Children Forget

Title: Russian Dancers
Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: 1899 via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459097

Children Forget

women dance their prayers

crowned in wreaths of wild color

in whirling skirts of flowers

arms entwined with arms

else breaking hearts bleed red streams

and children forget

love exists and joy endures

the dark whims of violence

nightmare days of warring men

**

The #TankaTuesday challenge this week explores Ekphrastic poetry inspired by visual art. The artwork was chosen by Colleen from WordCraft Poetry and poet and blogger Selma Martin. Their selection relies heavily on current events, however they wanted to be clear that their choice “is not a celebration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and they both “support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty.”

This poem is a syllabic form called a chōka with syllable counts of 5-7-7-5-7-5-7-7-7.

I chose to write about women as the bearers of hope, the guardians of children, and the protectors of joy and love during the dark days of war. (I know countless men share these qualities too).

A Learned Girl #TankaTuesday

The Crystal Ball painted by John William Waterhouse

(A short break in the TBR Challenge reblogs for a little poetry)

A Learned Girl

She is fortunate to read at all. Her slender fingers stray from the pages, unblemished but for a random papercut. Beyond her window, other women toil until their skin toughens into leather, and raw knuckles wear down to bones. Their spines crack beneath the weight of necessity, poor lots destined from the day they were born. She is privileged. This she knows. Granted by happenstance her wish to learn the arts of anatomy and history and politics. To peruse through pages of poetry and philosophy, to dip her quill and tally accounts. She will excel in the learned world of power. But she is still a girl.

studies surrender

lost in red velvet daydreams

murmurs of passion

love’s silk breath blushes her cheeks

wishes in a crystal ball

*

Thank you to Colleen over at Wordcraft Poetry for the lovely image to use as an prompt for this week’s Ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poems respond to a piece of art. I went with a tanka prose poem. It has one paragraph and one tanka with 5/7/5/7/7 syllables. 

The Sea Witch’s Bargain

Something short today! Yay!

This poem is in response to Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge. It needed to include synonyms for Eager & Hope provided by Sally Cronin. It’s a syllabic poem called a Double Ennead consisting of 3 stanzas with syllables 6/5/11/6/5.

My goal was to capture the theme of my current WIP: The Ferryman and the Sea Witch.

The Sea Witch’s Bargain

Beware a dark bargain
A craft of desire
Conspired with the merrow’s silver-tailed witch
Her golden-tongued harpoon
Bristles with veiled barbs

She feasts on treasure-dreams
Conjured from sea beds
Her oaths, leviathans steeped in deception
Plunged in mountainous waves
She drowns the reckless

Or forsake her plunder
Mortal in the brine
A quiet heart surrenders to airlessness
Clasping pearls of courage
Deep in love redeemed

Invisible Gifts

Pixabay image by Barbara A. Lane

This is my last post for a few weeks as I sign off for the holidays. I wish you all a happy holiday season filled with peace, love, and good health. May we have a new year full of kindness and hope. ❤

This poem is in response to the image Colleen Chesebro provided for her #Tanka Tuesday Challenge. The poem is a garland cinquain.

Bow Down

Bow down

to winter’s wheel

when sacred smoke ascends

blends in the hushed whiteness of breath

spirit

sleepless

gather our dreams

life’s unspoken secrets

tales of longing words of solace

unseen

our eyes

cannot behold

the warp and weft of love

nor peace and bliss, a swallow’s song

a chant

our hands

cannot unwrap

whispers of forgiveness

a prayer in a child’s heart

a hope

in grace

we surrender

to winter’s darkest night

the gifts of the invisible

renewed

bow down

gather our dreams

the weft and weave of love

a prayer in a child’s heart

renewed.

Snow Child #Tanka Tuesday

Illustration by John Bauer via Pixabay

I had the great honor of choosing the image for Colleen’s syllabic poetry challenge this week. So, of course, I had to play.

This is a crown cinquain. Each of the five stanzas has five lines of 2/4/6/8/2 syllables.

Snow Child

Winter

frees her fair hair

hushed in her reflection

by the sparrow’s river she kneels

entranced

she wills

doves to gather

on the night’s bare branches

as autumn yields its golden crown

to cold

she weaves

her white tresses

into lace coverlets

unfurls across the towhee’s nest

her gift

magic

silvers the boughs

stirred by the horned owl’s wing

in flight between the evergreen

she waits

snow child

whispers a hymn

rapt by her own beauty

tranquil in the holy dawn of

winter

A Beholder’s Eye #Tanka Tuesday

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge this week was to write a syllabic poem based on a #PhotoPrompt provided by Trent McDonald, or a #SynonymsOnly prompt provided by David Ellis, using synonyms of the words “make” and “move.”

I decided to do both in a double nonet. My synonyms are “mirrors” and “turned.”

Trent’s photo upside down

A Beholder’s Eye

a beholder’s eye mirrors the mind

blind to the bafflement of lies

where seeing’s not believing

a world turned upside down

in clever madness

leading white swans

to slaughter

plucked of

heart

yet

wisdom

shall surface

for truth is love

unfurled on bright wings

beyond proud illusions

swans glide on tranquil waters

holding unguarded the others’

beloved reflections face to face

Sacred Ground #Tanka Tuesday

pixabay image

The soil is charmed, morning-cool, and damp from last night’s dew. Droplets of light embroider a rose’s scarlet petals, and the zucchini by the stone wall lifts its giant green hands to catch the midsummer sun. Warmth drips like a fountain. The trees clap their leaves in approval. I don’t wear gloves and my fingernails are caked with dirt. Today, I’ll plant another batch of wrinkled kale and buttery coreopsis. I’ll pick broccoli and make a bouquet of wild daisies to brighten my kitchen sill. The bees hum a symphony. As I brush my fingers on my jeans, the enchantment of the hallowed earth sustains me for another day.

Despair cannot bind
A spirit to hopelessness
A heart to darkness
When rooted in sacred ground
Consecrated by the Earth

 

***

A haibun/tanka for Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday.

We had to use synonyms of Hex and Blessed (enchantment and hallowed)

Ritual #Tanka Tuesday

image copyright 2019 Willow Willers

Ritual

mehndi
love painted hands
palms offering the world
the beauty of hearts awakened
sacred

umber
scented color
my bridal ritual
bless me with joyful abundance
wisdom

sweet love
enchant my skin
butterflies transform me
lotus stirs my soul to flower
freedom

water
ripples of change
sunbirds carry my prayers
on gossamer dragonfly wings
reborn

guide me
auspicious art
drawn in ancient symbols
even the gods and goddesses
adorned

 

**

My first crown cinquain ever.
Written in response to Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge.
The prompt this week was this beautiful photo by Willow Willers.

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.

Fades to Black

Pixabay image by Susan Cipriano

A double Etheree for Colleen’s mid-month poetry photo challenge. This month’s photo was selected by Jane Dougherty.

Fades to Black

white

ice melts

in trickles

etching gullies

calving blue glaciers

until oceans submerge

gray ashes of field and farm

when birds and butterflies succumb

will we bray for justice, thoughts and prayers

proclaim false innocence, righteous despair

or rue our excuses and pay our debts

spill tears for an absent tomorrow

bewildered as our children drown

between islands of lost trees

rooted in salt waters

among dying leaves

a wasted world

of green life

fades to

black