Monday, June 26, 2017

Tanka # 2 River Edge



Sounds delightful nod
Soft flows trickle green moss sinks
Blue yellow sun shade
Shadows follow foot steps hear
Grasses bend and bow, 'til now  


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tanka #1: Hiding




Eyes look up skyward
Then down to the ground, digging.
Soft, thoughtful moment.

He shaded by large tree trunk
I paint him.  All becomes still. 
                                             MJC

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Haiku and Tanka and Me

Recently, my sister sent me a small book of Japanese Haiku as a memory of my mother, who passed away several years ago.  

It is a small hard-cover book that my mother purchased as a gift for her beloved aunt, who had cared for her when she was a young girl and needed a place to stay.  The inscription is lovely, and says,

"To Aunt Edith at Torch Cottage - To one who has enriched my life beyond all means of explanation. With all my love for your love which has never failed me.  Janet, Spring, 1964"

It was titled, Japanese HAIKU, published by Peter Pauper Press out of Mount Vernon, in New York in 1955-56 and sold at that time for $1.00.  It offered two hundred twenty examples of seventeen-syllable Japanese poems by Basho, Buson, Issa and other Japanese poets, mostly of the 15th and 16th century.  It was translated by Peter Beilenson.  





The book explains that a haiku poem is comprised of seventeen syllables, looking something like this:
5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables.

The tanka has 14 more syllables added to the haiku, for 31 syllables total, looking like this:

5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables

7 syllables
7 syllables

This is a grand total of 31 syllables.

Below, is an haiku and tanka that I prepared as an illustration.

5   NIGHT COMES BUT NOT YET
7   THE DIM SKY SPEAKS TO ME NOW
5   BLUE, WHITE, GOLD, ENDLESS.

7   DECLINE TO NEW BLOOMS OF GREY
7   ALL BECAUSE OF THE END GAME.
                                                                   MJC


Historically, I am told, several poets were involved in the writing of a tanka usually with the first poet preparing the haiku and the second poet completing the last two lines, thus becoming a tanka. Small drawings were often added, artistically, to the poem.  

Additional examples of poems and art based on the haiku and tanka are shown here.

Inspired by this little book, I wondered whether it might be possible to paraphrase my mother's words using the rules of Japanese haiku and tanka poems and here is what I came up with.

TO MY LOVING AUNT
LIFE ENRICHED BEYOND ALL MEANS
BY TORCH LAKE COTTAGE

FOR YOUR LOVE THAT NEVER FAILED

GRIEF ENSNARED BUT NOT BY YOU
                                                               MJC


Although I have never really completely understood why poetry has so many rules and quite often rebelled against them when forced to use them, I find this simple way of playing with words and syllables intriguing.  

Thus inspired,  I think over the next few days, will try to come up with some personal versions of haiku and tanka, with personal drawings illustrating them, just for the fun of it.

Who knows, perhaps a tanka a day keeps the doctor away?











Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Disappointed



Holy Crap
He said about the limits to growth,
Or was it the sustainability of resoures
Or lack of good governance
It might have been about
Weapons of mass destruction
Was it about the solution to the Palestinian problem?
I don’t remember now, but it 
Ended in a sigh.
But not of relief.
But of disapointment,
Staggering disappointment
Is this the best that we can do with this great country?
From the oceans, to the prairies,
With highways, and the byways, 
electric lines, telecommunications intact, good plumbing
Feely available food supplies, unlimited gasoline, volumes of natural gas,
Apples on trees, peaches on the ground, tomatoes drifting through the gardens, 
Wading through aisles of dog food, cat food, bird food, guppy food, hamster food, Cocatoo cages,
Sleeping pills, plastic aluminum, folded wrapped artificial food for babies.
Deeply disappointed,
Sorry to see it go,
Watching it fade away,
Tormented by silly commentary, 
upright slick characters. 

Poem by Mary Chamie.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Scarcely A Day Has Gone By



Scarcely a day has gone by 
That
I do not think of you.
You are my rock of ages, my story, my history, 
my undocumented past, 
My imagined future.  
My one and only
There will never be another one of you, or us.
I know that we are once upon a time and not forever. 
We wonder who will leave first, who will be left behind.
Just in case it is I who goes first, I leave you this celebratory not-so-specific
funny sad happy wistful loving
note of times past and present, contemplating
lost dreams of the future.
The future will celebrate itself without me.
Just in case it is I who remain, I leave this note of times past and present, future
To remember that scarcely a day has gone by that 
I do not think of you.

Poem and painting by Mary Chamie.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Coincidental


It is not coincidental that I find you in my living room.
I invited you in, just this once.
It is not a mistake that we do not argue.
It is a fact 
because we do not speak.
It is not a terrible thing to be bothered by you.
It is simply inconvenient, 
this morning, tomorrow, yesterday.
I forgot why you are here.
Who said you could enter?
It is time for you to go away 
today, tomorrow, forever.
Find somewhere else to peddle your wares.
This silence is not coincidental.
I respect that
 you are gone and 
tell no one that you left.

We lost each other long ago.
Poem and painting by Mary Chamie.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Write Poetry


Poetry was always a part of my life, but never ever posted and declared. I expect that not all my poems will resonate with everybody equally, however having to declare my poem finished is exciting.

I Will Only Do This Once

I thought it would last forever,
Not realizing how long life would go on.
It seemed like a good idea at the time,
We didn’t know any better.  
Yet now, I think
I will only do this once, 
For as many times as needed.