A Tangle of Verdure, #Tanka Tuesday, #Butterfly Cinquain

Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash

my roof

is a tangle

of assorted verdure,

twisting branches woven, forming

an arch,

like the nave of a cathedral.

bright leaves and Spanish moss

gracefully sway


© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. She asked us to write a syllabic poem with synonyms for “green” and “morass.” I chose to write a butterfly cinquain. The Poets Collective defines a butterfly cinquain this way: “An  unrhymed 9 line poem. syllabic, 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.”

I’m feeling super lousy today after my second Covid shot. I’m glad my migraine brain could still come up with poetry, though I decided I didn’t want to bother with rhyme today. 😛 Thinking about the chosen words and synonyms, I thought about Spanish moss and remembered hiking under trees like this while visiting Virginia. Unfortunately, my poor dad was a feast for chiggers that day, but the trees were beautiful.

What Honking is For (A PSA), #Tanka Tuesday, Specific Forms

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

my car didn’t move

right in the first half second

after the light turned green,

so you honk.

my car then slows down,

as I get ready to turn

into a parking lot,

so you honk.

my blinker was on,

you knew that I was turning,

I was doing no wrong,

but you honk.

in heavy traffic,

I am hesitant to merge,

I’m more cautious than you,

so you honk.

a person crosses,

ambling across the crosswalk,

while I am stopped for him,

then you honk.

you didn’t see him,

and you feel there’s no reason

to ever slow or stop

so you honk.

if when changing lanes,

I am about to hit you,

and I just don’t see you,

then you honk.

honking means “danger,”

it does not mean to “speed up,”

so do not be surprised,

when you honk,

if I slow or stop

at the sound then of the blast

to avoid the danger

at your honk.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. This week, she challenged us to invent a new form.

From her page:

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

This poem was halfway coming together in my head as I was driving and before I saw the specifics of this week’s challenge. So, I went about this backwards perhaps. I took my half-formed poem and made it fit some sort of syllabic format, and then tried to see how it fit the challenge. I’ll say this is a haiku, but the line count changed to four, and the syllable count changed to 5-7-6-3. The fourth line is a refrain or variations on a refrain. The stanzas in my new form can be repeated several times, so, in that sense, in length, it is similar to a renga or solo renga. Then again, like a tanka, this form can be on any topic, not necessarily nature. I’m calling it a hankenga. Ha ha! It really just worked out that way, without me even trying to be punny. By the way, the driving situation where someone honked because I stopped for someone in a crosswalk really did happen, just not in the past few days.

Culinary Discoveries, #Tanka Tuesday, #Choka, #Tanka

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

each week, new produce

delivered to our doorstep,

sometimes strange, foreign:

watermelon radishes,

Hakurei turnips,

bok choy, purple bell peppers,

garlic scapes, (the shoots

that grow out of garlic bulbs.)

we prepare them healthfully.

Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

exotic thai tastes,

fish sauce, soy sauce and garlic,

thai chile paste,

cooked with beef and piled on rice,

topped with egg and sriracha

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for this week’s Tanka Tuesday challenge, hosted by Colleen M. Chesebro. This week’s theme was Disoveries, and I chose to write about food discoveries and wrote both a choka and tanka.

We have joined a CSA, and that has introduced us to some new produce that is not normally found in grocery stores — sometimes just a new variety of something familiar, like the purple bell peppers, or something somewhat familiar that I wasn’t in the habit of buying, like the bok choy. Actually, bok choy was one of the main components in the recipe, found here, that I featured in the tanka. The syllable count made it hard to include it, and I wanted to emphasize the foreign Thai flavorings. I’ve made it two or three times now, so it’s recommended.

A Map of Stars #Tanka Tuesday, #Tanka, #Ekphrastic Poem

Image Credit: Kerfe Roig

paddling my canoe

under the light of the full moon,

while guided by stars

and wisdom of forefathers,

while kingfishers fly above.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. We were challenged to write a syllabic poem inspired by the artistic photo shown. I was inspired both by the photo and this bit of information I found on http://www.ancient-wisdom.com, “The ancient Polynesians navigated their canoes by the stars and other signs that came from the ocean and sky. Navigation was a precise science, a learned art that was passed on verbally from one navigator to another for countless generations.” I decided then to make reference to a Polynesian bird.

Aurora Blush, #Tanka Tuesday, #Diatelle

Photo by Igor Bramuzzo on Unsplash


of light,

peeking bright,

aurora blush

through pastel clouds, shines white,

in early morning’s stillness hush

illuminating fields so green and lush,

an early riser’s treat, nature’s light show,

at eventide, the sky wears a pink flush,

tints from a watercolor brush,

sky’s a glorious sight,

in awe, we gush,

whether night

or light,


© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Photo by Bowen Chin on Unsplash

This was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday, with the requirement of synonyms for both “dawn” and “twilight.” I keep experimenting with different forms that are acceptable for the Tanka Tuesday challenge, so this time, I tried a diatelle, which, according to Colleen’s site, has this syllable pattern, “1/2/3/4/6/8/10/12/10/8/6/4/3/2/1” and this rhyme pattern, “abbcbccaccbcbba.”