{pf: poetry peeps share tankas}

Greetings! Welcome to another Poetry Peeps adventure on Poetry Friday!

First, let’s take a moment to scream, “AAARGH! WHAT HAPPENED TO SEPTEMBER!?” quietly into a pillow. *Ahem*

You’re invited to our challenge in the month of October! Here’s the scoop: We’re taking advantage of the rich bounty of the Poetry Friday Universe and writing ____is A Word Poems, wordplay invented by poet Nikki Grimes and shared by Michelle Barnes. Once you’ve read a few examples, you’ll get the hang of it. Have a word in mind? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering on October 29th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

Seriously, poets: wither September? I’m not exactly averse to the conclusion of this ENDLESS season of chaos and smoke, but goodness, does it seem as if it was August five minutes ago! The month has brought challenges and changes for many and a louder pitch to the usual machines of industry churning around us, producing media and news and drama and nonsense. I’m now happy to welcome the rain (please, please, PLEASE) and the gloriously bright, crunchy (not engulfed in flames) leaves; the long seasons of rest before renewal… Somehow, it seems it has been such a manic summer and I am so pathetically eager for autumn that I will even put up with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger being added to a hard orange squash and then that flavoring being slopped indiscriminately on pretty much everything, without too much complaint. (I never said NO complaint, though, so don’t @me with those lattes…)

With my love of this season of change, it’s not much of a surprise where I ended up with our challenge this month. Tasked to choose material from poets within the Poetry Friday Universe and write a tanka in response or in conversation with the poem of our choice I found myself choosing instead of a single poem, an entire project – the Poetry Sisters autumn hymn poems from 2017. Hymn meter is repetitive and simple, and autumn is pretty straightforward. Those two things together allowed us to really polish a single thought. Now, a tanka is meant to evoke a mood or an event, so the process here is wholly different. After a quick read I discovered that most of us chose to imbue seasons with a female energy female:

  • Tricia: Summer sheds her cloak (Fall Fashion, 101)
  • Liz: Slipping on wisdom’s dress (Though Folly’s overalls fit better)
  • Sara: Leaves rake our cheeks with gold smear (Contoured & highlighted?)
  • Laura: Maple wears her scarlet blooms (Coiffed couture!)
  • Kelly: I whisper it through rustling leaves (Gossip, girl!)
  • Me: When kissed by nighttime rime… (Maybe not quite feminine energy here, [& I’m not using mine anyway] but…close enough)

With this trove of imaginative imagery (though admittedly, with less time than I wanted this week), I came up with a nod to Liz’s poem that incorporated everyone:

Lady Libra

a stunner – that one
trails whispers like rustling leaves…
years rest gold as light
bearing scarlet blooms – cloaked in
wisdom’s borrowed dress, she winks 😉

Nobody expects the season decline before the sleep of winter to go quietly, do they? Lady Libra is stepping over her sister’s cloak, borrowing a dress, shoving some blossoms in her hair, and coming in reallllly late – or is it early? – with gold-smeared cheeks…

This one is in conversation with “If Apples Were Dappled And Sweet,” Sara’s ode to endings and the violence of the harvest before the decline of winter, which just didn’t really blend as easily ideologically. It jarred me when I first read it, but in a true way, resonating with the abruptness of the end of bee-loud glades and dappled shade that makes a summer… To everything there is a season and a time, and today it’s time to bring in the apples and wrench the honey from the hive, and it’s gonna get messy, there will be a lot of rage (largely from the bees) and it might get loud. Leave off the idea of bringing in the sheaves with some light rejoicing – even vegetarians end up slaughtering the peace a bit to bring in the harvest:


this, how it begins:
goodbye. redden, crumble, dry
swift twist, snap, an End
as daylight bleeds from the fields,
harvest is waged ’til it yields

Poetry Friday is hosted today Poetry Sister Laura, whose round-up is right here. You can check out Sara’s poem here, and Cousin Mary Lee’s is here, and you’ll find Tricia’s here. Andi‘s poem and Kelly’s poem is here. Michelle’s tanka is here; Linda B’s is here. Carol’s autumn offerings are here, and Irene’s poem is here. Even more Poetry Peeps might pop in throughout the day, so stay tuned for a round-up of links.

I’m flat exhausted right now, but the last week, we had the first nights in the low fifties, and they were exquisite. Summer is dragging her skirts, kicking up the last fuss, but remember, perhaps soon – this too shall pass. Paz, mis poetas.

17 Replies to “{pf: poetry peeps share tankas}”

  1. You Poetry Sisters are creating such an intricate tapestry of related poems — I feel as if I’m wandering in a wonderland of words. I kind of just long to get lost in it (your intricate web) for days and I want to shyly thank you all for letting us wander around the edges of your connections.

    Btw, loving Partly Cloudy.

  2. Tanita, this is a sumptious and impressive blog post with nods to your Poetry Sisters, the seasons, September, and those who chose to write with the #PoetryPals hashtag. I love your Lady Libra poem and with your permission, I would like to add it to my fall gallery collection. September closes its month with pizazz. If you have a poem, image poem, inspirational thought for my Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery (into unveiled today: https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2021/09/introduction-to-nurturing-our-summer.html) please send it to me for my Poetry Friday blog post.
    Love these lines: “cloaked in
    wisdom’s borrowed dress”,

  3. There is so much truth in your last harvest poem. “harvest is waged till it yields” is extraordinary. I never thought about the ending that is fall as so rude and rough, but it is. I just cut a squash in half, leaving it’s brown gnarled stem behind.

  4. “Lady Libra” ah you’re moving so swiftly, but won’t you catch your breath a moment and slow down… “years rest gold as light” this line I keep repeating, and would like to curl up inside this warm light. I liked your visit with Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for death” And yes “(There’s more to life than pumpkin spice” “Though pumpkin’s nice” Thanks for the journeys here and before Tanita…

  5. Two mouthfuls of delicious here, Tanita, gold-as-light flavored and daylight-bleeds flavored. How did you drench each in its atmosphere in so few words?

  6. “years rest gold as light” oh, my heart! I absolutely love these poems. It is putting me in a fall mood, and I have been resisting that all week. 😉 I think I’m ready for some crumble, twist, snap and crisp.

  7. Wow–the imagery in Lady Libra–you’ve woven everything together so seamlessly, and it all feels vivid and fresh! And bittersweet might take me a bit of time to recover from. So dramatic and yet not over the top. Btw, I’m really liking Partly Cloudy!

  8. Go Lady Libra!

    And I didn’t remember the violence of harvest in Sara’s poem, but now I can’t unsee it.

    Gorgeous pair of tankas and, as always, your commentary is just as much fun!

  9. To clothe Lady Libra in our lines—what a clever twist. And thank you for the poem in conversation with mine….it WAS a bit violent, wasn’t it? You made me laugh with your “even vegetarians slaughtering the peace” and then you made me sigh with “harvest is waged ’til it yields.” Happy harvesting of these days, poet sister.

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