Another Joyful Boy

Sam Toland, Poet

Laurie Durnell, our friend of nearly 40 years, responded to “Slug-Newt Day” by sending me this lovely tanka by her son Sam. Sam is 11 years old, in the sixth grade, and has formally authorized this publication. Tankas are Japanese; think of them as long-form haiku.

I’m guessing the picture is somewhere in the Tuolumne Sierra (maybe that’s the Clark Range in the background). Laurie says that Sam’s either writing or sketching, but it’s pretty clear to me that he’s thinking.


Sapphire, sad, unfeeling
Splashing into the dusty road
No thoughts, no voice, no mind.

–Sam Toland, February 2010



  1. Irene Brady said,

    February 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    This is the kind of child I’ve always rejoiced to see in my sketch/journaling workshops. They always inspire the adults.

    • billnoble said,

      February 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      I think Sam’s inspiration is a whole-family phenomenon. His dad’s a wilderness and mountaineering guru and his mom’s a guru at The Grove ( who travels the world helping NGOs, businesses and just plain folks talk to one another. Their garden, where Sam is growing up, is an inspired tumble of flowers.

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