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.

7 April 2017

The Child Listening

the child listening 

to the flower with closed eyes
doesn’t know he’s dead
already and the flower
also dead whispers of life

For Day 7 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads', Let's Paint a Picture, we are invited to write a tanka on a painting by Kaoro Kawano.

The image is from WikiArt and is used according to Fair Use Principles.

I usually don't worry about strict syllable count for tanka and do worry about other traditions; this time it's rather the opposite.

I wanted the small ambiguities (which may be too small to be seen!).

Yes, I was thinking of the children's deaths in Syria – but I am sadly sure they would not have been so gentle as my poem implies.


  1. This is so moving, Rosemary. I immediately visualized the twins held in their father's arms, perfect in every way, but never to flower.

    Thank you.

    1. PS. Just a note, Rosemary. Your font is very tiny, I struggled to make out some of the words.

    2. Thanks, Kerry. Someone else recently remarked that too. Obviously it doesn't look so to me. Some other blogs do, which is a wee bit irritating, and then I use the 'zoom in' viewing option on my computer, or the enlarging finger gesture on my iPad. But perhaps not all devices have these options. I'll try a different font and size.

  2. It's an image that conjures up other-worldliness for me and your Tanka succeeds in echoing that in it's form.

  3. Really fine take on the challenge and the painting. A golden nail for that coffin.

  4. So poignant and lovely. One hopes the flower's whispers comforted the child.

  5. It's terrible that I didn't have to read your note to know where the emotions were coming from. I think, today, most thinking hearts can't escape this latest horror.

    Their passing might not have been gentle, but that will never stop us from wishing peace for their souls (and, eventually, for us).

  6. Such a poignant write, Rosemary

  7. I was dead as a child (abused) until a teacher {a flower) called.

  8. Oh, my. That flower as lips, whispering of death and life to a child. Whew. This is powerful, Rosemary.

  9. O. This suits the day, the awful day we have "taught them a lesson." Ha! There is only death and dying. Plucked.

  10. Like you, I am sad knowing their passing was likely not so gentle, and angry that it happened at all.

  11. What gentle things in life to evoke such a powerful poem. Sadness and horror are sweeping the world.

  12. This goes straight to my heart. It is sad, but yet so beautiful.


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