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TANKA TAKE HOME: 1st May, 2024 Beverley George - poet of the month

Updated: May 2

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


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


May 1, 2024


poet of the month: Beverley George

a nurse at the clinic

a traveller on the train

sometimes we speak

our deepest truth

to those met fleetingly


red lights 6 (1) 2010

This Pinging Hail tanka by Beverley George

Eucalypt 2012


out there

in this war-torn world

people who

collect stamps, press flowers

gather shells at daybreak


(Simply Haiku 6 (3) 2008; Take 5 2008;

This Pinging Hail Eucalypt 2012)


We are deeply grateful to Beverley George for sharing her beautiful poems with us.


Bio-note: Beverley George is a Writing Fellow of The Fellowship of Australian Writers and past editor of Yellow Moon 9-20, 2000-2006 poetry journal which included tanka. She is the founding editor of Eucalypt: a Tanka Journal, Australia's first poetry journal dedicated to tanka. She edited issues 1-21, (2006-16) before passing editorship to Julie Thorndyke. In addition, she edited issues of Windfall Australian Haiku issues 1-10, 2013-2022.


Beverley was president of the Australian Haiku Society 2006-10. She presented papers at the 3rd Haiku Pacific Rim Conference in Matsuyama, Japan 2007 and at the 6th International Tanka Festival, Tokyo, Japan 2009. She also conducted a tanka workshop at Haiku Aotearoa 3 Katikati, New Zealand in 2012.


In 2009 she convened the four-day 4th Haiku Pacific Rim with delegates from six countries attending at Terrigal, Australia.


Her books of tanka poetry include:

empty garden; Tanka by Beverley George 

Sydney, Yellow Moon, 2006, reprinted 2013


This Pinging Hail

Eucalypt 2012


Only in Silence

Tanka by Beverley George; Translated by Aya Yuhki

Pearl Beach, Kenilworth Road 2017


A Shared Umbrella

the responsive tanka and rengay of Beverley George & David Terelinck

Eucalypt 2016


Grevillea & Wonga Vine; Australian Tanka of Place

edited by Beverley George and David Terelinck

Eucalypt, 2011


wind through the wheatfields

Tanka by Beverley George writing with friends

Eucalypt, 2012


A Temple Bell Sounds; 108 tanka from the first twenty-one issues of Eucalypt: a tanka journal, selected by the journal’s founding editor Beverley George, Eucalypt 2017

A few thoughts on Beverley's tanka:

On a train the poet-narrator meets a nurse (who works at a clinic), a fellow-traveller, and they connect with each spontaneously and share something significant during their brief journey together. The lower verse of the tanka really appealed to me because it highlights an experience that many of us may have had: 'speak[ing] / our deepest truth / to those met fleetingly'. Sometimes with total strangers we are able to share things and experiences that mean a lot to us because we have no history of a relationship with them and we are not afraid of being judged or scrutinized in the light of the past. Also, there is a peculiar confidence that we may never see the person 'met fleetingly' again, so 'our deepest truth' rests secure with them. Or, will soon be forgotten as it has no significant relevance for them.

After writing the above response to her tanka, I asked Beverley a question: “In the second tanka, are the nurse at the clinic and a traveller on the train one and the same person?” I also requested her to shed some light on her poem. Sharing her response below.


Beverley: The nurse at the clinic and the traveller on the train two different people met at separate times — just two examples of different people met briefly and probably never again, yet a spark between them engenders a meaningful connection, a shared understanding of some circumstance of life. [It may seem surprising] however these brief, yet meaningful moments can occur [do occur].


The second tanka is poignant and juxtaposes two contrasting realities in a masterly way: in a world riven by war, fraught with uncertainty and violence, there are people engaged in gentle and calming activities. Within just five lines of this poem the poet has managed to give a succinct and incisive commentary on the sharply contrary impulses in human beings.


Prompt for this week: We invite you to write tanka about a ‘fleeting’ meeting with a stranger that meant something to you. Or, write about travel/journeys as your theme.


Important: Since we're swamped with submissions, and our editors are only human, mistakes can happen. Please, please, remember to put your name, followed by your country, below each poem, even after revisions. It really helps our editors; they won't have to type it in, saving them from potential typos. Thanks a ton!




And remember – tanka, because of those two extra lines, lends itself most beautifully when revealing a story. And tanka prose is storytelling.


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 these themes too.


An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights here



1. Post only one poem at a time, only one per day.

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.


Please check out the LEARNING Archives.

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776 views367 comments



another stick

the night nurse tells me

she's a vampire

I'm pretty sure

she was joking

Susan Beth Furst,USA

Feedback welcome

Replying to

All in that 'pretty' —those late night spooky doubts. The Night Nurse would be a title cueing a horror movie, if there isn't one already.


7th May 2024

#2 feedback welcome

we find

many coloured shells


how common our taste

in the girls dormitory

Amoolya Kamalnath


Replying to

coloured shells

on each bedside table

in the girls' dorm

how every one is from

the same beach

? just a thought...



she names bird calls

sprawled across a hotel bed

without having to 

plan for breakfast—

a blue moon, fleeting

Namratha Varadharajan


Feedback welcome.

Replying to

Thanks Priti!


#1 5-6-24

we meet you

through ink on the page

you infuse us

with courage and hope

Esperanza Rising

Jennifer Gurney, US




the house

on the corner

he tells me

secrets too heavy to carry

for a boy in middle school



he tells me about the girl

up the street

and yet the lotus blooms

in a puddle of mud

Susan Beth Furst, USA

Feedback welcome

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