TANKA TAKE HOME -1 December, 2021

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh


“Iro miede / utsurou mono wa / yo no naka no / hito no kokoro no / hana ni zo ari keku”

How invisibly

it changes color

in this world,

the flower

of the human heart.


— Ono no Komachi

“This poem, also one of Komachi’s most famous, is usually read as alluding specifically to love, a commentary on the way passion can fade without leaving any mark on the lover’s outward appearance;...

...Yet this poem can also be taken as a statement about the nature of change in general—in the world of nature, change is accompanied by outward signs, whereas in human beings the feeling heart continually changes quite invisibly; thus, human emotion is even less permanent or trustworthy than any other natural phenomenon. Here, as in many of her best poems, when Komachi dwells on the nature of love at its deepest, she makes her home in the realm of larger questions.”

—The Ink Dark Moon - Love poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu.

Women of ancient Court of Japan.

Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani

(This book has the English translation of poems by two great Japanese women tanka poets. It also has the original Japanese versions and if anyone wants to read how they have translated the verses we strongly recommend you buy the book. We can only post the tanka and probably a short excerpt. There’s a good portion of the book dedicated to the translation method.)

What do you think? Are you inspired to write a tanka on these lines? Or whatever this inspires. We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly journal.


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