We never stop. So many lives have become whirlwinds of one-thing-to-the-next, our heads and hearts heavy with worries, plans, fears, and failures. Undeniably trouble is brewing in far too many corners and yet…outside of this warped reality rest tranquility, peace, and light. Of course we must continue to fight where we stand and fall but the more we do so, the further we travel from the quiet garden where our weary souls find respite.
In my practice of alternative medicine and in fact in my own chronic illness I see more and more people disintegrating, losing their structural integrity of mind, body, and spirit as our world pulls us all apart. The media, social media, politics, our increasing reliance on machines and decreasing interest in creativity and the natural world all serve to spread us thin and wear us down. We’re migrating away from our inherent beauty to a place of darkness and chaos and while some of that is far beyond our individual control, some of it is fuelled by the world that we create, consciously or otherwise. Our minds cannot stand the onslaught and so we grow weaker with each passing day, each new horror that arrives unchecked.
As the world seems to fall more into the chaos of shadows I feel it’s ever more important that we try to focus not only on overcoming the darkness but also on encouraging the light. It’s beyond essential that we recognise the evils in our world and fight to subdue them but equally vital that we give effort and awareness to the light and the good. If we spend all of our time fighting demons we may forget how to see angels.
I’d like to ask you please to write tanka that (for you) manifest calm, peace, gentle joy. I hope that it will not only help to uplift you but also to shine a beam of hope and inner peace onto everyone who reads the collection. Thus strengthened, we can better do the work that we’re all called to do right now and turn the tide back to healing and peace.
I’m interested especially in tanka that evoke a sense of gentle movement and/or a sense of place: somewhere that you go for sanctuary. It doesn’t have to be a real place, but I’d like to experience it with my senses when I read your poem. Remember the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings that create in you a stable, secure tranquility and deep calm. Paint word-pictures that can remind us all to breathe deeply, feel the sun on our faces, hear the sound of running water, and stop – even if just for a moment – to be.
under stippled shade
cast by slender leaves
water learns patience
while teaching me
to flow with grace
Please send your five favourite tanka of Flowing Tranquility to me at by 01 August, 2019. I will notify all contributors of acceptance or decline by 01 September and hope to publish around the time of the Autumn Equinox (23 September).*
I will select 25 tanka but no more than one from each poet. Poems must be original and unpublished; that includes social media so please use this as an excuse to create something new. Please also send – in the body of your e-mail – your full name, location (country, province/state), and a 75-word bio. I’m very happy to receive tanka in any language but please send an English translation along with your poem(s). And if your tanka relate(s) to a specific place that isn’t where you are, please also include that.
I hope that this Special Feature allows us all a moment of peace and invites us to explore, when we need them most, new places where we might go to renew ourselves. In so doing, perhaps we may renew the world.
*I’ve chosen now for the Special Feature in part due to what I feel is an urgency but also because, for me, summer can be a time of tranquility, of ripening, and of quiet calm. To friends in the Southern hemisphere I apologise, but I ask you please to find your winter tranquility : the comfort of rain, the contentment of a sleeping earth, the flow of time from restful darkness to awakening light. This peace can be everywhere, if only we remember to seek and cultivate it.