The Toronto Tankas

Church Street shop window
“Balloons Roses Funerals”
Clearly lays it out
How our passions parade us
From our birth into the grave

Vase with Ten Thousand Shou Characters x       An emperor’s gift
xNine-hundred seventy-five
x   Ways to write “long life”
Repeated ten thousand times
Blue and white wishful thinking

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Luck Funerals Bates & Dodds Toronto May 2014Facing trees in bloom
Bates & Dodds Funeral Home
Sign with Chinese words
“仙福—Immortal Good Luck”
Necessary denial

Hanafuda in High Park under the Cherry Trees Toronto 2014

 

 

 

 

A Flower Card game
In High Park that makes us choose
To go on or not
The cherry blossoms though frail
So far are holding their own

AGG20140512
(for George)

 

Depth Charge: The vase (青花万寿字尊/青花萬壽字尊/Vase with ten thousand shou characters) is part of the Forbidden City exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum and was a birthday gift to Emperor Kangxi on his 60th birthday. The characters that are written on the Bates & Dodds Funeral Services sign, 仙福, may be roughly pronounced like 仙—shenn (or like the French word for dog, chien) and福—foo: shenn-foo, rhymes with chien-poo. The Flower Card game is Koi-Koi, played with Hanafuda, or Japanese Flower Cards. In the game when you score points, you must decide to risk them all and continue on the promise of an even higher score, or to settle for the smaller amount and call it quits.

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards. (Another Exploded Tanka: exploded like a bursting cherry blossom.)

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

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Sweet Paulownia by Michael Leon

Sweet Pawlonia
Music and Lyrics by Michael Leon

Sweet Pawlonia blooms in spring
You and I’ve been through some things
The Sweetest blossoms never last too long
December flowers are cool and rare
crystals blooming in your hair
You were here and now you’re gone

Chorus:
You can cut me down and make me bleed
I’m gonna rise like that phoenix – watch me
Just you wait and see
Days may be dark and nights too long
And this might be a sad sad song
Pawlonia will always smell sweet to me

Met her on a Saturday
She drove all that gloom away
I thought my life was finally turnin’ around
But life is long and times got hard
And she and I we had to part
Misery lost is so easily found

Chorus

A hermit’s life may be for some
And maybe I should be all done
Some live and learn, but maybe I just don’t
Fresh growth will drive winter’s pall away
And maybe next time she will stay
I’ll hold on to her or I won’t

Chorus

12 December 4 Paulownia 12 December 3 Paulownia 12 December 1 Paulownia 12 December 2 Paulownia

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

150px-RWS_Tarot_09_Hermit

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

Barb Lougheed's Death Collage -- Detail

A detail from the Death Collage by Barb Lougheed.

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Four Poems To Be Read in Random Order by Sue Hughson

May Iris_02c May Iris_01cMay Iris_03cMay Iris_04c

Four Poems To Be Read in Random Order
by Sue Hughson

Hope

in days gone by we
called it fear or hope or joy
now mental illness

Pocket

If you look at a
core long enough, you begin
to see an apple

I do not stay in places
I expected you to be

Happy

Some people woke up
happy, early this morning,
others did not wake

I could do quite nicely with
something that lies in between

Starfish

I miss you, you don’t
miss me, reception crackles
here at sea

Starfish, answer’s urchin’s call,
devours her, the shell and all

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards. Sue created a fortune teller from an iris and inside were four exquisite poems.

Susan Hughson Iris Fortune Teller

Sue Hughson’s Iris Fortune Teller

Depth charge: For the story behind the bridge depicted in the May/Iris suit of the Hanafuda, click on the card on the extreme right above, or click here.

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

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.