Shadows of the Night – Chained Tanka – November 26, 2015

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Shadows of the Night

shadows in the night
elongated – nameless
black wraiths walking
from alley to square – aware
of nothing but lamp lights

and the dampness
filters through the ancient walls
entering old bones
glancing through dirty windows
the city reverberates

dust and darkness
in an old city square – lost
a homeless kitten
ignored by passersby
but so are homeless people

black wraiths walking
nameless – elongated
shadows of the night
seeming – hidden as day breaks
yes – inside angry men’s hearts.

© G.s.k. ‘15

Image Credits:  Nelson L “shadows will always follow us” CC BY 2.0

Photo Challenge # 88 November 24, 2015

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29 thoughts on “Shadows of the Night – Chained Tanka – November 26, 2015

  1. WOW wow wow, nice chain of tanka! (Though mine isn’t for this prompt, I have a chained tanka coming up at some point–pulled it out of cold storage–it’s an epic dragon poem.) I really like your take on the prompt–hoping to work on mine soon….

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  2. This is absolutely amazing! On so many levels Georgia!
    First – thanks for playing along with the prompt! 🙂

    Then, thanks – I’ve just been introduced to a new poetic form in action – and it’s awesome!

    And finally – wow – your inspiration has allowed for a wonderful interpretation of the image – with your own amazing insights and twists – and for being ‘condensed’ in form – you have so ultimately captured ambiance and settings, creating an incredibly haunting piece! What lines!

    and the dampness
    filters through the ancient walls
    entering old bones
    glancing through dirty windows
    the city reverberates

    That is a tanka / stanza that screams ideas and character … and the closing line – oh, what power!

    Seriously, you make find this piece a bit “darker” than you normally write or would consider … but I think you have captured essence and history … I feel like I’m following the shadows in an ancient city where much blood has been spilled …. and yet, I don’t feel threatened …. so, personally, for me, I don’t feel the “darkness” … just a glimpse in a window in time.

    At any rate – great job! 😀

    Cheers ~ Pat

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    • Wow .. what a critique for which I’m very grateful. The tanka is one of the oldest forms of Japanese poetry … also known as waka – in the ancient epic poetry (choka) it was the closing stanza of a very long poem, having an extra 7 syllable line. It’s one of my favourite forms and allows one to be more articulate than with a haiku – chaining them together isn’t probably “kosher” but I like to chain haiku and tanka when I want to write about something in a more elaborate manner.

      That said, you just confirmed what I’ve been saying all along .. I can’t really write dark. Horror, Gothic – hopelessness and deep desperation of dark just isn’t in me. I can talk ABOUT dark things … war, abandonment, history or as in this case the shadows of society … but that’s not dark … something transpires through my writing that just denies darkness .. sometimes I feel my verses are somehow too superficial … I can’t seem to get into the depths in order to really stimulate emotions. Even now, when I’m mourning the loss of my husband, I don’t have the desperation one needs to have in order to write really dark poetry. I guess that’s who I am .. and I’m good with that.

      I’m very pleased you liked the poem … it will remain one of my favourites. I really enjoy the photos you’ve been putting up! They are stimulating, you’re doing a great job!

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      • I’m so sorry to hear that you are mourning the loss of your husband Georgia …. thoughts and prayers and light to you.

        As for not being able to write “from a dark side” …. well listen, that’s totally cool. It seems ALL I can do is write from that place …. and it’s been that way for most of my life. The complete reverse of you. And believe me … I totally understand when you say that sometimes you feel like your verses are too superficial …. but are they really? No. But one thing to consider …. the poetry forms you enjoy the most …. are the ones that by their very nature are the most “controlled” at expressing emotions …. tanka … haiku … etc. are “brief” flashes of an experience …. through the “meditative process of distant observation” …. which is different than just sitting and writing from the heart …. in a sudden outburst of whatever emotions …. joy, bliss, peace, distraction, despair etc.

        I struggle with haiku … the brevity … because I think “have I really captured something ‘essential’?”

        But at the end of the day …. whether your muse and heart and writing sings of happiness and plays in whatever forms I would say that your words are never empty. And if you personally are working through your own challenges and pushing your writing, then who is to “judge?”

        Thanks for the encouragement and compliments …. and I offer them back to you as well …. I don’t always play with the B&P …. but I have to say, you and Jen have really broadened my poetic horizons … and that’s always cool. 😀

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        • Thanks so much for all you’ve written here … and yes, it’s true that the form of poetry that I find myself more at home with are the Japanese waka, though I do like to play with the other forms as well and when the muse inspires have written many free verse, but it’s in the waka where my heart lies.

          Thanks you again for your thoughtful and encouraging comment, it’s much appreciated! 🙂

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  3. I remember an older gent, I believe was homeless (when I was working) and he had this routine – he would walk up and down the parking lot in the morning before the stores opened looking for change to buy a cup of coffee… He was always cheerful.

    Though too many are ignored. Some in daylights shadows jump in your face demanding something. Those folks with an attitude can be scary…as they come from very dark places indeed.

    Thank you – One family meal down… another to go – tomorrow.

    BeeBee is coming along in snippets 🙂

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    • Know what you mean of course … and you’re right too … sometimes people bring their own shadows with them. Yikes – another family meal – bon apetite! Here’s to BeeBee ..and have a great day Jules.

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