Poet Joanna Lee

Prayers in rough wood

My prayers in rough wood
are strung up with twine and hope,
spiral like incense
to an unhearing heaven,
float back to the ears of men

Who with gentle hands
unfold my finger-petals,
suck out from cupped palm
the splinters of unborn dreams,
catch the bleeding dew of faith.

Joanna Suzanne Lee lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia, USA. She writes:
“This was my first effort at a tanka (actually it’s two tanka put back-to-back), and it came from an image I took when I visited Japan two summers ago: an offering left at a Shinto shrine in Nara, where you could write your own prayers or wishes on little wood blocks and hang them on the shrine itself.”
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    • siubhan

      Thanks, Joe; I’m glad the piece struck a chord. I have Heather to thank for cleaning up and posting the commentary itself. In case you were wondering, though, the photo this came from is here.



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