TANKA TAKE HOME - 17 August, 2022 Featured book: The Ink Dark Moon

hosts: Firdaus Parvez, Kala Ramesh, Priti Aisola & Suraja Menon Roychowdhury

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

book of the month: The Ink Dark Moon – Love Poems by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu



Tomo sure ba / ada naru kaze ni / sazanami no / nabiku chō goto / ware nabike to ya

Like a ripple

that chases the slightest caress

of the breeze—

is that how you want me

to follow you?


— Ono no Komachi

"Legends, folktales, and songs add that Komachi was not only the outstanding woman poet of her time but also the most beautiful and desirable of women. (In the culture of the Heian court, the ability to write poems of great beauty would in itself have been a major cause for being thought both personally attractive and desirable.) Also according to legend, the renowned poet ended her life in anonymity, isolation, and poverty, an ancient, half-mad hag living outside the city walls, though still writing poetry and possessing a deep understanding of Buddhist teachings."

—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, Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. It also has the original Japanese versions and if you're interested in learning more about tanka, we highly recommend this book.)


Challenge for this week: Komachi has given us yet another visual treat, although it is because of the 'movement' she's captured so well in her poem. We're told to use the five senses of sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell; and we've leaned to do it quite well. This week get movement/motion into your tanka. Let's see where you take this. Most of all have fun! And remember - tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story. Give these ideas some thought and share your tanka and tanka-prose with us here. Keep your senses open, observe things that happen around you and write. You can post tanka and tanka-prose outside this theme too. An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights PLEASE NOTE 1. Post only one poem at a time. 2. Only 2 tanka and two tanka-prose per poet per prompt. Tanka art of course if you want to. 3. Share your best-polished pieces. 4. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written. Let it simmer for a while. 5. Post your final edited version on top of your original verse. 6. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems. We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 250 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly magazine.

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