“At the Top of the World,” shadorma sequence

at the top 
of the world, white clouds 
kiss the sky
winds exhale
the soft breath of the goddess—
Gaia rests

at the top 
of the world, heaven
meets the earth
at center
'tween stars and moon, darkness falls—
Spirit calls

at the top
of the world—rebirth!
Gilgul spins 
in search of 
the highest form of virtue—

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This week for #TankaTuesday we used an image from David at the Skeptic’s Kaddish. Here are my instructions: This is a photo of David’s father. Please be aware that he is no longer with us. David dedicated his blog to his father’s memory. You can read more about his journey HERE. With that being said, take a deep look at this photo. Don’t describe what we all can see. Look into the camera lens… what do YOU see? What is revealed to you? Now, write your syllabic poem.

I apologize for any liberties I took with anyone’s particular religious beliefs. My heart was full of poetic inspiration. I meant no disprespect. As many of you know, my own belief system comprises many theories, and I often mix them all together, as I did in this poem.

According to myjewishlearning.com, “Gilgul is a concept that is described in great detail throughout the Kabbalah. Very much in line with samsara, which is often depicted as a wheel in Buddhist art, the word gilgul comes from the Hebrew root meaning “to spin.” The soul, in the kabbalistic view, spins onward through a great many bodies, striving after a higher form of perfection.”

What do you see beyond the camera lens?


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About Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry. A published author, Colleen is also an editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, also found on wordcraftpoetry.com. Colleen’s mission is to bring the craft of writing syllabic poetry to anyone who thinks they can’t be a poet. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for the Carrot Ranch literary community at carrotranch.com. Colleen’s poetry has appeared in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures1 & 2” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read." Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House. Find Colleen at Word Craft: Prose & Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.
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  1. I love the information you shared about Gilgul, Colleen. I use a similar concept in my fantasy series. I found your poem to be beautiful. Every stanza made me smile. 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Colleen. This is the first shadorma sequence that I’ve encountered and your verse fit it perfectly. I love the progression of images. All encompasing and life-affirming. 💗

  3. This is evocative! What a talent you have for crafting syllabic poetry. Sis! <3

  4. Beautiful Sis and hopeful. <3

  5. Absolutely beautiful, Colleen! 💕🙂

  6. I like the repetition at the beginning of each stanza. Beautiful response. (K)

  7. This is just gorgeous! I love the repetition at the beginning of each stanza! ❤️

  8. I love reading and learning about different religious beliefs. 🙂

  9. I looked up Gilgul before seeing your interpretation; GILGUL (Heb. גִּלְגּוּל; ” transmigration of souls ,” “reincarnation,” or “metempsychosis”). There is no definite proof of the existence of the doctrine of gilgul in Judaism during the Second Temple period. In the Talmud there is no reference to it (although, by means of allegoric interpretations, later authorities found allusions to and hints of transmigration in the statements of talmudic rabbis).

    I think quite a number of people take what they like best about various faiths and apply it to their liking. And personally the only time that becomes an issue is when one believes ones view is better than or the only way. I enjoyed your verse, especially since it taught me something new. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Word Craft Poetry#TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 274 | #PhotoPrompt

  11. Colleen, you continuously inspire me with your poetic brilliance. This is fantastic.

  12. When the search ends and the goal is attained, a new journey begins. This is inspiring, joyful and hopeful.💜

  13. Beautiful as always Colleen and hopeful of things to come…♥

  14. A beautiful poem, Colleen. So uplifting and inclusive. Thanks for the explanation too, which added a whole other layer of meaning. The responses have been sublime for this one.

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