Mujō – Change: Tanka set

Tuesday, I am privileged to be the Pubtender and Prompter for the Tuesday Poetics at d’Verse Poetics Pub.  It is getting to be (in spite of the heat!) autumn.  Subtle signs but there if you take the time to notice.  My prompt for today for our community and those who want to join us, is to, in 24 lines or fewer, write about change.  The Japanese word Mujō 無常 means “impermanence”.  It is one of the major aesthetics of the Japanese culture that all things change, nothing is permanent, and to embrace that idea.

I think this quote from Alan Watts says it all – about the culture of change, embracing it, and joining in the dance of change in our world:  “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”  Please come and visit us to read the discussion about changes, to join in, to enjoy the poems that will be linked with all the different takes on the prompt and to please, add your own if you feel inspired.  A video from my favorite group World Order is included on the post.  The slideshow illustrates changes in the lane and woods by my home – summer and autumn.  My poem is linked to d’Verse:

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Three Autumn Tanka
autumn knocks softly –
a long absent friend unsure
of being welcomed –
gold leaf against green back drop
summer smiling beckons in.

red carp scale clouds hang
in cool morning sky – heavy
dew pearls on thin web –
garden spider curled dead in
corner of its final web.

chill of soundless night –
faint light of crescent moon – time
has no meaning as
one gold leaf drifts down to the
edge of sleeping country road


Picking Figs

Victoria is our pubtender today. She always comes up with interesting prompts for us – prompts that stretch our writing and creativity. Our poems today are to consist of conversation. Not meaningless, Hi, I’m fine. How are you? chitchat. But conversations that tell a story, set a mood, take us someplace else than here. Mine is a childhood memory. It was brought to mind today while I was at a friend’s picking figs from her beautiful old bushes.  Please come visit us and read the poems for today.   This poem is linked to d’Verse Poetics:

Monday was our premier Haibun Monday feature.  If you enjoy this form or want to learn more, visit that page as well!

Picking Figs
My hand gently cupped the sun warmed fig and tugged downward.
Lifting the fig to my nose, I inhaled the sweet aroma. My grandmother’s voice came.

You want to pick the fig where the green has this rosy collar –  it will fit
in your palm, pull it down gently. See? It comes loose from the bush.
Cup it in your palms. Gently now, give a little squeeze. Soft. Not mushy.
Now, smell. Nice, isn’t it? I’ll take the top branches, Little Honey, you take
The bottom branches….Yes, just like that.
It smells like honey, Ninny. Sweet.
A light hand on my head…Just like you Little Honey.
Ninny. What’s a fig? Why?
It is a fruit that has the flower inside. I’ll cut this one open for you. See?
Ooooooo – pinky. Like a rose. I want to taste, please? Tastes like a peachy strawberry.
It crackles inside….little crackles.
Little seeds from all the little blooms that were inside. Let’s eat this one now. Isn’t that good?
It is going to rain soon so let’s get them in the baskets and inside. Figs and cream for dessert?
Oh yes!….hands work faster. Lay them gently in the basket. Don’t bruise them.
Carefully, like a tiny kitten or a puppy. Very good! You did that just right.
Fig preserves? Fig ice cream? Dried figs?
And fresh. There will be enough to go in the big yellow bowl on the kitchen table.
Ninny, can we do this again tomorrow?
We’ll do this in a few more days when more get ripe to pick.
I like picking figs with you.
The only think I like better than picking figs is picking figs with you, Little Honey.

free public domain image

free public domain image


The Sacred Tree is Dead – d’Verse Poetics

Grace is tending pub for us today. She has given to us an incredible poetic performance and poem by Loyce Gayo who was born in Tanzania and currently pursuing a degree in African and African Diaspora Studies with a Minor in Mathematics at the University of Texas in Austin. Not a comfortable poem by any means. And I pray you are not comfortable reading/listening. We are prompted to write poetry today based on “How We Forget”.  Here is the link:  My poem is also linked here.  With deep respect, I submit my submission for this.

The Sacred Tree is Dead
“If you ever need a place to…to listen to the wind, we’ll be here”. Walter Crowhorse, “Thunderheart” movie
“It was a beautiful dream…the hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer and the sacred tree is dead.” Black Elk, Lakota Sioux

We forget by herding a people and placing them on land
No one else would own or want.
We forget we are interlopers on the shores of the country
By riding down women and children with horses
And shooting them in the back or trampling them underfoot.
Bodies twisted in heaps on the prairie grass
Frozen in the snow.

We forget to live with the earth
By bulldozing it and burying it under asphalt and McMansions.
We poison the rivers and the air
And forget for we always ask – why?

We forget by keeping nations on boundaried land –
We forget by cutting hair and teaching English
We forget by forbidding the great dance
We forget by erecting a monument with a list of names
And burying the monument in weeds
And scattered ribbons.

public domain image

public domain image


d’Verse Poetics: Haibun Monday – 明帆 Red Blade

Today is the start of an exciting new feature at d’Verse Poetics: Haibun Monday! This is an excellent opportunity for those of you who enjoy this form or want to learn more. Bjorn, our fearless leader, and Hamish Gunn (guest blogger) will be doing these features. Please come visit us.

I am basing my haibun today on a haiku I wrote sometime ago and the photo accompanying it. I hope you all will come to visit, join in on the conversation, read, comment, and link to us. The Mr. Linky will be up all week so this will give you plenty of time.

明帆 Red Blade
In elusive ways, you could tell the seasons were changing. A few leaves had turned yellow and dropped from lush green trees, tomatoes in the garden were becoming fewer in number and smaller in size, scuppernongs were slowly turning from jade green to topaz gold – no longer bitter hard marbles but getting sweeter. They almost had a fragrance to them – rich, winey, drowsy in their sensual appeal. In a very few weeks, they will be a deep golden and full of juice; a bite into them will pop the fruit and juice from their thick skin into one’s eagerly waiting mouth. The bright green of the forsythia bush in the corner has begun to pale. Among the green fronds, one upright stem has turned bright red overnight.

Today the condensation was thick on the car – a drenching dew glazed the grass and soaked the hem of my hakama as I made my way to my place under the ancient oak in my back yard. Breathing in and out, deeply, slowly, I calmed myself and opened myself to the morning. Newly mown grass, scent of bacon from my neighbor’s kitchen, finches twittering at their feeder, an oak leaf slowly drifting down to land at my feet. I close my eyes and draw my katana slowly from its saya. I will go through all forms before returning it and then will sit on my porch to go through the ritual of cleaning and oiling. Only moderate sweat on my skin today as opposed to saturating oily sweat of last month. Autumn – I feel it inside my soul. Autumn is coming.

red blade of autumn
cuts through green summer leaves –
It is time, it says.


copyright kanzen sakura

copyright kanzen sakura


***明帆  akiho – means red blade of a plant.

Open Link Night: 浮動葉 Fudō ha – Floating Leaves

public domain free image

public domain free image

Today at d’verse, we have Open Link Night – anyone is welcome to link to their poem on any subject or in any form. I have gone through old notebooks and am reviving my interest in the Japanese poetic form: dodoitsuan unrhyming poetic form of 26 sound units – 5-7-7-7. Please come join us! Leave a link to your poem or read the links from talented and varied poets.

浮動葉  Fudō ha
sleepy woodland pool –
leaves drift on water dreaming
of summer sun – snow will fall
and they will sleep without dreams.

d’Verse Poetics: Go Set a Watchman

Lynn is our guest pubtender today for d’Verse Poetics. Her prompt is taken from Harper Lee’s newly found book, Go Set a Watchman. She wants us to write about who or what is our social watchman, if we have a message to proclaim, to write a dialogue between a watchman and those he watches…the title of the book is from Isaiah 21:6 (KJV). She also uses a quote from the book where Atticus talks to Scout – “Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman is his conscience.

I chose to use a Japanese poetic form dodoitsu (都々逸) for this prompt and the lonely job of the watchman. The Japanese word for watchman is yomawari – both poetry form and word for watchman come from the Edo period. The Dodoitsu is a 26 syllable, non-rhyming poem of 5-7-7-7 syllable line counts. It can be about work or love and is usually humorous. However, the subject and tone is not required; there are many poems about nature and life and are sometimes wistful, bittersweet, or melancholy depending on the subject and theme. Unlike haiku, the first line does not have to contain a season word nor, unlike the similar senryu, it is not a 5-7-5 syllable count.

I hope you all will come visit us today for all the different takes on this most interesting and thoughtful prompt. Not only visit to read the Pubtalk but also to read and comment on the poems. I hope you will also link one of your poems. COMING SOON!!!! HAIBUN MONDAY!!

nder winter stars
the watchman plods sleeping streets –
from his flask he sips sake’ –
and longs for his cozy hut.


Night Watchmen Under Maple Tree - Hokusai

Night Watchmen Under Maple Tree – Hokusai




d’Verse Poetics – Echo Verse

Mary is our bartender today at d’Verse Poetics.  She has given us an interesting prompt today:  echo poetry.  The line below echoes the last word in the line above. We have some interesting and varied responses to this prompt. Come visit us to read the creativity of the linked poets and as always, please feel free to submit your own and comment on the poems. And please, tell your friends!

Being heartily sick of the summer heat, I have delved into my second favorite poetry form – tanka – but with the echo twist and…..icy trees!

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

 Tree Bones
snow covered tree bones
rattle tangle in cold wind
Icy plum tree shivers

huddled birds are silent – no
sound except the bones

d’Verse Poetics: Muses from History

Grandmother's Star patter, public domain image

Grandmother’s Star patter, public domain image

Today, Abrha is our bartender. For his poetics, he wants us to look at art – the ancient art or old art and how it inspires us. He wants us to write about art in other parts of the world or local art – to write about how it was inspired, created and lives still.

I have chosen to write, not about grand monuments or works of stone or painted ceilings; my main focus is the works of art created by women – often overlooked. In my part of the country, there are many folk museums with examples of quilts, lace, hand loomed cloth as well as carved wooden utensils or handforged metal items. Many of these items were born of necessity and frugality but still, the colors and spirits of those who made them come through.

My mother, before she became crippled by arthritis and Parkinson’s, was quite a hand quilter – taught by her grandmother. My grandmother made beautiful tatted lace. I was never able to learn not being talented in that way. So my poem is about the folk art, the things of every day made beautiful with the patina of age or looking forward to the future with hope.

The Forgotten Artist
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.The skies display his craftsmanship…Psalm 19:1

she was born into a family of ordinary people –
ordinary people who created simple things that lasted for generations:
the quilt she slept under as a baby made by her grandmother,
the stone wall made with no mortar
standing strong, the raw colors of the stones
softening with the tones of earth, rain, lichens moss.
the garden of flowers and herbs, brought to the new world
in the form of slips, roots seeds –
they bloomed year after year after year.
a living changing canvas of color.

on a shady side porch, when she was a wee thing
her grandmother placed blocks of colored cloth in her hands
and taught her how to sew them together.
she liked the flower garden and arranged the blocks to look like the garden.
and later she was taught how to sew designs on the blocks,
one small stitch at a time.

and later still, her grandmother with cheeks soft as
delicate rose petals put a needle in her hand and taught her
how to draw the thread and knot and weave –

she looked at the stars in the night sky
wondering and dreaming and with the thread
copied them and the stars were sewn in later years
On the linen handkerchief she carried as a bride.

solid blocks of color became patterns – stars:
Southern star, lone star, shooting star –
her first child slept under a quilt of autumn colored stars –
pieced and stitched as he slept inside her.

and many many years later
she sat on the shady porch painfully moving the needle
and gathering the string – tiny lace stars for the
christening gown of her first great grandchild – a girl.

one more inch.
the last star finished and tied off.
and then, with a deep sigh
she fell asleep, smiling.

public domain image

public domain image

d’Verse Poetics – Dog Days!

Tuesday at d’Verse Poetics, I am the bartender!  I always enjoy this – not only posting an article and giving ideas for a poetic prompt, but the interaction with the other d’Team members and the friends who drop by to talk and/or submit one of their poems.

Today, I am writing about Dog Days – the hot days in which we are in the midst.  With heat indexes ranging from 103F to 108F, it has been hot!  How hot is it?  Trees are running around looking for shade – the lifespan of a popsicle is 10 seconds – so hot a fire hydrant was chasing dogs – you get my drift.

Come visit us at d’Verse today and read some cool poetry about a hot season.  Pop in and say hi or leave a poem behind.  I am submitting a haibun today and because it is a seasonal prompt, traditional haiku with seasonal words (kigo) are used rather than the 5-7-5 tercets or American sentences so-called haiku…Anyway – please come visit.  We’ve lots of ice cold lemonade and stuff on tap and great conversation!

  Haibun (俳文
Dog Days – days of harsh, merciless white sun and heat. Trees cast anemic shadows and birds hide deep within the foliage, seeking refuge from the heat. Other trees and plants seem listless in the heat – except for the thick tall crepe myrtle in my front yard. It is heavy with deep pink clusters of blooms – it seems to thrive in the torrid warmth. I have seen and heard several cicadas on and under the tree.

under the crepe myrtle
dried shells of cicadas lie –
emptied of songs.

In the dead of the hot summer night, the whir of cicadas fill my head with their droning sounds. It has come to this – we are silent, not daring to speak. I feel you staring down at me, waiting. Waiting for me to speak or make a move so you can respond. I put my hand lightly against your chest as if to push you away. You lean against my hand. I feel your heart beating. You feel warmer than the night against my hand.

August moon dissolves
Into clouds – fragmented light
dapples your skin.

I dare not look up at you, if I do, I will be lost. We’ve danced around this moment – carefully measured steps, always avoiding the embrace. Mirrored steps, forward and then back. But never the rocking in each other’s arms – a tango without satisfaction, a tango with no heat. Here in the night alone, you pull me close and stroke my cheek, lifting my face to look into your eyes.

the huge orange moon
hangs in the starry sky – it
sees all, tells nothing.

d’Verse Poetics: Meeting the Bar – Poems ala Emily Dickinson

Today at Meeting the Bar, Victoria is back with us after an absence. It is so good to have her back at d’Verse – her personality, her joy – her incredible ideas for poetry prompts. Today she is asking us to use the rhyme and rhythm scheme – Common Measure. Not only part of many Christian hymns, but employed by Emily Dickinson in her incredible poetry. We are to do our best to write poems ala Emily Dickinson. I feel I fall far short. Indeed, she is a long time favorite of mine and I know I could never do justice to her ingenuous, intricate, flowing, unique, far into the future form – well before her time. Come visit us at d’Verse and read the submissions for this very interesting prompt. Please feel free to join usthe in Pub conversations and to read and comment on the submission.  Please submit your own poem as well!

Blue Moon
The Blue moon glowed as Blue moons will
suspended high in a Summer night sky –
I gaped in awe at the June yellow cheese –
So it seemed to me alone on my hill.

Amidst grey clouds the Moon floated gold
And lit the sky with yellow –
The blue Moon glowed as Blue moons of old –
Ringed not with blue but golden Halo.

d’Verse Poetics – Open Link Night #152

Today is Open Link Night at the d’Verse Poetics Pub. This means we submit a poem of our own choice of form, subject, etc. without following a prompt. Come join us today – add a poem of your own or read submissions by extremely talented folks. It has been brutally hot and so, optimist that I am, I am looking forward to cool weather and snow. My poem today reflects my love of snow – anytime, anywhere.

January at the Beach
January – alone at the beach.
Gone are the self-conscious preening teens,
The children like raucous birds, their waists
Encircled with neon colored plastic swimming tubes.
Gone the sun worshippers – glistening with oil
And inviting skin cancer and admirers with equal aplomb,
Vendors wheeling carts of ice cream, cold sodas, beer –
The wave splashers and wave riders and wave surfers –
All of them gone.

January – alone at the beach.
Just myself and the dull tawny sand,
The gunmetal grey sky above, sea birds wheeling
In the limbo between grey sea and grey sky.
Into the salt air comes a breath of sweet –
I close my eyes and inhale, knowing.
Sitting there alone waiting…
Now the sea birds become silent as they dip into the ocean
For luncheon and even the waves, loud in the silence,
Seem to subdue and grow quiet.

January – alone at the beach,
Sitting on my blanket huddled in my down jacket –
I listen, I think, I inhale and then…
Like an errant feather from a high flying bird
The first snow flake circles downward and
Lands on the shell beside me.
More fall – large at first and then
Smaller and faster falling.
I stand and walk to the edge of the surf
Letting it brush against my boots.
Against the horizon, the snow is more plainly seen.

In the deep cold, the snow feathers coat the shells
Pebbles, seaweed, sand – mostly melting but making
fuzzy outlines on the forgotten artifacts
castoff from the abandoned ocean.
I hold my face up to the sky and laugh and stick out my
Tongue to taste the snow.
Snow falling and disappearing in the ocean,
Snow falling and slowly melting on my coat.
I haven’t spoken to anyone in several days.
The ocean, empty sand, birds, discarded shells
Are more than enough company.
I hold out my hand and snowflakes fall on my glove.
They stay long enough for me to fall in love
With each and every one before they disappear.
January – alone at the beach.

d’Verse Poetics – Trains! tanka 短歌

Today at d’Verse Poetics, Bill is our conductor! He has been bicycling on trails that used to be regular train routes. He is prompting us to write about trains.  The tickets are free.  Come and climb on board and ride the rails with us:


Summer night – humid
Air stands still – distant train sounds
Travel and nestle
In my dreams of going somewhere –
to a place of long ago.

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