A Moveable Feast

by Agnes Eva Savich and Michael Dylan Welch

First published in Mariposa #45, Autumn/Winter 2021, page 31. Won second place in the 2020 Haiku Poets of Northern California Rengay Contest. Originally written from June to December 2019. This rengay is also included in my “City Rengay trifold, available for viewing or download.

“When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise.”

—Henry Miller

rue Mouffetard

a vendor shakes blossoms

off a lettuce Agnes

misty rain

dimming Sacré-Cœur Michael

dizzy at the top

of la Tour Eiffel . . .

champagne bar Agnes

tulips in bloom—

a rainbow flag fills

l’Arc de Triomphe Michael

lovers kiss

in Rodin’s jardin Agnes

home again . . .

how I long for

Paris au printemps Michael

About this rengay, contest judge Lew Watts said, What a wonderful title for a rengay set in Paris—Hemingway would have been proud! I confess that after that dizzy champagne at the Eiffel Tower, I half expected a martini in the back bar of the Ritz, Ernest’s favorite hangout. There were several rengay set in well-known locations within the contest’s entries, but this one stood out for the quality of the haiku and the subtle links and shifts. As for the sixth verse, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to the author that ‘Paris au printemps also refers to the vintage perfume of that name (though capitalization would have helped). Either way, it provides a satisfying completeness to a fine rengay.

My response: The last verse does not refer primarily to the perfume. In fact, as I understand it, the perfume is named for the phrase (“ah, Paris in the springtime”— spring is the emphasis of the entire rengay), and it’s deliberately lowercased as it is to emphasize this iconic phrase, not the perfume, with any suggestions of the perfume being a secondary overtone.