Tanka: Angel & Devil

For Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday. I’ve used the general idea of angel and devil, since I don’t believe in either of them. I hope this comes across.



Soft as white feathers,

snow falls, a downy blanket,

the world, crystal bright.

Beneath the snow, fracking scars,

like crows, waiting for the thaw.

I made a wish


I made a wish on this last night of the year

When the stars are so bright and cold

And the moon hangs, almost full in the great soft darkness.

I wished that all this beauty could be enough

That the cold stars, the pale glowing moon,

The silver-plated branches of the empty vine

Will replace all that is ugly and bitter,

Tasteless and trite, in the daily battle.

I made a wish on a bright star

Dangling from the trapezoid of Orion

As he spins his slow cartwheels across the sky

That when the sun rises again

And lights with pale golden beams

The dirt and unthinking waste that lies at every hand,

I will still feel the dark softness of the deep sky,

See the cold, pure brilliance

Of the dangling star

And that it will be enough.

Spring Earth

Dark earth twitches with tiny life,

Pale and grotesque,

Blindly industrious,

And sharp crocus spears thrust to the light

Through last year’s rotting leaves.

No human values apply in the real world.

The slug, the crook-legged insects,

The sharp smell of rottenness,

All have their place with the new, unfurled leaf,

The graceful curve of a rose petal

And heady garden scents.

The rose dies, a brown sludge

And brambles bar the way as well as any wire.

Songbirds die exhausted after winter fast

And plumage dulls beneath the creeping lice.

Beauty and ugliness

Two words with meaning only in the world of man

Who makes and breaks and judges what shall be and what shall die.

Give me the morning, sharp and cloud-smudged

With the tang of rain in the wind

And I will raise my face to the sky.

The man-made paradise

With shark-free lagoons of heavenly blue,

Concrete pools, ice-chinking drinks

And misery behind the barrier of palms

Is uglier far than this dark earth

Creeping and busy, full of dead and dying

And life.

© Axel Kristinsson First Flowers of Spring
© Axel Kristinsson First Flowers of Spring