Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2007, vol 5 no 1

TANKA

M. Kei
 

it's hard to be
an honest man when
pinched by
past mistakes and
current needs

 

the garden path
too crowded, so we
turn upstream
and search for
Wyeth's 'Roar'

 

hiking through
the autumn woods,
my son and I
climb over the fallen fence
and into the world

 

Not being Amish,
I can flip the bird
at motorists
who cut off buggies
and frighten the horses

 

contemplating
Nureyev's black jacket
and ballet slippers,
how small the man
how great the skill

 

the tidy ranks
of soldiers lined up
for inspection
how loud the bugle
in the cemetery

 

an October day
of pumpkins and corn,
horse droppings steaming,
Amish schoolgirls
dead on the floor

 

turning down
a side street in
an unfamiliar town,
I stumble across a garden
of childhood bluebells

 

the fireflies
didn't wait for me
this evening;
flitting across a
night without love

 

no wind tonight
a puddle of silver
in the bay's darkness,
a full moon
off the port bow

 

the stone gristmill
broad on the starboard bow,
stories
falling into the bay
from its motionless wheel

 

stitch my shroud
tie granite to my ankles
bury me
deep in the heart
of the Chesapeake

 

autumn evening
alone in this
motel room with
someone
named 'Gideon'

 

autumn afternoon
if only we had
as much to say
as this heron
standing silent

 

the sweep of
     the revolving door
          brushes souls
     in and out
spinning into nothingness

 

the shattered bones
of old loves
haunt
the sea that
surrenders all

 

the thousand
arms of Kannon
reach even here
     to this rock
     to this poet

 

it is no woman
this moon of men
     sailor in
     the great sea
     of longing

 

drudger's breeze:
twenty knots and snow --
the oysterboats
blow out of Dogwood Cove
and into the bay

 

potato soup
a little too thin,
autumn creeps
silently among
the pine trees

 

like pigeons
around your feet,
I too peck at
what you have dropped
and forgotten

 


M. Kei M. Kei lives on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, USA. He crews aboard a skipjack, a traditional wooden sailboat used to fish for oysters. He also serves as a member of the board of directors for a local maritime museum. His poetry has been accepted for publication by Eucalypt (AUS), Kokako (NZ), Gusts (CAN), American Tanka, Modern English Tanka, Wisteria, Bottle Rockets, Red Lights, Ribbons, Moonset, Nisqually Delta Review, Haiku Harvest, Lynx, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Simply Haiku, Mayfly, and others. His work also appears in the anthologies Fire Pearls, Sixty Sunflowers, To Find the Moon, and Haiku Miscellany (CRO). He moderates the Kyoka Mad Poems e-list and is also the Editor of Fire Pearls: Short Masterpieces of the Human Heart, on the theme of love and passion, now available from www.Lulu.com/firepearls. M. Kei can be contacted through his blog at kujakupoet.blogspot.com.