Tanka Origins 

digital publication

 

yellow taxis

passing in the rain

your memory

weaves through the traffic

of another lost day

Darrell Lindsey

USA

An Editor's Choice tanka composed by Darrell Lindsey that reads like a harlequin romance novel. His opening lines offer a modern-day image of two taxi cabs. It could be strangers in the taxis, but then again, it could be parting lovers passing in the rain. In line two, we begin to feel the deep transient imperfection (wabi-sabi) of this tanka. As memories weave through the traffic, we are left to wonder if the day was lost because the lovers missed connecting with each other, or are those memories of their rendezvous? Either way, it's a "wow" tanka.

yellow taxis

passing in the rain

your memory

weaves through the traffic

of another lost day

Darrell Lindsey

USA

******

caught by love

and pain I watch the bay

from my cold room

growing old in mirrors

spring has turned to winter

 

Lee Felty

USA 

 

Quite a sense of loneliness comes through in this EC tanka by Lee Felty. Immediately in line one we are also "caught by love", then in line two we feel the pain of that statement. In line three, Lee takes us even further into the loneliness via a cold room, and the mirror visuals of growing old portrayed through the seasons, leaving us with a sense that the person has been there a long lonely and painful time.

caught by love

and pain I watch the bay

from my cold room

growing old in mirrors

spring has turned to winter

 

Lee Felty

USA 

******

in furrows
her face holds the years
we were apart ...
without saying a word
we walk past each other

 

Chen-ou Liu

Canada

Thanks to Chen-ou for yet another classic tanka I had tucked away for an EC also. An old relationship, not only in the many years spend apart, but also in the visuals. Using the word "furrows" for the first line, immediately captures the mystical expression and loneliness (yugentei). The mood is further enhanced by the couple passing each other in silence.  

in furrows

her face holds the years

we were apart ...

without saying a word

we walk past each other

 

Chen-ou Liu

Canada

******

december 

and searching for closure

from the cold

I throw stones in our river

from where we used to sit

Babafemi Opeyemi Pamela

Nigeria

This Editor's Choice was sent in by Pamela. Someone alone in the cold of December, yet seeking warmth and closure by throwing stones in a river., Not just any river, but one shared with another; an act once shared with another. Who was it?, we will never know except by applying it to our own losses or absences in life. Nice work.

december 

and searching for closure

from the cold

I throw stones in our river

from where we used to sit

Babafemi Opeyemi Pamela

Nigeria

******

bitter wind

I read the letter about

my Mum's death

and every tear turns

into an icicle

David He

China

I was only going to select three EC's, however I couldn't let go of this tanka composed by David He from China, so it's also an EC. To read about a loved one's death in a letter sets the scene for great sadness, which sets the stage for the visual of every tear turning into an icicle. What a unique perspective this author has given his readers.

bitter wind

I read the letter about

my Mum's death

and every tear turns

into an icicle

David He

China

******

 

on center stage

her nerves quiver like

a chrysalis

before emergence-

Cleopatra takes wing

Jeaunice Tribue Burnette

USA

It was very difficult to choose only four EC's this time because the wonderful tanka (as you can see) starting with this one by Jeaunice, they just go on and on in this edition of Tanka Origins. As editors, we are on the look out for something unusual in the submissions we receive. This tanka by Jeaunice is exactly that. The simile of comparing a person's nerves before going onstage to the quiver of a chrysalis is brilliant, and who emerged, was it the performer, the butterfly, or both? 

on center stage

her nerves quiver like

a chrysalis

before emergence-

Cleopatra takes wing

Jeaunice Tribue Burnette

USA

******

courting dove 

his soft call a whisper 

weaves through trees

I breathe in the blossoms 

new lovers shake down  

Tracy Davidson

UK

This lovely submission by Tracy Davidson is a fine example of the "tanka twist". The first three lines are able to stand alone, but there's more to be said. Tracy carries on with an unexpected visual of blossoms being shaken from the tree, and a scent that we can literally breath in secondhand. A beautiful courtly tanka.

courting dove 

his soft call a whisper 

weaves through trees

I breathe in the blossoms 

new lovers shake down  

Tracy Davidson

UK

 

******

around my feet
waves lap and recede
leaving no trace─
some things are easier
to hide than others

Jan Foster

Australia

In this tanka by well known author Jan Foster from Australia, is something that many of us have experienced, depending on where you live. That is, the feeling of waves wrapping around your feet and pulling the sand back into the ocean. Moreover though, is a familiar feeling we've all had of hiding something, not nearly as easy as burying secrets in the sand.

around my feet
waves lap and recede
leaving no trace─
some things are easier
to hide than others

Jan Foster

Australia

******

I hear its song
as the wind plays in clouds
palm trees mark

the night and rain falls
like cereus blooms

Yasmin Kahn

India

Here is an interesting tanka by Yasmin which also gives readers insight to other peoples and places. In just five lines, Yasmin takes us on a journey with her from palm trees to cereus blooms. Not many places on earth have both palms and cacti, so this tanka is a gift. Thank you Yasmin!

I hear its song
as the wind plays in clouds
palm trees mark

the night and rain falls
like cereus blooms

Yasmin Kahn

India

******

your touch

is colder than this

chilly night

why can't you forgive

my one indiscretion?

Pamela A. Babusci

USA

Here we have what I call a classic Pamela A. Babusci tanka which has a sense of mystery to it. What was the indiscretion? She always writes with a passionate pen so-to-speak, and this one is no exception. Pamela has a way of simply creating an underlying tension in her tanka that's complex and haunting. 

your touch

is colder than this

chilly night

why can't you forgive

my one indiscretion?

Pamela A. Babusci

USA

******

it's thin ice

cracking the puddles

this noonday

patchwork of shadows

and broken promises 

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

Marilyn, also a well established author living and writing in Australia, sent this flowing tanka. Skillfully, she has placed the thin ice cracking as juxtaposition for broken promises. The noonday "patchwork of shadows" allows us to see that the relationship may also be on thin ice. A quality write.

it's thin ice

cracking the puddles

this noonday

patchwork of shadows

and broken promises 

Marilyn Humbert

Australia

******

resembling bark

a hawk's mottled feathers . . .

this small life

I barely notice

till it flies away

Janet Lynn Davis

USA

A quality nature type tanka by Janet Lynn Davis which reminds us to be more aware of our surroundings. Upon first reading this tanka, I assumed it was a "hawk moth", however the word feathers gave me a whole new perspective. The word "small in line three almost put me back to a moth, but even a raptor can go unnoticed in their own environment.

resembling bark

a hawk's mottled feathers . . .

this small life

I barely notice

till it flies away

Janet Lynn Davis

USA

******

sand writings

along a solitary shore

from the horizon

roaring waves wash away

her lengthy inner script

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

And yet another excellent tanka by Pravat starting with a catchy first line "sand writings", which takes us immediately to a beach shoreline. The final line is also poignant as we have to imagine an entire life's story disappear before our very eyes. A strong depiction of the importance of that life.

sand writings

along a solitary shore

from the horizon

roaring waves wash away

her lengthy inner script

Pravat Kumar Padhy

India

******

faded petals

fall from the rose

his laughter

seemed forever but today,

another grave dug deep

Pris Campbell

USA

This tanka by Pris takes us through life to death in five lines, and there's a story involved here also. The final reality comes through in this tanka via the final line becoming the final moment of forever parting, dying. As always from this author, a very heartfelt tanka.

faded petals

fall from the rose

his laughter

seemed forever but today,

another grave dug deep

Pris Campbell

USA

******

midwinter

among old photographs

in a drawer

I find this loneliness

getting longer, growing stronger

Agus Maulana Sunjaya

Indonesia

A good strong seasonal tanka by Agus. What do we do in mid-winter but catch up on things that can't be done outside, like going through our photo albums. The nostalgia continues in this tanka when, (no matter where we live) we can relate to winter days getting longer, and loneliness growing stronger with each visual memory. 

midwinter

among old photographs

in a drawer

I find this loneliness

getting longer, growing stronger

Agus Maulana Sunjaya

Indonesia

******

 yellow leaves

after green leaves

a boat leaves

softly the foreshore-

an embrace of lovers

Steliana Voicu

Romania

Clearly in this tanka by Steliana, it's autumn and lovers are parting. Star-crossed lovers perhaps, and not just parting, but parting possibly forever after. The really unique thing in this write, is the use of the word "leaves", in line one and two as nouns, and in line three as the verb. An effective way to show how well repetition can enhance a tanka. Upon first reading this might go unnoticed, but half of a successful tanka is up to the reader.

yellow leaves

after green leaves

a boat leaves

softly the foreshore-

an embrace of lovers

Steliana Voicu

Romania

******

kudzu vine

slowly envelops me

in darkness

as without your love

I become invisible

Marilyn Fleming

USA

Ah, the kudzu vine, an exceptional tanka by Marilyn. Perennial vines that climb, coil, and envelop everything in their path. We can see and feel how this person must have felt upon  becoming invisible, as we are drawn into the darkness too. The key as to why they felt this way is revealed in line four with the words "without your love".  A well crafted tanka.

kudzu vine

slowly envelops me

in darkness

as without your love

I become invisible

Marilyn Fleming

USA

******

old regrets

is it possible they change

hue with time

from the bleakness of morning

gray to a pale streak of pink

Anne Curran

New Zealand

 

This question tanka composed by Anne oozes with emotion. There are none among us who don't have "old regrets", and to be given hope that perchance they may lesson with time, is reassuring. Anne presents this possibility by giving her readers the option to contemplate if their gray mornings have or will change to a pale streak of pink.

old regrets

is it possible they change

hue with time

from the bleakness of morning

gray to a pale streak of pink

Anne Curran

New Zealand

******

dried up tears leave

no marks where her pain ends

and mine begins

on this face makeup damp

aching sweat and cold sighs

R. K. Singh

India

This tanka by R. K. is written with great empathy. R. K. himself is definitely present in this one for the pain is mutual with his subject of "her." To associate with someone else's pain is the deepest kind of empathy and well portrayed in this compassionate tanka.

dried up tears leave

no marks where her pain ends

and mine begins

on this face makeup damp

aching sweat and cold sighs

R. K. Singh

India

******

autumn wind

forgotten fronds all

blown away

can a far-fetched dream

describe aloneness

 

Neelam Dadhwal

India

An autumn based tanka by Neelam, likening the forgotten fronds having blown away, as a way to describe aloneness in her final line. In line four, a question is posed that can only be answered in each individual readers' mind. An example of an open-ended tanka that works.

autumn wind

forgotten fronds all

blown away

can a far-fetched dream

describe aloneness

 

Neelam Dadhwal

India

******

fighting for you

until the end of time

our dalliances-

give me reason not to

love you strawberry moon

Ernesto Santiago

Greece

A "surprise" at-the-end tanka by Ernesto. This starts out having us believe he is talking

only about a loved one, but the love of nature also becomes apparent in Ernesto's final

line.  As I've said before, "a tanka poet is a connoisseur of love, and a lover of nature".

fighting for you

until the end of time

our dalliances--

give me reason not to

love you strawberry moon

Ernesto Santiago

Greece

******

hand in hand

walking with you under

the summer stars

sunlight stay away

I linger with my moon

Jason Mackey

USA

No theme intended, rather just the way submissions stacked in. Interestingly though, this tanka by Jason, also well written, is another example of a typical tanka poet. Jason's tanka also contains both the human and the nature element. Great tanka minds think alike no matter where they live.

hand in hand

walking with you under

the summer stars

sunlight stay away

I linger with my moon

Jason Mackey

USA

******

from nowhere

a white feather alights

on burned leaves-

what have I to understand

from your wordless letter

Lavana Kray

Romania

A tanka by Lavana with an unusual twist to it. The visual image set up in the first three lines are mysterious, where did this feather come front and who was burning leaves? All this leading to the question in line four and five. Perhaps it was the poet not only burning leaves, but burning what she felt was a "wordless letter"... 

from nowhere

a white feather alights

on burned leaves-

what have I to understand

from your wordless letter

Lavana Kray

Romania

******

painted ladies

hitch rides on the wind

my journey

was without direction

before you came along

 

Debbie Strange

Canada

 

The tanka by Debbie, on a favorite subject of mine,  painted lady (butterflies). This assumption is created by lines one and two. However, line three twists this into something more. Depending on how you read this tanka, the reference in lines four and five could mean ladies-of-the-night, one of them given direction by whomever came calling. A tanka that allows readers more than one option.

painted ladies

hitch rides on the wind

my journey

was without direction

before you came along

Debbie Strange

Canada

******

I shall swim

so kiss me now love

the sea is old

and it can wait but will

you be there for my return

oyoguhito

UK

This tanka by oyoguhito truly tweaks the imagination. So much is said and yet left unsaid. He asks for a kiss from a lover before he goes for a swim because the sea is old and will always be there, whereas the lover may not be there upon his return. This is a different enough tanka to set it apart from others, and the kind of tanka that an editor looks for.

I shall swim

so kiss me now love

the sea is old

and it can wait but will

you be there for my return

oyoguhito

UK

******

mixing up 

both smoke and fog
the beach wind 

I shared my longings 

with the tidal waves 

Hifsa Ashraf

Pakistan

Written by Hifsa, my kind of tanka. It has everything I've personally experienced growing

up in a beach community. Beyond having said this, beach wind mixing up smoke and fog could possibly be a subtle reference to a couple's differences. Sharing one's longings with the tidal waves literally gives this tanka its up and down emotional rhythm. 

mixing up 

both smoke and fog
the beach wind 

I shared my longings 

with the tidal waves 

 

Hifsa Ashraf

Pakistan

******

 

Chinese dragon

snakes through the city

threatening

to overwhelm us

is this monsoon rain

 

Richard Kakol 

Australia

Here is a fine tanka by Richard with a super pivot line and a tanka twist. He has set the scene in lines one and two with the threatening presence of a Chinese dragon. However, in line three, comes the realization that Richard isn't talking about the dragon at all, instead it's the monsoon rain that threatens to overwhelm! A seasonal tanka at its best.

Chinese dragon

snakes through the city

threatening

to overwhelm us

is this monsoon rain

 

Richard Kakol 

Australia

******

the flight

of a little green heron

in silence

over the dark pool

the news of his death

Jenny Ward Angyal

 USA

This tanka by Jenny, depicts more than just sadness which is lighter than sorrow, and sorrow which is lighter than grief. The grief she is feeling over a loss is overwhelming. The use of her words "little and green" in line two indicates a youthful death. The words "silence and dark" further deepen this grief. Although this tanka is about grieving, it's very well written. 

the flight

of a little green heron

in silence

over the dark pool

the news of his death

Jenny Ward Angel

 USA

******

no longer

battling over rosebuds

I stand and watch

a young buck eating grass

in the autumn rain

Debbie Scheving

USA

A tanka submitted by Debbie that is truth as deer do eat rosebuds and the thorns as well. They mostly steal them at night, so to come out in the morning and find your rosebuds gone, is to battle with the deer. Having said this, she accepts what has happened, and goes on to share her "forgiveness" and stand and watch the culprit now eat grass in the rain. Thanks for sharing your experience with readers.

no longer

battling over rosebuds

I stand and watch

a young buck eating grass

in the autumn rain

Debbie Scheving

USA

******

mulling over 

the world's vanity

we photograph 

our shadows to make sure 

we have left a mark

Vandana Parashar

India

This unique tanka by Vandana speaks of a commonplace event, taking a photograph, but shows us that moment in an unusual way. To capture a picture of one's shadow makes this so. Why did the people take that photo of only their shadows, perhaps a secret relationship, left to our imaginations. Thank you for this image Vandana.

 

mulling over 

the world's vanity

we photograph 

our shadows to make sure 

we have left a mark

Vandana Parashar

India

******

Tanka Origins Archives

Author Biographies

(in no particular order)


 

The short forms of Pris Campbell have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She won a Bronze award in the 2018 Ito-en competition and a Sakura award in the 2018 Vancouver Cherry Blossom contest. A book of tanka has been published by Nixes Mate Press. A former Clinical Psychologist, sailor and bicyclist until sidelined by ME/CFS in 1990, she now lives a quieter life in Lake Worth, SE Florida with her husband and cat.

 

***

 

My name is Anne Curran. I have been writing Japanese short verse forms for several years. Every day provides fresh and exciting opportunities when it comes to my enjoyment of writing.  I have learned so much from reading my peer writers and from working with editors and tutors alike.

 

***

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern suburbs of Sydney NSW Australia. Her tanka and haiku appear in international and Australian journals, anthologies and online. Her free verse poems have been awarded prizes in competitions and some have been published.

***

R.K.Singh, born, brought up and educated in Varanasi, till recently Professor at IIT--ISM,  Dhanbad, has been writing tanka and haiku for the last four decades. He is a widely published poet with 19 collections, including Growing Within (English/Romanian, 2017) and God Too Awaits Light (2017), to his credit.

 

***

 

Marilyn Fleming is a Wisconsin short form poet and occasionally dabbles in sumi-e brush painting. Her special interests are Japanese forms of poetry, (haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun and tanka prose.) She is widely published in the US as well as internationally. You can follow her on https://twitter.com/mflem9811

***

 

Jeaunice Tribue Burnette is an aspiring poet. She also pours her soul into visual art. Her work has been published in The Awakenings Review, Modern Haiku, and Contemporary Haibun Online. She graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Ms. Burnette resides in Albany, Georgia in the U.S.

 

***
Vandana Parashar is a microbiologist, teacher and haiku enthusiast. Her love for brevity made her fall in love with Japanese short poetry forms.  Her work has been published in many national and international journals of repute and won prizes, plus honourable mentions in many contests including a Grand Prix in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Haiku Contest.

***

 

Ernesto P. Santiago spends most of his free time by dividing it between here and there trying to learn something. He is too small for his ego. He is enough for himself. Born in Philippines, he lives in Greece, where he still continues exploring the poetic myth of his senses.e.

***

Jan Foster, a former English teacher, lives in Geelong, in country Victoria, Australia. Her tanka, tanka prose, haiku, haibun and responsive sequences have been published in several international journals, as well as online.  She is a member of the Bottlebrush Tanka Group (Sydney) and the Phoenix tanka group (Geelong). Her favourite things include family, her garden, writing, a good book to read and a cryptic crossword to conquer.

***

 

Lavana Kray is from Iasi, Romania. She is passionate about photography and poetry and has won several awards, including the status of Master Haiga Artist, from the World Haiku Association. Her work has been published in many print and online journals. She is the haiga editor for the UHTS journal Cattails. Vist Lavana's Blog:

photohaikuforyou.blogspot.ro

***

Chen-ou Liu lives in Ajax, Ontario, Canada.  He is the author of five books, including Following the Moon to the Maple Land (first prize, 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest) and A Life in Transition and Translation (honorable mention, 2014 Turtle Light Press Biennial Haiku Chapbook Competition). His haiku and tanka have been honored with many awards.

 

***

Janet Lynn Davis began her tanka journey in late 2005. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous familiar journals and anthologies, and she also has served the tanka community in various capacities. Janet currently lives in a rustic area of southeast Texas, away from the hustle-bustle of the big city.

***

 

Pamela is an internationally award-winning haiku/tanka & haiga artist. Some of her awards include: Museum of Haiku Literature Award & numerous international first place awards for tanka. Pamela is the founder and editor of: moonbathing: a journal of women's tanka, the first all-women's international tanka journal. She has published two tanka collections, A Thousand Reasons and A Solitary Woman.  Pamela can be reached  at: moongate44@gmail.com

***

Jason Mackey is a writer and poet. While he dabbles in free verse, his true love is writing formal and Oriental poetry. He lives in the United States. Follow him on Twitter @JasonWMackey

***

Jenny Ward Angyal lives with her husband and one Abyssinian cat on a small organic farm in Gibsonville, NC, USA.  Her tanka have appeared in many journals and may also be found on her blog, The Grass Minstrel. Her tanka collection, Moonlight on Water,  appeared in 2016.

***

 

Hifsa Ashraf is from Pakistan. She is an award-winning poet, story writer, and co-editor of Haiku Commentary blog (https://haikucommentary.wordpress.com/). Her haiku, senryu, tanka, haiga, cherita, sonnets, and free verse poems have been published in various international poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines. Please visit her blog for the details of her published work. https://hifsays.blogspot.com

***

 

Jeaunice Tribue Burnette is an aspiring poet. She also pours her soul into visual art. Her work has been published in The Awakenings Review, Modern Haiku, and Contemporary Haibun Online. She graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Ms. Burnette resides in Albany, Georgia in the U.S.

***

Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire, England, and enjoys writing poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologiesApart from writing, Tracy enjoys reading crime fiction (the gorier the better), music, photography and traveling. 

***

Steliana Cristina Voicu lives in Ploieşti, Romania and loves painting, poetry, Japanese culture, photography and astronomy. She has won the 3rd prize in the 2017 Le Prix Jocelyne Villeneuve, first prize in the 2015 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest and other prizes. Her works have been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

***

Opeyemi Babafemi began learning and writing haiku in January 2019. Some of her works have been accepted by Wales Haiku Journal, Akitsu Quarterly and The Mamba Journal of the Africa Haiku Network. Then along came Tanka and has caught her fancy too. Opeyemi is a 24 year old Agricultural engineering graduate living in Ilorin, Nigeria."

***

Scientist and Poet. Pravat Kumar Padhy, PhD hails from Odisha, India. His poems have been featured in anthologies and periodicals of repute.  He is a recipient of Editor’s Choice awards, Citations, Special and Honourable Mentions. 

***

Oyoguhito is a poet living in The Mumbles, Gower, Wales, UK. He does most of his writing in his beach hut at Rotherslade Bay, on the Gower.

 

***

Yasmin khan is a freelance writer . Her first love has always been poetry. Her poems have been published in several online magazines . Her poetry has been featured in Legends 2013 and 2014 , Grey Wolfe Publishing, alongside other talented poets and authors. She currently resides in Mumbai ,India.

***

Agus Maulana Sunjaya lives in Indonesia, teaching physics and mathematics at college, and has been writing English Language haiku for 3 years.  Agus' works had appeared in Wales Haiku Journal, Hedgerow, Frogpond, Akitsu Quarterly, NHK Masters, The Mainichi, The Asahi Haikuist, Under the Basho, Chrysanthemum, and others. https://twitter.com/agusmsunjaya

***

Debbie Strange is an internationally published short form poet, haiga artist and photographer, whose creative passions connect her more closely to the world and to herself. She maintains a publication and awards archive on her blog at debbiemstrange.blogspot.com, which also includes hundreds of haiga and reviews of her books. Please visit her on https://twitter.com/Debbie_Strange.

 

***

Ms. Neelam Dadhwal is from Chandigarh, India. She spends her leisure time writing haiku, tanka, haibun and painting haiga. Her previous works can be found at The Living Haiku Anthology. She maintains online profiles at https://twitter.com/neelamdadhwal   and  https://www.instagram.com/neelamdadhwal

***

Debbie Scheving was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and has lived up and down the west coast of the United States most of her life, with the occasional adventure elsewhere. She is a tanka and haiku novice, and is appreciating a new writing outlet and the international community.

***

Lee Felty is a poet of Japanese short form poems. From the time she began writing tanka daily, she has felt more balance in her life. She is a published New England poet and writes most often about that region. Writing the turn in a tanka is Lee's sudoku.

***
Darrell Lindsey's poetry has appeared in more than 70 journals, magazines, and anthologies.   His haiku and tanka have garnered numerous international awards. His Poets & Writers Directory listing can be found here: https://www.pw.org/content/darrell_lindsey 

***

 

David He Zhuanglang No. 1 High School Gansu Province China