Pick-a-Poem: Five Tankas


Good morning, readers, and welcome to another edition of “Pick-a-Poem.” If you’re looking for a bit of poetry to be injected into your week, then you’ve come to the right place. As always, today’s poem comes to you from Poetry Daily — check out the site! This week’s featured poem is Five Tankas, which is written by Harryette Mullen.

According to her page on the Poetry Daily website, Harryette Mullen “is the author of seven previous books of poetry, including Recyclopedia and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has recently received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship and the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She is Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

Five Tankas, by Harryette Mullen

Walking along the green path with buds
in my ears, too engrossed in the morning news
to listen to the stillness of the garden.

Don’t need picket fences, brick wall,
or razor wire. Our home’s protected by
prickly pear cactus and thorny bougainvillea.

My reckless shadow, landing on the twelve-lane
freeway down below this pedestrian bridge,
playing chicken with oncoming cars.

Clicking through images downloaded
from your camera. Those buskers haven’t finished
playing, and already they’re in your archive.

In a few billion years Andromeda Galaxy
will collide with our Milky Way, but worlds
come to an end every day.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem. To read more of these posts, check out the archives.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


2 thoughts on “Pick-a-Poem: Five Tankas

  1. muenchsi November 11, 2013 / 9:43 pm

    Dear Mary,

    Thanks so much for posting this link. I recently met Harryette Mullen, and did a workshop with her, while at the Vermont Studio Center. She was a joy to work with, and I was able to hear her read some of these tankas aloud. Simone

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