Friday, August 02, 2019

Ekphrastic Tanka

Our challenge this month is to take another try at writing ekphrasitc poems of any form, this time in response to the photos taken by my friend Sara. On a trip to Israel she took this amazing photo of the Bell Caves of Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park. I've written a series of Renga poems. Renga is an old Japanese form based on Haiku, usually played by more than one person in a back and forth game. One person does a 17 syllable poem and the next person answers with a 14 syllable couplet, and so on in a chain. In this case I wrote the haiku one day and came back a few days later to respond with the couplets.

Cool roundness of dark:
stone walls curved unto themselves,
light an upturned bowl.

Unseen skillful hands hewed rock,
leaving caverns filled with air.

Rock wrapped around rock:
darkness the core, the curved crust,
light the space between.

The bell an empty cup of
sound, luminescent choirs call

summer evenings seeking chill.
Ancient singing echoes still

smoothed as if by water flow,
rock holds the brilliant blazing.
                                 -Andromeda Jazmon

My Poetry Sisters have all written amazing poems in response to Sara's photos. Check them out:


And don't forget to enjoy Poetry Friday at Heidi Mordhorst's blog My Juicy Little Universe.


Molly Hogan said...

This is beautiful! Thanks so much for introducing me to renga. I love the interplay between the haiku and the couplets, and the line "light an upturned bowl." You use such beautiful precise language and left me feeling as if I'd spent some time in that cavern, surrounded by blazing light and echoing song.

Sara said...

Oh, my word, Andi....I thought your haiku couldn't get any more lovely, and now THIS. Stunning. Evocative. Takes me right back to standing in the peace and glory of that cave. Thank you.

Kay said...

What a stunning photo Sara took! Your poetic response lives up to it. I like the idea of writing in response with haiku and couplet.

laurasalas said...

I loved the haiku so much, Andi, but I think I love the couplets even more. The luminescent choir and the brilliant blazing...somehow they are so comforting.

Linda B said...

Wow, that is a special place. Love your reflective renga, have been in a few caves & can imagine "Ancient singing echoes still". Beautiful, Andi!

tanita✿davis said...

Caverns of air has to be one of the loveliest turns of phrase! It just brings delicacy to mind - which is funny because this is ROCK! Stone, hard stuff. And yet. And yet... and empty cup of sound simply reverberates. This poem is AMAZING, Andi. Hang onto this one... or better yet, share it out!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Andi, I looooove the way these spiral around each other, "rock wrapped around rock," "the bell an empty cup of silence" echoing. Gorgeous!

Mary Lee said...

Simply lovely. I wrote a renga with two friends one summer. It was a fabulous collaboration. I love that you did this one on your own!

Liz Garton Scanlon said...

Wow, Andi -- you blew these wide open! I adore what you've done here -- so visceral. Thank you...

Michelle Kogan said...

I like how your poem captures the roundness of the image and fills the space with sound through your words, thanks!

Tricia said...

There are so many images here that I love: "Cool roundness of dark" and "The bell an empty cup of sound" in particular. This is such a beautiful poem.

Carol Varsalona said...

This form of poetry is so interesting. Your poem is beautifully crafted, like the following stanza
summer evenings seeking chill.
Ancient singing echoes still
There is a lyrical quality to this stanza as you identify a place below the earth.