Found Tanka

Reading The Lorax to the children at The March
Against Monsanto in Lancaster yesterday.  Photo by
Michelle Johnson.

Now for a very random poem.  I am opening up this ninth grade literature book at random pages and pulling out lines to weave together for a tanka:

trunk in the attic
they heard the the goddess Circe
a stillness greatens
from the heresy of rain
stop to look fear in the face

It turned out a little ominous, I think.  Perhaps it has to do with the youthy angst of writing which is chosen for teens.  I did not spend a lot of time sorting and choosing and arranging.  I like to play with random poetic constructions sometimes, to break out of some of my own typical patterns and images.  Exercises like this help me see new possibilities for juxtapositions, new ways to fracture sentences to open up new meanings, new sound and rhythm connections.

line 1: Truman Capote, “A Christmas Memory”
line 2: Homer, “The Odyssey”
line 3: Richard Wilbur, “The Writer”
line 4: James Hurst, “The Scarlet Ibis”
line 5: Eleanor Roosevelt

Gratitude List:
1.  Pianos in the city.  If you want to add fun and liveliness to your city, what better way than to get people to paint a bunch of upright pianos in wild and beautiful designs, and then place them in protected nooks around the city.  Spontaneous parties and songfests arise.  Way to go, Lancaster!  That’s delightful community-building.
2.  The March Against Monsanto.  The good, hopeful energy.  Reading The Lorax to the kids.  Selling tomato plants and talking healthy food with people.  The Amish buggy next to my stand with “Say No to GMO” cahled on its side.  The voice of the people.  Knowing our march was one of many around the world.
3.  Rhythm.  Daily, seasonal, poetic, musical. . .
4.  Books.  I am overwhelmed by all the reading I want to do and should be doing, especially with a house to clean and acres to mow and children to tend and a farm to run.  But I love wading into the stacks of books and opening up a poem or a short story.  The novel I am reading at the moment is Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  I recommend it.
5. The deep red/purple of the Japanese maple on the back hill.  It’s just about big enough now to be a little fort this summer for small people.

May we walk in Beauty.


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