National Poetry Month: Guest Post #2, Jenny Ward Angyal . . .

My second National Poetry Month guest poet is Jenny Ward Angyal, whose beautiful work I’ve only recently discovered.  Jenny writes many forms of poetry, including tanka, from her home in North Carolina.   (You can read more of Jenny’s poetry at her blog The Grass Minstrel.)  Here’s what she has to say about tanka, followed by three examples:

“I’ve written poems since I was five, needful as breathing.  In recent years I’ve come to love tanka–so much fragrance on such a slender stem.  I write tanka for much the same reason that a child gathers fireflies to keep by her bedside at night–glimmers in the darkness until they are let go . . .

 –Jenny Ward Angyal 

The Rosewood Bird

summer mornings
your whistled tune
a bridge
into wakefulness
the valley echoes

tying the kite
to the lilac hedge
to sail alone
all afternoon you fashion
tethered dreams

fragrant shavings
curl from the planer
the child fancies
manes and beards
for a plywood menagerie

the birds you made
feeding their young
and flying
on mahogany wings

shape engrained
already in the seed
your hands
that guide the chisel
at the lathe

fitting the brass lid
on the memory jug
blue and white crockery
shattered into shards
your scarred hands made whole

summer evenings
the glow of your cigarette
under the elms
your gaze
far down the river valley

still folded
in a trunk
the sweater I wore
the day I learned
what you had done

Twenty Years Tanka Splendor,
AHA Books, 2009

illusion—not seeing
mirrored in your own eyes
the bamboo lemur,
the amur leopard,
the river of stars

Ribbons 7:3, Fall 2011


the cap
of the acorn
empty of seed
the bowl of the hills
where the doe lies down

two hands cupped
for a trickle of water
the face of rain-
hollowed granite

the orioles’ nest
vessel of eggs
the rachis of feathers
the hollow of bone

his sermon
the spathe
of the arum
empty of words

of nautilus
caverns at sea
auricle ventricle
salt pools of the heart

the house of the skull
its cellars of memory
the eye
in its orbit
this chalice of light

Lynx XXVI: 2, June 2011

[Sponsored by Couplets–the brainchild of Joanne Merriam of Upper Rubber Boot Books.  I’ll be hosting several haiku/tanka poets here this month.]


About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
This entry was posted in Haiku, Haiku-doodle, National Poetry Month, Tanka and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to National Poetry Month: Guest Post #2, Jenny Ward Angyal . . .

  1. alee9 says:

    “…so much fragrance on such slender stem…”, indeed! Yes, I’ve read Jenny on LYNX but finding her here is like seeing a bloom after the rain for the first time. Thanks again, mi hermana!

  2. You are most welcome. I’m so happy to have discovered Jenny’s wonderful voice!

  3. Pingback: “Tanka” by Sonia Sanchez « The Nightly Poem

  4. Mary Kendall says:

    What beautiful poems. I look forward to reading more of her work.

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