TANKA TAKE HOME - 15 december, 2021

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh


“Yo no naka wa / yume ka utsutsu ka / utsutsu to mo / yume to mo shirazu / arite nakere ba”

Is this love reality

or a dream?

I cannot know,

when both reality and dreams

exist without truly existing.

Ono no Komachi

“Yo no naka means literally “the world of the middle.” The reference can be either to the human world or to the world of relationship and love. This poem is deeply Buddhist in its questioning of what, if anything, can be called “real.””

—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.)

Those last two lines resonate with me so much. I usually find myself in two places at the same time: one inside my head amidst all the chaos of the creative kind; in love with my muse, it’s very real, and then there is the outside world where my body performs all the daily chores. What then is real? How do you interpret ‘real-ness’. Hope this has your creative juices flowing.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.


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