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Martin TURNER

Rookie (February 9th 1948 / London, Westminster SW1)

Tankas For The Memory


1. Pathetic fallacy Tanka


Late October. A feast of sun.
Burgundy leaves blatting the tiles.
The woods shed feathers
from a pheasant’s neck.
Shots and shafts of grace.



2. Tanka of the trail of moments


My life, passing by only
a little less rapidly
than that of a mayfly,
is similarly
a joyous ordeal.



3. Nested routines Tanka


I trot round like a circus pony
performing my
remorseless sequences.
And quite suddenly
it’s getting dark again.



4. Positively 4th Street Tanka


Just one of the street’s
many ordinary recriminations:
but with what unfathomably
scornful tenderness
he jeers.




5. Cursing Tanka


Already sour signs of blight –
exhaustion and exasperation –
blacken the harvest:
only a slave wants to
finish his work.



6. Scorpio Rising Tanka


Always the raw fuel of desire
pressing to discharge
and gaudied up as pleasure.
He: “Opportunity! ”
She: “Destiny! ”



7. Tanka of the balloon-soul


Man always and everywhere
strives to escape
from his straightjacket;
but everywhere and always
he hankers for effortlessness.



8. Tanka in Bramshill Woods


The seethe of traffic rises
to climb the sloping sky
and is carried off
on the backs of seahorses.
Yellow leaves steam the trees.





9. Tanka of many waters


A woman is like a jewel
whose depths only the years
they promise will unfold.
A star’s crescent lure
into and out of time.



10. Airshow Tanka


Unflinching, the stern aisle-
goddesses of powdered stone
stare into the distance.
The smile, when it comes,
is firmly confidential.



11. Tanka of Two Worlds


In the swarm of events
sheer complexity must inevitably
give rise to some logic –
in the soaring
wastes of silence.



12. Bright Valley Tanka


The Beune’s early mist
fogs the firs’ feet or hangs
like a banner for the buzzards.
Newly aroused, laurel leaves
spoon the sun’s glitter.




13. Birthday Tanka


Watching the shift of light,
slowing down,
staring into silence.
Now sixty but at last
overcoming the pull of gravity.

Submitted: Monday, June 16, 2008

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Comments about this poem (Tankas For The Memory by Martin TURNER )

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  • Rookie S. A. S. (6/22/2008 4:53:00 AM)

    Martin,

    Even though you journey to unlucky '13', you move towards transcendence. The writing seems effortless, but the journey doesn't.
    My favorite image: 'The woods shed feathers/from a pheasant's neck'.
    I'm totally impressed that each of these tankas is titled, and that each title adds to and complements the tanka and the poem as a whole.
    Really impressive work.
    So genuine and substantial.

    -Sue Ann Simar (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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