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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Tanka Prose: 143 words
By Claire Everett

A Song for Tara


braids untethered
my fingers for a comb...
wild garlic
but the not-quite-
yet of swallows

The breeze bore me away. It came with the jangling keys of a bird-sung dawn. Come, follow!

Never was I so fleet of foot, nor had I imagined I could slip past the jailer with such ease. I woke with the mess he has made of my head with lockdown daily reckonings, distraction and denial. But she...she came with the breath of green hills, the touch of shin-winnowed meadows, the voice of the pebbled stream. She weighed my heart’s ache and found hidden there even that quietly sobbed grief for the returning birds ravaged by storms over the Aegean Sea.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha.

face to the sun
I await her magic...
a leveret cast
from the grass-lined nest
of a newborn day



Publisher’s Note:

The Tara Mantra, “Om tare tuttare ture soha,” is an ancient Buddhist mantra related to Tara, a female Bodhisattva of compassion and a meditation deity. To learn more, see:

To experience this mantra as chanted lyrically by Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma, who has been called “the heavenly voice,” see this Tibetube video (Inner Peace, 20 July 2017):

Claire Everett
Issue 4, July 2020

is the author of two tanka collections, twelve moons and The Small, Wild Places; and co-author of Hagstones: A Tanka Journey with Joy McCall, and Talking in Tandem with her husband, Tony Everett. In 2017, Claire joined the editorial panel for the Red Moon Anthology. She served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka (Volume 4, 2011), and in 2015 she edited the Tanka Society of America’s Members’ Anthology, Spent Blossoms. She served as tanka-prose editor for Haibun Today [from December 2011 thru September 2016], and as founding editor of Skylark Publishing and Skylark: the journal [from the inaugural issue in April 2013 thru the final issue, Summer 2019].

Claire is mum to five children and step-mum to two and likes nothing better than to be cycling through the Dales with Tony on their trusty tandem Tallulah, or walking on the North Yorkshire Moors.

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