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


  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.

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

  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.

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

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