Four Chain Haiku | Shi Rensa Haiku

Some of you may have noticed I created my own form of haiku recently. It’s not that I changed the number of syllables.

I simply made the ending verse, the third, of one haiku required to be the first verse of the following haiku in a poem containing four haiku.

(You can also do this with more than four haiku if you like as a basic Rensa Haiku, or Chain Haiku. I simply put it at four because that’s long enough for a story, but short enough for a challenge.)

This may sound like a haiku quartet, which I just discovered was an actual form, existed at 01:50 Tuesday, 7/28/2020. I’ve been using my style for a while now, created randomly with the first one I posted.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on haiku and other forms of poetry recently and I thought I would give this one a name I just don’t want people thinking I sought to pass one style off as another.

I first wrote, what I call Shi Rensa Haiku, one day when I thought it would be challenging to take a verse and make two Haiku that are unique but stay within the same message.

Here I give you the name I’m giving this style as it appears here on my blog, and among my poetic friends. The name is primarily to distinguish in case I have a reason to mention the name in our poetic circle.

Shi Rensa Haiku


Rensa=Chain, connection


From my understanding, you place the adjective of most emphasis next to the subject.

Here, the word Rensa means chain as in connection. and to me, that is the key adjective.

So, there is more behind the scenes in the development of this form than a row of numbers in red and black. But for the enjoyment of writing one, that row of numbers in black and red. is all you need. Some other day I’ll get into the rest of the story.

The way you write a Shi Rensa Haiku is with the following verse pattern with the like numbers being identical.




The goal is to have the entire poem deliver one message but with each haiku being a unique part/purpose within the poem and possibly having the story or message being told to progress with some purpose by the end.

Here is one I wrote recently as an example.

Loves anguish… thirst


I self-destruct when
your words are lost from my life
dread pervades this void

dread pervades this void
as my ego begs for hope
life devastates me

life devastates me
when your eyes embrace with mine
own          these thoughts hunger

own these thoughts           hunger
and thirst           to demolish walls
for identities


The additional spaces you see between some off the words are the pauses I feel occur between them, giving that moment emphasis and meaning. This is a tool used in haiku when you don’t want to use punctuation or perhaps when punctuation doesn’t really fulfill what you want. It has also been used because haiku in the original form was written in one continuous line, not three stacked lines. With the stacked lines, there is a built-in hesitation/pause.

I hope you give it a try. It’s challenging to get one just right.

Another way to view the pattern that may be easier for some as not everyone thinks the same, especially when it comes to such restrictive poetry forms.

3 same as next line

3 same as the previous line
5 same as next line

5 same as the previous line
7 same as next line

7 same as the previous line

© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.


129 thoughts on “Four Chain Haiku | Shi Rensa Haiku

  1. So, Ronovan, I thought I would give it a try, your Shi Rensa Haiku creation, and used todays haiku. Can’t say I will always play along but I can see the creative possibilities…

    Each orb brings darkness,
    Shadows of night that alight
    On the eye of death.

    On the eye of death,
    The pupil shifts its contour
    As the light turns out.

    As the light turns out,
    The darkness envelopes me
    And I weep alone.

    And I weep alone
    For the earth which I depart
    To a sweeter sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. 🙂 Who knew after six years of haiku challenges I would come up with a new form of haiku, or style, or whatever one would call it? 🙂 And even give it a name? Now that was the difficult part. Being respectful of the haiku traditon and culture of Japan in the naming was important to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this form and will definitely have a go at it when I next try your challenge or even separately. I have not been reading or writing much lately as I have had a lot else to do and was also ill. I hope to write shortly. There is a french form with the repetition of verses two and four in quatrains called pantoum and I have tried my hand at it some time ago so perhaps your haiku style will be something I can work with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so. Repetition seems to be something people like, and I had no idea they would. It was just something that happened one day when I was writing a haiku. I hope you start writing soon. I didn’t write for the past four years, It took a huge effort to start again.


  3. Doubts

    Did I play my part?
    Were your expectations met?
    Did I fall just short?

    Did I fall just short,
    Fail to meet the challenge:
    your beautiful dream?

    Your beautiful dream
    was there, my fingers reached out
    as the bubble burst.

    As the bubble burst,
    There was no time for sorrow,
    No tears for lost love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Fall of You Know Who- A Speculative Shi Rensa Haiku

      Though smart as a whip,
      He lashed out at friend and foe
      and tripped on his tongue.

      And tripped on his tongue,
      Which often stung with venom,
      malice and money.

      Malice and money,
      led him to roll in rancor,
      his dull sour spite.

      His dull sour spite
      wore even his toadies down,
      or so we all hoped.


  4. Monday- A Shi Rensa Haiku

    The day unravels;
    The flaw in the ointment is
    Mondays nick the dream.

    Mondays nick the dream,
    The sweet weekend, the moments
    Of slumber, of love.

    Of slumber, of love,
    The quiet of two’s own thoughts,
    Morning legs entwined.

    Morning legs entwined,
    Stirred hearts, misplaced time salvaged,
    To be lost Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “It’s Going to Disappear…”

    The virus surges
    and on each morrow, we weep
    as the fool tweets.

    As the fool tweets
    his blurred glimpses of insight,
    he sets a bleak course.

    He sets a bleak course,
    Careless, bitter, boorish, his
    Vigilante soul.

    Vigilante soul!
    A leader? A mirrored man,
    who sees but himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For this Shi Rensa, I have borrowed a few unequivocal Union rallying cries to complete the quartet.

    Labour Day 2020 Reverie Shi Rensa

    I sip in the sea,
    a cup of minute pleasure,
    my coffee and thee.

    My coffee and thee,
    We honour Unionists all,
    The bold torchbearers.

    The bold torchbearers,
    The men and women of yore,
    “Don’t mourn, organize!”

    “Don’t mourn, organize!”
    “Workers of the world, unite!”
    “No gods, no masters!”


  7. I love learning about all of the ways to write poetry. It seems like everything has been thought of! But I guess with poetry just about anything works, which is why some people love it. Thank you for the lesson.


  8. Right about 10 years ago, there was a challenge going on a poetry discussion board where I was a member. It was a challenge to write haiku with the requirement that each new post had to use the last line of the previous haiku.


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