Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December sky

December sky
sifts through the charred forest—
over the phone
my brother and I
resurrect our ghosts 

The Bamboo Hut, vol 1, no. 2

This one was written in December 2011, three months after the second, and most destructive, set of wildfires of the year swept through our region. Flames were practically at our "back door," and we had to evacuate (right after we'd relocated there) for eight days. In this same time frame, one or two additional fires apparently were deliberately set at the front of our little community.

On a very different note:

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R !

Friday, December 26, 2014

Off the freeway; my father

off the freeway
in an open field
a vast church
its cross shaped in a curve
as if to hold the world

kernels, 2013

my father
who rarely ever hugs
halfway does ...
bells begin to ring
this Christmas season

Frameless Sky, December 2014

Frameless Sky is a new, innovative DVD journal from the creative Christine L. Villa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S 
Wishing you peace and joy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Photos of the "ancient chapels" mentioned in my tanka in the previous post:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Collaborative tanka pair: Sanctum

Happy Winter Solstice! Glad to share this "tanka pair" with all of you. And glad I was able to collaborate with poet extraordinaire Jenny Ward Angyal.


Janet Lynn Davis
& Jenny Ward Angyal

ancient chapels
carved into the rock face
of Mönchsberg ...
once the tourists have gone
I crawl inside myself

JLD (Salzburg, Austria)  

on the torii gate
spirit of light
fountains flowing
in the falling snow

JWA (New York City, USA)

—Skylark, 2:1, Summer 2014

photos of Mönchsberg next post

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mission bells

mission bells
above the garden—
Joy, Sorrow
and at the center

~ San Luis Obispo, California

Atlas Poetica, #18, July 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sprinkling glitter

sprinkling glitter
on my childhood artwork,
brushing away
the bits of sparkle
that just won't stick 

—Skylark 2:1, Summer 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Raking leaves

raking leaves
only to make room
for more …
how can something this light
burden us so?

All the Shells, Tanka Society of America 2014 Members' Anthology, Fall 2014

Cherry trees in Budapest, Hungary,
November 2013

The Tanka Society of America (TSA) last month released a new anthology that features the work of its members. All 2014 members received a free copy of the book. Ordering information for the general public will follow.

P.S. We returned home last night from a vacation, finding a yard full of leaves and pine needles!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wild pansies

wild pansies
her perfect garden—
lanky, jagged-leaved,
grins on their faces

A Hundred Gourds, 3:4, September 2014

Here in southeast Texas, pansies may survive the winter, but cottontail rabbits seem to love the taste of the blooms. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In a shoe box

in a shoe box
my Shirley Temple doll
made of china ...
the teardrop crack
under one of her eyes

Ribbons "Tanka Cafe" (theme: heirlooms and relics), Spring/Summer 2014

An aunt of mine was given this doll decades ago. I read via Googling that she (the doll, not my aunt!) was probably made in the year 1934. Fragile Shirley eventually ended up in my hands when I was still a child. Too bad my mother threw the original box away.

Here she is, except mine isn't in quite as good shape. And I learned something: she isn't actually made of china (oops) but, instead, "composition," a painted sawdust/wood blend.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Milestone birthday

milestone birthday—
in a Thinker pose  
on the couch  
he whiles away the time  
with classical music

The Bamboo Hut, Vol. 1, No. 2, January 2014

Oops: I meant to post this last month, when it was "his" birthday (not that my readers would know that, of course!).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cruising waters

cruising waters
where the great auk once thrived …
what of me
is prized enough
for the greedy to seize?

Skylark 2:2, Winter 2014, "Skylark's Nest" clutch of runners-up

Skylark is a wonderful journal of tanka and its related forms, edited by poet extraordinaire Claire Everett and including a liberal sprinkling of artwork by her talented daughter Amy. With this issue, fellow poet-blogger Jenny Ward Angyal officially joins the crew as reviews and features editor. 

Each issue, poets are invited to write a "Skylark's Nest" tanka inspired by a nature-themed drawing. 

I was happy to be able to cruise northeastern waters last spring. My travels included a side excursion to the Bird Islands off Nova Scotia. The great auk no longer exists, thanks to exploitation by humans, but from a distance, through thick cloud cover and drizzle, I managed to see a few of its relatives, i.e., puffins and razorbills. 

Razorbills: Bird Islands, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Autumn gust

autumn gust—
from all the earrings
in the shop
I pick out the pair
resembling spring leaves

—Atlas Poetica, #17, Spring 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Still haunting me

still haunting me 
from time to time in dreams ...
your jet-black hair 
highlight-streaked to cover
the gray you now must have

Modern English Tanka 3, Spring 2007

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Snapping ends

snapping ends
off fresh asparagus—
this brisk fall day
the satisfaction
that comes with clean breaks

Ribbons "Tanka Cafe" ("endings" theme), Winter 2014  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At the ER

at the ER
a fleeting connection ...
the screams
of an unseen stranger
echoing mine

—Atlas Poetica, #18, Summer 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drawn to sweetness

They live in our house,
fleck-sized species of their family.
Have marched miles, as if
from San Antonio to Houston,
in dampness and crushing heat.
Through minute cracks,
they welcome themselves inside,
scale guts of walls until,
for them, nirvana.

Their barracks behind kitchen tile
and bathroom mirror,
they lap up microspecks
of apple juice and minty mouthwash.

I am a poor host,
half-heartedly remorseful.
To think, all that distance—
and then when rations are found,
wiped clean away with a corner
of moistened paper towel.

I console myself with knowing
each troop will soon enough
be replaced by another.

Ash Canyon Review, Summer 2005, vol. 1, no. 1

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In noonday sun

in noonday sun
a buttermilk racer
hugging the house –
as I inch closer
my fear slinks away

A Hundred Gourds, 3:3, June 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Announcement: An Unknown Road

Thought I'd point you to an award-winning haiku collection that's available through Amazon Kindle: An Unknown Road by Adelaide B. Shaw, poet/writer and fellow blogger. Travel with Adelaide on a journey through the seasons—across farmland, along railroad tracks, by hills and streams, in the garden, and at the shore. Enjoy her truthful, down-to-earth style. Also see Potpourri, Volume 1, a short story collection.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Three Graces; reflections

The Three Graces
Beauty, Joy, and Charm
linked in dance ...
if I were the fourth
what would be said of me?

Skylark, 2:1, Summer 2014
The Three Graces: click link for photo/info

leap off the water ...
a statue
beside the Roman Pool
of Diana and the Stag

Atlas Poetica, #18, Summer 2014
both tanka: Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Breathless; a cottontail

will I ever slow down
my racing thoughts?
a roadrunner pauses
on the sunlit grass

a cottontail
camping out in a bed
of garlic ...
why am I drawn to things
that ought to repel me?

—both tanka in Atlas Poetica, #18, Summer 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer gone

summer gone
a crowd of Susans
against the fence ...
dark eyes still smiling
in their come-hither way

The Bamboo Hut, vol 1, no. 2, January 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bowing branches

bowing branches
where wildlife feasted—
shameful of me
to long for the berries
that briefly adorned them 

—A Hundred Gourds, 3:2, March 2014

Pictured above: American beautyberry, a native plant that grows like weeds all over our property. This year, the iridescent berries, which I always eagerly anticipate, are still quite thick. However, last year, when the above tanka was written, they didn't last long. Also refer to a former post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A fleeting feeling

a fleeting feeling
of permanence—
my feet set
on this parking lot
of steaming concrete

Streetlights, Poetry of Urban Life in Modern English Tanka, 2009

A cool front recently stormed through, meaning that the highs were "only" in the upper 80s. But I suspect we'll have quite a few more days of steaming concrete before autumn truly sets in. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The first voice

the first voice 
I hear this morning ... 
a cardinal 
calling, calling, as if life 
depended on it

cattails, May 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Announcement: All Things Tanka, etc.

Tanka Poets:
Please be sure to stop by Ken Slaughter's blog, All Things Tanka, where everything he talks about is…tanka. You'll find news and submission deadlines for journals and contests—all in one place.

Also, congratulations to poet/editor Beverley George of Pearl Beach, Australia, who won the Tanka Society of America's recent giveaway. Her prize, a 2015 TSA membership (which includes a subscription to Ribbons, the TSA journal)!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A house spider

a house spider
jaunts across the tile—
the crannies
yet to be explored
within these walls

A Hundred Gourds, 2:4, September 2013

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Your green tail

your green tail
thin as this brown limb—
o chameleon
in a parched world
why the half-hearted disguise?

—Skylark, 1:2, Winter 2013

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


slap the ground harder
after class—
just seven, but who else
had ever flunked "swimming"?

Simply Haiku, Spring 2008, vol 6 no 1

Those swimming lessons, at the public pool down the street, were the first I ever had. I was doing okay, I thought, until I made it to one of the intermediate levels, taught by a "mean" sixteen-year-old who liked to yell. At least, that's my excuse.

That pool is still there.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Should've caught it

should’ve caught it
in his signature
the large “S”
with all those curlicues
elaborate as his lies

—"Angry Tanka," Atlas Poetica Special Feature, 2014 (edited by Susan Burch)

This one came flying out of me about three years ago. 
And you should know who you are. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

15th annual TSA contest winners

Congratulations to the recent winners of the Tanka Society of America International Tanka Contest! Fellow poet-blogger Jenny Ward Angyal won second place. We had a huge response from around the world: more than 500 tanka were entered. So, as coordinator, I've been quite busy. To read all the wonderful winning poems, see the TSA website.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer days

summer days
spent cross-legged 
in clover …
my life-long search
for the lucky fourth leaf

—Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

She asks me the name

she asks me the name 
of her flowering shrubs,
my mother
who in greener days
was a garden wizard

—The Bamboo Hut, Jan. 2014
P.S. Am speaking of rose of sharon.