(reblog), haiku, photography, tanka

Dawn Can Endure

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Tho originally written in response to a challenge on a blog other than CDHK, the tanka here can also respond to

Carpe Diem #1214 dawn

because it uses the word dawn and has fragment/phrase structure on 2 levels: between the haiku and the rest of the tanka as well as within the haiku itself.

My tanka responding to a challenge posted by Patrick Jennings is a riff on the splendid photo he provided, with hills that seem to go on forever in both time and space.

Originally posted by Patrick Jennings in
[Evanescent ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #89]:

himalayan-foothills-sunrise-kunjapuri-devi-temple-rishikesh-uttarakhand-india-copy

View original

Seize the Sunrise
Evanescent dawn.
Do hills endure forever?
No, but long enough.
~ ~ ~ ~
Art subverts time with pixels;
the moment also endures.

STEM, tanka

Becalmed — Then and Now

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Strictly speaking, this post is not a response to Becalmed ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #91 because I used neither the challenge photo nor an image that I made.  By posting after the challenge closed, I hope to acknowledge the inspiration w/o having a pingback look too much like a bungled response.

For sailors on the open sea in the past, to be becalmed was always a hardship and sometimes a disaster, as described in Goethe’s poem Meerestille (or Calm Sea).  I got the image and English translation dislayed in this post from a website celebrating German Romantic literature.  U can read another English translation of Goethe’s poem here.

My tanka expresses yesterday’s fears in today’s language.

calm-sea_849x1024

Becalmed in Olden Times
 Viking longships moved
 with oars pulled by aching arms.
 Oarless ships stood still.
 Oarless crews waited for wind,
 while food and water ran low.

As the photo and poem in the challenge so aptly illustrate, to be becalmed can be a pleasant experience nowadays.  Admire the crescent moon and furl the sails.  Start the engine and head for home.  Be confident of getting there.

My tanka expresses yesterday’s fears in today’s language, lest we forget how high we have climbed and how far we could fall, in technology if not in poetry.

haiku, photography, STEM, tanka

Willing to Muddle Thru

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curtain-complex

Like the conflict between living in the moment and planning for the future, abstract/concrete (or general/specific) is a conflict that can only be managed, not avoided or resolved.  Trying to be 100% one or the other does not work.  We must muddle thru, preferably with awareness that what works for one person at one time will not work for all people at all times.  This post muddles thru the abstract/concrete conflict with a mostly abstract tanka inspired by excerpts from the mostly concrete poetry in 2 posts by others.

Consider the first of 4 stanzas posted in {underground (20170523)}:

© Crow
i have learned the hard way
that just because something
has been buried does not mean
it’s dead

It could stand alone as a fine short poem.  It also inspired the fourth of 7 short stanzas posted (along with an interesting biographical sketch of the 17-th century painter Caravaggio) in {Caravaggio Dreams}:

© Poet Rummager
Do you not see what I’ve buried deep,
has dug itself out to find me?

Maybe it’s because of my math background that I felt these excerpts were more powerful standing alone than in their original contexts, with concrete details about zombie cannibals and Norse gods (Crow) and a dream encounter with Caravaggio (Poet Rummager).  While I do prefer cremation to internment and do appreciate Caravaggio’s pioneering of expressive chiaroscuro, I found all those details distracting.  I was moved by the quoted stanzas despite what went with them.

One of the virtues of haiku poetry is that there is scant room for anything irrelevant, so I tried putting my takeaway into a haiku.  But I found that format a little too restrictive.  What happened after whatever was buried deep had dug itself out?  My haiku left open the possibility that it might have just toddled happily away, w/o the ominous implications of the first line from Crow’s stanza and the last 3 words from Poet Rummager’s stanza.  Wanting my poetry to be forthrightly ominous rather than ambiguous, I extended the abstract haiku to a tanka with (as it happens) concrete imagery in the 2 added lines.

Empty Grave
I buried something
that was not already dead.
It dug itself out.
~ ~ ~ ~
It shook like a wet dog and
followed my scent to find me.

it-dug-itself-out

© Doddis | Dreamstime.com

Tho a uniform level of abstraction might be nice, I can live with the muddle.  At least in visual art, the distinction between abstract and concrete is somewhat muddled anyway (and not just because of photography).

curtain-simple

(reblog), haiku, photography, tanka

Seize the Sunrise

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My tanka responding to a challenge posted by Patrick Jennings is a riff on the splendid photo he provided, with hills that seem to go on forever in both time and space.

Originally posted by Patrick Jennings in
[Evanescent ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #89]:

himalayan-foothills-sunrise-kunjapuri-devi-temple-rishikesh-uttarakhand-india-copy

View original

Seize the Sunrise
Evanescent dawn.
Do hills endure forever?
No, but long enough.
~ ~ ~ ~
Art subverts time with pixels;
the moment also endures.

haiku, photography, tanka

Forward, toward Light

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Should we honor ancient masters by trying to follow in their footsteps?  No.

© Adjei Agyei-Baah

ancient road…

the trails of the masters

absorbed in fallen leaves

© Mellow Curmudgeon

Footprints fade but insights shine,

lighting the path forward now.

sunlit-path

In some ways, a century ago is already ancient.  Photography’s pioneers worked with nasty chemicals in darkened rooms to produce grayscale prints.  Modern photographers can (and should!) honor them by pressing forward and building on their work in our digital world of colored pixels.

haiku, photography, tanka

Spunky Flowers

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As my earlier post in praise of dandelions noted, the same spunk that frustrates prissy gardeners also thrusts green and gold into the grayest and grimmest of our cityscapes.  I like that tradeoff, so I am glad I can respond to

© Ogiwara Seisensui
dandelion dandelion
on the sandy beach
spring opens its eyes
© Mellow Curmudgeon
Glowing suns rise golden from
sand and lawns and sidewalk cracks.

DandelionViolets

(reblog), haiku, tanka

Migrating Monarchs

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A recent post by Christy Draper on Dancing Echoes honors the start of the epic autumn migration of monarch butterflies with a photo and a haiku, both beautiful.  After effectively reblogging that post below, I continue the story with another haiku and a tanka.

When I worked in a building with a glass wall overlooking a broad lawn, I sometimes drew strength from the sight of migrating monarchs trudging thru the air with steady wing beats.  They were doing what they had to do, and I returned to doing what I had to do.

Originally posted as Autumn Monarchs | Dancing Echoes:

enlight1

Migrating Monarchs
Tumble from atop the trees
Black and orange leaves

• • •

View original

Monarch butterflies
migrating to Mexico:
orange wings of will.
~ ~ ~ ~
Tiring as I trudge
toward an unseen distant goal,
I see the monarchs.
Mexico is far away,
but they will get there someday.