Tag Archives: tanka

Slim’s Third Dream (tanka)

Slim’s Third Dream

Slim retires again
to do battle with the night
his mother appears

they share complicated jokes
in his sleep, he laughs out loud.

Over at earthweal, the challenge is:

For this challenge, explore the art and acts of entanglement in a poem. How does one life entangle another? How do the dead remain entangled with the living? Become the thing you see. Reflect on how that seeing changes the world (at least, your view of it). Then (or separately) ask yourself what existence would mean without that entanglement: how much less light and air and beauty. Flip the switch both ways to see how it works. Entangle yourself in the world. Let your witness be our testament.

A lot of questions, I think I may have addressed one!

Down by Jericho Beach (Edit)

 

Social distancing (3)

 

Down by Jericho Beach 

the trees look guilty
the ocean is ill at ease
no one’s fault, but still…..

the courts are empty
no tennis ball pock pock pock
Canada geese honk

eagles isolate
my face itches like crazy
demands to be scratched

and those ducks, they don’t know squat
about social distancing.

 

Photo “Social Distancing”

 

The  challenge from Grace over at dverse is to write a poem using personification and/or imagery:

Personification

A figure of speech in which the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a nonhuman form as if it were a person.

When I read the prompt I thought of this poem from back in April 2020, I made a small edit.

Boris Johnson at the G7 (The Boris Trilogy Part 2)

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A trip down memory lane…

Boris Johnson at the G7 

Can’t believe I’m here.
Oh! The joy of dissembling!
Japes, pranks and capers!

What is Macron looking at?
I think Donald might like me.

There’s Melania!
Those cheekbones, the north face of
the bloody Eiger,

scale her promontories, what!
No time for rumpy pumpy,

lots to do! Trudeau
is smirking, colonial
prat! I think Merkel

wants to spank me, go nanny!
Concentrate! Now where was I?

Bike Ride by the Fraser River

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Bike Ride by the Fraser River

tug boats and log booms
the plaid twock of a golf ball
a band playing soul

the sweet, sweet smell of Purell
backyard wedding, guests on Zoom.

 

The challenge over at earthweal is

“STRANGE WORLD is the theme of this challenge. Take the opportunity to assess what’s become so strange in your world……”

Stepping Out (A Well-Made Thing)

pumper 2

 

Stepping Out

and inside the mask
a faint whiff of grease
from this morning’s eggs

stepping out, he finds
the outdoors secure,
still, in its greatness
the sea still open
the sky limitless
the sky, the limit
the sky, off limits.

Brendan’s post over at earthweal (https://earthweal.com/2020/06/22/earthweal-weekly-challenge-culture-and-nature/  ) asks us to write about “the intersection of culture and nature”. He asks:

How do you see yourself as a poet of culture and nature?”

Well, I have never considered myself a poet of nature. I have to come at it sideways. Here is a poem about the intersection of pop culture and nature.

Jerry Seinfeld takes a walk in the park and writes a haiku
Why, when dogs chase birds,
do we see optimism
not futility.

Brendan asks:

“If your life’s work were assembled in one silo, who would it feed?”

Well, I think my life’s work so far, could probably be served as a light snack and I’m happy with that. I am not particularly ambitious. Stephen Hawkins wrote “The Theory of Everything”. I would be happy writing “The Theory of a Few Things”. I read an interview with Leonard Cohen in which he spoke of tending to his garden. He implied modestly that his garden was small but that he took good care of it. He was talking of course of his particular talent and, I think, of how one should take care of what one is good at, know your talent (big or small, major or minor) and cultivate it.

Brendan asks “What is a well-made thing?”

(You really should read Brendan’s post, he poses a lot of questions, and is, as always informative and erudite)

When I first started writing poetry, I wrote mostly free verse. Then when I started blogging, I became more aware of short verse forms, in particular, the haiku and the tanka. I see poetry as being similar to sculpture or wood carving, whereas novel writing is more like architecture. The poet takes a large slab of words or a tree stump of words and whittles it down to a small well-made thing. When writing short poems I find a form is useful. I can’t really write traditional haiku. I can’t summon the required ineffability and the results end up po-faced, self-conscious, weighed down by solemnity. But I do like the arbitrary restriction or the discipline, for example, all the lines in the first poem above contain 5 syllables. I read a book of poems recently by Paula Meehan, the Irish Poet, in which every poem contains nine lines and every line contains nine syllables and amazingly she does this without making it obvious (the name of the book is “Geomantic”). Anyway, here is one more attempt at a well-made thing, and yes, nature is involved.

One Swallow

one swallow does not
one tries to swallow one’s pride
one swallow does not

when it comes to (what else?) Spring
one swallow does not do it.

Americano Misto (kyoka)

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Americano Misto

the girl in Starbucks
fails to praise my awesome choice
nor does she inquire

’bout the progress of my day
I feel oddly unaffirmed.

 

Continuing with coffee-related poems (see previous post), another one for Frank Tassone’s challenge over at dverse.

I originally posted this as a tanka, but on reading Franks’s very informative post, I realized I may be writing kyoka’s.

 

Down by Jericho Beach

 

Social distancing (3)

 

Down by Jericho Beach 

the trees look guilty
the ocean is ill at ease
no one’s fault, but still…..

the courts are empty
no tennis ball pock pock pock
Canada geese honk

eagles isolate
my face itches like crazy
demands to be touched

and those ducks, they don’t know squat
about social distancing.

 

Photo “Social Distancing”

 

The weekly challenge over at earthweal is to write a poem around the subject: CONNECTING HUMANS, WILDLIFE AND THE CORONA VIRUS. So I thought I would throw in this one. Maybe it’s not the connection intended, but it’s still on subject, I think. Check out Sherry’s excellent post  at  earthweal 

 

 

Solastalgia (tanka)

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Solastalgia (an alternative etymology)

solas in Gaelic
means light, solastalgia,
a longing for light

hidden under a bushel
at the end of a tunnel.

The challenge over at earthweal is to “Write a new poem on the theme of Solastalgia” which is “a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change.”

 

 

Boris Johnson at the G7 (a sort of triple tanka)

 

IMG_0269 (10)

Boris Johnson at the G7 

Can’t believe I’m here.
Oh! The joy of dissembling!
Japes, pranks and capers!

What is Macron looking at?
I think Donald might like me.

There’s Melania!
Those cheekbones, the north face of
the bloody Eiger,

scale her promontories, what!
No time for rumpy pumpy,

lots to do! Trudeau
is smirking, colonial
prat! I think Merkel

wants to spank me, go nanny!
Concentrate! Now where was I?

If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka (plus Mr’s Mueller’s haiku)

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If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

Why the long face, Bob?
always that same damn question
since I was a boy,

and always the same answer:
it is long because it’s long.

Couldn’t resist reposting that one. Okay, just one more……

Mr’s Mueller’s Haiku

You’re disappointed

you don’t know disappointment

you don’t know damp squibs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.

Stock Market (a tanka)

Umbrage (2)

 

Stock Market

a bear is on the loose
the once priapic market
losing altitude

false hopes and false dreams for sale
nothing tangible.

 

This is response to the dVerse prompt to write about markets. It’s a haiku that I have upgraded (?) to a tanka, check out the poetry over at dVerse, some excellent market poems.

The photo is of an actual market in Sicily.