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

 

 

 

 

Tanka No. 2: pale pink petals

Here’s the second tanka published in
Gusts no. 32, Fall/Winter 2020

 

 

pale pink petals
scattered on the desk
one by one the days
of isolation pass,
each fading to nothing

 

 

 

 

Tanka No. 1: Lapis lazuli . . .

Three tanka published in the winter edition of Gusts, Contemporary Tanka, the journal of Tanka Canada. It’s always a huge thrill to be included in this special journal of tanka. I’ll offer them one at a time.

Gusts no. 32, Fall/Winter 2020

lapis lazuli, delft blue
and French ultramarine . . .
the blueness of blue
in these tired veins
just won’t let go

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.