Hanafuda Frost and Moonlight Sonnet by John Mackenzie

Maple Leave 3c Maple Leave 4c Maple Leave 2c Maple Leave 1c

August Silver Grass_04c Chrysanthemum 4c Sake Cup

Hanafuda Frost and Moonlight Sonnet
by John Mackenzie

From June into October
the nine-pound hammers of wind
and sun and rain beat and beat
down on maple leaves until
they glow from red through gold
in the forge of autumn days.

And then the sun is set aside
as the night is broken open
for trace elements of frost
and moonlight to fold into
leaves before they fall white
and hissing, serrated blades
sharp around feet slipping in
and out of ice-rimmed puddles.

Depth Charge: To access John Mackenzie’s poetry blog, click on any of the maple leaf cards above. To find out why moonlight on the water is dangerous, click on the full moon card above.  To read an enjoyable article on the symbols of hanafuda, click on the sake cup card beside the full moon card above.

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards. John Mackenzie contributed this sonnet. To see the tanka I wrote for John, click here.
Tarot_14_Temperance_reversed

To see all the Hanafuda/Tarot tanka posted to date, click here.

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If we were to sing

Always Water II by Christine Trainor

Always Water II by Christine Trainor

If we were to sing
my blood red would flow,
first from my wide eyes,
iron, salt and sorrow.

My blood red would flow
into rivers of you,
iron, salt and sorrow
illuvium of life.

Into rivers of you
tiny creatures creeping,
illuvium of life,
I hear them when you’re sleeping.

Tiny creatures creeping,
First from my wide eyes,
I hear them when your’re sleeping:
If we were to sing…

AGG20140305
(for Cutty)

Depth Charge: For those interested in the writing process, the impetus for this poem came from reading the death poem of Bokukei: Cuckoo, I too/Sing, spitting blood/My welling thoughts on page 145 of Japanese Death Poems.

First, I wrote a tanka: If I were to sing/Blood would flow from my eyes/In a final song/A cicada in the heat/ Or some small thing in the trees, but decided instead to expand it to a pantoum, a form recently introduced to me by John Mackenzie.

As I am currently also reading The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers wound its way in there as well.

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…”

Maple leaves and Temperance Reversed: John

Maple Leave 3c Maple Leave 4c Maple Leave 2c Maple Leave 1c

August Silver Grass_04c Chrysanthemum 4c Sake Cup

Ten thousand falling
Leaves red and gold–these your words
Flowing through this world
Beware the seductive sight
The moonlight on the water

AGG20140226
(for John)

Depth Charge: To access John Mackenzie’s poetry blog, click on any of the maple leaf cards above. To find out why moonlight on the water is dangerous, click on the full moon card above.  To read an enjoyable article on the symbols of hanafuda, click on the sake cup card beside the full moon card above.

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards.
Tarot_14_Temperance_reversed

To see all the Hanafuda/Tarot tanka posted to date, click here.

Tanka: a look at John Mackenzie’s process

More on the process of writing tanka from John Mackenzie.

Mumbling Jack

Wrote another spring tanka this afternoon. In Notepad this time—it’s usually there or in the Twitter compose box that I write them these days, for a number of reasons but mostly for feel and convenience—and saved all the various drafts from the first small seed to the last finicky fix. Here’s the eighth and (so far) final version.

The First Wide Bursts of Green

When spring brings shyly
through her slowly opening
door the first wide bursts
of green, the pale red petals—
I will see your eyes, your lips.

 

And below are the drafts I went through, ordered from first to last, of course!

1
around the corner with the
first

2
When spring comes shyly
through her slowly opening
door with the first hints
of green, and pale red petals—
I’ll see only your eyes, lips…

3
When spring comes shyly
through her slowly opening
door with…

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