Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tanka Sequence

Shared paths
dusty tracks
crisscross the asphalt ...
what creatures
walk these paths at night
where I walk by day
a robin
by this woodland trail ...
nestled in grasses
then gone in a flash
before my camera click
yellow jackets
swarm on the same blooms
I want to touch—
if we ignore each other
can we really coexist
bones, teeth, tusks
of Columbian mammoths
from this very ground
beneath my human feet
    —the Waco [Texas] Mammoth National Monument

Earth: Our Common Ground (anthology, Skylark Publishing), 2017


  1. This is epic and profound. Haunting word 'notes' float above the line between reality and mystical (in the way that everyday paths becomes so much more). A lovely - and really brilliant - tanka sequence, Janet.

  2. What a perfect title for this beautifully written nature sequence. Each one is so good, but the last two may be my favorites.

  3. What a lovely set of tanka! I identify with the 2nd. Photos of birds and butterflies are so hard to take. I am usually too slow.

    I hope you and your family are same from the hurricane. It must be frightening. Houston is supposed to get lots of rain and flooding. I pray for everyone there.


  4. Thinking of you, friend, and praying, too. Hope you are safe and well.

  5. Thanks, Wendy, Jennifer, and Adelaide. I'm glad you like this sequence. I wrote all of these at different times as separate tanka. It was only when I was putting together a submission for Earth that I noticed I could form 2-3 sequences from some of the tanka in my sub, if I wanted to. (I ultimately decided to only send this one sequence, though.)

    Thanks also for the comments about Houston. What a time it has been - and I don't even live in Houston anymore (moved a little ways to the north several years ago). So much rain it's been like "torture." And so many homes filling with water. But even with a not-too-long power failure, and with roads around us flooded, we've fared well here where we are.

  6. Glad to hear you are safe and dry.


  7. A wonderful sequence whose title lends to each tanka a wider, more metaphorical significance.