I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

9 May 2015

Uneasy Tanka

A fragment of leaf
dances, frail yet insistent
in the white shallows —
withdrawing, approaching
on flirting tide, teasing sea.


With her long fingers
she kept moulding the wet clay,
but it gnawed at her
with its great blankness, empty.
Some truths must be shaped by knife.


The suburb is masked.
Each door hides a secret face;
each house holds stories
pent up, threatening to spill
like wastes unflushed, or dark blood.

Written in response to 'Get listed for May' at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

The word list we were asked to use came from poems by Neruda, but I don't know that my efforts owe much to him! The words, from three different poems, were fragment / insistent / withdrawing / sea; clay / gnawed / empty / knife; suburb / face / house / blood. I decided to make a separate poem for each sequence, and the tanka form suggested itself — 'uneasy' because they get progressively darker. I'm not sure where that mood came from — but perhaps, after all, from Neruda, getting into my subconscious.


  1. This is so beautiful... and you managed to use all of Neruda's words! :D
    I m truly inspired! Great work :D

    Lots of love

  2. The second is just stunning!

  3. I like the first one the best, Rosemary.

  4. Exquisite! #2 is especially startling with its knife--and #3 with threatening bloody stories!

  5. Each is very cool, Rosemary--I found the second and third most compelling--They all are very cool--evocative of a mood and insistent on something beyond the easy. Thanks. k.

  6. Using all the words and in a form! I am impressed. This is lovely, and I particularly like the second stanza.

  7. Excellent.

    "Some truths must be shaped by knife." Unfortunately, this is so true.

    This is my favorite part:

    "pent up, threatening to spill
    like wastes unflushed, or dark blood."

  8. The middle stanza brings such vivid and painful images. I almost see her, wetting the clay with her tears, looking for ways to turn the world so that she won't have to use use a knife to carve the truth into someone she loves... or into herself.

  9. Actually I like how each of them ends. It's like a surprise in each of them the truth a knife especially strong,

  10. they do darken, but if you read the original pens from which the words are culled, you'll see they somehow were dipped in the same ink, as it were. thanks for adding your voice, Rosemary ~

    1. I read them once, and didn't write my verses until 24 hours later. I guess things percolated overnight!

  11. Love the images through all tanka from giddy leave to truth of life with knife in it....

  12. Each of these three are artful and full of thought and image that goes deeper than the few words used might suggest. My favorite is the second.

  13. Wow, what brilliant use of the word list. They are all fantastic, but the second one speaks to me. I have had to apply a knife to do some of the shaping my life has been going through lately.

  14. Excellent thoughts. I love a three!