tanka

tanka--
small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Monday, February 16, 2015

inlet


the shark’s tooth 
like a dragon’s tongue
filling my palm. . . 
bubbles of sea foam
on shifting sand 

~Atlas Poetica 18, July 2014

I am an inlet
of the only sea—
starfish 
lodge in the tide pool
of my being

~Moonbathing 10, spring/summer 2014

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lost Worlds


snowmelt
from mountain glaciers
blesses
Pachamama’s belly . . .
her rising fever chills me

breathless
at 13,000 feet
I blow softly
across two coca leaves . . . 
the ritual of wishes

twilight
in the Temple of Virgins
on Moon Island—
I leave an offering
of blood-red gladiolus

the Uru people
live on islands made of reeds
cut adrift
I reach for the shore
in this river of stars


~Atlas Poetica 18, July 2014


This tanka sequence grew out of a trip to Peru & Bolivia in October, 2013.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

wings

music lesson—
the caged bird 
beating inside me
learns how to sing
her own sky into being

~Ribbons 10:3, Fall 2014


I wait
without wings
in the empty chapel . . .
organ music lifts me
by the marrow of my bones

~A Hundred Gourds 4:1, Dec. 2014



Saturday, January 24, 2015

signposts


knees to chin
on a bike too small
I pedal
toward crossroads
shrouded in mist


~Bamboo Hut 1: 2, Jan. 2014


signposts
pointing this way, that way
toward Unity
and Union Grove . . .
seeds scatter in the wind


~Bright Stars 6, Fall 2014

Saturday, January 17, 2015

fingerprints

the four arms 
of the Milky Way
spiraling around us
the four hands of Shiva
fingerprint the stars


~All the Shells: Tanka Society of America 
Members' Anthology 2014


I need a name
for the wainwright of stars
who unfurls 
each fiddlehead to fern . . .
worthless, this cloistered tongue

~cattails Jan. 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

shapeshifting

the gray fox
slipping like mist
through a shimmer
of moonlight 
my shadow



shapeshifting
through deep time. . .
inside the wing of a bat
the bones of my hand 
take flight

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Wayfarer

leaves drift 
across my path 
this autumn 
I lose the end 
of Ariadne’s thread

naked
under my cloak of dreams
I journey
toward a glass mountain. . . 
a sparrow hops in the dust

listening
for the heartbeat
of mystery—
a dry leaf crinkles
in the hollow of my hand

a map 
etched in frost
on a sycamore leaf
at the toe of my boot
. . .  you are here

snowflakes
on the tip 
of my tongue
the myriad names 
of god



~Bright Stars 6: An Organic Tanka Anthology, Autumn 2014