Apparatus, or: Phylacteries

A ‘Magnetic Poem’ tanka

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with apparatus
on head, bare arm and fingers,
aching man's tongue pants,
chants soaring worship language
to need's elaborate beat


  • For this poem, I decided to stick with the ‘Original Set’ on the Magnetic Poetry website, as I did for my sexy vampire poem last time;
    • Having used this same set just recently, it was easier for me to find words that were compatible with one another at the first;
    • Actually, I pulled a lot of words out of the set that did not make their ways into the poem at all, but I wanted to see all of them together before deciding which ones to use;
  • I again opted for a tanka, rather than a haiku;
    • As I’ve written before, the extra two lines (14 syllables) provide me with a greater challenge, as well as with a larger canvas for my word-brush;
  • I searched for and found the featured image of the phylacteries on a man’s arm at the start, as soon as I decided to make use of the words ‘apparatus’, ‘arm’ and ‘fingers’;
    • I felt this to be important because many of my readers don’t know what Jewish tefillin (i.e. phylacteries) are, nor what they look like;
    • From the perspective of writing universally appealing poetry, this is clearly not a very relatable thing to write about, but, as Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.”