"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Conversations with Birds

Be still and listen to the voices that belong
To the streambanks and the trees and the open fields.
There are songs and sayings that belong to this place,
By which it speaks for itself and no other.
Wendell Berry

Woodpeckers (1950)


Birds of my garden,
Why do you fly through my door
To perch upon kitchen sink?
You bring me news of
Morning rain, empty seed bowl.

Long-necks (1950)


It is Autumn now
And long-necked storks will gather
To confer of the journey,
Beaks delving in the
Bowl of my thoughts like chopsticks.

Owl (1960)


Night-visitor on
Moonlit wings, do you bring word
From my beloved?
Will he return home
Before the trees lose their leaves?

May (1960)


While moon is rising,
Whitening the tall grasses,
I sleep fitfully.
I am dreaming your low voice;
Trust in tomorrow.


All prints are the work of Japanese artist, Kaoru Kawano, and are displayed here under Fair Use Principles.
My series of tanka was written after revisiting the feature articles of Dr Hisashi Nakamura.

Sherry Blue Sky is hosting the prompt, Hope and the Places that Heal You in the Imaginary Garden.


  1. I am dreaming your low voice;
    Trust in tomorrow............. the images in this are so soothing

  2. I find short poetry to be the most deeply penetrating. The images of the birds bringing news of hunger and the chopstick-beaks eating your brain, your thoughts, are stark ... and kind of overwhelming and scary. One: it might hurt ... a lot. Two: what if you let them down, not having "good enough" thoughts?

    I love X. I wish I could answer your question. I think that's why we fall for certain "beloveds"; we never quite know what they're going to do, or what the outcome might be ... especially when they're often quiet and thoughtful, distant, or perhaps physically far away.

    I really like the line break after "Night-visitor on." It makes me think of a night visor ... wearing night itself, or darkness, over your eyes for protection.

    "I am dreaming your low voice" ... I love that.

    The line "I sleep fitfully" makes me wonder at the contrast between that --- letting yourself connect with your feelings to such a degree that you're writhing in your sleep --- and "fi(s)tfully." Some people, I think, going through life (and dreams) with their fists up, ready to fight with any people (or dreamed-up creatures) who threaten to hurt them.

    The part about the moon rising, but still trusting in tomorrow, makes me think that the sun might be taking some time off for a few weeks. What would that world be like? I wonder if people would live in confusion or chaos, or if they could just enjoy the romance of it.


    I'm here, but I haven't been writing. Maybe today.

    1. Always good to know you are here.
      Thank you for your insightful comments. They are very enlightening to me.

  3. this is so meaningful they way you've laid out the words with the pictures. i really sunk comfortably into this deep little book

    1. Little book... I love that! Thank you.

  4. Oh, each one sank into my consciousness which was parched and in need of refreshment....the storks beaks like chopsticks, the moonlit wings, the trust in tomorrow.......perfection.

    1. Thank you for the Berry poem - such a gift and a balm.

  5. I love those birds, but not for them to be near me. We have rain birds here, just like back home. The chirp to each other when rain threatens. I haven't seen any blue birds, we had them were we moved from, 65 miles north. (all a part of Houston, Texas)

  6. These are consoling responses to both Berry and Kawano's woodcuts. Purity and innocence and goodness, too. All in the craft and gentle detail. Thank you.

  7. The interplay of picture and word is breath-taking. Each Tanka takes us deep and prepares us for the next immersion.

  8. While moon is rising,
    Whitening the tall grasses,
    I sleep fitfully.
    I am dreaming your low voice;
    Trust in tomorrow.

    This is soo incredibly beautiful, Kerry ❤️

  9. Wonderfully woven ways of imagination and how many were set free to fly in fancy

  10. I also favor 10, but that's like favoring a hue of blue over another: they all sing. ~

  11. Beautiful images, and beautiful tanka which match them in excellence.

  12. So beautiful... I often stand at my window and watch the birds. It is calming and always lifts my spirits.


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