats Laurie!
    giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer
    the moo of a glacier
    in the left ear

  3. months after Davos
    and still no progress

    a squall sings scat
    to brushes on a hi-hat

    sunny periods
    of skylark song

    butterflies flock
    to the yellow front door

    bumblebees somewhow
    never sneeze

  4. Congratulations, Laurie, on a lovely verse! Thanks, Marshall!

    My offers:

    the blue butterfly
    takes off
    into oblivion


    taking it’s turn
    a skylark
    settles down


    the string
    of a child’s gas balloon
    gives way

  5. let yourself be unfettered
    dance in the spring rain

    black swift aerials
    in waterfall mist

    tree arms
    sprout emerald gauze

  6. where have all
    the bumblebees gone

    several bees cross
    the picket line

    most of the bees
    carry picket signs

    bees want lower fences
    and longer stingers

    Queen bees they just
    wanna have fun

    male bees they just
    wanna be left alone

    striking worker bees
    want their Sundays off

    union bees fight for
    less days and less f—-rs

    fed up with the fake flowers
    hummers and bees strike

    allergic bees
    take seasonal jobs

    hiveless bees
    sleep on the streets

    1. correction to individual dash/no shift key needed:

      union bees fight for
      less days and less f—-rs

        1. under the bonnet
          on the haiku poet’s head
          a buzzing bee

          under her springtime bonnet
          a buzzing bee

  7. three little kittens play
    follow the leader
    baseball hopefuls practice
    catching grounders
    little league ball players
    snagging grounders

  8. short skirts cause
    most of my bike wrecks

    waving to a cloud
    that resembles my lost dog

    singing bootcamp blues
    while marching through rivers

    bootcamp bugle notes
    drowning out birdsongs

  9. a few village lasses
    try out round the maypole

    a patch of grass left
    where the skylark nests

    fertility rites
    observed in the penthouse

  10. spring light
    in the canvas of autumn

    the fragrance of earth
    in the air i inhale

    spring rainbow
    in a newly knitted scarf

  11. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer


    (nods to Lily Tomlin)

  12. the barn beams
    alive with blue swallows

    lambs playing leapfrog
    the live-long day

    hawks dotted
    high on a thermal

    Shanks’s pony
    has a foal!

  13. the rhythm of rain
    on a tin roof barn

    in a raindrop

    still enjoy riding ‘
    my bike through puddles

  14. not only pigs
    enjoy rolling in mud

    golf balls
    don’t float

    tossing his last dime
    into the wishing well

  15. a welcoming haiku
    for a ringtone

    dog barks up
    the right tree April fool

    planting seeds
    in the tracks of a turtle

    the road less traveled
    on google maps

    raisons du retard
    arrive early for class

    a wobbly walk
    hides behind her cane

  16. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer
    her balloon dress
    from puddle to puddle
    a hint of Vivaldi
    in the punch
    unboxing a bench press
    in the solarium
    spoons on glasses
    for our first al fresco kiss

  17. housewarming
    amidst the chattering parrots

    basking under
    a spick and span saffron sky

    the scent of blooms
    in the spring rain

    the crouched cat
    and me in open pranayama

  18. Congrats Laurie on still another fine verse!

    a sad prince
    remembering his tadpole days

    his serenades have replaced
    croaks on beautiful nights

    the frog-prince still hops
    to the pond when nobody’s watching

  19. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells
    — Laurie Greer

    train tickets
    for Carnival in Venice
    first afternoons
    weeding the garden

  20. my (un)holy week
    pedalling the church organ

    blessing the baby
    that sneezes in the font

    gonna need a bigger basket
    for these easter eggs

  21. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer
    the bright coloured masks
    of Mardi Gras

  22. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells
    Laurie Greer

    how cliche to wander the cobblestone streets
    of Paris in April

  23. Laurie, it is a delight to have my verse linked to your beautiful verse! Marshal, thank you for this fun adventure and your many insights and wonderful teaching moments! Pamela

    giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells
    (Laurie Greer)

    interpreting with her hands
    the trill of the clutch

  24. a newly hatched python
    threads the water lilies

    a handful of koi pellets
    across an orange-streaked pond

    the hiss of a water snake
    warning me from a cleft

    dots and dashes
    across the lifeboats

  25. Congratulations Laurie on your alliterative verse.

    giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells
    Laurie Greer

    walking under an umbrella
    toward le Louvre
    school girls running
    through warm showers

  26. quaint and beautiful laurie, keep it up marshall, thanks to both of you.

    nine billion stars
    powder the gazebo

    first night of carnival
    cash registers already full

  27. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer

    a butterfly with no name
    spoke to me in wings

  28. Wonderful, Laurie! 🙂

    giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer


    off key chattering
    of baby birds

    the dawn chorus
    heralding the new day

    queen bee
    emerging from her sleep

    tap tap tap
    the drumming of the woodpecker

    flying back
    to a toppled nest

    revealing the trees in leaf

    a flight of swallows
    brush the sky

  29. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    [ Nice one ! ]

    free anti-histamines
    sprout on park railings

    lambs hitch to the ball
    in the spring-washed scooter-free

    jumping up on car springs
    as clever as all get out

  30. What a wonderful surprise! Two of them, actually. Thanks, Marshall, for seeing the potential in my offering and for improving on what I sent. “Bell” is much more interesting and vital than “helmet.” I love this collaborative project.

    1. Thanks, Laurie. What a relief! I kept going back to your links to see if you replied to my messed-up replies and just hoped you would prefer as i did the ‘bicycle bells’ to the ‘helmet’.
      All moving ahead now
      Thanks again, Laurie -Marshall

    1. hi Eavonka – i like this submission but think it reads like a broken one-liner -and, i think we’d see the blue first before counting the number of eggs. Also, since we already had a “one by one” in the second verse, i’d rather use the numeral for the quantity and have this one read: the tiffany blue
      of 3 eggs in a nest
      I hope you can accept this for our verse 8
      Thanks very much -Marshall

      1. Oh my gosh, I would be honored, Marshall! In fact, my own edit was because I didn’t think the number sounded right where I had it.

  31. a wonderful creative, combo of Laurie’s two verses, Marshall!
    Congrat’s Laurie….a doubly powerful douse of dealing with global warming
    issues….both the bike riding and the sparsity of bees.

    though it wasn’t the time for it…..
    still, thinking that Marshall was going to use this as a perfect lead in to our love section, the idea…of the bike’s bells and how i see the dispensing of pollen from the bells, (i was so anticipating that i began writing love offerings) LOL! flexibly, moving on:

    giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer

    a blind busker’s song
    circling the rims of his glasses

  32. Congratulations, Laurie. Your verse has a carefree happiness to it, a delight to read.
    This could be children playing on their cycles unaware of their freeloading and unnoticed passengers. Well done.

  33. giving pollen
    a lift
    on the bicycle bells

    Laurie Greer

    crocus stems breakout
    on the county hall lawn

    Robert Kingston

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