seventh gate

In this quatrain Omar Khayyam attempts to comprehend life and our place in the universe. He regards death and human fate as mysteries he cannot decipher. His pondering highlights our human predicament—awareness that death of our physical bodies is certain. Birds on the other hand are free of such thoughts:

at sunrise
birds praising their Creator
without questions

© Chèvrefeuille

at sunrise
a human being
welcomes dawn
gazes at the sky
wonders about life

©2017 Ontheland

My tanka is in response to the above quatrain from the Rubaiyat and to the haiku by Chevrefeuille.  Carpe Diem #1304 The Seventh Gate.


in the wind
every song ever sung
faint vibrations
quiver for eternity
rustle branches in the trees


in the clay, wind, dew,
fire aching–
seen, unseen
transmutations travel time,
stars to earth to bone

©2017 Ontheland

A tanka and shadorma inspired by Carpe Diem #1301–River’s Lip, an episode in Carpe Diem’s Rubaiyat Another Way series. Each episode in this series offers interpretations, reflections and related poetry. Below are the featured Rubaiyat quatrain and other poems from the prompt post:

And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River’s Lip on which we lean –
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald), from The Rubaiyat

(river’slip refers to the river bank)


There’s not one atom of yon earth
Butonce was living man;
Nor the minutest drop of rain,
That hangeth in its thinnest cloud,
But flowed in human veins.

©Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Queen Mab


on river’s lip
hyacinths, grasses and other herbs
kisses of life

© Chèvrefeuille



thistles underfoot
spiked leaves stir thoughts of sharp minds
wise people buried here
herb foragers, healers
thorn plant whisperers

©2017 Ontheland

This tanka is from musings that sometimes come up as I see thorn leaf rosettes and full grown thistles in the field around my house. It hints at and was inspired by Carpe Diem #1300–The Rose, another episode in Carpe Diem’s Rubaiyat, Another Way series. The featured quatrain from The Rubaiyat:

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

The thistle photo is from Pixabay.


Life is beautiful 

on a music wave, flute song   

soars infectious beat 

lithe voices harmonize an

ancient anthem melody 


©2017 Ontheland

The current Winter Retreat theme at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is “Life is Beautiful”. Music can travel to euphoric places and so this tanka came to me listening to “Enigma” by Karunesh—also offered as a prompt by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

“I want to go beyond the limits and barriers separating different cultures, mixing different music styles and let them flow and dance together. Music is the one language in the world that everybody understands, across all cultures, religions and beliefs – music for body, heart and soul. ” – Karunesh


Wild wind rained last night 

lashing remains of summer

golden leaves dangle

waiting for a gentle breeze

to shimmer late autumn days


©2017 Ontheland

In response to Robert Frost’s “October”:

 “O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call.

To-morrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow,

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled, 

Beguile us in the way you know;

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away;

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.”

(By Robert Frost;

My tanka is inspired by Carpe Diem #1272 October (Robert Frost), an invitation to speak to the essence of Frost’s beautiful poem in haiku or tanka.