Spring happens, despite.
Unable to change whole world,
ponder one flower.
Beyond the thump of war drums,
doves of peace sing their hearts out.
Limpet clamped to rock
Centre of its universe
Humans dice with death;
rocks only fall on others
’til they fall on you.
Eroded by wind and waves,
cliffs house skeletons galore.
Sun cuts low through trees,
Squirrels burrow under roots,
People chase daylight.
Winter solstice then Christmas
Hibernation ~ if only ~
~National Grid alert~
Christmas stomping on the world:
an unwanted gift
their electricity bill
our indefinite future
Once crowned with a star,
it glittered in the firelight.
Last year’s Christmas tree
dumped, forgotten and homeless,
its chocolate coins melted.
Besieged on all sides,
chimneys whistle, timbers creak–
Beyond, in cardboard city,
lie papier-mâché homes.
In June meadow land,
she meets her silly shadow
and it makes her laugh.
Winter’s black dog locked in cage;
birds, bees, butterflies abound.
I dedicate this tanka poem to my shadow, which needs locking up in a cage permanently, if it can’t behave itself.
Last week, I reached the conclusion that I was flogging a dead horse with the juvenile fiction market; I just don’t write the type of novel that appeals to contemporary children or young adults. Okay, full stop and amen to that.
Fast forward to this week, by which time my shadow had convinced me that I should give up novel-writing altogether.
On Monday morning, I went to check the results of the First Three Pages of a Novel Competition in The University of Winchester Writers’ Festival. As I scrolled down the page in search of them, my shadow said, “You’re deluded if you expect to find your name there, considering you’re probably up against brilliant writers, including MA creative writing students.” Then I read this…
Highly Commended: ‘Counting Magpies’ – Sarah Potter
To my utter amazement, I had reached the top six with the opening pages and synopsis of my adult speculative fiction novel. But it gets better, because in the reviewer feedback, amid some wonderfully encouraging comments, it said the magic words
…shades of Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman.
Well, those are some “shades” I can deal with; the sun has definitely got his hat on and is coming out to play.
Genre: Haibun (Japanese-style poetic prose)
Word count: 100
She sits at the end of the jetty penning a tanka poem to her lost love. Earlier attempts bob about on the seawater inside screwed up balls of paper; they slowly unravel into sodden single sheets with the words sucked out of them.
He sails away,
the figurehead of his boat,
captain of nothing.
In deeps, beyond redemption,
sink the wrecks of human dreams.
He floats becalmed in a rubber dinghy amidst flotsam. The sun beats down on him and cooks his brain, as he composes his epitaph.
Here lies a shark that ate a fool who died alone.
As you can see from the pictures below, my friend The Dune Mouse (Cybele Moon), who blogs at The Runes of the Gatekeeper’s Daughter, is a super-talented photographer. In fact she’s the queen of magical images, as well as the weaver of wondrous mythological tales.
To my delight, she agreed to select three of her creations for me to respond to with Japanese-style 31-syllable tanka poems. This is a great honour, so I hope to have done the pictures justice; it’s very much my interpretation, and they might mean something completely different to Cybele.
Storm clouds muddy dawn;
make an omelette of sunrise.
A hilltop tombstone…
Full of life, the girl races
to read her own epitaph.
Peacock perched in shade,
mere hint of iridescence
in his silhouette.
He belongs to a proud earl,
who nicks feathers for his hat.
In the dark forest,
fraught birds exchange alarm calls…
A perfect day for walking;
how beautiful the birdsong.
To read more poems in this style, enter the word “Tanka” into Search on my blog’s sidebar
https://sarahpotterwrites.com/2017/01/25/an-interview-with-poet-sarah-potter/ (all about Japanese poetic forms)