Haibun, haiku, or waka, all sound like tasty morsels you’d fine in a Jackson Street eatery in San Jose, instead they are poetry forms. There is something about those forms that attracts me to write them these days. I used to be enamored of sonnets, but I cannot wrangle with those any more. I think I’m pushing back against rhymes. I blame stress and 2020, which used to be two different things and are now synonymous.

I’ve had a heck of a time since early October, with surgeries, hospitals, complications, floods, and now some virtual friendship disasters. This morning I was pondering the notion that, good news, none of this will matter when I’m dead. (Well, it wont!)

In wanders dVerse with its prompt. Truthfully, the last thing I felt like doing was creative writing, and I almost just tossed the prompt into the bin, until I saw the subject: Japanese death poems or Jisei. Oooooh. Death poems! I’m feeling that. The post mentioned waka and tanka forms, which I just looked up. The tanka is a 5-7-5-7-7 verse, and I chose that. Here’s a tanka about “none of this will matter when I’m dead” and oddly enough, after my snotty remark about not wanting to write sonnets because of the rhyme, the tanka took it on anyway. It is a truly cold, gray, blustery, I-just-want-to-hide day in New England. Spare poems seem right for New England early winters. There are a couple of ways to read that “no matter.”

dimmed is the light
November will claim its own —
as did October —
only with more chill and bite
no matter in death — I groan


  1. Really like this, so solidly GRIM. But I have to admit I laughed at the groan at the end . Laugh or cry? Multiplicities – I wasn’t sure what kind of groan it was, but it lightened the mood for me


  2. I love the triad of this month’s characteristics in dimmed light, chill and bite, the use of rhyme to foreground them, and the reaction to them in that groan. I think we all die a little death in November.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I agree about Buddhism & humo(u)r. Humor & philosophy/religion is one reason I’m drawn to both Buddhism and am looking into converting to Judaism. I also love the drunken Taoist poets, such as Li Po (various spellings) … one such example, that also goes well with today’s theme:
      Drinking Alone by Moonlight

      A cup of wine, under the flowering trees;
      I drink alone, for no friend is near.
      Raising my cup, I beckon the bright moon,
      For her, with my shadow, will make three men.
      The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;

      Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
      Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave
      I must make merry before the Spring is spent.

      To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
      In the dance, I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
      While we were sober, three shared the fun;

      Now we are drunk; each goes his way.
      May we long share our odd, inanimate feast,
      And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. October was my dark month, emotionally and medically, but I like what you did with No-November. I smiled at how your explication, preamble was half a page, and the poem sprouted up like mushrooms out of a pile of Fall leaves; nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you about even groaning being too much of an effort right now. I’m glad you found something in the quick poem that resonated, although “glad” is rather the wrong word considering it is about some craptastic months and death.


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