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.  


  1. Very nice...I think you did wonderfully in subtle progression with these. Great photo cool!

  2. This is lovely! You created some vivid pictures here - like a series of paintings that are linked.

  3. thanks so much, jennifer and wendy!
    is based on my experiences from a trip last December, right after Christmas.

  4. nice to see you, lisa ... thanks!

  5. lovely tanka and so many birds in the photo!

  6. A wonderful sequence--each tanka can stand alone but adds to the whole, making a nice progression from beginning to end. And each tanka can be read on multiple levels, literal & metaphorical. I enjoyed the illustrations, too!