Coming of Spring: Tanka


The Wissahickon from Forbidden Drive


Winter descended,

hearth fires banished the gloom,

red flames burned to ash

when spring rains came tumbling down

silvered twigs turned green


This tanka is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge. The prompt words were fire and rain.


Beginnings and Endings




Monday Morning Musings:

“But now I’m not so sure I believe in beginnings and endings. There are days that define your story beyond your life.”

–Dr. Louise Banks in the movie, Arrival (2016)

“Time is what stops history happening at once; time is the speed at which the past disappears.”

–David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas


Beginnings and endings,

I hear the mockingbird sing.


A spring day in February,

we changed plans,

instead of a movie,

we went to lunch,

where we could sit outside,



Valley Green Inn, February 2017


and take a long walk.

our server did Sesame Street character voices

(for the children at a nearby table),

he carried our dishes to us

announced them with a song,

kind of strange,

but so is spring in February.


We sat at our table watching people walk dogs,

and dogs walk people,

(dogs pulled leashes,

noses up, sniffing,

pulling toward the porch-

This way! There is food.)

we watched bicyclists,

and one unicyclist,

and I watched the geese

beginning and ending flights,

over and over

the same patch of the Wissahickon Creek,

a gaggle of honks and feathers in short, graceful flights.

Were they the same geese?

Was it a game?

Teenage geese in race?

I watched

wondering when they began

and when they will end this game,

their journey.



We walked,

we talked,

spring fever,

people smiled

said hi as they passed,

everyone enjoying this glorious February day,

We strolled along the Wissahickon,



we could have veered off to another path—

(two roads and all that)

I think about other walks we’ve taken

and other times we’ve walked,

and other people who have walked where we walk,

will walk there after us,

wonder if they walk with us, unseen,

I think about paths and time and connections

and music that is triggered in my head

by a word,

a thought,

and the way that books take people through time and space.

I see scenes in my head as I read,

(do you?)

and sometimes I feel that I am there

in that moment,

in that place,

and sometimes I’m not certain if I’ve read a book

or seen the movie

because the scenes are so vivid

and when I write,

the characters become real,

they have always existed,

no beginning

no end

on a timeless path.


Days later,

I think about how I love books, shows, and movies with complicated storylines—

stories that move through time,

or are told from different characters’ points of view,

I realize

(of course, you will say)

it’s connected to my fascination with time and timelines,

different paths our lives could/might/may have taken,

the protagonist of our own lives,

a minor character in someone else’s,

a movie extra without lines.


I wonder if time passes the same way for everyone,

does the mockingbird singing before dawn

know the sun will come up soon,

that it’s a new day?

I wish I could ask him,

I wish I could understand his answer,

instead, I listen to his song,

and in that song

in the predawn darkness

he does communicate,

an announcement,

I am here. Listen!

Perhaps that is enough,

I relive the moment in my head

a moment past,

but present,

no beginning,

no end














Good morning, whispers the sun

open to promise, come

enjoy this June day, and swoon

(just a bit)

from the scent, the flowers’ perfume.


Listen to the water chuckle

over the rocks it gambols,

and there a flotilla of geese,

proud sailors off to conquer

the mighty creek, their ocean.


Body still, mind wandering,

waiting for what?

Inspire me, I say,

I can sit here all day near the water.

(Perhaps not)


Good morning, whispers the sun, again

the day is full of promise

enjoy it,

lunch and fresh air,

birdsong and laughter


Bring respite from sorrow,

rest now, worry tomorrow.

Sweet slumbers, the moon murmurs

as night falls, and sleep brushes me

like a gentle kiss.


Schooners on Wissahickon Creek 

This is in response to the Secret Keeper’s Writing Prompt. The words this week are:


We took my mom to lunch yesterday at Valley Green Inn. Then we sat on a bench by the side of Wissahickon Creek.  It was sunny and clear with a breeze, a perfect June day. We didn’t mention the shootings in Orlando, or check our phones. It was very peaceful.