weird notes

shiny or sinning?
the curse of foul penmanship
smites another write 

the Pen from Porlock cackles:
checkmate, again, you fool!


Tommaso da Modena.  Cardinal Nicholas of Rouen, 1352.  Web Gallery of Art.

Cardinal Nicholas can’t read it either.

Linked to Carpe Diem Special #133:  “How Lonely” – where I am so honored to fill in for our host, Chèvrefeuille.  He’s an amazing host – so I’ve been very nervous about helping out!   I may not say it enough, but THANK YOU CHÈVREFEUILLE!  You’re an awesome host and I appreciate all you do.    🙂

The inspiration for today comes from Fuyuko Tomita’s “How Lonely”.  Notice that her “tanka” is in four lines.  The original Japanese version is in 5 lines.  When she translates into English she is more concerned with the spirit of the poem than with the form of the translation.

How lonely I would be
left behind on my desk
an unfinished poem
in the glorious morning sun  

© Fuyuko Tomita


My response is also inspired by Delores at Ada’s Poetry Alcove – who is offering a poetry challenge!

7 28 2014 cardinal in flight

Here is my first response to the tanka:

at the bird feeder
three cardinals are squabbling –
a love triangle?

the poem that nudges my ribs
is fading with the laundry

Perhaps it would have been better like this:

at the bird feeder
three cardinals are squabbling –
a love triangle?

the poem that nudges my ribs
fades with the laundry

9 21 2014 cardinal 2

Last year was the year of the mourning dove.  We were surrounded by them – practically hip-deep in doves. This year we are surrounded by cardinals.  Tons of ‘em.  Everywhere. 

We have around 3 males – and a gaggle of females.  Fun times for Claude Cardinal – not so fun for Carrie Cardinal and Claudette Cardinal.  

9 21 2014 cardinal 3

I SAW that, Claude!


26 thoughts on “shiny or sinning? (kyoka)

  1. Lovely to catch up with the Peeay soap opera some more – I can imagine birds from around the world tuning in each week: “Oo get that Carrie Cardinal! Who does she think she is?!”

    A great cameo from Cardinal Nicholas, too 🙂

    And I’m not sure that WP ever expected their tags to be used along the lines of ” geesh i think there’s a poem in that somewhere” 😉


  2. Looks like “sminy” to me! Coleridge’s claim about the lost part of his poem – that “all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast” – reminds me of Chevrefeuille writing that a haiku describes a moment as short as the sound of a pebble being thrown into water. Anyway, both your poems are beautiful.


    • Thanks Jackie — so glad you enjoyed them 🙂
      Yes, the comparisons do seem very similar! Same idea, different expression, I guess. But leave it to a poet to come up with a GREAT excuse for “gee … I plum forgot!” LOL

      All the best to you —

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Jen .. you know .. I find it fascinating how subjective a haiku or even a tanka can be … you saw penmanship problems, Chèvrefuelle saw writers block and I, I saw a way out of loneliness … loved you post both here and at CDHK … and these tanka are great! It was interesting to read the original tanka and this variation that you put up here as well …


  4. Lovely post, Jen!! your second tanka is my favourite but not by much….I love that image, you brought me back to my mom’s house the day she passed, my sitting at the window looking at woodpeckers and a cardinal family (mom, pop, kid) taking their turns like they knew the rules:) Chévrefeuille chose well…well done, kiddo!! 🙂


    • Thanks Oliana — I’ve been terrified of this — worried so much about messing up. And I still did — got the timing wrong!
      Fingers crossed for the rest of the week.

      Could be wrong, but cardinals seem to be VERY hierarchical — VERY much into pecking order — very aggressive until things get sorted out.


      • Hon, you are an amazing writer and host…breathe in, breathe out…I glimpsed quickly this morning at the prompt not noticing you were hosting and what a pleasant surprise to see that tonight…well, this morning …just posted mine. It was reminiscent of my walk home stumbling over snow drifts and covering my face from the blowing snow…argh


        • Thanks so much — I do agonize over prompting, that’s for sure. 🙂 Fingers crossed!!!!!
          Will have to go check your poem out ASAP —

          It’s absolutely horrible here too — can’t imagine how cold it is up there. It’s just painfully cold – so absolutely awful. 😦
          Thanks Oliana 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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