Japanese Inspired Tanka – Page One

All Poems by Richard T. MacDonald

winter songbird
and you raise your voices
tiptoeing across
the bathroom tile
to kiss me goodbye

morning walk
she changes tempo
and pauses
white lady slippers
swaying in the woods

home alone
missing your smile
thick cuts
through cucumbers
doesn’t help at all

he pauses
and turns to her
the sun
echoes the warmth of
their I love yous

she shouts loudly
griping the fence
a tea rose bud

sweet seductress
don’t call
I wish to remain here
looking into her eyes

my father spoke
at last
those difficult words —
I love you son

hermit crab
will she come
and wrap herself
cozy in blanket

how cute —
she calms herself
between tears
she patches her pride
with chocolate hearts

are a waste of time
your lover
can be found here —
look into my eyes

was only a woman
the snake heads
formed by your wet hair
soften my hardened heart

call for lovers
we’re lucky
we lightly rub
our legs on one another

carrots and cucumbers
so firm
resting on the lettuce
do you miss her too

sweet kiwi
I can’t cut your flesh
your hair
tickles my fingers
like unshaven legs

gas heater
do not fade the chill
that fills me
opening the bills

she cries
over her pregnancy
her feet
are too big to fit
her favorite shoes

late spring
teary eyed with joy
even the full moon
admires our unborn child

red onion
your taste is strong
your skin glows
bright as you turn
and I kiss your back

my schedule
is written in pencil
since we met
I don’t want to miss a chance
to spend time with you

spent at sea missing
you and I
both here and there
our lives carry on

the wind joins me
as I scan
the surface of the sea
it carries your kisses

slowly peers
the brown field
grass of Gettysburg

once again and
you are
perfumed and young
alone in my arms

red onions
tears in your eyes
and I cry
as my face is brushed
by your soft wet hair

fresh from the vine
our best
and deepest love
here in these sheets

sweet smell and
many colors
the warmth of morning
leaps from your sundress

sweet peas
entangled in vines
their blossoms
adrift on the sea
our legs entwined

fresh picked
and tasty
soft and wet
noontime kisses

and wind dressed
this salad
of you and
windblown hair

ants flee
our picnic blanket
red faced
that’s the look
I love on you

a pelican
dares to dive
into the deep sea
tearfully she
accepts my ring

how sad
the unwanted
fills the entryway
to the orphanage

a puppy
licks its balls
on the front porch
the new widow cries

the cherry blossoms
urge me
to linger at home
with my pregnant wife

our son
has your eyes
flashes my smile and I
wish them love like ours

the mosquito’s drone
I bend
to read what she wrote
that I now must do

that dress
is not her favorite
but it’s mine
I love the way it dances
and causes me to smile

old frog
have you run away
my friend
or are you seeking solace
among the stones

the still waters
what passes unseen
this desire in me

ebb tide
the surf falls
chest to chest
our slowing hearts

beach crab
walking sideways
he too
must be married
to a fickle wife

you come home
and bring me dinner
warmed with a smile

summer winds
and yet a coolness
fills the space
between us

the rapids
reshape that rock
day in
day out carved deeper
my love for you

still water
one foot beyond
the full moon
like Leda’s swan
I must fly to you

my heart
knocks with desire
ever so slowly
you let me in

summer sun
our shadows intertwine
let’s leave
the light of center stage
for love made in the dark

has long ago past
a sweetness lingers
on parted lips

the soprano’s voice
I sweep you up
and kiss your face

winter snow
how lucky we are
laying here
after mid-morning loving
frost drops from the window

you and I
sharing a strawberry
lips to lips
we gaze into each’s eyes
and love ripens again

did they also
to swim together
one river of life

our argument fades
the pond
is full of stars
even heaven sleeps

high school
year book album
lost in the past
my boyish look

we won
the great war
and since
we lose and lose in
Williamsport to Japan

moonless sky
and its so beautiful
beneath you
your face framed
by the milky way

is so beautiful
with you
swimming naked
toward the moon

this butterfly
serenely leaning back
you astride my hips

so long
since I’ve seen tears
on your cheeks
I too love kissing
under cherry trees

the cherry’s
soft white branches
as if teasing me
like your breasts

how nice
it is to arrive
leaving the desert war
for fragrant hyacinth

that salmon’s
dead eye stares at me
as if
only he knows what death
is like during battle

old pond
still as a statue
a mallard
looks with a frozen stare
the first water lily bud

the tall grass slowly
the tortoise
struggles toward us
as the boat pulls away

early run
along the lakeside path
just ahead
a line of ducklings
chase their mother

a cloud
caps the mountain
I too
devote my life to
climbing ever higher

is something I enjoy
too much
sweetness and I may forget
the taste of real life

red clover
dots the Oregon trail
like stains
made by the blood of
Sioux and settlers alike

bird songs
among beautiful flowers
and still
my heart quickens at
the sound of your voice

your hair
smells of strawberries
so sweet
a hummingbird hovers
boldly at the window

the cross
that tops the steeple
faces me
as I lay in my sick bed
I entrust my life to you

is mother’s favorite
and so I frame your face with
purple wisteria

without you
tonight on the balcony
twigs break
each snap
comforts me

the statue
of our old mayor
covered in pigeon shit

All poems by Richard T. MacDonald


    1. Thank you very much for that Ayanna. My best to you as always. Keep up the good fight and know that you have a strong supporters here should you ever need one.

      I had to mention politics somewhere; that is what I do most of the time these days. I hope to get back to writing Tanka poems soon.

To comment enter name and email (kept private). Comment will appear after moderator's review