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. 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

Bitter wind

 

I am delighted to have one tanka and two haiku in the latest issue of Presence:

 

Presence, Issue 67, July 2020

 

 

bitter wind
the maple’s heart
still frozen

 

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once so innocent
we had to make up sins
. . . first confession

 

 

~

 

I tried to bury
those memories
for so long…
the raw scent
of freshly plowed earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little frog faces (tanka/kyoka)

 

One of two tanka appearing Eucalypt: A Tanka Journal, Issue 28, 2020

 

in the attic I find
your small Wellies                            
with little frog faces—
oh, those happy puddles
when you were only three

 

 

Note: We lived near Hampstead Heath in NW London for a full academic year, 1989-90, with our (then) three year old son, Adam. Oh, how he loved rain puddles and stomping in them in his little green Wellies. Getting exercise each day was never a problem with a child who loved the outdoors no matter what the weather. This poem is for him.

 

 

A nice surprise!

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What a very nice surprise! I am one of the top contributors to Prune Juice, a journal every haiku and senryu/kyoka poet knows and loves. What a thrill to be included with such excellent senryu poets.
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Many thanks to the great editors: Brent Goodman (current editor); past editors are: Steve Hodge​ (2016 – 2018); Terri L. French​ (2013 – 2015); Liam Wilkinson​ (2010 – 2012); Alexis Rotella (​ 2009)
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Here’s a link to the whole anthology: pj-book-of-senryu

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The PRUNE JUICE BOOK of SENRYU celebrates 10 years of the finest English Senryu from around the world by 85 of our TOP Contributors, featuring 337 poems plucked from the journal’s first 29 issues by past and current Prune Juice editors.
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Here are mine that they published:
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Mary Kendall – USA
12 issues

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your tumor growing     we worry about the snow
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#18 2016
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Reiki session . . .
feeling so
out of touch
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#20 2016
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beginner’s yoga class . . .
our first sun salutation
eclipsed by the teacher
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#22 2017
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promises not kept —
that umbrella you gave me
blows inside out
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#23 2017
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defined
by their parameters
love triangle
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#29 2019
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Prune Juice Book of Senryu: Celebrating 10 Years: 2009 – 2019
Copyright © 2020 Prune Juice
p. 94

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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.