Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Special Feature Collaborative Poem--By Jacob Shaver and John Daleiden--United States

Synapses: A Triptych Renhai

By Jacob Shaver and John Daleiden 


an uplifted fist
poised to strike unblemished flesh—
a voice cries out    

sunlight after the monsoon       
at noon a sudden darkness —   

seeking refuge
in the house of corruption
secrets unleashed         


the glassblower’s breath
rounds a long-necked vase—
fragile wares for sale        

few rise with the sun           
silence before a bell toll—        

a hit in the ninth
of a no-hitter—
the eagle takes flight 


nothing that’s not there
and the nothing that is . . .
a fragrant breeze     

rainbow-light refraction
the abyss . . . larger     

electric moments
between Sistine fingertips—
a fault line trembles


Theme: Emergence

Kigo (Spring): “fragrant breeze” in The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. William J. Higgenson with Penny Harter.  New York: Kodansha International, 1985, p. 267.

Renhai, invented by Canadian Vaughn Seward, is a three verse, two person collaborative haiku poem. Unlike renku (constructed in a similar manner, however, not themed) renhai is a three verse themed poem with each of the verses  linking to each other on some  common theme. Verses one and three are three line haiku composed by one or the other collaborator. Both partners compose one line of the middle two line haiku verse. Both Renhai and Haiku are nature  image centered poems.

“Synapses” is a three verse haiku poem composed in the manner of an art work. A triptych from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον ("three-fold"), is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections.

John Daleiden:

Jacob Shaver:


  1. Very well done. much enjoyed. best wishes. Pete.

  2. Awesome collaborative work that I have read here today..Wonderful explanation of how to write it..Sara

  3. Intriguing piece here... a triumphant trifecta.

  4. Dear John and Jacob,

    It is indeed a treasure when talented artists are willing to impart some of their knowledge too. Thank you for sharing this wonderful collaboration with us. It was a pleasure to see you already have two appreciative comments. Welcome to Whispers Jacob!

    Blessings and best wishes,

    1. Guess it was three as Michael submitted his comments while I was still pondering mine. Congratulations on the wonderful response to your collaboration! Thank you for sharing your words.


  5. Jacob and John this is a superb collaborative effort and thank you so much for the explanation of Renhai. You did a great job of linking the verses. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  6. Hi there! Love the common denominator here striking the nerve ending of the subject and the reader, too. Excellent collaboration into a depth which challenges a single writer, not alone two of you. This really shows some mind searching and yet, I can see the great fun in the challenge! Love it! Sheri /

  7. Great collaboration! My congratulations to both of you!


  8. The evolution goes on. Thanks for the update in such a delightful way. Looking for more. Ron Grognet

  9. Very nice. Thanks for sharing, Jacob and John. Continued blessings!

    -MJ (

  10. Jacob and John,
    These are some great pieces of work. Congratulations and a welcome to Jacob to Whispers!
    Your new friend,
    David Fox

  11. This is an excellent collaboration. Short writes like these are among my favourite poetry forms and when well tackled they make for enjoyable reading. [the footnotes are an added bonus.] Congratulations to both John & Jacob. // paul

  12. Thank you, David Austin, for the following--

    Enjoyed these sensitive haiku, my favorite form. Love, Dave