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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 9: August 2021
Tanka Prose: 320 words
By Claire Everett

Seeking You


sun showers
the songs that well
in a thrush’s breast...
no mind for Rumi, yet
you tend to your vital heart

Almost as soon as your maybe shape has called its name into my thoughts, there you are, mouse-walking your helter-skelter way skywards on the bole of the oak. Treecreeper! Just as I am sure of the buff of your underbelly grazing the gnarl of centuries gone, I venture close enough that you might see the colour of the sweater tied around my waist. When you flit, I follow, fascinated by the minutiae of your splayed feet, the curve of your beak, as you needle for grubs in the mortar of the chapel wall.

And I am as certain of you, roe deer, as I am of your heart-shaped tracks. The meadow, swirling yellow as if by a child’s hand, is a zither of bees, but somehow, above their drunken hum I can hear your listening ears. Invisibly, you are stepping like a goddess towards this gazing me cradled in your sights, wondering if I’ll linger long enough for you to thread your eyes with mine before I bound again into the hedgerow in search of abandoned nests or the untold secrets of lichen.

You are stone-still, jack hare, in the top field where the flax has begun to stipple its early twilight hue. You have come to expect me at this hour, on the edge of worlds, familiar with the way I hunker down in watchful smallness or rise up on my haunches to marvel at hawks. You register my full face with your sidewise Egyptian eye as the last of the sun embellishes my hair with the same gold that touches you.

what you seek
is seeking you...

heat shimmer
a tail flicks
a redstart



Author’s Note: Italicised phrases are often attributed to Jalal al-Din Mohammad Rumi (1207–1273).

Clare Everett
Issue 9, August 2021

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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