Tanka 18/30 #npm23 #sol23

This poem began with an invitation from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, whose National Poetry Month project is a cycle of poems about 24 hours in the life of an old barn: “Allow a poem by another person to lead you to your own poem.” Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Valentine for Ernest Mann” is never far away when I’m thinking about poetry. (Edited to add: I had not yet seen Amy’s beautiful post at Two Writing Teachers this morning when I wrote my own post. Be sure to visit and read how Nye’s words continue to inspire her.)

I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but there are some things I simply do not do, and opening umbrellas indoors is one of them. I’m still wondering if the bad luck unleashed by opening an umbrella indoors lands only on the unfortunate person doing the opening or if everyone present–in this case, all of us enjoying coffee and a muffin that March morning at a local coffee shop–could be infected.

Where poetry hides:
in a plain black umbrella
propped open indoors
water drips onto wood floor
doesn’t she know it’s bad luck?


For my National Poetry Project, I’m playing along with the poetry calendar created by Margaret and Molly.






7 responses to “Tanka 18/30 #npm23 #sol23”

  1. A. Shruti Avatar

    I feel that sometimes superstition is science without explanation. The reason for not opening umbrellas indoors could be that the dripping water would rot the wood faster. Here in India we keep them open indoors to air dry them since the flooring is always tiled. There are many the reasons of which are lost in time. I liked what you wrote!

  2. natashadomina Avatar

    I love the combination of the water dripping onto the floor and “doesn’t she know it’s bad luck”?

  3. Trish Avatar

    I love the images here—yours with words and the one with a shadow on the wood floor. against rusty red. The tanka captures it perfectly! Naomi Shihab Nye and her poems, “Shoulders,” “Torn Map” and “Kindness” are ones I carry around with me; they sing when I need a song most. Thanks for this!

  4. Glenda Funk Avatar

    Thank you for the reminder to read Amy’s reflection. I have catching up to do. I’m w/ you on the umbrella thing. Besides, it’s just rude to block a door w/ an open umbrella. “Where poetry hides” is a fantastic line and a nod to all we can say in a few lines of verse.

  5. arjeha Avatar

    Does the dripping water foreshadow dripping tears? My take on an open umbrella in a house or building is fine as long as you don’t stan under it. Then tit is bad luck.

  6. Susan Kennedy Avatar

    Thanks for the idea. I write a tanka today too. I was stuck with a poetry form being on vacation with no tools.

  7. Susan Kennedy Avatar
    Susan Kennedy

    You’re amazing. Thanks for the inspiration.

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