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TANKA TAKE HOME : 27 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’ and I have become good friends. Over the past few months (especially April) I've constantly pored through its pages and not been disappointed even once. Each time I peel the layers of another poem, little gems that I might have overlooked the first time. Like I said before, it's a river, a journey, a journey within a journey. Today I want to share with you a tanka-prose from the book.


Fasten your seat belts, comes the announcement in a highly accented voice. I have always insisted on a window seat, just to look out, to see my thoughts jump from one cloud to another. What fun that has been for such a long time.

Habits die hard.

I start remembering how i used to doodle ... circles and curves all over the notepad, mindlessly, as I talked to my friend on the telephone. My husband would pull the pad away, saying that what I was doing was a waste of paper. I would hang up, telling my friend I would call back later. Recently I attended a talk by a psychoanalyst who advocates scribbling aimlessly to keep the mind healthy and creative. According to research, participants who doodled while listening to phone calls were able to recall 29 per cent more information afterwards than those who simply listened or took notes. But I stopped doing that decades back.

Habits die, after all.

Suddenly, I hear the voice on the plane again, asking if I would like anything to eat. Looking up, I answer, Just water, please, gratefully accepting the cup she hands me. In the same way water finds its level and its path, I want to be a river with the luxury of being myself, minus regret. A mild thud as tires touch the ground. Jostled out of my thoughts, I collect my baggage and get into a cab headed for home, where I live with myself.

a touch

of rain

mixed with sunshine

the sky today

so liquidly blue

Rose is a rose

is a rose is a ...

my inner chi

awakens to the air I breathe,

making it all my own


Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is from the poem 'Sacred Emily'

by Gertrude Stein (written in 1913)

Every Wednesday for the month of April, I have been sharing some of the poems that touched me the most. Thank you for venturing on this journey with me. Most of all thank you to Kala for letting me do this. I hope you've enjoyed all the poems I have shared. 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 using a 'pivot' in L3. The pivot line may be read as part of the upper verse and/or part of the lower verse. 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.


you trample on my feelings each time I return a little less unsure of myself

L3 is pivot

she wears silk saris with such grace bound into a cocoon should the silkworm be burnt alive for that

L3 is the pivot

Looking forward to some amazing poems.

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