I haven’t looked at much recent tarot poetry, but the web turns out to be a wonderful place to explore it. Here’s a few sites that offer something different or intriguing:
At heelstone.com’s poetry site you’ll find Tarot Poems by Mike Timonin, with Art by Cindy Duhe, presented in a very tarot-appropriate way. Click on the rapidly changing tarot card images and you’ll be taken to a poem determined by the shuffle. Want another card and poem? Shuffle the deck again.
You’ll also find a poem by Michael Gerald Sheehan for every card at Moon Path Tarot.
Tarot Poems by Donna Kerr from her book of poetry Between the Sword and the Heart.
Tarot Poetry by Rachel Pollack.
Here is one of the oldest tarot poems in existence: a sonnet by Teofilo Folengo, appearing in his 1527 work Caos del Triperiuno written under the pseudonym Merlini Cocai. The work includes a series of poems representing the individual fortunes of various people as revealed by cards dealt them. The summary sonnet below mentions each of the 22 Trump cards, which I’ve referenced by their number to the right of the line on which they appear. It helps to understand that Death is female in Italian, la morte, and Love (Cupid) is male. Love claims that although Death rules the physical body, Love never dies and therefore death is but a sham.
Love, under whose Empire many deeds (6, 4)
go without Time and without Fortune, (9, 10)
saw Death, ugly and dark, on a Chariot, (13, 7)
going among the people it took away from the World. (21)
She asked: “No Pope nor Papesse was ever won (5, 2)
by you. Do you call this Justice?” (8 )
He answered: “He who made the Sun and the Moon (19, 18 )
defended them from my Strength. (11)
“What a Fool I am,” said Love, “my Fire, (0, 16)
that can appear as an Angel or as a Devil (20, 15)
can be Tempered by some others who live under my Star. (14, 17)
You are the Empress[Ruler] of bodies. But you cannot kill hearts, (3)
you only Suspend them. You have a name of high Fame, (12)
but you are nothing but a Trickster.” (1)
Translated by Marco Ponzi (Dr. Arcanus) with help from Ross Caldwell, members of Aeclectic Tarot’s TarotForum, and by comparisons with the translation found in Stuart Kaplan’s Encyclopedia of Tarot, Vol II, p. 8-9 (read the discussion here). The first picture is from a 1485 Triumph of Death fresco on the wall of a Confraternity Chapel in Clusone, Italy. It depicts Death as an Empress before whom all others bow. The second picture is from Savonarola’s Sermon on the Art of Dying Well, published circa 1500.
See the translation of one of Folengo’s fortune-telling sonnets at taropedia – here.
Added: Check out the poetic concept of rhyme applied to visual aspects of the tarot in Enrique Enriquez’s article on “Eye Rhyme.”