Tanka: Snow Melt

For Seamus

a black whippet in a winter jacket beside an ancient pine tree
a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket walking towards a forest stream

snow melt
how soon our seasons feed
the bubbling stream
I still see you bending down
to drink its water

Β© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1

Member’s Choice Tanka, Honourable Mention, Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2021: Volume 16, Number 2

a stream filled with snow-melt in an ancient pine forest

Seamus, a sweet lurcher whom we adopted many years ago who lived to the ripe age of thirteen, would always stop here for a drink from the stream. Ever since his passing, we find ourselves pausing at the very same spot on our walks, as if we are still waiting for him to have a drink. One of those moments inspired the above poem, which was first published in the Winter 2020 edition of Ribbons.

The poem was subsequently selected by Susan Constable as a Member’s Choice Tanka with an Honourable Mention and published in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of Ribbons. This was her commentary and interpretation of the poem:

Xenia’s tanka adheres to a more traditional tanka form, with its s/l/s/l/l lines (both visual and aural), and its use of vivid images. I appreciate the assonance (the rhyme of vowel sounds, not necessarily the repetition of a particular letter) which appears in the words seasons/feed/stream, the alliteration of B’s in bubbling/bending, and the numerous T’s throughout the tanka. There’s also a lovely rhythm to the lines which are written with an almost-perfect iambic metre. All these pleasing sounds echo and enrich the arresting imagery.

This tanka provides some comfortable dreaming room, so my interpretations may not match those of other readers or, in fact, those of the poet. However, I sense the all-too-fast passing of time as winter melts into spring, and the poet and/or narrator grows older. I also feel the loss of a loved one who once bent to drink from this stream and, metaphorically, from Life itself.

Thank you Susan for selecting this poem as one of your honourable mention poems and for your thoughtful interpretation.

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

CFFC: Earth

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Guide

Word of the Day Challenge: Lyrical

Author: whippetwisdom

The stories, poems and photographs on this blog are the original creative work of Xenia Tran. Inspired by life in the Scottish Highlands and in awe of nature she gives voice to the wisdom of her adopted and fostered whippets.

37 thoughts on “Tanka: Snow Melt”

    1. Aww thank you so much for your kind words dear Laurie, what a wonderful long time you shared with your Seamus too. We love our dog buddies very much and are so grateful for all the walks and memories πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Cathy, those memories often walk with us here πŸ’œ Wishing you a peaceful rest of the week and please give sweet Flynn a gentle pat from us all πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ• xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Such a touching, contemplative tanka with some profound symbolism. Your background on the poem with regards to Seamus brought back many wonderful memories of my days on the farm, taking long walks with various farm dogs who always had to stop and splash about in every pond we came upon, and how much fun they had sitting in the water on those hot summer days. A walk without a dog simply isn’t a memorable walk. I’m so glad you have Eivor and Pearl to accompany you on your walks. The photos included here are timeless in their beauty. Just gorgeous. You most certainly deserve the honor of having this tanka published. And may Seamus rest in peace. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you so much for your kind words dear Mike and for walking along with us here 😊 It is lovely to hear this brings back such vivid memories of your days on the farm and your walks with the fun-loving farm dogs. It’s a gift to carry these memories with us and we treasure the time, which often feels so short, that we share with our amazing animal companions πŸΎπŸ’›πŸΎ


      1. I’ve got a poem on my blog about one of my old farm dog friends and the walks we’d take. “For Harley” is about Harley, a deaf beagle, and we had that special bond (my being deaf as well). He didn’t really seem to mind his deafness, or if he did, he never showed it. He just loved chasing rabbits through the evening sagebrush, the white tip of his tail flashing among the cheatgrass and rabbit brush. Dogs bring so much joy, and they stay for far too short a time. I miss all the old farm dogs of my youth. Good memories, indeed. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you dear Mike, I just found your wonderful poem For Harley on your blog ✍ The poem brings him to life and what a special friend he was. Thank you so much for sharing! πŸ€—πŸ’œπŸ•


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