Tag Archives: Tanka

Cork Screw

Cork Screw

he called her ‘honey’
after he’d had too much wine
it made her skin crawl
dry with a tinge bittersweet
he never said it sober


A Tanka for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, prompt words, Honey & Wine.



Since moving from the Midwest to the South some 30 years ago, I have become keenly aware of class and rank and, I’m just going to say it, blatant racism in the United States of America. It is as thick as the honey dripping from a southern belle’s lips when she coos, “bless their hearts.” I was shocked to learn that the southern-born locals, especially here in Virginia “Where the Nation Reunited”, yearn to have one last (un)Civil battle to set things right…the way things shoulda’ been…the way things always had a’ been before the War of Northern Aggression took away their right to own people, and later dared to demand that they allow their lily-white, privileged, progeny attend school with the coloreds. I know my words sound harsh. I mean for them to sound that way. It was a culture shock to me back then, just as the current state of unrest in this country is a shock to some folks now.

Fast forward to the 21st century and it’s plain to see that the bitter divisions we are suffering are nothing new. None of us should be surprised by the ugliness that has been unearthed by this latest battle of Conservatives versus Liberals.

I listen to pundits on tv who wonder how long it will take to undo the damage done in less than a year by politicians who seek to destroy government on the backs of the middle class and the poor, while lining the pockets of the rich, and their own. I’ve thought about it and I don’t expect us to recover anytime soon. In fact, the way I see it, this was just a relapse. Eventually we may slip into remission; the ugly underbelly of our worst devils may crawl back under their rocks. It’s been a sickness raging just under our skin for several centuries now.

And make no mistake, here in the South the Rebs are in no hurry to stop this train. They finally have a hero who talks like they think; mean and spiteful and hateful. With rebel flags flapping in the wind they’re locked and loaded and ready for that do-over to set things right. Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it…and repeat it.

i wasn’t prepared
for the venomous rancor,
lines drawn in concrete,
pompous trumpeter swagger,
all civility be damned

i wasn’t prepared
for the costly price of love;
humanity’s end

For Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Tuesday Challenge, a Haibun/Tanka/Haiku prompted by the words Hate and Pride.

Sexagenarian Sagacity

Sexagenarian Sagacity

Six. It seems like such a small number. That’s how many decades I have lived on this planet; three score; sixty years and counting. 

When I survey the old lady in the mirror I see a face that is suddenly wrinkly and fuzzy like a peach. My hair is thinning. My belly is softening. My steps are more measured. My eyesight is fading. But there is a glimmer still, and a sense of contentment.

My quest for the secret of life doesn’t hold the urgency it once did. I don’t need to know all the answers. Six decades, three score, goes by in a blink; a mere dot on page of history. But I have found happiness along the way. A moment’s happiness is more than enough.

pencil scratch hash marks
inch up an old wall, love notes,
lost baby teeth, pearls,
patent leather go-go boots,
random memories to keep

life in full measure
bursts of smoldering passion
settling to dust

A Haibun/Tanka/Haiku for Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Tuesday Challenge. Prompt words this week are: Hunt and Find (there are a few thesaurus aliases in this piece :))

Tea with Mom Haibun/Tanka

For Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry  Challenge, a Haibun/Tanka infused with the words Heat and Confuse (and iterations thereof).

Tea with Mom

She takes her tea at 3:15 pm each day, steeped in a hand-painted porcelain pot, with two cubes of sugar and a splash of cream in her favorite tea cup. Rosemarie always joins her. They sit side by side in chairs positioned just so, at the window facing the pond, and sip away the hour chatting about this and that. I watch them from across the room with a ready smile and a nod hoping for a glimmer of recognition when she turns her gaze toward me. Most days she glances my way, a bit befuddled, settling into a wary tip of her head as she redirects her attention to the tea in her cup and the ducks aflutter in the pond. Most days I am grateful to be in the presence of this woman who raised me from a babe even though she doesn’t remember. I have memories aplenty for us both and savor them as I watch her fade into the hazy streams of afternoon sunlight…mom and her new best friend, nurse Rosemarie.

if I could, I would
sit beside you in the dark
and hold your frail hand
basking in warm memories
of us, as fog settles ’round


Her Eulogy


She was the kind of girl who lit up a room. Not in a flashy over the top sort of way. She had a calming presence, but it was more than that. Grace perhaps? It was something special, hard to describe. I remember the first time I saw her sitting along the far edge of a room full of boisterous people, heavy into schmoozing.  She was deep in conversation with our host’s Labrador Retriever. Otis was his name I think. And Otis, well, he hung on her every word, just as I drank in her every move, breathless.

I underestimated her that first meeting, you know. Of course I made it a point to get to know her better. Wouldn’t you? She opened herself to me like an ocean, given to tidal swells of emotion, teeming with life just under the surface, fierce yet healing. I hadn’t expected to find a wild spirit beneath her calm demeanor, but it endeared her to me even more. Over the years I learned about wild things. Only one so confident, comfortable in their own skin can exude such grace. Only one so free could dance through the layers of suffering and cross over into death…and in so doing, teach us all…teach me, what it is to live.

light fading, flicker
death swept you away too soon
how graceful you were
dancing with death, like lovers,
your final breath seizing mine

For Colleen Cheseboro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge inspired by the words: Calm and Wild. Today’s offering, a Haibun/Tanka. I have only recently discovered this form and I’m really enjoying idea of marrying poetry and prose. Peace and Grace Everyone! ❤

%d bloggers like this: