This week we will look into the Haiku (and on a larger scale – the Renga).


  • In Japanese the haiku is composed of 17 sound units divided into three parts – one with 5 syllables, one with 7 syllables and another with 5 syllables. Since sound units are much shorter than English syllables, it has been found that following the Japanese example results in a much longer poem. The Japanese write their haiku in one line. The Japanese, because of their longer history of reading haiku, understand that there are two parts to the poem.
  • In English, however, each part is given a line in order to clearly divide the parts of the haiku. This allows the reader time to form an image in the mind before the eyes go back to the left margin for more words. The line breaks also act as a type of punctuation. In English these are called the phrase and fragment. One line is the fragment and the other two lines combine grammatically to become the phrase. Without this combining the two lines together the haiku will sound “choppy” as the tone of voice drops at the end of each line.
  • To create a renga, one poet writes the first stanza, which is three lines long with a total of seventeen syllables. The next poet adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line. The third stanza repeats the structure of the first and the fourth repeats the second, alternating in this pattern until the poem’s end.


We’re concerned with the structure here, so the collaborative nature of the renga will not be strictly adhered to.


The extravagance
of the season, embodied
God wrapped in infant
(I penned this back in 2010)


Awaiting the snow,
as autumn fades in our minds
we cover for warmth

Lost in the change of seasons
we find our reasons to live.

In the passing years
we learn the lessons of life
growing strong with love.

The blossoms of love take root,
growing to touch many hearts.

The harvest we reap
brings an abundance of food
for a wanting soul.

The taste of passion fills us,
and it leaves us wanting more.

We cover for warmth,
in the winter of our years
we are comforted.

Life is the hearth of our love,
as long as we live, it burns…


  1. Walt, this is breathtakingly beautiful!!! I love, “Life is the hearth of our love, as long as we live it burns…” Amazing!

    And I love yours too, Marie.❤ I think I remember reading it before. Did you post it on the WR?

  2. I am left here still,
    Struggling on without you
    Your face haunts my dreams.

    Why? Why? I don’t understand,
    I probably never will.

    A hole in my heart,
    That i can actually feel,
    You used to fill it.

    I wander aimlessly on,
    Lost in pain and bewilderment.

    Frantically grasping
    At fragments of memory,
    Hopelessly clasping.

    My mind’s in shattered remnants,
    My eyes ache, dull from crying.

    At last I reach out,
    His arms are strong, a Lifeline,
    At last I feel them.

    God help me, I’m in despair,
    God help me, my faith is dead.

    He fills my wrecked soul
    With His everlasting love,
    God, I’ll trust in You.

    • Oh Erin, so much, so much for us all to handle, and your own experience, loss is so fresh. We know that God holds us (With His everlasting love,), but sometimes we need a physical hug….and I bet your mom does too. The kind of hug that does not need talking or explaining. The hug that says “We hurt and need closness to get through this time.” You are there for each other. Know too, that I and others are holding you up in prayer Erin. 🙂

    • You lay your heart before us in, as Viv says, a cathartic expression of grief followed by faith. The faith expressed makes me think of Mark 9:24. “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This is something I feel and pray nearly every day.

      Your talent and maturity shine with every poem you write, Erin. Bless your heart.

      Marie Elena

    • Thank you all for your kind comments. Of course, when this happened I was only ten and didn’t realize that I was angrily turning my back on my only Comfort. I decided I wasn’t going to pray anymore. It just didn’t work. (I had prayed fervently that he would get better, and he didn’t.) I decided that I hated God for taking my brother away from me. But thank God I wasn’t alone in this sorrow. I have a supportive family and church who made me realize that God has a bigger plan and a call on my life.

    • Such passion within this piece and such hope for the release of the grief. Bless you, Erin, and keep hanging onto that embrace.

  3. Where there is our God,
    we can know that there is hope,
    while answers stay hid.

    We just cannot understand
    all the wrongs done by mankind.

    We weep, God weeps too.
    His plan was not last week’s news,
    ‘twas free-will misused.

    The prince of darkness stepped up.
    warped a sick, troubled man’s mind.

    This body’s temporal
    And the soul is eternal,
    Hope in reunion.

    We weep and wonder,
    we cannot know earth’s answer,
    and God weeps with us.

    He holds us, each hurting soul,
    wrapped tight in His loving hand.

  4. Remembrance day Nijuin Renga
    Posted on November 26, 2011 by vivinfrance

    Time to remember,
    salute those who went before –
    vain sacrifice.

    Heroism personified
    achieved nothing in the end,

    yet their names are still
    remembered; grateful strangers
    honour those long dead.

    Freedom has its fee: men and
    women fall in foreign dirt.

    Time to make a stand:
    arms aslope in attentioned lines,
    receive the fallen.

    Our gratitude is not misplaced:
    honour them for what they did.

    Shun those who say their
    noble deaths are wasteful: each
    loss buys our freedom.

    Each sacrifice is a gift.
    Democracy demands it.

    Shun trigger-happy
    warmongers, and voracious
    business interests

    whose greed sends other young men
    to do their fighting for them.

    Weep for those people
    whose dearth of oil makes ‘rescue’
    unnecessary –

    for every Iraq there is
    a Zimbabwe, a Tibet.

    Days of long ago
    saw brutal ethnic cleansing
    in the colonies

    to usurp lands, steal assets
    with ne’er a twinge of conscience.

    Days not long ago
    saw brutal ethnic cleansing
    by civilised men,

    to usurp jobs and assets;
    make the economy grow.

    Refuse to hear those
    politicians’ weasel words
    to justify war.

    Churchill said ‘jaw jaw not war’
    and history proves him right.

    Each war is a cheap
    Armageddon. Remember
    this, if nothing else:

    Death wipes his scythe, and smiles: he
    knows – men will always kill men.

    This 20-stanza collaborative Renga started 11.11.11, was written while Tillybud (The Laughing Housewife) was staying with us last year.

  5. You guys and gals are smokin’ this morning. I’ll be back to add something of mine. Renga is knew to me so perhaps I’ll have to ruminate on it for just a few minutes before plunging.

    Back in a while. I’ll comment then too.

  6. How can I call back
    words screamed in anger
    now gnawing at my soul?

    A fresh new blanket
    now covers the dead.
    Silent snowflakes falling.

    All night the wind
    banged the broken shutter
    angry old man!

    Tonight each cloud is wearing
    a halo of shining silver
    the moon is close to heaven!

  7. Haiku

    Hurry, scurry, go
    Life tells time of its passage
    Time ends with life’s breath


    In story book tales
    Villains fight heroes for fun,
    Creating legends.

    In life heroes and villains
    Can change roles to fool the eye,

    Leaving confusion
    To cloud judgments and purpose
    Within those watching

    Acts performed by a hero
    Turned villain; both one person.

    Each living person
    Carries hero and villain.
    Circumstance decides

    Which role we portray each day
    When walking on our life’s path.

  8. winter solstice, stretch
    night across the universe
    ribbon of stars, moon

    preening golden above us,
    aglow with slow show, bright light

    prove beauty survives
    even in our longest night,
    waits above our heads

    teach us to search inky skies
    for every glitter, gift, grace

  9. Trying to get started on my new year’s goal early. The goal is to write! I’ve been such a slacker!! Love reading everyone’s poems to get my inspiration.


    This season of love
    Light shines bright in heart and soul
    Let all that look, see.

  10. Walt and Marie, great job!

    Friend’s Lives After Sandy

    Walked away from home
    They shared, all possessions gone,
    Save two happy Labs

    At sea amidst the displaced
    Persons, bereft, shocked, silent.

    Wheels grind slowly, step
    Forward, step back, frustrated,
    Taken in by friends

    Today, they move to a house,
    Renting now, starting afresh.

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  12. The extravagance
    of the season, embodied
    God wrapped in infant

    –Marie Elena Good

    Christmas Gift

    Busy being and doing
    Stuck on life’s conveyer belt

    What is life’s meaning?
    People ponder their purpose
    Clueless they live on

    A seed, a cell, a tear drop
    Wonders abound in the small

    All eternity
    Life, promise, joy, forgiveness
    An invitation

    Omnipresence makes the way
    Becoming like His beloved

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  15. I watch my own baby
    grown large and weary
    with her newest boy child

    her third, he is due to be delivered
    in just four short weeks

    I worry so
    for each babe of hers
    has weighed in at ten pounds plus

    and like me she has chosen
    to bear her children later…

    so each one comes
    as part of serious surgery
    and its risk

    followed by weeks of bed-rest
    and inability to lift her babe

    this makes days harder
    for a new mother
    than is usual I find

    but she has proven to be tough
    and is maternal to a fault

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