Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2005, vol 3 no 4

TANKA

Kirsty Karkow

the flowers
of creeping thyme are small–
beneath them
red ants trundle oddments
to worlds I cannot see

 

a red rage
born out of sorrow
a foolish youth
swerves to massacre
the turtle and her eggs

 

there was no moon
windstorms from the east
knocked over
all the hives– while bees
were drunk on nectar

 

a daily search
through greening woods
ladyslippers
the neighbour has them
so why don't I?

 

if pain
was visible
shades of red
how raucous the glare
from a crowded room

 

green with envy!
how gaily she colors
red and blue owls
when was it that I learned
to stay within the lines?

 

deep sadness
flows like river waves
in Sariska
there are no tigers left
to stroll the sandy shore

 

reproduction
by simple division
the amoeba
has no love and sex life
or added complications

 

forty years on–
the middle months of winter
we talk
of childbirth, watch sea smoke
as it drifts across the cove

 

how short
the flute notes of a robin
as it flew by
a rare warmth that became
the January thaw

 

hordes of guests
at the art show opening
wine and cheese
people's backs to the wall
like any cocktail party

 

if food
is entertainment
naked veggies
on a fat-free leaf
bore me

 

pomegranate–
blood-red juice spatters
as I cut
learning once again
not to buy this fruit

 

I observe
how correctly
he spoons
thin soup–this man
in ragged clothes

 


Kirsty Karkow lives in Waldoboro, Maine, where she writes haiku, sijo, tanka, and other short forms. Her book, water poems, recently came out from Black Cat Press. Lyrical, poignant, and spare, Karkow's poetry reflects a rich and deep sense of place and spirit. She is presently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Tanka Society of America.