Air. Earth. Water. Fire. Find the four elements of nature within life, love, work, garden, and art and you’ll create a sense of balance without boredom, surprise without chaos.
These elements have long been subjects for poets.
The Fire, Air, Earth and Water did contest
Which was the strongest, noblest and the best,
wrote Anne Bradstreet, “the first woman to be recognized as an accomplished New World poet,” in her poem, “Four Elements [Fire, Earth, Air and Water].”
In the spirit of Sunday as a day of rest, and with an invitation to you, dear reader, to find sacred places within your own garden, patio, or apartment, I give you Day 28 poetry for the 30/30 Project. I composed four tanka: 5 line poems with 5,7,5,7,7 syllables per line, for a complete 31 syllable poem.
Sacred Garden: Four Tanka
Canyon breathes, trembles
manzanilla olive leaves.
Starlings flush. Startle
golden garden bells. Birthday
gift erupts in temple song.
Angel’s apple tree
holds his palm imprint above
rootline his hands once
grasped, now both deeply buried —
roots and hands at rest in ground.
Patter on copper
rain chain drips a water chant.
Peace Rose bends toward war
veteran’s gate. I watch him stand
in open storm, hands clutch rain.
Votives lit on rocks
every night an evening prayer.
Dinosaur bones once
found here, two fossils. We too
press lantern path, watch light rise.
While I’m happy enough with these poems – written in a day – they’re not finished, in a true poetic sense yet. Complete tanka needs a turn between lines 3 and 4, “a pivotal image, which marks the transition from the examination of an image to the examination of the personal response.” Poems, like gardens, need constant pruning, rearranging, and feeding. What inspires you? Why don’t you try your hand at writing tanka today while your feet are resting on a ledge. You’ll find a complete discussion of the form on the Academy of American Poets website here.
p.s. In the spirit of small things, did you know that a donation of $10 to the 30/30 Project as a gesture of support and love for poetry and its publication, is as beautiful as the tiny blossoms on Angel’s apple tree?