Hats Off to Hatku: Forty Tan-Renga

On 11 July 2009, Haiku Northwest and the Port Townsend Haiku Group held a joint meeting at Marrowstone Island in Washington State. Attendees submitted haiku on the theme of hats. Christopher Herold selected the following three-line poems for a handout titled Hatku. At the meeting he challenged us to try writing two-line responses for a selection of these poems to create tan-renga. The following are my responses to all forty poems. Response verses written as follows: 1–7, 11–14, and 20–22 written 19 July 2009, in Sammamish, Washington. Verses 8–10, 15–19, and 23–40 written 4 August 2009 on the I-405 and I-5 freeways between Bothell and Bellingham, Washington. Not previously published.

summer beckons—

a blanket, food, a good book,

a hat Judi Komishane

waking up

in a long shadow Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

my Bubbe’s kerchief—the beginning of Shabbos Carmi Soifer

the wide receiver bobbles the football Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

an embroidered yarmulke

on the man in front—

rollercoaster rush Michael Dylan Welch

she doesn’t notice

our song on the radio Michael Dylan Welch

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under an outstretched sky

the rabbi walks

bareheaded Carmi Soifer

traffic slowing

for a dead deer Michael Dylan Welch

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Easter in Rome—

confusing a yarmulke

for a zucchetto David Ash

the last seeds

gone from the birdfeeder Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

this Mother’s Day

handmade hats on all the grey heads

dementia ward Carol O’Dell

the summer of love

recreated on radio Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

a yellow visor—

end of the rainy

season Carmen Sterba

an egg almost frying

on the sidewalk Michael Dylan Welch

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Flapping brim

my garden hat

flies away Doris Thurston

into the great blue yonder

the child’s balloon Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

the scarecrow

gets a new straw hat

spring blossoms Jay Haskins

my sister’s love bump

beginning to show Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

a feather in his cap

Jasper Bear steps out

looking good Judi Komishane

“Read it again, Daddy,

read it again!” Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

left at home—

my favorite springy

English garden hat Ida Freilinger

remembering at last

the shed lock’s combination Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Chinese restaurant—

ladies in birds’ nest hats

ponder the soup menu David Ash

distant skywriting

not quite legible Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

stetson country—

in a drawl the waitress asks me

to repeat my order Michael Dylan Welch

the hot air balloon

barely moving Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

gets up, grabs his hat,

slaps his chaps with it hard, once—

bronc buster Karma Tenzing Wangchuk

the toddler’s grin

at moving his tricycle Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

today no shadow, no glint


wears a gray, felt fedora Kerry Wilson

a field of poppies

no bull Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

some raindrops also

into the upturned ball cap

of the street busker Karma Tenzing Wangchuk

it’s déjà-ku

all over again Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

so wide the brim

nothing, everything all at once

in my garden hat Polly Thurston

heard from the hammock

the start of a cricket Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

quick departure

from a secluded park bench

two hats left behind Jackie Barr

a team of gulls

takes the field Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

a milliner inhales—

quick as silver

the hapless hatter goes mad Robert Komishane

a waking dream

beside the Thames Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Independence Day

scarecrow in a tuxedo

and top hat Carol O’Dell

the Harley Davidson’s

throaty roar Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

in the window

naked mannequins with floppy hats

keeping cool Angela Terry

crocodile tears

in my soup Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

impending deadline . . .

the purchasing agent dons

her pirate hat Tanya McDonald

crunching his granola

dad with new teeth Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

swim caps adorned

with plastic flowers . . .

the summer I was ten Angela Terry

I think I felt something

under her sweater Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Sombrero siesta.

Apples blossom overhead

while I snooze. Richard Lloyd

we haggle over the price

of the used carburetor Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

under a hat

my mind goes on and on

horrible hair day Polly Thurston

the cherry bowl

now full of pits Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

cancer patient—

a well-shaped head

under her cap Carmen Sterba

she suddenly says

“Let’s go bowling!” Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

All day

trees bend in the wind

There goes my bowler! Richard Lloyd

the umpire calls

a third strike Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

A bit of luxury

Kangol turban from England

paid for from kitchen change Alison Hedlund

trinkets in the pawn shop

just like ours Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Dutch thrift

in time she can afford

a designer hat Alison Hedlund

someone dancing

in the unemployment line Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

the old fence post

sprouts a mushroom cap—


the Shakespeare play

in its third hour Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Angled front, back or side

a man’s perceived age

from a baseball cap Kerry Wilson

a bag of peanuts

in mid air Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~


the kid in a coonskin cap

takes aim Christopher Herold

the automated telescope

tracking Jupiter Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Abe Lincoln’s top hat

worn to the Booth Theater

had seen better days Jackie Barr

the TV left on

to the history channel Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~


in the cedar chest

grandmother’s bonnet Doris Thurston

the prairie horizon

ends in a thunderhead Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

first day of school

a dunce cap conspicuous

in the corner Christopher Herold

the new kid

reciting π Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

Halloween night

watchman dozing in his chair

hat slid down his face Mary Leviant

a poodle skirt

leaves with a zombie Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

buying a funky hat

at the amusement park shop—

patchy sun so bright Ida Freilinger

the clown inside me

spies his reflection Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

mountain morning

knit into the stocking cap

a long, white hair Tanya McDonald

the colour of her jeans

in the glissade track Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

peach blossoms . . .

a sailor’s cap drifts away

in the swollen stream Mary Leviant

the mountains receding

into sunset haze Michael Dylan Welch

~ ~ ~

the pageant winner

adjusts her tiara

and her smile Jay Haskins

the paint-by-number

left unfinished Michael Dylan Welch