The Cleave Poetry Webzine [ISSN: 1758-9223]

A cleave by any other name…Welcome Michael Williams

In submission on January 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm

A cleave by any other name… just as sweet? Indeed – this is very exciting.

Michael Williams created this form in 2005 predating the cleave form by a year or so.
To me this is a sub-form of the cleave meta-form and philosophy.

I had assumed that I was not the only person to
arrive at the concept of cleave poetry,
but it was a novel idea for me –
re-inventing the wheel?


I found out about your site from Steve Parker, one of the poets you’ve published, and I was quite excited to learn of it. I’ve written a number of pieces with the same idea, using the tanka and haiku forms. As you will see from the dates on the individual pieces below, these were written in 2005 and 2006. I did not know anyone else was experimenting with the same ideas.
In addition to the dual-poem pieces, you will also find two triple-poem pieces below – one tanka and one haiku.
My idea from the beginning, with what I first called “SuperTanka” (a pun on “supertanker”), was that the two individual tanka must make sense on their own as well as form a unified thought when combined side-by-side. When I was trying to get others to try the form, I also stated as an ideal (though not a requirement) for the two separate tanka to seem unrelated and together to create something not quite either one. I used “A Palette for Nature” as one of my best examples of the idea, splitting it into its two halves and titling them “A Palette” and “For Nature” to show their individual themes.
Yes, it was very interesting to see the website for the first time – even more so when I read the descriptions of what constituted a Cleave poem and realized how close it was to my idea of a SuperTanka (which I’ve taken to calling Dual Tanka and Treble Tanka – and Haiku – though I’m still partial to the original name).
The Treble Tanka, by the way, came about when someone asked what would happen if two SuperTanka collided. I wrote two SuperTanka – one with the first and second tanka and one with the second and third tanka – and then stated that if those two collided you would either have a massive word spill or get a Treble Tanka, presenting the triple-wide result.
Summer Storm
Summer day overcast – rain is on the way
air so heavy with moisture – feel it on the waxing breeze
creatures seek shelter – rumbling from the west
bright flashes growing closer – the waiting land anticipates
pelting raindrops fall at last – nourishment for summer crops
A genie appears – I smile at the sight
offering a perfect life – stunning beyond mortal words
undreamt wealth is mine – scenes from paradise
if I foreswear all I know – I hang my head in regret
I cannot accept the gift – the asking price is too high
A Palette for Nature
color in a world – dawn begins afresh
golden rays of morning sun – deep breaths of awakening day
lighten for midday – shadowless noontime
add gray for afternoon clouds – evening rain refreshes
deepen to a midnight blue – all quiet in cool night air
Lighthouse Guardian Companion
lighthouse of my soul – keeper of my heart – true love of my life
beacon on my stormy seas – sole guardian of my hopes – companion of all my days
give me peace of mind – calm my worried fears – stay close by my side
guide me surely through turmoil – show me the future’s bright light – accompany me onward
provide safe harbor at day’s end – love me as long as we live – for I will love you always
The Lure of the Road
my road has a curve – rising to its bend
I cannot see around it – my road hides a mystery
though I crane my neck – nothing can be seen
with no progress I am blind – to learn I must move ahead
thus my road draws me onward – only then is all revealed
A Tank/A Life
alone in a field – walking by myself
a water tank sits rusting – stopping and looking inside
once full of water – I think of my life
little more than scum remains – of potential and promise
existence without purpose – a sense of disappointment
Rainy Day Tango
rain thrumming outside – Tuesday afternoon
unheeding of life indoors – watching the rain pouring down
refreshing the earth – making puddles dance
pattering down through the leaves – moving in lively rhythm
the bobbing and swaying leaves – keeping a tempo of life
Summer Idles
summer’s day meadow – a mind at leisure
butterflies flit at random – aimless thoughts without purpose
yet always moving – seeking a focus
another blossom’s pollen – next fantastic idea
beckons to the gatherer – waiting to be fertilized
Arctic Circle Commander
bitter winds whistle – shrill knives through parkas
rocky glacier’s frozen waste – men shiver against the gale
jagged iciness – Colonel Tim is grim
deep crevasses lie hidden – twenty souls depend on him
death only a step away – “Timmy, supper!” “Coming Mom!”
January 2, 2006
January storm – thunder and lightning
windy afternoon surprise – hailstones patterning the ground
raindrops lingering – dark clouds dispersing
vibrant spectrum solid arc – color in a window framed
nearby trees tinted with stripes – rainbow show for us alone
Guardian Pines
snow-wrapped evergreens – in winter’s embrace- lit by a full moon
stand sentinel in our yard – alone and yet together – laden branches softly glow
guarding the maple – equal partnership – soul inspiration
Snow Trails
journey to sunset – striding into night
following your destiny – where few will ever travel
past snow-covered hills – to the very end
hard to walk the icy path – so easy to fall and quit
strike out to create your own – be a pathfinder instead
Light Lesson
setting sun colors – multitude of reds
wash across land and sky – light obscuring all colors
teach understanding – observed is not real
Fall Crimson
a blaze of colors – reflect in the stream
makes each tree an autumn torch – flicker in ripple’s passage
lighting the season – fire on the water

Bio: Michael Williams. I live in southern Indiana, USA. I’ve been interested in writing most of my life, but gave up on poetry while in college. This lasted for nearly 30 years before I returned to it in 2003. I’ve been writing poetry ever since, and I enjoy experimenting with forms and styles. In “real life” I do computer support for a manufacturing corporation. Other interests include antique marbles, chess, and other games of skill.

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  1. Very nice, William. I like “A Tank/A Life” espcially.

    Lordy, Lordy…. I’ve been there that’s for sure.

    Sometimes our lives seem so empty…

    There only seems to be scum left at the bottom of the tank.

    But then there are lots of other ranches and farms out there…

    With water tanks filled to the brim… and running over. 🙂

    A Tank/A Life

    alone in a field – walking by myself
    a water tank sits rusting – stopping and looking inside
    once full of water – I think of my life
    little more than scum remains – of potential and promise
    existence without purpose – a sense of disappointment

    Please submit some more of your work. For the Anthology!!!

    dennis kelly

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