Tanka 3

red-gold cannot stay
frost ices flaming tresses
as winter creeps in
through autumn’s unguarded door
forging fire into silver

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A tanka is a form of Japanese poetry made up of 5 lines containing 31 syllables. The 1st line has 5 syllables; 2nd, 7 syllables; 3rd, 5 syllables; 4th, 7 syllables; 5th, 7 syllables. It can have any theme.)


Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Mother Moon

Mother Moon looks down on me tonight,
Full, pregnant, an alabaster ball on the horizon.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

I wonder—does She feel Her children’s plight,
Or our heartaches uncaringly shun?
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

Oh, lovely lady, with my tears I write
Odes to your glory—have you seen a one?
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

If I could unfurl wings, become a sprite,
I would fly to your domain, eschew the sun.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

You climb through the stars, my envy You incite.
I hunger to rise with You, dressed to bedizen.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

Grant me wings and I will be Your acolyte,
Tiptoe past twilight, with this old earth be done.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A villanelle  poem has a fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all based on two rhymes. The 1st and 3rd lines of the 1st stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and appear together as the last two lines in the final quatrain.

Rhyme scheme: a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a-a.)


Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Sweet Time

Listen now and heed me well
To this tragic, timeless tale—
We’ve all lost loved ones
To distance and death
And occasionally, to circumstance.
Or just by believing there was time,
Sweet, sweet time, always time,
To visit and while away that time.
Yes, all the time in the world,
Static, breathless, endless time
I believed—
When I was young.

Years pass by in the blink of an eye,
And you notice one day
How many have died.
Gone, all gone, with time’s treacherous tides,
Their scattered, ivory bones picked clean
And carried away into death’s dawn.
Time, sweet time, and them—
Now gone.

Time is not so sweet anymore,
You long for the grim reaper
To knock upon your door,
And drag you away,
You care not where,
Over here, over there, anywhere.
It makes no difference,
Any place will do
As long as it is far away
From this world now without you—
And you and you and you.
Far too many yous
Have stepped beyond the veil.
And you contemplate,
Anticipate—

Do they frolic upon some sandy shore,
No aches, no pains,
No worries anymore?
Is there a chair saved just for you
At the table where they meet?
All say a prayer upon that beach,
Good bread, good meat,
Good God, let’s eat.
Teeth young and sharp,
Do they tear into food?
And lusty, not rusty,
Into each other too?
And be not at the mercy
Of fickle, tricky time,
For in this hallowed place
There is no time.
Just laughter and love
And the joining of friends,
God knows I long for that—
As I long for the end.

©2021 KT Workman



Image by dalnimi oh from Pixabay

Fear the Wrath of the Lord

Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.
Lest you be damned and cast down into His eternal hell—
Yea, smitten with the fury of his mighty golden sword.

In flaming paper boats, the piceous Styx you will ford,
Sails strung with clacking bones and screaming, screeching bells.
Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.

His shiny, black shoes pound the boards,
His dark, shifty eyes flash a tell,
While his carefully crafted words cast a spell
Upon the brainwashed zombie hoard.
Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Originating in French lyrical poetry of the 14th century, a rondel prime poem is a fixed form of verse based on two rhyme sounds and consisting usually of 14 lines divided into three stanzas. The first two lines of the 1st stanza are repeated as the refrain of the 2nd and 3rd stanzas. The meter is open, but usually has eight syllables per line. Rhyme scheme: A-B-b-a, a-b-A-B, a-b-b-a-A-(B)—capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim.)


Image courtesy of:

Zeferli Stock Image and Video Portfolio – iStock (istockphoto.com)

Senryu 4


a blue day, no sun

shines down from a gray heaven

to warm my cold soul



(Note: Japanese Senryu—3 lines, 17 syllables. 1st line, 5 syllables; 2nd line,7 syllables; 3rd line 5 syllables. Subject matter usually the human condition.)


Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks or months or years) when life gets you down, and it feels as if it would be nice to just move on? Listening to “Jubilee” by Gretchen Peters… https://youtu.be/v8WiEO2u7Ao …a beautiful, but haunting song.


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Come Dance With Me

Come dance with me, my love, I care not where.
On a sandy beach, our steps we shall share,
while the sun is high, we waltz, hot and slow,
as our thoughts take on a sensual glow,
and we dream of night, our bodies laid bare.

Take my hand, lead me to a field so fair
where we glide with daisies, without a care,
as rain patters down, and the sun sinks low,
come dance with me…

Hold me tightly in the crisp mountain air,
as dusk gives way to night, without a prayer.
Our bodies sway, ‘neath the moon’s argent glow, 
and we come together, a liquid flow.
With stars in our eyes, one more time, mon cher,
Come dance with me…

©️2021 KT Workman

(Note: A rondeau poem has 15 lines containing 3 stanzas—a quintet, a quatrain, and a sestet. Lines 9 and 15 are short: a refrain consisting of a phrase taken from the 1st line. The other lines are longer (but all of the same metrical length), typically containing 8 to 10 syllables.

Rhyme scheme: a-a-b-b-a, a-a-b-R, a-a-b-b-a-R.)


Image by fsHH from Pixabay

Mother

She rejoices when Spring spreads its green skirts,
Arranges them about its sun-draped form
And settles upon the tilled garden dirt
That basks beneath a bright blanket of warmth.

Seeds sprout, take root, raise their tiny green heads,
Reach for the sun, drink in April’s showers.
She picks the brash, ripe produce, tends the beds
With gentle hands and love’s healing power.

Seasons change, a chill creeps over the land,
Diminishes the sun, guides in fall’s winds.
Vegetables grow sluggish, as do the hands,
And winds once warm are replaced by cold friends.
Winter howls, its fangs frost-bite spring and she.
Spring will return...Mother, at last, is free.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A sonnet is a 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter. It contains and octave (presents the theme and develops it) and a sestet (which brings the poem to a conclusion).

Rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g.


Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Let’s Make a Deal

“I’ll pay you fifty million dollars,” Angela Burk said, her sharp gray eyes boring into Mark Pearson’s. “And all you have to do is give me a little nudge so I can die.”

The old lady was serious! Mark couldn’t believe it. He had agreed to have lunch with Mrs. Burk prior to her surgery on Monday, something the anesthesiologist had never done before with a patient, but she had been insistent; though, her asking this of him was the last thing he thought she may want to talk about. Questions about the operation, yes, but never this. It was just a simple operation—a vaginal hysterectomy for fibroid tumors that had enlarged, which was an uncommon occurrence for women of Mrs. Burk’s advanced years, but not unheard of.

I can’t be hearing her right…this is crazy. Or maybe she was senile. She couldn’t be asking him to kill her. “Mrs. Burk, do you know what you’re asking of me?”

“Yes, young man, I know perfectly well what I’m asking: I want you to help me pass on.”

Mark took a big drink of the expensive wine, started to set the glass down, changed his mind, and swallowed another big gulp. He studied her face for a moment, noted the set of her jaw and the astute intelligence in her steady gaze. Though her shoulder-length silver hair hinted at her age—ninety-five—the rest of her spoke of a much younger woman. Makeup expertly applied, a shocking red dress that skimmed her slim body, and red pumps to match, she could have passed for someone in her fifties. Truth be told, he wouldn’t mind having a look under that red dress and maybe even tapping the old broad.

Continue reading Let’s Make a Deal

Goodbye

Goodbye, dear one, my friend, my confidant—

You knew me well, better than I knew you.

You listened while I talked, bared my dark soul,

Without judgment or contempt—just silence.

You soaked me in, absorbed my rambling thoughts,

Consumed my anger, never gave it back.

Though you were a battle-scarred knight with wounds

That had ravaged your body, caused you pain,

You spoke little of your own afflictions.

Instead, you listened, you heard what I said,

Did not dismiss me as silly or crazed

As others have done. You truly listened!

You gave unconditional love, my friend, 

Wanting nothing in return but my love.

And I failed you, though you said you failed me.



You are gone now, off to a better place.

Some call it heaven, I call it sweet peace.

I hope your soul mate, whom death snatched away

Before it took you, waits with a smile and

A hand to lead you home, that elusive

Place you had searched for most of your hard life.

Goodbye, dear one, until we meet again.



©️2021 KT Workman

Dedicated to my “partner in poetry” who passed away recently.

(Note: blank verse poetry does not rhyme, and is written in iambic pentameter. It has a consistent meter with 10 syllables per line, where unstressed syllables are followed by stressed ones.)

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Granny Tucker

My Granny Tucker was the kindest, gentlest soul I’ve ever known. And patient, lord above, did that woman have patience.

She came to live with my family when I was about three years old, following Grandpa’s death. I don’t remember Grandpa—probably just as well that I didn’t since according to my mama, he was a mean drunk—but I do remember Granny. I was still young, twelve or so, when she died, but many wonderful memories were crammed into those seven years, memories I’ll carry with me to my grave. And a few bad ones as well.

But I’ll get to the good ones first.

Granny read to me when I was a wee one. All my siblings were in school, and it fell to her to entertain me. But I don’t think she did it out of any sense of duty, but out of love. After I became a grandmother myself, I realized just how special grandchildren are. As a parent, one is often too busy to appreciate the company of a child, to experience the joy one feels in seeing their joy, to savor the love that fills one’s heart to bursting with love for that special little person.

But I digress.

In my mind, I see little me scrunched beside Granny in the old wooden rocking chair she favored. I hear her soft voice, feel the warmth of her thin, bony body against mine as she reads.

According to my siblings, Granny and I played teacher and student, with me insistent on being the teacher. I don’t remember this, but since my sister says I was a stubborn little thing, I’ll take it as fact. Being the spoiled baby of the family, I’m sure I was used to getting my way. I’ve mellowed since then. (“Yeah, right,” I can hear my siblings saying.)

When Granny’s sons (my uncles) visited, one of them—I think it was the uncle who always wanted money from her—invariably brought her a box of chocolate covered cherries. I don’t think Granny ate a single one; instead, she doled them out to her grandchildren. We seldom got candy, so the sweet, gooey chocolate mounds were pure delicacies to us. And to this day, my sister who is three years my senior, and I love chocolate-covered cherries with a passion.

The only mean thing I recall Granny doing was tattling on said sister and me. And looking back, I know it wasn’t really mean of her; it just seemed that way at the time.

One weekday morning, Sister and I decided we didn’t want to go to school so we pretended to be sick. Well, as soon as Mama headed out to the barn to milk the cow, Sister and I got out of bed, and if memory serves me correctly, went outside and played on the teeter-totter. Granny came out of the house and told us she was going to tell Mama as soon as she came back from milking. I suppose we got in trouble, and I suppose I was a little mad at Granny for a bit.

But I got over it. She was way too good to us kids for me to carry a grudge.

She got thinner over the years she lived with us, and frailer as well, but she told no one that she hurt or felt bad. The first clue we had that something was wrong was when I found her outside after she’d fallen. Mama took her to the doctor. I think exploratory surgery was done, and it was discovered she had colon cancer, was in fact so eat up with it that the doctors sewed her back up and sent her home to die.

And it wasn’t a pretty death; it was ugly and horrible, the way cancer most often is—at least that how it was in those times.

She had pain medication, but it could only do so much. I remember Granny telling Mama that rats were eating on her, and her taking my mama’s hand and placing it over her pubic hair to show her the rat.

Now, and even when I was just a kid, I wondered why such a good woman had to suffer so. And how could a loving God allow it?

I wasn’t in the room with her when she died, but for whatever reason, wasn’t in school that day. I remember seeing my mama crying and Daddy holding her. I remember my Grandma Workman, who was there helping out any way she could, coming into the front room to tell me what my Mama’s tears had already told me. I remember Grandma asking if I wanted to tell Granny Tucker goodbye. I remember going into the small bedroom where my Granny had breathed her last and staring at her beloved face.

But I didn’t cry. I knew that at long last, her suffering was over.

My Granny Tucker had loved to read, and that love was passed to Mama, then to me. I believe whatever small talent I have as a writer originated with those two wonderful women. That is why I use the Tucker name (It is the “T” in KT.) as part of my penname: to honor them with my words, the only way I know how.

An old Conway Twitty song titled “That’s My Job” just about sums it up. We go through our younger lives depending on our parents and grandparents to be there when we need them. But there comes a point when we step up to the plate, so to speak, and be the ones “doing the job.” The final stanza of Conway’s song brings this point home.

If you care to listen to it, I’ve added a YouTube link to it below. And if you don’t at least tear up listening to it, you’ve got a pretty hard heart.

©2021 KT Workman

That’s My Job

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels