A Travel Tanka

Passport Ready

I’m Germany bound.
passport: who is THAT person?
one small carry-on
clothes to exchange for new ones
a locking khaki backpack

traveling alone
looking for signs with my name
Berlin is waiting
host city, eager teachers
learning the tour leader ropes

-Kim Johnson

Challenge from Sarah Donovan:  write a Tanka poem (5-7-5-7-7)  or a Reverse Tanka poem (7-7-5-7-5) about a summer topic of your choice

estuary sanctuary
escape from the world and breathe
salt air, warm sun, gentle breeze
peaceful tidal creeks
from Goulds Inlet to East Beach
summer kayaking
-Kim Johnson

Travel Mash-Up Poem using borrowed lines from John Burroughs and Thomas Hood

Unsmooth Landing

Serene, I fold my hands and wait (“Waiting,” John Burroughs)
E-Ticket ready, airport gate
Off to Berlin, red-eye boarding
Reading, writing, sleep affording

With eyelids heavy and red (“Song of the Shirt,” Thomas Hood)
19-B, neck pillow bed
Fast asleep, bumpy landing instead
Wait. Where am I?
          Home, in bed. 

-Kim Johnson, using borrowed lines from John Burroughs and Thomas Hood

An acrostic poem written for my daughter on the day of her graduation from The Bethany House, May 18, 2019, eleven months sober and every new day a victorious gift!


Mallory Michelle Meyer


Child of God
Holy Spirit-filled


-Kim Johnson

Travel Mashup Poetry using borrowed lines from Elizabeth Coatsworth

Daydreaming Fuels

The mind, stiffened with routine, stretches, floats (“From Cadillac Mountain”)
Castles surrounded by turrets and moats

Vineyards resplendently writing each line
Praise Dionysus, Greek God of Wine!

Eiffel Tower welcoming World’s Fair fans
Gustave’s lattice monument proudly stands

Colosseum commemorating gladiators fought
Titus’s wild animals and humans slaught

Beefeaters guarding the queen’s royal jewels
Anticipant travelers’ daydreaming fuels

-Kim Johnson, using borrowed line from Elizabeth Coatsworth, as noted

Travel Mashup Poetry using lines from Robert Louis Stevenson

Counting Down

I should like to rise and go (“Travel”)
Planning started long ago
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea (“The Sun Travels”)
Awaiting my tour group and me

Till at last the day begins (“Night and Day”)
And I’m at work – not with my friends
I have just to shut my eyes (“The Little Land”)
Three more weeks to Paradise!

-Kim Johnson, using borrowed lines from Robert Louis Stevenson, as noted

Borrowed Lines Travel Poems

Globetrotting Advice 

Take it easy, take it slow (“If You Get There Before I Do”)
Globetrotting advice.
Cameras, journals, scrapbook swag
Fun memories entice.

Blaze new trails – write about them!
Explore new realms – #Instagramthem
Taste new foods – dissuade all doubt
Sorry, no Chinese take-out. (variation of line from “If You Get There Before I Do”)

-Kim Johnson, using borrowed lines from Dick Allen, as noted. 

Mary Oliver Mash-up Travel Poems


I packed sandals, shorts, and t-shirts,
      then temperatures there started sinking.
I’m wondering if I should re-pack.

I didn’t intend to start thinking. (“Drifting”)

   – Kim Johnson, using borrowed lines from the poetry of Mary Oliver, as noted.

Mary Oliver Travel Mash-up Poems

Lord of Melons

Outside the summer clouds are drifting by (“I Own a House”)
Lightly, on their journey through the sky
Wispy vapors trailing aimlessly like
Tourists taking in all they can see.

O Lord of melons (“On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate”)
And all other plants needing rain
Quench their thirst, Father,
Before I traverse new terrain.

   -Kim Johnson, with borrowed lines from the poetry of Mary Oliver, as noted

Mary Oliver Mash-Up Travel Poems

Traveling Lightly

Searching for a suitcase –
And here you may find me (“Tides”)
Checking the baggage specs
In the luggage section.

One or two things are all you need. (“One or Two Things”)
Good thing – twenty-inch carry-on
and a backpack will have to do.
I’m traveling lightly this trip!
 -Kim Johnson, using borrowed lines from the poetry of Mary Oliver, as noted