KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Tanka Prose: 273 words

Andrew Wyeth’s Wind From the Sea (1947)

by Charles D. Tarlton
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

—W. B. Yeats

One summer, Ann and I rented a beach cottage for a month in Niantic, Connecticut. We did all the things there you would expect to do there. We found bikes in a shed and rode every day around the fancy houses and tall hedges of Old Black Point; we walked along the boardwalk in town, lay on the sand, and watched the commuter trains go past behind the beach. On a lazy afternoon, I went upstairs to one of the little bedrooms to take a nap.

a gust is blowing in
to make the tattered curtains billow
like spinnakers full
before the wind, scaring up
a stitching of common swifts

I was awakened by lightning, a blast of heavy thunder, and then the softer rolling shudder of thunder from farther away. It was almost dark in the middle of the day, and I lay on the bed looking out the window and watched the storm’s spectacle as it passed—lightning and later thunder, more lightning and more thunder, heavy rain. A steady thin electric breeze came up that made all the trees dance around furiously.

in the curtains, birds
and the idea of the wind are alive
contrasting the still
wood of the window frame
the dying grass in the field

and a worn track
to nowhere, in the distance evergreens
and a sliver of sea
below a wide deadening sky
gray even through splits in the shade


Publisher’s Notes:

1. The original of Andrew Wyeth’s Wind From the Sea, a tempera painting on hardboard, resides at the National Gallery of Art but is not on display.

2. The epigraph is from The Land of Heart’s Desires (Stone & Kimball, 1894), a lyric play by William Butler Yeats.

3. Tarlton’s ekphrastic tanka prose are featured in Issue 6 of KYSO Flash online and in State of the Art, the journal’s 2016 print anthology. Two others appear in Issue 8 online. Links to additional ekphrastic works by Tarlton, as well as his essay on ekphrasis and abstract art, are listed under “More on the Web” below.

Charles D. Tarlton
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is a retired university professor who lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter. Tarlton has been writing poetry and flash fiction since 2006, and his work is published in: Abramelin, Atlas Poetica, Barnwood, Blackbox Manifold, Blue and Yellow Dog, Cricket Online Review, Fiction International, Haibun Today, Inner Art Journal, Jack Magazine, KYSO Flash, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Prune Juice, Rattle, Red Booth Review, Review Americana, Shampoo, Shot Glass, Simply Haiku, Six Minute Magazine, Sketchbook, Skylark, Tipton, and Ink, Sweat, and Tears.

He has also published a poetry e-chapbook in the 2River series, entitled La Vida de Piedra y de Palabra (a free translation of Neruda); a tragic historical western in poetry and prose, “Five Episodes in the Navajo Degradation,” in Lacuna; and “The Turn of Art,” a short poetical drama pitting Picasso against Matisse, composed in verse and prose, which appeared in Fiction International.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Featured Author Charles D. Tarlton, with six of his ekphrastic tanka prose and an interview with Jack Cooper, in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)

Notes for a Theory of Tanka Prose: Ekphrasis and Abstract Art, an essay by Tarlton residing in PDF at Ray’s Web; originally published in Atlas Poetica (Number 23, pages 87-95)

Three American Civil War Photographs: Ekphrasis by Tarlton in Review Americana (Spring 2016)

Rowing Home, Tarlton’s ekphrastic tanka prose on the watercolor by Winslow Homer, in Contemporary Haibun Online (January 2018)

Simple Tanka Prose for the Seasons, a quartet by Tarlton in Rattle (Issue 47: Tribute to Japanese Forms, Spring 2015)

La Vida de Piedra y de Palabra: Improvisations on Pablo Neruda’s Macchu Picchu, Tarlton’s e-chapbook of a dozen poems, with the author reading several aloud; chapbook is also available in PDF, with cover art by Ann Knickerbocker

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