Category Archives: 5-7-5-7-7


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Fall foliage (2016) in Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

autumn memories—
poring over photographs
from a year ago
and wondering if the leaves
will turn vermilion again

Photo © 2016 and tanka © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Midweek Motif at Poets United: “Memories”



Broken dinnerware, littering the desert near Yuma, Arizona

Kintsugi master,
gather up these scattered shards,
and with your lacquer,
glue them together again,
more beautiful than before.

Photo and tanka © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Macro Monday 2
More Midweek Motif at Poets United: “Kintsugi: Art of Mending”

Winter Afternoon

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A splintered tree on a winter’s day, Sonoran Desert, Southern Arizona

~~ 1 ~~
Winter afternoon—
all his broken promises
come back to haunt her.
~~ 2 ~~
Winter afternoon—
her resistance to the cold
is growing weaker.
~~ 3 ~~
winter afternoon—
hearing the forecast with doubt
and great suspicion
~~ 4 ~~
Winter afternoon—
that clown of a weatherman
talks only in lies.
~~ 5 ~~
Winter afternoon—
her defiance of the cold
weakens by the hour.
~~ 6 ~~
Winter afternoon—
something in her soul demands
a bold new action.
~~ 7 ~~
Winter afternoon—
unafraid of the wind chill
she ventures outdoors,
embraced by the great white void
that erases her footsteps.

Haiku and tanka © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Macro Monday 2
More Sunday’s Whirligig #96
More Poetry Pantry #338 at Poets United

Desperate Poems

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A fallen mango, Guadalajara, Mexico

~~ 1 ~~
an orange crayon—
using its tip to scribble
desperate poems
~~ 2 ~~
swirling maple leaves
driven by a sudden gust—
first days of autumn
~~ 3 ~~
first days of autumn—
underfoot the leaves crackle
ancient melodies
~~ 4 ~~
growing vegetables—
her tiny backyard garden
yields the sweetest beans
~~ 5 ~~
the smallest orchard
blazing with bright red apples—
another harvest
~~ 6 ~~
little barn swallow
seeking a new nesting place
after last night’s storm
~~ 7 ~~
The old brass doorknob—
she buffs it to a high sheen,
and studies her face.
~~ 8 ~~
the sacred grotto—
only a partial healing
for the bent woman
~~ 9 ~~
The orchard’s border—
a young man stands by himself,
watching plums ripen.
Deciding whom to marry,
he turns away from the plums.
~~ 10 ~~
Seeking signs of life,
she climbs the sacred stairway
with fear and trembling,
barely able to shuffle,
for the knocking of her bones.
~~ 11 ~~
A four-year-old speaks
her first five-syllable words—
sizzle-n-sazzle, and one
that no adult can pronounce.

Poems © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Macro Monday 2
More Sunday’s Whirligig #79
More Poetry Pantry #322 at Poets United

On a Crumbling Wall

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Section of a mural, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México

~~ 1 ~~
on a crumbling wall
iridescent hummingbird
in eternal flight—
its whirring wings never stop
as it hovers for a sip
~~ 2 ~~
empty garden bench
where last night’s conversation
still lingers at dawn
patterns of loss and longing
nestling in the wooden slats
~~ 3 ~~
all things softening
as summer moves toward autumn—
even field mice seem
to dwindle into mere fluff
a child’s breath can blow away
~~ 4 ~~
a cold deep pool
where she comes to bathe at dawn
dropping her silk blouse
into the dry stems and weeds
detritus of late summer
~~ 5 ~~
offering herself
as an exile from the world—
the burdock knows why,
and so does the peony
with its extravagant bloom

Tanka and photo © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #312
More Sunday’s Whirligig #69


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~~ 1 ~~
red roses growing
in tar pits
among loathsome bones
with rotting sinews
~~ 2 ~~
The bowl of water
does not sense its own wetness,
nor the twig its bud.
Mud knows not its sliminess,
nor do thorns their prickliness.
~~ 3 ~~
When the ship I love
leaves the harbor without me,
seagulls lose their voice,
their little silvery tongues
weighed down by loathsome cankers.
~~ 4 ~~
heaped in the temple
ten thousand desperate pleas
unanswered by God—
perhaps a thief in the night
will snatch the sweet ones away
~~ 5 ~~
last downpour of spring—
even the woman who sins
murmurs prayers of thanks

Tanka and haiku © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #307
More Sunday’s Whirligig #64


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Weathered window on an old adobe house, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve, Riverside County, California

In the reading room
she finds a tiny tendril
curling round one word
and tries to keep the volume
of her growing sorrow low.
~~ ~~ ~~
the more I fill it,
the more I have of nothing—
my empty basket—
not even a phrase or two
makes up for what is missing
~~ ~~ ~~
jagged rice stubble—
no place for their lovemaking
in the harvest field
though still their yearning is strong
as sun beating down on stone

Tanka and photo © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Ruby Tuesday Too
More Poetry Pantry #290
More Shadow Shot Sunday 2
More Sunday’s Whirligig #47: “Basket, Jagged, Missing, Sorrow, Keep”
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 239: “Free, Volume, Sun, Yearning, Still, Phrase, Two”


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A stone left at Roxaboxen Park, Yuma, Arizona. (Read why people leave stones at Roxaboxen.)

painted on a stone
taken from a dragon’s den
minuscule stories
that no one can decipher—
puzzling are the sacred runes

Tanka and photo © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Four Tanka

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~~ 1 ~~
Sing me a riddle:
How many crooked pathways
make a journey whole?
How much food for sustenance
will you need on the long walk?
~~ 2 ~~
Making no progress
while trying to navigate
her soul’s deep waters,
she struggles to breathe slowly
to conserve her energy.
~~ 3 ~~
Murmuring prayers
that could double as weapons,
a renegade priest
transforms wine into water—
his convoluted world view.
~~ 4 ~~
Run to the orchard!
It is time to name the fruit
clinging to the trees,
and to pick the juiciest
with your deft and practiced hand.

Tanka © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 221

Seeking Sugar

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~~ 1 ~~
last year’s ornaments
still shining in their splendor
for a few more hours—
a luxury to see them
among the pots and kettles
~~ 2 ~~
Where do they come from,
these poems at break of day,
wild as mists rising
high above the balcony?
Even ravens flap away.
~~ 3 ~~
brown wicker hampers
with dirty clothes poking out
spilling to the floor—
you’ve seen them in apartments
where the water’s been shut off
~~ 4 ~~
Behind closed windows
someone is brewing coffee—
a curtain flutters
and dancing daydreams scatter
like a flock of frightened hens.
~~ 5 ~~
Even coming twice
the horses seeking sugar
do not get enough
to satisfy their hunger—
they press against the railing.
~~ 6 ~~
Whose old singing voice
nestles in the empty pot
in front of the redbrick wall?

Tanka and haiku © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #271
More Sunday’s Whirligig #26