Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, Muse, Reading, senryu, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry

Three Senryu and a Short Story Traci Kenworth


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Mementos scattered
across the map of the world
pictures of times past

all recall
happier days now
singed in ash

journals
the spyglass
no clues

Keepsakes

Traci Kenworth

How long had it been? Those stolen moments? Those discovered treasures. She pressed her fingertips to each. Oh, how she missed him. Days scattered into weeks and months. And finally, years.

She picked up the spyglass. When had he used it last? Had he found what he’d been looking for? Or did the engravings deny him translation. Many times, over their relationship, she’d seen him baffled and intrigued by what history had to offer.

Egypt had been their last work-vacation. Her, in the hotel conference her boss had arranged for his employees. Him, the remains of a new-found mummy. When she’d last held his hand, he’d croaked out something about plagues. Had she heard him correctly?

The map slowly curled its edges while she went to prepare something for lunch. She turned on the faucet to get water to boil, and the liquid splattered in the metal sink, blood-red. Thick as molasses.

Outside, locusts flung themselves repeatedly at the windows.

She backed away from it all. Closed her eyes. No, she was imagining. When she looked again, a meteor of fire flashed across the skies.

Bestselling in Vacation Essentials. Party Punch Natural Hangover Defense. Citronella Essentials Treats Fevers, Colds. Dehydration Fast Relief. Yanuck Women’s Sling-Toe Sandals. Mosquito Repellent Bracelets. Veckle Waterproof Phone Pouch.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, fantasy, horror, MG & YA, Reading, senryu, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Three Senryu and a Short Story Traci Kenworth


Image credit: Snapwire from Pexels

a piece of fabric
lies cluttered beside rail tracks
its owner misplaced

did she run along 
the train’s rails, heart in her throat,
or did her dress tear

did she see the beast
leave the shadows of the trees
no bones or blood tracked

The Girl Running Beside the Train Tracks

Traci Kenworth

Millie lost her shoe in the flight from whatever lunged after her. She’d been about to tie her laces at the time. Bent down, she’d heard a noise. Low, keening. Like a wounded animal. She’d thought perhaps a dog—

And gone to look. Eyes hooded like a snake; the beast had crept from the woods. She’d shouted but no one came. Perhaps the train drowned out all sound from around her. Gusting down the tracks, the people inside paid her no mind as they went about their travels. Never mind, that she’d been a passenger. She’d gotten down to investigate some flowers and that was that.

She raced down the path beside the rails, the beast coming near enough to snatch a piece of her purple dress. It spun her around as it did so. She stumbled and braced herself on a tree trunk. Please. Whatever god was out there—

She wanted to live. To grow up. To do so many things.

Why she hadn’t even kissed a frog and turned it into a prince yet.

Okay, maybe that was a stretch. But what about the pony she wanted? Surely, she should have that. Or at least, a kitten.

Maybe both.

She sucked in air. Must run. She bolted toward the blue sky ahead. Someone, help.

The beast panted behind her, its claws snarling in her hair. It swung her around. She batted at it, pushing those great snapping jaws to the side. Her gaze widened at the trickle of blood on its paw. She examined it further, the beast stifling its rage. At once, she saw the problem.

The thorn removed; the beast bowed to her. “My thanks.” He gestured to a saddled and bridled pony. “Yours.”

“I’ll treasure it always.”

The End.

Bestselling in the Little Market, a non-profit for Women. Coconut-Soy Wax Blend Candle. Medium Woven Star Bowl. A Reusable Gift Bag. A Beach Towel. A Dainty Triangle Necklace-Rose gold. A reusable wine tote. Dainty Blue Opal Necklace-rose gold.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, MG & YA, Reading, senryu, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Three Senryu and a Short Story Traci Kenworth


Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge using the words Circled and Squared, synonyms only.

Image by Albina Mukhtarova from Pixabay

The sketch encompassed
her day of who he was, this
balance boy and man

he seemed all
shadows and light both
brash and bold

girded
by life ink
and bone

The Rival

Traci Kenworth

All day she sat, sketching him first then adding ink. He leapt off the page, part boy, part man, all shadows and light. Who was this mystery man? Had she met him somewhere before? Glimpsed him in a dream? She tapped her finger slightly one the edge of the canvas. So brash, so bold. His image balanced perfectly there.

A knock came at her door.

“Judy?”

“Yes, Mother?”

“Beau is here to see you.”

She straightened her dress and hair. Oh, no. She nearly upset her chair when she launched to her feet, determined he not find her like this. What would he think?

He strolled into the room, hat in hand. Her mother behind.

“Judy, darling,” he said, reaching for her hands and kissing the palms. He eyed her painting. “Is this then my rival?”

Her mother tittered.

“You have no rival, Beau. He’s merely a dream.”

He studied her work. “Well, I hope he won’t steal you away to often. I don’t intend to share.”

She smiled at him.

“I merely stopped by to tell you our reservations are set for this Friday. We’ll share a booth at the opera with my parents and yours.”

Her mother beamed.

Judy squeezed his hand. “I’ll look forward to it.”

Beau and his mother left her to her thoughts. She turned back to the painting to find it empty. What? She stepped over her chair. Where had the image gone?

Try as she might, she never got the subject back. It was almost as if the mystery man didn’t want to compete either.

Motherhood descended on her not long after she and Beau married. She never took up her art again. Perhaps he had represented what she knew she would lose with her vows.

Then again, look at those towheads out the window. What a gain.

The End.

Bestselling in Back to School Essentials. Febreeze Fabric Refresher. Welly Bravery Bandages. Vitamin C 1000mg-gluten free. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent, Lavender Scent. Tide Pods and Bounce Dryer Sheets, Better Together Bundle.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge 6/24/2020: The Soldier and Story Traci Kenworth


“…Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time…”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Soldier

a man
broken, battered
wins valor on the field
he gives all, defends all gladly
hero

Adam struggled to raise his head. He didn’t know how long it’d been since the bomb dropped. The other men beside him lay or toppled in the dugout. Ringing clamored for his attention. He held his head. Calm. Stay calm. It isn’t over yet.

Would they come for him soon? Climbing over rubble and barbwire dipped in blood? He swallowed. Images drilled into him. Mary and the baby. His brother. His best friend. They’d both been taken years before in this long war. Was he to join them?

He bowed his head. Keep me strong.

Footsteps sounded above.

He drew back into the dugout. Was he to be a prisoner then? Did they even keep prisoners anymore? Maybe a firing squad would greet him.

When the silence drew on longer, he peered out. Men in robes scouted the area. Monks here? He rubbed his eyes. Were those—wings?

He lay back. Blood slathered his hand. Whose? Stars clouded his vision. He sank into blackness. Cold air woke him. Where had the angels gone? No one laid strewn about the dugout. He crawled to the top for a glimpse. Bombs and smoke had cleared. He climbed further out.

Barbwire snagged his pants. Pain battered him. Sweat glistened on his skin as he pulled at the wire to remove it. It had gone deep but was no worse than any of the other thousand wounds that scarred him. He crept through the field.

A light shone on him.

He covered his head and lay still.

The light departed.

His breath returned.

A light breeze cooled his skin. He sighed. What he’d give for air-conditioning and a home-cooked meal again. He continued on. The light swept the area again. Just as before, he froze.

What did it want with him?

Why wouldn’t it let him be?

Something touched his hand and he belted out a scream.

Hoarse, ragged, he thirsted.

Still no one appeared.

Was he the lone survivor of the war? Had he been caught in some Twilight Zone episode? Why didn’t his enemies recover him? He could do nothing to save himself.

He came across a pack. Dog tags in hand, he read what was written: To the lone soldier. May blessings find you.

With a shake of his head, he rummaged through the pack. Maybe there was something usual to be found. His hand curled around a bottle of water and he quenched his thirst. Deeper in, he found some jerky and a can of Spam. He hungrily devoured each. What else was in here?

He withdrew some Neosporin, gauze, and tape and dressed his wounds. Another search recovered a bottle of Ibuprofen. He smiled. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

“Can I help you, son?”

He jerked his head up.

Maybe it was the ringing. He’d just imagined it. He considered the pack and its contents again. Might come in useful. He strapped it to his back and pulled himself onward.

“You have no need to flee.”

He jerked left and right and beheld no one. What was happening? Was he losing his mind? Imagining it all? Perhaps he was asleep in his tent right now. The boys would sure have a laugh at his expense when he told them. He waited to wake but no sirens blasted the camp.

A shadow fell over him. As he looked up, he wheezed. Winged beings surrounded him. One gently squeezed his hand.

“You are safe with us.”

“W-who are you?”

They smiled. “Don’t you know?”

A memory from childhood hit him. Drawings he and his brother had done in Sunday school. “Are you-angels?”

They nodded.

The tallest gestured for the others to raise him up. “Time to go home, soldier. Your family awaits.”

A vision of his mother, father, and brother around the table at dinner delivered him to his chair.

“Pass the mashed potatoes,” his brother said.

His mother smiled at him and placed several pieces of turkey on his plate. Corn on the cob and honey-glazed carrots already resided there. He eyed the peach cobbler in the center of the table and grinned. His favorites. Now what had he been worried about? Ah. It didn’t matter. All days from here forward would be Thanksgiving Days.

Bestsellers in books. The Room Where it Happened. White Fragility. Too Much and Never Enough. How to be an Anti-Racist. The Vanishing Half: a Novel. Where the Crawdads Sing. Stamped from the Beginning. So You Want to Talk About Race. Untamed. The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly 2020 Poetry Challenge 4/1/2020 A Didactic Cinquain and a Story.


Image by Dimitri Houtteman from Pixabay

Kitten

Gray, white

Playful, batting, curious

Pawing at everything it encounters

Tiny

The tiny kitten inspected the flower in its crack on the sidewalk. It smelled—different. Not like the scents he was used to growing up on the streets. He pawed at the stem. It sprang back and forth. His whiskers twitched. This was odd. Playful. Not like his other toys out here. This one seemed tamed, polished and yet, it was wild like him.

He sniffed the dew of the morning. Another day out in the sun. At least, it didn’t rain like yesterday. Yesterday, had drenched even his hiding spot under the alley’s porch.

The brisk sound of heels on the sidewalk sent him scurrying under the porch. He hid until only a faint sound remained of the well-dressed woman. Out in the open again, he returned to the flower. Why did it hang about so? Why didn’t it choose to hide like the kitten? What kept it rooted to its spot?

A siren blared in the distance.

He backed against the brick wall of the building behind him.

This had to be a trick. Something to get him to come out and play. Just as the children had tried to do a few days ago. He stared at the flower suspiciously. Why didn’t it fight back? Protect itself?

Its smile was forlorn.

It looked in need of a pick-me-up.

He approached it again. Hello?

The breeze brushed the petals. It leaned toward the kitten and gently stroked his pink nose.

He scooted back further. It—liked—him.

How did he feel about it?

It was a curious thing, for sure. All gentle and no prickers.

It was built for a meadow not this sidewalk. But here, it’d leaped to life. Maybe that’s why it wanted to make friends.

He walked around it. Sat down. The wind tickled it again. He reached out and tested it with his claws. It didn’t jump back or hiss or spit. It stayed up, bright and sunny. A welcome.

A homeless woman traveled down the alleyway; her cart pushed out before her with her finds for the day.

He scampered under the porch before she could find him.

Before long, the stars came out. He drifted off to sleep. Movement woke him. A rodent rummaged in the trash on the other side of the porch. Quick as a snake, he hurtled toward it, caught it in his claws, and snapped its neck. Dinner for the night. Pleased with himself, he scurried under the porch and ate.

The sun came up and the flower bid him welcome.

He touched it with his paw. Perhaps it would bring him good luck.

He darted down the alley, hunger coursing through him in zigzags of lightning. One small meal in a week didn’t curb the longing. He searched and found—nothing. He returned to the flower and discovered a small can of something wet and delicious next to his porch home. With a quick taste, he found it scrumptious.

Morning saw a new can placed outside the porch. He gulped it down. With a glance at the flower, he wondered who could be putting it there? The old woman with the cart? The kids?

Someone new?

He heard a click of heels and hunched down inside his hideout.

The woman bent down and placed another can. She stepped away.

He crawled out and tasted it.

She hadn’t gone far. “Hello, kitty,” she said.

He scurried inside. Peeked out.

She was still there.

His whiskers tested the air.

“It’s okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And she did. And the next day after that. Pretty soon, she got to be as regular as the flower. One day, he let her pet him. Another, he allowed her to pick him up, scratch behind his ear. Still more days passed before he let her take him home. From her apartment, he could see the tiny flower, its friendship still abloom.

Need some pet food? This and this.

Treats? This and this.

Litter? Here.

Toys? This and this.

Dogs instead? Food here and here.

Treats? This and this.

Poop scoop bags?

Toys?

Hamsters?

Birds?

Goldfish?

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Reading, SF, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge Theme Week Traci Kenworth


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Below are three haiku and a story inspired by the theme, “The Night Sky,” by Sally Cronin. The syllables are in the form of 5/7/5, 3/5/3, and 2/3/2.

Three Haiku and a story

Traci Kenworth

colored in eggshells
the dust of the ancients
hangs bright in the air

bright dots blink
stars and planets glimpse
mystery

wonder
cherubic
legend

Space

Traci Kenworth

Ayian had been too long in the stars.

Alone.

Hungry.

She wanted to go home but wasn’t sure there even was a home to go to. The stars blinked around her, their secrets lost to her after all these years.

Would the Captain still be there?

Would the boy she’d loved?

Why had she left? Oh, yes. He’d gone on to adventure first. She couldn’t stand the loneliness, the waiting. Out here, she thought she’d find the answer. Share the mystery and wonder of all the divinity. But if there were any gods, they were hiding. Now, she longed for the ship she’d spent her teen years on, learning, growing, finding love. The home she’d known before that was gone. Decimated by hunger and fear.

In the end, her people had gone mad.

If she stayed out here any longer, she feared she would as well.

She longed for the crew she’d journeyed with, the places they’d gone.

Out here, there was little adventure.

With those she called family, there was an oasis of worlds to explore.

Why had she left? Had she really been so childish as to want to nurse a heartache? Where had that gotten her? She could’ve seen her friends daily and eased the hurt over some ice cream. Instead, she’d pouted and gone off on her own, determined to make the best of things. Well, she hadn’t. At first, it’d been freeing. The unfamiliarity. Needing to work to survive. The Captain had warned her she would have to. Not that she didn’t believe him. She just didn’t want to think that far ahead. Not when the pain consumed her.

She brought the orb up and veered left. The ship should run into the coordinates the Captain left her at any time. From there she would hail him. She blinked. What would she do then? Join him in his retirement? Perhaps, he’d heard from the boy. Perhaps the boy was even now, waiting for her. She pushed faster. Could it be true?

Maybe but don’t count on it. He’d loved adventure more than her.

She fisted her hands.

Don’t remind her. He’d been so eager to go, so determined to leave her.

Like others through the years.

Only the Captain had been there for her in the end.

She’d waste no more time on the boy.

A signal flashed on her panel. She glanced down and recalculated. The Captain had picked up her arrival. She grinned. He was the father she’d never had.

She glided to the planet and docked at the port. Before she even made it to the ground, the Captain was there. He hugged her and commented how she’d grown lovelier than ever. Her gaze sparkled at his compliments.

Another figure moved beside him.

The boy. Grown into a man.

“He arrived just yesterday,” the Captain said.

She went into the boy’s arms stiffly.

“Ayian. I thought of you so often.”

She drew back and took in his dark hair streaked with silver, his blue eyes crinkled with age. “Are you even the same person?” she asked, direct and to-the-point as always.

He shrugged. “I’d like to find out if we’re the same couple.”

“But we were so young.”

“Love doesn’t age.”

“No, but it can grow stale.”

“I’d like a chance, just the same.”

She closed her eyes, thought of how they’d been, and nodded.

“Why don’t we start with a walk?” He directed her down off the plank with a touch of her elbow. She waved back at the Captain. He awarded her a smile.

Perhaps not everyone left her after all.

Her hunger dimmed.

The End.

Any one in need of a cup of tea?

Coffee more your thing?

A good book or two?

Posted in #88cupsoftea.com, #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Family life, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Colleen's Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge No. 168 Traci Kenworth


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge Synonyms of Comfort & Torn

Traci Kenworth

Three Senryu’s on human nature along with a story.

Tom spent his days out in the barn. His night by the campfire. He couldn’t quite forget the way things had been when Judith had been alive. He missed her. He found himself growing impatient with the daylight. He wanted nothing more than to be done. He was worn. No comfort remained for him in his days. He closed his eyes, the saw laid to rest beside him. This then, was the end.

He awoke on a park bench, just south of Heaven’s gate. It took him all day and most of the night to get where he headed. He knew he’d find her there, waiting for him. She always said she’d park herself outside the gates and rest a spell till he showed.

It sure was beautiful here.

Look at all the happy faces.

He waved to a few and renewed his pace, energy bursting inside of him that he hadn’t seen in years. He’d been changed inside to a new version of himself, strong and true. He hummed to himself and continued on. Surely, he’d reach those gates soon. He came to a gate, but it wasn’t the pearly ones. It was ordinary and showed signs of life. He gazed at the white picket fence in confusion. He’d seen it somewhere before but where? He peered at it. Why—it couldn’t be.

His old house. The one of his first wedded years with his wife. They’d lived on a farmstead outside of town. Bellbrook, OH. He inspected the gate further. Oh, how he remembered the creak! He always meant to fix it but never found enough time.

His fingers splayed across the gate hitch. Another second and he was inside.

As he approached, he saw someone swinging on the porch swing.

He froze.

It was her. Judith. He smiled and waved.

She blew him a kiss. “Welcome, home.”

“Where’s my tool shed?” He scratched his newly restored hair.

“Take a gander out back.”

He did. The old shed was in need of as much repair as he remembered. He nodded to himself. Just right. He rejoined his wife on the bench and sipped a glass tumbler from the pitcher of iced tea she had on the tray on the table. She passed him a chicken sandwich. With a bite, he savored the quality. “Man, there’s no place like Heaven.”

“Heaven,” she said. “Why, Tom. You fell asleep on your tool bench again.”

He woke to the brightness of another lonely day. With a groan, he picked up his tools and started anew. His gaze went toward the ceiling as he at last set his saw aside for a time.

He blew a kiss. “See you soon, darling.”

The lights dimmed in the shed with a switch.

Maybe he’d enjoy some iced tea. A little reminder. A little promise. He reached for the pitcher and pain shot through him. He heard something shatter as blackness covered his vision.

He found himself before the picket fence. This time, he didn’t hesitate to go in. Judith laughed at the wrinkles fading from his skin. “It’s like we always imagined, isn’t it?” she said.

He nodded; afraid he’d wake again.

“Don’t worry. You’re home now. And about time. This place needs some tending to. Your tools are out back in the shed.”

He smiled. “Don’t nag me, woman. I’ll get to it after a drink of that tea and one of your famous sandwiches.”

The End.

scoured boots in the shed
tattered khakis faded perch
before the tool bench

saw rests in
impatience above
the concrete

the brand
cracked in shoes
by choice

Trying to keep busy? How about a book or two to occupy your thoughts?

Iced tea or lemonade is a great relief in these Spring-filled days.

What about a movie to lighten the stress? Or music. Or even a video game.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge 2020 3/5/2020: Three Senryus Traci Kenworth


Hope I did these right. This is about human nature and therefore, senryus in the 5/7/5, 3/5/3, and 2/3/2.

wisdom in white hair
a day won in her honor
leaves bear tribute to

senses wake
splashes of flowers
leaves tribute

flying
eyes squeezed closed
gala

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 1/12/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Challenge

A Haiku with the 5/7/5 formula

3/06/2020

Traci Kenworth

only doves may grace

nature’s calm serenity

leaves twist with a peace

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Writing and Poetry

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge 2/28/2020


The theme for this challenge is “The Circle of Life.” What better description of such than the family hub and all the activities they go through each day from alarm clock to the sun going down. I did mine as a Haiku with a change in general featuring the first verses as 5/7/5, 3/5/3 and 2/3/2.

The Center of Life

Traci Kenworth

from child to adult

unbroken family leaps

circled by the rings

lessons all

rush to alarm clocks

daily test



reset

busy hub

hearts joined