Tanka for a Warm Christmas

Hi Friends,
Today’s poetry nerd term is Tanka, which is a form of Japanese poetry. It precedes the more familiar haiku and is very similar in construction. The poem itself consists of 31 syllables, and in English is translated into a 5 line poem. There are 5 syllables in the first and third lines, and 7 in the second, fourth, and fifth lines. It is very similar to the sonnet in that there is usually a turn, or expansion of the subject matter between lines 3 and 4. But enough of the formality….here’s a poem about a warm Christmas.

Tanka for a Warm Christmas
by Julie Sumner

Firewood now half-off,
Lenten roses choose Advent,
Bring amethyst blooms,
Honor Christ’s birth–He who’s no
Respecter of the weather.

A Ghazal for Midwinter

Hi Friends,
This edition of windowonwords.com is the first in a series of poetic nerdiness. In an attempt to improve my writing skills, I am taking on more formal compositions of different types of poetry. It’s sort of like you all get to watch me do a 10-mile training run before the official half-marathon begins, only I hope it’s a lot more entertaining than watching me run 10 miles.

Anyhow, the first experiment I’m trying is a ghazal. A ghazal (not a gazelle) is a form of poetry common in Arabic and Hindu poetry, and often deals with longing. It has a strict form and requires the poet to “sign” her name in the next to last line. For a more comprehensive explanation of this ancient form, check out http://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/2013/10/07/ghazal-poetry/ .

A Ghazal for Midwinter
by Julie Sumner

Where are you hiding under this wide, grey-hued sky?
Wild geese keep your secret–they own this rough-hewn sky.

Do you despair of finding one of your own kind?
Dirt cannot hold such grief–it flies, meets blue-mooned sky.

Are you teetering on the verge of extinction?
Last of a breed, red feathers in a wind-strewn sky.

Have you forgotten how to build yourself a nest?
No stops for rest on your endless flight of blue sky.

Return from your migration, Julie, remember:
Everything blooms under white sunlight and June sky.

Flight or Fight?

Flight or Fight?
by Julie Sumner

“Forget round-trip,”
Advises the woman with pelican eyes,
“One-way is the only way
If you really want to be
On this flight,
Expect a smooth ride–
Though it may not happen,
Take comfort
In your screen-lit gadgets or
The airplane safety features,
And whatever you do–
Pay no attention
To the weight of flight
Expanding unchecked
In your chest.”

Maybe bruises
Would have been better.