Slow Insanity – #Cinquain #TankaTuesday


Exhausting days,
Tiring, sleepless darkness,
Elicited madness in her.

Cruel statements
To hide dishonor
Against her failed ambitions.

Depressed stages,
Hopelessness inching in,
She concocted a fantasy.

Cucumber dreams,
Night-times of potatoes,
Sublime and pumpkin reveries.

Sluggish despite
Corrupt voices’ chiding,
Her delusional garden grew


This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, poet’s choice. I chose the crown cinquain to honor my grandmother, who this poem was written about. She was absolutely, totally insane, but despite this she held so much of the family together and made her garden fantasy a reality.

Because the bleeding heart flowers represented this poem well, I chose to use a picture previously shared by Alexander Eliot for a prompt. Check out his work too – he’s got a load of stories and some really nice photography.

36 thoughts on “Slow Insanity – #Cinquain #TankaTuesday

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      It’s about my Grandma, who passed on December 27th. Sometime in the 50’s, something happened such that she completely lost her marbles. It was always hard for us to determine if she was talking to you or to dead people, and it was even harder to determine if she meant what she said or if they told her to say it. She was always a very sad person, and her life – from the time her father died in that 1933 knife fight until her death just last year – was extremely, viciously hard. Despite that, she grew a fantastic garden and was functional right to the end when she fell, started a heart arrhythmia, and died on the spot at age 92.

  1. Colleen M. Chesebro says:

    This is so excellent! Your imagery portrays her madness as it progressed! Comparing her progression to a garden shows how this craziness continued to grow and flourish within her. The Crown Cinquain (sequence of 5 stanzas) also reminds me of how she was a queen in her own right. Poetry geeks know this stuff. LOL!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      She was a queen! I’m so glad you picked that out! My family was actually considered quite prestigious in the area (though we were poor whites, other people were REALLLLLLY poor whites), and my grandparents were hailed as extremely important socially. I think hundreds of people showed up for her funeral – several even got kicked out of the church after the viewing because there wasn’t enough room! It was shocking to see how much of the community turned out to see her.

      Also she was definitely insane, but incredibly functional despite it.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you! This was written about my grandma, who was extremely complex. I wrote a very positive remembrance of her before, but she was so much more – and always sad, always riddled with some sort of madness that made it hard for her to communicate her real feelings.

  2. Jules says:

    Was Mr. Kellogg a tad delusional too? Health is one thing but natural ‘forces’ are quite another.

    I enjoyed your garden references. We most often grow in different directions than what others expect of us.

      • Jules says:

        I was reading more about him, his brother, and Post… and the sanatorium… over at Wiki. Yes I think ‘quite the character’ fits πŸ˜‰

        But then anyone with a narrow view without acceptance of ‘reality’ can be strangely dominating… especially if you are a sheep.

  3. Violet Lentz says:

    Brilliant poetry made even better by the backstory information you shared.Sorry for your recent loss. Jealous of your fond memories. Insanity posts seem to be MOD in mid January. Mine is scheduled for tomorrow..

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