#TankaTuesday #Ekphrastic Poetry

Merril D. Smith selected a Lithograph for this week’s Ekphrastic challenge. The history behind the image is interesting. It’s called, “Visitor to German Town.” Created in 1935, the image conjures the past and the present.

Notes:

Following the ravages of the Great Depression in the 1930s, a growing number of homeowners were forced out of their homes. In this 1935 lithograph, artist Benton Spruance’s allegorical figure of Death, sitting on the steps of a foreclosed home, comments on the spread of vacant homes in his Germantown neighborhood.

https://libwww.freelibrary.org/digital/item/66272

There certainly is darkness in the image, but I saw something different. For me, the skeleton represented a late-night visit by a ghost in this cinquain.

specters—
ancestors meet
what once was, is now gone
change decomposes the living
death waits

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Or maybe this haibun about “change?”

“A Deadly Intermission”

In late 2020, Covid rolled in like a storm on the heels of the cold autumn wind. Pestilence wore the dry bones of death, rattling deep in the chests of its victims. Life as we knew it ended, and a new world grew out of the old ways of thinking.

death awaits
change your perspective
wear a mask

© Colleen M. Chesebro

#TankaTuesday: #PhotoPrompt – haiku

It’s the hottest it’s been in Michigan this summer. When I walk in the morning, I can smell Autumn right around the corner. Cheryl picked out the best photo for our challenge this week.

Timeanddate.com shares:

The Perseids are one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. They occur every year between July 17 and August 24 and tend to peak around August 9-13.

timeanddate.com
falling stars—
flashes of promise
for a new day

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Think you can’t write poetry? Join me, and learn some tips and tricks in writing syllabic poetry. Find the book on Amazon: mybook.to/WordCraftProsePoetry.

My latest book will have you crafting poetry the same day. Here is a recent review:

D. W. Peach reviewed May 25, 2021: This book is a must-have for writers of syllabic poetry. Chesebro has the experience and credentials to have crafted this easy to follow and detailed look at twelve forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry, as well as their variations. Styles range from the well-known haiku and tanka to the less familiar gogyohka and etheree. Though written for poets beginning their exploration of these beautiful forms, I learned quite a lot (and I’ve been writing several of the forms for years).

Chesebro’s explanations not only include the technical aspects of each poetic form, but a quick history, the style’s creative intent, and tips for finding inspiration and writing. These aspects of each poetic form are conveyed in a concise manner, and each section is followed by examples of her poetry and the poetry of authors I’ve enjoyed for years. The poems not only illustrate the preceding lesson but are beautiful in their own right.

The quality of this book and its citations make it useful as a “text book” on the craft of writing syllabic poetry, appropriate for academic settings. Chesebro’s conversational style, easy to understand explanations, and poetic selections also make it accessible to a wide range of learners. The book’s format lends itself to lesson-planning for young poets.

Highly recommended to poets who are just starting out or who’ve been writing for years. An excellent learning tool filled with wonderful examples of the forms.

You can find my books here: Amazon Author Page

“American Carnage,” #MirrorCinquain, #NaPoWritMo, #PhotoPrompt, #TankaTuesday

This week, Anita Dawes selected the photo for the Ekphrastic photo prompt challenge on Word Craft: Prose & Poetry. The two cinquains will also take care of my poem-a-day commitment for yesterday and today, including NaPoWritMo.

I missed the opportunity to post this on Earth Day as was my intent. It’s been a busy week. My mirror cinquain follows:

Image by mollyroselee from Pixabay
"American Carnage"

death stinks
of destruction
waterless regions scorched 
American carnage laid bare
ravaged
by greed
politics voided common sense
the mother goddess bleeds
searching for her
revenge

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Join me every Tuesday on wordcraftpoetry.com for the Tanka Tuesday Syllabic Poetry Challenge.

“The Dryad,” #haiku

D. L. (Denise) Finn shared the image for this week’s poetry challenge:

Image credit: D. L. Finn

I wrote a few haiku (not really a series) staying true to the rules of including a kigo (season word) and the pivot.

I love the ethereal quality to this photo. There is plenty of magic to inspire any poet!

The Dryad

From the mighty oak—
winter dryad spirits rise
Artemis rouses

***

nymphs tied to tree homes
souls married, inter-wreathed as one
love blossoms in spring

***

hamadryad fae—
bonded hardwood spirits dwell
heavy snow brings death

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The mythology of the dryad is one of my favorite subjects. Not only are the two entities bound in life, they perish together if the tree dies. Their existence is an interdependent relationship.

“Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, and chastity. She also was the protector and friend to all dryad beings. For these reasons, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first propitiating the tree-nymphs.” (Wikipedia.com)

Join me every Tuesday on wordcraftpoetry.com for the Tanka Tuesday Syllabic Poetry Challenge.

“At the Precipice,” #BadgerHexastich, #PhotoPrompt

This week, the Tanka Tuesday Ekphrastic poetry challenge asked us to write our poetry using the psychology of color. We can take the image at face value, or choose a specific color in the rainbow umbrella to write about, or we can write about the lack of color. However, we interpret this image is up to us… we just have to make sure to incorporate the psychology of color.

Notice the “gray” bland coloring of the waterfall in the image. Gray is an interesting neutral, stuck between black and white, neither good nor evil. This color signifies distance, remoteness, almost a cold reckoning. I used the Badger Hexastich for this image because the short syllable structure helped to convey my word choice. The first stanza accentuates the gray.

The second stanza zeroes in on the symbolism of the rainbow umbrella – diversity found in the colors of the rainbow.

This Badger Hexastich deals with opposites: alone, and with you. Check out the cheatsheet to learn more about this form. It’s updated on wordcraftpoetry. com.

At the Precipice

Alone—
cold reticence
blending in with the crowd
playing it safe, balanced
turbulently
detached

With you— 
diversity
embracing life's choices
happy together in
our unity
as one

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The first double ennead challenge is up at the Saddle Up Saloon at carrot ranch.com. Join in and learn a new form HERE.

Join me every Tuesday on wordcraftpoetry.com for the Tanka Tuesday Syllabic Poetry Challenge.

“You Can’t Go Home Again,” #Senryu

Aishwarya, from Kitty’s Verses, picked an excellent photo for this month’s photo prompt. There is so much to write about.

I chose to write a senryu this week. Senryu are untitled, but for this challenge we use titles to keep our posts straight.

I don’t know… this photo haunted me. There with so many poetic possibilities. Finally, I settled on the old saying, “You can’t go home again.” Those railroad tracks definitely lead to the unknown.

There’s something poetic about the first time you leave home. When you return, it’s never like it was before you left. Time marches on and our perspectives change. We view life through the lens of a fool’s paradise. You know, the feeling of happiness you hold onto because you’re ignorant of the negative aspects of a situation? It’s all part of the growing up process.

“You Can’t Go Home Again,” #Senryu

a fool’s paradise
journey into the unknown
never to return


©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Once in a Blue Moon, #Shadorma #PhotoPrompt

©2020 Ritu Bhathal

This week for my poetry challenge, Ritu picked an interesting photo. I got excited at what the rest of you saw or felt from the image. Some detected a malevolence, while others conveyed a normal evening with the moon overhead.

Shadorma poetry has its own rhythm and flow, called a sestet, a six-line stanza poem with syllables: 3/5/3/3/7/5 (26 syllables). As far as I can tell these poems don’t rhyme.

In my poetic research, I can find little out about the form. Supposedly, it originated in Spain, but I can’t back that up with facts. It could be a made-up form… does it matter? Someone made up all of these forms at one time or another. Have fun and experiment with the Shadorma.

Once in a Blue Moon

moonlit oaths
broadcast to the night
shuttered panes
secrets kept
in old segregated rooms
unheard truths remain

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

“Promises,” #Gogyoka

Thanks to Ken Gierke, I’ve added the Gogyoka in English to our syllabic poetry forms, bringing the count up to ten.

The Gogyoka (pronounced go-gee-yoh-kuh) form is a five-line Japanese form with no restriction on length. Created by Enta Kusakabe in 1983, there are five rules:

  1. Gogyohka is a new form of short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo.
  2. Gogyohka has five lines, but exceptionally may have four or six.
  3. Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase with a line-break after each phrase or breath.
  4. Gogyohka has no restraint on numbers of words or syllables.
  5. The theme of Gogyohka is unrestricted.

Robert Lee Brewer from Writer’s Digest shares:

What constitutes a phrase in gogyohka?

From the examples I’ve seen of the form, the definition of phrase is in the eye of the beholder. A compound or complex sentence is probably too long, but I’ve seen phrases as short as one word and others more than five words.

So it’s a little loose, which is kind of the theory behind gogyohka. It’s meant to be concise (five lines) but free (variable line length with each phrase). No special seasonal or cutting words. No subject matter constraints. Just five lines of poetic phrases.

Robert Lee Brewer

So, using this week’s #PhotoPrompt image from my poetry challenge, I’ve written the simplest of forms – The Gogyoka in 5 lines, short phrases:

Image ©2019 Willow Willers

Promises

blossoms bring happiness
buds produce fertility, joy
peacock reveals beauty
vines promise longevity, perseverance
soul awakens from the lotus

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

“Disappearing,” #Tanka #Prose

The image is from Pixabay, by Michael Seibt

Diana Peach sure picked a doozy of an image for us to work with for our photo challenge this week. I thought long and hard.

I kept zeroing in on the poppy and the snake. There was a story there, and I had to tell it. I imagined a woman in the late 1800s abused by men and looking for a refuge.

I reclined on the dirty sofa propped up by greasy pillows. I didn’t care. My entire reason for living existed in this room. I was ready to retreat to a place where nobody could hurt me again.

I held the long-handled pipe over the oil lamp, waiting for the heat to release the vapors. I breathed in and disappeared into the verdant mist.

hedonic songs taunt
while green sylphs dance in my head
opium dreams plague
my dear snake familiars
gift a comatose release

©2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

Read more about the opium dens in American history HERE.

I’m ready for Trick or Treat! Are you?