“Blue of Pure Mind,” chōka & hanka

Image by Peter Lomas from Pixabay
the blue throat chakra...
a nexus to the divine
blue hues of heaven
serene, calm, tranquility
found in a blue sky,
slow down, make time to be still
listen to your voice
obey the stillness within
blue the color of pure mind

uncluttered by thoughts
in silence, one can perceive
blue—the purest mind
open wide... the throat chakra 
your seat of creativeness

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This week for #TankaTuesday, I asked everyone to select one of the seven chakra colors to feature in their poetry. Color is a powerful poetic tool, and when used in poetry, it helps to convey our thoughts and feelings.

I wrote a chōka followed by a hanka (tanka) according to the cheat sheet:

The chōka (long poem) was the storytelling form of Japanese poetry from the 1st to the 13th century. It is unrhymed and written in alternating five and seven-syllable lines that end with an extra seven-syllable line. The early form consisted of a series of katuata joined together. (A katuata is 5-7-7 (19) onji, or 5-7-5 (17) onji) and is required for your poem. It is composed of any number of couplets made up of alternating 5-7 onji (sound syllables) per line. In English, we can only treat the onji as a syllable. A nine-line chōka is 5-7-5-7-5-7-5-7-7 or 5-7-7-5-7-5-7-7-7. Chōka often were followed by one or more short poems called hanka, or “envoys,” summarizing, supplementing, or elaborating on the contents of the main poem. Often, a tanka would serve as an envoy.”

Word Craft Poetry Cheat Sheet

Rain Dance

There's a crackle in the air—
the static buzz of a summer storm brooding in the sky
Summer storms are magical...
I like to dance in the summer rain
unlike the winter rain, when I hide indoors 
away from the biting cold and wet.

Today dark clouds build in the west—
the air feels hot, filled with static electricity
Nothing but a torrential downpour 
and the loudest claps of thunder 
would send me running for cover now.

A summer storm is on the way
I can feel it...
I imagine myself running and playing
in the warmth of that sparkling summer rain.
I know this rain gives life—
I wait for the parched grass to turn green again.

Please let it rain!
So Mote it Be!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

I rarely write freestyle poetry, but after my walk today, all I could think about was how parched my part of Michigan has become. In my neighborhood, the friendly sounds of grass mowing, has altogether ceased. The grass doesn’t grow without the rain. Our city water is costly, and with the economic restraints on our budgets already maxed out; we choose not to water the grass.

If only it would rain!

“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!

“Prosper,” lanterne series

The #TankaTuesday challenge this week was to write a lanterne poem series. This is shape poetry and looks best centered on the page. It’s a cinquain (five lines) which comprises syllables of 1, 2, 3, 4, 1. I didn’t care for the structure of the lanterne given by Antonia Sorin, so I let the words flow. In this piece, the verbs serve a purpose and the stanzas flow more purposefully into something more meaningful. The title echoes the meaning of the poem.


clear your heart
embrace your truth

tune in—
take notice
focus on sounds

deep exhale
open your mind

get in touch
with your true self

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Listen to Rebecca Budd recite one of my poems from Word Weaving, A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse:

Opaque Reflections

I’ve still not caught up from the two weeks off. On Monday, the bathroom renovations kickoff… I’ll sneak in this haiku for #TankaTuesday which features a color and weather! “Opaque reflections” refer to hazy skies… it’s a stretch for weather, I know. See what happens when you get out of practice? 💜

opaque reflections
echoes of a summer sky
purple iris bloom

© Colleen M. Chesebro

“Poetic Spell-Craft”: Quadrille

The dVerse Poet’s Pub Challenge:

“Sanaa here, aka adashofsunny, and once again it’s time for my favorite of all prompts, the Quadrille. This feisty little poem is an invention of our own design: precisely 44 words (not counting the title) including the word that we provide.”

Today, I’d like you to ponder upon the word “Spell.”

Quadrille #154: dVerse
  • Carve us a poem out of the word “Spell,” and make it precisely 44 words long, not counting the title of course.
  • Post the poem on your own blog and link it up via Mr. Linky below. Then partake of all the incredible poems conjured in the blogosphere.
  • The Quadrille is open all week, so be sure to come back and read (and write) some more!

Poetic Spell-Craft

poetry is magic
our spells transform soul truths
often scrawled in our youth
poetic psalms

weave magic every day
poems heal and restore
sacred charms we adore
poems are spells

our manifestations
create word enchantments
like spoken commandments
set intentions...

speak your truth poetically

© Colleen M. Chesebro
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Litha, The Summer Solstice, #ButterflyCinquain

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
red flames flicker
longest day of the year
we honor death, rebirth, and change
our Summer Solstice blessings flow
let go—learn acceptance
abide in the

We know Litha, the Summer Solstice, is called the festival of fire. June 21st is the longest day of the year. The Sun is at its full strength shining bright in the sky. After this day, the upcoming days will become shorter and shorter until December 21st, when we reach the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

On Summer Solstice Eve, people all over the globe celebrate with fire rituals. In America, Pagans celebrate this holiday with a huge bonfire to remind us of the heat of the summer sun. For me, the color red signifies the Summer Solstice bonfires. 🔥

The Summer Solstice reminds us that nothing lasts forever. Summer is always short-lived. We live in a world that is constantly changing, dying, and renewing. This is a time of letting go and accepting the things we can’t change. Now, we must be fully in the present moment, soaking up the richness of the here and the now. We can use that sun energy to inspire, to uplift us, to energize us. Let the spirit of the season ignite our inner fires and passions to accomplish our life goals.

Mark your calendars! June 21st is just around the corner. Learn more about the roots of the Summer Solstice HERE

Written for #TankaTuesday Color Poetry 🔥

Happy Summer Solstice!

“Tired,” #ShareYourDay, #TankaTuesday,

Our #TankaTuesday challenge this week was to share our day (or week) and write a piece of syllabic poetry to go with the image. I wrote a Badger’s Hexastich. My week was not interesting, to say the least.

Sophie, then Chloe—The Unicorn Cats

On Monday, we did some furniture moving, which is always exhausting. The temperature soared to 86 degrees and the humidity along with it. I developed a strange rash on my arms and chest.

On Tuesday, we had our yearly doctor appointments. The doctor believes that the sun caused the rash. I’m on low dose antibiotics for another issue and that makes my skin super sensitive. OR my thyroid levels were too high, OR… I’m allergic to something, OR its heat rash… It’s Saturday, and the rash is still there.

The doctor also gave us our Covid booster (#2) along with the new immunization for pneumonia. I have asthma, so this was necessary. As you can see, Chloe and Sophie, the Unicorn Cats, kept me company in bed. I’m feeling better today, just tired. I realized I hadn’t taken a break in ages, so maybe this was the time to slow down and go with the flow?

slow down
read a good book
heal your mind and body
rest and rejuvenate
restore the love

Listen to your body. It will let you know what it needs.

Useful, #TankaTuesday #ThemePrompt: shadorma

Kerfe gave us the theme for this week’s #TankaTuesday challenge: Useful. Here’s my interpretation of useful.

When I was young, my step-mother would often remind me, “waste not—want not.” I always met this statement with an eye roll, thinking, here we go again. Typical kid, right?

People used to say my step-mother was thrifty. She grew up during the American Depression. In her mind, everything was useful. She reused foil, washed and rinsed out plastic bags for another use, and kept all the twist ties from bread bags. Kitchen scraps went into a bucket for the compost pile. Those bread bags were also washed and reused—as additional insulation in my snow boots! Funny thing, I don’t remember ever having wet feet in the winter.

Today, I try to reuse, recycle, and reduce. What I thought was a pain when I was a child has become second nature to me. Some lessons are useful and worth repeating.

be thrifty—
reuse, recycle
reduce waste
useful acts
take care of our earth mother
restrict your footprint

© Colleen M. Chesebro