April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. And today, on National Haiku Poetry Day, acclaimed poet-artist-editor an'ya and her husband, peterB, along with their staff, launched kernels, a comprehensive online journal of haiku, tanka, and associated forms. Unfortunately, one of their hard drives recently crashed. Consequently, as of the time of this blog post, they're not completely finished building their first issue. But check it out thus far!
thorny vines snaking through the hardwoods one by one I yank them out, serpents from Medusa's head —Atlas Poetica, Summer 2012 seven bundles of branches and vines and on my arms these long red scratches I'll wear till they heal —Atlas Poetica, Autumn 2012
Can you see the vines dangling down from this tall, old oak of ours? These are ones we cut—as high as we could reach, that is—but back down at the ground they're growing fast again. Often vines, these or wild grape, coil around trunks and snake circuitously through branches. They literally zap the life out of trees. I've removed quite a few, though once I fell backwards off a ladder doing so. Hope this tree makes it, between Medusa's serpents and the droughts.
My sister takes us to a small museum on the quiet college campus not far from her home. There, at the back of one of the artifacts, a sign:
Enter at your own risk
hand-carved long ago . . .
I catch myself
searching for Narnia
The Wade Center
assumes no responsibility
for persons who disappear
or are lost . . .
—A Hundred Gourds, 2:2, March 2013
* Above, a piece of tanka prose (or "haibun" with tanka instead of haiku), a literary form that—you guessed it—consists of one or more tanka blended with prose. It's taken me a little while to get the hang of these, but now I'm almost hooked. Oh no, that could mean another obsession.
I think of buying a lily this week, my deluded body clinging to spring
—Simply Haiku, Autumn 2006
Above, my first Dutch iris that actually has bloomed, though I see something's already chewed on it. The squirrels may have dug up most of the bulbs I planted a couple of years ago; a surprise to find this bloom the day before Easter. The old hibiscus, by the way, and a couple of others, finally bit the dust this winter. They had been through a lot: droughts, freezes, a move or two, and no doubt some owner neglect.
No poem right now—just a photo of wonderful bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. It seems to be one of the best years in a long while for these and other wildflowers. They're not easy to get started; none grew from seed that I planted this year. Pictured here are a British neighbor's bluebonnets. He has massive numbers growing alongside his ditch and beyond down the road. Enjoy!
Guess I should pull out the bluebonnet tanka I tried to write last year ... In the meantime, if you want, you can revisit the wildflower poem, "on bare ground," that I posted earlier.