Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Room of My Own: Anything New under the Spring Sun?

a tanka sequence for the author of Ecclesiastes

I'm upstairs writing
my dog downstairs sleeping
separates the worlds
between us

I scratch an all-day itch
into a few words . . .
back-breaking wet snow
continues piling up

cliches in my poem
audible but muted...
a new round
of midnight peace talks
between the Muse and me

left behind
by Calliope, the thief
of my heart and mind:
winter moonlight
on a scribbled line

the Muse asks,
Does a grain of poetry
to season our day?

sand slipping through my fingers

another day
starts with cliched imagery
the Muse is gone
but her eyes that stared at me
remain in my glass of wine

I could bottle these feelings
for Calliope . . .
a few more words nibble
the edges of my night

this starless night
the Muse at loggerheads
with my shadow...
at daybreak, the first line
rage against the day

my muse listens
to the hum and strike
of my words...
that same old look
on her Tudor court face

these clichéd words
hauled out of their mansion
herded onto buses
crammed into the camp
        it's a dream, and yet...

first spring day...
distant sirens sharpen
the silence
I share with my old dog
and Calliope

book launch over
the Muse holding a scythe
walks me home...
this dream I have
on the first night of spring

I'm pregnant
with the 13th tanka ...
in twilight
my muse's ghost up the road
and around the bend


  1. The tanka sequence above is my second one about the "troubling relationship" between a poet and his muse. The first one was published in Haiku Canada Review, 7:1, February 2013

    The NeverEnding Story between Calliope and Me
    for Michael Ende

    first light touching
    the empty side of my bed . . .
    on my headstone
    A poet's life is lived
    in the shadow of the Muse

    my neighbor's cat
    chasing a big mouse
    across the room
    I wait for bread crumbs
    from the Muse's table

    this humid day
    the Muse dressed in a burqa
    comes toward me
    the sounds in my head
    roar and fight like monsters

    at high noon
    my critic and the Muse
    I turn to Orlando,
    the book my ex loves most

    this summer night
    my Muse's sexual rage
    through many pages...
    I write about loneliness

    my ex and Muse
    brimming over with love
    for each other...
    awake, autumn sunlight
    on my coffee-stained desk

    the Muse comes
    as a mournful solace
    despite passing
    of the final deadline
    I write rage against the light

    nothing new
    stuttering off the tongue
    of my old Muse . . .
    I look out the window
    at leaves swirling in midair

    my dying Muse
    her whole life runs through my mind...
    on the way home
    I see nothing but
    snowflakes and shadows

  2. "A room of my own" is a potent account of a poet's struggle for inspiration and originality. I particularly like the 2nd and 5th tankas.

  3. Glad you like my tanka. Thanks for your encouraging comment.