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Note: A tanka is a Japanese short poem form akin to a haiku, but with a five line structure built of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. The spirit of these sentiments were wonderfully anticipated by Walt Whitman in 1865 with his ‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer’, though I consider the contemporary picture to be far more hellish. ( Whitman’s poem and a decent recitation ).
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These words began insinuating themselves into my mind around 5AM on Christmas morning, accompanying me towards waking. Unable to control the torrent, I trundled down to the laptop and completed the ideas. I like these occasions best, when it seems writing is 10% creativity and 90% receptivity. When I feel myself a vehicle for friendly but insistent communication.
It is the question you cannot ask which matters
The axiom you must never scutinize
In the early part of January of 2016, I had occasion to travel to delightful Burkina Faso in West Africa, located just below the Sahara desert and just above the equator. Long a bastion of peacefulness, stability, and welcoming generosity among it’s neighboring countries, Burkina went through an uncharacteristic stretch of political upheaval in the past 15 months. There was also the matter of the horrific terrorist attack aimed at ex-pats which occurred at a downtown Ouagadougou hotel the evening after we safely departed, which was orchestrated by outsiders. Yet, the predominant mood I encountered was one of strong positivity and sincere friendliness. The Burkinabé believe in the their future, are proud of their national demeanor, and have good reason to be. This is one of a series of reflections occasioned by my visit there.