Wednesday, June 15, 2005

…And Ravens Carried the Day

Two Tankas

We fall back upon
the wind, thundering cavalry
and thrumming bow strings,
mud thick upon my charger,
blood droplets on my sword’s edge.

Now damp, nothing burns,
dead horses and shattered men
lie still and dark-stained
in the quiet aftermath—
once proud blades bent like old straw.


Stranger Ken said...

I'm there! Brilliant evocation. I'm not too keen on "charger", but the last line of the first tanks is outstanding.

Bill said...

I liked the second... it evoked some powerful memories for me, not of 'armed conflict' but of dawns approach after a late night structure fire... for a moment I could even smell it.

Braleigh said...

I'm starting to become suspicious as to how you,a professed mortal, have managed to time and time again produce divine work.

I've literally never read any other poems that have succeeded in evoking as powerful emotions as your works do. Yes, I know I have confessed to reading very little poetry, but two years of English Lit have given me some exposure, and your work is by far my favourite.

Firehawk said...

Thank you, friends, for such wonderful comments. I'm honored.


I wasn't sure about "charger", but nothing else worked there, so I let it be. It seemed more active than "horse" or "mount", but again, more questionable in tone. Oh, well. I'm glad you liked that line. It felt like a still point of perception on the narrator's part, and was the anchor of that tanka.


I'm always happy when tangential memories are brought out by my words. I imagine that there's some core similarity to the aftermath of both battles and large-scale fires: the utter exhaustion and drying sweat, the smells, the thready feeling of spent adrenilin. Again, thanks for reading and posting such well-reasoned comments.


You give me such great compliments. I'm over the moon to think that my words can "take you there". The enjoyment of poetry is uncommon these days. I don't think our education systems do a very good job at exposing us to good and relevent poetry when we're young. If we were reading Denis Johnson, Steven Dobyns, Alan Ginsberg, and so on in high school, I think there'd be a different level of appreciation for it in the populace. Some of the classics, with their baroque language and complex forms, are just not what young people need. Forcing hard and unpalatable literature down people's throats only serves to turn them off, making them non-readers. I don't know what my point is, but I am glad that you haven't gotten tired of my stuff.

Stranger Ken said...

Sorry! I meant "tanka", of course. Interesting to see how enthusiasm weakens the editorial grip in an old fellow like me!

Firehawk said...


We don't worry about the small stuff. I understood what you were talking about. Besides, I make enough little errors that it wouldn't be wise to set the bar so high that I couldn't clear it myself.

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