Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2007, vol 5 no 4
 

TANKA

Carol Purington
 

Between memory
and the field where their house stood
new leaves on a dying tree
a pair of pileateds
peck into the past

 

She tells me
about amaryllis blossoms
flaring scarlet
almost out of thought
in the winter-dark cellar

 

Spring snowstorm
all day I watch
daffodils
disappearing like joy
in a swirl of might-have-beens

 

One of my books
for sale in the used bookstore -
handing money
to a clerk who smiles at me
and hopes I will enjoy it

 

You said farewell to me
with violets how many years ago
they withered
I didn't keep them
only their fragrance

 

Flesh-pink blossoms
and their reflections distant
in the night window
I switch off the lamp to erase
the pain of his scribbled words

 

Newspaper clipping
all of the poet's life and death
in her final book
lines about apple blossoms
promising the future

 


Carol Purington has been exploring Japanese verse forms, including haiku and tanka, for more than two decades, employing imagery that reflects the rural New England landscape by which she is nourished. Her poems have been published widely and have won recognition in international contests. Gathering Peace, a collection of tanka, is her newest book.