“The Longest Day,” Arquain

This week for #TankaTuesday (click the link to join in the challenge) Harmony selected the theme of “the longest day.” I chose the Arquain form found on the Poetscollective.org.

The Arquain is written in three stanzas, with the following syllable count per stanza: 1, 2, 3, 4 for the first stanza. 5,7, 7, 5, for the second, with an end rhyme for the two seven syllable end words. The third stanza is 4, 3, 2, 1 syllables.

The Longest Day

hot pain
rips within
time is endless

I pant, I hold back—
my child longs to be set free
primal screams my only plea
I must stop the pain

life's water breaks
I push hard
he is

© Colleen M. Chesebro

My son was my longest birth… about six hours of labor. He weighed 9 lbs. 11 oz, and was almost 23 inches long. The old adage that you forget the pain of childbirth isn’t true. At least, it wasn’t for me.

It was literally the longest day of my life! LOL!

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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. ouch! great poem

  2. Remarkable that the miracle of birth requires a woman to endure so much. I am in awe of those who have had the experience, that is for sure. <3

  3. I could feel this for sure, Colleen! Both of my labors were VERY long, but my babies much smaller than your son. It’s sad that you’re not in touch. ❤️

  4. This is marvellous. It’s so evocative of this most painful, yet most triumphant of events. The form complements it too, looking so like a heavily pregnant torso. Love it!

  5. Whew, that was intense!

  6. D.L. Finn, Author

    You nailed that day, Colleen!

  7. That’s fantastic, Colleen – so intense. It must have been quite a day, I’ve never got over mine. Toni x

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  9. Wow and ouch Colleen and they say that a lot about most procedures! But they also say when you hold your baby it was worth it. ♥♥

  10. I’m sure that six hours seemed like six eons! Love this poem, Colleen. Thanks also for introducing me to a new form. Have a wonderful weekend 💕🙂

  11. A great poem Colleen, this was my first thought but I somehow new someone would best it and you did ☺️

  12. What a great choice! I love this poem. It covers an entire timespan!

  13. Only six hours… you had a short labor!! 😉
    It does seem so much longer – the process. I almost broke my husband’s hand!
    However I was lucky as mine were 7lbs or less if my memory serves me…

  14. Wow! I understand why you thought 6 hours was forever. I love the poem!

  15. Ouchee Sis, but I lol’d with you at the end. Loving these new forms of poetry. <3

  16. Heroes amongst us; mothers.💖

  17. That was definitely one of the longest days of my life. 17 hours of labor! Lol! Well worth every minute. 🙂 Great poem, Colleen! 🙂

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  19. Gwen M. Plano

    I so remember each of my children’s birth and especially the relief I felt when they took their first breath. Beautiful, powerful poem, Colleen. ❤️

  20. Childbirth is perfect for the “longest day” theme! I was sent home for two of my sons because it wasn’t quite “active” labor yet. It sure felt active to me! lol

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