Category Archives: The Sunday Whirl

Sanctuary

stepstoseaPNuevo_zpsb3b391e8
A seaside sanctuary, Puerto Nuevo, Baja California Norte, México
 
 

I will build a sanctuary,
using nothing but a piece of string
a beam, and a post.
It may seem inadequate,
or a mean affair,
but it will not shake
during times of earthquake,
nor will it leave me poor,
for in it my soul will be reborn
as old, familiar prayers trigger
freshets of new meaning
into my everyday life.
It will carry me through
flood and fire, locust and hail,
or any other plague that comes.
This is what a sanctuary is for,
and this is why I pick this place
beside the sea.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
  

Advertisements

Plotlines

 photo 17335c3f-fd0f-48e1-8b03-e1b77c8fbb1f_zpsippwcxd8.jpg
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

 photo DSC_0050201_zps1tfifzml.jpg
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

 photo 236_zpshruw2plv.jpg
 
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

 photo 235_zpssvzc8hm3.jpg
 


 
~~ 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

 photo 221_zpspq5ksgnj.jpg
 


 
~~ 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

 photo DSC_0028_zpsu3d904le.jpg
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

217 photo 217_zpsrywmocz7.jpg
 
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

 photo image.13 sept_zpssouczn9h.jpg
 
 


 
~~ 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

 photo 2121_zpswkfnwftm.jpg
 
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