Creeping, fresh-spilled ink Stains a sky of silver grey, Cloud and shadows slink, Silent as they stalk their prey— Blotting moon and stars away. Pinned within the dark, Hunters seek their second sight Lest they miss their mark. Somewhere still the land is bright; Brother, sit and taste the night. Fear not for the moon, Clouds are but the rags of fear; Soon, my brother soon, Moon and spear shall reappear; Dawn shall bring the doe-eyed deer.
Mandalay, Mustique July 25, 2004
The above is a triple tanka, an ancient Japanese poetic form from which the haiku was originally derived. Tanka means ‘short poem’. A tanka contains five lines and 31 syllables, scanning 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7. One of the hardest traditional forms to work with, the tanka demands brevity— and like the haiku, does not welcome foreign meddling!
This poem is a work in progress. It is incomplete, unfinished and has not been revised. It is meant only to offer a glimpse into the notebook of a poet at work. Please do not post it onto other sites or publish it in any form without this notice being attached. Thank you — Felix Dennis