Saddle Up Saloon Double Ennead Challenge No. 5, Recap

I’ve found an amazing group of poets at Carrot where every third Monday of the month, I host the Double Ennead Challenge as a guest at the Saddle Up Saloon.

Follow the link to the challenge…

What’s a double ennead? The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

This month, I asked the poets to take their double ennead through the TUFF challenge like we do for the Carrot Ranch Rodeo. I illustrated how to take your double ennead from 99 syllables to 48 syllables, to 24 syllables to finally, a haiku (12 syllable poem).

I want to commend these poets for taking this challenge on! Bravo! I love the concept of the TUFF challenge because it shows writers how important the brevity of words and their meanings can be. There is an enormous amount of word-craft in poems that can create feeling and beauty in a modicum of lines, and getting your poem to that point is an immense challenge. The progression in the following poems tells the entire story.

Here are the poems from the June 21st challenge:

Mulberry Tree, Summer Fruit

she doesn’t always bloom
what natural hitch
makes her appear dead one year, alive the next
I discovered that she
needs her he to fruit

another quirk is her
berries ripen odd
not all at the same time, when shadows vanish
from the morning, I’ll pick –
bis, in the evening

the best gift is from you –
I boil the berries,
sugar, lemon juice attempting to make jam
after washing them and
removing the stems

48// 4, 7, 6 trio

she does need him
the mulberry tree, to bloom
her sweet purple berries

nature often
works in pairs; male and female
to procreate, fruit

ever fickle
is the process of living
I measure my time

24// 6, 6, 6, 6

she had blossoms this year
flowers transformed to fruit
which I collected, brewed,
gifted; sweetening life

12 (3 lines; short, long, short)

mulberries, sweet
from my tree, purple love
my en’jam’bment

© JulesPaige
Outside My Window, #DoubleEnnead

Double ennead form, 99 syllables

clouds like spun sugar in
periwinkle sky,
a tree’s outline in shadow in sunny grass,
white butterflies flying
above rose bushes.

golden yellow lilies
peeking out among
all of the green foliage in the garden,
red Japanese maple
branches wave gently.

a little brown sparrow
hops about in grass,
then flutters over to perch on the fence,
these are the sights I see
outside my window.

48 syllables, 4-7-5 stanza trio

spun sugar clouds
in a periwinkle sky,
butterflies flying.

yellow gold lilies
among the green foliage,
red maple branches,

small brown sparrow
flutters to perch on the fence,
outside my window.

24 syllables, (6-6-6-6,) 1 stanza

spun sugar clouds
in periwinkle sky,
butterflies and lilies,
sights outside my window

12 syllable haiku, short-long-short

spun sugar clouds
above white butterflies
and gold lilies.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021
Garden Goddess

trees, a summer haven
green beneath branches
birds and squirrels nest on limbs covered with leaves
walking on hot pavement 
you are there waiting
branches covered in leaves 
help keep my house cool
The shelter and shade provided is welcomed 
adoration is due
garden space is yours
knarled and misshapen 
ancientness worn well
trees hold a place of honor in the garden
revered and respected 
great garden goddess

48 syllable poem – 4/7/5 stanza trio

summer haven
birds and squirrels nest on limbs
you are there waiting
covered in leaves 
providing shelter and shade 
garden space is yours
ancient, well worn
trees hold a place of honor
great garden goddess

24 syllable poem – 6/6/6/6 only one stanza

ancient summer haven
covered in leaves of green
giving shady shelter
homes for birds and squirrels   
the garden space is yours–
honored garden goddess

12 syllable haiku (short-long-short)

ancient cypress 
emanating solace–

©️Ruth Klein aka RuthScribbles

a warm hued shaft dazzles
on azure expanse
luminescent sheen in an idyllic trance
blazing through dark waters
in a rippled mirth

haloed trail to heaven
in a dark chiasm
leading to faraway stars mysterious
dispelling deep darkness
shading life profound

fading embers burnish
bright to light dark lives
life’s shadowy shroud basks in fiery lustre
incandescent hope flows
into dark niches

For the 48 syllable poem a 4-8-4 stanza trio:

warm hued shaft falls
on dark waters in shiny trance
a rippled blaze

haloed trail leads
way to stars far mysterious
on a dark night

fading embers
of life’s shady shroud burnish bright
hope flows unbound

For the 24 (6-6-6-6) syllables and only one stanza:

bright trance on dark waters
haloed trail to stars far
life’s fading embers glow
luminous hope abounds

Finally, 12 syllable haiku (short-long-short):

bright beam glows on
life’s dark fading embers
hope shines

© theIndieShe

Centring – (Six Sentence Story #168)

Tense muscles, sweating palms
A racing heart beat?
Symptoms of stress related anxiety
Stoking dubiety
In your competence.

Choose instead to focus
On the energy.
It flows with vigorous ardor through your form
Creating the firestorm
That you are feeling.

Breathe slow and deep to draw
Out the excitement.
Berth it fast in the centre of gravity
Your pelvic cavity …
The concept of Ki.

© Laura McHarrie

Many thanks again to everyone who participated in this challenge. Writing poetry makes us better writers!

#Michigan Woods, #Tanka

soft winds rustle leaves
below the green canopy
blue jay's whisper song
recalls wild fairy dances,
lush mushrooms—and dreams of sky

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This is your friendly reminder that the Word Weaving Poetry Journal is accepting submissions until July 15, 2021.

We publish haiku, senryu, haiga, gogyohka, tanka, tanka prose, haibun, cinquain poetry including any cinquain variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger hexastich, Abhanga, and Diatelle syllabic poetry forms. We would love to see your work. If accepted, we will strive to present your work in such a way as to make you proud.

We share a broad view of what makes up haiku and senryu. We are not hostile to 5-7-5 but expect to publish more poems with fewer syllables. We are open to 1, 2, & 3 lines and other configurations.

We accept submissions from May 15 through July 15 for our first October issue. There is no submission fee.

Read more HERE.

Send us your magical poetry!

#Fairy #Tarot Friday—Ten of Autumn, #chōka

Welcome to Fairy Tarot Friday. Each Friday I’ll share a card from the Fairy Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue & Radleigh Valentine, featuring an uplifting message from the fey. I’ll also include a bit of syllabic poetry inspired by the card reading.

The Major Arcana contains 22 cards that describe major events and turning points in our lives (marriage, pregnancy, relationship and career changes, and overcoming personal challenges). The Major Arcana cards also represent the different phases from childhood to old age.

Doreen Virtue numbered the Minor Arcana cards to comprise four suits representing different aspects of human life. They number the Minor Arcana cards 1 (Ace) through 10, plus the four court cards (Princess, Prince, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana reflects the day-to-day aspects of our lives and the people in them. Court cards represent either a situation or a person during a reading.

The Minor Arcana comprises four suits. In traditional Tarot they are; wands, cups, swords, and coins. In Fairy Tarot, the four suits reflect the seasons: Spring for wands, Summer for cups, Winter for swords, and Autumn for coins. In Angel Tarot, the seasons represent the four elements: fire = spring, water = summer, air = winter, and earth = autumn. Consider these elements in relation to the Fairy Tarot, as well.

The divinatory meanings are given for upright cards only—this tarot is not intended for reversed readings.

Once you get to know the fairies, you’ll see they are strong-willed environmentalists. They get perturbed at people who mistrust animals or the earth. Never lie to a fairy. Instead, help them take care of the planet and other living beings. Do your part. Your actions will richly reward you, and the fairies will encourage you in amazing ways.

Today’s Card

Our theme for this week’s Tanka Tuesday challenge was to write on the theme of discovery. The first thing that came to mind was the purity of thought involving self-discovery. My fairy tarot card for the day was the Ten of Autumn (Pentacles or Coins in other tarot decks), which inspired this chōka:

“A Discovery of Success”

cycle completed,
like ships passing in the night
alone, you arrive—
wealthy, but what have you lost?
searching for success
reality settles in,
new assets acquired
you've made it to the top
family matters the most!

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Happy Friday!

“Only the Now Remains,” #chōka, #dverse poets

Lisa is hosting at dVerse, and she asked us to write a poem inspired by an Ernest Hemingway quote from the list on the challenge post HERE. My selected quote follows along with my chōka:

There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion.

–For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

“Only the Now Remains”

everyone leaves us
by chance, change, desertion, death
all alone we drift 
like fallen leaves aimlessly 
rudderless on the 
waterway of time until
the river parts us 
all in the end...treasure the
moments that go with the flow

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This quote from Hemingway puts the current world into perspective. Live in the moment, as our tomorrows can certainly be limited. Be glad you’re alive. ❤

Saddle Up Saloon Double Ennead Challenge No. 4, Recap

I’ve found an amazing group of poets at Carrot where every third Monday of the month, I host the Double Ennead Challenge as a guest at the Saddle Up Saloon.

Follow the link to the challenge…

What’s a double ennead? The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

This month, I asked the poets to work with a theme for their double ennead poem.

Here are the poems from the May 17th challenge:


Can one block out city
Constant life noises
Does tranquility silent, like sleep exist
When consistent motors
Hum, buzz, and hammer?

Can one channel natures
Soothing waterfalls
Does tranquility silent, like sleep exist
In an environment
Constantly changing?

Hither we did flee to
Quaint suburbia
Does tranquility silent, like sleep exist
Where in the night, birds sing
Lullabies of peace?

© JulesPaige

We cannot understand
why peace is so rare,
so elusive, so enigmatic, so spare,
so lost in the anger,
the soul’s wear and tear.

Within Gaza’s rubble,
the body count swells,
reciprocal death pummels the smoky air,
missiles have no conscience,
a design of war.

Here, we take to the streets,
do placard battle,
espouse our ire, our high-mindedness, our fire.
Next, we grieve endlessly,
then turn the channel.

© Bill Engelson

On life’s chequered board
the dice cast records,
To give what is preordained in game of life,
Fates let loose endless strife,
Turmoil overlords.

Not known what stars foretell
bid dreams a farewell,
You want to ride stormy, tempestuous tides,
Your efforts it derides—
striking a death knell.

Nonchalantly you ride
to drown in rough tide,
Defiant and buoyed, you roll with wild surf,
Light as you shed Life’s scurf,
Laughing as fates shied.

© The Indie She
"Fade to Black"

Enter the arena,
A roar shocks his nerves.
Scattered butterflies soar in formation,
Uniform and aligned,
Prepared for battle.

Cross the cage’s threshold,
The tunnel tightens
Eyes locked on the opponent across the cage;
His teeth clinch the mouth guard;
It won’t be long now.

Released at the bell’s sound,
Both charge the center.
Testing his iron jaw becomes the game plan;
The corner calls for change;
Lights fade into black.

© MMA Storytime

incense of lavender 
pleasing the senses 
assisting relaxation and reflection
guides helped in procuring 
tools of assistance

smoke ascends swirling up 
noisy thoughts are gone 
meditation status finally achieved 
brief calm is discovered 
worries disappear

spirit guides do exist 
to lead and protect 
guardian angels monitor challenges 
point the way to knowledge— 
commune with spirit

© Ruth Klein aka RuthScribbles 
Tall, towering palm tree
Rooted to the ground.
Fronds glistening under the sun soaked blue sky.
A quiet rustle soothes
As soft winds comfort.

Never still in response.
Never without hope.
A continuous melody of calm sway,
A dance with wind and air.
Never ending peace.

A storm brews as rain falls.
Winds blow swift and hard.
The palm is battered and bruised but not broken.
A symbol of courage.
A symbol of strength.

© Missy Lynn from messages

Many thanks to everyone who took part in this challenge. Exploring themes is a great way to craft meaningful messages in your poetry. Happy Saturday!

I’ll be back at the Saloon, on the third Monday of the month, June 21! What are you waiting for? Join in and get your poetry on!

“#Michigan #Gardening,” #haibun

I feel great satisfaction in the planting and growing of perennials. They become my offspring, a by-product of the energy I infuse into the plants to grow and become strong. Each season, I fuss over the fresh growth, thrilled that my plant babies survived another year.

day’s first blush
halcyon weather
eventide storms

Today, the humidity wrapped vaporous tendrils of fog around the trees in my neighborhood. As I labored in the garden digging holes, my sweat dripped into the soil.

dark clouds birth
crepuscular light
draws rainfall

By the time the rains came, my plants were tucked into the soil and my balance with nature was again restored.

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This haibun is an example of a prose envelope haibun (prose, haiku, prose). An explantation of the form is found on page 84-89 in the print book of Word Craft: Prose & Poetry.

This week’s Tanka Tuesday challenge was to pick synonyms for the words dawn and twilight selected by Gwen Plano. I used “first blush” for dawn and “eventide” for twilight. In the second haiku, I used “birth” for dawn, and “crepuscular light” for twilight.

Summer Love, #shadorma

Merril D. Smith writes an “Oracle” inspired poem every Saturday. This week, I thought I would jump into some magnetic poetry to see what I could come up with. Susan Joy Clark also joined in.

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

You can find the Magnetic Poetry Oracle HERE. You receive a random set of words used to construct your poem. This shadorma came together quickly. Syllabic poetry is all about the brevity of words. This is one way to experiment.

Have fun and write some Oracle inspired poetry!

Catching Up & a haiku

The last six months have been a whirlwind! We packed up and moved cross country from Arizona to Michigan in January—during a pandemic, no less. Once here, we tackled as many fixer-upper issues as we could in the new house. This will be a process. The dates we received from our contractor have us at Thanksgiving before the kitchen and flooring are done on the first floor. You know, with Covid and all the shortages of products and goods, you do what you can do.

I’ve no idea how I managed to finish Word Craft: Prose & Poetry during this stressful time. All I know was that it was important to write and publish the book. I felt like there was a need for all of us to learn how to write stimulating syllabic poetry. I want to personally thank every one of you for your poetry examples and your encouragement. If you’ve purchased the book, I thank you. I hope it opens the floodgates to other forms of poetry for everyone.

I also felt there was a need to publish a journal of syllabic verse. Many poets do not have the ways or means to publish their poetry. I thought this would present an opportunity for unpublished poets, you know, to establish some poetic credentials.

I also thought the proceeds from the journal sales would be a great way to fund a yearly poetry contest with cash prizes—that is, with a full disclosure of the journal sales figures. I considered asking a fee to enter the poetry contest, but that didn’t sit well with me.

I acknowledge there are many poetry journals and online magazines out there right now. Many ask for a fee upfront before you know whether or not your poem is even accepted. Others accept free entries and if your poetry is accepted, you pay $16 or more for a print version of the book featuring your poem.

Is this a form of vanity publishing? The Alliance of Independent authors discusses vanity publishing in the context of book authors:

“ defines the term as “a printing house that specializes in publishing books for which the authors pay all or most of the costs.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a publishing house that publishes books at the author’s expense.”

What is Vanity Publishing?

Vanity presses publish everything that is submitted by an author. The author bears the costs of producing the book.

In comparison, the Word Weaving poetry journal allows a poet three FREE entries. The entries are vetted. My co-editor, JulesPaige and I decide which poetry makes it into the journal. We will offer a low-cost ebook and print book for purchase. The funds from the sale of the journal will be used to fund a poetry contest with cash prizes (Amazon gift cards). There is no obligation to purchase the journal.

All rights revert to the respective author/artist upon publication. Word Weaving keeps the right to republish work either digitally or in print. No work featured in the journal may be used, copied, sold, or distributed elsewhere without the copyright holder’s permission. If your work is republished, we would appreciate a mention that Word Weaving was the first place of publication.

If you’re interested in submitting to Word Weaving click HERE. Submissions close after July 15, 2021.

Day lilies and Coreposis

Next, we get to my other passion… gardening. It’s warmed up here in Michigan. Today, I was able to work on the blank canvas of a garden the previous owner of this house left us with. I’ve got a lot more to do, but I confess that working in the soil made me feel reconnected to nature and to myself.

There are many out-of-control bushes in the front and on the sides of the house. I have a landscaper coming to get rid of those plants in the next week or so. That DirectTV dish will find its way in the trash pile as well. 😀

Now that I’ve brought you all up to date, here my poem for this week for Tanka Tuesday. It’s Poet’s Choice and a simple haiku gives me joy!

south wind gusts...
temperatures rise
meadowlark sings

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Eastern Meadowlark

NEW Release: “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry”

I’m honored to share with you the Ebook release of “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry.”

Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!

For the past two years, this book has been a true labor of love. I can say without a doubt, it was the most difficult book to format that I’ve ever undertaken. After many starts and stops, Amazon has hopefully applied all the formatting fixes. If you read in the dark mode on your Kindle, you will encounter some darkening of text. This is due to all the cutting and pasting of poetry from your website into the Word program, and then into the Kindle Creator app. It can take up to 72 hours for these updates to show, so please keep that in mind.

Please keep me informed of any problems so I can contact Amazon. The print copy will follow in the next few weeks. I’ll not use the Kindle Create app for the print book, using Vellum, instead. That should help with the print layout.

Inside, I’ve researched the following syllabic forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, cinquain and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

There’s a bit of history to give you some background of how and why these forms developed. I’ve also shared my tips on how to write each of the forms. I included poetry from our poetic community to round out the examples by using a citation to give credit to each poet’s work. Each chapter is a link in the Table of Contents so you can use the Ebook version as a quick reference for writing your poetry.

Thank you to all the Tanka Tuesday poets for their participation in the challenges each week. Without you, this book would not have been written. This challenge has brought us four years (and counting) of poetry writing fun. It has inspired many poets to write their own poetry books, which fills my heart with joy!

I hope you will enjoy learning about the different syllabic forms. Maybe you will be inspired to write more poetry! That is my intention. ❤

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

“Outside My Window,” #Cinquain, #NaPoWritMo

Day 29 of NaPoWritMo: “And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?”

Here’s a cinquain to share what’s outside my window. Chloe loves this spot. She sits on the stairs and observes the neighborhood. ❤

argus-eyed cat
watches the neighborhood 
while pear tree petals fall like rain—
wet streets

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Chloe on the blanket and Sophie in her bed… helping mom write poetry!