Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tanka Prose

Genus Dianthus

In my hand, a memento I consider purchasing from the little shop at the botanical gardens. "Do you know what flower this is?" I ask. The kindly man at the desk seems eager to help me. "Hmm, it appears to be a pink. Not all pinks are pink, you know; some are red, for instance," he offers. "And are you aware that the name pink comes from pinking shears—the serrated edges similar to the edges of the petals?"  

(Can't say I am. Ever-the-novice gardener, I don't even realize at this moment that I have variously colored clumps of pinks, which I have only ever referred to as Dianthus, in front of my own house.)  

I putter around the shop a little longer. Then the man shows me a page in a thick reference book, enthusiastically pointing to an illustration that bears a resemblance to the petite flower on this souvenir"Look!" Before I leave, back to my life far away from shaded trails and lush displays of flora, I remind myself that attentiveness like this doesn't exist just anywhere.

by a local artist
a dish so small
it holds nothing
but a memory

Haibun Today Vol. 10, Number 3, September 2016


The location: Asheville Botanical Gardens.


  1. This is delightful--the tanka, like the dish, 'so small it holds nothing but a memory,' but memories are huge. For me your piece brings back pleasant memories of the Asheville Botanical Gardens--maybe one of these years we can meet there!

  2. This is really charming and special - the pretty little tanka dovetailing so beautifully with the prose piece.

  3. Really pretty, Janet. I'm sure I wouldn't have known the name either!

  4. You brought back a memory. I tried to grow them once, but they didn't come back the next year. I always enjoy your work. Well done.


  5. Thank you, Jenny, Wendy, Jennifer, and Adelaide.

    Yes, maybe we'll meet there someday, Jenny. Adelaide, mine came back from last year or the year before but not vigorously.