faded numbers tattooed on your arm I slip back in silence
Published in Presence 58 July 2017
Back story on this tanka. In 1972 I visited friends in Israel. As a tourist, I was eager to see the historical sites, one of which was Masada, site of a group suicide where a Jewish community was surrounded by Roman soldiers. The Jews chose suicide rather than be taken as captives. As I stood high up on the hilly site with other visitors, it was very, very quiet. It was after all a sacred place. An older man stood next to me, and I happened to glance at him also looking out at where the soldiers would have been waiting, hoping to starve out the isolated Jewish community. I noticed on his arm, faded numbers–numbers, of course, indicating he’d been captive in a Concentration Camp. The poignancy of him being there has stayed with me for over forty years. Never again, please Lord, shall we do such things to our fellow men.
Both pictures are from travel sites to and in Israel. Masada is located in the Judean desert, very close to the Dead Sea. Visiting these sites is like stepping back two thousand years. I am so grateful for having had this opportunity to visit.
Prune Juice : Journal of Senryu, Kyoka, Haibun & Haiga Issue 22: July, 2017
Three of my senryu were published in the newest issue of Prune Juice. It is always an honor to be included in this excellent publication and among such fine poets. My thanks to editor and poet, Steve Hodge for including my work.
These three senryu and the single kyoka were published in Prune Juice, A Journal of Senryu, Kyoka, Haibun and Haiga, Issue 21, March 2017. It is always such a joy to have a poem selected to appear in this important journal of senryu. While senryu are frequently amusing and clever, they can also be dark or serious.
slave burial ground . . . only whispers and unmarked graves
evening news – the tragedies of life our common thread
winter thaw – finding a way back from heated words
morning doves cooing their way through the garden… I, too, never saw the neighbor’s cat