Tanka by tom clausen On line

Tags

, , , , , ,

could be I’m tired
                                                    or lost, but to close my eyes
                                                    and nod off
                                                    while the world goes on
                                                    gives me a certain peace

/

/

                                                    wind outside the mall
                                                    and as I wait
                                                    with my eyes closed
                                                    a killdeer calls
                                                    from another life

/

                                                    as I sit here
                                                    taking in the river view
                                                    I see my feelings for this life
                                                    quite like the trees
                                                    leaning slightly downstream

                                                     how ironic
                                                    coming to love
                                                    this life and world
                                                    and at the same time
                                                    letting it go

                                                    while planting bulbs
                                                    my wife unearths
                                                    a childhood cap gun of mine
                                                    I hold it
                                                    trying to grasp back then

                                                    scribbling,
                                                    that’s it,
                                                    what I do, and tell
                                                    the inquisitive stranger
                                                    who asks

                                                    what attracted me most
                                                    to the poem
                                                    had not so much to do
                                                    with the poem
                                                    but that she liked it

                                                    I asked him about his day
                                                    what he did
                                                    if he got enough sleep
                                                    and in response
                                                    a soulful look and purring

                                                    with thunder very close
                                                    our little dog
                                                    gets under my legs,
                                                    if only I could feel
                                                    so safe with myself    

     

                                                    another ball game
                                                    and she wonders why
                                                    I’m so taken by the win and lose
                                                    as if our lives were
                                                    nothing like that

                                                    on the trail to the top
                                                    my family hikes best
                                                    during the time
                                                    they combine
                                                    to make light of me

                                                    my beer gone flat
                                                    but out of duty
                                                    I finish it–
                                                    living all these
                                                    middle-aged days

                                                    just when I was feeling
                                                    there is always
                                                    too much to do,
                                                    Cassiopeia so sharp
                                                    in the autumn night sky   

 

                                                   by spontaneous consent
                                                   our subtle flirting 
                                                  has played itself out-  
                                                 our friendship will be all 
                                                  the better for this  



                                                 we work briskly 
                                                  into the momentum of the day 
                                                  a long list of what to do, 
                                                  once all there was  
                                                 was to fall in love




                                                  in the company of friends
                                                  our marriage takes on 
                                                  an air of comfort 
                                                  as we all attend to things  
                                                 other than ourselves


                                                     
it is love we all want 
and all these ways 
                                                  we go about getting it-  
                                                 how strange in my secluded spot
                                                  a stranger finds me




                                                  pushed by the wind 
                                                  at the far end of the sky
                                                  a few clouds…  
                                                 I can see what I want 
                                                  keeps changing too





                                                  ambivalence 
                                                  I believe is what 
                                                  I’ve come to sitting here
                                                  watching wave after wave
                                                  land itself




    

                                                       full of rain
                                                       the river races along
                                                       past everything here–
                                                       I can’t shake this sense
                                                       I’m living on borrowed time




                                                       watching
                                                       the smooth flow of water
                                                       over stones . .
                                                       how few of my thoughts
                                                       are new





                                                       beyond this life
                                                       that one old friend
                                                       I bump into over and over
                                                       promising that we’ll get together
                                                       again, someday





                                                        this complete enigma
                                                        of me wanting more solitude
                                                        then company in turn
                                                        on my terms
                                                        at just the right time 







                                                         wondering if this is what
                                                         my parents felt,
                                                         in their own time
                                                         seeing a better past slip
                                                         ever further behind 







                                                         all these years
                                                         in one house, one job
                                                         one town and in me―
                                                         too many changes to fathom
                                                         as I sweep away autumn leaves 







                                                         those two birds flying
                                                         so close together 
                                                        swiftly across the twilight sky― 
                                                        a certain happy sad witness 
                                                        I provide for them . . . 






                                                         that point
                                                         in the evening
                                                         when both cats are in place
                                                         quietly bathing
                                                         while I read . . .





                                                  without fanfare
                                                  I drag the dead branch
                                                  to the brush pile
                                                  another day risen
                                                  and fallen from my life 




                                                for ten years
                                                   we’ve come to this lake
                                                   for vacation— 
                                                  in the camera this year
                                                   your smile a little less






                                                   at the old parking lot
                                                   the sparrows bathe
                                                   in a big puddle
                                                  sometimes I’m so happy 
                                                  just to be here as witness






                                                  between chores
                                                  I study my hands
                                                  as if they might hold
                                                  something
                                                  I should know


                                                  to show me
                                                  the spirit of a train
                                                  I wish for one to come―
                                                  these overgrown tracks
                                                  I walk along

                                                        I keep it ambiguous
                                                        knowing full well
                                                        a defined reason
                                                        for feeling down
                                                        can be dismissed 


                                                        the envelope to me
                                                        sealed carefully with tape
                                                        on every seam
                                                        when opened, reveals
                                                        absolutely nothing


                                                        my youth spent
                                                        gathering strength and solace
                                                        of friends near and far–
                                                        these short years later
                                                        losing them one by one