Dark morning & wild winds

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Kokako #36, Spring 2022

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 It’s always a joy to have the New Zealand poetry journal, Kokako, publish some of my poetry.  For their spring issue, they chose a one-line haiku and two tanka. I hope you enjoy them.

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seabirds drift on thermals—night becomes day

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~~~

cassia, lady slippers,
dutchman’s breeches, rue –
my garden becomes
the one circle of friends
I find it hard to leave

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 ~~~

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dark morning
filled with wild winds
that blow the birds awake
      & by the crows’ swift,
and sharp reply 

Still the roses bloom…(a tanka)

 

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the chiming clock
begins to wind down . . .
five months of quarantine
yet still the roses bloom
and red birds sing

 

 

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This tanka was published in October, but obviously was written in early summer. We are now nine months into this pandemic. Writing is a wonderful relief as we isolate ourselves. Like so many poets, I find my writing has been changed by the pandemic.

cattails:
The Official Journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, October 2020 issue

 

 

 

Tanka No. 3: The sudden silence

 

Here is the third of my three tanka published in the latest issue of Gusts no. 32, Fall/Winter 2020:

 

 

even the crows
are quiet now . . .
the sudden silence
that morning snow
brings

 

 

 

 

We turn away…(tanka)

 

This tanka was published in Hedgerow, a journal of small poems ~ #130, Winter 2020

 

 

we turn away

from all we just can’t face—

the glistening red

of a vulture’s head

emerges from a carcass

 

 

 

Poet’s note:

Out of decay comes art and beauty. Look what artist Georgia O’Keefe created from a skull found where she lived in New Mexico. All is part of nature and is nature.

 

Deer’s Skull with Pedernal by Georgia O’Keefe (c) 1936

 

Where I live in central North Carolina, we have plenty of black vultures and turkey vultures. They circle and gather in the sky when there is carrion to be had. I chose this topic for the tanka because it’s a scene I’ve seen more than once. Yes, it’s not a pretty sight. Vultures, especially when eating a dead animal or gathering in a group in a tree or abandoned house do give you shivers. Something in us seems to respond with at least a momentary revulsion. However, I’m a bird lover and I try to see how a specific species fits into the scheme of things. Vultures and crows do eat carrion, the flesh of dead animals, often of roadkill along our roads and streets. They perform a good service by eating their meal and cleaning the mess up. Imagine all those dead animals left to rot. So these birds help us as they go about their business (albeit unpleasant business to us). They are birds we should appreciate for their useful role in nature. They also offer us a wonderful metaphor.

My thanks to editor, Caroline Skanne for being the one editor who chose to publish this poem.