Tanka by Paul Beech


floral smock chalky

she holds the new boy close

wipes his terrified tears

and lets him sit

with the girls

by Paul Beech (Wales)

Poetry in the Plague Year, 2020

About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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28 Responses to Tanka by Paul Beech

  1. Donna Bauerly says:

    As a college teacher, I could always tell which guys had lots of sisters! Especially in small discussion groupings.
    I think your smocky lady knew too.
    Evocative tanka, Paul.


    • Thanks for commenting, Donna.

    • Paul Beech says:

      Thank you, dear Donna. Actually, back in ’52, when I started at our local infants school (a wooden hall that doubled as a scouts hut), I only had one little brother. No sisters!

      The trouble was that, not having ever been allowed to play out with other children, I couldn’t handle it that first morning at school, when I found myself surrounded by raucous, jostling boys; I found them terrifying!

      Thank goodness for Mrs T in her floral smock. She was a wonderful teacher who knew just how to settle me down…

      I thought the girls looked much kinder than the boys!

      Take care,


    • Donna Bauerly says:

      Thanks, Paul, for often commenting on the creativity in C’s Blog. You are, indeed, a grateful and responsive person.
      The guys with lots of sisters would dive right into discussions with them, big smiles on their faces basking in a well-known territory.
      Your background comments are delightful. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog January 23rd, 2021 | Grandy's Landing

  3. MaryJo says:

    The way a sensitive teacher can make a difference with sensing why the new boy is crying–she brings him to sit by the girls as he probably has a house full of sisters.

  4. MaryJo says:

    Thank you for this tanka Paul. It is lovely and compassionate.

    • Paul Beech says:

      Thanks, Mary Jo, much appreciated.

      Yes, a sensitive teacher can make all the difference. And Mrs T, as mentioned in my reply to Donna above, knew just how to settle me down.

      Before long, I was so well in with the other boys that I’d have them watching over my shoulder as I sketched in pencil. “What are you making, Paul?” That was how they put it. “What are you making?”

      They’d gasp when they saw a steam locomotive appearing with smoke billowing from its chimney, as if about to run straight off my paper and into the room…

      I was certainly having fun at school now!

      My very best,


  5. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #3: Charlotte Digregorio presents a #tanka by Paul Beech!

  6. Al W Gallia says:

    Paul, a wonderful, nostalgic tanka… oh, the terror of girls at that age! But to be placed in the midst of them must have been worse than a snake! Thanks for the smile this morning, my friend.

  7. Al W Gallia says:

    Paul, thanks for such a cute tanka! At that age, I am sure there could have been no worse place to be!

    • Paul Beech says:

      Hi Al, and many thanks for your comments. It’s fascinating to me, the different ways my “floral smock” tanka has been taken!

      As explained in my replies to Donna and Mary Jo above, I didn’t have any sisters, only a kid brother, when I started at the infants’ school back in ’52. It was the “raucous, jostling boys” I was terrified of! But, thanks to having such a wonderful teacher as Mrs T, I was soon one of the gang, enjoying the boys’ amazement at my prowess in sketching steam locomotives!

      My relatives were similarly amazed, but my skill in this direction was perhaps not surprising as we had a railway line up the embankment behind our house, so I had plenty of opportunity to study locomotives of every kind.

      Look after yourself, my friend, and stay well,


  8. Maureen Weldon says:

    Paul my love, I remember when first you told me about your first day in school, and how terrified you were, poor little fair-haired wee boy, my heart went out to you, then telling me about the nice kind teacher.
    What a huge impression teachers make on us, I think for the rest of our lives.
    Anyway a lovely Tanka.

    Much love,
    Maureen xx

    • Paul Beech says:

      Thank you, my darling Maureen.

      Yes, Mrs T was indeed a wonderful teacher, one who made a deep impression on me, as I’m sure she did on all her young pupils. She radiated kindness. And seven decades on, I still see her clearly in memory, her warm brown eyes, her floral smock chalky. I still see hear her too, so reassuring and encouraging always…

      How strange it felt, on Spring Bank Holiday 2016, when, at your suggestion, I took you to Lancashire to see my boyhood home.

      Our redbrick semi looked much the same. But where was Mrs T’s timber schoolhouse? Where was the Methodist church? Along with so much else, they’d gone. Vanished! Replaced with a nondescript suburban housing estate with small neat gardens and pretty curtains at every window.

      Definitely not a patch on our Welsh mountainside home, deep in snow today, the estuary below shrouded in mist…

      Love always,

      Paul xxx

    • Thanks for commenting, Maureen.

  9. Paul Beech says:

    Thank you, dear Charlotte, for featuring my “floral smock” tanka on your brilliant blog.

    And many, many thanks to all who’ve responded with likes or comments. I’ve truly appreciated it.

    Take care, everyone, and stay well,


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