scent of breaking light

the shortest day

this night

a black flower

we have pressed between us


in the yew wood

the mystery of the runes

as yet uncut

depths of me I did not know

took shape in your hands


I don’t seek

to understand life

or love

but hold you while you’re here–

snowflake in my hand


you are not here . . .

so I write a poem

against the night sky,

dot each ‘i’

with Venus


still, she leaves

a light on for him . . .


at the crumbling window

of a tumbledown cottage



to know that somewhere

an osprey

has stirred

this mountain mist

A t l a s P o e t i c a • I s s u e 9 • summer 2011


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kay
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 23:13:34

    The first two tanka take my breath away…


    • Claire
      Nov 29, 2011 @ 09:09:26

      Kay and Brian, thank you both for these wonderful comments. I still have to pinch myself when fellow poets see such merit in my work. Most often, Nature is the muse and I feel very much that I am merely a vehicle for what She wishes to commmunicate. No special skill on my part, just being open to listen.
      Bless you both.


  2. Brian
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 05:59:34

    All beautiful, Claire. The last poem I consider a perfect tanka, possessing that rich ambiguity the Japanese term yoin, so difficult to achieve in English. Again, perfect.


  3. Margaret Dornaus
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 03:32:37

    All so lovely, Claire . . . but my favorite is the 3rd one . . . Those last two lines: “but hold you while you’re here– snowflake in my hand” . . . Stunning!


    • Claire
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:49:59

      Thank you, Margaret…high praise from you 🙂 Lovely to see your name popping up near mine in A Hundred Gourds and The Heron’s Nest etc. Feels like we’re walking side by side along this winding path and I’m enjoying your company…


  4. Margaret Dornaus
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 17:02:20

    Yes . .. hand-in-hand.


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