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TANKA TAKE HOME : 20 April — a Wednesday feature

hosts: Firdaus Parvez, Kala Ramesh, Priti Aisola, and Suraja Roychowdhury


Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!


book of the month: 'the forest i know' by Kala Ramesh


‘the forest i know’, for me, is a river, a journey; a journey within a journey.


is it possible

I ask myself

to feel

the depth of the sky

from within


(I plucked this tanka from a tanka-prose)


Kala, I realise, has this uncanny knack of observation which she uses in her poems. Simple things we overlook, but can relate to immediately, she puts to verse so beautifully. Here are some of them…



the crow

sweeps in like an eagle

I discover

I do, do things like

my mother


laughing

over old stories . . .

suddenly

I feel that mother

is young again


a visit

to our childhood home

I feel stripped

when those old trees

see me without my dreams


he often said

hearing is the last

to go . . .

for more than an hour

I whisper in his ear


a yellow leaf

settles on its own

reflection—

we ask the doctor to remove

grandma’s oxygen mask



On love and heartbreak…


you did

what you did . . .

I give

the wound time

to become a scab


you asked

I gave willingly . . .

now, each time

I look back

all I see is my giving



There are so many I want to share but I don’t want to rob you of the pleasure of going through the book yourself.


Every Wednesday for the month of April, I will be sharing some of the poems that touched me the most. Let’s venture on this journey together, feel the rawness of heartbreak, and the honest vulnerability of a poet finding herself. I will let the poems speak for themselves. Ponder over them and glean your own interpretation. Tell me about it and then, write your poems in the comments.


An essay on how to write tanka: Tanka Flights


Are you inspired!


We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.

Also, please do mention, under your poem, if you would like feedback.


But wait a minute before you start writing your tanka. We thought we’d give our members something to think about; to try a different approach from what they’ve been writing so far. Here’s the challenge for the week. Write a tanka in the 4/1 image format. You can click on the link given above and read all about it. To make this even more challenging, we’ve decided to consider only tanka written in this format this week for haikuKATHA. Good Luck, but most of all have fun while you learn.


Here are some examples by Kala Ramesh.


4/1 divide:


at twilight the forest I know by sight becomes a forest of sound … cicada summer



through the years I connect reflections to get a grip on my fragmented life … cloud-capped moon



popping aspirin did little to lessen the ache from those spiked words … I wait for the night to pass



exoskeleton of a dragonfly glued to a water tank … to be able to slip out



expecting walls and rooms to whisper stories grandma used to tell — the emptiness


Looking forward to some amazing poems.

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192 Comments


Kavita Ratna
Kavita Ratna
Apr 27, 2022

The Tankas shared above - are stunning - some of them simply moved me to tears!!! Kala, what a treasure, these!

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Apr 27, 2022
Replying to

Kavita,

Thanks a lot. Tanka is both plural and singular. There is nothing as 'tankas'

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Barbara  Kaufmann
Barbara Kaufmann
Apr 26, 2022

I have been among the missing for a few weeks so I am playing catch upas best I can. Here is my revision with thanks to Reid. I like how you lightened up this tanka and gave it a better flow. I decided move 'the goldenrod trail' to L3. This seems to flows better. Thank you for your suggestions.


Revision :


hands entwined

we stroll

the goldenrod trail

where butterflies once danced...

lengthening shadows


Original:

hands entwined

we stroll where butterflies once

danced along

a goldenrod trail…

lengthening shadows


Feedback welcome.

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Replying to

I really like this revised version, Reid. Barbara, stunning images...

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mailbox

on a fencepost

at the end

of a long dirt road. . .

day by day I wait


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Replying to

Very poignant, Linda. Although L5 seems like inverted syntax I do like it as is.

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Subir Ningthouja
Subir Ningthouja
Apr 26, 2022


pic & verse : subir n

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Replying to

Love it! Perhaps:


day's end

women walk home

in rows

on a hill path...

copper sunset


This way you can segue into the sunset from the hill path.


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Nani Mariani
Nani Mariani
Apr 26, 2022

night universe

full of starlight

that time

mom dad still

to whom my love

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Nani Mariani
Nani Mariani
Apr 28, 2022