Monday, July 7, 2014

Tanka Prose

What if?

It's a city with storybook appeal: clock towers and onion dome steeples, cobblestones, a fortress, rows of colorful little buildings. A local tour guide points out various structures in the near distance.

the gray house
across the Inn River
where Hitler 
lived as a small child 
... when he almost drowned 

Author's Note: Information regarding "when he almost drowned" can be found in the book Out of Passau: Leaving a City Hitler Called Home (Anna Elisabeth RosmusUniversity of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 2004) as well as in miscellaneous articles such as this one:

Haibun TodayVolume 8, Number 1, March 2014


  1. note to fellow poets: for a while longer, I'll still be limiting my use of the PC (because of my eyes), especially when it comes to reading. so, please excuse me for unfortunately missing some of your wonderful blog posts (not to mention Facebook posts, etc.).

  2. What a perfect title for the body of your piece Janet. You really do make us ponder "What If?" Excellent tanka prose.

  3. Indeed, this piece really does get one thinking: What if? And drives home the fact that life often unfolds in random ways with epic consequences. Good one, Janet.

  4. A thoughtful piece, Janet, with a tanka that provides a surprising counterpoint to the prose.

  5. Tanka & prose complement each other so well, and the poem's last line gives one a little chill--what if, indeed? Thought-provoking.

    1. thanks, jennifer, wendy, maggie, and jenny.

  6. To echo others, it is thought-provoking and I love thinking about how things could have turned out. Since you do too, then you might like Kate Atkinson's book, "Life after Life" as it explores the alternate lives a woman could have led based on changing one thing in her life each time.
    Maybe an audio novel would work to save your eyes...

  7. thank you, susan.
    yes, maybe I would like that book. actually, I might wish I could have written a book like that! and, hmm, yes, maybe I should look into audio.

  8. Reading this again, I love it even more! So powerful!