Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tanka Prose

Fishing for words

Found after decades! Packed away with other favorites of mine, their spines barely affixed, A Child's Garden of Verses (a condensed pop-up edition) and The Golden Book of Poetry … coming back to life. 

I don't know exactly when, or why, my writerly muse first emerged—or where it came from. (But perhaps it was fed by the lines within these very books?) Nor can I explain my inability to hold onto my muse for very long at any given time. Yet even after I've convinced myself it's sailed off for good, I will probably half expect to find it again, waiting for me in some invisible box or misty sea.

Blynken, and Nod, 
poets three 
in the same wooden shoe 
without their nets of gold

Author's Notes:
 The above tanka is a reference to "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," Eugene Field, 1889; "misty sea" is from the same poem.        
— The Golden Book of Poetry, various poets (including Field), 1947.
— A Child's Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1885.

Haibun Today, vol. 10, no. 2, June 2016 

I wrote the above tanka, a take on the familiar children's poem, in response to three of us lamenting the then-current loss of our muses. They must have sailed away, on vacation together. Not long before that, I came across the above-mentioned books, so voila, a tanka+prose piece!


  1. I remember this, Janet! The muses & the golden nets . . . they continue to drift hither & yon, near & far.

  2. This is just lovely - those early stirrings of poetic predilection - revisited in "found" childhood books. The prose and tanka dovetail seamlessly. A very special piece.

    1. You found your muse or your muse found you. Either way, a lovely piece.


  3. Thanks for the feedback, Jenny, Wendy, and Adelaide!