Perception #Tanka Tuesday

Pixabay image by Michael Seibt

Perception

“Cross the bridge.” The crone points her staff to a log spanning a luminous pool.

I squint at the strange collection of creatures impeding my way. I’ve been lost for days in the swamp’s wet greenness, breathing the emerald dew. So many moons that knobby horns sprout from my skull. Vines weave through the fibers of my clothes, and my skin grows iridescent scales in myriad hues of moss. I am hungry despite a bellyful of beetles.

Upon the bridge, a naiad plays her flute, the sound hypnotic though the melody unfurls backward. “Wayward magic,” mutter I, one wary soul who’s encountered these tricksters before. Does this one revel in opposites, mirrored reflections? Which is real, the opposite of whom? Is there any way to know what’s true? My ears droop at the bothersome riddle.

The pipe’s dulcet sound charms a viper, its crescent fangs smiling. Safeguarding or warning? Did the sprite awaken the snake, or does she lull it to sleep? Beneficent or Mischievous? I wrinkle my snout in study. And which of the two covet the poppy? All three could be lethal to me. Beautiful peril, perilous beauty. Or simply a flower?

“How am I to cross?” ask I, my jade whiskers twitching.

The faceless hag shrugs.

choose your poison, child
life implies no guarantees
forsake illusive
dreams of immortality
perception decides the truth

**

I had the privilege in September of choosing October’s mid-month photo image for Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday. What fun to finally write for this fairytale image. If you enjoy syllabic poetry, visit her site and check out her fun prompts. Thanks, Colleen.

113 thoughts on “Perception #Tanka Tuesday

  1. This is so wonderful, Diana! I love how you use language (and I pay attention, because we all like to learn from other writers 😀 ) I think you did a fabulous job even if the image was beautiful but challenging. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Julie. Flash fiction is such a great way to practice brevity and word choice. And it was challenging to capture all the elements into something cohesive! I figured that I’d better try it since I picked the image. 🙂 Happy Sunday, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teri Polen says:

    You have a gift for imagery and words, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pamela says:

    I’ll show my true colors here and admit that this poem is scary to me, Diana. The wise ‘hag,’ the backwards melody, the question of what is forward or backward, up or down, truth or not truth. And then the question: is the hag’s riddle a riddle also? Read as if the truth lies in the opposite, perhaps life provides the guarantee of mortality, yes, but perhaps dreams bring us to a place we cannot yet perceive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I’m glad it gave you a bit of a scare. It wasn’t meant to put you at ease – that’s for sure. Life is full of perils, isn’t it? So what truly is our choice but to dwell in the present, make loving decisions, and do our very best not to waste our time. Because, eventually, we all cross that bridge. <3. Thanks for stopping by to read, my tender-hearted friend.

      Like

  4. smilecalm says:

    so clever this web, Diane!
    where there’s perception
    there’s deception 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love both the image and the imagery you created for it with words!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erik says:

    “perception decides the truth”

    This used to be a freeing sentiment for me, one that remains true in some positive regards; yet in the current political climate in the US, it’s also become somewhat of a double-edged sword.

    I went to the Boston Book Festival today. Following one panel discussion with middle-ages fiction authors, there was a short Q&A. A boy of about 11 approached the mic and asked, “Where do you come up with your ideas?” I thought the author who replied to him was spot-on: “All around me. I look out my window, I see a hill, and I wonder what could be under it. Fantasy writers, I think, see portals to other worlds everywhere: in closets, under beds, behind bookshelves. I’ll bet we could talk for a few minutes right here in this room, and you’d be able to discover dozens of ways the ordinary objects all around us right now could have magical ideas hiding in them.”

    Though this image is fanciful, you do such a wonderful job, Diana, with that “reading-into”: finding the dozen stories hiding wherever your eyes, ears and imagination happen to be at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely comment, Erik. Thank you. I picked the image before I knew how hard it was going to be! Ha ha. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. The Boston Book Festival sounds really fun. I need to get myself to the Portland one next summer. I think we all have story-telling abilities inside us. It’s a human gift that often only needs a pause in our high-speed world to spark the imagination – especially with kids. 🙂 Happy Sunday, my friend. Enjoy a bit of imagining.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy for you to finally get to use that image. Writing just oozes out of you, doesn’t it? You make it seem so effortless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not effortless, Betsy. At times it oozes and other times I have to stick my fingers down my throat and vomit it up! Lol. How’s that for an image? I’m glad you liked this little story. I actually love writing for prompts. 🙂 Happy Weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Perception decides the truth.” A powerful ending, Diana. I love how closely you examine the photo you are writing about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elizabeth says:

    This is an impressive image! I love your first sentence, we many kinds of poison in this world, generally they are so close to us, and we drink from them every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful! So druidy (yes I’m making that a word) and mystical. Your way with words really is second to none ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Vashti Q says:

    Hi, Diana! Firstly, thanks for the prompt photo. I loved your story and poem. Both had fascinating descriptions and imagery. Have a great weekend! 😀 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] This month we will use a photo prompt chosen by last month’s “Photo- Prompt” Poet of the Week ~ Diana Peach. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! Love this, a fantasy haibun. And the image is very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic combination of imaginative words, Diana and what an amazing picture. The creatures are too creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Adorably cute! I loved trying to figure out what kind of creature the narrator was.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Diana, your talent leaves me shaking my head in amazement. Beautiful, whimsical, yet profound.
    Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, the perfect image for you! Love how you combined the story and tanka … both deliciously dark and mysterious! Your sense of atmosphere is intense and conveyed brilliantly! Always know I’m in for a treat with your flash stories and poetry! Happy Writing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fantastic fantasy, Diana! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Steven Baird says:

    Such a beautiful and lyrical presentation, Diana. And you did choose a great image to accompany it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Steven. I chose that image a month ago because I thought it would be challenging. And then the story took a long time to come – I was the one challenged. Lol. But it was fun to write in the end. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. dgkaye says:

    Oooh, loved the story and the perfect tanka to go with it Diana. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Solitaire says:

    I simply love it Diana!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Beautifully written, Diana, as always. The imagery is brilliant! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. J.D. Riso says:

    So bewitching, your words are like an incantation, Diana. That phosphorescent green in the photo reminds me of absinthe.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Val Boyko says:

    Terrific combination of image and words 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  25. kevin cooper says:

    Good to see you back in the swing, Diana. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I loved the amazing description of the creatures. Brilliantly done!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ah, the melody of your words tap me into another world – extraordinary writing, Diana – my best to you. Eric.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Your writing is so lyrical, Diana- just beautiful ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Staci Troilo says:

    So poignant! Nicely done, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. This is quite extraordinary, Diana. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Fabulous imagery Diana – backward music, faceless hag and all. It makes me slow down and fully embrace the images that arise in my mind as I read. Strangely I found the backwards music a little disturbing and the faceless hag beneficent………..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting, Pauline. I tried not to make anything particularly good or evil, so I’m glad you got that! This one didn’t come as easily as some do, but it did the trick. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 Hope you’re well and enjoying your spring!

      Like

  32. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Beautiful imaginary! You created such a vivd world to compliment the picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Sarah says:

    ‘A faceless hag’ – now that gives me the shivers! 😂 There are few things as creepy as a no-face, at least to me, and when no zombies are around. 😄 Sorry, I think I’m in Halloween overdrive at the moment. 😄 Love your tanka and the pic you chose – so much colour in both. 😄💚

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Violet Lentz says:

    this window into your imagination leaves me breathless.. oh how I wish I could imagine such things…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you have an amazing imagination, Violet. In this case, I just tried to not make sense! Lol. I liked writing from the pov of a magical creature – I’d never done that before. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  35. balroop2013 says:

    I wonder who creates such images that mar the face of beauty around it… “perilous beauty”… well-said Diana. To be honest, I didn’t like the image but the writing that it evoked is fabulous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Balroop. I don’t know the artist’s intent, but it was fun to interpret and try to come up with something. A challenging one for me even though I picked it (probably why I picked it.) Happy Writing, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. memadtwo says:

    “choose your poison”–the perfect solution to life’s riddles. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

  37. trentpmcd says:

    I thought the picture would take a story, so you did a Haibun with your Tanka to make it a story – smart 🙂 Nice little story and poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Wonderful piece, Diana. Love the smiling fangs. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  39. The tale was so perfect for the image. Love your creativity. Very inspiring.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. You have unparalleled creativity, Diana. I just finished Sunwielder–oh my. How do you think that stuff up? And now there’s music that plays backwards. I love the ending–a bit of truth that applies to so much–perception is reality.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed Sunwielder, Jacqui. It’s my husband’s favorite. I had fun with this little story, adding in quirkiness when it fit. Thanks so much for stopping by. Now back to the cockpit. 🙂

      Like

  41. Delightful image, story, and tanka Diana. You might have awakened my slumbering muse! Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Absolutely love this story (and the photo you chose). Dark fairytale vibe. 🖤 Beautifully written, both flash and poem.

    Liked by 4 people

  43. Beautifully written Diana. I love your chosen image.

    Liked by 3 people

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