The Voices of Leaves


The Voices of Leaves

a tanka sonnet:



with dust on your wings, what lies

beyond the sunset?


not the ocean

but the voices of leaves. . .

whorled shell


how you danced

on a pin head of time. . .

my turning mind

combs this music box night

encrypted with stars


the dove’s head

beneath its wing. . .

windswept moon


Remembering Svetlana,  one month on.



this journey

through sun and squall and desert wind

and we

all hostages to fortune

with butterfly wings



twisted willow

I sit in the shadow

of Shiva

poetry coursing

through my veins




this still lake

and these mountains painted

in antiquity…

rain on her sleeve, the sky

upsets a tin of tacks




autumn leaves

where we walked beneath

a honey moon

the folds and unfolds of dreams,

the yellowed tape of Lakeland





you’re gone     you’re gone

and yet…

catching this gossamer

what’s left of the light





she curls around a memory

of herself

this golden timepiece

summer’s fading pulse



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 20:32:53

    Amazing (as always) Claire.

    soul deep
    the world unravels
    through your words –
    forward, down


  2. Maggie Chula
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 00:33:21

    Very interesting, but how do you define a ‘tanka sonnet’?


  3. Brian
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 03:34:25

    Claire, you make me weep for loss and the beauty by which you give grief expression.


  4. robert d. wilson
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 03:46:17

    You are by far one of the world’s finest haiku poets. Your poetry is proof that English language haiku and tanka can be true literature when using the correct meter and Japanese aesthetic styles within the realm of your British cultural memory.


  5. Brian Pike
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 09:44:30

    “the sky / upsets a tin of tacks”

    …Claire, that’s such a clever image, love it!


    • Claire
      Oct 07, 2011 @ 10:21:34

      Brian, Robert, Brian Z, Paul …I am humbled by your words. That I can inspire such depth of feeling and appreciation from poets whom I admire and with whom it is a delight to walk this path, is a true blessing. I have much to learn and it is from Nature and kindred souls such as yourselves that I continue to feel nurtured and hungry to grow.

      Margaret, I discovered the tanka sonnet by way of Denis Garrson’s excellent collection, ‘First Winter Rain’. I’m not sure if it’s Denis’ invention, but I find it a lovely way of combining 3 haiku and one tanka (in any order) to produce 14 lines (emulating the sonnet form)which adds additional layers of meaning. Until I discovered haiku and tanka just over 18 months ago, I had mainly written traditional Western poetry, eg. sonnets, villanelles, terza rima, sestina etc. Ironically -as I am now passionate about Japanese short form poetry and feel it has become a way of life! – I spent five years writing a poem of 14,132 lines, inspired by Greek mythology and celebrating feminine goddess spirituality, before it was subsumed by the patriarchs. I’m not sure I’d ever find a publisher for such a vast project and I’ve come to believe that so much more can be said in very few words 😉 Needless to say, it’s been quite a learning curve!

      With a grateful heart, best wishes to you all.


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