Renku Game


Renku is a traditional parlour game from Japan where participants take it by turns to write a verse to add to a collaborative poem until everyone has had a turn.

This forum version will be a bit different as anyone can jump in at any time, but the basic concept will remain.

How to Play

What steps need I take to participate?

  1. Read the most recently written verse written by previous posters.
  2. Compose a single verse in whatever style of poetry you wish, which relates to the last verse.
  3. Make a note of the style or form of poetry you chose (haiku, abcb quatrain, heroic couplet, &c.).
  4. Optionally add a title, some comments, or whatever other paraphernalia you wish.
  5. Collect the four previous things together and post for the next person to continue!

Which posts can I base my verse on?

  • Feel free to post a verse based on an earlier verse instead of the most recent, but please make note of such so that the other players know not to base their verse on yours.
  • On the same tack, please don’t post continuations of your own verses unless you make it clear in the relevant posts that they’re not part of the game. Once another player responds, though, you can jump right back in!
  • If you want to share a verse (or more) which was inspired by this thread but isn’t allowed by the rules, feel free as long as you make it clear it’s not the main game.

How creative can I be?

  • Your verse can relate to the prior verse in many ways: as a continuation, a thematic tie, a contrast, a playful misinterpretation of, &c…
  • If you choose a poetic form, such as haiku, which does not have an obviously correct translation into English, or a poetic form which is not well known (or your own creation), you are encouraged (though not required) to add details about the specific form you are using.
  • A verse can be as short as a single line depending on what poetic form you’re using.
  • Any poetry not in English should include an English translation so that the next person can continue in English.

Example Post Outline

    [previous verse]

> [new verse]

[poetic form]

[comments/random chat]

[quote of previous verse would go here, but this is the first post]

t’ Spite all Pains
the Vain aTtempts to
Kill just Die

I’ll start with a haiku following a 17-morae format with stressed syllables counting as 2 morae, and unstressed as 1.

If it’s not clear, it’s about Go.


When you play go,
You feel your mind grow,
You get a little smarter,
And you play people much harder

Is this a little corny :upside_down_face:


In the Springtime the flora and fauna emerge,
But newgrown of that left after Fall bruised to crush.

Couplet of Anapaestic Tetrameter

Intersects the prior verse with themes of growth.

There is a dual meaning to the couplet as well, though I may have made it too heavy-handed.


F alling leaves all around
A nywhere you go gets colder
L ook back at the Spring and Summer
L ook ahead at the Winter to come

This is one of those poems that you have a word and write a sentence or phrase for each letter.

Hopefully it is good. I couldn’t tell if you wanted me to write my own poem or use one that someone else made, so I tried to write one. Sorry if I am copying something. I didn’t try to.


The ants themselves busied all summer in toil,
While the grasshopper played on his fiddle each day;
The ants starved to death, having had a bad season,
While the grasshopper fiddled as fiddler for hire.

A modified Anapaestic Tetrameter inspired by that used in “When I Was a Young Man” by Peter S. Beagle.

It has similar themes to the previous poem, dealing as it does with looking ahead to the future.

I owe the story to a version of that parable I once read, though I can’t find the source right now. Feel free to link it if you find it.

PS: the intent is to write your own verse.


Fiddling grasshoppers
Can’t play music during the fall
That is their Spring fun

Lets not let this die after 1 day.

1 Like

Memory palaces
Is music

Adaption of the Haiku form considering each syllable to have 1 mora for every second phone it contains, rounded up.

The connection to the previous verse is with “music”.

Uh, time for an actual poem that I try to write:

It comes in,
And stays a while,
Then when you get old,
It gets sent to exile.

The theme from the last poem is “memory”.
Also sorry for the confusion because exile apparently means when you are banished from a country, but in this poem it isn’t getting banished from a country and I needed a word that rhymed with “while”.

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The hours away while
Accomplishing naught while
The sowing of Fae while
Reaps bounty unsought for.

Quatrain with bisyllabic abab rhyme, less a subversion on the final line. The scansion is “anapest anapest” with the initial weak beat of each line moved to the end of the line. The first three lines may likewise be understood by putting the “while” of each at the beginning. The penultimate syllables have stronger rhymes with eachother and are stressed, while the ultimate syllables have weak rhymes and are unstressed.

Connection to the previous poem in “old [age] >> age >> use of time”.


I’m running out of time to do it all,
Fun’s all good no matter how small
From when I tried and failed to write a song. I got a few verses and then it all fell apart. I do like this verse though.
The time theme works for this verse.

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Did I fail somewhere with the rules?

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I’m running out of time to save,
My groups besieged en force,
A bulwark were they meant to be,
Yet naught was their recourse.

Ballad Verse

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Do the poetic styles have to be distinguished metrically?

Or is it alright for them to have other modes, like Haze’s “F-A-L-L”?

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I built my house with the help of a neighbour.
It has walls but no roof; it has many doors but they are concealed.
There is nothing in my house, but still my neighbour is envious.
What sort of house have I built?

This is “riddle verse”, a popular genre in Medieval Europe, especially in Latin and Old English.

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Absolutely; any form goes; I just happen to personally prefer metrical forms.

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I remember that Latin poem I wrote late last year, Vitellius’ Dinner, where the theme is alternation of -ís and -us ablative plural forms.

Latin English
Céna Uitellií Vitellius’ Dinner
Cerasa in mĂşribus Cherries in mice
in sturnĂ­s in starlings
in mellibus in honeys [sic]
in columbĂ­s in doves
in sĂşbus in pigs
in capreolĂ­s in goats
in bĂşbus in cattle
in camélís in camels [questionable size ratio here]
in rhĂ­nocerĂłtibus in rhinos
in elephantĂ­s in elephants
— —
MĂ©nsa PrĂ­ma First Course
1 Like