dVerse Poetics – Black and White tanka

Today at dVerse, Grace is asking for poems about black and white. Submissions will be written to this prompt. Come and join the multitalented poetry crew. Read or submit your own idea of black and white! http://dversepoets.com/2015/06/09/poetics-black-and-white

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

white snow black branches
breathe slowly while dreaming of
awakening spring
and birds huddle in tangled
tunnels warm and unafraid

44 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 01:00:50

    what I like with a great tanka is to test if I can read the three last lines as a separate poem, and great when it turns out to be a print poem.. That contrast in itself is a joy to read. The total image becomes so full of longing only deep winter can give, great poem.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:12:17

      I had never thought of looking at a tanka like this before. What a wonderful way to do it! I always write it in the traditional way and feeling but this adds a great new dimension to it, a nifty way to read them and new way to write it. Thank you so very much! 🙂


    Jun 10, 2015 @ 04:42:13

    Very beautiful.


  3. kaykuala h
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 05:40:03

    The birds will survive. They have ways and means to do so! Nicely Hayes!



    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:08:00

      Thank you Hank! Please call me Toni. hayes Spencer is my google sign on so I can wander about on other blogging platforms. And the birds will survive because of these huge tangled bushes that protect them from hawks, snow, wind….gives them a place to nest and to peck about…and Toni with birdfeeders and bird baths to help them along. It is hard work being a bird.


  4. X
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 06:09:45

    We ar far from snow, ha. To me this speaks of the connection as well. While we all wait for spring, even in our waiting there are others dependent on us. The winter is often so monochrome, nice choice in subject.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:05:38

      Yes indeed. It is full tilt boogie summer here – today 98 with 98% humidity – gack. In August, I will be waiting for snow and keeping the birdbaths clean and full and staying away from that huge bush that will be home to families of birds. I often see them in the summer pecking and scratching about the bottom looking for little bugs and worms. The bush pretty much is shelter to different birds through the years and….they can hide from hawks underneath.


  5. Grace
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 06:49:45

    I like the pivot on the third line, from snow to awakening spring ~ Lovely tanka and black and white photography Toni ~


  6. Gabriella
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 07:50:14

    I like the combination of words and photo. Now spring (or is it summer) is definitely here but I can identify with the longing after a long winter. I also like the positive note at the end of your tanka.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:01:52

      Thank you. And that truly is what this is all about – the hope, the waiting for a happier time, finding shelter in an unlikely place. But I can assure you, when it gets to be mean hot summer here, I will be looking at this picture and other snow pictures and sighing deeply. 🙂 I love winter.


  7. Mary
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 07:55:31

    I enjoy the interplay of black and white in both your photo and your poem. And, ah, the birds do not fear…as they know spring will come. Good message to keep in mind. Smiles.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 08:18:39

      And that Toni will be scattering chopped apples, bread, and keeping the seed and suet feeders full! We all seem to find shelter in unlikely places. And in hothothot August, I will be dreaming of gentle falling snow.


  8. clustered sky
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 09:44:50

    This is excellent.

    “and birds huddle in entangled” … Your line break here tells us what you’re really talking about. To me, this is about lovers … the white covering the black … maybe they’re not really supposed to be together … but they’re too tunneled together, warm, and unafraid to care.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:59:28

      That is a really excellent way to look at this. I actually had not thought of that but that perception of this adds a different layer completely. That’s what I like about poetry – people using their imagination to see different things in something, to make the read truly theirs. Thank you so very much for this interpretation. I am making a note of it with the poem for future thoughts!


  9. Glenn Buttkus
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 10:21:48

    /warm & unafraid/–something we all aspire to be in winter. Interesting photo; sort of macabre & abstract I considered using one of my B&W photos as prompt too, but while writing up my ideas & notes, the Muse led me off a different direction.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:56:54

      The photo, in its original form of white and deep beige of the branches is rather bland. I contrasted the heck out of this to show the intricacies of the branches and the overlaying snow. I think it having that odd look about it contrasted nicely with it being a place of shelter and warmth. I had started along one path with the poem but….The Muse led me down a different one…. 🙂


  10. billgncs
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 10:23:56

    shelter is comfort isn’t it… a primal need. For some reason when I came here i thought… Saki comes in white bottles…


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:54:33

      🙂 Shelter for us all is comfort and safety. And yes, a primal survival instinct and need. Sake usually comes in dark amber/brown bottles. The unfiltered “special” ones often come in black bottles – like my two favorites: Samurai and Kokuryū (black dragon). Some do come in festive painted white bottles but mainly the brown and the special black. I even saw a brand, can’t remember, in dark green bottles and a few deep red bottles. I often use one of the extra good sakes in cooking but save the special to drink. Right now I have two bottles of the Samurai and the
      Kokuryū patiently waiting in my fridge wanting to be opened. grin.


      • billgncs
        Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:00:35

        I think there’s a haiku in refreshment, summer, and shelter.. what do you think ?

        thanks for the enlightenment 🙂


        • kanzensakura
          Jun 10, 2015 @ 12:16:53

          Hey, with Sake, there is always a haiku in every bottle – or at least, after a few of those tiny cups full, you think it is. I’m trying to think…..Basho I think did a haiku about sake. I’ll have to wade through reams of them to find it. I know he did a wonderful one about melons…

          And, I am always ready to talk waaaaaaaayyyyyy to much, any time about sake. A friend called me from CA last year to ask my advice about some sake. Poor thing.


  11. claudia
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:18:23

    the giving shelter and being a blessing for others while we wait for our own spring… speaks deeply to me…


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:46:27

      I am glad. I could go at any time an hear the birds in that huge bush singing or rustling around. Many times see them on the branches or around the bottom where I would throw out chopped apples, seeds, bread. It kept them sheltered from much of the bad weather so they could feed. I think many of us enjoy giving that sort of shelter when and how we can to those who need it. And we like having our own place of shelter as well. Thank you.


  12. MarinaSofia
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 13:05:19

    Ha, you did warn us you would go more and more snowy the further into summer we went! Sadly, all the birds have abandoned our garden since we adopted our cat (her hunting reputation must precede her).
    I like the way you create a monochrome effect not just with the explicit black and white but also with the emphasis on warmth, shelter, tunnels – so the nouns themselves point you to light and shadow, black and white.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 15:21:56

      Thank you so much for noticing that! I have to laugh. My adopted cat with the fiercesome name of SamCat the Ripper, big orange and white monster, is the joke among the birds. Even the tiny finches dare to dive bomb him and if I let him roam, I stand guard against the larger birds. I had thought his predatory nature would kick in but so far, he has only attacked dandelions and leaves. I do not mind at all but it is sad to see him bullied by the goldfinches. 🙂 he even once did a guest blog for me about being afraid of Friday 13.


      • MarinaSofia
        Jun 10, 2015 @ 16:00:36

        Oh, the Ripper sounds adorable (although a born victim). My cat is only fearsome with lizards, birds and mice – she runs off when other cats or humans approach.


  13. Adriana Citlali Ramírez
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 15:04:43

    Oh! Sweet spring!
    It evokes very nicely the feelings (my feelings?) during a long winter.


  14. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 15:10:45

    I really like how you have the slightest hint of spring in those sheltered birds. This shows your eye for the details of nature.


  15. katiemiafrederick
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 17:48:01

    Promise of Winter.. driest twigs left..
    loveliest leaves.. long sense..
    joining dirt of life.. living
    green again.. Spring
    rising past
    Promise.. always
    Life.. learning


  16. Linda Kruschke
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 19:53:26

    I love the birds, warm and unafraid. 🙂 It’s hard to picture this scene right now as we’ve been having 90 degree days that past few days. Tanka is another form I’ve never tried. Perhaps it is time. Peace, Linda


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 20:00:57

      It is not a demanding form, only that it is read in one breath, as if no punctuation. It is a haiku with 7 syllable couplets at the end. If you haven’t read it, read Bjorn’s comment to me and that will help. It was a different take on the tanka and gave me a new perspective. It is a great form and many people like better and find easier, less restrictive than traditional haiku. I’ve also heard people remark that tanka sound “finished”. A lot of info on the ‘net about it.


  17. kelvin s.m.
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 20:07:55

    Removing “and” from the 4th line would close the line at 7 count, making the whole piece an almost perfectly penned Tanka (that is if you’re giving us a traditional Tanka following a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable count). Tanka is not only achieved by following the syllable count & pattern by it must also read as two separate poems joined together by a single theme. As Bjorn also noticed, you succeeded to it as I too can see & read a Haiku from the first 3 lines and another separate verse from line 3 to 5. Lovely. I like the play of yhe seasons—the waiting & anticipation of it. Thanks for the poem!


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 10, 2015 @ 20:12:35

      Thank you. When I counted, I thought I had the right count but…..my counti g skills are not always the best. Thank you for letting me know as I only write in the traditional forms. Thank for your help with this and for liking this.


  18. mishunderstood
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 00:51:32

    Reminds me of some nature walks I’ve taken in the winter. Some of the simplest gifts of nature can be so inspiring. 🙂


  19. Mustang.Koji
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 04:32:52

    Nice words…and nice photography!


  20. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 18:58:00

    To me the contrast is between the bleakness of winter and humans breathing slowly, waiting disliking what’s in store. Birds don’t worry; they know how to cope for what’s in store.. ❤ ❤ ❤


  21. vandana
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 06:51:24

    Such beautiful contrasts and yearning for spring……..I wish this winter comes to India forever………………..


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