Artwork to inspire poetry: Pomegranate stem

Pomegranate stem

This artwork is of a pomegranate stem.  It was originally made with colored pencils and then computer altered.  Here’s a tanka inspired by the artwork:

as leaves bud outward,
the hope of fruit grows as well,
in the winter light,
in the blueness of dawn’s light,
the roadside stand is arranged


Poem with an explanation: the glass barrier

the glass barrier
blocking hope in its mocking
relief is opaque
silently the statue breathes
as eyes stare in unblinking


This poem is a tanka.  It is written in the 57577 format.  There are two parts: the first three lines and the last two.

This poem is about a dog sitting outside looking at a glass door.  The dog is waiting for something.  It wants something from a person that is on the other side of the door.

The first line, the glass barrier, describes the door.  The door is glass with a metal frame.  The words in the line are meant to show a contrast.  The door is glass.  Glass is generally weak and breakable.  The door is also a barrier.  A barrier is something that stops something else from going through.  The idea is that something weak and breakable is blocking the dog from what it wants.

The second line, blocking hope in its mocking, is like the first.  The glass door blocks the hope of the dog.  It separates it from what it wants.  The door mocks though.  The door is glass.  Glass is weak.  This weak glass is blocking the dog.  The door is personified in the line.

The third line says, relief is opaque.  This line is a play on the idea of glass.  Generally, glass is clear and transparent.  The opposite of that is being opaque.  The dog wants relief, but can’t see it despite the clear glass door.

The next two lines shift the focus.  The first three lines focused on the door from the perspective of the dog.  The next two lines focus on the dog.

The fourth line of the poem says, silently the statue breathes.  The dog in the poem is sitting still in front of the door looking at it.  This line continues the idea of before of contrasting imagery.  In the line, a statue, which does not move, is breathing.

The last line says, as eyes stare in unblinking.  This line describes the dog looking at the door with intensity.  The idea reflects the idea of a statue from the line before.  A statue cloud be said to have eyes that stare unblinking.  This is not actually true though, as staring is an action and a statue is not acting in any way.  A statue only appears to be staring.  The dog though, is staring.  In some sense this is like the line before.  Together, the two lines are describing a statue breathing and staring.  A statue can’t do those things, but the dog is.  The dog is statue like though, because it is still in front of the door for an extended period of time.

Another point about the last line, is that the dog is staring in, not out.  Normally, staring is describing as staring out, as in “staring out in space”.  The dog though is staring in.  There are two ways to look at this.  First, literally, the dog is staring in the building through the glass of the door.  It wants something from the other side.  In another sense though, the line is describing introspection.  The dog is focused on what is on the other side of the door, but it is really focused on its internal feelings.  The dog is focused on what it wants from the other side of the door.


Do you like poems with explanations?  Do you like to support writers whose work you enjoy?

M. Sakran has a self-published book of poems with explanations. It is called Understanding: poems with explanations and is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. If you like poems with explanations and like to support writers whose work you enjoy, then consider purchasing a copy today.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Waiting in darkness

covered in darkness
sitting between the two walls
waiting for the noise
walking down the concrete rows
mind lost in all the boxes


This poem about is about a child and her mother.  The mother of the child works two jobs, one of which is a second shift.  The child is left home alone during this shift.

In the poem, the first three lines are about the child and the last two lines are about the mother.  This poem is a tanka, written in 5 7 5 7 7, and this form lent itself to the two subjects of the poem.

The poem starts (covered in darkness) with the child home alone at night.  The child is scared.  The fear the child has is conveyed by the idea of darkness covering.

The child doesn’t sleep because she is afraid.  Instead, she stays awake and sits on the floor in the corner of her room (sitting between the two walls).  She is sitting in her pajamas, with her knees up, her arms around her legs, and her head down.

In her fear, the child is waiting to hear the noise of her mother opening the front door (waiting for the noise).  She has stayed up before and knows what the sound of the key turning the lock sounds like.  She is anticipating the noise.  She wants it to happen.  When her mother comes home, she will feel comfort and be able to sleep.

The next two lines of the poem are about the mother.  She works in a warehouse.  There are rows and rows of shelves with bays.  The bays are filled with boxes.  The floor is concrete.  The mom walks down the rows (walking down the concrete rows) loading things onto a cart to be sent somewhere else.

The mom’s job is demoralizing.  It is dark, everything is gray and brown.  There is a certain sound to the place.  The job is tedious and monotonous.  As the mom does her job, she just passes the time and turns her mind off (mind lost in all the boxes).

One interesting aspect of this poem, is the idea that it does not come to a conclusion.  The poem shows the daughter sitting in her room afraid and the mother at work.  In the poem, the mother is never showed coming home.  The daughter’s fear is never relieved.  This poem looks at a specific moment that recurs, but does not, in some sense, finish the moment.


Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

A photograph to inspire poetry: woodpecker


This photograph is of a woodpecker.  It is to the center left and from this angle, looks black, white and red.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  Here is a tanka inspired by it:

with such great effort,
the search continues this day,
and then it is gone,
over the mountain ranges,
he comes to an ocean shore

Poetry topic idea: lost

Today’s poetry topic idea is lost.  Lost is an interesting idea, because it has a wide range of scopes.  Some ideas for lost include:

  • A child lost in a store
  • A person lost while driving
  • A person lost in a vast place, like the ocean
  • A person feeling lost
  • Something (either tangible or intangible) being lost

Here’s an example of a tanka written using the idea lost:

Alright, that word there,
it starts with what looks like s,
maybe that means south?

  Standing by the tall road sign,
  missing the translation book.


P.S.  The bookmark giveaway is still ongoing.  Please see the bookmark giveaway post for information.

Post Series: Artworks to inspire poetry: Dog Related: Dream


Asleep in the shade,
of full gardenia bushes,
a breeze blows tree leaves,
the morning sun enlightens,
a faraway place nearby.

This artwork was made using acrylic paint followed by computer alteration

This is the last post in the Artworks to inspire poetry: Dog Related series.  The series has consisted of ten posts that have had artworks and poems in them.  Each of the artworks was made in a different way.  The ways were: colored pencils, markers, charcoal, computer, ink, crayons, chalk, tea and sugar, wood and glue, and acrylic paint.  In addition, various levels of computer alteration were applied to the different artworks.

Post Series: The Poems with Explanations Series: Step, step, step

Step, step, step

Step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up
the top stays up and balanced
and one, two, three, a light goes
sympathy at thirty flies
ignorance at forty next
step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up


This poem is about a dog limping down the road.  The poem is written with syllables counts of a tanka followed by a mirrored tanka that has the syllable counts in the reverse order.  Additionally, the poem has repeats.  Lines one, two and three, are the same as lines eight, nine and ten.  Additionally, within that, lines one, three, eight and ten are the same, and lines two and nine are the same.

The first line describes the dog limping.  The dog takes three steps, but can’t put its fourth leg down.  The second line reinforces this idea and the third repeats it.

The fourth line uses a top as a metaphor for how the dog is balanced on three legs.  The fifth line describes the pain the dog feels each time it moves its hurt leg.

Lines six and seven describe cars driving by.  The car in line six is going thirty miles per hour and the person inside notices the dog and has sympathy for it.  The car in line seven is going forty miles per hour, and the person inside does not notice the dog.

Lines eight, nine and ten, repeat lines one, two and three and are about the dog continuing to limp on after the cars drive by.

Post Series: The Christmas Series: Introduction with poem

Today is December 1.  Starting today, and through at least December 23rd, there will be a Christmas post series on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.  This means, that the posts from now through at least December 23rd, will be Christmas related in some way.  The series is called, The Christmas Series.  Counting today’s post, the series will consist of at least seventeen posts.  The series may end on the 23rd, but may continue again starting on the 28th.  If it does, it will continue through January 5th, 2016.  A determination has not yet been made.

The previous post series have been Seven Apples, The Citrus Series, The Tea Series, and The Orange Series.  They can be seen here: Post Series.

To start the series, today’s post has a poem made of a haiku, a tanka, and an iambic tetrameter rhyming couplet put together:

The series starts here,
Christmas posts all in a row,
like Christmas lights on a roof.

Some posts may cause cheer,
some may cause contemplation,
and some may cause both,
like opening wrapped presents,
then helping homeless people.

So sing some songs and have some fun,
and think some thoughts before you’re done.