“Dog rescued from sea at home on saviors’ ship” (Neal Whitman)



missing dog…
my neighbors eyes
at the fence





“Dog rescued from sea at home on saviors’ ship” (Monterey Herald)


Poem by Neal Whitman (see poet biographies). Read more by this poet.




  1. Chen-ou Liu

    “my neighbors eyes”

    A typo?

    Neal, generally speaking, tanka can have a pentafid form without adhering to a fixed form of five lines. However, in my view, there are only four “poetic phrases” in your poem.

    But nonetheless, it’s a good poem. I like the concluding imagery.


  2. Neal Whitman


    Thank you for the tanka lesson. I do not write tanka. I tried and an editor told me it was no good. So, some day, learning tanka is on my “to do” list. This was not a tanks, but haiku in a non-traditional form using 4 rather than 3 lines. Trying 4 rather than 3 lines was a suggestion of the editors. I am glad you still think it is a good poem, though it might be that breaking the rules threw you off and was a distraction.

    And, yes, there should have been an apostrophe for the possessive.

    In any case, I am glad you read the poem. If it is not read, the poem is not done.



  3. Editor

    Hey guys,

    Yeah, I see it as a four line haiku as well – or perhaps even a middle form – a four image form, for instance. I have always wondered about this. There are one-line haiku, obviously, and two image (through juxtaposition) and then the three line poem (with three images). Then there is a three line poem with two images (and so on).

    The thing is, in Japanese they are all on one line anyway. And Chen-ou is right – it then comes down to the combination of images. But I disagree that this has four images. I see only three : “missing dog,” “my neighbour’s eyes at the fence” and “blinking”. So it seems to clearly be a haiku, in that sense, or even a haiku-senryu blend.

    Also – I will change the typo – sorry about that.

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