Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year-end leaves

year-end leaves
rotten potatoes
misspoken words—
assorted things I fling
deep into the woods

kernels ("featured poet"), Summer 2013

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R !

Friday, December 27, 2013

No pear tree

A repeat from last winter:

no pear tree

no partridge either . . .
I wake up 
to a chill on my face
a million crows-a-cawing

Who knows, maybe you'll see this a third time too. ;)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Childless, yet ...

Excuse me, time for a little holiday cheesiness now. We decided to give Santa a thrill one year long ago. I'm the older one, on the right, with the puffy hair. 

childless, yet ...
memories of crimson suits
and ermine beards
..........drift to the surface
of my snowy mind

—Ribbons, Winter 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2

B E S T  G R E E T I N G S  O F  T H E  S E A S O N 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A nativity

a nativity
small enough to fit
in a matchbox ...
I turn the key
to play Silent Night

—GUSTS, #18, Fall/Winter 2013

Where Franz Gruber composed the beloved song Silent Night

During our Danube trip last month, I perked up as I heard the announcement that we were passing by Arnsdorf (Austria), where schoolteacher, church caretaker, and organist Franz Gruber composed the melody for Silent Night. When I was around 13, one of my grandmothers gave me a small book about Gruber and the history of that familiar Christmas carol. So, we quickly clicked away with our cameras. 

P.S. See the preceding post for a picture of the music box described above.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tiny skaters

tiny skaters
twirling round a pond . . .
until now, this world
inside a music box

Skylark, 1:1, Summer 2013

Pictured above, the miniature music box I bought last December—from a shop in Illinois that I visited with my sister and her kids. In the tanka, though, I'm actually describing one of the other similar music boxes they had for sale; maybe I should buy it next. I wonder if my fascination with things delicate and diminutive will ever leave me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Toy iron

toy iron,
miniature kitchen ...
who'd have known
my penchant for housework
would end with childhood?

—GUSTS, #17, Spring/Summer 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sequence: At Oso Bay

At Oso Bay

wildlife refuge—  
a friendly welcome sign
plus a warning
      human visitors
      under surveillance

by the hundreds
at the bay's edge
my camera and I
trying to blend in

how the world
can change in an instant:
white wings
of a pelican
low over my shoulder

this mussed hair
dampened by drizzle;
on the bank
of a waterway
a heron preens its feathers

my skin's pallor
in the light of home . . .
for my profile
I choose a photo
of a roseate spoonbill

Corpus Christi, Texas—named "America's Birdiest City" for 10 straight years.

—Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2013

Tanka sequences: It's generally accepted that each unit in a sequence of tanka should be able to stand alone reasonably well; in other words, it should make reasonable sense if extracted from the sequence and read by itself. So, the various tanka in a sequence don't function in quite the same way as verses do in a longer (for example, free verse) poem. 

English-language tankaists continue to explore sequences. I tend to think of sequences as involving progression or development and using links, even if subtle, from one tanka to the next. Readers might be interested in checking out an article by M. Kei on sets (a generic term for groupings of tanka, including loosely organized ones) and sequences in the recent Fall issue of Ribbons, the Tanka Society of America's journal.