grown football-sized overnight:
fresh soup at no cost.
On the supermarket shelves,
pricey glop packaged as soup!
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)
For those of you who want to know more about Japanese poetic forms, do read my guest post on Bill Holland’s wonderful blog. Whilst there, perhaps you might like to have a go penning a Japanese-style poem of your own in “comments”.
Well, I always feel bad for the poets out there, because I feel like you get the short end of the stick on my blog. Truth is I know next to nothing about poetry, so I figure it’s better that I just stay quiet about it rather than embarrass myself.
But today you poets are in for a surprise. I have an expert in the figurative house, and her name is Sarah Potter, and she has agreed to discuss Japanese Poetic Forms with you today.
Let it never be said that I don’t care about all of you.
And now, here’s Sarah!
Sarah Potter “Waning” Lyrical About Japanese Poetic Forms
Thank you so much, Bill, for inviting me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I’m both excited and a bit daunted, as this is the first time a fellow blogger has asked me to write…
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