Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Tanka

yesterday’s fire

soaring gracefully
young slender aspens stand watch
around charred remains
anonymous yet precious
remnants of yesterday’s fire


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 January 2020
Image found at
Cabin in a stand of Aspens, Gould, Colorado

one last slow dance

wispy silver veins
gleam frosty white lavender
cling to each other
floating on mid-summer air
one last slow dance together

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 April 2019
Photo taken DAFraser November 2016, Glen Eyrie Conference Center, Colorado

day dies quietly

day dies quietly
shadows bring the curtain down
my heart relaxes
falling into its soft bed
night gathers up leftovers

The remains of the day? Maybe. I love this time of day with its invitation to take a deep breath and exhale. Stop and rest a while. Which is exactly what I’m going to do. Right now.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 March 2019
Photo found at

color me fragile

color me fragile
transparent windows open
to waves of music
floating through winter’s cold nights
from stars and planets waiting
to welcome me home

I think often of death these days. Not as something to fear, but as a reminder that today’s music won’t wait for tomorrow. It’s here. Now. Waiting to be experienced, honored, held close. A reminder of the good that has come my way and the good people who still sing to me when I feel lonely, scared or overwhelmed. Many now wait to welcome me home.

Morose? No. It’s food for my soul. A warm fuzzy blanket to wrap around me when I begin to falter. It’s the reason I greet each day with expectancy and hope mixed with sadness. Life sometimes feels heavy to bear. Then those reminders come floating in. A gift, if not proof, that I’ve had and have a life beyond the life I see and remember.

Praying your day is filled with graceful music from unexpected sources.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 January 2019
Image found at

autumn love letter

autumn love letter
ripples across calm water
reflecting the sky
fiery burnt orange maples
bend and bow before mortals

The last two days we’ve finally seen autumn’s brilliant colors splashed here and there. They won’t last long this year, thanks to a 9-year warming October weather. Still, they’re brilliant, especially when lit by late afternoon/early evening sun.

The Ando Hiroshige print above caught my eye last night. The poem came this morning. It invites me to take a calming break, preferably in nature, after another week of unannounced violence inflicted by human beings on other human beings.

Pause mode may sound like a futile gesture. It isn’t. Especially now.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 November 2018
Ando Hiroshige print found at; From 100 Famous Views of Edo, Autumn, Inside Akiba Shrine, Ukeji c. 1857

autumn wind

sturdy evening breeze
rides first waves of autumn chill
chasing leaves my way
it sends cricket songs soaring
through layers of fading light

I wrote this poem yesterday evening after a late walk around our neighborhood. For now, we seem to have exited cycles of wind and rain from the South, followed by the same from the North and Northwest.  Maybe the fall chill can finally do its work and turn at least some trees and shrubs into flaming beauties.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 October 2018
Modern Art Nouveau painting by Wilhelm Kotarbinski, found at

wild random beauty

wild random beauty
explodes through summer bounty
brilliant remnants flash
against tangled undergrowth
painting the old canvas red

That’s how I’m imagining my life today. A mess of tangled undergrowth, already beautiful in its own lively way, surprised from time to time by wild random beauty exploding from nowhere.

D took this photo at Chanticleer Gardens in late summer 2016. It invites me to consider my life today, and what might yet be waiting around the next corner. I feel like a child; I want to know how the story ends before it gets there. Not because of death, but because of all the good stuff that’s hiding, waiting along the way to surprise me with brilliant red.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 September 2018
Photo taken by DAFraser, Chanticleer Gardens, summer 2016

the old woman + photos

the old woman sits
staring beyond the window
into her future
hovering beneath the sky
dancing in the setting sun

The words came to me this morning while I was sitting at my kitchen table, looking out the window at our back yard. Being with my adult children and their spouses always puts me in a pensive mood–along with the sheer joy of being in their company. Each visit feels a bit more precious than the last.

Our daughter and her husband have been here for several days. So far we’ve had a mix of cold and now very warm, moving toward hot weather later this week. I’m happy to say the attic guest room is a huge hit! On Monday we visited Longwood Gardens for an afternoon of picture-perfect weather. Yesterday we went for a late-afternoon walk along forested trails in Valley Forge Park. I’ll post photos later.

In the meantime, here are three more from our Longwood visit on Monday afternoon. Proof that Spring has arrived for sure.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 May 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, 30 April 2018, Longwood Gardens

fraught labor of love

fraught labor of love
priceless heart wrenching venture
no promise of gain
beyond a nest of birdlings
precious precarious joy

Last week was the first week of school around here. On Friday evening D and I were walking past the grade school near our house. Only one car remained in the faculty parking lot.

A woman carrying a large bag and other take-home items left the building and walked toward the car. She looked a bit weary, though not unhappy. I greeted her and said something about hoping she enjoyed the long holiday weekend.

She smiled, laughed, and said something like this, “You know, I’ve got the best job in the world! It just takes a while to get ready for the next day.”

I couldn’t have related more, told her so, and turned to walk on with D.

On a whim, I turned and asked about her best job in the world. I’d assumed she was an administrator type. I was more than surprised when she replied, all smiles, “I teach kindergarten and I just love it!”

So why was she leaving so late? She’d just finished setting up her classroom for the next day of school!

I love children. And I loved teaching adults. I would not, however, be the best mama or papa bird to deal with an overcrowded nest of small, vulnerable, hungry, eager, noisy, precious birdlings.

So here’s to a Happy Labor Day! Especially for all educators who love caring for and about our children.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 September 2017
Photo found at
Response to WordPress Daily Prompts: Priceless; Educate


shadows of women
I may once have been recede
within a forest
fragrant firs bend branches low
heavy with pregnant brown cones

I had a waking half-dream this morning–the first three lines of the tanka above. How to end it? I don’t want more of the woman I’ve already been–though I don’t want to lose her entirely. Rather, I want to be born yet again into a life that suits me today.

This half-dream seemed to say I’m at least half-way there. Besides, this is Labor Day weekend. A most propitious time for dreaming about possibilities.

Labor Day celebrates the everyday women, men and young people who labor to get the job done. Many labor under duress in less than healthy, safe, life-giving conditions. A good time to dream about possibilities.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 September 2017
Photo found at
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Continue

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