dVerse Poets Pub – Old and New

Today Victoria is our pubtender and prompt giver. She asks us to take an old poem and rework it and to include both the old and the new poems.  I have taken one written in 1996 and reworked it.  It is now a Bussokusekika – older than tanka which is older than haiku – a couple of thousand years older and more deeply steeped in tradition.  The bussokusekika was discovered on an old stone in front of an ancient Buddhist temple and means – Footprint of Buddha.  It is like the tanka but has an extra seven syllable line added.  The form for this and tanka is strict – 5-7-5-7-7+7.  It is an obscure form and rarely used. For more information on tanka, please go to:  https://dversepoets.com/2015/11/30/japanese-poetic-forms-part-ii-more-twins/  The link to dVerse:  Let’s Kick It Up a NotchLet’s Kick It Up a Notch

New Poem
Age of Incense
The futility
Of burning incense – prayers
Unanswered ignored
Seem to be my fate in this
Time of rainy days –
The smoke cannot reach you and
Sadness remains – ashes fall
Dry tears upon the table….


free stock photo

free stock photo

Old Poem
Incense Days
you are gone
my ritual is this:
the burning of incense –
holy and fragrant.
the smoke travels in the wind
and I wish for it to reach you
to reach your mind to reach your heart
to say to you
come back. come back. come back.
the rain beats the smoke back down to earth
and only the wet grass hears.
I weep and light another stick.
more rain.
more sadness.
come back.



26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria C. Slotto
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 15:02:21

    I love the form and can’t wait to try it.

    The older poem meanders a bit but the tighter version with those last three stanzas really pack a punch. Ah.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 04, 2016 @ 15:17:12

      I hope you will and that it will be revived. I don’t know of many who use it anymore. I put the link to the tanka post I did because it does follow the same rules as tanka…and there are rules to be followed. I tend to use it for more solemn writes. The first three lines of this is actually a senryu that I wrote about the same time. So….


  2. Sanaa Rizvi (@rizvi_sanaa)
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 16:39:51

    I agree with Victoria.. the revised version does pack quite a punch.
    Beautifully poignant ❤


  3. Walter J. Wojtanik
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 18:12:28

    More concise, to the point. In this case it is a matter of “less is more”.


  4. Victoria Young
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 18:27:18

    Wow, this one really came together for you. It is divine! It’s a piece I would read over and over again. You condensed it beautifully and nothing was left out which added more ( I’m trying to speak Zen 😉 )


  5. Grace
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 19:42:48

    The revised poem is tighter in the form. The time of raining days, speaks volume. Enjoyed this one Toni !


  6. Glenn Buttkus
    Aug 04, 2016 @ 22:40:34

    Not to be a contradictorian–but I like the older poem best, for the meat on its bones give me more to chew on, & was more satisfying to ingest. I like the line /and only the wet grass hears/.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 04, 2016 @ 23:04:20

      LOL….Glenn you are a born contradictorian. the first is so emotional, so…..pitiful. I like the second one much with its control. I wrote my heart out on the first and poured out such grief. Now on the eve of my 16th anniversary with my husband, I see it as overly dramatic and the second….well, it shows that things pass. The lover in the poem has long been back in Japan and finally, I am content to let him stay there. But I will not give up my sword! He can’t have that back.


  7. kim881
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 03:40:04

    I love this form, Toni, and the meaning: bussokusekika – footprint of Buddha – the shape is similar to a footprint, too – brief and ephemeral, like the incense smoke. That’s what makes the re-worked poem so effective in my eyes. And I do love that final line.


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 05, 2016 @ 08:36:00

      It is a lovely form but obscure. I wish it would make a comeback but then, that means it will become Americanized and ugly and lose the purpose, like Americanized haiku and tanka….sigh


  8. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 04:43:03

    They are both very beautiful, but to be honest I prefer the original. It’s more emotional, more immediate.


  9. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 04:46:34

    Having now read Glenn’s comment and your response, I must say I don’t find the original pitiful. You have surely moved on, but the emotion in that poem was truly felt and expressed when you wrote it, and it’s that which comes through – the longing.


  10. Sumana Roy
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 05:50:18

    so much restrain in the second one emphasizes that time plays here as the healer… love them both…


  11. maria
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 10:35:09

    Oh wow! I agree with everyone. Your old piece is poignant is it is but the new one is definitely kicking it up a notch. It hits the heart hard. It hits home.


  12. el34ax7
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 20:04:13

    Incense. 😀

    The updated poem is absolutely fabulous. You took all of the flavor from the original and condensed it down to a powerful poem. Like a sauce reduced to it’s full potency, not just thickened with cornstarch.

    What a wonderful thing to read and see. It’s like coming home.


  13. rosemawrites
    Aug 08, 2016 @ 05:44:03

    you tightened up the poem in a fewer words you are able to hit the heart hard. 🙂


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