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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


over old stories . . .


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


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We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.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