Category Archives: The Sunday Whirl

Plotlines

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Midwinter sunrise, Sonoran Desert, Southern Arizona
 
Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase purloined from A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes.
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
on a yellow plate
a stack of toast tall enough
to touch the full moon
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Against a stone wall
the notes from a temple bell
cling like morning mist.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
adorned with flowers—
some scarlet, some lavender—
his daughter’s casket
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a tall limestone cross—
seven dead chrysanthemums
scattered at its base
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a few splats of rain
and her daydream is ruined—
midsummer morning
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
searching for a house
where three children play jump-rope
till the supper call
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Under an awning
the desperate lovers touch
and kiss each other.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
plotting the places
where she might run from his threats—
not enough to count
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
The man who sells forks
hides them from a group on tour—
his suspicious eyes.

 
Haiku © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 240

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”

First Whirl of February

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The first line of each breath-of-a-poem is taken from phrases found in A Year in the World by Frances Mayes.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
their morning coffee—
spring, summer, fall, and winter
taking it with cream
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
on the balcony
sharing an afternoon drink
fragrant vin rosé
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
on an envelope
one thin line of poetry
trailing to the edge
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
clutching photographs
faded ones from long ago
in her tight right hand
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a votive candle
casting a shadowy spell
in the holy place
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
through the spice bazaar
following an old woman
laden with saffron
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
open till midnight—
a sign taped to the window
restoring our hope
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
on a lamp table
two little stacks of spare change
enough for bus fare
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
from her only son
a letter written with flair—
loops and flourishes
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
a heap of rubble
where the freeway bridge once stood—
earthquake aftermath

 
© 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 236

January Whirl

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~~ 1 ~~
 
casting my anchor
in some faraway harbor—
perhaps Rotterdam
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
winter’s first full moon
keeping her awake for hours
in her lumpy bed
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a buffeting wind—
three fragile little sparrows
fight to stay aloft
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
raising her wineglass
at her lonely sojourn’s end
among the living
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
first dream of the year
mulberry tree near the gate
heavy with new fruit
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
sudden gust of wind—
three facts fly out the window
landing in the street
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
action, inaction—
even the undertaker
stops to eye the wound
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
breaking the needle
so she will not be able
to get her next fix
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
a scathing letter
sent from a neighboring state
ten cents postage due
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
her favorite team
tasting defeat once again—
winter’s first full moon
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
willing to risk all
for the sake of one blossom—
gardener in spring
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
hit with aftershocks
from shifting tectonic plates
an old house crumbles

 
© 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 235

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

Hummingbird

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Mural, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
the hummingbird feast—
taking a risk as they thrum
toward the feeding place
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Hummingbirds at work—
one minute they have courage,
the next their hearts fail.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
written on a wall—
letters to a hummingbird
and the chill north wind
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a trip through traffic
to reach the secret place called
hummingbird heaven
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
If the hummingbirds
urge you to share in their feast,
what does it matter?
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a liter of milk
brought to the hummingbird feast
and laced with sugar
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Two hummingbirds watch
as I link my arm in yours—
they call us lovebirds.

 
Text and photo © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Blue Monday
 
More Carpe Diem Special #173
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 220

Tanka Times Three

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From this week’s smorgasbord of words, I have chosen: free, dash, flee, threat, scent, try
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
birth pangs at midnight
the poem in my belly
kicking to be free—
the dash to my writing desk
for a quick delivery
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
ravenous turtle
lumbering through the garden—
terrified gnats flee
from the threat of extinction
deep in the turtle’s gullet
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
From phantom kitchens
voluptuous scents erupt
over the city—
sniffing at the fragrant air,
I try to quell my hunger.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 217

Odd Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
How far we have come
from the land of stones and thorns—
how far yet to go!
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
birth pangs at midnight
the poem in my belly
kicking to be free
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
resting for an hour
in the shadows of the pines—
river in her heart
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
morning sacrifice—
how one feather on the shore
appeases the gods
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Even a free bird
cannot sprout another wing
when one is broken.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
dragonfly
singing down the sun
one more time
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
fencepost silhouette
pressed against the western sky
spangled with new stars
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
shadowy walkway—
a beggar without a face
stretching out his hand
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Red paper lantern—
mistaking it for ripe fruit,
wrens peck at its flesh.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
Near the Buddha’s feet
a lily of the valley
makes itself at home.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
a day-old doughnut
drizzled with powdered sugar
beggar’s evening feast
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
afternoon monsoon—
sinuous lines of lightning
snaking through the sky

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 216

Six

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Of this week’s dozen words I have used: wine, stain, puzzle, foreign, hollow, luminous
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
drinking from the falls
in the absence of a pub—
wine of loneliness
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
near the still lagoon
a puzzled hiker pauses—
her frisson of fear
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
wilderness morning
sunlight the color of tea
staining the sand
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
in a foreign tongue
empty little syllables
rattling in your mouth
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
hollow promises—
tongues clattering empty vows
on their wedding day
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
even one small star
keeps me on the homeward way—
its luminous song

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 213

Six Tanka

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Of this week’s dozen words I have used: feast, empty, torn, escape, ghost, laugh
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
another ghost town
where we begin to trample
spirits in the dust—
a long, long dance at midnight
the Milky Way our partner
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
an old photograph—
two boys wrapped in a straw mat
trying not to laugh
remembering their mischief
in their geography class
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Ten thousand pigeons,
a furious featherstorm—
is there no escape
from the thunder of their wings
calling up clouds at noonday?
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
ripened pollen grains
hiding in the flower’s heart—
feast for bee and ant
and every other creature
seeking a treat for the tongue
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
pure honey of grace
in the daily quietude
of an empty house—
even the mice are napping
on this torrid afternoon
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
old paper, fresh words
torn envelope the canvas
for brushing haiku—
master stumbles out of bed
to fix his dream in black ink

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 212