“The Longest Day,” Arquain

legs of baby

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!


  1. 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. ❤️


  2. 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!


  3. 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…


        1. I was in labor with him the day before but he was so big that he slowed me down. My actual hard labor was the 6 hours. I walked and walked but he was so big we had to wait for him to turn. Of course he was born in time for lunch. My son wore 3 month old clothes home from the hospital. 🤦🏼‍♀️


  4. 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. ❤️


  5. 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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