#TankaTuesday – Mabon Dreams, #tanka #prose

Image by Lolame from Pixabay

The smell of wet leaves and dew always reminds me that the Autumnal Equinox or Mabon is not far away. Known as the pagan Thanksgiving, this year on September 22, 2021, I’ll pay my respects to the darkness of Autumn. During Mabon, I honor the spirit world. I associate the Greek goddess Demeter with the autumn harvest, as it was her grief at losing her daughter that turned the earth from lush abundance to barren cold.

The days are now divided equally between day and night. It’s a time to give thanks to the waning sunlight. This is a time of balance when I enjoy the fruits of my personal harvests. The seeds I planted in spring have now come to fruition. I recognize my successes and let go of the things that did not serve me well the last twelve months. As the Wheel of the year ends, I set my intentions to end terrible relationships. I let go of unhealthy habits or self-destructive beliefs.

twilight rain lingers
cooling dark forest shadows
the sweet goddess chants
a symphony of death dreams...
the scent of crushed rose petals

© Colleen M. Chesebro

How to Celebrate Mabon

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.

“Summer’s End,” #tankaprose #TankaTuesday

Our Tanka Tuesday challenge this week is to write some tanka prose. We typically write tanka prose in the 5-7-5-7-7 or a s/l/s/l/l five-line syllabic structure. Tanka prose should contain a title. There is one basic requirement in writing tanka prose: one paragraph, and one tanka.

There are two basic forms in classic tanka prose: Preface (explanation) and the Poem Tale (episodic narration). Tanka prose does not rhyme.

Preface (explanation): Is where the prose explains the basic information in the narrowest sense. It is a factual summary of the experience. Usually, you write one prose paragraph and one tanka.

Poem Tale (episodic narration): The poem tale/episodic narration is a more formal structure where you share a more personal experience through your prose. In general, the tanka poem is always the center on which the narrative episode (prose) comes from. Write your tanka first. With this type of tanka prose, the prose often shares a beginning, middle, and an end, as if it were a short story. You can have one or more tanka within the prose.

Below, I’ve crafted an episodic narration:

“Summer’s End”

During this morning’s walk, I felt the first hint of Autumn. The trees looked bedraggled by last week’s heat wave. The leaves, like an old hat, looked dull against the backdrop of a blue scrap of sky.

summer's passage creeps
through the leaves, colors dreary
Autumn hears the call...
red and gold hues dress the trees
a farewell to summertime

A sound in the trees overhead caught my attention. I watched as the sleek tan-colored body of a Sandhill Crane rose from the nearby edge of the pond. Cranes are the messengers of the gods, and even in Michigan, such a sighting is rare. It is said, if you see a crane; it is to remind ourselves of the passage of time and our mortality.

the wheel of time turns
spinning toward the future
use your time—wisely...
love longer, laugh hard, hate less,
and learn to forgive yourself

I stood at the edge of the pond, a witness to the passage of time, until the buzz of mosquitoes reminded me I should be on my way. Time marches on…

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Episodic narration tanka prose is one of the most freeing forms to write. In this piece above, I was careful to stay true to the construction of the tanka portions by creating two meanings separated by the pivot in line three of each tanka. This is where you take the first three lines of your tanka to create one meaning. Then, take line 3, 4, and 5 to create the second meaning to your poem.

summer's passage creeps
through the leaves, colors dreary
Autumn hears the call...
Autumn hears the call...
red and gold hues dress the trees
a farewell to summertime

I kept both messages in this tanka similar because I was showing the passage of time. This is the theme of the piece.

The prose shares my experience during this morning’s walk. I made sure and used a metaphor in the first paragraph to help set the mood. Later, I used the Sandhill Crane taking off in flight as a metaphor for the passage of time. Tanka prose is where you can get poetic by including metaphors and similes. If you don’t know what those are, look up their definitions.

The prose and poetry combine to read like a short story with a beginning, middle, and an ending. Autumn, signifies the dying time of year before winter’s long slumber. The passage of time is a favorite theme in Japanese poetry. I love autumn… it’s my favorite time of the year.

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

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.

Here’s a recent review from D. L. Finn on Amazon.com:

In “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry” Ms. Chesebro has written a detailed guide of syllabic poetry. There’s history, instructions on writing the poem, several examples, and then the information is recapped for each form. Section one of the book offers Japanese Syllabic Poetry. Here are the chapters covered, Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, and Renga. Then the second section is the American Syllabic Poetry. The types covered here are Crapsey Cinquain and all variations, Etheree, Nonnet, and Shadorma. Although I’ve spent years writing free verse poetry, I’ve come to love syllabic poems too, thanks to Ms. Chesebro. This is a fantastic guide to learn about syllabic poetry and how to write them. I will buy the paperback version for a quick reference to a style I want to try or simply refresh my memory on writing a certain type of poem. I highly recommend this guide for all poets who love this style or would like to learn about it.

#TankaTuesday: #SynonymnsOnly for sanctuary & follow

This week’s TankaTuesday poetry challenge is synonyms only, using the words sanctuary and follow. I wrote a tanka using the word ‘sanctum’ for sanctuary, and ‘reflect’ for follow.

my inner sanctum—
a space for contemplation
psychic solitude,
where whispered prayers sent skyward,
reflect all good intentions


© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Life is always an interesting journey. After one week, I decided that working as a part-time receptionist in a salon was just too stressful. In some ways, I wanted to prove to myself that I still had it… which I don’t, which isn’t all bad.

I’d changed as a person. In the last few years, I’ve grown more introverted. After all, I’m a writer and a poet… maybe that is what I needed to prove to myself. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Just be YOU! Lesson learned. ❤

#solo-renga, #haiku, #tanka

For Frank Tassone’s challenge, I used the kigo “midsummer rain” for challenge #195 to write a solo renga:

midsummer rain flows
rivulets run down the street
rainbow slicks glisten

the heady scent of wet earth
moisture adds a second skin

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

For challenge #196, “summer moon (natsu no tsuki) / Strawberry Supermoon, I wrote a (5-7-5) haiku:

summer moon glitter
long light snakes across the lake
twilight shadows swell

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

For challenge #197 smoldering hot (moyuru) I wrote a tanka:

smoldering hot day
brilliant sun scintillations
a twinkling mirage
blurring the straight pathway home
stay on the straight and narrow

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

“New Beginnings,” #flashfiction

June 10, 2021, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a new way to office. Has the office changed? Can we return to normal after big changes or time away? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by June 15, 2021.

“New Beginnings”

“Hello, Judith? Gather the others and meet me out back in half an hour.”

Macy hung up her phone. Productivity at fairy headquarters had slowed during the human pandemic. When the humans quit believing in magic, the fabric of fairy reality faded. The fey hid in the otherworld, waiting. Today, Macy aimed to fix the problem.

The fey folk assembled in the meadow, their new home office. They joined hands and danced. Macy said the magic words:

fairy dance rhythms drift
sacred smoke linger—cleansing
belief in magic
fiery memory's return
summer solstice fires burn

Slowly the veil lifted…

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Our belief in magic is restored with a little help from the Japanese tanka. How cool is that?

“Day Dreams,” #tanka

The Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge asked us to write about “dreams” this week.

I wrote a tanka poem:

Image by Michael Grey from Pixabay

Day Dreams

 blue sky, cloud watching
 under the green canopy,
 opaque day dreams build
 poetry and story plots,
 fashioning magical worlds

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The tanka is one of the most popular forms in our challenge. Let’s review a few of the characteristics of the tanka.

The 5/7/5/7/7 syllabic form is written from the perspective of the poet. Japanese poetry has stricter rules than other poetry, although the tanka is the most forgiving of these forms.

The first three lines of your tanka should convey a specific theme. The last two lines of your tanka are usually where the pivot occurs. The pivot should change the course of your writing with an implied metaphor, or some kind of comparison. You want to link the two parts of your poetry so the reader can connect to your meaning in fresh ways.

Don’t end your lines with articles and prepositions. Always use precise language: verbs, adjectives, etc. Use your five senses when writing tanka poetry.

Compose, read, and write your tanka poems to be read forward and backward. Often, the meaning changes or becomes more impactful to the reader when read backward.

Have fun writing tanka poetry!

“The Rebirth,” #Tanka

The Tanka Tuesday #PhotoPrompt challenge for this week explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). Diana Peach from last month’s challenge has provided the photo for this month’s challenge, seen above.

“The Rebirth,” #Tanka

the forest's womb holds
my reflection in limbo—
grief cleanses my soul
saying goodbye, my tears fall
another rebirth awaits

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Life is often a series of starts and stops, followed by many new beginnings. I’ve embraced the change. ❤

Harvest Moon Magic, #Tanka

I’m combining challenges this week because there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. How many of you feel the same way?

Anyway, Frank J. Tassone’s Haikai challenge asks us to use the Harvest Moon (meigetsu) in the haikai poem of our choice (haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, haiga, renga. My challenge asks us to embrace the tanka!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Harvest Moon Magic

the harvest moon soars
bright against the sable night—
I reap what I sow
the warmth of hearth and home calls
get ready for winter's chill

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

My pivot is, “I reap what I sow.” As I explained in my challenge post, our pivot should relate to the first two lines of our tanka, and to the last two lines of our tanka.

the harvest moon soars
bright against the sable night—
I reap what I sow

The harvest season is a time to reap what you have sown. All the seeds you planted in the spring, both physically and metaphorically, are ready to bear fruit. Now, we can collect the bounty we deserve.

I reap what I sow
the warmth of hearth and home calls
get ready for winter's chill

The pivot works with the last two lines, as well. This portion of the poem suggests we plan for the harsh winter season to come. Happy Autumn!

#FAIRY #TAROT #FRIDAY: September 4, 2020

Welcome to Fairy Tarot Friday. Each Friday I’ll share a card from either the Fairy Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue & Radleigh Valentine, or from the Inspirational Visions Oracle deck by Judy Mastrangelo. As usual, I’ll share a bit of poetic inspiration to go along with the card.

This week, we’re using the Inspirational Visions Oracle deck.

Oracle cards are an ancient and traditional way to connect with your inner soul. They’re based upon Pythagorean numerology, which instructs that numbers and images all vibrate in a precise, mathematical way. You can’t make a mistake using oracle cards because they act within the Law of Attraction. This is because your questions (or those of the person you’re doing the reading for) will always attract the ideal cards as answers. Each one you select will match the vibration of the question.

Here’s how I did it: First I cleared the deck. I held the cards in one hand and swept my other hand over them as I thought about the cards being cleared. Afterwards, I shuffled the cards to transfer my energy to them.

After shuffling, I closed my eyes and cleared my mind, asking for any messages from the oracle (universe). I like to fan the cards out, or to lay them out on the table with my hands hovering above them. That way, I can feel the vibrations from the cards. I let my intuition direct me to choose a card from the deck. Next I consulted the guidebook that accompanied the deck.

Each card has a special meaning in the guidebook, and you can find insight and suggestions to help you find keys to your own personal development. This knowledge is the oracle source of your own inner spirit.

Today’s card: “Create Your Fantasy”

Feel the magic! Just breathe in deep for a moment and imagine a world filled with everything you love, where even your secret wishes have been fulfilled. In this world, you can imagine amazing creatures, such as angels, unicorns, elves, and fairies. While you’re there, pretend you have a magical wand. Use this wand like a paintbrush and create rainbows and castles in the air. Talk to the plants, animals, and trees in this world. Seek their advice for it comes from an ancient source.

I’ve drawn this card so you can create your world… make it your fantasy place, whatever it might look like to you. Let your mind take you to this special place whenever you are hunting for inspiration. No more writer’s block!

What do you see?

Visit this magical place whenever you want. This is the place where creative inspiration pours from your soul. Now, start creating!

Create Your Fantasy, #tanka

create your own world
where inspiration cascades
in a stream of thoughts
paint a picture in your mind
to uplift you on dark days

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

If you believe it, you can achieve it!

My Conundrum, #Gogyohka

This week for the poetry challenge,  Linda Lee Lyberg selected some interesting synonyms: nimble, for which I used the word lithe; and for the word enigma, I used the word, crux.

First, how has your week gone? I’ve had a week of false starts, computer issues, WiFi and phone problems, miscellaneous errands, and other crazy issues that stifled my creativity. For example, it’s taken all day to get this one post finished. The last I checked, there were at least three planets in retrograde. Read: Retrograde Season: A Time to Reflect and Decompress

In between all of this chaos, I’m trying to lose weight by watching what I eat and walking at least two to three miles a day!

I’ve struggled with my weight since I was a child, so this is not an unknown subject for me. As I’ve gotten older, it seems harder to lose and to keep it off. To make matters worse, the more I exercise, the more I gain. I blame it on my ancestral farmer genes. When I don’t exercise too much, I’m able to lose weight. Don’t ask… it’s just the way it is for me.

The results of my experiment slipped out in poetic form today. I wrote this tanka in a s/l/s/l/l/ format, which is basically a Gogyohka in English.

So, here’s my humorous humorless take on the prompt words:

My Conundrum

here lies the crux
of my current problem
to stay lithe eat less
to lose pounds exercise more
at the risk of gaining weight

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

It turns out that exercise is useless for weight loss. Read: Why Do I Gain Weight When I Exercise?

I’m off to meditate the weight away! Pounds be gone! So, Mote it Be!