Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tanka Prose

Happy this tanka+prose piece was picked up for reprint in the current issue of red lights. I assumed I had posted "Circa" to twigs&stones earlier (two or three years ago), but I guess I didn't. So here it is:


Circa 1830

For me, it's the most memorable of all the cultural artifacts in the mission's collection. The lacy, shawled garment has a flamenco flavor to it. Sequins, which would have been expensive in that day, further adorn it.

no flash allowed
inside this museum
the blackness
of a widow's wedding gown
preserved behind glass

I read the small sign posted nearby and learn that, according to Spanish social custom, white wasn't an option for widows who remarried. (In fact, I later determine that widows were to wear black for the rest of their lives.) I can't help wondering if there were any particular dictates for widowers.

—first published in Haibun Today, December 2013

5 comments:

  1. I was happy to see this interesting piece reprinted in red lights. I especially like the first line of the tanka, with its double meaning.

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  2. Thanks, Jenny! (I didn't even notice that double meaning until you pointed it out, LOL.)

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  3. This is great, Janet. Very edifying. One really is thrown when - every once in awhile - one comes upon a tattered vestige of masculine centric social mores ... so bizarre in this day and age. You caught that well, here, and placed it perfectly amongst other curiosities from a bygone era.

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  4. I read a double meaning in that first line, too! Wow, black for the rest of their lives--yeesh.

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  5. Thanks so much, Wendy and Jennifer.
    Unfortunately, I think some of those masculine social mores remain.

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