Insistent scalpels—trace scars

red bleeding heart of jesus

Six-year-old boy—they
Sliced open your chest—to mend
Your young beating heart
Decades later hand and tongue—
Insistent scalpels—trace scars

AGG20130926
(for Frenchman Chris)

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

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Tender leaves on our tongues

Fuzimiao Nanjing China 2003

The first time we met
We drank loose leaf oolong tea
Quiet—curious
Tender leaves on our tongues
Together knotted and tied

We both found ourselves
In foreign territory
Forced to interpret
New words for very old things
So we loved silence the best

AGG20130928
(for 小羊)

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Salt musk on my lips that tells

Montreal_Metro_Station_Laurier_20130905_194140

It is not history
Or our separate mother tongues
It’s the taste of you
Salt musk on my lips that tells
All without saying a word

AGG20130927
(for Cutty)

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

He holds pink rosaries

In Him I Live

He holds pink rosaries
Sparkling in the morning sun
The anti-choice man
Preying outside the clinic
I flip him the bird—walk on

AGG20130926

Depth charge:  Across the street from the clinic founded by Henry Morgentaler, who died earlier this year, there are usually a handful of anti-choice protesters. For the most part, they are roundly ignored by everyone, but this morning one of them offered me a pamphlet. Mistake.

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Pale purple blossoms

Autumn bees

Pale purple blossoms
Bees gather autumn pollen
Late into the day
Sun gone behind the mountain
Crickets already singing

AGG20130925

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Some people settle quietly

Some people settle quietly

I feel my father slip
Deeper into his coffin
from Reaching Half-Life in My Backyard by Zubair Ahmed

Some people settle quietly
Into their coffins
Nestle back
Into the quilted comfort
Snug as a bug

Why won’t you?

I hear you complaining
In the wind
Early in the morning
Late at night
Especially in the autumn
When leaves are a shower
Of suicide notes
And children and ghosts
Begin picking out
Hallowe’en costumes
Eager to burst forth
Unquiet
From homes and graves

AGG2030922

To all non-tanka writing on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Mid-Autumn Festival—yet

Full moon lost among the street lights

Gorgeous bright full moon
Mid-Autumn Festival—yet
You’re roundly ignored
No mind—we give each other
A knowing look in the night

AGG20130919

Depth Charge: Yesterday morning I published a response poem to Wang Wei’s  “Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains.” Later in the day I realized it was 中秋节/Mid-Autumn Festivnal/Mooncake Festival. I felt it only appropriate to acknowledge the moon with a tanka.

To see only the Tanka, and writing about Tanka, please click here.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

On Mount Royal, Early Autumn

Felled tree on Mount Royal

On Mount Royal, Early Autumn
(after Autumn Twilight, Dwelling in the Mountains by Wang Wei)

The path is busy after work,
Late summer blending into autumn.

Sunlight shines through maple trees,
Lights up glimpses of the Saint Lawrence.

Young joggers laugh and talk,
Gravel crunching underfoot.

We come and go like the falling leaves,
The homeless build shelters for the night.

AGG20130919

Depth Charge: This poem is a response poem to Wang Wei’s poem “Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains” and, in particular, David Hinton’s overwrought translation, which goes to extreme lengths to jam in Chan Buddhist references and esoteric language that are  either not there or best left implicit. Below is the original Chinese, Hinton’s translation and my translation.

山居秋暝 (王維)

空山新雨後,天氣晚來秋。
明月松間照,清泉石上流。
竹喧歸浣女,蓮動下漁舟。
隨意春芳歇,王孫自可留。

Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains
by Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton

In empty mountains after the new rains,
it’s late. Sky-ch’i has brought autumn –

bright moon incandescent in the pines,
crystalline stream slipping across rocks.

Bamboo rustles: homeward washerwomen.
Lotuses waver: a boat gone downstream.

Spring blossoms wither away by design,
but a distant recluse can stay on and on.

Autumn Twilight Among the Mountains
by Wang Wei, translated by Andrew Grimes Griffin

The mountains are empty after new rain,
Autumn weather is late arriving.

The bright moon shines through the pines,
Clear water flows over stones.

Bamboo rustles as the washer women go home,
Lotus blossoms are pushed under a fisherman`s boat.

Spring fragrance comes and goes on its own,
The monkeys are free to remain.

If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, please click here. 

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Mornings now chilly

Parc-Ave-Victory-Stormy-Skies

Mornings now chilly
Windows remain firmly closed
Outside the wind shakes
Fast dying locust tree leaves—
Strangely silent behind glass

AGG20130917

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

In the space between the stars

Voyager 1

In the space between the stars
(A Song of Solidarity with Voyager 1)

you may be just an assemblage
of wire and metal
powered by plutonium
doomed to die in ten years
and while you are unable to feel
I can and when I hear
you have left the solar system
breached the heliopause
that you are all alone
12 billion miles away
I am suddenly elated
simultaneously saddened
and if this seems silly
then so be it
If people can shed tears
for scruffy cats and smelly dogs
who have done nothing
but shit and shed their lives away
then my heart can go out to you
you fragile artefact
sparkling at the edge of the known
singing a solitary song
of discovery and science
for ten more years
only to fall silent
cycle through the Milky Way
for billions more
and when the sun you have left behind
finally balloons red and explodes
then we too will join you
in the space between the stars

AGG20130916
(On hearing Voyager 1 has left the Solar System)

Depth Charge: Voyager 1 signalling its presence in interstellar space.

If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, please click here. 

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”