Nature, contrary to mine

I don’t do poetry. I’ve tried before, look back on it and cringe. So why? Well, it was a challenge – and a form I’d never heard of – Tanka.

‘Does anyone not love Haiku,’ ran the intro. Um, I don’t. I felt like running for cover, hiding my head from battery by short-form-lit-lovers.

But I carried on reading. Tanka, it seems, is longer than Haiku, by two lines. Syllables: 5-7-5-7-7. Hmm.

Go on then. Nature notes in a most unnatural form. For me.

But just this once.


No more. Ever.

(No that’s not a Haiku!)



Sleek, dark, wine-red flash
Of tree-leaping, nut-hoarding
Squirrel, beware! Grey,
Who, innocent, carries death
– your fate? – trod this path today.


Splish splash, dirty bath
Lazy me, topped it up
Instead of cleaning.
Poor bird, still happy, bathing –
But drinking, too! How can you?


Stretching in the sun
Gaudy, blowzy blooms, yellow
For a day or two
Fall off, unfertilised.
No All Souls pumpkin-ghouls, then?


Stratospheric ice,
Fleeting strands of crystal white.
But real weather comes
In dark grey, rain-sown puffballs,
Near enough for birds to pierce.


Fragile, brown, dancing
In pairs, centre stage
Where once their showy cousins
The Peacocks fluttered by
To doze, drowsy with nectar.

Summer turning

Red berries. Dry leaves
Russet as the days shorten.
Seeds drop. Swallows wheel,
Soar, catch ants newly flying.
Tired summer sighs, ‘enough’.


Red, white, black – and mad.
Hammering your head against
Next door’s pergola
– for what? That fat, white, lardy,
Grub? I see. Soft, sanity.



This entry was posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Nature, contrary to mine

  1. EllaDee says:

    Marvellous. Simple in my tastes… and abilities, I like Haiku. And will experiment with Tanka… sometimes wordy me wants more syllables that Haiku offers. That said, your Tanka offerings have set the benchmark high… as I enjoyed the experience of your garden.


    • Thank you. I really don’t feel comfortable writing poetry – I don’t really know why I did this except it was a challenge. I find Haiku a bit flimsy, somehow, though I know there can be strength in simplicity I don’t feel mentally adapted for it! But after many years spent editing I do know that it often makes what at first seems beautiful even more so. Look forward to your Tanka – if you’re going to share it???? M


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  4. litadoolan says:

    Lovely melody in your work! I love the internal rhythms, especially Squirrel, Clouds and Butterflies. I hope you write more, there is a rich deep texture to your word choice.


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