Category Archives: tanka

Poring

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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”

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Kintsugi

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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—
chickadeechatter,
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

Imagine

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~~ 1 ~~
 
imagine
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

Yearnings

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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”

Runes

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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