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TANKA TAKE HOME: 22nd November 2023 - Featured Book: The Ink Dark Moon

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

Introducing a new perspective to our Wednesday Feature!

featured book: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan. Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani November 22, 2023

Tokiwa Mountain’s pine trees

are always green—

I wonder,

do they recognize autumn

in the sound of the blowing wind?

– Ono no Komachi

Even though

these pine trees

keep their original color,

everything green

is different in spring.

– Izumi Shikibu

“It is interesting to compare this poem with the one by see how the same idea (that evergreens do not change color with the seasons) can be used as the basis of poems widely different in meaning.”

– Jane Hirshfield

—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


Note: This book has the English translation of poems by two great Japanese women tanka poets. It has Japanese versions as well, and if you want to read how they have translated the verses I recommend that you buy the book. I can only post the tanka and probably a short excerpt. There’s a good portion of the book dedicated to the translation method and some interesting facts.


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!

Please also, in case of tanka-art, tell us if it's your own picture or someone else's. We will be unable to accept it otherwise.


The challenge for this week:  

How beautiful are these two tanka; both with the thought of evergreen trees but talking of different seasons thus changing the perspective. This week write your poem/s using a colour or colours. See where that takes you. You can write outside this challenge too. Have fun!


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. <> <>

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200 comentarios

Pradnya Joshi
Pradnya Joshi
30 nov 2023


Revised,,Thank you so much Lakshmi,Suraja,and Amrutha

(Taking Amrutha's version)

gently falling

autumn leaves

i recall

grandma's kumkum

forever showing the light



autumn leaves gently fall

inviting mindful pause

fall and rise again

journey still beautiful

nature's eternal dance

Pradnya Joshi


Feedback welcome.

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
28 nov 2023



changing colours

the reflected sun

doubles up towards me ...

a quiet wave at my feet

<> <>

daylight zone

changing colours

the reflected sun

doubles up towards me ...

a quiet wave at my feet

Kala Ramesh India

Feedback appreciated.

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Contestando a

I like this very much. It has a nice wavy cadence when read out aloud.

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
28 nov 2023

the old compass

points north, and then

swings south

I spend her birthday

laughing and sobbing

Jpy McCall UK

Feedback, please? Joy lost her daughter many decades ago.

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Miembro desconocido
28 nov 2023
Contestando a

This is very touching, Joy.

However, i feel, when you say old compass, it gives a feeling that the compass is not in a working condition. But, this is a blow of circumstance(having known the bg ), so probably, if it were my own tanka, i would have added a pivot which read "stormy wind". It could just be me. ☺ Love.

Something like

old compass

flickering north and south

stormy wind

i spend her birthday

laughing and sobbing

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Miembro desconocido
28 nov 2023



Super natural talent

The world demonstrates over and again, cheating is good — if one can get away with it.


their wand

the wizard

no measure of depths

in fooling the audience

Well, if you ask people, given a boon what they would want? I believe it would probably be - to live forever, or to go back in time, or to have the ability to read minds.


the yo-yo

a mystique

deep down in their heart

few drops of doubt

Amrutha V. Prabhu


Feedback most welcome :)

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Pradnya Joshi
Pradnya Joshi
30 nov 2023
Contestando a

I like that Amrutha.I was watching one magic show recently and I have similar feelings like you mentioned above.

I am not sure if it's related to magic show talent but please ignore me .Just shared my thoughts..

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#2 feedback welcome

28th November 2023


the sudden flight of a magpie

now i know

why my mother is lonely

after her nest is empty

Amoolya Kamalnath


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