This tanka was published in Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, Winter 2017:
The following tanka is dedicated to the courageous people who participated in the “Moral Mondays” in my home state of North Carolina. They risked arrest for gathering at the State Legislature to protest unfair and discriminatory legislation being passed. These protests were non-violent and led by the Reverend William J. Barber.
Moral Monday – arm and arm linked you choose to step into the darkness to find the light
Note: The beautiful picture of cherry blossoms (above) is taken from the website, Flower Meaning (http://www.flowermeaning.com). Also, from this website:
What is the Sakura Flower?
While the Japanese called this flower the sakura, you likely know it as the cherry blossom instead. The blossom of the Japanese Cherry, also known as the Prunus serrulata, is technically the sakura flower. However, other varieties of blooming cherries are also grown in Japan and referred to with the same name. The cherry blossom became so popular in the Heian era of Japan’s history that the word for flower became synonymous with sakura. People have been picnicking under the blooming trees since 700 A.D., a tradition that continues today.
The beautiful and very short lived cherry blossoms symbolize the brevity of life. The kanji (above) is for Sakura or cherry blossom. I think the kanji is just as beautiful by itself as is a single cherry blossom.
Should you wish to listen to the poem, click on the link below. It will take a few seconds to begin.
There—on the far side of memory’s window—
You stand there on the outside looking in.
Distanced, safe from the rawness of our lives,
You are given a choice whether to judge us
Now or see if we try to make amends, to heal
The hearts that have been torn at the edges,
Frayed by the refusal to forgive, and let others
Move on, a final repentance, a simple lesson
Of learning to forgive our own mistakes, our
Choices or the decisions we came to regret.
Life is not all black and white, but endless shivers
Of grey, silver, and ebony; hues of cream, ivory
And moonlight, and beautiful colors begin to bleed
Into our fabric when we accept others as they are.
Paths get worn by walking, grass just wears away.
Road crosses road, briefly intersecting, and then
Leading to new and unexplored places where
There might be answers if we put aside our slanted
Views and look well beyond our differences.
Beneath this fragile shell of life we are the same.
Why is this simple lesson so hard to learn?
Note: The main photograph (at the top of this page) used with this poem is a beautiful piece by the photographer, Iosatel. It appears on his photography blog, The Obvious and the Hidden, http://theobviousandhidden.com.
His black/white pictures are both beautiful and mysterious. Along with the intriguing pictures are his titles, which never fail to interest his many followers. This photo was entitled, “Acceptance.” It was this that began this poem. My warmest thanks to Iosatel for allowing me to use this photograph with my poem, ‘Acceptance.’