(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, 7syllables. It can have any theme.)
Sit yourself down, take up your pen—
There, your favorite one.
Enough ink yet
To boldly write down your good deeds.
Yes, there’s not so many,
Less than a page.
List one, list two, list some not true.
Cover that damn page if
It takes all day.
Then flip the page over, go dark,
List your sins, bare your heart.
Where no one can see what lies foul
In your flesh, blood and bone,
Your heart, your soul.
©2021 KT Workman
(Note: Crown Cinquain—a series of 5 (entire) Crapsey Cinquains, 25 lines total. Syllable count 2-8-6-4-2 in each stanza; written with breaks between stanzas. Rhyme is optional. The last line of the previous cinquain is repeated as the first line of the next cinquain. The final line of the last cinquain does not have to equal the first line of the first cinquain, but is optional.)
Credit for the definition goes to Abigail Gronway at Dark Side of the Moon.
She bonded to him, till death they do part,
And merry they danced to the beat of years,
And picked wildflowers as red as their hearts,
While time flowed by, unencumbered by tears.
Now clumsily they waltz, feet lost asea.
Steps turn to missteps, they cannot keep time.
Shiny love rusts away, no longer cherry.
Respect fades too, scoured in bitter brine.
Time has a way of erasing what’s good
As bad temper, bad times, roll through the home.
He shouts and curses, is constantly rude,
But she’s grown too old to think she can roam.
Patient, but not content, she holds her breath,
Waits not for love, but for respite—sweet death.
©2021 KT Workman
(Note: Shakespearean sonnet—has 14 lines divided into 3 quatrains and a couplet. Each line typically has 10 syllables written in iambic pentameter. Rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, gg.)
can you see me
I just don’t know
no longer young
but don’t feel old
not enough wisdom
in my weary soul
lived all these years
so damn little
while I fiddled
where was my heart
where was my mind
picking up sticks
to a time and place
and moved away
don’t need me
to find their way
when I was young
and not yet old
an easy charmed road
did not think
this day would come
old as the hills
©2021 KT Workman
(Note: Though this doesn’t seem to apply to men, we women of a “certain age,” become invisible. This poem is for all the not-seen ladies out there.)
When did I step into winter— That I’d like to know. The last I remember, I was walking in the woods, Autumn leaves, brown, red, and gold Cushioning my way. Azure skies above, A brisk chill to the air, Alive and invigorated. Strolling fall’s path, I recalled days gone by, Fondly, a smile on my face. Though I had suffered some loss Of loved ones and missed opportunities, The days yet stretched ahead, Full of promise, Things to do, races to run. Like the nature of all springs, Mine had been turbulent, Full of self-inflicted storms Interspersed with calm tides and winds. But as spring had waned And I became an adult—mostly—of mind, Not just a hormone-driven body, The storms grew farther and farther apart, Until, somehow, without realization, I strode tall and strong into summer. Ah, how those days did shine With family, friends, rewarding work. Playtime at the beach every year, Just the ladies and I splashing, laughing, Drinking margaritas, singing, more laughing, While lounging on the deck Watching moonlight dance on the waves. Autumn sneaked in there somewhere, Easing through the door so gently I barely noticed its entrance. Thought my body wasn’t quite as strong, It yet served me well. And life went on— Work and play uninterrupted. When the leaves began to fall, At last, I slowed down, Smelled the proverbial flowers, Worked less and played more. I basked in my new-found freedom, Did what I wanted when I wanted With few exceptions. I brushed off aches and pains, Explained away the ladies’ and my abandonment Of sand and sea and margaritas— For we weren’t getting old. Then, just like autumn, Winter arrived unannounced, Slipped through the back door With barely a chill— The old goat parked his frigid ass In the center of my life And refused to budge. I called him names, cursed him, denied him, But he did not go away, Just became more entrenched, Chilled my blood, brittled my bones, Dried my skin, thinned my hair, Invited gravity to sit at his side. Winter waged his war Without a shot being fired And captured my youth. Did he drink it? Did he eat it? Where the hell did it go? Though I had fought him tooth and nail, At long last, I humbly dropped all store-bought defenses That no longer camouflaged what I had become. Yes, I collapsed into winter’s embrace, Those cold, bitter, lonely arms And now— Now— That old goat sits at my side, Sucking me dry. I shrink and I stoop, forget things. No smile now, I remember times past, Of rivers that have run dry, And seasons that have gone by. Gone by— Gone by— In the blink of time’s eye. ©2021 KT Workman
(Note: Free verse is an open form or poetry. It doesn’t use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. It tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech.)
The days march along, Flying faster as they pass, Till I breathe my last. When my life’s time ends, Will my soul find contentment, Or haunt night’s sloe gloom? Eternal unrest— Is that what my death will bring? Or an aught of peace? ©2021 KT Workman 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.
all things end…
nothing is static…
tear it down…
nothing left but…
no one can breath
drink clean water
our poor world
is on life support…
© 2020 KT Workman
his familiar face…earnest, free of artifice
or perhaps cunningly cloaked instead
constructs expressions conveying love and sincerity
and I’m so easily led
and his smile…warm and pious and bright
could effortlessly pull me under
choppy waves of helplessness, hopelessness
and tear my heart asunder
if I dare gaze deep into his inscrutable eyes
just what will I see…
true love and honesty and loyalty
or trust’s death looking back at me
if I strip the skin from his poker face
tear off his smiling lips
pluck out his beguiling eyes
until all that’s left is bone and blood’s drip
what would I find…
©️2020 KT Workman
the damsel strolls in step with the night
snuggly swaddled in its ebony cloak
it has always been her one true friend
her moonstruck muse, whom she often misquotes
she scribbles her wishes on its blank black canvass
staples her dreams to the backs of dingy doves
nails her hopes to the wings of ravens
and sends them all to the stars above
she grimly dances with detestable devils
a wild, wicked waltz of spreading blight
hoots and howls at the muddy moon
scares away all the shiny white knights
©️2020 KT Workman
in a wan wistful voice
swaddled in tarnished regret
the roads not taken
calls out to her
across the years and miles
of seasons past
from a long-ago time
when she was free
young and innocent
not yet compromised
by original sin
man’s heavy hand
or her own conscience
beginning a life of promise
by the weight of wrong choices
and could have beens
and should have beens
she recalls the things
along life’s path
stashed in a Mason jar
shoved under the bed
she takes them out
and one by one
weighs and ponders
the old woman smiles
drops them back inside
the crystal-clear glass
and as she dies
shakes the jar
pours the should ofs
and could ofs
onto the brand new road
and with a saucy grin
takes her first step
©️2020 KT Workman
Image Via Pixabay