Tanka Origins 

digital publication

Tanka Origins

Final Edition Page 1 of 2

Editor's Introduction

If anyone finds any errata or omissions, please feel free to contact me directly at tankaanya@gmail.com

Publication certificates for the Editor's Choice tanka "only", will be emailed shortly, to print out.

 

For this Tanka Origins Edition, again I received a multitude of fine submissions, So many that it's increasingly difficult to select which ones to publish, but the ones I’ve selected, in my opinion, are what I believe to be the finest English examples of the tanka genre.

Having said this, I also have to say this is the final edition of Tanka Origins as it has gone into overdrive. With each edition and so many email submissions coming to my inbox, it is a daunting task to select only 25 tanka. Even though I cannot continue, a sincere thank you to those who made Tanka Origins a success.

 

All rights revert to the author upon publication, and if your tanka is reprinted anywhere, Tanka Origins must be cited as the first place of publication. On another note, please know that I am always open to workshopping anyone's tanka in a private email.

Editor’s Choices 

thunder

sounding nature’s passion

and mine

the tingle of your touch

adds lightning to my soul

Terrie Jacks

USA

 

One of my Editor’s Choices is this stellar tanka written by Terrie Jacks from the USA. I immediately liked it upon first reading. In line 1, Terrie simply stated the word “thunder”, a word used in many other tanka. However, in this tanka, it flowed right into the second line which definitely and creatively deepened the concept. Line 3 matched the two syllables in line 1 which gave it a flowing rhythm. Then came the dramatic closure and juxtaposition that makes this tanka as special as any court tanka written. Nice work Terrie! 

 

thunder

sounding nature’s passion

and mine

the tingle of your touch

adds lightning to my soul

 

Terrie Jacks

USA

______

the ifs

and if only’s

my thoughts

are ferried off

by the march wind

 

Marilyn Fleming

USA

 

This Editor’s Choice tanka is by Marilyn Fleming who consistently composes fine tanka. Her subject material is something everyone can relate to probably more than once in their own lifetime, and these are the very most successful and memorable type of tanka written. A perfectly crafted piece with an excellent verb choice of “ferried” which sets it apart and makes it worth reading over and again. Thank you Marilyn for submitting this one to Tanka Origins.

 

the ifs

and if only’s

my thoughts

are ferried off

by the march wind

 

Marilyn Fleming

USA

______

in quarantine

after crossing borders

my thoughts

now flow to Anne Frank

more than ever before

Lakshmi Iyer

India

 

During these times I’ve read and passed on many “pandemic related” tanka, but this Editor’s Choice written

by Lakshmi from India caught my attention. It’s neither optimistic or pessimistic, rather it’s emphatic to this modern day world crisis situation while alluding to a past situation. Her reference and comparsion of being quarantined to Anne Frank’s isolation is unique and noteable. Thanks to Lakshmi for allowing readers to see this world virus from her personal perspective. 

 

in quarantine

after crossing borders

my thoughts

now flow to Anne Frank

more than ever before

 

Lakshmi Iyer

India

______

                                                                                           she appeases

him much more than I

ever will

my green eyes suck colour

from her rosy cheeks

Anne Curran

NZ

 

Here is a poignant Editor’s Choice tanka written by Anne Curran from New Zealand. It leaves much up to the reader to decide who “she” is and why “she” appeases “him” more. Could it be a lover or a mother, a sibling, or someone else? The real clincher comes in the last two lines which is an interesting example of the element of surprise. An intriguing and expressive tanka Anne, thank you for sharing this one of yours!

she appeases

him much more than I

ever will

my green eyes suck colour

from her rosy cheeks

Anne Curran

NZ

______

expressing

my feelings of loss

pointless

trying to lasso

a butterfly

                                                                                                                                                  

Richard Kakol

Australia

 

This Editor's Choice is a supburb tanka, and a very well written succinct piece by Richard Kakol of Australia. Succinct yes, but not incomplete. I often talk about submissions that are short poems” rather than "tanka", and this one serves as a good example of the difference. Richard’s content is melodic with its s, l, s, l, l format, it has a “twist in content'' from the upper lines to the last two lines, and also has a middle line “pivot” connecting human nature and mother-nature together. A special thank you to Richard for this fine example of the “tanka genre”. 

expressing

my feelings of loss

pointless

trying to lasso

a butterfly

                                                                                                                                                  

Richard Kakol

Australia

______

meandering

clouds weave in and out

my storm-tossed head

as self-doubs nible

the last bits of me

Rashmi VeSa

India

This is an outstanding tanka submitted by Rashmi VeSA from India, that has everything. A perfect short, long, short, long, long songful melody, a nature plus a human element, metaphor, excellent word choices, it just has everything! As most of you know, I very rarely don't make a minor suggestion or two, but not this time. Very impressive Rashmi!

meandering

clouds weave in and out

my storm-tossed head

as self-doubs nible

the last bits of me

Rashmi VeSa

India

______

the stone

beneath my breastbone

melts at last—

on the cusp of morning

the singing starts anew

 

Jenny Ward Angyal

USA 

 

This tanka with its "internal rhyme"is by Jenny Ward Angyal from the USA. Half of the success of any tanka is up to the reader, and this tanka needs to be read more than once in order to fully grasp the breadth of its meaning which is left up to interpretation. In lines one and two what is meant by “the stone/beneath the breastbone”? I interpreted it as “a cold heart” that in line 3 melts because of morning birdsong, or perhaps it was the author’s heart singing because of a lover that stayed the night... 

 

the stone

beneath my breastbone

melts at last—

on the cusp of morning

the singing starts anew

 

Jenny Ward Angyal

USA 

______

trying to find

my future girlfriend

in a vast sea…

this dream of hollow masks

and broken mirrors  

 

Jacob Salzar

USA

 

This is a modern day tanka by Jacob Salzar from the USA. I agree with Jacob when he says “I think using the adjective "broken" could imply how fragmented some parts of society seem to be”. His reference also to “hollow masks” is to me a juxtaposition of how difficult it must be to meet a “future new girlfriend” in these times. Thanks Jacob for your tanka!

 

trying to find

my future girlfriend

in a vast sea…

this dream of hollow masks

and broken mirrors  

 

Jacob Salzar

USA

______

 

fallen stars

all the time we spent

looking for

what was lost between us

and what still remains

 

Agus Maulana Sunjaya

Indonesia

 

This tanka is by Agus Maulana Sunjaya from Indonesia. It has a strong entry line and pause. Agus then carries on with the next 4 lines that connect and flow nicely into each other to form a complete thought pattern. Placing the “what was lost” and “what still remains” together in the final lines, makes this tanka work well and leaves the reader wondering why... thank you Agus!

 

fallen stars

all the time we spent

looking for

what was lost between us

and what still remains

 

Agus Maulana Sunjaya

Indonesia

______

                                                                                              naptime

my cat and I close our eyes

to the world

opening them only to confirm

each other’s presence

 

John J Han

USA

 

This is quite a delightful tanka written by John J Han from the USA. There are many different kinds of love, and the love of a pet is one of my personal favorite types. I can see this scenario so clearly and if you read it metaphorically, it could just as easily even be subtly applied to secret lovers. Thanks John for allowing readers the privilege of reading this one!

 

naptime

my cat and I close our eyes

to the world

opening them only to confirm

each other’s presence

 

John J Han

USA

______

bridge crossing

I still memorize  

the shadows

of large koi swimming

amid stepping stones

 

David He

China

 

Another excellent tanka by David He from China. Memorizing the shadows of koi amid the stepping stones is such a wonderful visual. We are not only allowed to see this image for the first time, but for many times thereafter. In addition, not only can I see these shadows from the bridge, I am taken right down amid those stepping stones to a time when the bridge probably wasn’t even there. Thanks David!

 

bridge crossing

I still memorize  

the shadows

of large koi swimming

amid stepping stones

 

David He

China

______

                                                                              a summer night                                                                                      concert in Schönbrunn garden—   

how the moon veils

her hands barely touching

the strings of a harp

 

Steliana Cristina Voice

                                                                                              Romania                                                                                                                                                                                   

A beautiful tanka composed by Steliana Cristina Voicu of Romania. She sets the stage in lines 1 and 2 taking us right into Schönbrunn garden. In the middle line, her use of the word “moon” rather than “moonlight”is a plus that enhances the verb “veils”; it’s not just the light but the moon itself that finishes off the beauty of this tanka with t lines 4 and 5 “her hands barely touching the strings of a harp”. Lovely tanka Steliana!

                                                                                      a summer night                                                                                        concert in Schönbrunn garden—   

how the moon veils

her hands barely touching

the strings of a harp

 

Steliana Cristina Voice

                                        Romania                                       

                                                                                             ______

 

across my chest

at dawn spiders spin

gossamer silk

these threads gathering

fragments of my heart

 

Marilyn Ashbaugh

USA

 

First of all, I must say this one written by Marilyn Ashbaugh in the USA, is a beautiful and delicate tanka indeed. The visual of “gossamer silk” spun across a person’s chest is stunning. An even more breathtaking visual is to see those threads gatheringg heart fragments. Of course, there is much much more depth to Maryilyn’s tanka than just beautiful visuals! What was the hidden meaning, was her heart broken into pieces, and why? Being able to write a little mystery into tanka, is a gift. Thanks Marilyn!

 

across my chest

at dawn spiders spin

gossamer silk

these threads gathering

fragments of my heart

 

Marilyn Ashbaugh

USA

______

 

the lone seagull

on a shore pine branch

how long it waits

as waves touch and go

as waves touch and go 

 

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

 

A very memorable tanka by Pravat Kumar Padhy from India. Suddenly, I am  a seagull alone waiting, waiting, waiting on a shore pine branch”. Pravat’s repetition in the final two lines enhances the concept of the tanka greatly, and only a skilled tanka poet could create the feeling Pravat has given readers in this tanka. It's yet another stunning example of his usual fine work!

 

the lone seagull

on a shore pine branch

how long it waits

as waves touch and go

as waves touch and go 

 

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

______

the weight

of a thousand worries

wakes me. . .

what am I to do

with a day like this

 

Stacey Dye

USA

 

This tanka is by Stacey Dye in the USA, who has fastly become one of my most recent personal favorite female writers. Her writing is always in depth, spot-on for rhythm, content, and general readership relatability. We all have days like this, especially in troubled times when worries are at a peak. Thank goodness we have poetry to help us through the worries of each day. Keep up the good work Stacey, and thank you for your support of Tanka Origins!

 

the weight

of a thousand worries

wakes me. . .

what am I to do

with a day like this

 

Stacey Dye

USA

______

overheard

passing the lobby desk

directions

to my lover's floor

I push the button

Zane Parks

USA

I’m always intrigued by an unusual tanka like this one by Zane Parks, USA. It’s one of those ambiguous tanka that tweaks every readers’ imagination, or perhaps just leaves them in limbo. It could be applied in so many ways to so many instances by so many people. The possible interpretations for this tanka are numerous. What an interesting write bthanks to Zane!

overheard

passing the lobby desk

directions

to my lover's floor

I push the button

Zane Parks

USA

______

                                                                                                     

curled up

on my plush red couch

I pen poems…

love longing and loss

fill tear-stained pages

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

      

This tanka by Marilyn Humbert of Australia, steps right out of the Victorian era to me (which I love). The plush couch (I perceive red velvet), and the use of her word “pen” carries on with that feeling of nostalgia. The three “l”s, “love longing and loss” in line 4 truly wowed me! Thank you Marilyn for gracing the pages of Tanka Origins with your work!

 

curled up

on my plush red couch

I pen poems…

love longing and loss

fill tear-stained pages

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

______

from the forest edge

bordering a bright meadow

suppressing breaths

the calm movements of a bear

I lose all sense of time

Kiersta Recktenwald

USA

 

Here we have a tanka by Kiersta Recktenwald from the USA, and I too have experienced this myself having lived rurally and walked in the woods many times. With lilting birdsong, jackrabbits, squirrels,wildflowers,  etc. it is literally breathtaking when one runs across a bear. Kiersta’s final line is a perfect close to this moment, and let’s us linger for a while. Thanks Kiersta for sharing your experience!

from the forest edge

bordering a bright meadow

suppressing breaths

the calm movements of a bear

I lose all sense of time

Kiersta Recktenwald

USA

______

Continued on Page 2 of 2