Tankas chronicling brief destruction
Phone alarm warning
Tornadic winds imminent
Hail then fierce winds blow
Trees uprooted branches tossed
Destruction surrounds safe house
Tornado is here
Raging winds sweep through my yard
Hurls from one side to the next
Trees fall, house stands strong and safe
A few months after settling into our new home, an alert from my phone’s warning system jolted me into action—an approaching tornado in our vicinity. Working from home, I found myself alone with my dog, who had already begun whining before the phone started blaring.
Unfortunately, my dog has an aversion to stairs, making it impossible to reach the lowest level of the house (the basement) for shelter. So, we sought refuge together in a doorway on the ground floor, anxiously observing and listening as hail pelted the roof, gutters, and windows. With each passing moment, the wind grew fiercer, amplifying my dog’s unease.
Then, a sound emerged—a distant echo akin to a train rumbling through a tunnel. As it drew nearer, it intensified, overpowering all other noise. My ears popped, and I heard the shattering of branches and crashing of trees. I saw garden furniture being thrown across the yard and then magically returning to almost its original position.
In a matter of seconds, it was all over. Yet, those few moments were nothing short of awe-inspiring.
These two poems represent tanka, a classic type of Japanese poetry. Haiku and tanka are both classic Japanese poetry, but they contrast each other in terms of their length, structure, and content. Classic haiku consists of three lines and follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. In contrast, classic tanka consists of five lines and adheres to a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable pattern, totaling 31 syllables.
This tornado was only an EF0! Can you imagine the devastation an EF4 or EF5 would cause? I guess we don't have to imagine. Almost every year we see the evidence from news reports, on social media, and from those tornado hunters, who are in a different league.
The only damage our house sustained was to a downspout that looked like a giant hand had squeezed it. It's more likely that the ferocious winds flung a branch at it.
One last thing…
I am honored (and humbled) to have my poem, Riparian Resplendence, included in Written Tales Chapbook, Volume #10–Nature’s Embrace. This volume fromis filled with enchanting and thought-provoking poems and short stories. Paperback and Kindle copies of Written Tales Chapbook, Volume #10 are available at Amazon.
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