Category Archives: The Sunday Whirl

Tanka-esque

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Of this week’s dozen words I have used: chill, rattle, cry, plaster, drum, chill
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat—
three smooth stones from the river
ripe with autumn’s chill
an axe to split them open
for sucking out the marrow
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Startled by the cry
of a ripening cherry,
the old man stumbles,
breaking his arm’s plaster cast
into a thousand pieces.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
the rain is over
for seven years and a day
empty husks rattle—
little playthings of the wind
drumming up more misery

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 211

Tanka Time

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Of this week’s dozen words I have used: bones, river, teeth, reveal, emerge, reel
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
In the wilderness
the ancient tree women sing
with fire in their bones—
ravens joining the chorus
cannot quench the fierce burning.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
resting for an hour
in the shadows of the pines—
river in her heart
flowing toward restoration
flowing away from despair
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Hurry, they are here,
the ones you have waited for,
teeth sharp, eyes aglow,
disguised as clowns and donkeys,
but eager to devour you.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
secrets of the moth
revealed in graphic detail—
the old druid sings
and in his singing new wings
form between his broken teeth
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Fishing from the bridge
with a stolen rod and reel—
Egypt lies downstream
where ten thousand hapless souls
still wait for deliverance.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
God of the kitchen,
may nothing dreadful emerge
from my pots and pans,
but only savory things,
filled with the spice of wonder.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 210

Tanka Fest

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~~ 1 ~~
 
in the next canyon,
a spacious place for camping—
cottonwood circle
where tired wanderers bed down
covering themselves with stars
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
on the granite floor
rivers of fresh blood flowing
from the killing spree—
scene of hell and damnation
the keening of the bereaved
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
the caressing warmth
of a single tear flowing
down her furrowed cheek—
the fire of her memories
thawing the ice within her
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
marshmallow eaters
their kayak beached for the night
gathering driftwood
enough for an all-night fire
half for warmth and half for fun
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
black cat dips one paw
into circles of sunshine
on the kitchen floor
pretending that a mouse feast
is simmering in the warmth

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 209

The Hard Road

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~~ 1 ~~
 
as if the hard road
were nothing more than spirit
shifting in a breeze
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
as if the hard road
with all its cracks and bruising
could convey us hence
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
as if the hard road
could be negotiated
by instinct alone
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
as if the hard road
on which we staggered last night
would be smooth today
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
as if the hard road
would not hamper our footsteps
leading us astray
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
as if the hard road,
its tilt and awkward angle,
would not deter us
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
as if the hard road
could not keep pilgrims awake
as they journey on
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
as if the hard road
were the last place that we smiled
for a thousand years

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 208

Whirling with Alberto

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from “The Lime Orchard Woman” by Alberto Álvaro Ríos .


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
traveling circus—
the man with the kewpie dolls
pushes pins in one
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
At the silliness
of the clown with the red ball
old men are weeping.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
as if by small bones
she could keep the scorpion
from attacking her
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the way she begins
to bite into her heartbreak
as a ripened plum
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
At the silliness
of an ear that tries to sing,
she begins to laugh.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
She sits and watches
as the blind man stumbles home,
his white cane broken.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
People look at her
as though the witches spawned her
late one Friday night.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
One centimeter
away from resurrection
it all falls apart.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the edge of a wall
where an old man stands alone
watching plums ripen
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
leading to his house
a trail of broken timbers
branded with hex signs
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
mountains that open
as though spells from long ago
were being broken
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
the moment to breathe
the moment she has hunted
among the house wrens

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 207

Whirling with Marge

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from “Maggid” by Marge Piercy.


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Born of wanderers
following cracks in the earth—
this is her story.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
under loads of straw
so heavy that they must crawl—
three peasant women
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Who chose the desert
over fields of ripened grain?
What were they thinking?
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
wanderers with shoes
escaping Egypt by night
with untied laces
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a child’s naughtiness—
the mother’s heart collapses
like an umbrella
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
bodies by the way
crows picking at putrid flesh—
immigrant children
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
small bones of children
wrapped in tattered white quilts
from the old country
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
abandoned treasures—
among them an old clay pot
filled with untold tales
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Where their empty pots
are suddenly filled with bones—
tell me that story.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
In the stinking hold
of a ship with splintered deck
they make for safety.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Under our pillows
a thousand new dreams open
as flowers in spring.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 206

Stripping Flesh from Bones

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~~ 1 ~~
 
What am I to do
with this blank sheet of paper
and an empty pen?
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
A dream at midnight—
someone mumbling Basho’s name
imitates a frog.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
three clay pots—
white chrysanthemums
in full bloom
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
three stolen plums
stuffed in his left pocket
to eat later
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
wild roses
blooming on roadsides
in Georgia
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
She speaks in tongues
that no one understands
except her god.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
lying down to sleep
in different beds each night—
her long loneliness
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
powers of darkness
gathering near the hedgerow
disguised as egrets
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
As the signpost burns,
I take off my tattered shoes
to walk barefoot home.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
at my journey’s end
laying down my faithful staff
to take up a cross
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
stripping flesh from bones
through every kind of weather—
Dr. Death at work
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Beginnings are hard—
ask the chick trapped in the shell
or the child in school.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #244
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 204

Another Baja Whirl

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja California by Joseph Wood Krutch


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Saints and mysteries
will keep any plague at bay
for an hour or two.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
near my own front door
the blasphemy of a clown
making oaks tremble
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
From the burning wood
a whole tale of woe is born—
my house turns to ash.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
deserted village—
the deck of the grandest house
crumbling into dust
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
the northwest corner
where all the temple monkeys
chatter morning prayers
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
peach tree in full bloom—
she savors the sweet, ripe fruit
five months from today
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
a wizard’s garden—
his rustling among the herbs
till he plucks one leaf
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
to travel southward
where the hills are dry and brown—
the pilgrim’s longing
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the caressing warmth
of a single tear flowing
down her furrowed cheek

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 203

Whirling in Baja California

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja California by Joseph Wood Krutch


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
to adorn the tale
she attaches a red string
to one paragraph
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
romantic story
its sensual images
titillating her
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
forlorn and empty
except for a wayward wind—
house on the corner
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
another ghost town
where we begin to trample
spirits in the dust
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
an English sparrow
making excuses at dusk
for having no nest
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the great sparkling sea
lurking below the surface
a deadly stingray
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
no longer flowing
where she hoped to plant orchards
the underground streams
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
an English sparrow
kneading the morning with song
until it rises
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
So many mountains—
which will she begin to climb
before the day ends?
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
a long history
of brandishing his war club
near his neighbor’s house
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
The hard way will come
if we drive or take the train—
the same old story.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
the journey’s mishaps—
despite the pain that lingers
planning one more trip

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #242
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 202

Whirling for Good or Ill

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~~ 1 ~~
 
her passport photo
veins bulging in her forehead
from the night before
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
ocean on the floor
the toddler’s howl of dismay
as she spills her milk
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
tangled old orchard
filling her with fear and dread—
the fruitless plum trees
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a secret language
spoken only by bruised flesh
women understand
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a silver whistle—
the weight of it in my hand
greater than my life
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
in the stone circle
waiting to welcome the moon—
the owl calls my name
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
empty begging bowl
not a single grain of rice
gracing the bottom
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
on a blue table
bouquet of yellow roses
dropping their petals
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
ghost of a corn stalk
blasted by hot winds and drought—
this crop of ruin
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
smashing a spider
with a granite paperweight—
the terrified child
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
names of the war dead
chiseled in a granite wall
stray dog lifts his leg
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
old haiku poet
sadness drifting through her words
still she dips her pen

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #241
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 201